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Where the Expats Live in Mexico

Mexico attracts thousands of foreigners each year to move and  explore the country. We wanted to examine where these foreigners or (expats) are moving to. We focused on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  Maybe the map and article will help you in your search if you are looking to relocate.

Moving to the Yucatan and Riviera Maya

There are three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Most expats live in Yucatan and Quintana Roo States. Campeche is by far the distant third in foreigner population. This is because of it’s more remote location from a large airport and not as many desirable places to live in the State by expat standards.

Most expats look for these things as requirements for choosing a location:

  •  Quality of life.
  • Access to services like good medical care.
  • Cultural activities.
  • Other people to interact with including same language group.
  •  and cost of living.

Below the map we talk about why people choose a certain area and some of the pros and cons of each area.

Expats Map Mexico

 Where to retire and live in Mexico

Living in Campeche State

In Campeche there really is only one city where foreigners like to move to, Campeche City. At the center of the city there is a colonial heart complete with colonial architecture.

The Pros are: Smaller feel with colonial charm. It is on the water, slightly less expensive then some other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is not overrun with tourist and people can enjoy the “real” Mexico more.

The Cons are: More distant from other places. The city does have an airport but limited flights. Not a huge expat populations and you will need to be more proficient in Spanish at first.

Moving to Yucatan State

There are two main areas of the state where expats like to live. Merida and the beach area including Progresso and the surrounding area.

In Merida you have thousands of fellow expats that have already blazed the trail for you and will be a great support group for your new adventure. This is the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula with around 1,000,000 people. The city offers a wide variety of  neighborhoods to choose from as well as history and culture. There are a lot of favorable things about this city and is why so many now call it home.

The pros are: Being that it is a big city with a lot of history, you have many styles of housing stock to choose from. You can have an old colonial house with high ceilings, a modern condo, an art deco home or even can live in a new sub development. So choice of styles of houses and living arrangements are a plus here.

Shopping for everything is possible. Having a large city affords fruit and vegetable markets, local markets to big box stores like Costco and Home Depot. Everything you need to relocated can pretty much be bought in Merida.

Arts and culture are a big reason why Merida is such a popular place to live. It seems like everyday there is something going on. Merida boast grand old theaters to modern dance companies and everything in between. There are weekly exhibitions of dance and every Sunday the main Zocalo is blocked off and dancing and concerts take place. Among the scheduled cultural events, many artist have chosen to live in this city and that adds to the vibrancy and cultural richness of Merida.

Merida has a modern international airport and a central hub for regional bus travel. It is also only about 20 minutes to the coast and spending time at the beach is an easy daytrip. Having a good transport system and an urban center can afford you to live without a car.

The cons are: Merida is considered a hot city. It has a lot of concrete and crowded downtown. If you cannot take the heat or choose a home that is not situated the best, you are going to be hot and need to use the air conditioning a lot.

It is a big city and many parts of it offer nothing in the way of sightseeing or interest. The colonial charm might wear as you deal with the grit of a large Mexican city.

Even though Merida has a nice airport, flights to the US are often more expensive and residents will sometimes fly into Cancun and take the 4 hour bus trip to Merida.

Colonial architecture in Merida Mexico

The other area of Yucatan State where people choose to live is the Progresso area and small beach communities. This gulf coast living is spread out among many small villages so we lump them together as a beach area.

The pros are: Living beachfront was never  more affordable. This is one of the cheapest areas where you can actually own a beachfront home. Land is even cheaper if you choose to build. The quiet life awaits you here and you can spend your days eating fresh caught fish and looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

You are only about 20-30 minutes to the City of Merida. You can take in your culture and retreat to your quiet home afterward.

The cons are: This area can be a bit remote for some and the small village life can become boring after a while.

In the “summer time” some popular communities can become the city escape for residents of Merida and homes are rented out to party loving beach goes and there goes the neighborhood.

If you are thinking of building, be sure to understand ALL of the restrictions in Mexico for building oceanfront. There are very specific laws that have entangled many a foreigner with a dream of living beachfront.

Many expats are “snowbirds”, meaning they come for the winter and go back north for the summer. If you are looking to live year round you might find yourself with less friends in the summertime.

You will most likely need a car unless you really want to be limited to colectivos or just live in the center of Progresso.

If you live in Progresso, it is a cruise ship destination and you will have your days where the town gets filled with tourist.

