We spent a 12 months working remotely and travelling around Mexico, here’s where we went:

Sayulita > Puerto Vallarta > Guanajuato City > San Miguel de Allende > Oaxaca City > San Cristóbal de Las Casas > Merida > Playa del Carmen > San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Our first stop was technically Guadalajara but we were only there for 9 days at the beginning of Covid-19 so don’t have enough information to make an accurate assessment. For the purpose of this guide we are only including cities we’ve spent a minimum of one month in.

Each location has been rated on cost of living, wifi, food and things to do. Please note these are our experiences and opinions only.

Sayulita [rating stars=”3.5″]

Sayulita sign in the plaza

Sayulita was our first real stop in Mexico and we ended up staying here for three months! 

It was the perfect laid back place to get our feet wet (literally) it it’s a small town so easy to get around, English is widely spoken and the locals and helpful and friendly. 

Plus it’s got that cool, surfy-beach vibe.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”3.5″]

We spent three months in Sayulita at the beginning of the pandemic and a lot was closed which forced us to cook and stay in, this help us to keep costs low. However looking back the price of eating out and activities in Sayulita is higher than other cities or towns we lived in. We also got veeerrry lucky with our AirBnB and got it for a steal.

Wifi [rating stars=”5.0″]

Our Wifi was phenomenal, some of the fastest we’ve had in Mexico although we’ve heard some horror stories so be sure to check if your AirBnB host before booking. See our post on booking the perfect AirBnB here.

Food [rating stars=”4.0″]

There are some GREAT food options in Sayulita, some of our favourites were:

🌮 @yeikame_sayulita
you’re checking this place out the chicken quesadilla is a must try. They use a blue corn tortilla which was a first for Zahn and did not disappoint. We also love the breakfast burritos here, they are a nice, cheap, grab and go for a breakfast on the beach.

🍕 @larusticasayulita
We ordered pizza from here more than we should probably admit but anyone that knows Addison knows that he could eat pepperoni pizza everyday for the rest of his life and be happy but if you want something a little different try the La Rustica pizza (chicken, pineapple, tamarind BBQ and coriander/cilantro, yum).

🌯 @burrito.revolution
Not only are these guys some of the nicest people we’ve met they also make an amazing burrito and sauces I wish I could bottle and take home to put on everything. All of the burritos are good, all of the sauces are good.

🍛 @achara_sayulita
If you get over Mexican and pizza and feel like Thai this please is great. Our favourites here are the Penang (Zahn’s favourite) and the pumpkin fried rice 😋

Things to do [rating stars=”3.0″]

Again, due to Covid-19 a lot was closed while we were but regardless, the main things to do here are beach, eat and drink. Not that we are complaining!

We did also try horse riding, and snorkeling in Sayulita with Mi Chaparrita

Check out more on Sayulita here.

Puerto Vallarta [rating stars=”4.0″]

We fell unexpectedly in love with Puerto Vallarta. Yes there is a very touristy vibe. But once again the people were so lovely and helpful and there’s a whole other side to this place beyond the usual tourist and resort scene.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”4.0″]

Puerto Vallarta was much more affordable than we expected, we were able to get a really rate on our AirBnB which helped.

Wifi [rating stars=”4.0″]

The Wifi was good, although we did have the occasional drop out it was quick enough for us to both make video calls at the same time without a drop in speed.

Food [rating stars=”4.0″]

This was our first real introduction to tacos, oh-em-ge, the tacos! Plus there was such a wide variety of international options and beachside restaurants, you can’t go wrong in Vallarta.

Things to do [rating stars=”4.0″]

Within Puerto Vallarta itself there is plenty of art galleries, shopping and beaches to keep you occupied. There’s also plenty of day trips to do in the area including Mayto, San Sebastián, Talpa de Allende and more! 

Watch more videos from our time in Puerto Vallarta here

Guanajuato City [rating stars=”4.0″]

Guanajuato is one of our top three cities and we wouldn’t hesitate to come back, from the beautiful colourful buildings adorning the hills to the active city squares. Guanajuato is a must see.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”5.0″]

Guanajuato was were we really saw how cheap Mexico could be. We had an incredible 3-story house, with a breath taking view in town for roughly $600 per month. 

Wifi [rating stars=”5.0″]

No complaints here with the internet but as usual we recommend you check with your host.
Download Mbps 19.23, Upload Mbps 6.43

Food [rating stars=”2.0″]

Probably the only downside in Guanajuanto City; the food just wasn’t that good! But, it was very cheap. For example you could order a package breakfast which consists of fresh bread, fruit, coffee, juice and a main dish such as chilaquilles for about $85 pesos 

Things to do [rating stars=”4.0″]

You can’t walk around the streets of Centro Guanajuato without tripping over a beautiful gallery or museum. There’s also mines, tunnels, and mummies to explore. 

San Miguel de Allende [rating stars=”2.0″]

This was our first taste of disappointment in Mexico.  Our experience was seriously tainted by the absolutely atrocious internet speeds and high cost of living.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”2.0″]

Everything in San Miguel felt more expensive, from taxis to activities and everything in between.

Wifi [rating stars=”1.0″]

The wifi did not work at all in our AirBnB. We ended up hotspotting through a Telcel sim card. BUT, there is currently no unlimited data plans in Mexico! That’s what we said. So we had to top-up a couple times a day which was stressful and expensive.

