Cost Of Living In Merida, Mexico (And Is It Safe For Expats?)
With remote working becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional work, traveling is now easier than ever. Now, millions of people around the world have the chance to live and work abroad, all without having to change jobs. If you have ever thought about moving to another country and working remotely, now is the time to do so.
While many digital nomads and expats choose to move to Europe, Asia, or Latin America, the transition is not always easy. As such, many people choose to move somewhere closer to the United States while considering moving further away. Mexico is one of the popular destinations for these people, as it is close to the U.S. but also different enough to experience life abroad.
If you like history, nature, mansions, museums, and great food, Merida is a great destination for you to consider. In this guide, we will be taking a look at the cost of living in Merida… As well as everything you need to know about this wonderful place. Let’s get started!
Cost Of Living In Merida, Mexico
Now we are going to see what the cost of living is like in Merida, Mexico. Of course, it will vary by person, family, lifestyle, and location. No one can tell you whether or not you can live for $1,000 or $5,000 a month. It’s also going to vary on where you decide to live in Merida.
So in this section, we are going to share basic ranges for all of the things you need to be concerned about. Let’s go!
The first thing we’ll start with is housing. This is dependent upon a couple of things:
- Size of the house
- Amenities associated with the house you are buying or renting
Taking this into account, we are going to be solely focused on rental prices. You need to know that rental prices are very different depending on where you live in Merida, Mexico.
In North Merida, you can expect to pay between 20,000 and 25,000 pesos ($960-$1,100) for 3 bedrooms and 4 baths. You can also find 50,000 pesos houses ($2,400) with 5 bedrooms and 4 baths in the area of Monte Cristo. However, as chances are that most people won’t require so much space, you can also find nice 1 bedroom apartments starting at 13,000 pesos ($625).
As such, if you are moving to North Merida (which is the nicest area), you can expect to pay between 13,000 and 50,000 pesos a month. This seems like a pretty good deal for the beautiful houses that are offered.
In terms of dollars, a good price for renting in Merida would be between $700 to $1,200 a month for an unfurnished property. If you want any properties that are furnished, they are going to cost you a bit more. A good price to pay for these would be between $1,100 and $1,500.
You will need to pay for utilities to live a comfortable life. You will need things like electricity, internet, water, and gas. So what are the prices for these in Merida, Mexico? Let’s see.
- Water = 60 pesos per month ($3). Water bill is probably the cheapest bill you’ll have on your utilities. That’s because Merida is flushed with water. They have plenty of it underground.
- Gas = 830 pesos per month ($40). You call the company when you need your gas refilled. This can be done every 3-4 months. Gas is used for things like the stove, dryer, and water heater.
- Electricity = 3,310 pesos per month ($158). Your most expensive utility is going to be your electric bill. This will largely depend on how much you use your air conditioner.
- Internet = 400 pesos per month ($20). The Internet is an extremely important utility. With the pandemic, all forms of communication and socializing changed. Luckily, it’s not expensive in Merida, Mexico.
So there is Uber in Merida. This is super convenient if you need to travel around the big spaces that Merida has. Luckily, these are always very affordable. You should never expect to pay more than 100 pesos ($5) for a ride.
If you have a car, fuel will cost around 74 pesos per gallon ($3). These are costs similar to the ones in the U.S. You could also rent a bike, with their prices varying between 125-250 pesos ($6-$12) a day.
In Merida, you could expect to spend 2,082 pesos per month ($100) on groceries. It can be less if you don’t go to Walmart and use only the local markets. These are amazing and have everything you need. Tons of fresh fruits and vegetables are available there.
In addition to all we covered before, we have the cost of insurance. This includes:
- Car insurance
- Home insurance
- Health insurance
The total cost for all of this goes around 4,500 pesos per month ($225).
We’ve made the calculations and the information is ready. Let’s see:
- Housing = 20,000 pesos ($1,000)
- Utilities = 4,600 pesos ($221)
- Transportation = 4,166 pesos ($200)
- Groceries = 2,082 pesos ($100)
- Insurance = 4,500 pesos ($225)
All of this summed up gives us a total of 36,360 pesos ($1,745). Always remember that these numbers are highly dependent on the area you live and the lifestyle you want.
However, this is the most accurate information you can get as it is based on Merida’s average population.
Is Merida Safe For Expats?
Merida is kind of awesome because it’s one of the rare places where there is a big expat community. However, you don’t have all the nightmares that come with tourist destinations.
Other places in Mexico have big expat communities. These include Ajijic, Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun. But, with those places come lots of tourist traps, scams, high prices, and other less than desirable things.
Here in Merida, you have a huge population of expats and fellow travelers to connect with.
This can bring you safety and help you avoid undesirable moments.
But, why is Merida so safe for expats and everyone in general?
The answer is simple. The police presence. The police ride around the city with their lights on to let you know they are around. They have lots of police officers that can actively patrol in any particular area.
Furthermore, Merida’s policemen are paid more than the average in the country. So the police here tend to be more professional and less corrupt than in other places within Mexico.
This gives peace of mind to any person that lives or wants to move there.
Finally, it is worth mentioning all of the surveillance cameras in Merida. They are everywhere. On any major intersection or major street, you can find a camera pointing in all directions. Merida is definitely one of the most connected and monitored cities in the world.
Reasons For Travelling To Merida
So why would you come to Merida when there are many other options that exist? Is it better than other cities in America? Let’s find out its biggest perks.
One of Merida’s biggest appeals is that it’s known as the safest city in Mexico. According to many tourists that have been there for a while, problems with cameras, backpacks, and cellphones were nonexistent.