Moving to other smaller areas of in Yucatan State

Holbox Island is very peaceful and beautiful. It is a small island with limited land and real estate. Only a few hundred people live here. Most people however that live there often travel and do not spend all their time there. Most expats own a hotel or business there to keep occupied.

Izamal is a small colonial village that is idyllic peaceful living. It is about 45 minutes from Merida if you need city life and shopping. You will find yourself just one of a few expats though if you live here. If you are an artist of writer then you just might find the peace and quiet life you need to be creative.

Valladolid is also a colonial town right in the middle of the Peninsula. It offers peaceful living with access to Cancun Airport in about 2 hours and Merida in about 2 hours. There are not a lot of colonial buildings left to fix up or live in but rent can be much cheaper here then other parts of the Peninsula. Not many expats have taken the step to live here but you just might be ahead of the trend if you move there since this town is getting more popular every year. Expect to see good things coming from here in the next five years. This place is on the up and up.

Moving to Quintana Roo State

Cancun has long been the main city in the state. It is famous for it’s beaches and hotel zone and it also attracts people wanting to make it a permanent vacation. (For more information on living in Cancun check out our article on what it is like living in the Hotel Zone)

The pros are: You will be living in the city with the best international airport in the peninsula. This gives you greater access to the world and cheaper flights.

It is a modern city, after all it was started in the 1970’s. Cancun has more highrise living, malls and big box stores for shopping.

English is widely spoken due to the tourist trade.  The joke goes “What is the difference between Miami and Cancun? They speak English in Cancun!”

You have access to beautiful beaches. You also have access to international cuisine, nightclubs and some very trendy places as long as you don’t mind sharing with tourist.

The cons are: It lacks the colonial or “real Mexico” feel at times and can almost feel like you are in Florida or a version of Miami.

You mostly likely will want a car. Since the City was designed in the 1970’s it is car centric.

Since it is more of a tourist city, it is designed to entertain people for a week and send them home. Besides going to the beaches and shopping there is not a lot to do.

The downtown is not particularly charming since it is more a perfunctory center to support the tourist trade.

Cancun Hotel Zone

Isla MujeresDoes the thought of living on a tropical island excite you? Then you might look here.

The pros are: You get to say you live on an island in the Caribbean to all your friends! You will get to drive around in a gulf cart to do your shopping and you will mostly likely have a great view from your home since the island is long and narrow. You also will have ocean breezes most of the time.

The cons are: You are on an island. Most people after a while loose the interest and move to the mainland. Isla Mujeres is small even by  island standards.  Shipping everything over and using the ferries will be part of life and all that sea air can take a heavy toll on metal and require constant maintenance around the house.

Since it is so close to Cancun you will have a lot of tourist coming for a few days or day tripping. You will have to get used to tourist driving the gulf carts down one way streets the wrong way.

Isla Mujeres

Puerto Morelos is just south of Cancun. This small fishing village is a haven for some that seek beach living with a small town feel. You can find episodes of House Hunters International filmed here as expats look to move. The funny thing is, on the shows they often show footage of other places because there is not much in this small town.

The pros are: Part of Puerto Morales is close the beach and has a small town feel. There is great snorkeling off the coast.

You are close to Cancun for shopping and the airport. The town just got it’s first supermarket!

The town is also growing and there have been infrastructure improvements and new housing developments (mostly for local workers) opening up on the highway.

The cons are: It is a small town and you might find yourself driving to other places to buy things and entertainment. With that in mind you will need a car to live here unless you only want to stay in a few blocks and take taxis everywhere. The town is split in two parts, one by the ocean and the rest 2 kilometers up by the highway.

Prices for beach front or close to the beach are going to be high due to the limited supply. There is a high contrast to what expats pay and what locals can afford.

Puerto Morelos Mexico

Playa Del Carmen. Of course we have a lot to say about this place because we are based here. This town/city keeps becoming more popular with expats and nationals for living (about 186,00 residents and growing). It is a European feeling place next to the ocean than most everywhere else. You still can find places under 100,ooo dollars to live (See our article on affordable homes to buy in Playa) and you can find super luxury villas or modern condos.

The pros: People consider Playa Del Carmen to be different from the rest of Mexico. It has a unique feel to it. With so many European and South American influences, you might feel like you are in a very international destination. Most of the downtown is very walkable and you can get by without a car. The growing amount of expats make it easy to meet other like minded people.

