Not quite ready to retire? You can still enjoy the Baja lifestyle while working remotely in La Paz.
Are you considering a move to La Paz, BCS, Mexico, but are not quite ready to retire? Do you already work remotely from your home in the US and Canada? Maybe your employer is more open these days to a flexible, remote working arrangement? If so, then you may want to consider working remotely from La Paz, BCS, Mexico, and making this beautiful seaside city your full-time or seasonal home. Following are some key things to consider before you make the move.
Where Will Your Income Be Generated?
The first thing to note is that working remotely for clients or companies based in other countries, like the US or Canada, is not the same as owning a business that operates in Mexico. To start a business or work as an independent contractor or consultant for clients here in Mexico, you need to first establish residency and get a work permit. You will also need to pay taxes on that income, so before doing anything, be sure to consult an immigration attorney and an accountant before attempting to set up a business in Mexico. Working remotely in the context of this article means your clients are based in your home country or other countries, and you are paid by those clients into a bank account established in that country. Which brings us to taxes…
Paying Taxes When Working Remotely in Mexico
If you are a US or Canadian citizen living in Mexico, you may still be required to file a tax return in your home country, whether or not you are still working or retired. If you are earning income while living in Mexico from clients or an employer in the US or Canada, you will need to pay taxes on that income in your home country. The US and Mexico have a reciprocal tax treaty that protects you from paying taxes twice on the same income, so if you are earning income (and paying taxes on that income) here in Mexico you can receive an exemption from taxation in your home country but you may still need to report it. We recommend talking to an accountant who is experienced in Mexican expat tax filings for details. You can read more about tax requirements for US citizens living in Mexico here.
Internet Providers in La Paz, BCS, Mexico
When you are working remotely, a good Internet connection is a must, especially if you’ll be participating in video calls or need to send and receive large files. There are several different options for high-speed Internet in La Paz, and most are relatively inexpensive compared to US and Canadian Internet providers.
- Telmex Fiber Optic Internet: Telmex provides Infinitum fiber optic high speed Internet through most of La Paz now. There are a wide range of packages with different download speeds, and you can get Internet with or without a telephone landline, or bundled with Netflix and other streaming channels. You can browse the different options here, keep in mind that prices listed are in pesos. https://telmex.com/web/hogar.
- Starlink: This satellite-based high-speed Internet service is now available throughout Baja, and is relatively easy to set up and use. You can order a Starlink Kit on the Starlink web site, and the kit arrives with everything you need to get online including your Starlink service, WiFi router, cables and base. For details visit: https://www.starlink.com.
- Telcel: If you aren’t dealing with video calls or large files, and are mostly just using email and browsing the Internet, you can buy a Telcel 4G hot spot and service very inexpensively. https://www.telcel.com/personas/telefonia/planes-de-renta/conoce-internet-en-casa.
- There are other wireless point-point internet options if one of the above options are not available in your area, with speeds up to 100mbps for reasonable rates. Please contact us for options.
Will my Cell Phone Work in Mexico?
Cell phone coverage is excellent in general throughout the greater La Paz area, so you should be able to make and receive calls wherever life takes you, with the exception of some remote areas. You need to check with your carrier to see if they will allow you to use your US or Canadian cell service while living here; T-Mobile is known for cutting people off who have been here more than 30 days, but AT&T has stores in Mexico so their service tends to work better for longer term residents. You can also bring an older phone here and get a Telcel SIM card and local phone number, at a fraction of what you’d expect to pay elsewhere.
Finding Office Space in La Paz
Will you have an area in your La Paz home where you can work? When you purchase your home, you may want to consider having a separate space where you can work productively, whether that is an extra bedroom, a dedicated office space, or even a separate casita where you can work without distractions. If your home doesn’t have a dedicated space, you may be able to rent a space in town for your office. Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start, search for “office space for rent.” Make sure the space has or can be equipped with good Internet, and if you’ll be here during the summer, you’ll likely want to be sure it includes air conditioning as well. If your work requirements are more casual, or you just want to get out of your office for a while, there are also several cafes in town with free WiFi where you can sip a great cup of coffee and meet other locals while you work.
Where to Find Office Supplies
There are several places in town where you can buy office supplies and equipment. There is an Office Max, an Office Depot, and a Sam’s Club which also has office supplies and equipment, such as laptops and printers. There is also a MacStore in the Galerías La Paz shopping center next to Home Depot that carries Apple MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and accessories. Good office chairs seem to be hard to come by locally, but you can order them online from Amazon.mx. There are several printing stores in town if you need printing services. If you live in El Centenario, check out Baja Ciber, a local family owned shop that offers printing and digital services.
Planning Your Business Travel
If your work requires you to be physically present at your corporate office in the US or Canada on occasion, you’ll need to plan for business travel. La Paz does have a small airport, but there are no direct flights to the US or Canada. International flights usually go through Mexico City or Guadalajara, and sometimes require a lengthy layover. The San Jose del Cabo airport is a 2+ hour drive from La Paz, and has many more direct flights to the US and Canada. You just need to plan your travel accordingly and factor in the time it will take you to get there. You can drive to the San Jose del Cabo airport and park inexpensively in the parking lot just across from the international terminal and it’s a short walk in from there. If you don’t want to drive to the Los Cabos airport, there are public buses that run between La Paz and San Jose del Cabo, or you can take the Ecobaja Tours shuttle, both are inexpensive. Or you can opt for a private driver (we recommend this one). The bus and shuttle are the least expensive options, but take over 3 hours as they make several stops along the way. The private transportation costs more but is faster, usually 2.5 hours.
Make Time to Explore
Of course, once you are living in La Paz, you won’t want to spend all your time at your desk working! The beauty of remote work is that it usually gives you more flexibility and time to enjoy the sunshine and wonderful weather we enjoy here year round. Be sure to take a break once in a while, go for a dip in the pool or ride your bike down to the beach and dig your toes in the sand. Enjoy the view, take a deep breath, and appreciate how lucky (and smart!) you are to live in a place where you don’t have to spend hours commuting to your job.
Have more questions about living and working as an expat in La Paz, BCS? Drop us an email at email@example.com, we are happy to help!