Work and Travel in Mexico

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Mexico is a well-established backpacking route. It’s one of the largest nations in the western hemisphere and delivers a mix of Latin and American cultures. With most Westerners getting at least six months on their visa, there’s a lot to do in Mexico. One of the best ways to spend your time is to look for volunteer opportunities in Mexico to not only see more of this country but to challenge yourself.

Dig deeper than the average travel guide for Mexico and go home with a different type of story to tell. Take a look at some of the interesting ways you can work and travel in Mexico.

1. Enjoy Conservation Work in South Mexico

Those who travel in Mexico don’t know that this is a country that cares about its endangered species. Mexico has designated a number of areas as marine conservation areas. There are always organisations searching for volunteers who want to work in Mexico.

The areas for marine conservation work are usually located in the south, especially on the Yucatan Peninsula near the cities of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

2. Indulge in the Hostel Lifestyle

Mexico is a country that’s fast becoming a world travel destination for backpackers. If you want to travel in Mexico it’s relatively easy to pick up hostel work throughout the country. This is nearly always unpaid work only, but you’ll usually be allotted free accommodation and food.

There are now hostels all over the country, so whether you want to work on the Gulf Coast in Veracruz or the metropolis of Mexico City you’ll find something for you.

3. Teach English or Spanish in Mexico

English is a must-have in this growing country. But as well as English there’s also a need for Spanish teachers here. Remember that places like San Miguel de Allende and Patzcuaro are filled with foreigners, who rarely speak Spanish prior to arriving.

Someone who’s fluent in any of these languages will be able to find paid and unpaid work in this part of the world. But if you possess a qualification like the TEFL you’ll also be able to work in schools and universities.


Mexico is an extremely open country and provides the majority of Europeans with six-month visas as soon as they arrive at the airport. This also goes for Americans, Canadians, Australians, Kiwis, and most citizens of the South American countries. Yes, it really is that easy!

Russians can also get a similar visa, but they must apply via the electronic authorization portal first. This only takes a few minutes so there’s nothing to worry about. However, it only works for entering Mexico by air.

South Africans, as well as citizens of the rest of Africa, must apply for a formal visa at the nearest embassy to come to Mexico.

Take note that there’s no legal requirement to be out of the country after your visa expires. You can conceivably leave for a couple of days and return to claim a new visa. The border guards may frown upon this, but there’s no law against it and you won’t be breaking any rules by doing this.

Bear in mind that Mexico’s economy is extremely informal and corrupt, so there’s no real specific volunteering rules in the country as of year. Paid work will always require a formal work visa, whereas volunteering on a tourist visa won’t bring you any problems unless you’re receiving monetary compensation.



The spring season is the shoulder season in Mexico and this is when most tourists have yet to come into the country. It’s also not an ideal time for applying for teaching work as the majority of the school year has already gone. It should be noted that conventional labouring work is also unavailable for most foreigners.

When you look at the circumstances there are no specific seasonal jobs available for those who want to work and travel in Mexico at this time of year.


This is the high season and it’s time for you to head to South Mexico, where the majority of tourists visit. Seasonal work in the tourism industry on the Yucatan, Chiapas, and Quintana Roo will be widely available. Some backpackers who decided to travel in Mexico find they can just show up and they’ll find work relatively easy.

You can also find typical tourist work, such as volunteering in hostels or hotels, in Central Mexico, such as in Guadalajara, Guanajuato, and Mexico City.


Autumn is the best time to start looking into educational work. English and Spanish teaching is always in demand at this time of year because it’s when most of the kids start school again. Like with most countries, you’ll find these opportunities all over the place, but you should focus on bigger cities like Queretaro and Monterey to increase your chances of getting a good job.


Winter in Mexico sees a decline in temperatures and an influx of snowbirds from the US. The only seasonal work you’ll find at this time of year is work in the tourism trade. Due to the cooler temperatures, you’ll find that this work is centred mainly on the south and the far northern state of Baja California.


Foreigners are a common sight in Mexico these days. Mexicans are generally friendly, although the touts in the main hotspots are annoying and should be avoided. Only Americans should be wary in some areas. Overt displays of the American flag should be avoided following the 2016 Presidential Election. It’s currently a highly sensitive subject in Mexico.

But there’s largely no need to worry about volunteering here. The majority of volunteering jobs consist of work the locals can’t do. And even paid work opportunities in Mexico typically pay a local wage, so there’s no source of resentment there.

If you want to work in a different part of the world, consider Mexico for your next adventure!

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on Jan 15 2018 by Yara

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