Playa has good access to public transportation running up and down the Riviera Maya and buses to Yucatan State. Playa is also jut 40 minutes from the Cancun airport.

With the amount of foreigners you just might find a holiday tradition from your home country being celebrated or  even a meal being prepared at a restaurant.

The cons: Compared to the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula you wont find as much local culture and colonial living.

The city does not have as many shopping options as Cancun yet, but it is gaining. (Getting the first Home Depot was a big deal in Playa and marked a coming of age sort of for shopping.)

The city is growing and has limited beachfront living. Since it is such a popular tourist destination, it often is better to own near the beach and rent it out. You will make more money that way and you can live a little ways back from the ocean.

Cozumel Island is the most populated island in Mexico with about 90,000 people.  Most people live near the one town on the island.

The pros are: Island living with almost everything you need. If you like diving or snorkeling you will be in heaven here. It is considered to be one of the best places in the world. If you have a job or hobby to keep you busy you can make a success of living here.

Cozumel does have an international airport and access by ferry almost hourly to Playa Del Carmen.

The cons are: Like living on most islands, you can feel stir crazy after a while if you don’t have something to keep you busy. Much of the island is just empty space with nothing to see except gorgeous beaches. (Well that is not a con except when you get tired and want something to do out of the sun.)

Being in town when the cruises come can make it hard to compete for walking space with all the tourist.

Puerto Adventuras is a gated community around a marina. Residents enjoy manicured grounds and driving golf carts around.

The pros are: Many people enjoy the safe community of like minded foreigners and condo dwellers.

The cons are: It is not the cheapest option for real estate. Like living in any planned community there are a list of rules and regulations. These can help or hinder you depending your interest. Also like many smaller communities along the Riviera Maya, it is access to a variety of shops and restaurants can be lacking.

Tulum. Once famous for just the ruins, this town is now gaining in popularity as a trendy eco friendly beach town.

The pros are: Playa Del Carmen learned from the development of Cancun and Tulum is learning from Playa Del Carmen. Tulum is more eco minded and attracting other like minded people. Tulum is attracting celebrities to the beaches and this is helping to bring gourmet restaurants and bakeries to the downtown. Since most of the surrounding area is not developed, there is beautiful areas to visit including Sian Ka’an reserve which is adjacent to Tulum.

The cons are: This town is new to the development scene. Infrastructure is still developing and things like sidewalks and good water service are sill coming along.  Like other small towns, shopping is lacking and trips to Playa Del Carmen are necessary for some items. Real estate prices are already high because for years people have been speculating on this place developing.

Lesser lived in places to mention in Quintana Roo State

Akumal is a coastal town between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. It is famous for it’s turtles and swimming with them. This community is small but offers a little higher standard of living. It is clean and most of the houses and condos are on the more luxurious side. You will need to commute to get groceries and shopping but you will live in a place that is beautiful and not too far from things.

Paamul is a small seaside community that started as a travel trailer camp for people . It now has developed into a more permanent community. It is noted for its travel campers with palapa roofs over them. It is not too far from Playa Del Carmen but if you are looking to have a regular house in a regular community then this might not be for you. It is however one of the cheapest ways to live so close to the beach.

Paamul Mexico

Bacalar is a small town on the big lake. It offers lake front living in a tropical setting. You can join a few other expats here. If you like remote living and don’t mind the commute to big shopping and airports, then maybe this place is for you. Chetumal is the nearest big city.

Mahahual and the Costa Maya. This area is beautiful and remote. Mahahual is a fishing village with a cruise ship port. The town is pretty small and the coast just south of there is even more lost in time. It is like the old Caribbean, remote, quiet and undeveloped. If you want to open a small guest house and enjoy quiet days, this might work for you.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article about where the expats live in Mexico. If you have an questions about certain areas or living in the Yucatan, please feel free to contact us here and we will do our best to give you independent advice.

Moving to Mexico by Driving ?

If you are also going to be driving down to spend some time in Mexico or even driving to move here you might want to check out this link to getting Mexican car insurance to cover you in Mexico. We selected this company as one of the better options for people to use when driving in Mexico.
Daily Mexican Auto Insurance rates start at $5/day.

