Nate Hake is a recovering lawyer turned digital nomad who has been traveling the world full time since 2016. Among other ventures, he runs Travel Lemming, a site dedicated to encouraging travelers to explore emerging destinations around the world.
Well, you’re in for a treat: it’s location in Cancun, Mexico drops you right in the middle of one of the best destinations for digital nomads on the planet!
Why do I say that?
While I could probably give you 100 reasons why the Yucatan is perfect for nomads, here are the 11 top reasons that will have you booking your tickets to Mexico today:
1. The Yucatan is Packed with Nomad-Friendly Destinations
If you’re a digital nomad looking for your next base, you’ll be spoiled for options in the Yucatan!
First up, you might be surprised to find that Cancun’s town is actually a surprisingly livable destination once you get out of the hotel zone (getting out of the tourist zones is one of my top tips for traveling Mexico).
But if Cancun isn’t your style, head an hour south to the peninsula’s undisputed king of nomad life: Playa del Carmen.
“Playa,” as you’ll soon call it, offers everything you could want as a nomad: several thriving co-working spaces (Nest is my personal favorite), affordable housing options galore, tons of things to do, pleasant weather, fast WiFi, dining and nightlife for every taste … and it’s all just steps away from the beach!
Alternatively, you could base yourself in Tulum, one of the hottest little beach towns in the world at the moment, but a place that’s still friendly to long-term travelers looking for that Canggu-style living. Even if you don’t base yourself here, Tulum’s beaches are well worth a visit.
What if you’re the type of nomad who prefers city life? Well, fear not because, although the peninsula only has one “true” city, it’s a really good one: in Merida you’ll find colonial architecture, unique gastronomy, fun activities, and ridiculously affordable housing.
Whatever your style of nomad life, the Yucatan has a place for you!
2. You’ll Find Endless Opportunities for Day Trips and Weekend Getaways
One of the things that makes the Yucatan such a great digital nomad destination is the plethora of incredible places that can be visited as excursions from your base.
From small colonial towns to quiet fishing villages to Caribbean islands, there is so much to explore that you’re likely to be adding places to your list faster than you can cross them off.
There are too many to name here, but a few favorites weekend destinations of mine include:
Valladolid – the colorful walls of this small Mexican colonial town in the center of the peninsula have somehow avoided the eyes of Instagrammers thus far. Plus, it’s not far from the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Isla Holbox – one of the trendiest spots in Mexico at the moment, cars aren’t allowed at this unpolished island, and their absence infuses the island with that classic “no shoes, no shirt, no problems” vibe. Oh, and come in early summer and you can swim with whale sharks!
Bacalar – Mexico’s “Lake of Seven Colors” is where the locals go to vacation, and once you visit you’ll understand why. The tranquil blue, turquoise, and teal waters of this lake are simply mesmerizing.
3. And There Are So Many Activities to Keep You Busy
Ok, by now you probably know that the Yucatan offers the opportunity for some prime beach time.
But there’s so much more to do in the Yucatan than simply lounging at the beach!
Explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Coba, Ek Balam, or Uxmal.
Watch thousands of pink flamingos gather in the mangroves of Rio Lagartos or Celestun.
Dance the night away in Merida or Playa’s many throbbing nightclubs.
Or go diving in a cenote.
What’s a cenote you ask? Great question …
4. Cenotes Are Possibly the Greatest Thing on the Planet
The best activity in the Yucatan deserves a slot all to itself, however, because it’s just that awesome.
So what’s a cenote?
Well, I like to call them “dinosaur swimming holes” because many of them were made by the same asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
Cenotes are natural holes in the limestone bedrock filled with spring water that you can swim or even dive in. There are thousands of them scattered throughout the Yucatan (I’ve seen them in all sorts of crazy places – like Costco parking lots and the basement of a school), so you’ll never be far from one.
5. Your Money Goes Far Here
The Yucatan is one of the most affordable digital nomad destinations in North America.
Especially if you’re willing to live just outside the main tourist zones, it’s not unreasonable to get a decent studio apartment for as little as $300 USD per month.
In fact, I have a friend who managed to score a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with a private pool (yes, a private pool) for just $500 USD per month in Merida.
Even if you’re just visiting for a short while, you’ll find lots of affordable guesthouses and hostels (hey, hostels aren’t just for backpackers anymore!) to host your stay.
And it’s not just housing: from food to transportation to activities, everything is affordable in the Yucatan.
6. The Food in the Yucatan is Unbelievable
If there is one downside to living in the Yucatan as a digital nomad, it may be that it’s not easy to keep the pounds off.
Well, the local cuisine is just so fresh and delicious that you’ll want to eat it all!
My personal favorite are panuchos, a deep fried tortilla stuffed with black beans and a variety of other ingredients.
7. It’s Easy to Access the US from the Yucatan
If you’re an American who needs to get back to the US for a meeting, conference, wedding, or just to catch up with family for the holidays, the Yucatan is the perfect base.
Flights from Cancun to Miami take just 1 hour and 45 minutes! And with lots of routes on budget airlines like Southwest, it’s easy to score a cheap international flight.
8. The Time Zone is Remote Worker-Friendly
Speaking of the US, if your work is connected to the states, then you’ll love the time zone of the Yucatan.
In most of the peninsula you’ll be on the same time zone as either New York or Chicago, making it super easy to align your nomad schedule with your boss or clients.
9. The Weather is Really Pleasant (Especially Right After Nomad Summit!)
If you love that tropical beach vibe, then you’ll love the Yucatan’s perpetual warm summer night climate.
And the best time to visit the Yucatan from a climate perspective happens to align with the Nomad Summit, which occurs right after the rainy season – meaning the weather will be mostly dry, but not yet too hot!
10. Mexico is a Lot Safer Than You Think
Look, let’s address the elephant in the room: I know Mexico has a bad reputation from a safety perspective.
And while not entirely unfair, and there have been a few high profile incidents, the truth is that millions of tourists travel without incident to the Yucatan every year.
Keep your wits about you, make sure you have insurance covering Mexico, and exercise some common sense and you’ll find that the Yucatan is a generally safe and welcoming destination.
11. You’ll Find Nomad Communities Around Every Corner
The best thing about living in the Yucatan as a digital nomad?
The peninsula is filled with some of the best nomad communities on the planet.
From Playa del Carmen to Tulum to Merida, wherever you are you’re bound to connect with so many other like-minded digital nomads that you’re likely to find yourself having to turn down social invitations because there are just too many of them to accept them all!
As you can tell, I think the Yucatan is one of the top destinations for digital nomads on the planet!
So if you’re coming to 2019’s Nomad Summit in Cancun, be sure to stick around and explore all that this awesome peninsula has to offer!