How to Live Like a Local in Toluca, Mexico: A Guide for Expats


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in another country? Do you want to experience a different culture, learn a new language, and make new friends? If you answered yes, then you might be interested in becoming an expat. An expat is someone who lives outside their native country, either temporarily or permanently.

Guidance For Expats

In this podcast, we’re going to take you on a tour of Toluca, Mexico, a city that attracts many expats from around the world.

Toluca is a city with a lot of history and charm. It’s located in the center of Mexico, close to the capital, Mexico City. Toluca has a diverse population of expats, who come from different countries and backgrounds. Cathy is one of them. She’s an American who has been living in Toluca for over 30 years. She loves the city and its culture, but she also knows that it’s not a paradise. Like any other place, Toluca has its challenges and risks.

Safety First

Cathy says that the most important thing to do as an expat is to be informed and aware of your surroundings. She says that Toluca is not a hotspot for American expats, like Mexico City, but that also means that it’s less crowded and more authentic. She says that Toluca is generally safe, but there are some areas that are best to avoid, especially at night. She also says that there are some problems with cartels and violence, but they don’t affect the everyday lives of most people. She says that the key to staying safe in Mexico is to learn the local customs, respect the laws, and avoid getting involved in any trouble.

Getting Around and Getting Along

I am also a traveler who has visited many parts of Mexico. I love Toluca and consider it one of my favorite places. Toluca offers a lot, including historic buildings, museums, natural parks, and lakes. I think the best way to explore Toluca is to use public transportation, especially buses, as they are affordable, frequent, and easy to use. Bus drivers and passengers in Toluca are usually friendly and helpful, and they appreciate it when you make an effort to speak some Spanish.

Though, learning Spanish is crucial for living in Toluca, or any other part of Mexico. Spanish is not only the official language but also the key to connecting with the locals and immersing oneself in their culture. The people of Toluca are warm and welcoming, eager to share their traditions and stories with foreigners. I believe that the best way to learn Spanish is through consistent practice with native speakers, online courses, or books. The more you speak Spanish, the more enjoyable your expat life in Toluca will be!

Music to Your Ears

One of the things that Cathy and I both love about Toluca is its music scene. Toluca is known for its symphony orchestra, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Mexico. Cathy is a musician herself, and she plays in a symphony orchestra in Mexico City. She explains that music holds significant importance in Mexican culture as it showcases the diversity and identity of the country. She mentions the Wopango as one of the most popular musical compositions in Mexico, which is a vibrant and lively piece that celebrates the indigenous heritage of the country. She describes the Wopango as a secondary national anthem, often performed by symphony orchestras and bands throughout the country. She emphasizes that music serves as a means to express emotions, commemorate events, and foster connections among people.

Cathy believes that the symphony orchestra in Toluca is an excellent example of how music can enrich the cultural life of a city. According to her, the orchestra performs regularly at the Teatro Morelos, a beautiful and historic theatre located in the center of Toluca. She mentions that the orchestra showcases a diverse range of music genres, including classical and contemporary, which appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Moreover, she expresses that the orchestra is a source of pride and joy for the people of Toluca, making it a must-see for any music-loving expat.

Comfort and Climate

Toluca is a city that has a unique climate. It’s located at a high altitude, which means that it’s cooler than most parts of Mexico. It also has a lot of sunshine, which makes it bright and pleasant. Cathy and Emily both say that they enjoy the weather in Toluca, but they also say that it takes some time to get used to it. They say that the temperature can vary greatly depending on the season and time of day. It can be hot and sunny in the morning, and cold and rainy in the afternoon. They also mention that snow is rare in Mexico, but it can occur in winter.

The climate in Toluca affects the way people live and dress. I noticed that houses in Toluca are typically not equipped with heating, resulting in colder indoor temperatures compared to the outside. To combat the cold, people in Toluca often wear multiple layers of clothing and rely on blankets and heaters for warmth.

Access and Water

Toluca is a city that has a lot of advantages for expats who like to travel. Toluca has its own airport, which is one of the busiest and most modern in Mexico. From Toluca’s airport, you can fly to many destinations in Mexico and abroad, such as Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Cancún, New York, and Paris. Cathy says that she loves to travel and that uses Toluca’s airport as the base for exploring other places. It is convenient, efficient, and affordable, and it makes Cathy’s expat life more exciting and fun.

Cathy mentions that Toluca has a good water supply, which is uncommon in Mexico. She notes that water is scarce in many parts of the country, with some cities experiencing shortages and rationing. Toluca, however, is fortunate to have a reliable and sufficient water system that provides clean and safe water to its residents. She emphasizes the importance of water for life and expresses her appreciation and respect for the water in Toluca. Cathy also promotes responsible water usage and encourages others to do the same.

A Balanced View

Cathy is an expat and Mexican national who has a lot of experience and knowledge about living in Toluca, Mexico. She has shared tips and stories on how to stay safe, get around, enjoy the music, and adapt to the climate and lifestyle in Toluca.

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that you have learned something new and useful. If you are interested in becoming an expat, or if you are already an expat, we hope that this article has inspired you and helped you. Living in another country can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenging one. The key is to be prepared, informed, and open-minded, and to embrace the opportunities and surprises that come your way. Thank you for reading, and happy expat life!

Listen to the Podcast:

Living in Mexico: Expat Experiences, Safety, and Cultural Insights

 Join us as we discuss various aspects of living in Mexico as expats. From safety concerns to cultural attractions, we explore topics such as adjusting to the climate, navigating transportation, and the vibrant music scene. Hear firsthand experiences from Cathy Barrow, an American expat living in Toluca, Mexico, and Emily, who shares her observations from her travels and time spent in different regions. Discover the unique perspectives on safety, music, and lifestyle in Mexico that provide a well-rounded picture of expat life in this diverse country.



Hi, I am Emily Bron.

After living and working in 4 countries (3 continents), experiencing several immigrations, changing several professional fields and being an avid traveler, I created International Lifestyle Consulting to help you to find the best matching place and to relocate abroad for a better quality of life, work, or retirement.

As a professional Baby Boomer and Remote worker, I am relocating again!

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