Money matters: Costs to travel in Mexico?

Money matters: Costs to travel in Mexico?

Mexico is one the most diverse countries of Latin America with Mayan villages, deserts, white-sand beaches, jungle, volcanoes, nachos and tequila farms. A great place for both adventure, relaxation and fiesta! David Beattie (who I met in Vietnam in 2010) went backpacking in Mexico this time, as part of a big Latin-America trip. He noted down all his expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Take a look at David’s overview of costs to travel in Mexico and his tips!

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. 

Costs 20-day Mexico trip*: 500 EURO (680 USD)

Daily travel expenses*: 25 EURO (34 USD)

*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

Palenque ruins Mexico. ©David Beattie.
Palenque ruins Mexico. ©David Beattie.


These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard expenses

One night in a hostel dormitory: 7,4 euro (10 USD)
One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 11 euro (15 USD)
A short 10-minute taxi ride: 2 euro (2,2 USD)
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,4 euro (0,6 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 0,80 euro (1 USD) 
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 0,8 euro (1 USD)
Basic lunch at a local restaurant: 2 euro (2,2 USD)
Dinner at a local restaurant: 4 euro (4,4 USD)

Notable expenses 

Mayan ruins: Fees ranging from 2,5 euro (3,4 USD) to Tulum to 10 euro (13,6 USD) to Chichen Itza
Private room near Palenque ruins: 11 euro (15 USD) 
2oz glass of Mescal in San Cristobal: 2,3 euro (3,1 USD) P.s. Too many glasses of Mescal causes more than just financial damage
Intercity buses: Ranging from 7 euro (9,5 USD) for a 5 hour day bus to 30 euro (41 USD)  for 9 hour overnight bus.

A colored street in Campeche, Mexico. ©Bunch of Backpackers
A colored street in Campeche, Mexico. ©Bunch of Backpackers


About the backpackers: David Beattie
Destination and travel period: Mexico in February 2014 for 20 days.
Visited places:
 Tulum, Merida, Campeche, Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas.
Type of trip: Independently
Accommodation: budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses)
Transportation: standard (mix of transportation)
Food: basic (cheap local eateries, streetfood, snacks)
Exchange rate at the time of travel: 1 euro is 18,2 Mexican pesos.

Budget tips for Mexico by David!

1. The better your Spanish, the easier it is to eat at the markets, use local transport and generally gain some favor with the locals. My Spanish was very basic, so I decided to hang out with backpackers who could double as my own personal translator.Everything (especially hotels) will be (a bit) cheaper there!

2. Transport was the biggest expense. It ranged from €30 for a 9 hour overnight bus, to €7 for a 5 hour day bus. The quality is excellent, with reclining seats, A/C, televisions (with Spanish dubbed Hollywood films) and toilets. Taking local colectivos would be slightly cheaper, but the ADO buses represent excellent value due to the long distances

2.Some tips are universal. Drink and cook at the hostel, walk or take local transport and don´t get too obsessed with your budget, you are in these places for a good time, not a long time.

Check out the costs to travel in other countries in the Money Matters series!


  1. Are you kidding me! Why didnt anyone tell it was that cheap?! Well coming from the UK I may have to add another £500 am sure just for the flight because we always get ripped for over here. This has definitely spared me on to consider a trip there next year. Providing the overall expense doesn’t triple.

    • I’m sure it’s worth the flight costs Surya! I’ve heard great stories about Mexico and in the country you can easily travel on a budget :)

  2. This is a great breakdown of the expected daily costs – exactly what I’m trying to figure out on the ground in many countries. From David’s post, it looks like you can travel very comfortably in Mexico for a reasonable amount of money. Can’t tell you how much I miss Mexican food after reading this!

    • Thank you Dave! Judging from David post and the other comments it does seem like an excellent value for money destination :)! P.s. No burrito’s in Ethiopia I suppose?

  3. Prices are only going to get more and more expensive with the world cup and the olympics coming up! But it’s true, you can still travel there on a budget with a bit of careful planning. Great post.

  4. Coming from London i’m sometimes forget how reasonable these places are, or how overpriced London is, but looking forward to getting my travels back on in July and remembering it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to enjoy the local culture.

  5. This is a great series, Manouk! And I would generally agree with David, although we did Mexico a bit cheaper (but we’re pretty stingy!). Good budget tips though in general and a great overview of an awesome country! Can’t wait to go back!

  6. I’ve been in Mexico last time some ten years ago. And was curious to see how the prices changed. And they sure did, although traveling in Mexico still seems pretty affordable. Thanks for sharing!

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