I truly detest Toronto in the winter. Admittedly, I don’t do well with the cold and working from home all day means that I’ve gone a full 48 hours without leaving the house, unaware until I went completely stir crazy. Lucky for me, the only things I need to work are my laptop, the internet and a strong espresso, which allows me to temporarily relocate until the spring. Sort of like the millennial hibernation.

Mexico is my preferred destination for a winter retreat, much like the generations of ‘snowbirds’ before me. I have a deep love of Mexico; it’s a beautiful country with lovely people, rich cultures, delicious food and an overall low cost of living – particularly in comparison to other digital nomad spots across Latin America. The internet is slower outside of the large cities, but I’ve found it sufficient for everything I need such as building websites, taking Skype calls, and streaming Netflix when I can’t sleep.

Another perk for digital nomads in Mexico is the country’s good infrastructure, allowing you to get from city to city with relative ease. A number of low-cost airlines like VivoAerobús, Volaris and Interjet fly to large cities and regional hubs on the cheap, while ADO buses offer comfortable transportation among virtually all digital nomad cities in Mexico.

The Top Digital Nomad Cities in Mexico

Mexico City

CDMX is a bustling, vibrant metropolis that makes an ideal base for digital nomads in Mexico. With so many distinct neighbourhoods, an excellent cafe culture, a strong expat community and a growing number of co-working spots across the city, Mexico City is a truly workable and livable place for anyone considering going remote. Another perk is access to cheap flights out of Benito Juarez airport to destinations around Mexico, sometimes as little as $20 one way.

Puebla

A high altitude and landlocked town two hours southeast of Mexico City, Puebla will win you over with its colonial charm and unbelievably delicious food. It’s one of the oldest cities in Mexico (over 500 years old), though so well preserved that it’s a UNESCO Heritage Site and boasts a population of over a million. Though not overly touristy, it’s such a livable spot that you’ll want to lay down roots for awhile and settle into daily life in Puebla.

Guadalajara

Mexico’s second largest city with over four million residents is a welcoming city. Guadalajara is locally referred to as the Silicon Valley of Mexico for its ongoing tech boom, but without the high prices – in fact it’s refreshingly affordable. The city is a cultural hub in Mexico, boasting a plethora of museums, galleries, and other cultural diversions. An onslaught of hip restaurants and bars await you, with enough variety to keep you busy for months.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, or PV to the large community of expats who have settled here over the years, is a sizeable town that manages to balance mass tourism and authenticity. The town on the Riviera Nayarit enjoys excellent weather year-round and beautiful beaches along the Pacific from which to enjoy it. Puerto Vallarta is a good starting point for digital nomads in Mexico as it offers a lot of the comforts of home, including co-working spaces with strong internet, but in a gorgeous setting.

Sayulita

Another town on the Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita is just up the coast from Puerto Vallarta. Much smaller, less touristy, and more community centric, Sayulita has captured many digital nomads from its larger neighbour. The small town has seen an influx of travellers, which is increasing by the year, so it may not be the remote paradise it once was but it still offers a more low-key beach destination than PV. If you’re seeking something more authentic, head a bit further to San Pancho, which offers the charms of Sayulita without the crowds, though may lack some amenities for digital nomads.

Guanajuato

Guanajuato, a city in Guanajuato state (there’s a lot of dual naming going on in Mexico), is one of the most colourful cities you’ll ever encounter. The colonial town features narrow cobblestone streets, lots of hills, and ornate architecture built when Guanajuato was a prosperous silver mining town a couple centuries back. Cars use underground tunnels so the city centre is virtually car free. As Guanajuato is a university town, there’s a youthful energy in the city and nightlife options are plentiful.

San Miguel de Allende

Less than 100 kilometres from Guanajuato is San Miguel de Allende, a city steeped in culture that’s increasingly on the digital nomad radar. SMA has been popular with expats for awhile, mostly the retiree set from North America attracted by the vibrant arts scene, stunning architecture, and easy going pace of life. Remote workers will enjoy many of the creature comforts of home, though the nightlife is on the quiet side. If you want to ease into living and working in Mexico, San Miguel might be the perfect bridge for you.

