Mexico budget guide: how much we spent during 40 days of travel throughout the country

Now that our Mexican adventure is coming to its end, we can sum up the costs of these 40 interesting and wonderful days spent here. We came here with no expectations and had not much information on the prices of basic goods and services, but somehow expected to find a cheap destination. We will tell you below everything about what we spent, the prices found here and some important practical information, hoping that it will help you make an idea on the budget you might need.

Mexico during the rainy season

We came to Mexico at the middle of June and left at the end of July, which means we were here during the rainy season. Luckily enough, during this time it rained for only one day straight and there were an additional 4-5 evenings when it rained for 1-2 hours. However, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula, the temperatures were very high and so was the humidity, which might not make your vacation a very comfortable one. On the contrary, Mexico City and its surroundings were quite cold in the morning and afternoon, but this might be also blamed on the high altitude.

Cash related info

There is a good ATM machines coverage throughout the country, in both big and small cities. However, be aware that you will have some fees for money withdrawals, about which we wrote more here.

The most useful advice we can give you regarding this matter: use Revolut. It was easily accepted everywhere and saved us a lot of time and money. Be aware that banks do not offer currency exchange services and it is not so easy to find a foreign exchange office, not even in big cities such as Mexico City.

Safety

While Mexico is not by far the safest country on earth, there are places in which you should not worry and places in which it would be better not to find yourself. For us the cities that we perceived as being the most dangerous from what we visited were Tapachula and Mexico City (some parts of it).

However, all in all, if you follow some common sense guidelines you will not have any issues. Some important points here:

  • do not expose your valuables: there were areas in which we decided that not having our camera/phone stolen is more important that an Instagram photo, thus be careful with this. If it feels shady to you do not risk it;
  • clothing and accessories: we tried not to draw unwanted attention and always wore neutral and modest clothing, no jewelries or accessories except for our wedding rings;
  • try not to be out after dark: in CDMX we were advised by the hotel staff not to get out after dark because the streets in the area are empty at night and might be dangerous. However, in Playa del Carmen and Cancun we walked at night and it was ok.
  • try to look like you know where you are going and blend in: we felt very safe all the time when doing what locals did, from eating with them to traveling with colectivos (not with lots of valuables on you though).
The streets of Cholula

The language barrier

If you plan to have a DIY vacation rather than an all-inclusive resort one, try to learn some Spanish words before heading to Mexico. English is not widely spoken here, not even in many hotels and restaurants, so do not count on it.

Our budget for 40 days, by category

AccommodationDescriptionCost in EUR in totalLink
Tulum 4 nights71Booking link
 Playa del Carmen 5 nights76Airbnb link
 Isla Mujeres 1 night28Booking link
 Cancun 4 nights67Booking link – not recommended
 Valladolid 4 nights53Booking link
 Merida 4 nights61Airbnb link
 Campeche 1 night18Booking link
 Palenque 4 nights79Airbnb link
 Villahermosa 1 night28Booking link
 Puebla 2 nights20Booking link – not recommended at all (the private room)
 Mexico City 7 nights150Booking link
 Tapachula 1 night25Booking link
Total 676 

You can easily find budget-friendly accommodation options throughout Mexico, but be ready to sometimes do some compromises. The ones we chose were not the cheapest available since we booked mostly a few days in advance and also had a list of requirements  (strict on having our private room, not far from our points of interest or sometimes just to be close to the ADO bus station, decent reviews, decent Wifi, etc). However, you can easily find a good option with a 20 EUR/night budget.

Regarding the Wifi availability you better be ready to head towards co-working spaces or cafes, since the internet is not so strong in hotels and AirBnb’s generally.

 Food and DrinksDescriptionCost in EUR per 2 persons
Restaurants (including street food)182
 Groceries296,8
Total 478,8

Street food is quite cheap in Mexico, thus cooking it yourself might not be the best option in terms of costs. When it comes to choosing the restaurants try to eat where the locals eat, and while this might feel like not the cleanest option, the taste, price and cultural enrichment will compensate for sure.

We did not hold back for anything except for the touristy restaurants, and I believe it was a good call. Generally a meal for 2 at a local restaurant was around 120-150 MXN.

