Life in Mexico
The mere thought excites and inspires people from all over the world to call this place “home.” As they begin to turn their dream into a reality, they quickly realize that it’s not just the beautiful weather, warm hospitality and lively culture that appeals to them. It’s also a lower cost of living in Mexico.
Compared to what they would pay in their home countries – namely Canada and the United States – long-term visitors and expats find that living in Mexico is generally less expensive. It is possible to live well in Mexico for less. However, the reasons to move south shouldn’t be based on a low cost of living alone. Ultimately, where you decide to live in Mexico as well as your lifestyle choices and needs will determine your living costs.
Note: The June 23rd, 2022 exchange rate was used for our comparisons (20 MXN peso for every 1 US dollar).
Calling All Foodies
If you’re dining like a local, you’ll pay an average of 100-150 MXN ($5.00-$7.50) for a quick bite. If someone is joining you for a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant, you’ll likely pay about 500 MXN ($25.00 US) for the two of you.
If you’re planning to do your own cooking, you’ll need to visit the neighbourhood markets or small grocery stores for the best, local prices. Prices vary, depending on seasons and specials, but you can expect to pay the following* for these must-have items. Prices, of course, vary by region and towns. Here, we use the Numbeo website which specifies “To collect data Numbeo relies on user inputs and manually collected data from authoritative sources (websites of supermarkets, taxi company websites, governmental institutions, newspaper articles, other surveys, etc.). Manually collected data from established sources are entered twice per year.”
The table below is intended as a general reference for a city like Puerto Escondido.
|Food Item||Mex. Pesos||US Dollar|
|Apples (1 kilo)||47.50||2.38|
|Banana (1 kilo)|
Beef Round (1 kilo)
Bread (freshly made, white)
|Cheese (1 kilo) locally made||153||7.65|
|Chicken filets (1 kilo)||97.30||4.87|
|Lettuce (1 head)||18||0.90|
|Milk (1 liter)||20.93||1.05|
|Onion (1 kilo)||19.33||0.97|
|Oranges (1 kilo)||15.25||0.76|
|Rice (1 lb. white)||22.50||1.13|
|Potato (1 kilo)||21||1.05|
|Tomato (1 kilo)||18.50||0.93|
Partner your favourite entrees with locally made cervezas (beers), international wines, soda, coffee and more!
|Drink Item||Mex. Pesos||US Dollar|
Beer (0.5 litre bottle, domestic)
Beer (0.33 litre bottle, imported)
Soda (0.33 litre bottle)
Water (0.33 litre bottle)
Wine (mid-range bottle)
*Average costs according to NUMBEO.
Fresh organic produce costs considerably less at local farmers’ markets. The local street vendors will have fresh produce available for bargain prices as well.
A taxi ride within the immediate area will cost 45 pesos ($2.25). A cab can be hired for day trips or arranged tours. Prices are negotiable and reasonable for the convenience. Many people don’t even own cars as the cost of transportation is reasonable and readily available.
Mexico is a popular destination for medical tourism. It offers high quality care, affordable costs and no lines. This is especially appealing for Canadians who don’t want to wait months (or years) for highly anticipated care, and for Americans who don’t want to pay inflated insurance rates.
Read our article: How To: Health Insurance for Expats in Mexico
1.2 million people travel to Mexico every year for medical services. In general, you will pay about $15-30 to see a general doctor or between $30-$60 to see a specialist. You will pay about the same for a house call. (Yes, that’s right, a house call!) A visit to the dentist is about the same rate.
Lab work is typically about a third of what one would be charged by a U.S.-based office. CAT scans are a quarter of the cost, and an overnight hospital stay in a private room comes to about 10,761 MXN ($538). Even more serious medical conditions/needs, such as surgery, dialysis and live-in care, are more affordable in Mexico than in the U.S. (And there’s little to no waiting time for our fellow Canadians!)
Those living in Mexico get the added bonus of choosing between two medical systems:
Government Healthcare – Mexico’s government-run clinics and hospitals provide low cost, well-managed, basic care for a few hundred dollars each year. It’s called the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), and it covers covers medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and prescriptions. Expats holding a residency visa may apply for this medical insurance for approximately $500 per year, per person.
Private Healthcare – Private health insurance premiums from companies such as Grupo Nacional Provincial, MetLife Mexico and Monterrey-New York Life vary but cost generally $1700 per year.
Prescriptions are a fraction of the cost as in the US. A medical doctor is available at most pharmacies in case you have questions. This service costs about 50 pesos.
As previously mentioned, the healthcare in Mexico is high quality. International Living and CNBC both point out that “physicians have usually received at least some of their training in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. If not medical school, they receive ongoing training abroad. All the latest technology, techniques, and prescriptions are available in Mexico. And having major surgery or treatment for serious medical conditions is not a problem.”
Check out or other articles about the Cost of Living in Mexico and How to Find High Quality Medical Care in Mexico. And if you’re ready to create a whole new life for yourself, build new relationships and immerse yourself in a new culture, we can help you find the home you are looking for.