House Sitting in Mexico – Getting Started

House-Sitting-in-Mexico

Last updated on December 15th, 2019

House sitting in Mexico – is it for me?

According to Robert Nelson of Expats in Mexico there are some 1 million expats living in a variety of locations around Mexico. Many of these are US or Canadian citizens. This figure does not include the seasonal “snowbird expats” who travel down from cold climates in North America to “live” part-time in Mexico on travel visas.

So it will come as no surprise that Mexico is now often seen as a great choice for house sitters looking for travel and adventure in a hot climate with a variety of lifestyle options. House sitting in Mexico is on an upward trend!

Coupled with an attractive dollar exchange against the peso, it currently costs less to live here than in most other Central American countries.

The elephant in the room – safety and security

Let’s get this out of the way at the outset. When we were in the USA three years ago, we were told over and over about the dangers that exist in Mexico, and how we should avoid visiting at all cost!  However, having visited Mexico a number of times, we were both keen to experience living here for a longer period of time.

So, despite the warnings, of six months spent in Central America, we have been house sitting in Mexico for four months, exploring different regions. We’ve traveled by long distance bus, walked the streets of cities including Mexico City, and house sat repeatedly in San Miguel de Allende.

In all this time, we haven’t experienced any dangerous situations, heard any reports of personal theft, or been told about any other more scary situations that involved tourists or expats. We have also been reassured by the increased armed police presence, especially in cities like the capital, and in Guadalajara.

We all know that bad things happen in Mexico, but usually in particular areas where drug cartels battle for supremacy. This violence is unacceptable, but it hasn’t deterred us from living here, experiencing all that this amazing country has to offer.

At the time of first starting this article, I was reading about the tragic shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Miami, and how just a month earlier 12 people had lost their lives in Berlin.

Nowhere is totally safe these days, and danger is certainly not limited to Mexico. Take traveler precautions in the same way you would elsewhere in the world, but please don’t be put off by negative or sensational reporting.  We found the citizens of Mexico to be some of the friendliest, most generous, creative and fun people we’ve met on our travels around the world.

How to find a house sit in Mexico

We found our house sits in Mexico through Trusted House Sitters. However, since we’ve been here we’ve realized just how many house sits are fulfilled through expat referrals, or through Facebook groups that support the local expat communities.

HouseSitMexico (see below) offers a comprehensive platform dedicated to matching house sitters with home owners across all regions of Mexico. We’ve joined up and as soon as we can get back to Mexico, we will be using this site. There aren’t a huge number of house sits available as the platform is growing, but the owner is working hard to improve this, so I think we should give it a chance to grow. Used in conjunction with one of the larger international sites, you should get access to the best of sitters and sits in this vibrant country.

We’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone we’ve talked to who are currently finding their sits on this platform. They have now added a review system for all members too which shows they are investing in improvements to the site all the time!

House sitting platforms – Mexico Only:

  • HouseSitMexico (20% Discount – no code required – discount automatically applied)

International house sitting websites:

Facebook Groups:

Some of these Facebook groups are for expats, not house sitters specifically. Approach the moderators before blasting in with requests for house sits, as this is sometimes frowned upon. Offer good information to the group and then network with members to see if you can find local house sit assignments through word of mouth.

If you want more general information about living in Mexico check out Expats in Mexico – a website full of relevant information and articles.

Most popular house sitting destinations in Mexico

There are expat communities all over Mexico which have become popular house sitting destinations.

House Sitting in Puerto Vallarta

An overcast day in Puerto Vallarta

Some of the larger settlements (in no particular order), are in the following towns and cities:

  • Cabo san Lucas, La Paz, State of Baja California Sur
  • Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Riviera Maya, State of Quintana Roo
  • Lake Chapala, Ajijic, State of Jalisco
  • Merida and Progreso coastline, State of Yucatan
  • Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
  • Puerto Vallarta and coastline north and south, State of Jalisco
  • San Cristobal, State of Chiapas
  • San Miguel de Allende, State of Guanajuato

Where else will I find expat communities?

