Categories: Advice and TipsMexico

A Little Expat Living… Cost of Living in a Mexican Beach Town (2018)

Two years ago, I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for five months after having traveled steadily for two years. It was the first time I stayed put in one spot and became a semi-expat. As the months passed, I was so surprised by how affordable living there was that I shared a cost of living post … mostly for the readers in the A Little Adrift community who had written me over the years wondering how they could afford to also live abroad. Long story short, that post went viral and has had half a million visitors intrigued by the $485 baseline costs to live in Thailand.

Clearly the financials are interesting. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a similar post outlining my recent semi-expat stint in a tiny beach town in Mexico earlier this year — this time with a bonus five-minute video, covering everything the post below does if you’re keen on video rather than text! Baseline (and total) costs to live in Mexico came in under $745 every month. I’ve also lived in Oaxaca too, and it’s even more affordable.

This post was last updated in early 2017 with new information. This video shares the costs, style of living, quality of life, and other details about living as an expat in Mexico:

If you’re a reading person instead, below are the details covered in the video.

Total Cost of a Month of Living in San Pancho, Mexico

This entire post outlines the baseline costs — my fixed monthly expenses for one person living in a beach town on the west coast of Mexico. Living in Mexico is ideal for budget-conscious expats, retirees, and travelers. Those living in nearby Costa Rica or Panama tend to have higher monthly averages, so I found my Mexico living situation ideal. Mexico also has a very generous visa policy — six months on arrival for Americans, which helps keep total living costs low.

The chart shows the basics you’ll need to cover when living in most parts of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta and surrounding communities are generally pricier than spots in Oaxaca, and perhaps on par for places like San Miguel de Allende. Not included in this breakdown of costs: medical/health insurance, my plane flight to Mexico, or any expenses I incur outside of living (running this site, insurance, work, etc). But all the baseline costs are covered, and really unlike the Thailand post, this total includes toiletries and any expenses inside Mexico that cropped up — I never withdrew more than USD $750 from the ATM each month. And this budget is on the high-end for one person; if I had looked around for an apartment or shared a house with friends my costs would have lowered to $600 (and my friend Earl says that’s about the cost of living in Playa del Carmen on the east coast beaches as well. I also spent less than that easily when I lived in Oaxaca, which is an inland city and far cheaper than the coastal towns, so your money will go further. I share more Mexico resources at the end).

Monthly Expenses Cost (USD$)
Rent & Internet $375
Electricity & Water $0
Food $300
Transportation $20
Entertainment $50
    Total $745

One of the high points of Mexico, a clear advantage over living in Asia, is the visa situation. As a US citizen I receive a six months visa on arrival automatically, and this can be reset simply by crossing a border and coming back … indefinitely. For those considering moving overseas without the chance for a retirement visa, the visa policy in Mexico is a very big boon. The visa situation in Southeast Asia is a lot trickier, and though I didn’t include the visa runs into my baseline costs in SEA, it was a part of living there for six months that could add up a lot if you were there years on end. Right now the peso is roughly 18 pesos to 1 US dollar as a guide to the food and transport costs I mention (check that exchange rate here).

What Does That Look Like in Terms of Living Life?

The various facets of living abroad are part of what makes one place appeal to some expats while others prefer something vastly different. I’m on the fence between Asia and Latin America, I love them both for different reasons, so rather than compare these aspects of life to each other, below is the food, life, and culture you get for that budget living in a beach town on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Sunset is a nightly ritual and a great way to meet the other expats and locals in town as everyone takes to the shores every single night for what have to be some of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen.

A Light, Airy Studio Apartment

I didn’t look very hard for my apartment; in fact, it’s the first one I came across. I loved the family compound I lived within (they had a separate house with three rental apartments within their lot) and it’s one of the things I value living solo … I like having other people nearby who have my well-being in mind in case something happens. So, the apartment was 4,500 pesos per month ( $375) which is on the high-end for a studio in my town but the price included all utilities and really strong internet, which is essential for my online work.

A high point of living in Mexico is the fact that apartments and houses come with full kitchens (though mine was minus an oven), this is really great if you’re a keen cook—anything you rent here will likely come with a stove and pots and pans if it’s a furnished apartment. Other than the kitchen it had everything else you would expect in a studio— full-size bed, counter with stools (where I worked from), closet, and a bathroom (a tour is shown in the video above).

