Safest Cities in Mexico for Internationals and Expats
There are so many incredible places to live in this world. New and exciting opportunities await you the moment you step off the plane, bus, or train. Mexico is more than a great place to vacation – it’s a gorgeous country with lots of amazing places to work, live, and play. But attention-grabbing headlines give the country a reputation for being a risky place to visit or live. It may leave you wondering: is Mexico a safe place to live?
The answer is yes – if you pick the right location. Like many other countries, some cities and towns in Mexico are safer than others. If you’re looking to retire in a foreign country or are looking for a lifestyle change with fresh job opportunities, Mexico can be a great place to live. Whether you prefer a quiet surf town or a luxury resort city, it has safe places to make your new home.
Here are the top five safest places to live in Mexico as an expat, retiree, nomad, or international citizen.
5 Safe Places to Live in Mexico
1. Sayulita, Nayarit
If you’re looking for a calm lifestyle, the sleepy surf town of Sayulita offers a slow-paced way of life.
Located about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the perfect spot for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Anyone who would rather spend more time outdoors than indoors is sure to love this laidback west coast town.
2. Campeche, Campeche
Quiet and relaxed, Campeche is a beautiful little town rich in history. Full of museums, historic sites, and ancient ruins, this hidden gem is located on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s the perfect spot for expats looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten path, as it hasn’t quite been “discovered” by the masses yet.
3. Mérida, Yucatán
There is a Mérida in Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines, but the one in Mexico is the largest. Mérida is the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán and has a rich Mayan heritage. It has become a popular choice for many Black expats. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The culture here is an interesting mix of Spanish, Mayan, British, French, Lebanese, and a bit of Dutch. You can enjoy fresh tamales sold on the street before heading over to one of its UNESCO archeological sites, museums or markets.
4. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
Located on the Pacific coast, Mazatlan is the northernmost resort city on the beautiful Mexican Riviera. With its socially diverse culture, Mazatlan is the perfect place if you want to spend time hiking, riding ATVs, or zip-lining through the forest.
Beautiful beaches, ancient cathedrals, and historic sites make it a fabulous place to live. Mazatlan also boasts a lower cost of living compared to other Mexican cities, making it a favorite among expats.
5. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
Known for its small-town Spanish-colonial charm, San Miguel de Allende is home to an estimated 10,000 expats from all over the world. It is located in the state of Guanajuato at the heart of Mexico, a three-hour bus ride northwest of Mexico City.
The warm days and cool nights of San Miguel de Allende make it especially attractive for foreigners, while the pink sandstone cathedral and cobblestone streets make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. The small artisan shops, colorful buildings, art galleries and museums of this World Heritage city make it the perfect place to relocate if you’re craving a laid-back small-town location.
Related: Can I Move My Family to Mexico?
Is Mexico City Safe to Live In?
The short answer is yes. Although there is a high rate of crime it is limited to certain areas of the city. Expatriates and foreigners living in Mexico City are able to enjoy a high quality of life and live safely within the city boundaries. If you move there, you should take precautions as you would in any major city. You should also learn the language to make it easier to communicate with the locals. Take the time to research safer areas to live in and talk with people who have lived in the city for a number of years.
Also read: Moving to Mexico From the US
10 Most Popular Regions for Expatriates in Mexico
The 2020 Mexican census reported that over 1.1 million expats currently live in Mexico. Roughly 65% of those expats are from the USA. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the Mexican states with the highest expat population are:
- Baja California
- Ciudad de México (Mexico City)
- Nuevo Leon
Mexican Health Insurance Tips
Find quality health insurance in Mexico for foreigners before you move abroad. Cigna Global is a great option as you will have the ability to customize it for your needs.
- Flexibility to tailor plans to suit your individual needs
- Access to Cigna Global’s network of trusted doctors
- Convenience and confidence of 24/7/365 customer service
Best Health Insurance for Americans in Mexico
Americans who move to Mexico rate GeoBlue to be the best insurance plan. The ability to still be covered in the US is top of mind for most Americans living in Mexico.
- Premium Benefits, Coverage and Service
- Define your deductible and prescription benefits
- For Foreigners in the US or US Citizens Abroad
Traveling to Mexico? Find the best Insurance for Travel to Mexico.
This beautiful country has so much to offer and the hardest part may be deciding on which beautiful town you want to live in.
As with any country, there are safe places as well as areas with high crime rates that you should always avoid. If you’re ready to relocate, read our Moving Abroad Checklist, do your research, and find the city or town that offers everything you’re looking for.
With a little research, you’re sure to find the place that’s perfect for you.