59 Comments on Where the Expats Live in Mexico

  1. Thank you for a terrific article. I have been to many of the places you discuss and think your portrayal is spot on. It provides confirmation to me and some added information. Really nice job.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Let us know if you need any specific info for you. You can always use the contact email. We hope your search is successful and you find a good place to enjoy life in Mexico!

      • Great resource here. I am finally moving to PDC after traveling there since ’88. I want to find a one bedroom apartment, but am open to other options (don’t want room mate situation). Any suggestions or input is welcome!

        • Hello Cheri

          We are glad you are coming back to Playa Del Carmen again. Here is one article on our website that will help with where to live and find apartments: http://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/everything-about-apartment-renting-in-playa-del-carmen/ There is a good interactive map in the article that will help you see different neighborhoods and there are a lot of tips that will help explain how living in Playa Del Carmen is different in other places. If you need anything else just leave a note here and we are sure to point you to an article or give you an answer. We hope you find some place you like.

  2. David Gladysz // February 4, 2016 at 10:51 AM // Reply

    For sake of saving time, I cut and pasted an email that I sent to several schools in Playa Del Carmen. I was wondering if you might be able to provide some info since I have not heard back from the schools yet. I have seen on several of the websites that the costs totaled like 10-12,000 for the year. I am hoping this would be in Mexican Pesos. What do you think?

    Hello. I would like to receive information regarding the cost of your school. We are contemplating relocating to Playa Del Carmen in the near future. We have a 3 1/2 year old son who would be coming to school there soon and we have no idea of what the cost of the school would be. We need this information to see if our budget is accurate or not before moving there. Also I have another child who currently lives with her mother, but may move with us as well. She would be starting 9th grade here in US. Please include any additional costs we would need to budget for including books, supplies, uniforms, etc. For sure our little son will be coming with us, and not so sure about my daughter so please provide separate cost breakdown for each. Thanks so much for any information you can provide! Thanks, David Gladysz

    • We do need to do an article on schools because many people look for the best ones and information. Playa is becoming more a destination for families that are expats. We have talked to some with children here and they do like the schools here because they are so international. One woman said in her child’s class there were more than 10 languages spoken by different children. Since we do not have an article yet on this and it will take a lot of time for us to research it so we can have a very informative article, we suggest asking in the expats Facebook group so you can get firsthand feedback from parents with children here.

  3. I’m thinking of moving to Mexico to skinny down (solo female 3 dogs) particularly Tulum & Playa Del Carmen. I’ve never been to either. Life changing to say the least but retired 55 and just down right bored. Very interested in these areas and meeting like minded people. Muy porquito Espanol but ready to start classes. Ajijic is just too old for me, I’m still pretty vibrant. Torn but ready…

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 8, 2016 at 7:28 PM // Reply

      We definetly think you should check out the two areas and there are smaller areas that people move to. It depends if you want a car. If not, then Playa id a good choice. If you like a more rural chic, then Tulum might be good for you. There certainly is energy in the Riviera Maya and it might be what you are looking for. You might have gotten the cultural side in Jalisco and now this might satisfy your other side.

    • We were just in Ajijic this week and can say that your peso will go further in Ajijic but there is the ocean and more energy in the Riviera Maya. Visiting is a great way to see if it fits you.

    • Gib Lastrapes // May 26, 2016 at 11:09 AM // Reply

      Hi Dana,

      I too am seriously considering a move to the area ( Plya Del Carmen – Tulum ) I’m 58 single male with one dog. Like many I own a home in the states ( SC ) that I plan to sell in order to finance my relocation to Mexico. I’ll keep this as brief as possible. I’d love to know if you made the move or have you decided otherwise. I’d really like to find someone or several whom share our interest and pool our thoughts during the process in order to make things easier on everyone. If you’ve an interest in collaborating. I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at CajunNSC@gmail.com anytime. Have a great day… I look forward to your reply.

      • Mr.Yucatan // May 26, 2016 at 1:17 PM // Reply

        Thanks for all your comments. It is a good way to connect with like minded people heading to Mexico. Sorry for the delay in posting, we have to manually accept all comments so we don’t have spam on the site. We hope you find some people to meet up with some others moving to Mexico. It is a popular thing to do these days! And, as always, let us know if you have any questions about living here and we will try to give you all the information you need.