Other places in town rent out as vacation rentals or rooms for anywhere from USD $200 per month on the very low-end (likely no wi-fi) to $500+ for 1 and 2 bedrooms. And one town over, in Sayulita (which is bigger and more touristy has a great beach, a lot more food, bars, etc), then apartment prices are actually pretty comparable if you like the idea of Mexico but think my town was a bit too small! :)

Delicious Vegetarian Eats

It’s no secret I’m a vegetarian, so for me, a country gets bonus points for not only the accessibility of vegetarian food, but the understanding of the concept of vegetarianism. Mexico’s good on both fronts, though not always great. During high season my little town had just enough options to keep it interesting, and as the seasons shifted I cooked in my apartment a lot more using fresh veggies from the markets, which was fun and gave me a kick toward my goal of becoming a better cook (Asia spoiled me because the lack of kitchens and cheap street food meant I never had to learn to cook these past years).

For costs, a cheap quesadilla runs 15 pesos (just over $1) at one of the stands, a nicer taco is about 40 pesos (about $3.25), and a veggie meal at one of the handful of restaurants in town runs up to $10 or $15 USD. I was lucky to have friends in town so I could split one of the big pizzas for our weekly Friday-night gatherings, and my friends Victoria and Steve often hosted potlucks. I drink a lot of coffee, so although I made my own pot each day, the food budget included many espressos each week. My food budget was pretty generous so if you cook at home, even cooking meat I think you could get by on 1000 pesos each week. I often bought organic veggies (expensive) at the Friday market in Sayulita, so the food budget is generous for a range of eating styles.

Getting From Here to There

One of the perks of living in a one-street town is that you don’t need a whole lot of transportation! That being said, I chose to live on the far end of the main street very close the community center where I volunteered (and about a 10-minute walk from the beach). 10 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but in the scorching heat I was happy to have use of a bicycle from the family compound.

And for leaving San Pancho, Puerto Vallarta is about 45 minutes away and costs just a few dollars each way on the bus—this is the closest big city. Sayulita is a perfectly lovely small town (much bigger than mine though) and it was merely 20 minutes up the road. This ride costs $1 each way on the bus or a quick (and easy) hitchhike ride. Sayulita was perfect to have nearby if I needed to vary up my food, explore a bit, or just get out of town for a few hours. There are many other beaches driveable, some ruins, old stuff to look at, etc if you’re keen to explore. I worked a lot so my bike took me most anywhere I wanted to go.

Nightlife in San Pancho

Dos Bertos y Las Musas play every Friday at Darjeeling during the high season in San Pancho, Mexico.

I am not a partier. Whew, glad we got that out of the way. Now, when I say that I have a low-budget for alcohol and partying you can adjust it up accordingly for yourself. San Pancho is a great town for nightlife if you like a bit of variety but nothing too crazy—no dance clubs but we did have two great bars and a lot of live music throughout the week. In fact, during high season there was live music at one of the bars or restaurants nearly every night.

One of the things I loved best about the town was that the pace of partying was a lot closer to what I prefer—everyone chilling, talking, listening to music, and enjoying company. Add to that some game nights at Victoria and Steve’s for Jungle Speed (had never heard of this game but it was fun and hilarious to play in a group), beach bonfires, and conversation …I felt like Goldilocks, San Pancho was just right.

Quality of Life in Mexico

This bit surprised me some, I knew that many Americans headed south of our border to live but I never really understood why until I stopped and spent four months on the Pacific coast taking in the truly stunning sunsets, the relaxed atmosphere and the affordable lifestyle. The only thing I expected but never found was the fear and danger.

I talked about danger last week and how our perceptions and reality are often skewed, and I think that is true of Mexico. While there are certainly dangerous places in Mexico, the country is huge, the people and cultures shift and change with the terrain and there are some surprisingly safe cities throughout the country if you know where to look (look to the blogosphere!).

I really loved the access to affordable healthcare (a bonus Thailand had as well), like-minded expats who I now call close friends, and a pace of life that encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the little moments.

The short of it all is that Mexico proved more expensive at daily living than Thailand, but still at least half the rent I paid living in Los Angeles in my pre-travel days. And the flights to Mexico are far cheaper for North Americans. Although it wasn’t as cheap, I have continued to make Mexico a regular stop on my travels in the years since I lived in San Pancho. The plane flights are affordable, I speak the language, and I enjoy the culture. It’s a privilege to even have this ability, and I appreciate that Mexico has a lot to offer American expats. And likewise, many of these towns appreciate the influx of money and added services that come with expats moving to town.

