Cost of Living in La Paz, Mexico

As the capital of Baja California Sur, La Paz is a unique destination situated on the Baja California Peninsula. La Paz is a small city with a population of approximately 245,000 people. It’s a part of the Mexican state and is well-known for its stunning seafront boardwalk that spans almost 2 km. While visiting La Paz, you can take advantage of the many beautiful parks and see art all around the city, inspired by both international and Mexican artists. 

Are you thinking of making La Paz your home?

The cost of living in La Paz is considered to be low based on other places in the world. To get a better idea of how you’d have to budget your finances, read on.

What is the Cost of Living Index?

The cost of living index is a calculation created to essentially weigh the prices of goods and services in different cities throughout the world. 

This number tells you where a location is on the spectrum of economical to expensive compared to other areas. 

The cost of living index for Mexico is: 34.24

Food & Dining in La Paz, Mexico

La Paz is dependent on local ingredients such as their fresh seafood, plants, spices, and herbs to create authentic Mexican eats. You’ll also find many street carts selling tacos, churros, and other delicacies right alongside the roads.

 Prices are relatively reasonable in La Paz for both food items from the local markets, pubs, and fancy restaurants. 

Restaurants

  • A simple meal at an inexpensive restaurant 146.50 MXN (7.19 USD)
  • A three-course meal (appetizer, entrée, dessert) at a nice restaurant 750.00 MXN (36.80 USD)
  • McDonald’s Combo Meal 82.00 MXN (4.02 USD)

Groceries

  • Milk (regular, 1 liter) 26.00 MXN (1.28 USD)
  • A loaf of White Bread (500g) 37.50 MXN (1.84 USD)
  • Rice (white, 1kg) 27.50 MXN (1.35 USD)
  • Eggs (dozen) 28.60 MXN (1.40 USD)
  • Cheese (1kg) 110.00 MXN (5.40 USD)
  • Chicken Breast Fillets (1kg) 136.67 MXN (6.71 USD)
  • Beef Round (1kg) 190.00 MXN (9.32 USD)
  • Tomato (1kg) 26.33 MXN (1.29 USD)
  • Potato (1kg) 20.50 MXN (1 USD)
  • Water (1.5-liter bottle) 12.33 MXN (0.60 USD)
  • Bottle of Wine (Affordable, mid-range)134.00 MXN (6.57 USD)
  • Domestic Beer (0.5-liter bottle) 24.23 MXN (1.19 USD)
  • Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle) 32.00 MXN (1.57 USD)
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro, or other popular brands) 55.00 MXN (2.70 USD)
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 21.75 MXN (1.07 USD)

Transportation Costs in La Paz Mexico

La Paz is an accessible city to get around, mainly because most of the items you’ll want or need are located on the boardwalk or a few miles inland. For this reason, many people choose to travel on foot.

The residents in La Paz have four primary forms of public transportation. 

  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Colectivo (shared van)
  • Tour Services

You can also choose to purchase a car, which you will be pleasantly surprised to see probably sells for a lot less than what you’re used to. 

Related: Cost of Living in Curacao

Purchasing a Vehicle

  • Toyota Corolla Sedan (Or equivalent new car make and models)    

310,000.00 MXN (15,209.22 USD)

*One liter of gas costs 19.43 MXN (0.95 USD)

Getting Around the City Using Public Transportation

  • One-way Ticket (Local bus) 2.00 MXN – 10.00 MXN (0.10 – 0.49 USD)
  • One-way Ticket (Colectivo) 20.00 MXN – 35.00 MXN (0.98 – 1.72 USD)
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 55.00 MXN (2.70 USD)
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 20.00 MXN (0.98 USD)

Housing & Utilities in La Paz, Mexico

A map of La Paz, Mexico.

One of the most important and often the largest parts of a budget is housing and utility payments. Homes and apartments available in La Paz are relatively inexpensive, even because they have many beachfront properties.

Below is the average monthly rent payment for various bedroom counts in both houses and apartments and the necessary utility expenses. 