Honestly, Merida is as safe as other cities including Guadalajara, Oaxaca. It could even be safer. According to Ceoworld Magazine, in 2019, Merida was recognized as the second safest city in the Americas, only behind Quebec.
Another thing you are going to love about Merida are these giant and beautiful properties called “haciendas.” Haciendas are these huge buildings with dozens of rooms that have lots of different purposes.
Most of them are hundreds upon hundreds of years old. They were built in the time when henequen was the cash crop for Merida which made it the richest city at one point. These gigantic properties were built to curate that crop and sell it.
Nowadays, most of them are converted into hotels. Prices vary quite a bit, but they oscillate between 100 pesos ($4.93) a person. You could consider going to a hacienda on your vacation. They hold so much of Mexico’s history, and you can learn a lot just by going there.
Yes, Merida has Uber! You can get a ride pretty much anywhere in the city for under 100 pesos. Uber is available in many cities across Mexico, but not all. So it feels kind of a luxury service there.
Using Uber will save you the hassle of having to deal with cab drivers that charge a lot. All Uber drivers there are polite and will ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
Its architecture is another factor that makes Merida a worthy city. You can see gorgeous displays of architecture all across the city. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an architect to appreciate it.
However, if you are one, we are sure you will appreciate Merida’s gothic and baroque colonial style influence. You can see it in the stained glass windows, the beautifully carved stone, the tall wooden doors, and other little details.
If you have visited Europe, Merida’s architecture will remind you a lot of their architecture. This is because Mexico has a lot of European influence, particularly Spanish.
It is also worth noting that the city is 500 years old. So some of Merida’s buildings are almost that old. People are coming in and restoring some of these buildings and preserving the history there. There’s somewhat of a renaissance happening in Merida.
Another thing you are going to love about Merida is its Yucatecan food. This style of food is different from anywhere else in Mexico, and it is packed with flavor. There are so many good dishes and drinks to try.
For instance, you can order “agua de chaya.” This is one of the most delicious drinks in Merida. This is made with Chaya leaf, sometimes called “tree spinach.” It is a plant that originated in the Yucatan peninsula.
For food, you could try panuchos. It is food that can be eaten with your hands—no need for cutlery. Panuchos are corn tortillas with refried beans on the inside. Then, they top it with meat like cochinita pibil.
These are the reasons why Yucatan food is so delicious. Their ingredients are special and unique. The people who make the food are also so nice and make it with a lot of love. Just try it, you will love it.
Places To Visit In Merida
Merida is a city full of life, color, and flavors. Music plays in their squares with shows almost daily. Not to mention the traditional gastronomy, which fuses its Mayan heart with the Spanish influence and achieves impressive results.
Rich in history and legend, Merida has been able to preserve its colonial style in each of its corners. However, its appeal does not end at the city limits. It is surrounded by wonderful cenotes (Mayan wells), Mayan Cities, and other attractions.
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you the best places to discover in Merida, Mexico!
We will start this list with the Ka’kutzal cenote. Its curious name comes from the words “I am born again.” It has a 5-meter opening hole and reaches a depth of 13.5 meters in 23 meters of distance.
It is open 24 hours a day, has no entrance fee, and the nearby Costco does not charge for parking. Yes, it is located next to a Costco supermarket. Despite its location, you can expect to see something historical.
Zoologico Del Centenario
Another activity that you can do for free in Merida is to visit the “Zoologico Del Centenario.” This was founded in 1910, the same year in which Mexico finally achieved its independence. That’s also where its name comes from.
It is open from 9am to 4pm and has different animal species of African origin. You can also go to the restaurant area or, if you have children, go to the children’s play area.
This palace was built during the first decade of the 20th century by General Francisco Canton. He was the governor of Yucatan at the time. Canton Palace is not only stunning for its external architecture, but it is also beautiful on the inside.
There you can find very neat ceiling finishes, different shades of marble, and plaster paste. At present, the canton palace has archaeological pieces and Mayan books. Very interesting to understand the history and the Mayan antique hieroglyphs.
The Canton Palace is open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. Its entrance costs 65 pesos.
Recorrido Del Gua Gua
This famous panoramic tour covers around 50 of the most important sites in Merida. All in 1 hour. During the tour, you will be told the history of places such as the Montejo house, the passage of the revolution, and the antiquity of several cathedrals.
You can take this incredible tour any day you want. Hours and availability tend to vary so we recommend that you visit: Tours en Mérida – Conoce la Ciudad e Mérida en la Gua Gua to be completely informed. The cost for taking this ride is 150 pesos.
Paseo Montejo is the longest avenue in Merida, with little more than 5 kilometers. Admire its old mansions dating from the colonial and Porfirian times. They will surprise you.
This avenue was inspired by the avenue of the Elysian Fields from Paris. There is even a very curious Starbucks in Paseo Montejo that continues to adopt the eclectic architectural style of Merida. A place for sure you won’t want to miss.
Conclusion on Safety and Living Costs in Merida, Mexico
We’ve come to the end. It is valid to say, Merida, Mexico can be a great place to consider moving or going on vacation. The cost of living there is low which can be a real advantage if you compare it with the U.S one.
Just think of how much you can save if you stay there. You’ll make the best out of your income. More of your income will be disposable for you to invest in, save, or just use for your wants.
Finally, we’ve also seen this city is completely safe for expats. A large community of them will help you with everything you need once arriving there. When moving to a far place, meeting people of your same nationality can give you peace of mind!
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