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On March the 14th 2019 we said adios to our first digital nomad location – Mexico. We had just spent 4 months living, working and traveling through Mexico as digital nomads. We lived and worked from seven different cities. 

Most tourists who visit Mexico don´t see how diverse and beautiful Mexico really is. And many digital nomads are put off Mexico due to high crime rates and slow internet. 

So, what is it really like to be a digital nomad in Mexico? What else is there apart from the beautiful beaches and five-star resorts? And, is it really as dangerous as the media portrays? 

First Stop 

Puerto Vallarta

puerto vallarta

Puerto Vallarta (1month)

Is a well-known resort town on Mexico´s pacific coast. After spending the last couple of months in Canada, road tripping through the snowy Rocky Mountains and enduring countless rainy days in Vancouver, we were ready for some sun and beach.  

Puerto Vallharta was an obvious place to start our digital nomad Mexico adventure. As a popular holiday destination for North Americans, we found cheap indirect flights for under $100 from Vancouver to P.V

Want to know our secret tips to find the cheapest flights? Here

Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta as a digital nomad? 

Puerto Vallarta is really geared up for tourism. Unfortunately, this means it is not the cheapest digital nomad destination in Mexico. However, don´t let that put you off. Puerto Vallarta, or PV as it´s commonly referred to by locals, has a large community of expats and there must be a reason for that! 

Many other digital nomads in Mexico told me it would be impossible to find an Airbnb for less than $1,000 per month. If this had been the case, we wouldn´t have gone to PV.

Just a couple of months before arriving, I found a newly listed apartment on airbnb for $300 per month. The location was perfect – 10-minute walk from the beach, in a quiet residential neighbourhood. It wasn´t the most luxurious place in the world, but it did the job.  

The WiFi was good (20 mbps) and I had no problems using it to teach English online.  

Thoughts on Puerto Vallarta as a digital nomad location 

I felt PV was a great first stop as a digital nomad location. It was a great introduction to Mexico and our digital nomad Mexico adventure. It offers much of the same comforts of home but in a more tropical setting.

Of course, it´s touristy and if you really don´t want to be around holidaymakers then I wouldn´t recommend it. It did have a nice crowd of people though, we didn´t see any trouble and we really enjoyed the vibe there.

Moreover, we did feel that PV had found a nice balance between mass tourism and authenticity. 

Being in a residential area meant we were away from the hustle and bustle and didn´t find it difficult to get a good balance of work and play. We mostly spent our free time at the beach, wandering the old-town, and trying restaurants and street food. 

The food in PV was some of the best we had in Mexico. Despite being a touristic place, you can still find many local eateries and tacos for as cheap as $8 pesos (40 cents USD).

We felt completely safe in PV – even though we were out of the city centre. We didn´t experience any problems at all.

Puerto Vallarta also has uber which is great cheap and safe way to get around the city. The buses were also fantastic and you can get around the city and to different beaches very easily.

Is also extremely LGBT friendly. You can find many LGBT hotels, bars and clubs here. We loved the overall friendliness of this city. 

You can also find some great co-working spaces in PV and there is a rapidly growing digital nomad and expat community. Definitely add this city to your digital nomad Mexico list.

Read more about Puerto Vallarta and meet Hélène. She´s been traveling the world in luxury and comfort but on a budget. Read how she does it here: Flight to somewhere.

Next stop – Guadalajara

Guadalajara  (4 nights) 

Guadalajara, Mexico´s second largest city, is known as the ´eternal spring city´. We didn´t spend much time in Guadalajara and we actually almost missed it completely. 

I initially saw this city as a stopover between PV and Guanajuato (where we would be spending Christmas). Guadalajara took us by surprise to say the least.

Despite being the second largest city in Mexico and home of mariachi music, it is relatively untouched by tourism. We instantly fell in love with Guadalajara and we were pleasantly surprised by its laid-back vibe.  

Where to stay in Guadalajara as a digital nomad? 

