Mexico Travel – Cost of Living

‘Mexico Travel Cost of Living’ – 105 Days in Mexico – So what did that cost?

This is the first in our series of our ‘Travelling the World’ living costs.  

We’ll be doing country by country, so you can see what it costs to travel and live in various places.

It will outline all our living costs/housing/transport costs/food for a meat eating, beer/wine drinking couple.

Yes, we both love our meat, eating out and a drink or two in the evenings.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Eating out in Lake Chapala… don’t you love how they allow your dogs to join you!

Travelling the World – Mexico Cost of Living

To set the scene, you should know our budget for our Round the World Adventure is $135 USD a day maximum, however we aim to come under this wherever possible. And in the last 1000 days travelling we have spent way less than this.

So what did everything cost?

Let’s break that down into categories so you can see how it all works.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Beautiful Zocolos – free to visit and just hangout.

What did life look like in Mexico?

Firstly this is what life looked like.

We landed in Guadalajara and travelled overland by bus throughout Mexico as far as Cancun (way better than flying I might add) for 105 days taking only one internal flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City. (which I would never do again by the way – it took they same time door to door – way better on the bus)

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

The active smoking Popocatépetl volcano at Cholula… a fabulous sight – Free!

Mostly we bought groceries and cooked our own food, although most weeks there would be at least 2-3 meals out. We visited any attraction we desired, we didn’t skimp on sightseeing or adventure activities and most days we went somewhere. Avoiding group/tourist type tours was a priority and we utilised free walking tours where possible.  Free Walking Tours are readily available in most cities these days. They’re not actually free as there is an expectation of a donation/tip – usually well deserved.  Sometimes we hired a guide for an indepth cultural experience.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

You can have this view for free by visiting the Cafe at the top of Sears in Mexico City… maybe for the price of a coffee which you were going to have anyway.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Accommodation

In most places we stayed 1-2 weeks so got weekly rates on accommodation.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Our one bedroom apartment in Guanajuato was just $197 a week.

We had 12 days of Housesitting, so accommodation here was free. Our first accommodation in Mexico was a very inexpensive apartment in Tlaquepaque for $125 a week.  I didn’t need look too hard for it; I came across it easily just by googling. We loved the apartments (there were 5) and had a sense of home with lovely neighbours.

The apartment price included all utilities, water and good internet, which was pretty much the same for most of Mexico.

Imagine that including power and internet!

Airbnb is our first place to look for an apartment and that usually works well. If you want to see in detail where we stayed – here is all our Mexico Apartments.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Fabulous Kitchen in our apartment in Merida on the Yucatan.

A high point of living in Mexico is the fact that these types of apartments usually come with full kitchens, (although sometimes no oven) this is really great if want to save some money by cooking like we do —anything you rent here will likely come with a gas stove, pots and pans if it’s a furnished apartment. And of course if there’s something you need in the kitchen line then it’s pretty inexpensive in the market anyway.

We also used 3 weeks of our blessed Timeshare around the Cancun area (not my favourite topic) which is not included in the cost here. The cost of this taking into account our annual fees and exchange fees would amount to an additional $1095 for 21 days.  While the Timeshare places were great, they were more than we needed in terms of facilities and price! 

Average Daily Cost $25.10 for 84 days in Apartments

Average Daily Cost $52.19 for 21 days in Timeshare

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Food Glorious Food

It’s no secret Des loves his food, in particular meat and while I also like food, I do not need the quantity he does. We scoured the butchers at the markets to find just the right one, given that there is little or no refrigeration, it’s good to have a butcher’s eye to make sure we get meat that is fresh and not going off.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

We preferred to buy at the locals markets, interacting and supporting with the local people all part of the experience.

We loved the abundance of vegetables and fruit.  Mexico fared well here, there’s great choices, it’s fresh and cheap.  The food for two in Mexico worked out at $31.25 a day and this also included alcohol and eating out which we did about 2-3 times a week.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Fresh fruit and vegetables are in plentiful supply everywhere in Mexico.

For eating out costs, a cheap quesadilla is15 pesos (just over $1) at one of the stands, a nicer taco is about 40 pesos (about $3.25), and a meal at one of the  restaurants in town runs up to $10 or $15 USD for 2, we had a dinner one night for $16.92 for both of us and yummy ice creams were around $1.00 each.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Fish Tacos in San Miguel de Allende… so tasty for a couple of dollars.

My food budget was pretty generous, so if you cooked at home most nights, I think you could get by on about $200 a week.  We bought most of our meat, vegetables and fruit at the markets, and only went to the ‘dry goods store’ for toilet paper and other things like rice.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

And at home we cooked… pork, salad, vege and yummy new potatoes! – Not bad

Average Daily Cost Food/Alcohol/Eating Out $31.25

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Transport

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Primera Plus – our favourite bus line in Mexico – soooo luxurious and so cheap

Bus fares between cities ranged from $25-$35 for pretty much a first class ride.  We loved riding the Mexico buses, they were a sightseeing adventure in themselves.