Whilst there are many well established expat communities, there are many other smaller groups in regional towns and cities across Mexico. Once an area has become flooded with expats and property prices start rising, it’s common to find people who relocate nearby in the hunt for less expensive homes, or less populated destinations.

House Sit Mexico in San Miguel de Allende

The magical city of San Miguel de Allende

For example, San Miguel de Allende  has become a popular city, not only for expats to live, but also for Mexican and international tourists to visit. Consequently prices have risen substantially and urban sprawl is, in some people’s eyes, spoiling the city’s magical qualities. Traffic congestion, for example, has become a big problem.

There are people who are now selling up and moving away to totally different areas, or to nearby villages like Pozos, or cities such as Queretaro.

Look on maps to find towns near to some of the more saturated house sitting areas – chances are you will find an overflow of expats.

House Sitting in Mexico expaning to many cities

Tlaquepaque

Other places where you may find house sitting in Mexico

  • Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
  • Guanajuato City, Guanajuato
  • Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán
  • Mexico City
  • Mazatlán, Sinaloa
  • Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro
  • San Felipe, Baja Mexico
  • Tapachula, Chiapas

Visas and immigration

One of the big pluses for long term house sitters in Mexico is the generous 180 day visa that is provided at point of entry for citizens of many countries.

Please check online for the up-to-date Mexican visa regulations for your particular home country. However, at the time of writing, 180 days applies to anyone with Canadian, US, UK, European (Schengen), or Australian citizenship. This could change without notice so always research before accepting a house sit.

This longer visa means many people can easily take long term house sits without any concern about often inconvenient (and sometimes expensive), visa runs to extend your stay in the country.

Language

The official language of Mexico is Latin American Spanish. Europeans will notice some small differences in the vocabulary when compared to the traditional Spanish language. These are fairly easily learned with a good translation dictionary.

Generally speaking we believe you will have a more immersive experience if you can speak a little of the Spanish language.

There are some tourist areas like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerta Vallerta, etc., where many Mexicans involved in tourism now speak English. But, if you find yourself in places where there are less worldwide travelers, some elementary Spanish is a distinct advantage.

In many expat communities there are Spanish schools and conversation practice groups. You could also try learning through online classes.

Cost of living in Mexico

After spending seven months in various countries throughout Central America, (July 2016 to Jan 2017), we’ve found Mexico by far to be the cheapest country in which to live and travel.

House Sitting in Mexico City

Superb roadside pizzas in Condesa, Mexico City

However, fuel prices have just this month been raised by up to 20%, which is sure to make a difference to some prices over 2017. This has been a real bone of contention for Mexicans. We’ve read about road blockades and demonstrations throughout the country. It remains to be seen as to what the government’s response will be.

We have mainly lived long term in what is considered one of the more expensive Mexican cities. As well as this, we spent time in San Miguel de Allende through Christmas and New Year. I mention this because our food and drink expenditure was more than usual at that time!

During the six weeks of our most recent house sit there, we spent a total of 24,342 Mexican pesos. Here’s the breakdown:

This averages out to 566 pesos (rounded) per day over 43 days. At current exchange rates this was just under $26 US dollars per day.

We tracked our expenses with Trail Wallet (featured in last month’s issue) and set a daily budget of 780 pesos, which equated to us each teaching one online lesson per day. We were very pleased to discover that even in an expensive month we were still under budget.

We shopped carefully and as much as possible in local markets. We walked or took buses most of the time. We checked the supermarkets for “3 for 2” days. In this way all our wine for Christmas was purchased in Soriana on a 3 for 2 offer, making it very affordable at around $5 US a bottle.

We also enrolled for a “points” card in the supermarket. You don’t need to be a resident as long as you can provide passport ID and an address. You will quickly and easily be issued with a shopping card which entitles you to special offers and discounts.

Generally we look for our travel clothes in second hand shops or markets, although this time I did treat myself to some new clothing in the Liverpool department store sale just after Christmas.