Apartments

*Located in the City Center

  • (1 bedroom) 7,875.00 MXN (386.36 USD)
  • (3 bedrooms) 18,750.00 MXN (919.91 USD)

*Located outside of the City Center

  • (1 bedroom) 5,702.19 MXN (279.75 USD)
  • (3 bedrooms) 9,600.00 MXN (471 USD)

Homes

There are a few property types that you will typically see in La Paz; Spanish villas, adobes, modern-style, and ranch homes are what you’ll be looking at when you’re searching for a house.

The average monthly rent will significantly depend on the style of your home and the number of bedrooms.

*The average price for a 2-3 bedroom home in La Paz, Mexico ranges from 15,660 MXN to 23,850 MXN

 (768.31 USD – 1,2270.13 USD)

Utilities

All homes won’t have the following amenities; air conditioning, for example, is not in many lower-priced homes.

*Basic monthly payment for an apartment

(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) 611.35 MXN (29.99 USD)

*Basic monthly payment for a home 

(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) 734.67 MXN (36.04 USD)

*Internet (60+ Mbps, Unlimited Data) 448.83 MXN (22.02 USD)

Employment & Income in La Paz, Mexico

The employment sector in Mexico is continuously growing, and specific industries like agriculture, cotton, and business are in high demand. 

The average yearly salary for jobs in La Paz is 293,687 (MXN) (14,408.87 USD)

*The minimum wage in Mexico is 123.22 MXN (6.05 USD) per day unless you’re by the border zone, which is 185.56 MXN (9.10 USD) per day. 

Childcare Expenses in La Paz, Mexico

Childcare doesn’t cost much in La Paz; here are the monthly and yearly private care and primary school rates. 

  • Preschool/Kindergarten (Full Day, Private) 2,500.00 MXN (122.66 USD) (monthly, one child)
  • International Primary School 41,333.33 MXN (2,027.89 USD) (yearly, one child)

Healthcare & Medical Expenses in La Paz, Mexico

If you are a Mexican citizen, you are guaranteed access to free healthcare and medicine.

Private health insurance varies, but on average, you will pay between 20,449.70 MXN (1,003.30 USD) and 61,349 MXN (3,009.90 USD) per year for your policy. 

Related: Best Puerto Vallarta Areas to Live

Clothing & Shoes in La Paz, Mexico

La Paz has many different styles of clothing available in local boutiques and shops. 

Many stores lined along the beach, offering clothes at low prices for tourists and residents alike. Here are some of the typical costs for basic clothing articles like a pair of jeans or a lovely dress for warm weather.

Casual Clothing

  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 737.25 MXN (36.17 USD)
  • 1 Summer Dress or Spring Skirt (Popular chain store) 583.33 MXN (28.62 USD)

Shoes

  • 1 Pair of Running Shoes (Nike or Adidas) 1,299.67 MXN (63.76 USD)
  •  Pair of Men’s Business Shoes  1,026.67 MXN (50.37 USD)

Taxes & Legal Information in La Paz, Mexico

Taxes and other legal information in Mexico are specifically based on whether you’re a citizen or not. Below are the basic premises for the major sectors of tax policy in Mexico. 

Income Tax in La Paz, Mexico

Mexican citizens are subject to taxes based on their global income. If you are a non-resident, you will be taxed based on your income in Mexico.

The rate of income tax in Mexico is 25%.

VAT Tax

A VAT (Value-added tax) called IVA is the goods and services tax used in Mexico. 

This fee is 16%, and it applies to nearly all products, hotels, and additional services throughout the nation, but not residential properties.

Real Estate and Property Tax

Mexico has a system of taxing property that involves two forms of taxes.

The acquisition tax rate is 2% of the property’s assessed value when you make the purchase.

Predial (annual property taxes) in Mexico are very inexpensive. This tax rate is based on the size and location of the property. The calculation is a fraction of your property’s worth. 

Retirement Tax

The taxation of pension incomes is as follows:

Exemption for pension payments is up to 15 times higher than the minimum wage.

Lump-sum withdrawals are exempt up to the amount of 90 minimum wages for the years that the contributions were paid.

