Last updated on Sep 05, 2022
Summary: Mexico City is the capital city of Mexico and home to approximately 9.2 million people. Digital nomads and expats love living in Mexico City. They're drawn to its welcoming people, rich history, many museums (140+), amazing restaurants and unique neighborhoods like La Roma and Condesa. Newcomers tip: if you are moving to Mexico City with school-aged children, contact schools as early as possible.
What do I need to know about living in Mexico City?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Mexico City, they said:
"Take time to get to know different alcaldias and colonias of Mexico City according to what is most important to you," mentioned another expat in Mexico City.
"Look for the charm, enjoy the warmth of the people, travel in the country, visit traditional restaurants, visit museums, and enjoy having a unique life experience," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What do I need to know before moving to Mexico City?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Mexico City, they said:
"If you are lucky enough to have your company pay for a Relocation company you wont have any problems since they know very well were you should live. But if this is not the case, I recommend you get advice from someone in your company to recommend areas close to work that meet your budget. Once you know the names of the areas you can then serach on the local newspapers for apartments," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico City.
How do I find a place to live in Mexico City?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"My company assisted us by hiring a Relocation company. In Mexico City it is very important to know where you will work in order to find your home. Commuting time can be terrible if you do not consider this important issues," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Mexico City?
"Apartments are the most recommended housing for expats. One reason is security, and also you can make friends easier on the social areas like swiming pools, tennis courts, etc," added another expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What is the average cost of housing in Mexico City?
If you are thinking about moving to Mexico City, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"Mexico City is an expensive city to live in. I am lucky to have my company pay for it, but to give an idea: A three bedroom apartment can go from US$2,500 - 5,000 per month plus utilities," explained one expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.
How do I meet people in Mexico City?
When we asked people living in Mexico City about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"Comunidad Cristiana Calacuaya, Monte Maria, Comunidad Fuente de Vida Vive, Centro de Fe, Esperanza y Amor Centenario," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico City.
"I suggest asking the American Embassy for the names of clubs and organizations in your área. Apart from that, I recommend you buy the english-speaking newspaper, join the local english-speaking churches that are gateways to clubs and organizations," remarked another expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.
What should I bring when moving to Mexico City?
People living in Mexico City were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:
"I wish I had brought with me all family & friends photo albums. They are of great help whenever you are crossing through the cultural shock. It helps by reminding you of friends and family. I also wish I had brought my stereo, dvd, etc since Mexico has the same electric outlet as USA. The last but not less important thing I wish I had brought with me is literature about Mexico (touristic sites, etc). since you can find them in Mexico but they are very expensive," explained one expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.
Will I be able to find a job in Mexico City?
When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Mexico City, they reponded:
"There is a little of everything yet positions in multinational companies when you have very little Spanish are almost impossible to find. You need to transfer from your own country or find an English speaking position such as ours," remarked another expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.
"Mostly corporate headquarters, all major international companies have offices here. Having a network and connections is very important. It is often that one will get a call from a friend who knows about a position at his or her company and will "invite" you to apply," added another expat in Mexico City.
What is life like in Mexico City?
When we asked people living in Mexico City what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"Mexicans work to live though btwn work and commuting they spend on average an exorbitant amount of time there yet always have time to stop and chat," added another expat in Mexico City.
"In this country, a social life is important. Have friends from your native country, but also befriend the people from your host country. The people here are lovely, warm, and affectionate," remarked another expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What do expats in Mexico City appreciate most about the local culture?
"Having to conceal the fact when and if you dislike someone. Not being able to throw temper tantrums in public without facing possible legal problems. Being able to enjoy the moment without being paralyzed by thoughts of what you have to do in an hour or tomorrow! Being obligated to greet each and every person who you come into verbal contact with, saying 'buenos' or 'buenas', which would be unheard of in the U.S," added another expat in Mexico City.
