Chasing Sunshine & Affordability, Canadians Flock South to Mexico

By Jacob Klein

For many Canadians in 2024, winter paints a picture of snow-covered landscapes and frigid winds. Today, many Canadians are considering retiring, working and living in a warmer place that doesn’t break their budgets.

Mexico is experiencing a surge in Canadian interest driven by a potent mix of sun-seeking, affordability and wanderlust. When a group of American and Canadian Expats were asked in a recent survey about why expats were moving to Mexico, most chose Weather, Affordability and Lifestyle as their top choices.

Canadian Tourism to Mexico Surges Post-Pandemic

After an initial dip due to the global pandemic of 2020, overall tourism to Mexico soared in 2022 and 2023, with an 11.3% increase in international visitors last year. But it’s the 60% surge in Canadians that is truly stunning, solidifying their position as the second-largest tourist group visiting Mexico last year when 4.2 million Canadians visited, surpassing European tourists (4.1M, 7.4% of total) last year for the first time.

This isn’t just a temporary infatuation; it’s a glimpse into a growing wave of Canadians seeking a permanent foothold in Mexico.

Cost of Living Crunch Pushes Canadians Southward

Affordability stands as the undeniable force propelling this southward migration. The Canadian dream, increasingly burdened by soaring housing costs, consumer goods inflation and even the price of groceries, is pushing many to explore alternative shores.

Mexico, with its significantly lower cost of living, presents a tempting option. For example: a two-bedroom, beachside condo in Cancun costs a staggering 81.7% less than its Toronto counterpart. Beyond real estate, everyday expenses like groceries and dining offer substantial savings, making Mexico a magnet for budget-conscious Canadians. Here’s a quick comparison of Canadian versus Mexican cities’ cost of living:

The chart above uses data from Numbero, a crowd-sourced cost of living index that uses New York City, NY, USA as 100, with the highest cost of living as a reference point for comparing to costs in other cities.

Canadians aren’t just Visiting Mexico, Many are Staying for Life

But the appeal extends beyond mere pesos and centavos. Many Canadians are opting for a full-fledged relocation, drawn by the potential for a more fulfilling and affordable life south of the border. Some are choosing to retire in Mexican paradise, buying homes in destinations like Cancun, trading in their scarves for sun tans and enjoying their golden years amidst sunshine and a relaxed pace of life. Others are entrepreneurs or remote workers, their eyes set on the dynamic and growing Mexican economy, brimming with opportunities to start businesses, work remotely and ditch their daily commute.

As Canadians continue to embrace Mexico in 2024, fostering mutually beneficial relationships and cultural understanding will be essential. Perhaps then, the “Hola Vecinos” won’t just be a friendly greeting, but a reflection of a thriving and integrated community basking in the warmth of both sunshine and shared experiences.

Jacob Klein works for Far Homes International real estate, who help Americans and Canadians buy homes in Cancun and other popular Mexican cities.