Where to Go in Mexico if You’re a Digital Nomad
Consider yourself a digital nomad? We’ve picked out seven of Mexico’s top spots for work and play. Spend days strung between palm trees while tapping away on your keyboard, before letting loose at a sociable sundowner.
18 March, 2022
Pause for thought: discover more of Mexico as a destination for digital nomads in our latest print issue, Vol. 36: Discovery.
The WFH conversation has suddenly become more controversial than asking someone what their political standpoint is. There's the person who relishes pulling up an entire gallery dedicated to their five-star home set-up, while across the table others squirm at the thought of ever having to produce a makeshift desk from their 10-year-old ironing board again. Whatever category you fall into, one thing we can all agree on is that the struggle to find a good work-life balance is real.
Which is where digital nomadism comes in. We're not suggesting you swap the tote bag and 8am tube journey for becoming a fully fledged remote worker, but there are some great things to be said for going off-grid and bringing your laptop along for the ride once in a while. With that in mind, we've hunted down Mexico's top destinations for a workation.
The new 9-5: where to work and play in Mexico
There's going off-grid and then there's staying in Yelapa. Nestled in a natural cove on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta, this place is breathtakingly beautiful - if tricky to get to. In fact, the only mode of transport or means of arrival is via water taxi - which puts a whole new spin on the daily commute. While the main attraction is the unspoilt coastline (offering some of the country's best surf conditions), staying inland gets our vote. After logging off for the day, take the 5km hike to Yelapa waterfall, then reward yourself by diving into its crystal-clear plunge pool.
Where to stay: Verana Yelapa
Okay, Oaxaca is far from lesser-trodden, but there's a reason that savvy travellers have for some time been putting the city at the top of their travel list. With a contagious charm, it offers trendy places to dine, drink and dance at every turn. We suggest making this your base for at least two weeks, giving you time to discover its hidden gems alongside enjoying a restful recharge. Our favourite spots? Criollo, for its farm-to-fork menu, Sabina Sabe, for its jukebox and chilli-laced cocktails and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, for an art-fuelled afternoon.
Where to stay: Escondido Oaxaca
One of Mexico's designated "pueblos mágicos" (magical towns), Todos Santos is a free-spirited spot in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. The destination attracts a laid-back crowd, thanks to its palm-fringed streets filled by independent galleries and organic restaurants and sparkling coastline, dotted with boho beach shacks. Days are best spent lounging poolside (and clearing your inbox to zero, obviously), before joining locals for an evening surf session at La Pastora, but be warned: post-action scoffing is mandatory. Find a true taste of the Mexican good life at The Green Room, which serves up dishes as spectacular as its sunset views.
Where to stay: Hotel San Cristóbal
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Throughout the past decade, influencers have claimed the term "self-discovery" and turned it into a cringe-worthy fad, but the off-the-tourist-trail town of Mahahual is set to strip it back to its original meaning. Offering a tranquil landscape, this is the kind of place that forces you to pause and reconsider your lifestyle choices - for better or for worse. Everyone knows everyone in this tiny place, so expect to sit nattering to strangers-turned-family until sunrise. For a sea-facing stay, bed down at the beachfront Luna de Plata. Each room comes with its own shaded balcony, making for the perfect Zoom backdrop.
Where to stay: Luna de Plata
If you've ever wondered where hip history buffs holiday, this is it. Located in the north-west of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida sits just 35km off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, its centuries-old architecture speaking of its rich heritage. Today, some refer to Mérida as "the White City", for its limestone buildings, though many of their facades are painted in arresting shades of marigold, fuchsia and cobalt. Smash through your deadlines before snagging a chair at Pizzeria Raffaello, where plates come piled high with sublime slices cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Where to stay: Casa Puuc
To understand what a good work-life balance actually looks like, get yourself to the go-slow surf city of Zihuatanejo. Backed by palm trees, steep cliffs and tangled subtropical vines, Zihua (as it's known locally) is an oasis of calm during daytime hours - make the most of it with a lunchtime dip at La Ropa. Come 5pm, however, things get a lot livelier, with the cobblestoned streets flooded by cheerful locals catching up over a bottle of tequila, market chatter turning to a roar and restaurant fronts becoming obscured by snake-like queues. Visit with your gang and make the seven-room, five-floor Casa del Cielo your crib for the week. This airy space flaunts private terraces, outdoor showers and a rooftop pool.
Where to stay: Casa del Cielo
The city of Guanajuato was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1998, thanks to its historic city centre. Despite its industrial roots (it was once a mining town), this place is bursting with creative flair. Surrounded by rugged mountains, its streetscape is characterised by rust-coloured roofs, shooting church spires, tree-lined avenues and leafy plazas. For a rooftop set-up, grab your gadgets and pitch up at Coastal Cultura Cafetera for the day. Insider tip: this place is magical at any time of the year, but try and time your visit to be in town in October, when the city's International Cervantino Festival takes place - a three-week celebration of music, theatre, art and gastronomy.
Where to stay: Edelmira Hotel Boutique