It’s the sum total of it all that I love — by living outside the US I am able to scale back the hours I have to work each week to survive, and instead focus that attention on doing things I love: volunteering in the nearby community center, taking photographs, and having the time to enjoy the friendships I make. No place is perfect, but for $750 a month, nightly sunsets, lots of friends, and tasty tacos… I’ll return to Mexico soon. :)

Relevant Links and Resources for Moving to Mexico

  • Consider a good travel insurance policy like World Nomads to cover you while you’re either in transit visiting your future homes, or their insurance policies (coupled with Clements for personal belongings) work really well as long-term expat insurance too. I have used them both in tandem since 2008.
  • Read The People’s Guide to Mexico: Even if you’re a veteran Mexico traveler, this is hands-down the best guidebook you should use to understand the various regions, the cultural quirks, and all the reasons Mexico is a fantastic place to travel and live. It comes highly recommended by me, and by heaps of Amazon reviewers too.
  • Living in Guatemala: This eguide shares the cost of living and what it’s like in one of my favorite spots in Central America, Guatemala. Although different than Mexico’s expat scene, there are some very compelling reasons (great culture and affordability, to name two) to consider moving to Guate.
  • A Better Life for Half the Price: A Mexican expat breaks down all the major expat spots in the world with costs, quality of living, and resources. I learned heaps and found a couple countries I hadn’t previously considered. It’s worth buying if you’re still searching out which country is best for the life you want to live.
  • Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America: There are a lot of these general guides. The book above, Better Life is about where is a good culture fit, whereas this is the better of the lot of “move overseas” books that covers the practicalities and very hands-on information you need as someone considering living anywhere outside the U.S. If you’re new all the researching, this can kick-start your process. And if you are laser-focused on the retirement topic, versus moving overseas at a different state in life, this retirement guide has great advice.
  • The Tax Book for U.S. Expats: This is well-priced and unique to expats and retirees filing abroad. It gives a granular look at forms, terms, and sorting out exactly how to file — good for those with complicated tax situations. More recently released, U.S. Taxes for Worldly Americans goes broader and is aimed at younger expats and digital nomads still working and handling how to earn income overseas, pay taxes, and live a nomadic life. It doesn’t explain the terms or niche situations/forms as well as the other book, but instead acts as a guide for younger travelers. Depending on your situation, pick up a copy of one of these guides before you leave so that you will have a tax system in place that maximizes the opportunities to easily file.
  • You’ll also want property insurance once you’re living overseas — I’ve used Clements for many years now.
  • Check out a Facebook group called “On the Road in Mexico” is a good place to ask questions of other expats.
  • And dig through the two solid Mexico expat forums here.

Other Mexico Cost of Living Posts

  • Couples apartment in San Pancho: A look at another rental property in town.
  • Couples budget in Sayulita: A thorough breakdown of how much an apartment and life will cost in Sayulita, which is the larger town 20 minutes from San Pancho.
  • Two solo budgets in Playa del Carmen: Nomadic Notes and Wandering Earl break down costs on an east coast beach.
  • Family budget in Lake Chapala: While the site is no longer active, this archived version shares a family of three’s budget in the interior.
  • Thailand cost of living post: I reference this throughout and thought I’d provide a handy link if you’re keen to compare living costs.
  • Oaxaca City, Mexico. I haven’t written up this as a full detailed budget post, but I lived in Oaxaca for six months in 2016. The pace of life is different inland, and the city is at altitude (about the same as Denver). There is also a large expat community of snowbirds. There is a rich cultural and food history. I wrote a detailed guide to visiting Oaxaca. Budget-wise, my rent was half of rent in San Pacho and for more space. If you’re looking at long-term rentals (not the three-month apartment rentals that are quickly filled in winters by snowbirds), you can find a two-bedroom on the edge of Oaxaca Centro for less than USD $300. Food is affordable and the city has some of the most famous restaurants in the country.

San Pancho Travel and Visit Specifics

Airport to SP: Cheapest is the bus, by far. Taxis are going to run you a fair bit more. The bus makes a number of stops, but it’s not so bad. I had a friend who luckily was able to pick me up my first day, but after that I frequently made the trek into Puerta Vallarta via bus. Where ever you book for accommodation will also be able to arrange a taxi pick-up (sometimes for less than the going rate if you hail one) if you reach out beforehand. If you are already in the area, the bus is straightforward and takes 45 minutes to an hour from downtown PV.

