More Americans than ever are now choosing the expat life, with everyone from young digital nomads to those ready to enjoy retirement choosing to experience life abroad. But while making the commitment to this new life is a difficult decision, the real head-scratcher comes with choosing exactly where to move.
With that being said, the Mexican Caribbean is quickly becoming a favorite for American expats for a wide array of reasons. Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, and Merida have all seen their population of U.S. citizens explode in recent years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Especially since the world took steps back to normality post-pandemic, and passports resumed their status as a gateway to the world.
The following are some of the main reasons American expats are choosing the Mexican Caribbean:
Cost Of Living
It’s no surprise to see ‘cost of living’ at the top of this list. Living costs in much of the developed world, including America, have risen significantly over the past 10 years. And while Mexico hasn’t escaped this trend completely, overall goods, services, and property continue to be a bargain for expats who are lucky enough to earn in U.S. Dollars.
For example, renting a 900 sq. ft apartment outside Cancun’s hotel zone can cost as little as $530 per month. Compare that to the average rent in sunny Miami, where a studio apartment is now reported to be over $2,600 per month. It’s easy to see just how big of a saving can be made, even in Cancun, which is known for being more expensive than rival Mexican cities.
Rent isn’t the only saving to be made here. Groceries, household services (electricity & gas), as well as costs such as auto insurance are all much more reasonable in the Mexican Caribbean.
It may be surprising to learn that over 1.6 million U.S. citizens currently call Mexico home. And with so many choosing the Mexican Caribbean to settle down in, it’s no surprise the area has a thriving expat community that supports each other.
There are many groups that organize events and offer fantastic first-hand advice on making the transition as smooth as possible. Furthermore, this easy connection to people from home can really soften the culture shock of moving abroad.
The Same Mod Cons As Home
A big worry for many expats is leaving behind the comforts of home. Many things taken for granted in the U.S., such as high-speed internet and being able to buy the weekly groceries all in one place, are comforts available in the Mexican Caribbean.
Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Costco are all present here, often with even greater deals than back in the U.S., thanks to their working to be competitive with local pricing. And what’s more, the best of American dining is available across the city, with well-known fast-food chains as well as traditional American diners and steak houses dotted throughout the city blocks. Mexican food is phenomenal, but that doesn’t mean Philly cheesesteaks and a well-barbequed steak are things of the past.
The U.S. Is Never Far Away
If the need arises to get back to the U.S. fast, then the Mexican Caribbean is unbeatable for connectivity. The international airport in Cancun is just a 1-hour 50-minute flight from Miami. And with daily flights to cities across America, it’s never an issue to get home.
Before diving right into applying for residency in Mexico, many expats first choose to make use of the 6-month tourist visa, usually renting an Airbnb for easiness and experiencing life in the Mexican Caribbean before committing fully to the move. This alone is a huge plus for potential expats as it can provide peace of mind that the decision to move is the right one before upending their life in America completely.
When the decision to move is made, the visa most commonly used to stay in Mexico by Americans is the ‘Temporary Residency Visa’. This is valid for one year and can be further extended for one, two, or three years thereafter.
The main requirement for expats to be accepted on this visa is what’s called ‘economic solvency’, in simple terms, this means the government wants to be sure expats can financially support themselves while living in Mexico. The figures are subject to change each year, but the most recent information states those applying for this visa need to have either earned over $1,620 per month for at least 6 months. Or alternatively have had a minimum bank balance of $27,000 for at least the past year.
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