Guadalajara is a University city and finding a place to live is very easy. We opted for an airbnb apartment called House of Birds. 

We were out of the historic centre and in a very quiet residential area once again which really suited us. It was easy to get around on foot or with uber.

Thoughts on Guadalajara as a digital nomad destination 

Guadalajara is known as the Silicon Valley of Mexico. It´s the tech-hub of the country and finding good internet was not at all difficult. 

Our Airbnb was equipped with hi-speed fibre optic connection and we reached speeds well above 50 mbps. Moreover, unlike the Silicon Valley, Guadalajara is extremely budget friendly.

There is a young crowd in Guadalajara and despite the large population, it really doesn´t feel like you´re in a big city. It was pleasant walking around the historic centre and there was a lovely atmosphere here.  

There is an abundance of lively bars, hip restaurants, museums and cultural sites. It is a city which will definitely keep you busy. Getting around the city is super cheap on public transport and uber. 

Guadalajara is also a fantastic base for a digital nomad. From Guadalajara you can travel around the rest of Mexico for very little.

The airport has fantastic connections and you can find amazing bargains on budget airlines.

Therefore, if you´re living in Guadalajara and fancy a weekend beach break to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta or Cancun – it is totally doable! 

Guadalajara is a fantastic choice for digital nomads in Mexico who want a budget friendly city away from the coast. 

Did you know Guadalajara is the Land of Mariachi? Here´s the ULTIMATE PLAYLIST OF BEST MARIACHI SONGS from Michele Peterson’s travel blog, A Taste for Travel .

Next Stop – Guanajuato

guanajuato

Guanajuato (10 nights) 

Guanajuato, the most colourful city in Mexico, if not the whole world. This city is nothing but magical. Surrounded by mountains, and with brightly coloured buildings everywhere you turn.

Guanajuato could be straight out of a fairy-tale. The city is full of colour, life and charm. It’s definitely one of the most unique places I have ever visited in the world.

I had high expectations for Guanajuato, but did it meet them? As a place to visit, I would say absolutely yes.

If this city was in Europe, it would be packed with tourists from all over the world. It is a city which everyone should visit if they are in Mexico, it is simply stunning.  

Where to stay in Guanjuato as a digital nomad? 

The city is very small so it doesn´t really matter where you stay as you will be able to reach everywhere on foot, bus or uber. 

The city centre is obviously more expensive but you can find some very beautiful apartments on airbnb. As the city is very hilly, you can easily find an apartment with a great view of the city.  

Your biggest battle is going to be finding a place with good internet. Guanajuato just doesn´t have the internet infrastructure of cities like Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta.

 It is also worth noting that Guanajuato gets very cold at night. During the day, it was lovely and the temperature could reach between 20-25 degrees Celsius.

But, once it went dark, it got very cold. It actually dropped below zero one night. Our apartment was freezing and we had to ask for another heater. BRR!  

Thoughts on Guanajuato as a digital nomad destination 

I loved the city but I am not sure I felt it was the best place to be a digital nomad. I couldn’t imagine us living here long-term. There is a rapidly growing expat and digital nomad community here though, and in San Miguel de Allende (a nearby city) so many people would argue that this is a perfect place to live and work remotely.

For me, it just didn´t have the same digital nomad spark as other cities had.  

The internet in our Airbnb was also quite bad, and it seemed quite difficult to find fast internet anywhere in the city. I also felt this was a more upscale location.

It was difficult to find local eating spots, and everywhere felt like it was there for tourists. Maybe it was just too picture postcard?  

I also don´t think there would be enough there to keep us entertained for a long period of time. After ten days, we were ready to leave. It was definitely one of the prettiest cities I had ever seen – but not a place I would recommend as a digital nomad location. 

Are you visiting Guanajuato Mexico soon? Check the best 8 activities to do in Guanajuato a World Heritage Site recommended by 2 Baby Boomers from Australia wishing to inspire fellow Baby Boomers on their blog.