We balanced our eating-out costs by occasionally buying from $2 taco joints. Once a week we splashed out on a meal in a trendy pizza restaurant in the city centre at around $10 USD per head.

There are so many ways to keep your costs low while house sitting, but we are happy to report that house sitting in Mexico is great value for money!

Getting about in Mexico

Getting out and about in Mexico is easy, relatively inexpensive, and very comfortable. The city to city coaches are some of the best we’ve ever encountered, with reclining seats, entertainment and WiFi. We traveled Mexico City to San Miguel for less than $25 US one way. Cheaper buses are available and a visit to a city bus terminal will provide you with many different price options.

Alternatively, look out for low cost air flights with domestic airlines like Volaris, AeroMexico, and Interjet, all of whom have a free baggage allowance (at time of writing). We have consistently found flights at less than $50 US.

Once you are at your destination, you’ll find taxis are generally cheap, Uber is becoming available in more and more places, and buses are mere cents. You will find Uber to be a problem at Cancun airport where taxi cartels rule the roost!

We tend to walk as much as possible – one, because it gives us a chance to explore the labyrinth of streets in the more interesting cities, and two, because it’s our way of staying fit.

WiFi for work

So far we haven’t experienced any problems with WiFi whilst traveling, house sitting, or working online, in Mexico. In some situations it has been better than we’ve previously experienced in England or the US.

Many expats have hi-speed unlimited internet for streaming Netflix and other US programs, and generally this is included as part of your house sit.

Sightseeing in Mexico

Mexico offers some of the best and most diverse sightseeing options we’ve encountered in Central America. If you have an interest in ancient Mayan or Aztec civilizations then you will be kept constantly engrossed by museums, ruins, and galleries.

Beaches on both sides of the country are stunning, and you’ll experience long days of endless sunshine. Travel inland and you’ll encounter splendid scenery and a rich cultural heritage.

Many sites in Mexico have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites or Biosphere Reserves, while over 100 the beautiful colonial “pueblos” have also been given special designations to preserve their historic importance.

A high percentage of Mexico’s land is protected in one way or another.

According to website Geo-Mexico: “there are currently 40 biosphere reserves in Mexico. Only the USA with 48, the Russian Federation with 41 and Spain with 41, have more. The guiding principle of biosphere reserves is that the local populace is not displaced, but actively involved in all aspects of management, research and monitoring.”

Climate in Mexico

The Climate in Mexico varies depending on where you are. Along the coast (on both sides of the country) it is hot and humid, often unbearably so in the summer.

Inland communities at higher elevations such as Guadalajara (1600m / 5200 ft above sea level) and in particular close by Lake Chapala, are much dryer and more temperate.

In San Miguel during the months of December and January it was cold in the evenings and mornings. Long trousers, sweaters or jackets have been necessary. However, during the daytime the temperature rose considerably and we found ourselves changing back into shorts and t-shirts. The plus side of this is that it’s much more comfortable for walking, sight-seeing or hiking in the hills, out of the hot summer sun.

This is a country diverse in its flora and fauna, and that is because of it’s different climate zones that include everything from arid deserts to lush tropical rain forests.

Wherever you end up house sitting in Mexico, you’ll find contrasts. Rich people and poor people, quiet times and extremely noisy times, cheap living and luxury living.

But I can almost guarantee that with a positive, unafraid outlook and an immersive approach to life, you will experience a country with a degree of richness in every aspect of its history, its culture and its geography . But most of all, it’s people! We have really enjoyed our time house sitting in Mexico.

You might also enjoy reading more about Mexico City here.

