Sunny Mexico has always been the go-to spot for American remote workers looking for a change of scenery. It is close enough to the U.S. to still feel like home, the culture – and climate – are arguably warmer, and the infrastructure is great.
With that being said, not all destinations in Mexico are cheap to be a digital nomad, with overnights in cities like Los Cabos averaging U.S. $600 a night, and the cost of living in the Mexican Caribbean rising dramatically, leaving those contemplating a move South of the border wondering:
Where should they be headed that will not break the bank?
Luckily for them, banking firm GOBankingRates has ranked some of the top Mexican destinations for expats on a budget based on living costs, and based on their own list, we have come up with the five cheapest where you can live on under US$1200 a month:
State: Baja California
Single Person Average Monthly Expenses With Rent: $1,195.85
A lesser-known gem of Baja California (the state), Ensenada is an up-and-coming tourist town owing its trediness to paradisaical beaches, a beautiful Downtown, and most importantly, a slow-paced lifestyle, which is sure to attract remote workers escaping the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
Surfing practices are strong here, with beaches like Playa San Miguel and Playa Hermosa providing epic waves for watersports enthusiasts. Looking to unwind instead? The more tranquil El Faro, near Downtown Ensenada, and Playa Estero are great spots for sunbathing and swimming.
As it borders the Bahia de Todos Santos, a sheltered bay and popular migration point for several marine life, Ensenada is the perfect homebase for exploring the wider Northern Atlantic coast of Mexico, not to mention soaking up the culture, heavily influenced by – believe it or not – Russian settlers.
Have we mentioned the world-class food scene yet?
The city’s nationwide-famous fish tacos, a local specialty, its shrimp wraps, delectable ceviches and rich wines are some of the reasons why you should extend your stay here, other than, of course, how unbeliavably affordable it is, with monthly expenses averaging $1,195.85.
Puebla de Zaragoza
Single Person Average Monthly Expenses With Rent: $1,067.49
Up there with Guanajuato and Guadalajara, which do not make the top five, Puebla is one of the prettiest colonial-era cities in Mexico, only taking newcomers a short walk around the well-preserved cobbled streets of Centro Historico to fall irremediably in love with it.
Its skyline is incredibly unique, with a UNESCO-protected, monument-packed Old Town bordered by a sea of skyscrapers. Basing themselves in Angelopolis, the modern, ‘business’ part of town, nomads will find a plethora of cafes and co-working spots to choose from.
Simultaneously, while exploring the historical part, and especially neighboring Cholula, a picturesque colorful town in Puebla’s Metropolitan Area, famous for its jaune church perched atop an ancient Mayan pyramid, they will feel as if time has been frozen for centuries.
With its mix of old and new, Puebla has an atmosphere unlike that of any other Mexican city, and it’s relatively affordable to live in, with monthly expenses coming in at a reasonable US$1,067.49 – as much as rent alone in a central apartment in major U.S. city would cost.
Single Person Average Monthly Expenses With Rent: $1,000.31
The second coastal entry on this list, Veracruz straddles the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s one of the smallest cities home to a population of under half a million. Its distinction comes from its status as the largest Atlantic trading hub in Mexico, historically, and an untarnished colonial core.
It is the cultural heart of its state, settled as early as 1519, and due to its relevance to the Transatlantic Spanish Empire, it flourished as a prominent mercantile port, at times rivaling the economic importance of Mexico City. Needless to say, the cultural wealth of Veracruz cannot be easily estimated.
Other than the numerous Instagrammable houses that line the port, visitors will find a Baroque Municipal Palace, the oldest of its kind in Mexico, an 18th-century cathedral with Neoclassical features, and the Castle of San Juan de Ulúa, a monumental fortress built to protect residents from pirate attacks.
As it sits on the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz offers easy access to pristine, gringo-free Gulf beaches, particularly along the aptly-named Emerald Coast, and nomads get to experience all of this for just over a thousand bucks a month, rent included.
Single Person Average Monthly Expenses With Rent: $884.74
Located in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, Saltillo is a 445 year old city dating back to the Spanish ‘Conquista’ of Mexico. As one of the first European settlements in the territory, it boasts an elevated concentration of historical sites.
This includes an 18th-century cathedral – Santiago Apóstol – easily recognized for its Neo-Romanesque belfry and ornate facade, the Neoclassic Fernando Soler City Theater, and the centrally-situated Plaza de la Nueva Tlaxcala, bounded by stately civic buildings.
The city, as well as its metropolitan region, is both a hugely underrated cultural capital and an industrial hub, housing General Motors, Magna, Nemak, and even Tesla plants, making it an incredibly exciting place for culture seekers and young entrepreneurs alike.
Despite its signs of development, it is one of the least expensive nomad destinations in Mexico, with the cost of monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartmanet in the city center averaging a mere $264.94, and expenses totalling $884.74.
Single Person Average Monthly Expenses With Rent: $861.59
The least expensive, but certainly not the least attractive Mexican city to be as a digital nomad, Aguascalientes is nestled near the center of the country, and it’s best known for its architectural heritage, balmy weather, hot springs, and multicultural populace.
With magnificent structures like the San Antonio de Padua Church, La Exedra (the European-inspired main square), the regal Government Palace, and a Brutalist Opera House to its name, Aguacalientes is easily one of the prettiest cities in Mexico.
Every year, it hosts the San Marcos Fair, simply the largest festival in Mexico with an annual attendance of over 7 million, when the city’s Spanish-imported bullfighting and cockfighting culture is celebrated.
According to GOBankingRates, Aguascalientes has the lowest cost of living in all of Mexico, with a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costing as little as $384.31 per month, on average, and total monthly expenditures sitting at $861.59.
Now you know: you don’t need to be behind a million-dollar business, nor have a hefty amount of money in your savings account to move temporarily to, and work remotely from Mexico, where Americans get to stay for 6 months visa-free.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com