11 Cheapest Places to Live in Mexico

An aerial view of Cancun's hotel zone.

There are many reasons to move to Mexico, including the warm weather, exciting culture, spectacular scenery, and incredible food. However, if you are a retiree, one the best reasons to move there is its affordability.

Living in Mexico is substantially cheaper than living in the United States. In fact, you can enjoy a lavish lifestyle on a modest income in Mexico. To help you learn more about living in Mexico as a retiree, this article will share the 11 cheapest places to live.

Most Affordable Places to Live in Mexico

1. San Cristóbal de las Casas

  • Average Rent in USD: $290
  • Average Home Price in USD: $250,000

Situated in the beautiful highlands of the southern Chiapas is the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas. It is a historic town with a lot to offer expat retirees coming from the USA. 

Although it is mostly known for its architecture, the town is also a cultural hub with several excellent museums and art galleries. Wandering along the cobbled streets and visiting the local businesses is a wonderful experience that never gets old.

The markets are a major drawcard with dozens of food stalls serving authentic Mexican cuisine. The recent population growth in the area has also led to the establishment of even more restaurants, cafes, and bars. This gives residents plenty of entertainment options to choose from. 

Even though this town has a lot going for it, it remains affordable. Property prices, food, and clothing are all a fraction of what they cost in the United States. 

Related: What Is A Fideicomiso?

2. Oaxaca City

  • Average Rent in USD: $220
  • Average Home Price in USD: $300,000

Oaxaca City is the capital of the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, which is located in southern Mexico. The city is best known for its indigenous culture, which is represented very clearly in the architecture, art, and food. 

There are sixteen officially recognized indigenous groups in the area including the  Zapotecs and the Mixtecs. This makes it a wonderful place to settle if you want to immerse yourself in Mexican tradition and culture. 

It is a pristine part of Mexico, with incredible biodiversity. There are also several large conservative areas nearby, including the Lagunas de Chacahua National Park and Benito Juárez National Park. 

If you live in the southeast of the city, you will be able to find very cheap real estate. It is a real bargain and the perfect destination if you enjoy culture and authenticity.

Related: Cost of Living in La Paz, Mexico

3. Cancún

  • Average Rent in USD: $250
  • Average Home Price in USD: $450,000

Most people associate Cancún with sun-drenched beaches, expensive resorts and lots of tourists. However, there are actually two Cancúns — ‘Zone Hotelera’ which is centered on the beach strip and hotels, and ‘Centro’ which is the traditional downtown district.

The downtown part of Cancún is much more affordable than the beachfront and has become a popular destination for American expats. It’s still only a few blocks from the beach, so you can still enjoy the Cancún lifestyle without the price tag.

When you get away from the Zone Hotelera, you will soon discover that there is much more to Cancún than you may have expected. The local area is rich in biodiversity and there are plenty of exciting locations to explore, including underground rivers, Mayan ruins, and caves. 

Cancún also has all of the amenities which retirees enjoy, including shopping malls, modern healthcare facilities, open markets, restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions.  

Related: Cancun vs Puerto Vallarta

4. Puebla

A panoramic picture of Puebla, Mexico showing all the houses, buildings, and city.
  • Average Rent in USD: $310
  • Average Home Price in USD: $420,000

Puebla is a city of 2.5 million people located in east-central Mexico, just southeast of Mexico City. It is very well known for two main reasons — the incredible colonial architecture and the delicious food. 

The town is lined with brightly colored buildings that are often decorated with painted Talavera tiles. There is also a huge Renaissance-era church located in the middle of town, along with dozens of museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues.

Expat retirees also enjoy the warm climate, great live music venues, and cafe scene. Even though it is a wonderful city with a lot to offer, prices are still surprisingly affordable.

Related: Does Amazon Deliver in Mexico?

5. Santiago de Querétaro

An image of the city streets of Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico. People and cars moving about and a large brick building on a corner.
  • Average Rent in USD: $330
  • Average Home Price in USD: $320,000

Santiago de Querétaro is the capital of the state of Querétaro, which is located in central Mexico. The city is famed for its Spanish colonial architecture which includes several notable baroque buildings and a large pink aqueduct. 

Living in Santiago de Querétaro is very affordable given the beautiful location and quality of life it offers. A family of four can live in the city for about $1600 USD plus rent, which makes it about half the cost of living in New York City.  

Related: Can You Save Money Buying a Car in Mexico?