Oaxaca Travel Guide Mexico

Oaxaca City

The state of Oaxaca, located in southwestern Mexico, is one of the country’s most vibrant with diverse cultures, rich traditions, varying landscapes and undeniably delicious food. The capital city of Oaxaca has all this and more, and is truly a digital nomad’s dream: it’s lively, has a great local and expat community, is an artistic hub, and it’s oh so affordable. It’s also home to mezcal, the alcohol made from agave plants that’s taking over the world. I guarantee that a visit to this friendly city will make you want to make the move permanent.

Puerto Escondido

This beach town on the Oaxacan coast is renowned as a world-class surfing destination, and offers the chill vibes that seem to follow in tandem. Though there’s a steady stream of tourists (increasingly since named as a top destination by the New York Times), visitors tend to embrace the low-key lifestyle. Food and drink options are plentiful and the beaches are spectacular. Though internet speeds won’t be as high as in larger cities, Puerto Escondido offers the work-life balance that every digital nomad dreams of.

San Cristobal de las Casas Travel Guide

San Cristobal de las Casas

This city in the highlands of Chiapas is the kind of place people plan to stay for a weekend and end up staying for months. The colonial town is filled with excellent dining, cozy cafes, and lovely guesthouses. There’s a great community of young locals and expats in San Cristobal de las Casas (particularly European), which makes connecting with likeminded people a breeze. And an added bonus – settling down in San Cristobal allows you to explore the gorgeous landscapes of Chiapas and historical sites like Palenque.

Mérida

The Yucatán Peninsula is best known for its stretch of beach along the Caribbean Sea known to many as the Mayan Riviera. As the largest city in the state of Yucatán, Merida is the landlocked commercial hub that’s often overlooked for beach destinations or more prominent cities like Puebla or CDMX. It’s a shame as Merida boasts a vibrant cultural scene, friendly locals, and epic archeological sites easily visited on day trips. The weather here is always dry and hot (summer temperatures can hit 40 degrees celsius), but nearby cenotes (natural sinkholes where you can swim) are ideal for beating the heat.

Valladolid

Another inland spot in the Yucatán, Valladolid has emerged as a hip alternative to the nearby beach towns. Less than an hour drive from Chichén-Itzá and only slightly longer from Tulum, Valladolid is well connected but feels a world away from these tourist haunts. Like many places on this list, Valladolid is a ‘pueblo magico’ or magical town, a designation from the government of Mexico to denote towns with a rich cultural heritage. The small town isn’t overrun with expats or digital nomads, which makes it ideal for intrepid travellers, though the dozens of cenotes in close proximity doesn’t hurt either.

Playa del Carmen

Perhaps the first true digital nomad city in Mexico, Playa del Carmen continues to draw people to the remote lifestyle with its white sand beaches, tasty food, and array of coffee shops and co-working spaces. As expected, the digital nomad community is strong here, providing round-the-clock activities and nightly parties. The continuous influx of nomads ensures that you’ll find all the things that you’re used to in town and you can get by with limited Spanish, though on the downside the cost of living is higher here than many other digital nomad spots in Mexico. All of that is irrelevant if diving is your thing as Playa del Carmen has some of the best in the world.

Tulum

Located at the southern end of the Mayan Riviera, Tulum is known for its eco-resorts and wellness retreats, its gorgeous beach, and its achingly hip reputation. Digital nomads hanging out in Tulum will never bore with such an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars to spend their time (and money), as well as a constant cycle of tourists stopping in for one week stints. While you’ll have no trouble finding avocado toast or an acai bowl in Tulum, tracking down reasonably priced accommodation that won’t break the bank is a greater challenge.


Top Digital Nomad Cities in Mexico photos courtesy of Jazael Melgoza, Filip Gielda, Flickr: AlejandroArmando Aguayo RiveraJiuguang WangAussie AssaultapasciutovladimixKarenBruno Vanbesien, and from Lauren Barth.