Next Stop – Mexico City 

mexico city

Mexico City (7 nights)

Mexico City, the densely populated, capital city of Mexico. The city is huge and it´s had a bad reputation regarding safety for a long time. Like every large city in the world though, it has it´s safe areas and if you stick to these areas and use your common sense, you will be fine. 

Mexico City, or CDMX as its locally known, surprised us in many ways. It is an enormous city but it is so easy to get around and it has some really unique neighbourhoods.  

Where to stay in Mexico City as a digital nomad? 

We stayed in Roma which we found to be the perfect location. You´ll find lots of young residents in this area. It is also next to hipster paradise, Condesa – a very trendy and expensive part of town.  

Condesa is a beautiful neighbourhood. The streets in Condesa are lined with treess, coffee shops, fancy bars and restaurants.  

Finding high speed internet was not a problem in Mexico City and there are also many co-working spaces.  

Thoughts on Mexico City as a digital nomad destination 

If you like bustling cities, you´ll love Mexico City. It also makes a great base, having a large international airport means you´ll easily be able to travel around Mexico for low prices. 

Mexico City is a cosmopolitan city with a European vibe – and you´ll find all of your home comforts here which makes Mexico City a very desirable digital nomad location. 

I loved how each neighbourhood had something different to offer and I believe there is definitely something for everyone here.  I would definitely recommend Mexico City as a digital nomad Mexico location.

Read more about the best things to do in Mexico City and meet Susan Moore, a digital nomad since 2015 who runs the blog Solo Trips and Tips travel blog which helps you overcome the fear of traveling alone !

Next Stop – Oaxaca  

oaxaca

Oaxaca (14 nights) 

Oaxaca, the name of the state and city in southern Mexico. The state is famous for its beaches and mountains. We opted to stay in the state capital due to better internet infrastructure.  

Oaxaca has always been a popular destination for Mexican travellers but in recent years has seen a huge rise in foreign visitors. 

The city is beautiful.

Surrounded by mountains, with colourful colonial buildings lining the cobbled streets. The city is known for is unique local cuisine, locally produced mezcal and my favourite thing of all – chocolate!  

Where to stay in Oaxaca as a digital nomad? 

The city is very small and very easy to navigate. Since January 2019 there is no longer uber in Oaxaca – but getting around on foot is very easy. 

We opted for an airbnb which had super fast internet, it was a 15-minute walk from the city centre and it was a very quiet area near to a large supermarket. 

Thoughts on Oaxaca as a digital nomad destination 

This has to be one of the best cities in for digital nomads in Mexico, without a doubt. Of course, it all depends on what you are looking for. 

If you really want to be by the beach or if you are looking for a lively party scene – this is not the place for you! Oaxaca is similar to Guanajuato in the way that it attracts a slightly more mature crowd.  

We absolutely loved our time here. The people were some of the friendliest we met in Mexico, the cost of living is very low and finding great internet was not difficult.

For a small city, there is so much happening and there are many places to visit outside of the city too. I would definitely recommend Oaxaca as a digital nomad Mexico location! 

Read more about getting off the beaten path in Oaxaca and meet Tanya and Andy , a couple who are traveling the world and sharing their travel adventures on their blog Can travel, will travel !

Next Stop – San Cristobal de Las Casas 

san cristobal

San Cristobal de Las Casas (1 month) 

San Cristobal de Las Casas is in the southern region of Chiapas. The colourful colonial town is situated 2,200m above sea level and is surrounded by mountains. Chiapas is known for its stunning natural beauty. 

I´d heard many people say San Cristobal was there favourite place in Mexico so my expectations were quite high.

Infact, two of my favourite digital nomad vloggers had spent three months living in San Cristobal and had loved it. I expected San Cristobal to be a top digital nomad Mexico location.  

Where to stay in San Cristobal as a digital nomad? 

