Do You Need to Speak Spanish to Live in Mexico?

When people consider moving to Mexico they most often consider whether or not they need to learn to speak Spanish. The truth is this; you can get by in Mexico without speaking Spanish, but it will stop you from getting the very most out of your new life in the country.

So, do you need to speak Spanish to live in Mexico?

The answer totally depends on where you are going to live

It’s true that there are some places in Mexico where you will almost certainly need to speak some Spanish in order to get by, but there are other areas where this is less of a necessity and more of a bonus.

For example, in the more “touristy” areas of Mexico you will not really need to speak Spanish to live in Mexico as there is a large ex-pat community and the locals more often than not speak English. These are areas like Riviera Maya, Baja California, including Los Cabos, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay, and Acapulco; these are great places to stay even if you speak no Spanish. The locals in this tourist area are more likely to speak a little English (put it this way, they’re likely to speak better English than you do Spanish) and it will be easy to find classes here if you should choose to learn at a later date when you live in Mexico.

If you speak no Spanish whatsoever we would recommend staying firmly on the beaten track, as smaller, more rural towns in out of the way areas are less likely to be English speaking by and large.

Do you want to survive or thrive when you live in Mexico?

One thing to ask yourself is this; do you want to get by, or really thrive when you move to live in Mexico? When you move to Mexico you can simply “get by” or you can really thrive; living in a country where you do not speak the native language really closes down the options and paths available to you. For example, it will be harder to start a small business here if you don’t have a basic grasp of Spanish.

Do you want to live the expat lifestyle or have an authentic Mexican experience?

If you’re happy to live just like you did back home when you move to Me, by all means,all means choose an area filled with ex-pats and settle down where you’re surrounded by other English speakers. If you want to immerse yourself in your new country when you live in Mexico, however, and get to grips with the culture a little we suggest that you cultivate a basic grasp of the language.

What is your native language?

If you do not speak Spanish and your first language is not English you could really struggle when you move to live in Mexico… certainly many Mexicans are bilingual, and some well-educated individuals may speak more than two languages, French and German are fairly popular, but if you cannot speak Spanish or English well you may have difficulty!

Are you planning on working in Mexico?

If you plan to work and live in Mexico you should most definitely learn Spanish as this will open up many professional career paths to you. High tier, professional roles will certainly expect you to have conversational Spanish skills in both written and spoke contexts (at the very least).

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