Mexico has become an obvious choice for remote workers escaping their home country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most of the world closed down, Mexico remained somewhat open to foreigners. Even Americans, who have been temporarily restricted from traveling to many nations, can still travel to Mexico without issue.
In this article, I share my own first-hand experience of remote working from Mexico in the Coronavirus pandemic.
The simple answer is: it's open!
However, Mexico has been a hotspot for digital nomads for some time now. The lower cost of living combined with its tropical climate all year round is appealing to many people, especially with America's winter approaching. Mexico is an ideal escape.
The most popular destinations for remote workers in Mexico are: The Yucatan Penisula (Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun), Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta. My experience laid out in this article is solely represented by my experience in the Yucatan Penisula.
Getting to Mexico
Mexico's international borders have remained open during the COVID pandemic for those arriving by air.
The land border between the United States and Mexico has been restricted to "essential travel" only. This means, if you're coming to Mexico from the US for tourism purposes, you have to fly. However, restrictions are set to ease on land-crossings October 21.
The great thing about working remotely in Mexico is a lot of western countries get 6 months visa-free. Visitors from these countries do not need a visa to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days:
- European Schengen Countries
Mexico does not require a COVID-19 test to grant entry. The process is relatively the same as always, with a simple immigration checkpoint where you might be asked:
"What are your plans in Mexico?"
"How long do you intend to stay in Mexico?"
If you're here for tourism and plan to stay less than 6 months you won't have any issues.
There is also no mandatory quarantine in Mexico. However, it's wise to self-quarantine upon arrival.
As the land border is closed for essential travel only, you'll be traveling by air.
Depending on the airline you fly with you'll be required to follow their COVID-19 guidelines. On my flight with Sun Country airlines, there was no social distancing onboard the flight, and facemasks were to be worn at all times.
To get the best deals on flights to Mexico look around. I find there are a lot of good deals on CheapOAir.
When you arrive in Mexico you're going to need somewhere to stay. I personally use Bookings for short stays and Airbnb for longer stays.
Airbnb is a fantastic resource for longer-term bookings in Mexico. You can get upwards of 50% off bookings for booking 28 days or longer. If you haven't used Airbnb, you can get $35 off your first booking just by following this link.
However, sometimes it's good to arrive and find your feet in a hotel. In that case, Bookings is a great app.
COVID-19 in Mexico
In tourist areas of Mexico, there seems to be less concern with COVID-19 measures. While locals are generally diligent with mask-wearing, tourists are more often unmasked than masked.
In downtown Cancun, for example, mask-wearing was extremely prevalent. However, in Cancun's Hotel Zone and Playa del Carmen, masks are a lot less common.
While most businesses have hand-sanitizer stations and temperature checks, they aren't overly enforced, and neither is social distancing.
Probably the most concerning is the nightlife, which remains active in areas like Playa del Carmen. Bars are operating without social distancing, mask-wearing. It's almost easy to forget you're in a global pandemic walking down Playa del Carmen's iconic 5th Avenue at night.
Cases of COVID in Mexico
Mexico has a bad track record when it comes to COVID. At this point, cases appear to have peaked and are dropping. However, there is a 10%+ death rate in Mexico, which is incredibly high in relation to the rest of the world.
Most cases are focused around Mexico City, however, the virus is wide-spread throughout the country.
Remote working in Mexico
One of the reasons many people are flocking to Mexico during COVID is their jobs have moved online. This has given location independence to a lot of people who, for the first time, want to experience working abroad.
However, there are some key things to know about working online in Mexico.
Mexico's wifi is not great. While you can get wifi in hotels, accommodations, cafes and coworking spaces, if you have a lot of high-bandwidth work or video conferences, you will likely encounter some issues at some point.
One way to get passed the wifi issue is to use a global portable wifi device like Skyroam. My readers receive a special 15% discount on Skyroam by clicking here.
Where to work
If you're in popular tourist areas like Playa del Carmen, you'll find an abundance of cafes to work from. The wifi at these cafes can be great, but also frustrating. As this is my personal preference for working, I can recommend it for bloggers, but if I had video calls, I'd stay in my apartment.
There is also the option of coworking spaces, which I highly recommend if you need these things:
- Fast internet
- Quiet workspaces
- Reliable work schedules
The fact that Mexico sits in the hurricane zone means your work schedule could also be affected by nature. I was recently in lockdown for 24 hours while hurricane Delta hit the Yucatan Penisula. The wifi was non-existent during that time.
Is Mexico a good choice during COVID?
Mexico can be a great choice to base yourself during COVID. Mexico's long visas, nice weather and affordable cost of living make it very tempting to a lot of remote workers.
However, Mexico lacks in some areas that might negatively impact your job, like slower internet speeds and hurricane lockdowns.
At the end of the day, if you can make Mexico work, it's an ideal COVID getaway.
No one likes to think about it, but traveling in Mexico can have risks. By covering yourself with the right travel insurance, you can enjoy the world without worries.
I recommend World Nomads as my favorite travel insurance provider.