The best tacos al pastor found in Mexico, Para Tacos Los Tarascos restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Street food in Mexico City
 TransportationRoutePrice in MXN per 2 personsPrice in EUR per 2 personsMXN saved with ADO buying in advance
Ticabus Mexico-Guatemala101243 
 ADO Cancun Airport-Cancun2008 
 ADO Cancun-Chiquila59625 
 Ferry Chiquila-Holbox44019 
 ADO Chiquila-Cancun59625 
 ADO Cancun-Playa del Carmen1767,5 
 Ferry Isla Mujeres+Cozumel170072,2 
 ADO Playa del Carmen-Tulum1546,542
 ADO Tulum-Valladolid1928,2132
 ADO Valladolid-Merida33214,1192
 ADO Merida-Campeche34414,6236
 ADO Campeche-Palenque62226,5462
 ADO Palenque-Villahermosa2209,4 
 ADO Villahermosa-Puebla123852,21102
 ADO Puebla-CDMX36315,444
 ADO CDMX-Tapachula1532651068
 Bus CDMX-Teotihuacan roundtrip2089 
 Colectivo in total90836,3 
 UBER and taxis in total142056,8 
 Rechargable card 1 piece (CDMX)150,6 
 Cablebus CDMX140,6 
 Metro CDMX 30 trips1506 
Total 12432520,93278

We started our trip in Cancun , headed to Mexico City and then south to Tapachula in order to cross the border to Guatemala. During this time we only used public transportation and found ADO to be the best option for long distances. We discussed in here on how to save money while using the ADO service.

Inside the cities the most affordable public transportation mean is the colectivo, which is generally a public mini-bus used by locals. It is totally safe and the experience is something you should not miss while in Mexico.

Newly opened, a 30 minutes ride on Mexico City’s Cablebus costs only 7 MXN/person
 ActivitiesDescrptionPrice in MXN for 2 personsPrice in EUR for 2 persons
Tortugranja Isla Mujeres602,5
 Cenote Cristalino entry40020
 Bachata dance lesson Playa del Carmen1004
 Snorkeling Isla Mujeres (1 person)125050
 Bachata dance lesson Playa del Carmen25010
 Cenote Azul entry2409
 Tulum Archeological Site tickets1606,2
 Cenote Suytun entry30012
 Cenote Oxman entry30012
 Chichen Itza tickets106643
 Chichen Itza guide25010
 Cenote Ik-Kil entry30012
 El Corchito Natural Reserve tickets1808
 Day tour Misol-Ha and Agua Azul Waterfalls70028
 Palenque Archeological Site tickets34014
 Aluxes EcoParque tickets30012
 El Cuexcomate Volcano tickets261
 Teotihuacan Pyramids tickets1606,2
 Chapultepec Castle CDMX tickets1606,2
 Anthropology Museum CDMX tickets1606,2
Total 6702272,3

There were a few other activities that unfortunately we missed but maybe would be of interest to you. Here are some examples:

  • hiking tours on the volcanoes around Mexico City: there are interesting hikes on the Nevado de Toluca, Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba volcanos available on TripAdvisor and Airbnb, but make sure to book in due time (sadly we missed an Izta hike because of this);
  • simulation of an illegal border crossing at EcoAlberto Parque: if heading to the north of Mexico try not to miss the Caminata Nocturna experience (http://www.ecoalberto.com.mx/web/caminata.php) . The location itself is not easily accessible by public transportation so you would need to hire a car for this, but I believe it is something you should pin on your map. However, be aware that this is quite a hardcore experience and they organize it only in some Saturday nights, reason for which we missed it.
Pyramid of the Moof, Teotihuacan Archeological Site
Other costsDescriptionTotal cost in EUR
 Shopping46,5
 ATM Cash withdrawal taxes19,1
 Laundry9,8
 SIM Cards and recharge26
Total 101,4

In terms of shopping we bought some extra hiking accessories and clothes from Decathlon (which is much more expensive, compared to Romania at least) and just a handful of small souvenirs. In terms of laundry costs we managed to keep them low by hand washing when possible. Be aware that it is extremely hard to find an Airbnb with washing machine, thus do not count on this.

 Total costs for 40 days, 2 persons
Accommodation676
Food & drinks478,8
Transportation520,9
Activities272,3
Other costs101,4
Total2049,4

In total we spent 2050 EUR (2 persons) during 40 days of travel and countless km of bus rides. To be honest we left home with a lower target budget of 44 EUR/day (1734 EUR for 40 days), but had to adjust it on the way to the local reality and our lifestyle. Some ways to decrease these costs:

  • choose hostels with dorm rooms: if you are ok with not having a private room then this would be a cheap option and helpful in making friends;
  • take more overnight busses: we only had 2 such busses, and both because it was the only option in terms of bus schedule. However, by riding the bus during night on long distances you can reduce the costs of accommodation, so maybe it works for you.

If this total expense is a lot or not, I guess it depends. However, we would be curious to know your thoughts and why not, if you have some suggestions for improvement do not hesitate to share!

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