6. Puerto Vallarta

An image of houses and buildings in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Churches and some trees.
  • Average Rent in USD: $332
  • Average Home Price in USD: $350,000

Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort town that attracts millions of visitors each year. Its warm climate, white sandy beaches, and exciting nightlife have also made it a popular destination for American expats. 

Some sections of the city are quite busy with tourists, like the ‘Romantic Zone’ and ‘Old Town’. However, if you live a little further from the center of town, you can find a cheap apartment that offers a more relaxing lifestyle.

The town has plenty of great restaurants, bars, and saunas to enjoy. The seafood restaurants are particularly good, as they offer freshly caught fish prepared by skilled chefs.

Expect to pay about $900 per month on general living expenses and less than $400 for a cheap apartment just out of town. 

Related: Best Areas of Puerto Vallarta to Live

7. Tulum

  • Average Rent in USD: $480
  • Average Home Price in USD: $420,000

Tulum is a famous part of Mexico due to the remarkable Mayan temples and archaeological sites in the area. It is also well known for its stunning beaches which feature golden sand and beautiful turquoise water. 

Located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Tulum has seen an ever-increasing influx of U.S. retirees in the last decade. The natural beauty of the place, combined with modern amenities including shopping centers and medical facilities make it a great retirement destination. 

While the cost of living beachside is expensive, there are several locations surrounding Tulum which are quite affordable compared to the United States. 

8. Mérida

A picture of Mérida, Mexico at night.
  • Average Rent in USD: $350
  • Average Home Price in USD: $240,000

Mérida is a vibrant city of almost 1 million people, located in the Mexican state of Yucatán. It is a bustling metropolis with attractive architecture and tree-lined streets. The city’s central location has made it a popular destination for expats interested in exploring everything that the Caribbean has to offer. 

The city is surrounded by several Mayan archaeological sites and world heritage-listed national parks. It is also known for having an incredible culinary scene, with world-class restaurants and some of the best street food in the country. It’s also a cultural hub, with a raft of museums and art galleries including the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Merida. 

But the best part of living in Mérida is the city’s affordability. Food, clothing, and rental accommodation (out of the main downtown area) are all reasonably priced. Most retirees can afford to eat out regularly and houses are incredibly cheap. Make sure you make a list of pros and cons of living in Mérida, Mexico.

9. Guadalajara

A picture of Guadalajara, Mexico. There's a picture of a large fountain in front of what appears to be a large church. There are people around the fountain.
  • Average Rent in USD: $309
  • Average Home Price in USD: $220,000

Home to almost 1.5 million people, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city. But don’t let its size deter you. Although some sections of the city are very busy, there are many quiet suburbs that are ideal for retirees looking to relax in their golden years.

It’s a very exciting city that is known for being the birthplace of many important Mexican traditions, including mariachi music, wide-brimmed sombrero hats, and the Mexican rodeo.

In fact, if you are looking for even more Mexican culture, you will enjoy this city. It is also home to dozens of museums, theaters, concert halls, and art galleries. In terms of food, there are several internationally renowned restaurants — one of the benefits of living in a major city.

10. Aguascalientes

A picture of the city streets of Aguascalientes, Mexico. There's several buildings with cars driving down the street.
  • Average Rent in USD: $335
  • Average Home Price in USD: $210,000

Aguascalientes is the capital of the Mexican state of the same name. It is centrally located within Mexico, which makes it a great jumping off location if you are interested in exploring all of the country. 

The city’s name means ‘hot water’ in Spanish, which is a reference to the many hot springs located in the area. It is a busy city with excellent restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. If you prefer to take it a little slower, there are also several large museums, parks and public gardens, and cultural centers.

Like many of the other cities mentioned in this list, the architecture is incredible. There are some large baroque-style cathedrals which are simply breathtaking. The Aguascalientes markets are one of the best in Mexico, so you will have plenty of opportunities for shopping and eating delicious street food.

11. Monterrey

  • Average Rent in USD: $400
  • Average Home Price in USD: $350,000

Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico. Located in the northeastern state of Nuevo León, it has spectacular scenery thanks to the large mountain ranges surrounding the city. It is also in close proximity to other areas of pristine natural beauty including the Garcia Caves.

The city itself is a bustling metropolis, with plenty of activities to enjoy including great restaurants and clubs. The semi-arid climate makes it one of the warmer parts of Mexico, which is attractive to many expat retirees coming from the USA.

It is in close proximity to the U.S. border, which is ideal for retirees who still wish to return home regularly to see relatives and friends. It’s an extremely affordable location to live compared to the United States. 

Related: Can a U.S. Citizen Buy Property in Mexico?