    • Dana 54 yrs planning to go to playa in the month of Jan 2017 to learn Spanish and. Find living arrangements. Any help would help. Wendy Ontario Canada bbrown21@hotmail.ca
      Thanks

  4. Bryn Wilson // April 9, 2016 at 11:33 AM // Reply

    I apologize as this is off topic, but I am looking for a reputable service to assist with Wireless Internet via Satellite for my boat. We are right in front of the Beloved Hotel and the Marina Internet is very slow. I need someone to come to the boat. Any recommendations would be so very helpful! Muchas gracias mi amigos!

  5. I am a retired RN thinking of relocating to the Riviera Maya and would like to post some adds looking for a semi or retired gentleman that I can be a part time companion for and to be the housekeeper, laundry, house sitting, etc. in exchange for a bedroom. Can you offer me some ideas of the best places to post my adds? Muchas gracias for your time.

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 16, 2016 at 11:27 PM // Reply

      Hello and thank you for your question. We do have some suggestions for you as far as a location to post. But before we do we will say that it might be a little less common of a situation as you might expect here in Mexico. It seems that many people retire to Mexico at a time when they are still pretty active and when they get to thsee point of needing assistance them seem to move back with family. Also on the Rivier Maya side the expat population is a little younger and more independent than say some places like Merida or San Miguel. It does however seem that there will be a greater need for caregivers as more people move to Mexico and more stay longer.
      As far as posting, Craigslist is a small option but it is not used too much here, Facebook groups for expats is another option and just might be one of the better options. There are some English publications that expats read and this might be a possible place but the cost of running an ad might not look too attractive in the long run.

    • Gib Lastrapes // May 26, 2016 at 11:16 AM // Reply

      Hello Devi,

      I too plan to relocate to the area. Have you made any contacts yet? If you’d like to correspond, please feel free to do so. I’d love to hear how it’s going so far. Have a great day. Good luck! Please email me at Cajunnsc@gmail.com

  6. Thank you very much for the useful information. Facebook is a good idea. I may have given the wrong impression that I was looking to be a care giver. Really I am looking to be a live in housekeeper and if wanted, a periodic companion, although my Nursing skills could be utilized if needed. Thanks again, I appreciate your time.

  7. Gib Lastrapes // May 26, 2016 at 11:28 AM // Reply

    I’d like to correspond with other liked minded explorers concerning our dream of living in Mexico ( Plya Del Carmen – Tulum ) Yucatan. If anyone is interested in sharing their experience and or advice I’d love to hear from you. A side note: I was wondering if anyone has an interest or need of shared transportation when the move becomes apparent. I plan to take the Gulf Coast route is anyone is interested. I’ll be driving down in my personal vehicle. I drive a full size truck with enclosed tono cover so I’ll have some room available if anyone needs it. I may be pulling a small enclosed trailer as well… I figure time wise at end of summer 2016, Thank you.

  8. What are your thoughts on Cancun now? Are many people moving there or is that just for tourist. My wife and I am looking to buy a condo and like the closeness to the airport.

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM // Reply

      Cancun is a tale of three cities. The Hotel Zone, downtown and the new areas being developed or new communities. The Hotel Zone has added some quality of living improvements notably a new grocery store that makes us jealous in Playa Del Carmen. The downtown has always been a little more of a perfunctory part of the city but as Cancun ages, it is getting more large trees and a little settled in, but still not popular for expats. There are some new areas being developed and a lot of high rises around marinas. These have not taken off in sales yet but Cancun is looking to transform itself. I think we just have to wait to see if there is that momentum to catapult it forward. There is a big difference between Playa and Cancun but actually in terms of the airport we are about the same since the airport is just south of Cancun.

  9. Hello. We have been looking to move to Mexico and we found your website. It is a great resource for giving us an idea of the cost of living and where to think about moving. We have been looking at Tulum or Playa Del Carmen and are coming down this fall to check things out again. We will be retiring this year and want to buy some place to live for a year and travel around. We have always loved Mexico and look forward to exploring. See ya soon!

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 3, 2016 at 8:14 AM // Reply

      Hello. Well you will be in good company with many other people looking to move to Mexico. Tulum and Playa are good choices to look at and each one has advantages and disadvantages. Once you are here you should be able to see how it feels to you. Once you are here there is so much to see and do, you will have a lot to explore! See you soon here.

