All you need to know about Iberian America

  • Home>
  • Blog>
  • Mexico>

Using Google Maps to Pick a Location to Move to in Latin America as an Expat

Published October 1, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

On Facebook not long ago, I saw someone ask about what areas they should move to in Mexico City that are not Roma Norte or Condesa as you can see here. 

I responded saying that I wouldn't say because I don't want digital nomads bringing up the cost of living where I live.

Which, to be fair, is perhaps a dumb thing to say because it's unlikely my comments would encourage a flood of expats or digital nomads into wherever I suggest.

But it could happen!

I do advertise where I live and my thoughts on many areas in the city on both my blog and Twitter.

I doubt these comments will ever invoke a flood of foreigners to drive up prices in these areas.

Primarily because half of them or more are areas that they'd be too scared to ever move to but are areas I enjoy.

Still, I am willing to also give her some quick and easy advice on how to find a new place to move to specifically in a large urban area.

It actually isn't hard.

Doesn't require no faggoty CIA type shit to figure out new areas to move to.

Though it should be said that the area you vibe in best might not be the area most others do.

Like how I can enjoy a lot Santo Domingo of Coyoacan in CDMX but many don't.

In reverse, I give little fucks about beach areas but no shortage of gringos out there looking for a literal "village by the sea."

Anyway, what are the basic tips to keep in mind when hunting new areas not discussed among 98% of expats/digital nomads?

The Basic Tips

First, look for major avenues on Google Maps.

Even if you are moving to a so called dangerous area, major avenues for obvious reasons tend to be safer.

More commercial activity. More invested interest to keep the area "minimally safe."

Second, if you are doubtful about how dangerous an area is, do a walk.

Walk through the area at 9 to 12 at night on a weekend like Friday or Saturday.

Feel safe for you?

It's safe enough.

I've mentioned that before on my blog but I'll mention it again here.

Third, go onto Google Maps and look for "the yellow spots."

On Google Maps, you'll notice that select areas of any city are colored yellow or have some yellow color shaded over select parts of any specific city.

Those parts will also have some words written over them like "busy area" or "more busy than usual" or whatever.

However, those words are not always shown.

Might just be a yellow shade over the area.

Regardless of if the words are there or not, that yellow color is in of itself indicative of meaning that the area has lots of activity.

More commercial activity usually.

More foot traffic.

Whatever else.

Therefore, if you prefer to be moving to an area that you can't find much info about but don't want to be moving somewhere too dead, then it'd be preferable to move as close to that yellow coded area on Google Maps as possible.

Here's a few screenshots of what I mean regarding these "yellow coded areas" of Google Maps.

They absolutely will help you find more congested and foot traffic heavy areas if that is what you are looking to move closer to.

Which is what I like.

If you don't want that, move the EXACT opposite away.

Though, in so called "dangerous" areas, I wouldn't want to move to some isolated neighborhood devoid of activity.

They tend to feel lifeless and so I don't like that.

Fourth, don't be afraid to just ask people.

"hey yo what areas here you recommend?"

You too autistic to just ask people?

Those people could be anyone.

Maybe chicks on Tinder.

Perhaps some random ass taxi driver.


Granted, some of them might not know what spots to check out.

Others might give you ideas suitable for tourists but nothing deeper.

You might have to clarify that you've seen the touristy shit but want something deeper.

Ask where they from.

Just because they from the country you are in doesn't mean they know the specific area of the country you are in.

Anyway, just ask shit and see what suggestions get thrown your way.

For example, I remember moving to Santo Domingo of Coyoacan a second time and some landlord was giving me advice on what specific parts of Santo Domingo are nicer to live in than others.

Whoever to give you the advice could be whoever. 

Fifth, above all, sometimes you just got to do some exploring.

No amount of Google Maps or asking taxi drivers will replace just getting your feet into areas few foreigners talk about and getting a vibe for if that specific area is right for YOU specifically.

One thing that is true is that taxis and uber down here are CHEAP as fuck.

So when it comes to exploring, just hire a personal driver for a day to drive you around.

Tell your driver you want to visit x, y and z in some random ass area.

Even if that area doesn't have too many touristy things, I'm sure it fucking has some random ass catholic church or some shit.

A few parks.

Have a list of random shit you saw on Google Maps in that area that has lots of reviews, visits or whatever.

Be it churches, parks or whatever.

Maybe something that is actually touristy (though perhaps not depending on how far outside of the touristy area you in).

Then just tell the driver "take me here, there, everywhere."

Ask him up front -- how much you charge per hour?

Only if he doesn't use a meter.

Then go from there.

So when hunting for a new area to move to, you can check out these spots that seem important to an area but then get a "broad" feel for the area as driving through.

You liking what you see?

In the last month, I kinda did just that.

Had one driver take me through all of Xochimilco of Mexico City and other nearby areas. Was a 7 hour ride for like 40 bucks or whatever. Something over 800 pesos.

I also had another driver (met him on Uber but then asked if he could keep driving me around after) who took me around for like 9 hours for something like 1100 pesos or 55 bucks.

Sometimes it is crazy as fuck how cheap shit is down here.

Like you'll seriously drive me around for 9 hours for 55 bucks?

So use that shit to your advantage.

Get that taxi driver -- and some charge more than others -- and have him drive you around.

Sure, being driven around is different than walking the streets outside of a vehicle but it gives you a very quick and easy "broad" view of a specific city or borough.

Makes for a great start to scoping out an area to move to.

Anyway, that's all I got to say.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


No comments yet

Leave a Reply: