Photo Credit: TN
Moving To Mexico? How To Pick The Best Mexican City Based On Your Personality
It seems that Black travelers are making their way through the world and finding new places to call home, and moving to Mexico seems to be the number one destination. But with such a wide and varied country, picking a city can be quite the task.
Knowing the ins and outs of Mexico helps, but of course you’ll never know until you get to test out a place for yourself. To help you along with moving to Mexico, we put together this list tailored to personality and lifestyles.
Oaxaca City is the center of the state of Oaxaca, towards the Southern, Pacific coast of the country. Consider Oaxaca City if:
- You want an art-filled life. You feel it the moment you arrive in Oaxaca City; there is an art-gallery on every corner. But that is not all. The food is art. The hand-made clothes made by Indigenous people of the land is art. The perfect mezcal pairing, too, is art.
- You’re a hard-core foodie. We have already spoken extensively about our love for the food in Oaxaca. Quite simply, it is the food capital of Mexico and your gut – and your pockets -will get to know that quickly.
- You are a lover of markets. There is a huge market culture that makes buying fresh fruit, veg, herbs and flowers all easier for your cute new life abroad.
- You want a low-budget Mexican lifestyle. Oaxaca is one of the most affordable states, so the cost of living is what keeps most expats a lot longer than they anticipated. All the more money for eating tasty memelas, tlayudas and whatever magic salsa sauce they put in those tacos.
The bustling capital of the country, the jungle city itself – Mexico City is one of the hotspots for Black travelers, but could you move there?
- One of the most exciting creative scenes in the entire world. Yes, the entire world, not just Mexico. Mexico City is no stranger to creative events, pop-ups, numerous contemporary art galleries, festivals and any other formal or informal invitation to create. Come prepared to watch and be art in the making.
- Taste the world. There is abundant opportunity to experience cuisine from around the world. Mexico City, or DF, is pretty much the go-to space to see how Mexico interacts with the world in a palette. Some of Mexico’s most expat-adored areas, like Roma and La Condesa, are full to the brim with exciting international restaurants and bars.
- Meet the world in one city. On that note, Mexico City is such a hub that it attracts expats from all over the world. Be prepared for a truly international friendship group when making this huge city home.
- You’re used to the highs and lows of big cities. So, you need that thick city skin to live in Mexico City. It is a fast-paced life, full of noise, full of energy and everyday feels like a whirlwind the way London, New York or Berlin often feels. While Mexico City certainly has its own character that lures you in, you’ll only truly be cut out for it if you can deal with the tougher, realer side to big cities.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas, located in the green and lush state of Chiapas, is a mountain town and ‘magic town’. You’ll fit right into the San Cris community if:
- You are down to get high. Given the altitude, of course. This is a mountain town located over 2,200 meters above sea-level, similar to Mexico City but more noticeable with less city distractions. Travelers often feel the effects of the altitude when first arriving, more so because you are encapsulated by forests and towering mountains.
- You prefer tight-knit towns to big cities. Looking for a life as far from the city as possible? Settling in the mountains might be your best bet. You still have great connectivity, tons of things to do, a low-cost, natural lifestyle and a growing Black expat community, but the air is lighter and the chance of walking down the street without knowing people by name and face is very slim. This is a small, warm community where everyone offers up a ‘buenos dias’ without doubt.
- You’re an outdoorsy kinda traveler. If you’re looking for a way to connect to nature on a daily, (we’re talking within 10 minutes of waking up) then consider making San Cristobal your home. From 5am morning hikes to da- trips to El Chiflon waterfall, Chiapas is for the earthy expats among us.
- You’re hoping to explore regularly. Sharing a border with Guatemala is a huge benefit for many travelers who make San Cristóbal de las Casas home. An 8-hour bus will get you to Guatemala, even fewer hours will get you to Palenque for a trip to the sacred Mayan templos and the surrounding jungle. Boca de Cielo on the coast is a lovely treat for when the ocean’s waves are calling.
Tulum is one of the most visited spots in Mexico. The top Mayan destination is located in the state of Quintana Roo. Here is how to know if Tulum is for you:
- You feel comfortable with the amenities you’re used to in the U.S./Canada/European countries. Feeling comfortable when moving abroad is a priority. For this reason, moving to Tulum is an option that many travelers value. So long as the hyper-commercial environment doesn’t bother you, Tulum does feel like it has embodied many aspects of the U.S. to accommodate for its tourism.
- You like to take the city in by bike. Tulum is a very bikeable city, which is not only an environmentally friendly option, but a great way to explore all the hidden gems while you get to know the local lifestyle.
- You’d like to explore the rest of Quintana Roo. There is so much of the state to see. Whether you’re hoping to explore Bacalar, Holbox island, Cancún or the many Mayan templos – doing so, and supporting local economies and tourism, is very easy from Tulum. An ADO bus will even get you to Valladolid (Yucatán) in no time.
- A sprinkle of beach living and nightlife glamour. Must we say more? This is a location for enjoyment.
Veracruz (Port) is the center of the state of Veracruz and one of the Mexican states with dense Afro-Caribbean roots. Consider moving to Veracruz if:
- You are looking for a Caribbean location that is not as visited as the Yucatán peninsula: We know, you want to live a quieter Caribbean life than your neighbors over in Tulum or even Mérida. Veracruz is the perfect alternative: the beach, the city and the constant sound of music – absorb all the Caribbean vibes with much fewer crowds.
- You’re a huge lover of music. Veracruz is for the music-lovers. Traditional Veracruzano Son or Fandango and other types of world music is always found playing somewhere, inviting you to dance the day off.
- You live for seafood. Let it be known, some of the best seafood in the country can be found in Veracruz. If eating some mariscos along the malecón while enjoying the salty air and lazy Caribbean energy is your ideal kind of lifestyle, then look no further.
- You are confident with your Spanish. Very little English is spoken in Veracruz, mostly because the tourism is usually domestic. You will certainly find individuals who speak multiple languages, but be ready to see your Spanish improve drastically. You might even pick up the hint of a Cuban accent, which has also found its way over to this palm tree-covered, Afro-Caribbean state.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is in the state of Guanajuato, and is located in the central part of Mexico. There is much to love about this city, but it is for you only if`:
- You like pretty things. From the cobblestones to the old school, vintage Mexican feel to the rich colors that run through the city, this is a place for lovers of the prettiest of pretty things. There is a reason why many people travel here to get married, after all.
- You prioritize gorgeous rentals/Airbnbs over everything. Speaking of pretty things, San Miguel is known (coveted, even) for having some of the most gorgeous real estate in the game. Keeping a pretty home is a little more achievable with this kind of motivation.
- You are looking for a Black entrepreneurial community. There is a long-standing expat community in SMA, so it is no surprise that Black expats are catching on and creating space for Black entrepreneurial activity to flourish.
- Looking to experience each of the four seasons in Mexico. The weather is temperate: never stifling hot and nothing like the winters that need to be cast from memory. If you’re willing to experience all four seasons, then the charm of San Miguel could be a sweet spot for you.
As we say, Mexico is truly an enormous and rich country and the options are endless, and better discovered on the road. We’re curious, though, which of these 6 expat options would you choose?