So, you’re thinking about moving to Mexico for some time, but you’re not sure where you should live? What about finding a house or apartment in your chosen city? How do you go about that exactly?
These can be tough decisions. Mexico is a big country. There are 110 million people living in Mexico, and it is the 14th largest country in the world by land area. There are a number of great places to live in the country. Choosing the best place to live for you one really depends on your goals for the trip.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether you want to be near the ocean. That will help narrow down your decision quite a bit. Probably the next most important questions are whether you want to be in a heavily populated area, and whether you want to live somewhere with a large expat community.
There are countless resources on the web for researching particular cities and towns. There are also a number of good books on the topic. One book that I found to be useful in particular is “Living Abroad in Mexico” by Ken Luboff. He dedicates a number of chapters in the book to discussing the pros and cons of living in various places in Mexico.
If you’re driving to Mexico as my wife and I decided to do, you’ll have more flexibility in choosing where to live because you will be able to move around the country and explore different places. You may find that some places aren’t exactly what you thought they would be after researching online.
Once you’ve chosen a place to live, you’ll need to find suitable accommodations. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can book in advance by researching places online and either calling or emailing the proprietors. Or, you can arrive in your chosen destination and start looking for something on the ground.
There are benefits and downsides to each approach. If you’re moving to a popular place, your options may be limited if you try the look after arrival approach. On the other hand, if you book in advance over the internet, you’ll probably be paying considerably more than if you found a place locally.
We decided to take a hybrid approach. In each of the places we’ve lived in Mexico, we typically book some short-term accommodations over the Internet. Either a hotel or a vacation rental works fine. Then, during the days or weeks we pre-book, we look for something locally.
We’ve found that primarily the places you find online in the vacation rental sites (especially those in English) are the more expensive vacation rentals owned by Americans and Canadians. When you start looking around on the ground in your chosen city, you’ll find many options listed in local papers or by word of mouth. These tend to be much cheaper options.
All of this depends greatly on the city or town you’ve decided to live in. In smaller non-expat friendly places, you likely won’t have any choice but to find a place after you’ve arrived.
Do you know of other good ways to find places to live in Mexico or other countries abroad? Let us know in the comments!
This is part five in a series of posts called living in Mexico.