Digital Nomads: See Why Mexicans Are Fed Up With Them

·3 min read

With a vibrant nightlife, impressive gastronomy, rich culture and relaxed visa rules, Mexico City has been attracting an influx of digital nomads and tourists, mainly from the United States and Canada. Permanent residency applications in Mexico have doubled during the pandemic. According to the website Nomad List, Mexico City is the world’s fifth fastest-growing remote work hub.

However, this trend is annoying Mexicans who see rents and cost-of-living skyrocket. Some locals are urging would-be remote workers to stay away.

Last week, a local activist collective called ‘Observatorio 06000’ – hosted a protest against gentrification.

“Housing yes! Evictions No!” the protestors urged. “Mexicano wake up, they are going to raise your rent!

The Los Angeles Times report last week showed how Americans brought a scent of the “New Wave” imperialism as taquerias and local stores slowly turned into cafes and Pilates studios.

English is said to be becoming more popular as more Americans move to and visit Mexico City to take advantage of lower rents and affordability. According to Mexico’s government immigration policy, visitors can stay in the country for six months without a visa.

Mexico City, Mexico | Sergio Mendoza Hochmann | Getty Images
Mexico City, Mexico | Sergio Mendoza Hochmann | Getty Images

A study, published by the Global Cities Business Alliance, reveals that the average rental price in a city like San Francisco is 2,824 dollars, while in the Mexican capital it stands at 385.

In 2021, the average salary in the US was 4,630 dollars per month, compared to 1,300 in Mexico. The Roma-Condesa corridor is one of the most expensive areas of the capital. The rent for a flat ranges between 700 and 3,000 dollars. Many of them are shared among several tenants, who pay a lower price per room.

The arrival of the digital nomads has meant a new injection of resources in the area, a circumstance that owners and merchants celebrate. However, residents are experiencing price rises, and not just rent.

“We are the only ones with Black skin,” Fernando Bustos Gorozbe, a 38-year-old writer and university professor, told the Los Angeles Times. “We are the only ones who speak Spanish except for the waiters.”

Bustos then posted a video file on Tik Tok saying that the influx of Americans  “stink of modern colonialism”.

“Mexico is classist and racist,” added Bustos. “Preference is given to whites. Now, if a local wants to go to a restaurant or a club, he not only has to compete with rich white Mexicans but also with foreigners».

Over 1.6 million Americans are living in Mexico, according to the State Department. Many arrived during the coronavirus pandemic when Mexico eased restrictions before many places in the United States. Also, official data says that over 1.2 million foreign visitors arrived at the Mexico City airport in the first four months of this year.