Mexico, the USA’s southern neighbor, has attracted the interest and admiration of Americans for the many centuries that we have existed side by side, both in the colonial and independent periods.  Given its proximity to the US, many people—from college students on spring break to snow birds seeking seasonal shelter or a nice retirement destination—have made Mexico the top destination on their list.  And, given the extraordinary cultural diversity, the internationally exalted cuisine, and the wide variety of subclimates, Mexico simply leaves nothing wanting for the visitor and expat.

Being one of the most dominant economies in Latin America, and having one of the strongest trade relationships with the United States of any country in the hemisphere (a stunning portion, well over half, of Mexico’s exports go across its northern border), there are tons of opportunities in terms of business ventures to be had for expats coming in from the US.  Mexico City, the capital, is teeming with vibrant masses and strong market opportunities—in fact, you can visit DoingBusiness.org to get a good outlook on what the opportunities are like, and what processes need to be followed to capitalize on this gigantic market and its strategic location next to the US. Spanish is spoken by 97% of the country.

The US Embassy in Mexico is a good place to start when looking to relocate to Mexico: you can find the pertinent visa and residency permit requirements through their site.  Alternatively, there is a good article describing some of the bureaucratic considerations, as well as the logistical considerations (shipping your car, your other possessions, etc.), to be confronted when moving south of the border.

Of course, cost of living in Mexico is well below US standards, and as long as you steer clear of the tourist traps like the coastal spa resorts like Cancun, you ought to be able to make your budget stretch quite far.  Of course, these coastal resorts and their surroundings have generally become so developed that they create a microcosm of almost-first-world living costs, but once you get out into the “real Mexico” things change drastically.  There are other tourist destinations that do not affect the local economy quite as much (though they are still a huge boost to the local inhabitants) farther in the center and southern regions of the country, where great Aztec and Mayan ruins draw bus load upon bus load of tourists from all over the planet.

You should have a grasp of the real estate market, and what it looks like in the different parts of the country. That’s a great first step towards making your decision to move to Mexico.