Here’s some surprising news: the term digital nomads was popularized as early as 1997.
Most of us never heard the term before the last 5 years, but as it turns out, the authors of the book in which it first appeared had predicted that technology would allow people to return to the nomadic state. By 2020, there were about 11 million Americans who thought of themselves as digital nomads.
This week, we’ll look at the tech talent in Mexico through a different lens.
Mexico has become one of the most sought-after destinations for these traveling tech workers.
And while digital nomads can roam throughout their country, many choose to use it as an opportunity to take full advantage of remote work and explore other countries while they work and earn money. It has become such a trend, in fact, that some countries have actually created ‘digital nomad visas’ to encourage working young people to visit their country and live there temporarily.
The Rise of the Digital Nomad
The digital nomad is defined as a person that works remotely and chooses to move around while working with technology-enabled positions that allow them to travel and work remotely by using the internet and other online tools. Digital nomads may stay in one place anywhere from one week to a month before moving on to the next destination.
The pandemic had a real effect on the number of digital nomads as many companies changed to fully remote positions. In 2020, digital nomads grew by 96 percent from 3.2 million to 6.3 million.
Why Mexico is a Chosen Destination
Mexico has become one of the most popular destination for American digital nomads due to several reasons:
- Proximity to the United States
- Improved visa requirements
- Lower cost of living
- Tech communities and vibrant tech scenes
Let’s look at some of these more closely.
Mexico’s Digital Nomad Visa: What are the Requirements?
Mexico has taken the presence of digital nomads seriously. It has created a digital nomad city that is valid for up to 4 years. This is also known as the temporary residence visa. For those that don’t want such a long stay, they can use a tourist visa that lasts for about six months.
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Best Digital Nomad Cities in Mexico
And while digital roaming is considered a solo undertaking, many tech professionals prefer to work among like-minded workers or to be part of tech communities. Because of this, certain cities in Mexico are key cities for those looking to jump into active tech communities. As it turns out, some of the most popular cities for these traveling workers happen to be some of the best cities to hire software developers. That’s because these cities have an entrepreneurial spirit, a young population, and, therefore, many of the accommodations that go with those two characteristics:
- Vibrant nightlife
- Coworking spaces
- Access to industry-related events and educational opportunities
- Coffee shops and high-speed internet public spaces
The business capital of Mexico attracts many young tech professionals (Local and otherwise) because of its diversity and fast-paced culture. Mexico City is an international destination with many people speaking fluent English and many places to live.
Given the rise of tech industries and startups in the area, Mexico City has several co-working spaces including 20-story We Work mega-offices, as well as other spaces like HomeWork and Coffice. These spaces are popular among young people working remotely for national and international companies.
Merida is in the Southern tip of Mexico and offers plenty of opportunities to hit the beach, enjoy ancient ruins, and live in one of the safest cities in Mexico for digital nomads. Merida also has several coworking spaces including Conexion 60 and other small hubs like Hex CoWork and Clustar. There are also plenty of cafes and places where workers can access the internet and get their work done.
Guadalajara is known as Mexico’s Silicon Valley because of its high population of tech professionals, startups, economic activity, and international companies. Several big tech companies have found a home there including IBM, Amazon, HP, Dell, Oracle, and others. This increased activity leads to increased amenities, housing, and coworking spaces that lend themselves to a welcoming environment for digital nomads. Guadalajara also has a high student population and tech communities with English fluency, which makes it attractive for many American digital nomads.
Playa del Carmen
While not exactly a tech hub, Playa del Carmen has its own unique charm. Playa del Carmen is known to have reliable internet services despite being a beach and tourist location. At the same time, this panoramic beach town has several co-working spaces precisely because they have seen an influx of these traveling workers. Some of these coworking spaces are The Nest and Bunker.
Learn More About What Makes Mexico a Popular Destination for Tech Talent
Mexico is not only a great destination for digital nomads but also for companies seeking to find remote tech talent to grow their team. Because of the rise of Mexico’s IT industry, many U.S. companies have already looked to Mexico and Latin America as a growing place for tech talent.