We rented a beautiful, fully equipped chalet, four kilometres from the town centre of San Cristobal. It was situated on a large acre property with about six other chalets, a lovely area, surrounded by trees. It was the perfect setting. 

As I mentioned earlier, San Cristobal is 2,200m above sea level which means it gets very chilly at night. We were lucky to have a log burner which made the house even more special and extra cosy. 

The owner also upgraded her internet so we would have the highest possible speed. We had 100 mb internet and it was absolutely perfect.  

San Cristobal is home to many expats and digital nomads. There is accommodation to suit everyone and every budget. Finding high speed internet should also no longer be a problem. There are also a lot of coffee shops and co-working spaces in the small town.  

Thoughts on San Cristobal as a digital nomad destination 

San Cristobal is definitely a place which has grown rapidly in the last few years. Maybe too rapidly. It is a well-known location for expats and is fast becoming a place for digital nomads in Mexico. Why has this place attracted so many people?  

The cost of living is very low here. You can easily rent an apartment in the centre for under $300 and food is definitely cheaper here than other Mexican cities.  

Yet, San Cristobal left me with mixed feeling. The town is definitely enchanting and charming and the climate was literally a breath of fresh-air.

Chiapas also has many exciting places to visit and is a great state for exploring.

However, one thing we noticed here more than anywhere else in Mexico was the poverty of the local indigenous people. You can find Starbucks, a handful of vegan restaurants, a fancy French bakery, coffee shops and more coffee shops.

However, you can also find children desperately begging for money on the streets, women carrying young children on their back while trying to sell blankets and rebozos which they carry in kilos in their arms.

The poverty of these people is disturbing and very sad. We heard that 75% of residents in Chiapas live below the Mexican poverty line.  

We also found that most of the local people were very unfriendly. Despite Debora speaking Spanish fluently, people did not want to help us. People were rude, we had people laugh in our faces or simply ignore us.

It did not feel like the welcoming place which I had the impression it would be. Maybe we just had bad luck? Or maybe the locals are tired of the tourists and expats coming to their city?  

What we did love was our chalet and it was a pleasant month living there. We loved exploring Chiapas and did many day trips to see canyons, waterfalls and so on. 

But San Cristobal definitely has some pros and cons which you should take into consideration before adding it to your digital nomad Mexico list. 

Read more about San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico and meet afamily of five who love to travel. They´ve spent the last 12 years living abroad and their blog :the Globetotting, is dedicated to showing that you can travel the world with kids. Check them out !

Final Stop – Playa del Carmen 

playa del carmen

Playa del Carmen (1 month) 

This might be the most obvious choice for digital nomads in who are thinking of relocating to Mexico. Why? Well, tt has year-round nice weather and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  

We knew Playa del Carmen was going to be different to the rest of Mexico and this is why we saved it for our last stop. By this point, we felt we had experienced the real Mexican culture and we were good to go for some laid-back summery holiday vibes. 

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen as a digital nomad? 

Playa del Carmen is much more expensive than the rest of Mexico in terms of accommodation. However, we managed to find the perfect 2-bedroom condo in Real Ibiza for under $300 per month. How?

Again, it was a newly listed apartment on airbnb. The apartment didn´t have any reviews at the time of booking, but I spoke with the host, I asked many questions and I went with my instinct! The place was perfect.  

We had high-speed internet, a fully equipped kitchen and a POOL! Real Ibiza was a fantastic place for us. It is safe and quiet but close enough to the city centre which can be reached very easily by bus for only 7 pesos (36 cents USD). 

Thoughts on Playa del Carmen as a digital nomad destination 

The great weather, beautiful beaches and friendly locals made this a very easy place to live. Bear in mind, this is a holiday destination and it is busy. We enjoyed being around holiday-makers again though and we really enjoyed the atmosphere of the city.  

There were plenty of things to do in Playa del Carmen and in nearby towns. It was very easy to explore different beaches, cenotes and towns as they are well connected by collectivos.  