Finding Accommodation: There are three tiers, the Hostal San Pancho if you don’t mind a shared-dorm; this is the most affordable option in town. Above the hostel is an affordable, very nice guesthouse called Refugio de Sol. Or Roberto’s Bungalows is boutique and just great — Earl and his wife run this place and they are simply fantastic and well linked into the expat community.

If you’re in Sayulita, my friends rented a nice place from Villas Vista Suites for three months— I would start there for online hunting. If you’re using Sayulita as your base, consider the Aurinko Bungalows or Casa Pia as a midrange option and then daytrip over to San Pancho. These all come recommended, and if you plan to move to the area they are a good base. From each you can rent a bicycle for the day or walk around town and you will see many signs for rent. You can also talk with local expats and ask around. With average Spanish, you will have no problem finding something in just a few days, especially if it’s low season (get there before November). If you don’t speak Spanish, or you came in high season, pop into the real estate agencies. They handle rentals too and are fantastic resources on any city mentioned. For a midrange hotel in Puerto Vallarta, look at Hotel Mercurio.

Working: There are some places that hire expats, though it’s under the table. To get these gigs you will definitely need to be in town and getting to know the people, places, and other expats. I know for sure that some friends worked at the mid-range and high-end restaurants in SP or Sayulita. A few expats also taught English for a small stipend at Entre Amigos, the community center.

Other: For work and living, it really will be so much easier on the ground. It’s a very small town and the expat community is super supportive. It’s a cinch to get the lay of the land once you arrive. Places like Darjeeling have fantastic tea and food, and then live music throughout the week. SP is more low-key than Sayulita, but there is usually something to do 2-5 nights a week depending on the season, and then you can always go to Sayulita if you need more of a vibe sometimes.

Deciding Where to Live

In response to numerous emails asking about the differences between the handful of towns north of Puerto Vallarta, here’s Cliff’s Notes summary of the differences in case you’re sussing out which is better for you. All three would have similar costs of living.  And then I include a couple other towns and thoughts in case you’re looking at other Mexican towns:

Bucerias: Sprawling, no defined downtown area, neighborhoods stacked behind a big road and a beach. Very close to the PV, several big resorts. Less heavy with expats than any other surrounding town. No defined personality.
Sayulita: Very small, beach is very crowded with surfers because the water is good for swimming, entirely walkable within the town. Lots of restaurants, shops, a language school, etc. Touristy but a very clear personality with organic markets, yoga shops, surfers, etc. More of a nightlife than San Pancho (a later nightlife I should say).
San Pancho: Tiny, one main road, a handful of options for restaurants. One, sometimes two, coffee shops. Beach is gorgeous but not very safe for kids swimming (though some do) because of strong waves/undertow. A tight-knit group of expats, can’t leave home without seeing someone you know. Local kids have free reign of the whole town. Lots of musicians and something going on each night of the week in high season at one of the pubs/bars.
Guanajuato/San Miguel: In the interior, these two towns just exude pretty colonial charm. San Miguel del Allende is smaller and more popular with expats, while Guanajuato is a decent sized city with a great vibe, an affordable cost of living, and a decent-but-not-overwhelming expat community.
Oaxaca: I lived here for six months and found it is one of the most affordable expat cities in Mexico. The community is different than what you find in San Miguel or PV, it seems there are more opportunities to integrate into Mexican life. This is the food heart of Mexico, there are many indigenous cultures in and around the city, and the only real drawback is the political nature of the city — there are a lot of strikes and protests from the teachers unions and other groups.
Yucatan: Hugely popular with expats (and spring breakers), a bit pricier than the west coast, gorgeous beaches and diving. Very touristy region in general but convenient and safe.

Happy travels!

Cost of Living Comparison

Still researching the right spot to live? Our Cost of Living Guides share extensive resources or all the major expat spots around the world. These guides include thorough breakdowns of the culture, quality of life, vibe, and — importantly — budget breakdowns so you can better plan which spot in the world best meets your needs.

If there is ever anything that I can do to help, please do reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let’s talk about how we can make your travel dream a reality.