Mostly we booked apartments in the centre of town. And one of the perks of living close in, is you can walk most places. The only transport we needed was occassional public buses and a few taxis. We usually took public bus for around 60 cents each, and taxis were always about $2.00 – $3.00.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Laundry Mexico

What can I say – it’s essential!

While some might say isn’t it great that some one else does your laundry. I like my laundry to come back in one piece, the same size and colour – and that is not always possible from a Laundromat.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Actually I gave this one a miss…

I actually hate having my laundry done by others and if I find an apartment with a washing machine I am in heaven.

I’m strange I know; but it took travelling the world for me to realise how much I loved washing machines, irons and clean clothes every day.  Many of you who know me will recall the famous washing machine photos on Facebook!  – I way prefer to do my own laundry and hence my washing machine fetish!

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Internet and Phone

I have an unlocked IPhone so it’s very easy to get a sim for each country. Mobile Data is also pretty non negotiable these days.  There’s nothing better than be able to look up something on the run. In Mexico it was quite a high cost @ $24 a month for 500 MB – just on that topic here are the instructions of getting a sim in Mexico from the gurus at Too Many Adaptors.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Sightseeing

As I said we never skimped on sightseeing and yes Mexico has some beautiful sights.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

More often than not visiting these beautiful cathedrals was also free.

We visited churches, cathedrals, museums, we went on boat trips, snorkelling, zip lining, swimming in many different cenotes, visited almost all the Mayan Ruins, we did walking tours and hikes and loads more.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

It’s fun to try new things too!

Often many sights are free like wandering about the neighbourhod and heading for the local zocolo and just people watching.  We always do a load of walking and watching… no cost for this – always google ‘free things to do in….’

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Look what you find when you just walk around – our favourite activity walking and taking in the vibe

The average daily cost for us both – just $6.00!

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Entertainment

We are not party people and rarely go out at night except for dinner, just so you know, but there is plenty to entertain you in Mexico of you want to seek it out – actually you don’t even need to seek it out… you will hear it first.

So our nightlife budget really doesn’t exist.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Musicians can turn up anywhere for a bit of entertainment… usually expect a tip if they play at your table.

However Mexico usually turns up it’s boom boxes day and night regardless.  We grew to accept the noise that is Mexico in party mode every other day for no other reason.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

And a bit of jazz doesn’t goes astray while dining in San Cristobal de las Casas

The bit of entertainment showing is for donations for street entertainment and the odd drink here and there.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Misc

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

And of course there’s plenty of spice and anything else you might need at the markets…

Covers some chemist items, insect repellents, posting parcels home (expensive!) entry and departure tax Mexico, haircuts, some incense and other random stuff.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Souvenirs

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

I couldn’t resist buying one of these tiny mexican dolls – they are everywhere! At least she isn’t too heavy to carry home.

We like to buy a ‘tiny’ momentos of places we visit, might be a key ring, a figure of a cathedral or something of that nature. We also like to buy books when we have room to carry them. We also collect the free souvenirs like the tickets to things, boarding passes… often they are dated which is fun when looking back.

Mexico Travel Cost of Living – Personal Jo & Des

Mexico Travel Cost of Living

More free activities… swimming at the gorgeous Isla Mujeres…

Personal expenses cover clothes, haircuts, jandals, razors, sunglasses – you get the idea. We also got our teeth deep cleaned in Mexico for $38 each. I also had to have a couple of routine blood tests which were also pretty cheap.

Summary – Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Drumroll…please –  Mexico travel cost of living comes in at $83.25 a day for both of us.

All the baseline living costs are covered, this includes toiletries, laundry and any other expenses that come up, but not international flights or travel insurance.

For the record our World Nomads Travel Insurance costs $5.45 a day.

Accommodation $2109.21
Entertainment $ 151.22
Food and Alcohol $3265.89
Internet and Phone $  63.00
Miscellaneous $ 423.85
Momentos/Souvenirs $ 153.54
Personal Des $ 167.19
Personal Jo $ 534.13
Sightseeing $ 639.66
Transport $1355.71
 Laundry $  75.66
Mexico Travel Cost of Living

Another beautiful Mexico sunset…

You should also note the exchange rate in 2014 when we were there was around 13 Pesos to 1 USD.

Now in 2016, thanks to the Trump effect, the exchange rate is now 20 to 1. This means the cost today would be almost half in USD.

Trail Wallet and Budgeting for Travelling the World

Another question I bet you’re thinking is how do I record all this fabulous data – well I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s easy peasy with an app I discovered a while back called Trail Wallet. It’s a clever little app on your phone that you record and categorise each expense as you go.

I would be lost without it… actually as Josh from Travelling 9 to 5 said – “Once you start tracking your budget on a daily basis, it becomes a little addicting!”

Yep that’s true… especially when the little man comes up and says…’ you’ve got this budgeting thing nailed’! 

A Happy Wallet means a Happy Traveller…


Next up “Travelling the World Living Costs” Series  is Guatemala.


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