Do you know what cenotes are? They are natural caves filled with fresh water, formed millions of years ago! There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico along the Yucatan Penisula but here are the best ones. Meet Keith and Tina, who love to travel and share their expertise on : Retire Early and Travel.

We felt our time in Playa del Carmen was a lovely end to our four months in Mexico. We loved the variety of restaurants and despite being a huge tourist spot, we still ate some of the best Mexican food of our trip here. 

Playa del Carmen is a great digital nomad Mexico location. You won´t get the authentic Mexican culture of other cities but it is a young city with a young crowd of people.  

Read more about the 16 Budget Friendly Day Trips from Playa del Carmen & Cancun and meet THE TRAVELING BLIZZARDS
a mom and son team who have travelled the world together since 2015, after selling nearly everything they own, to become unschooling nomads. Check them out !

Final thoughts 

mexico digital nomads

Mexico was a wonderful place to start our digital nomad adventure. I have no doubt that more and more digital nomads will choose Mexico. It was easy to travel through the country and we felt like we planned our route very well.

This was our first time ¨slow¨ travelling through a country and while we loved some places more than others, we felt like we did a good job with planning how long to stay in each place.  

We realised how important it is to travel to places which suit your own likes and needs. We love living on the coast or in a large city and it is in these places that we felt the happiest. 

It is important to think about what makes you happy about the place where you live, don´t choose a place because of what other people have said about it.

You have to vision yourself living there. Mexico is a huge country with so much to offer, and it really does have something for everyone.  

If you are thinking of moving to Mexico as a digital nomad, I hope hearing our story of our digital nomad journey in Mexico has helped you and inspired you. 

Have you been a digital nomad in Mexico? Share your comments below! 

Nominal Nomad

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48 thoughts on “A Digital Nomad Journey through Mexico”

    1. It was an amazing adventure! Definitely visit if you get the chance, it’s such an amazing culture and so different to the US!

  1. Wow, your Mexico experience sounds fantastic! It’s great that you were able to move around the country and try out different places rather than commit yourself to just one location. It’s also great to hear that you felt safe – I’ve been to Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta and also never felt unsafe in either, which was a pleasant surprise given Mexico’s reputation. It’s a shame that San Cristobal de las Casas didn’t quite live up to your expectations, but you’ve certainly made me want to go back and spend some time in Guadalajara and Oaxaca!

    1. You’ll definitely enjoy those places! It’s a shame what gets put in the media and puts people off going. Thanks for your lovely comment

  2. Great post, we also spent 4 months in Mexico from Jan to May this year as our first official attempt at being a Digital Nomad so this was really interesting to read your experience!

    We actually struggled a bit with WiFi for Andy’s teaching but apart from Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara we were in different places so maybe we just got unlucky!

    Regardless we really enjoyed our time in Mexico – we were actually due to head to Chiapas but had to cut our trip short!

    So glad Mexico was a great start for your Digital Nomad journey – where’s next?

    1. Wow, sound’s like we have a really similar story!!! We’re in Colombia now. How about you guys?

  3. I haven’t heard Puerto Vallarta and guadalahara in years. They used to be big game show destinations when I was younger. I was in Playa Del Carmen years ago and it was beautiful. I love the pictures and can’t imagine being able to spend so much time in these locations. I’d find it hard to work myself. 😄

    1. It does require a lot of self discipline but we are really enjoying it especially when we can manage our own time. I bet PDC has changed a lot, but it’s definitely still beautiful, growing rapidly though..

  4. Thank you for sharing that wonderful experiences in my country. You chose excellent places to discover. I’m so glad that you have a great experience here.

    1. Aww, thank you. We absolutely loved it. Where in Mexico are you from? I miss the food a lot!!!!! Haha

      1. I’m from Mexico City, but now I’m living in Cancun and traveling and exploring new places.
        I’m so glad that you enjoyed the food and the experience!