This post was last modified on June 30, 2018, 3:39 pm

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  • Guanajuato is a wonderful place, but I prefer beach resort towns or university towns where there's cultural and infrastructure. Guanajuato is a very nice place I'd recommend. The small towns are economical, but most are very primitive in infrastructure and with limited activities, but you are appreciated more in those places. Certainly, smaller towns are cheaper, because they don't have a lot to spend your money on and restaurants are more questionable. I like active places like Puerto Vallarta where there's modern conveniences and more choices. For expats, most would be more comfortable in a more modern infrastructure. I'd estimate small town living at $1,000/mo. or less and living in P.V. may be $2-3,000 per month depending on how busy your lifestyle may be; however, you can live cheap everywhere in Mexico given a moderate distance from the tourist centers. There may be some crime anywhere you go, but I find it much more limited than news reports announce - one tiny crime in Mexico involving a tourist is broadcast everywhere when crimes back home get little notice - so many are misinformed. Keep in mind: Tourists or expats are treasured in Mexico and get excellent protection especially in the resorts - they don't want bad publicity and they want tourists to enjoy their visits - some places a major part of the economy is tourism and they protect that business with some locations actually having special police to assist tourists - they are amazingly accommodating if you have any incident and will assist you if any vendor cheats you, too, so you should feel very comfortable in Mexico, but avoid any cities or towns with higher crime rates. In Mexico, there's much diversity from one town to the next, so select a town where you feel comfortable.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and offering up so much detail for others who are looking to move to Mexico but aren't sure which spots are the best fit for their situation. Like you, I deeply love the coastal areas and beach towns, although there are some incredibly charming small towns too Thanks again for weighing in!

  • Shannon, do you have any knowledge surrounding keeping horses in Mexico (either in the areas you experienced or otherwise?) My fiancée is a Mexican national and we are prepared to move to Mexico if things don't work out immigration-wise in the US. I have been a horseperson all my life and if we end up moving, having horses nearby, access to riding facilities or have the ability to keep them is extremely important. I would fit right in working in a tourist-type facility, which would be ideal. My fiancée is from a remote town in Chiapas and doesn't have much knowledge to offer. Any insights or connections?

    • Interesting question, and not one where I will have a lot of firm ideas here as it's a bit outside of my wheelhouse. I know that if you are bringing your own horses to Mexico then you will face a barrage of paperwork and vaccines before they can enter — it would likely cost a bit of money and be a headache, but would be fully doable. If you are hoping to buy and keep a horse, I can't imagine you having much of an issue with that, especially in the smaller cities where there are many farms and such just outside the city. Many farmers and people on the outskirts of the city own horses, and you could surely find a way to stable a horse with a local family if your house/apartment wasn't ideal.

      Then there will also be quirky situations and opportunities that are harder to find but certainly exist. When I lived in San Pancho, which is just north of Puerto Vallarta, there was a Polo Club in the town with active polo matches and such. That's the sort of place where you could perhaps find work. Or if you look into towns that run horseback riding tours and experiences for tourists, then you would also be finding the cities in Mexico that have horses, stables, and touristy areas where you would perhaps find both work and a chance to be near horses.

      Some expats also start their own tour companies — find a house with a small stable, run horse treks and such for tourists in an area with pretty locations but not a lot of English-language tourism yet. Horses are still integral to the way that many Mexicans run their farms, so there is absolutely a horse culture that you can tap into once you are there.

      I suggest that you also join some of the Mexico expat forums and ask around. Even if you don't find expats owning horses, many will have insight about if there are stables in their town/city.

      Hope that helps generate some ideas! Best of luck,

      ~S

  • Hi Shannon,
    My dream is to travel the world in 3 years, I was planning to travel with my husband but unfortunately our relationship ended recently. I guess now I am a new solo traveler.!!

    For my first solo trip (it iwill be only 2 weeks since i am still full time working) , i need a mixture of quiet and safe place to rejuvenate in jungle or a tropical environement for maybe a week and then another week near a quiet beach to relax and visiting the area. It could be 2 different places in the same country. I am thinking of Mexico or Central/ South America or Carribean. (I am Canadian) . It will be my first time solo, so I am scared to start but I need to break the ice. I could deal with local travel agency as well. If I could meet expats on my way it would be great !

    Do you have any idea where I can go or refer me to interesting blog or websites ? I am lost on the Web (too many web sites) . I am a 55 years old woman, I speak french and english. Few words in Spanish.
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Your blog is FANTASTIC !