"The history is amazing, and you have the pyramids on one side, the beautiful beaches on another, the perfect climate, the warm and affectionate people, and the food tastes great," remarked another expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Not reading newspaper editorials that dare to criticize any Mexican political officials. Plus, very few people say what is on their minds, sort of the opposite of African-Americans, West Indians, or Jews in the United States. It is a xenophobic culture, for the most part, sort of like the Chinese culture. Mexicans are far, far more relaxed when and if they are amongst their own kind, although there are occasional and definite exceptions," remarked another expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.
"The frequency of the crime is never easy to adjust to. It's much better now, but when I moved to Mexico for the first time, smog was a big problem. There seems to be a lack of organization in the way the country functions. But if you look at it with a sense of humor, it's almost charming. No one likes corruption, and it's a problem here," added another expat in Mexico City.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Mexico City accepting of differences?
"Globalization violates the Mexican culture left and right, day and night and only those from the most healthy and functional homes are exempt from the melting pot of globalized world views. It would be safe to say that only 20% of the population adhere to strictly concervative values while 80-90% also practice respectful cultural norms," said another expat in Mexico City.
"The people that I've met who are Mexican are usually Catholic. They take their religión and traditions pretty seriously. The Americans I've met here are often Protestant, and also kind of religious and try to maintain their home traditions like Thanksgiving. Americans here, however, welcome the traditions of their host country, and adapt their traditions with those of Mexico. There is a little bit of tension between Mexicans and others towards Americans. There is respect, but a little bit of tensión. You're bound to meet someone who says something negative about your country. Don't argue. All you have to do is know better, and that's enough. To argue about it will only fan the flame. Choose to stay dignified and calm if you're faced with that situation. When they see you react so politely, they usually become more respectful about your country. If not, just let it go. It's not worth upsetting yourself over ignorance," added another expat who made the move to Mexico City.
What are the schools in Mexico City like?
"Contact them as soon as you can as places are limited. They are a new school and some year groups are almost full. Calls and emails are always returned," remarked another expat living in Mexico City with children attending The Wingate School.
"I would recommend this school for people looking to enroll their child in Elementary school with no knowledge of English/Spanish due to the classes they give as a resource improve the language. My child was very understanding of both English and Spanish after 6 months even though she had no prior skills in neither language. The kids changing from 5-6 grade are very well instructed, with the school even offering a day where the kids were able to see the classes and meet the teachers before the actual start of school. I personally dislike the buildings due to the amount of stairs (the school counts with classes in the 5 floors for all grades.) The technology teacher doesn't seem to be very keen on the matter, with some students knowing more than her. My daughter complains about lack of creativity coming from that teacher. During the end of the bimesters, the kids are left with both projects and exams and only have thanksgiving before semestral exams to study. The current principal is not as pleasant as I would like her to be, showing very rude behavior to both parents and students and having her own "favorites" amongst teachers. (I heard there will be a change of principals in the 2015-2016 year, and I expect them to make some changes in staff. The school's nurse is always absent, and so the elementary school nurse has to take care of the middle and high school buildings too. She is very caring for the kids and my daughter was well taken care of when I took some time to pick her up. She doesn't give your child medicine without written permission or phone call (which I thought was great since some nurses give advil or tylenol to girls due to cramps) Westhill is a good option if you're okay with changing schools before your kid reaches high school since that area is very poorly handled," said another expat in Mexico City with children at Weshill Institute.
What are the pros and cons of living in Mexico City?
Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Mexico City responded:
"I have lived in 8 US states and four foreign countries - 29 addresses in all. No where has the cultural and historical offerings while still be as affordable as Mexico City. The city has a near-perfect climate and is visually stunning," mentioned another expat living in Mexico City.
"I love Mexico City because there are a lot of things to do and it's a very walkable city. However, I recognize that it can be unsafe and this is the only negative," said an expat in Mexico City.
What type of social life can someone expect in Mexico City?
When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Mexico City, they replied:
"Mexico City is great when you're young and can party because meeting other young expats in this age group will be easy. The older you get the harder it can be to meet other expats of your age," mentioned another expat inMexico City.
What are medical services in Mexico City like?
When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Mexico City, they replied:
"Traditional medicine is widely available and accessible in Mexico city. However, eastern and homeopathic medicine isn't as common and therefore not as reliable," remarked another expat living in Mexico City.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
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