Our time in Mexico was amazing, and we loved the sights, the culture, the people and of course the food. It isn’t an expensive place but it still somehow obliterated our budget beyond belief.
Our route was a bit haphazard, and part of the reason we spent so much, but Mexico is a seriously huge country and we wanted to see more than just the Yucatan where most tourists visit.
No visa required, but coming from the US we were still subject to the 90 day limit that began when we entered America under our ESTA, not that we got anywhere near that. Whether the US would actually know or check how long you had stayed in Mexico is up for debate, but I suppose it’s always worth keeping on the right side of their overzealous immigration rules.
All costs for 2 people over 29 days.
Accommodation – £593.17
Eating Out – £339.20
Transport – £600.25
Groceries – £125.79
Attractions – £66.22
Shopping – £22.54
Alcohol – £11.25
Coffee/Drinks/Snacks – £33.81
Petrol – £4.80
Laundry – £8.65
Misc – £6.77
Total – £1,812.44
Per Day – £62.50
(£1 = 23MXN, $1 = 15MXN)
Dorm bed – £7-10
Basic double room – £14-30
Street tacos x3 or a Torta – 20MXN or less
Basic meal in local restaurant – 30-70MXN
Coke at Oxxo (Mexico’s answer to 7/11) – 8MXN
Small beer at Oxxo – 11-16MXN
Single ride on Mexico City metro – 5MXN
Long distance 1st class bus – 400-800MXN
Ignore anyone who tells you Mexico is expensive – it isn’t. Not that you’d believe that from our stats!
Accommodation is a mixed bag, you can get rooms for very cheap but you get a pretty grotty place for your money. Hostels were fairly pricey in Mexico City and Playa Del Carmen but then you’d expect that in the capital and a tourist hotspot. Our best value rooms were via AirBnB – £22 a night in Guanajuato and £14 for a more basic room in Oaxaca.
Food is very cheap, though you’ll want to spend a bit more now and again to get away from tortillas, fried meat and cheese, as delicious as it is. Drinks and groceries are good value.
The thing that got us was transport. Being new to the region, we decided to get first class buses everywhere. These aren’t expensive by American standards and are really comfortable buses with reclining seats, free snacks and drinks, movies and sometimes WiFi. But they soon add up. If you wanted to save money, 2nd or 3rd class would be far cheaper, and probably still fairly comfortable – Mexico’s bus fleets are miles ahead of the rest of Central America’s.
There are questions about safety on lower class buses but honestly you’d have to be very unlucky to be the victim of a highjacking and you should be safe as long as you get a proper bus from a bus terminal. Security is pretty good at most, and stops are minimal.
We also caved in and got a flight from Mexico City to Cancun, as we didn’t fancy 24 hours even on a very comfortable bus.
Food & Drink
Well, all I can say is that Mexico was one of the culinary highlights of our whole trip. We did expect it to be, and luckily it didn’t disappoint.
Virtually anywhere on any street in the country you can find tacos. I suspect most people know this but Mexican tacos are of course not the same as the rubbish hard tacos we get at home. They are freshly made soft corn or flour tortillas, with just the right amount of delicious meat on each. There are then usually a plethora of salsas to choose from, as well as onion and cilantro.
Something that we’d never seen outside Mexico was tacos al pastor. Pork is roasted on a spit, exactly the same way doner kebabs are done around the world, and shaved off and put into tacos. The meat is juicy and always deliciously seasoned and quickly became one of our favourite taco fillings.
Tortas, basically a large round sandwich with plenty of meat and cheese filling were another common snack – they ranged from basic to incredible but were always cheap, usually 20MXN.
Quesadillas were one of the few foods actually similar to the Tex Mex version, as well as nachos of course.
We were excited to try tamales for the first time – corn paste with a filling, wrapped in a leaf and boiled or bake. They were a nice change from tacos.
There were many, many more foods (we went into detail about the food in Oaxaca here) we tried all around the country and rarely had a bad meal. It’s not the healthiest cuisine (we tried in vain to load up everything with lots of fresh tomato salsa but it still wasn’t enough veg) but it is one of the most delicious.
We also found one of our favourite drinks – Jamaica. Made from dried hibiscus flowers steeped in water, its a really tangy, sweet drink that was often served in local restaurants for cheap. We never did try horchata though, the usual alternative ‘agua fresca’ – milky coloured, made of almonds and rice.