    • Hi Diane! So glad that you've found my site helpful as you plan your upcoming travels. Your first solo trip is a biggie, and I understand your hesitation to dive in when there are so many sites and so much information. Mexico or Costa Rica could both make for exactly the type of experience that you are looking for. As a first-time solo traveler, there are some parts of Mexico that you might want to steer clear of as navigating well takes a bit of travel savvy that only comes with time on the road. For that reason, I recommend that you look to the Yucatan — it has some incredible beaches, and jungles in the center with Mayan ruins... truly an abundance of opportunity and I love the region so much that I took my nephews there on a three-week road-trip (I wrote up a guide to what we did here https://alittleadrift.com/countries/yucatan-mexico/ and a photo journey of it here: https://alittleadrift.com/yucatan-mexico-kids/). It was really a wonderful experience and I know I would have equally enjoyed that route solo.

      My other thought is that Costa Rica would surely make for an excellent first-time experience. There is lush rainforest throughout, but also amazing quiet beach towns too. I don't have a CR guide, but I think you could plan a great trip using the information on these two sites: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-guides/costa-rica-travel-tips/ and https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/costa-rica-your-2-week-itinerary/

  • Hi Shannon,
    Im from Houston.. I was wandering if you think there may be opptys for americans to live there & get into a little business or sell real estate & if so where do you suggest would be the ideal spot?

    Thanks,

    Bill Brooks

    • Hard to say Bill, this is certainly not my area of expertise. I know that local real estate agents have a few more roles in the community, in that they also negotiate rentals and such. Certainly there are many real estate agencies, even in tiny towns, and certainly in some of the more affluent expat communities. Consider floating this question in some of the Facebook groups linked in the post as they might have other ideas. Cheers, ~S

  • This post is *really* thorough! Thank you for that. When it comes to Mexico, I'm definitely on board with Costa Rica being more expensive...but you *can* drink the water which is nice. The food is definitely more expensive than Asia! I'm all about the small towns, and I also don't party much so maybe San Pancho is next for me...? :)

    • Very true about the water — sometimes it's really nice to know you can go to your tap and fill up without worry! San Pancho has a truly great vibe if you like small towns. :)

  • Great column. I lived in Huatulco on the coast of Oaxaca from 2004 to 2007. I found my monthly expenses were about $650 US: $230 US to rent a furnished apartment, maybe another $70 for monthly utilities and internet. I ate out at least one meal a day, went to the local movie theater and rented DVDs every weekend, and generally had a relaxing, quiet lifestyle.
    I've been working north of the border since 2007, but my goal is to retire are age 55 and go live in Mexico on my pension. I'm sure prices have increased since then, but I think it should be quite doable.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences. I do think prices have gone up a bit since then, mostly the global cost of food. The rents are still very affordable and I found something in that range in Oaxaca just last year. So, when you're ready to return, there is surely going to be an affordable quiet life still there and waiting. :)

  • Hola Shannon,

    Thanks for this post! I have learned some things that are very helpful. I hope I can visit many of the places you have listed here. I do want to ask, have you been to Acapulco? What are your thoughts about Acapulco compared to Oaxaca? I have visited there a few times, and I love it, despite some of the negative parts of the city, and state of Guerrero. I personally love it there, have met some wonderful people, and have not ran into any trouble.

    I'm definitely going to follow you here. But, I always mention this to travelers when I run across good content, check out Steemit.com. I don't mean to spam by any means, but I think if you check out the travel blogs there, you will see why I mention it.

    I found your blog because I was looking for more info on how to manage the tourist visa. The longest I have stayed is 10 days, so thanks for your tips!

    Best of luck!

    Kris

    • Visa should be no issue at all if you have a U.S. passport, and I haven't traveled to Acapulco. I have to say, the issues in surrounding Guerrero have made it a no-go for me. I know that many say it's safe to fly in and out, but the surrounding instability make is so I wouldn't feel securing knowing I had a base that I could return to year in and year out.

  • Hi Shannon, Your site is great and very interesting. I lived in Chapala, Jalisco for 2 years and my wife and I are looking at moving back this winter. Chapala has changed so much that we are looking around at other possibilities. We definitely want to check out San Pancho but my question is about the weather. The great thing about Chapala was it never got really hot or cold. How do you handle the heat? Is it really humid in San Pancho? Thanks so much.

    • Hmm, it does rain a lot in the summer and it's very muggy. There are certainly some people who live there year-round, but I also know a good number of expats tend to head back to the states to visit in June and July. I haven't been in SP in a while, but in 2013/2014 the summer rains would occaisionally even take out the power in San Pancho, but not nearby Sayulita. I am a native Floridian, so I am probably a bad person to advise on how tolerable it is there during the hot/wet season since I have a pretty high threshold. But suffice to say it's not going to be like Chapala. It can be very cool in Dec/Jan, but it does get humid and warm by July!