Download 1.66 Mbps , Upload 1.23 Mbps 

Food [rating stars=”5.0″]

Although the food was more expensive than other places in Mexico – it was delicious. The restaurants in downtown San Miguel de Allende were on par with some of the best you’ll find all over the world. Plus, on the other end of the scale there were also fantastic taco and torta stands dotted around the neighbourhoods.

Things to do [rating stars=”4.0″]

San Miguel de Allende is one of those cities that is so beautiful you could happily just walk around and enjoy the sites but there is also plenty of more formal activities including food tours, archeological ruins and museums.

Read about some of our favourite things to do in San Miguel de Allende here

Oaxaca City [rating stars=”4.0″]

Oaxaca is known as one of the gastronomical hubs of Mexico and this city did not disappoint.

We spent a month here in November and could’ve spent many more. We were only able to scratch the surface of what Oaxaca has to offer because of Covid-19 restrictions but we’d gladly come back.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”4.0″]

The cost of living is reasonable in Oaxaca, you can find everything from cheap street food to high-end restaurants. We spent a lot of time dining out to take advantage of the amazing food scene which did push our monthly expenses up but you could easily live here on a budget.

Wifi [rating stars=”5.0″]

Oaxaca was a wifi dream with super fast speeds: Download 63 Mbps, Upload 19.26 Mbps

Food [rating stars=”5.0″]

There’s a really good reason Oaxaca is known for its food. The moles, the memelas, molotes plus the mezcal scene make this a foodies dream. 

Check out our food recommendations for Oaxaca City here

Things to do [rating stars=”5.0″]

Besides eating and drinking there’s plenty to do, and lots of culture in Oaxaca. In fact there are 16 indigenous languages spoken in Oaxaca.

Some of the top things to do are:

  • Visit the daily markets 
  • Go to Monteban 
  • Visit workshops of local artisans

San Cristóbal de Las Casas. [rating stars=”5.0″]

Probably our favourite place in Mexico. This small, colonial city in Chiapas, 2200 meters above sea level is a real treat.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”5.0″]

San Cristobal de las Casas is hands down the cheapest place we’ve lived in Mexico.
See a breakdown of our costs here

Wifi [rating stars=”5.0″]

We stayed in two different houses in San Cristobal and both times the wifi was excellent.
Download 46.69 Mbps, Upload 14.2 Mbps

Food [rating stars=”3.5″]

There are some great food options in San Cristobal de las Casas, all very reasonably priced. You can get a good meal at a nice restaurant for roughly $600 pesos for two people – including drinks!

Things to do [rating stars=”4.0″]

This is another one of those places that’s beautiful you could happily walk around all day and not get bored.

But if that doesn’t sound like you, can can also easily travel to waterfalls, lakes, indigenous villages or even the Palenque ruins.

Check out some of our favourite things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas here

Merida [rating stars=”3.0″]

Merida was another city we left feeling a little underwhelmed by. The city itself is reasonably large and modern but lacked flavour for us. Most people spoke great English and used that to try and sell us on tours and trinkets, which is normally fine – we are used to it. But, here it came off a little cheesy and people would often follow us as we walked, under the guise of trying to help.

Cost of Living [rating stars=”3.0″]

Although the prices weren’t as high as we were expecting it certainly wasn’t cheap! 

We paid double what we normally would for accommodation, we had a private pool but were in the suburbs and needed to taxi to the city. 

See a full breakdown of what we spent in Merida here

Wifi [rating stars=”2.0″]

We stayed her over the Christmas holiday period and didn’t plan on working so I didn’t check the internet speed but it was not great and dropped out often with frequent power outages.

Another thing to note is that there is free wifi downtown that you can connect to.

Food [rating stars=”3.5″]

Like all modern cities, you get the full range in food options, from street food to fast food and high end restaurants.

While we didn’t find the food bad here it didn’t wow us.

Things to do [rating stars=”4.0″]

In the city itself there’s not a lot to do, there are museums, galleries and churches you can visit. However, the real reason most people visit Merida is for what’s just outside the city. 

There’s a plethora of ruins to visit; thousands of public/private cenotes (swimming holes) + beaches close by.

Playa del Carmen [rating stars=”3.5″]

Playa del Carmen has a reputation as a digital nomad hub and it’s easy to see the appeal, plenty of modern amenities – apartments, restaurants and bars and of course the beautiful weather and beaches. But, we felt a little old here and the found the overall costs too high. 

Cost of Living [rating stars=”3.0″]

The cost of living in Playa del Carmen was significantly higher than other parts of Mexico: food, taxis, and activities were all on the higher end of what we’ve experienced in Mexico. We ended up having to book accomodations quite outside of the city centre to get something we could afford. Taxis back and forth were expensive!

Side note, if you need to take a taxi DO NOT take it from within the tourist zone, you may receive a fare up to 4 or 5 times the price. Just walk a few extra blocks before hailing a cab and save yourself some $$

See a full breakdown of what we spent in Playa del Carmen here

Wifi [rating stars=”5.0″]

Another excellent wifi spot.
Download 64 Mbps, Upload 20 Mbps

Food [rating stars=”4.0″]

We didn’t eat out a lot in Playa del Carmen but what we did eat was pretty average.  

Things to do [rating stars=”5.0″]

There’s a lot going on in Playa del Carmen – a large digital nomad scene to chill; beaches to relax at. We particularly enjoyed getting out of Playa del Carmen and taking trips to nearby Akumal, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.

Author

Zahn is a travel junkie born and raised on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. Zahn spent two years in South Korea where she met Addison in 2018. She has visited 17 countries and is on a mission to literally work her way around the rest.

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