      2. That’s fantastic! It’s so important to explore your own country, so many people don’t !!

  5. I’m looking forward to my own 7 cities nomad journey around Mexico! This is a great list for me, I’m planning on visiting Mexico for a few months and I already knew I wanted to go to Guanajuato and Playa del Carmen but this gives me more ideas, thanks!

  6. Your post makes me want to pack my bags and hit the road! Thanks for the tips on where to visit and places to stay.

  7. It seems you had a great time in Mexico all this while. I had no idea that Mexico is so beautiful. Your post would serve as a complete guide when I go. And I must sometime in not so distant future

  8. I have never been to Mexico and I really didn’t know it was such a beautiful country. I just can’t stop admiring that photo of Guanajuato. I love bright, cheerful colours and I don’t think I have ever seen a city so colourful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. It’s stunning, it really is like a fairy-tale. I can’t believe this city is not more well-known. I hadn’t heard of it before I was researching Mexico!

  9. This is a great article about living in Mexico as a digital nomad. Being a digital nomad is a great way to live at a lower cost of living and see the world at the same time. Plus the money you save can be put towards an early retirement. We are happy you included information from our post on the Playa del Carmen cenotes. There are so many great things to see and do in Mexico!

  10. Wow, spending four months in Mexico what a wonderful experience. My husband and I love staying at Air BnBs as they tend to be cheaper than hotels, they are mostly in residential areas and as you mentioned you get to know the culture. Its on our list to visit Mexico one day. Great tips and suggestions.

    1. You definitely should! Airbnb definitely suits for slow travel – much better than hotels!! Thanks for your comment

  11. Thank you for letting us discover Mexico through your experience! While reading, I was trying to imagine how it would be to not having a fixed location as a house, but just go wherever your imagination and budget allows. A complete change in perspective! I could totally imagine working and going to such beautiful beaches, but I think I’d find it hard to not having so defined boundaries between work and free time.. I really appreciated reading your review!

    1. It is definitely one of the struggles and something we have to manage very carefully but it is doable and definitely worth it 🙂

  12. I love mexico and have been going there for the last 15 years. I am heading to PV with my family in august and love your write up. It is upto the point and very information. Keep up the good work.
    Jerry Godinho fourcolumnsofabalancedlife.com

    1. Wow!! You must know Mexico very well. Where has been your favourite place so far? PV is amazing, I thought we would prefer Playa del Carmen but actually loved PV much more

  13. As much as I enjoy living through your travels, I dont know if I could do it myself. Great pictures also.

    1. Hey Kaitlyn! I know what you mean, we didn’t want to give up everything, you can always try for short periods! It’s so different to just going on holiday because you feel like you get the experience of living in that country, even if just for a month 🙂

  14. What a great well-rounded review of your time in Mexico! I don’t know if I’ll ever be a digital nomad (I couldn’t leave my sweet cat), but Mexico is higher up on my bucket list now!

  15. Beautiful photos of all your stops. Those colors, buildings, beach and food are calling my name. How did you travel from one destination to the next?

  16. All of these cities are freaking amazing. I didn’t even know of some of them ! Guanajuato is one of my faves though, it looks so freaking beautiful and sounds like you had loads of fun there as well as fun work
    there.

  17. The experience you shared increased my knowledge about Mexico. Your story shows how much you enjoyed the place. The photos are amazingly beautiful! I wish you more success on your future travels and as a digital nomad.

  18. I’ve never considered traveling to Mexico, much less living there for an extended period of time. Because as you pointed out, high crime, media gives it a bad rap, being dirty, illness. All that fun stuff. Your post brings it to life in such a positive way instead, and I love that! I’m glad you enjoyed your stay and I loved learning more about your experiences.

  19. This is amazing! It must have taken you forever to compile. You are very good about making your readers feel like they are right there with you!

    1. Thank you 🙂 that’s a lovely comment! We’re always happy to share what we’ve learnt!

we would love to hear your thoughts about this!

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