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Why Digital Nomads Are Flocking To These Two Trendy Beach Cities In Mexico

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The Mexican Caribbean is one of the leading destinations for digital nomads globally, and as recent studies have shown, it ranks number one among preferred regions for American nomads.

It is famous for a laid-back lifestyle and year-round sunny weather, and remote workers basing themselves in Mexico often report high satisfaction rates and seem pleased with their new life-work balance compared to the lives they have previously in Canada, the U.S., or other countries.

Aerial View Of Playa Del Carmen Bounded By The Bright Blue Caribbean Sea, Mexico, Latin America

Though the whole riviera has been surging in popularity with nomads lately, these two trendy cities have consistently led the trend and are now Mexico's unofficial ‘workcation' capitals:

One Of The Fastest-Growing Digital Nomads Spots

As reported by The Cancun Sun, both Cancun, the largest city in the Mayan Riviera, and Playa Del Carmen, a smaller, up-and-coming resort hotspot, are now two of the fastest-growing digital nomad hubs not only in Mexico but the entire world.

A Young Woman Bathing In The Caribbean Sea, Cancun, Mexico, Latin America

Though it's made a name for itself in the luxury travel sector, owing to its vast collection of beachfront, all-inclusive megaresorts, and world-class shopping centers, Cancun has proven to be equally attractive to remote workers lately.

Many of the beaches along the glamorous Hotel Zone are introducing high-speed public WiFi, bringing the city in line with other A-list, developed coastal resorts and enabling nomads to carry on working from their laptops as they bask in the Mexican sun, alternating with dips in the bright-blue sea.

A short one-hour drive from Cancun, the nearest competitor, Playa Del Carmen, definitely does not lag behind, offering a plethora of internet cafes, numerous long-term Airbnb listings, and home to a thriving expat community, all amidst a tranquil, tropical atmosphere.

Young girl walking in sexy bikini relaxing on tropical Cancun dolphin beach in Cancun Mexico under the bright sun. Tourists on Caribbean beach with turquoise water. Vacation concept

With demand for both of these destinations growing in the community, it's genuinely no surprise coworking centers in Cancun and Carmen have increased by a whopping 400% in recent times.

These two cities are currently Mexico's hottest ‘workcation' zones, and it just begs the question: why do they seem to be everyone's first or second pick for a relocation abroad?

Why Are Cancun And Carmen So Trendy Right Now?

When choosing a new homebase to work remotely from, there are usually five factors nomads take into consideration:

portal maya sculpture playa del carmen
  • Number one is infrastructure: How good is public transport? Is it well-connected to other cities? What's the quality of the services provided?
  • Number two is the diversity of the tourist offer: is it close to nature? What are the attractions in the vicinity? What kind of leisure activities are available to visitors as pastime?
  • Number three is affordability: are consumer prices low? How high is the cost of living? Will I be able to expand my business, or grow professionally while basing myself there?
  • Then we have safety: are foreigners – in particular Americans – at a greater safety risk when sojourning in the area? Are crime levels high? What are the required safety precautions?
  • Finally, bureaucracy: how easy is it to move there? Can Americans, and most foreign nationals enter visa-free and without additional hurdles? Is there a Digital Nomad Visa available?
Cancun Beaches

Let's unpack each one of these bulletpoints.

First is infrastructure.

The Mexican Caribbean Is One Of The Most Nomad-Friendly Destinations In Latin America

As stated above, there are countless work stations scattered all over Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

They may be best known as vacation zones, but they also form, alongside other settlements on the Mayan Coast, one of the largest conurbations and financial centers in the Mexican Caribbean, easily one of the best-equipped places for conducting business in Mexico outside the capital.

Woman on a float in cancun

There are plenty of coworking spots to choose from, and following the influx of Americans and Europeans into Mexico, cafe culture is improving, too, with new businesses popping up in residential areas with more inclusive menus and a laptop-friendly attitude.

When it comes to public transport, options may be limited – for now – but soon enough, once the long-awaited Tren Maya launches, every single major town on the riviera, including Playa Del Carmen, will be connected to Cancun as well as the region's two international airports by passenger trains.

Secondly, the Mexican Caribbean is one of Mexico's strongest tourist hotspots: from colossal water sparks with towering slides and the riotous nightlife to ancient Mayan cities shrouded in myth and colorful UNESCO-listed colonial towns, you will truly never exhaust your entertainment options.

Tourists Strolling Down A Street Leading Down To The Caribbean Sea In Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Ancient Mayan Ruins

Some of Mexico's most famous monuments are a short two to three hour drive from Cancun and Carmen, such as the historical Chichen Itza or the ruins in Tulum, and once the Maya Train launches, visiting them will become much easier even.

Moving on to affordability, the Mexican Caribbean is not exactly known for being a budget destination by any standards, with hotel rates averaging US$180 per night, and inflated prices affecting most tourists staying in the Hotel Zones.

A Young Female Backpacker Exploring A Mayan Ruin In Mexico, Latin America

While you are unlikely to find it as cheap as the Mexican hinterland, or off-path gems and promising nomad destinations like Guanajuato or San Luis Potosi, you may still be able to live comfortably in the Riviera earning on average $3,070 per month.

Rent and private transportation can be expensive, especially for Americans who are often hit with higher prices for being foreigners, but eating at local restaurants frequented by native Mexicans and living frugally without the luxuries you would normally have as a Hilton guest can offset costs.

It Is Safe For Long-Term Visitors

Dolphin Beach In Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The penultimate point is security, and we have written extensively about the Mexican Caribbean's impressive level of public safety.

Very rarely will you hear horror stories involving the robbing of tourists at gunpoint, nor their kidnapping or murders, unlike other states in Mexico, particularly along the border, and the state police has ensured popular walking areas in Cancun, as well as Playa del Carmen, remain crime-free.

Lastly, Mexico has made it relatively easy for digital nomads to move there, at least for a certain amount of time.

boats rest in the calm blue waters of one of Mexico's top tourist destinations - Playa Del Carmen

No Visa Required For Medium-Term Stays

In case you weren't aware, you are eligible as an American for a six-month visa-free stay in Mexico, provided you will not seek employment in the country, and the purpose of your visit is tourism.

Now, we know you're hoping to be a digital nomad in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen, but if your intentions are to remain in Mexico in the medium-term, up to 180 days, then presenting yourself as a tourist, and leaving before the visa expires is the smart way to do it.

So far, Mexico has not launched a Digital Nomad Visa.

However, if it's a long-term stay you're hoping for, and you dream of actually relocating to Mexico, then you will need to apply for a residence visa, which may be granted based on personal projects and different criteria, but in the average American's case, will involve providing proof of financial resources.

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