  10. Hi! I’m thinking of moving to the Playa del Carmen area and have been seeing what places expats like to live. I am not a beach person but see that so many like to live there must be something about it. I should come down and check it out sometime.

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM // Reply

      Hello Herbert. We will be writing more about why expats like to live in Playa Del Carmen. It is not a perfect place but it can be a good place to use as a base and travel in the Yucatan. It is also a modern city which some people like. It is not for everyone but many like it and more keep moving here. Come to spend some time to see if it is for you! See you soon.

  11. Mary Riggins // July 18, 2016 at 1:03 AM // Reply

    We looked at Campeche but although it was charming it was still to small and the lack of good airport access was a determining factor for us.

  12. I see interesting articles you’ve got here. This one where expats live I wanted to say that I live in Merida but have seen the expat population level off. I don’t know exactly why but I think the housing stock has run out of cheapish stuff. There are a lot of places to live in the world and I think Mexicans don’t alays have a good perspective of how things are.Some are out to make money off selling real estate and then when the prices are so high they wonder why people are not buying any more.

  13. Selene Williams // July 19, 2016 at 4:33 PM // Reply

    Thanks for the map of where expats live in the Yucatan. My husband and I have been narrowing our search for where to look. We hope to retire to Mexico this year.

  14. We’re poking to buy a place in playa deal Carmen. The only thing holding us back is the lack of knowledge with the real estate market there in PDC. Could someone recommend real estate agents?

    • Mr.Yucatan // August 7, 2016 at 2:30 AM // Reply

      Sure. We will send you an email with some different ones that work with different types of property. Some real estate agents work better with houses and lower priced real estate, some work better with things in the center of town and some work better for buying a property along the coast.

  15. Christian Meger // August 8, 2016 at 9:53 AM // Reply

    We have been looking at the coast around Progresso but thing we have more rental options for our place when we are not living in our place. We are coming in October to check real estate out. Can you email us some realtors you guys think will be a good option to contact for us? Thanks

    • Mr.Yucatan // August 8, 2016 at 4:01 PM // Reply

      Hello Christian

      We hope you like this side of the Yucatan Peninsula as well. There are many expats living in Playa Del Carmen and besides a good community there are good options for renting out your property. We will send you an email with some options of realtors to contact for your trip down.

  16. Hello. We are thinking to move to Playa Del Carmen or along the coast. Do you have some good realtor that you recommend for us to contact? We are looking for a house that is within three blocks to the beach and has two bedrooms. We don’t need to be near a school since we do not have kids. We can live in a city or town and will have a car. We just want a good realtor that will be honest about what it is like to live in a town and what we will expect after we are living there. Thanks

  17. Good evening !
    We plan to come to your area somewhere in October but only after we have a portfolio of houses ready to be seen. We would like to rent a nice house, not furnished, for about three years. Please help us with some reliable realtors. I think any place along the Riviera Maya would be good for us as long as it is affordable, has +5 bedrooms and it is not far away from the beach. No kids, we are a team of 6 people and need a nice place to work on our project. Thank you in advance , Ella

    • Hello and thanks for the message. We will send you some via your email. We take it that you might want a little space since you have non related people in the house. Also maybe a common area to work in? Would you need good access to internet or other services? Playa Del Carmen is great because you have everything so close, supermarkets, shopping, entertainment, beach and you don’t always need a car. Playacar phase 1 and 2 have larger homes that are quiet but still close to the center of town. Akumal is also a small ton between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and this small town has some larger vacation homes that might be a spectacular location for views, but then again maybe no one will want to work with such a settling. hahah.
      We will send you an email today or tomorrow with some suggested agents to call. We wish you the best and hope you find something that fits. If you need anything else just let us know.

  18. How is the quality and reliability of the Internet in Playa. I am a teleworker and need areliable Internet Provider.
    I am looking to snowbird it initially about 3 months a year while looking for a permanent residence there in Playa. I would like to have a contact there that could show me the ropes and help get things situated.

    • Hello Terry
      The internet is pretty reliable and about what you receive in Canada or the US. It will depend on what areas of the city you are in. Not all areas of the city are covered by Izzi (formerly Cablemas) or Telmex. If you are looking at a place out of the downtown you should definitely ask about the internet and test it yourself. Many rental companies or owners will say there is intent, but to those that rely on it, speed counts and so does reliability.
      We would say Izzi is the better of the two main providers. If you needed a very fast connection you could go to the NEST office space and rent space there. Many expats are helpful in getting new people acclimated. We hope this gives you a little insight in living in Playa Del Carmen and working with the internet.