Any amounts higher than the thresholds mentioned above will be subject to the standard income tax law. 

Inheritance Laws in La Paz, Mexico

According to Mexican law, there are two ways for the distribution of an estate to be recognized. 

There has to be a written or oral will left by the deceased. 

If no will were left to dictate the distribution, a court that had jurisdiction would make the final decision on properties and all other assets. 

Entertainment in La Paz, Mexico

There are a lot of popular activities to do in La Paz. The many beaches in and around the city make it a great place to partake in water activities like sports fishing, water skiing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, and more.

If you want to enjoy simpler activities like a new movie or a few hours at the gym, you’ll pay 55.00 MXN (2.70 USD) for one adult ticket and 466.67 MXN (22.90 USD) for one adult gym pass (monthly).

What to Expect Before Arrival

Knowing the amount of cash that you can bring, how much your application fees will be, and what you can expect living there on a day-to-day basis can help you better prepare for your transition to living in La Paz.

Immigration Costs

When you’re completing your application for permanent residency in Mexico, Mexican consulates will process your forms and collect a $36 fee for every visa approval.

You’ll also have to pay a fee of $265 for your residency card. 

Can I Use USD in Mexico?

The currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. While some cities with a high tourist attraction may accept the US dollar, you may be charged a higher rate than if you had paid in pesos. 

How Much Cash Can I Bring into Mexico?

You are entitled to bring in currency up to $10,000 into Mexico (per person). 

If you bring in more than $10,000 (in checks, money orders, other currencies, or cash), you must declare how much over you are bringing into the country.

 There are no duties fees for bringing in more money, but you have to stop at the border to complete a customs declaration form. 

How Much Does it Cost to Live Comfortably in Mexico?

Many expats and those who have come from other countries such as the United States have said that you can live comfortably in Mexico for less than 20,400 MXN (1,000.86 USD) a month. 

The cost of living is not high in Mexico; therefore, you have the opportunity to get more for less. Having a decently paying job will go a great deal further than in a country like the US, where the cost of living is much higher. 

How Much Do You Need to Retire in Mexico?

The cost of retirement depends on which Mexican city you’re in; however, 20,524 MXN (1,006.95 USD) seems to be a good starting point.

If you live a frugal lifestyle, you can survive on less, without spending much on entertainment every week. For a more comfortable lifestyle that includes space for leisure activities or a nicer home, you’ll need to add at least 500 MXN (24.53 USD) extra per month. 

Related: Belize Cost of Living

Sample Monthly Budget

  • Housing: 5702 MXN (279.75 USD)
  • Utilities: 1200 MXN (58.87 USD)
  • Transportation: 100 MXN (4.91 USD)
  • Entertainment: 200 MXN (9.81 USD)
  • Gas: 50 MXN (2.43 USD)
  • Food: 4100 MXN (201.15 USD)

*Total Monthly Expenses: 11,172 MXN (548.17 USD)

Final Thoughts

One can indeed find an excellent quality of life living in La Paz, Mexico. An added benefit of residing in Mexico is the proximity to the United States. This allows for easy access to both countries should you be interested in visiting. 

The cost of living index for La Paz is very low, compared to some other places like Mexico City. Beautiful weather, fresh seafood, and a humble and relaxed way of living make La Paz, Mexico, an excellent location to reside.

References

10 Things to Do in La Paz: Mexico’s Undiscovered Gem. Reader’s Digest. (2020). Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/world/things-to-do-in-la-paz-mexico/.

Cost of Living in Mexico: What You Should Know | InterNations GO!. Internations.org. (2020). Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.internations.org/go/moving-to-mexico/living/the-cost-of-living-in-mexico.

La Paz, Baja California Sur. En.m.wikipedia.org. (2020). Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Paz,_Baja_California_Sur.

Living, C. (2020). Cost of Living in Mexico. Numbeo.com. Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico.

Living, C. (2020). Cost of Living in Mexico.. Expatistan, cost of living comparisons. Retrieved 13 November 2020, from https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/country/mexico.