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[columns size=”1/3″ last=”false”]House sitting in Mexico is on the increase. A good exchange rate, a great climate and amazing ancient sites make it an attractive option for housesitters. Find out all you need to know to get started. #housesittingtips #housesittingmexico #housesittinglifestyle[/columns] [columns size=”1/3″ last=”false”]House sitting in Mexico is on the increase. A good exchange rate, a great climate and amazing ancient sites make it an attractive option for housesitters. Find out all you need to know to get started. #housesittingtips #housesittingmexico #housesittinglifestyle[/columns] [columns size=”1/3″ last=”true”]House sitting in Mexico is on the increase. A good exchange rate, a great climate and amazing ancient sites make it an attractive option for housesitters. Find out all you need to know to get started. #housesittingtips #housesittingmexico #housesittinglifestyle[/columns]

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Jane - Reply

The comment about Mexico being part of North America is very interesting! I live in Canada, travel quite a bit, and have never heard anyone refer to Mexico as being in North America! Perhaps folks from southern USA have a different reference point?
Thanks for the article, I found it interesting and helpful. As a freshly minted “retiree” I am looking for longer-term ways to travel and experience the world.

    Ian Usher - Reply

    Hi Jane,
    Congratulations on reaching your new “retiree” status. It really does open up a wonderful world of opportunity. And house sitting is a fantasic option for those looking to travel for longer, and really get to experience places from a more local perspective.
    As for Mexico, you’ve inspired me to do a little research. Very interesting, and quite confusing… and we’ve struggled a little with how to classify it correctly…
    Here is Wikipedia’s definition of Central America:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_America
    Central America is “bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.”
    So Mexico isn’t in Central America!
    However… here is Wikipedia’s definition of Northern America:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_America
    “Geopolitically, according to the United Nations’ scheme of geographic regions and subregions, Northern America consists of Bermuda, Canada, Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and the United States of America (excluding Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and other minor US territories).”
    So Mexico isn’t in Northern America either.
    The term “North America” (rather than “Northern America”) actually refers to the continent, and again from Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America
    “The United Nations formally recognizes ‘North America’ as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, and The Carribbean. This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division.”
    So, Mexico and all countries in Central America fall under the broad scope of “North America”.
    However, more from Wikipedia:
    “The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with location and context. In Canadian English, North America generally refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, and Canada, although it is generally ambiguous which other countries are included, and is mostly defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the USA, and sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico (as in the North American Free Trade Agreement), as well as offshore islands.”
    To further muddy the waters, there is also a definition for “Middle America:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_America_(Americas)
    “Middle America is a region in the mid-latitudes of the Americas. In southern North America, it usually comprises Mexico, the nations of Central America, and the Caribbean. In northern South America, it usually comprises Colombia and Venezuela. The Caribbean is occasionally excluded from the region, and the Guianas are infrequently included.”
    So make of it what you will. We’ve gone with the Canadian English definition highlighted in bold above, and hope not to confuse too much!
    Best wishes for your new adventures.
    Ian and Vanessa

    Sam - Reply

    Putting in my 2 cents – I’m American and definitely classify Mexico as North America, that’s how I was taught in school anyway!

Amy - Reply

We love Mexico! SMA and Mexico City are favorites but there is much more to explore. Lake Ajijic is high on our list. I’ll look at the other cities you mention for our next trip to the country.

    Vanessa Anderson - Reply

    We’ve just been chatting over dinner about all the opportunities we’d still like to explore in Mexico. It’s definitely in our future again too!

Deb - Reply

Hi, and thanks for this very nice article about Mexico. We used to travel to Costa Rica whenever we wanted tropical warmth and Pacific views. Then we discovered Mexico and have not been back to Costa Rica for seven years! We have a regular clientele in Baja for whom we house sit every winter. The problem is, as is the case in other “paradise” locations, that the number of wannabe house sitters far outnumber the home owners, at least during certain times of the year.

BTW, we here in North America think of Mexico as part of North America, not Central America. Geography must have changed since I was in school!

    Vanessa Anderson - Reply

    Thanks for the feedback Deb – Mexico will always have a special place in our hearts, and we will most definitely return for more house sitting there in the future. You may well be right about Mexico being part of North America – As a Brit I get a little confused by the dividing line. But often when I speak to US Americans they refer to North Americans as themselves and Canadians. A good topic for our house sitting magazine group I think 🙂 Will amend on text update – thanks 🙂

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