  19. We would like to get a list of realtors to help us locate a rental in Playa Del Carmen so we can try it out for a season.
    Any info that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  20. Steve Cobian // August 31, 2016 at 5:21 PM // Reply

    I hope to build phase 1, this year on my land in MX.
    Thanks for your Great web site. Much of your published comments & replies are also areas of my interests and concerns.
    My personal story;
    35 years ago, as a young hippy backpacker I would escaped the cold midwest winters to areas around Tulum. Ten yeas ago I bought 3 lots, two – out NW of town in Macario Gomes – I’d like to Sell these two lots “cheap” and would like to Find an agent or buyer?
    The other one SE of Tulum I’d like to build, but need to Find and feel comfortable with an established reliable builder with ideas toward sustainability.
    First time saying – I’m a young retired guy looking for connection to Tulum community, friendships, learn some more Spanish – and still travel back to the midwest to assist with my aging parents.
    Please! Any feedback or networking would be great.
    stevecobian@gmail.com

  21. Great article! My daughter(age 20) and I will be visiting for 3 weeks to PDC and looking for a comfy apartment that is secure and not super loud at night. AirBnB may help us but we wanted to have other options. Can spend up to $1200 max and need internet service. Your help would be great. Thank you,
    Arlene

    • Hello Arlene. We do not rent a apartments in Playa but our article on renting might be a good start for your daughter. In her budget she should not have too much of a hard time finding one especialy with the exchange rate.

  22. I have spent a lot of time going around Mexico looking at what places are good to live in. It is hard because many cities have been bought up and new places that are up and coming are not that exciting and you need to guess as to how it will develop. It is hard to guess and many need to examine how they want to live. Waiting for a place to develop or move to an area that is built up.

  23. Riviera Maya newcomer // October 9, 2016 at 9:53 PM // Reply

    Any tips on finding the most tolerable climate? I’m glad you mentioned the heat in Merida. I flew into Cancun the beginning of September and wasn’t prepared for how much the humidity intensifies the heat. The heat in Cancun was at my limits. When I saw that Merida is even hotter, I took it off my list of possible places to live. I’ve visited Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tolum. Now that there are some overcast days and some days below 90F it’s a bit better. I like to walk a lot, and the sauna-like heat isn’t enjoyable. I’m glad I missed the hottest months.
    Playa del Carmen is about the right size with convenient shopping and cafes, but I wouldn’t want to live there year-round.
    It looks like my only options for a cooler place to live is at higher elevations. Any suggestions?

    • Hello and thanks for sending us a message. As far as the weather in the Yucatan Peninsula for living goes, the entire Peninsula has a similar climate. The entire peninsula is flat and there is no elevation. Where some people notice some difference is the coast because you get sea breezes, but this only works if you are within a few blocks. Many people right off the interior of the Yucatan because many people say it is hot. However with much of it covered in trees, it can be cooler. It is cities like Merida that are all concrete that reflect back the heat at night and keep the temperature high. Like many places in the world. people learn to live in the climate by having homes that stay cooler naturally and organizing your schedule so you are not out in the heat of the day.
      I ideally you might look at Chapala because it has a micro climate. We did write an article about it comparing it to Playa here: http://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/living-in-mexico-lake-chapala-or-playa-del-carmen/

      San Miguel is also a popular option because it has a higher altitude and pleasant climate. San Miguel is also a very nice city with affordable options to live since it has a lot of space around it. The one thing we don’t like is the fact an airport is a little far to arrive there.

      We hope this give you a little more insight to your questions. You might not find the perfect place but there are a lot of places in Mexico that expats love, sometimes you just have to learn to love the stuff you don’t like or put up with it so you can enjoy the other great things Mexico offers.

  24. Would you recommend Merida or Chetumal for overall living? I’m considering places to learn Spanish.

    • Hello. Thank you for your question about choosing a place to live. We would have to say Merida is a more popular option. There are very few expats that live in Chetumal. This is most likely do to the fact that this is not that glamourous of a place and further removed in many ways. Merida has the colonial charm and many road trips for weekend getaways. Most of the time people move to Merida to live in a colonial house and have that image in their heads.

