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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Mexico (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Huatulco, Mexico


Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Mexico (Plus, Itineraries)

By Betsy Burlingame

Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico

Summary: If you're considering moving to Mexico and don't have a favorite city or town picked out, going on a look-see or exploratory trip to visit a number of popular expat destinations is really informative. Here are some recommendations for where to visit when exploring Mexico.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Mexico is an invaluable step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey allows potential expats to immerse themselves in the local culture, assess the living conditions, and determine if the lifestyle aligns with their expectations. It's an opportunity to explore various cities and towns, interact with local communities, and evaluate essential amenities such as healthcare, education, and transportation. A Look-See trip can ultimately guide your decision-making process, ensuring that your move to Mexico is well-informed and suited to your personal preferences and needs.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Mexico, it's important to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on a specific region, allowing for a deeper understanding of the area. Consider starting in the culturally rich central highlands, visiting San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Querétaro. If you have 20 days, you can expand your journey to include coastal cities like Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen, as well as the Yucatán Peninsula, exploring Mérida and the surrounding Mayan ruins. Each destination offers a unique glimpse into the expat lifestyle, from vibrant city life to tranquil beachside living.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is a colonial-era city in the central highlands of Mexico, known for its well-preserved architecture, thriving arts scene, and large expat community. With a population of around 140,000, it offers a blend of historical charm and modern amenities. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to its temperate climate, relatively low cost of living, and the abundance of cultural activities. The city's proximity to Mexico City also makes it an accessible choice for those seeking occasional urban excursions.

Travel Tip: While in San Miguel de Allende, dine at the rooftop restaurant La Azotea for stunning views of the city and a taste of their famous jicama tacos.

Guanajuato

Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is another gem in the central highlands. This picturesque city is known for its colorful houses, winding alleyways, and rich history. With a population of around 170,000, it offers a vibrant cultural life with numerous festivals and a strong sense of community. Expats appreciate the affordable cost of living and the city's walkability, which fosters a healthy and active lifestyle. Guanajuato's university also adds a youthful energy to the city.

Travel Tip: Visit the Teatro Juárez, a historic theater that showcases the city's architectural grandeur and offers a variety of performances throughout the year.

Querétaro

Querétaro is a fast-growing city with a balance of historical significance and modern development. It boasts a population of over 800,000 and serves as an economic hub with a strong job market, which can be appealing for expats seeking employment opportunities. The city's colonial center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its surrounding areas offer suburban comfort. Expats enjoy the high quality of life, safety, and the city's central location in Mexico.

Travel Tip: Explore the aqueducts of Querétaro, an iconic landmark, and enjoy the surrounding parks and plazas that offer a peaceful retreat from the city bustle.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on Mexico's Pacific coast, famed for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and welcoming expat community. With a population of over 200,000, it provides a tropical seaside lifestyle combined with all the conveniences of city living. The cost of living is higher compared to some inland cities, but many find the stunning ocean views and beach access to be worth the premium. The town is also known for its LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere.

Travel Tip: Enjoy a meal at Café des Artistes, an exquisite dining experience offering gourmet cuisine in a lush, garden setting.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, located on the Riviera Maya, is a coastal city known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs. It's a smaller and more laid-back alternative to Cancun, with a population of about 150,000. The cost of living is reasonable, and the expat community is thriving, making it a popular choice for retirees and digital nomads. The city's Fifth Avenue is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, providing a lively social scene.

Travel Tip: Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum to delve into the life and works of the iconic Mexican artist, and then relax at one of the beach clubs along the shore.

Mérida

Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state, is known for its colonial heritage, Mayan cultural influences, and safety. With a population of nearly a million, it's a large city that retains a small-town feel. Expats are attracted to its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and low cost of living. Mérida also serves as a gateway to exploring ancient Mayan sites and natural cenotes in the region.

Travel Tip: Savor traditional Yucatecan cuisine at La Chaya Maya, where you can try local specialties like cochinita pibil and sopa de lima.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico

Welcome Home Mexico
Welcome Home Mexico

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