      Chetumal is quieter and has Bacalar to escape to or a boat trip to Belize. Merida is a hot city due to the interior position in the peninsula and concrete but some neighborhoods are cooler and have more trees.

      Both Merida and Chetumal have airports but Merida’s is more accessible and has more international flights.

      Some people like to talk with other expats but some might want to be emerged in the culture and speak Spanish. This however still can be hard for people to talk about common interest. Many times it can be nice to talk about international politics or traveling and many locals will not have similar experience as you, so that can be a downside of living in just a local area without many expats.

  25. Are Merida and Chetumal relatively safe?

    • Both Merida and Chetumal are very safe areas. Merida is a large city of nearly one million but compared to many cities that size, Merida feels much more smaller and safer. The entire Yucatan Peninsula is considered one of the safer places in Mexico and more safe then many US cities. The more rural towns even more so.

  26. Are there many expats living in the Tabasco region? Any recommendations on cities to live in? Is Tabasco safe?

    • We have been to Tabasco several times. There are not many expats that live there at all. Villahermosa is the main city people live in. This city is on the rise and has some modern conveniences and beautiful parts to it. Most of Tabasco is very green and also very hot most of the year. There is a lot of history and interesting waterways there with a lot to discover. However tourism is very low and the promotion of this area is not done well either.

      Is there a specific reason you ask about this area?

  27. fiona gledhill // November 10, 2016 at 8:55 AM // Reply

    Hi all!

    I’m wondering how, or if, a person with small savings can live modestly in these areas.

    We are in our 30’s, professional service workers with college education, willing to do nearly any task, as long as it provides us with resources for rent and food.

    Is that possible? Can work be found in restaurants, bars or hotels, etc as an American? I’m optimistic, but concerned.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hello

      The first place to start is with Mexican visa laws. Living can be very affordable in Mexico but first you must meet requirements by Mexico to get a visa to live here. If you are not receiving enough income to support yourself from outside of Mexico or have it saved up, that means you need to work here. A visa to live in Mexico does not allow you to work in Mexico. That is an added provision. If you need to work in Mexico the laws can be strict because they don’t want tons of people moving here and taking jobs. Either you need to form a corporation and create a job for yourself or have a company willing to hire you.
      The jobs that hire foreigners are high level jobs that are hard to be filled by locals. A restaurant or service job will not likely be sufficient to get a company to hire you. MOST companies do not like to hire foreigners because the process is long and expensive. Often after a company will do the process, people leave the job and it was not really worth it for a company to do all the work. There are many skilled people in Mexico that have a first right to pursue a life in their country.
      The best option for younger people is to get a job online and work in Mexico but have a company you work for outside of Mexico. An immigration lawyer will be able to give you full details and more options.

    • How does Villahermosa and Cardenas compare to Merida? Are they safe etc?

      • Merida is a bigger city but in general more safe than Villahermosa. In part it has to do with peoples attitudes. But really, it is hard to compare such different cities. They are very different in many ways.

  28. In what ways are they different (a few examples would be helpful)?

    • For example Villahermosa is more secluded from the international scene. For example there are less tourist that visit Tabasco and only one international airline. There are about 1 expat in Villahermosa to every 1000 in Merida. There are more art galleries and cafes in Merida compared with Villahermosa.

  29. We are curious about the expat community in Chetumal. I’ve been a Respiratory Therapist for 25 years, and I understand that there are good hospitals in Chetumal. We will be coming to Mexico for 2 weeks in May, and we are looking at staying in a home from airbnb. We spent 11 days this past spring at a resort just north of Playa Del Carmen, and completely fell in love with the area. We currently live in Key West, FL. My husband has 3 engineering degrees; but he has been working as a tour guide here in Key West. We need to be able to work. I’m exploring TOSEL/TESL options as well. Any direction or guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • Chetumal is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo. We would say the best hospital on the Peninsula is Star Medical in Merida. Many expats and even people come from outside Mexico to have work done there. Sometimes you have to choose a place to live based on if you actually like the city or town. Then figure out work. Chetumal is not a hotbed of activity. There are very few expats that live there, so that should tell you something. Visiting in person is always best so you can get a feel. In the coastal area of the Riviera Maya we would say Cancun has more of a medical community.

    • So perhaps start in Merida?

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