With its stunning beaches and popular tourist spots, Mexico is often right at the top of the ‘must-visit’ list for many intrepid explorers. But travelling to this amazing country is just one part of the story, and you also need to think about how much spending money you need for a trip to Mexico.
Here at Crown Currency Exchange, we believe that travelling should be as stress-free as possible. So, to help do this, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to spending money for Mexico. We’ve included everything you need to think about, making it easier to create a travel budget that works for you, no matter what your travel style is.
How Much Spending Money Do I Need for Mexico?
The amount of money you’ll need for a trip to Mexico will ultimately depend on your travel style. We’ve kept this in mind when calculating costs, and here’s what you can expect to spend across three different styles:
For those trying to spend as little as possible, a daily budget of around $75 Mexican Pesos (MXN) should be enough. This will afford you a stay in a motel, dishes from local food stalls, and cover your public transportation costs.
You’ll also be able to enjoy some low-cost activities within this budget, including a stroll along Malecon Boardwalk and a guided tour of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.
Those with a little more money to spare may find that an average daily budget of $2,400 Mexican Pesos (MXN) is the perfect amount. This will get you a comfortable mid-range hotel room, allow you to travel by taxi, and give you the opportunity to enjoy three-course meals in most restaurants.
In terms of activities, you’ll be able to tour the iconic Chapultepec Castle and take a sensory experience at Mystika Immersive. You’ll also be able to visit Quinta Avenida, and depending on how many Pesos you’ve put aside for souvenirs, pick up some unique gifts and mementoes.
Those with access to a larger budget may find that an average daily cost of around $5,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) is enough to create the dream holiday. For this budget, you’ll be able to stay in a luxury hotel overlooking the best beaches, hire a car to explore on your own terms and enjoy nicer restaurants and local food stalls.
A whole world of activities also opens up to you with this kind of budget, including the opportunity to explore the underground river of Rio Secreto or do some serious shopping on Quinta Avenida.
What Goes into a Travel Budget?
By breaking down your travel budget into different categories, it becomes much easier to plan and assign money where it needs to go. There are four main costs you need to consider when doing this:
- Food & Drink: There’s no way you can visit Mexico without trying some genuine Mexican cuisine, so this will need to make up a large part of your budget.
- Accommodation: You’re also going to need somewhere to stay when taking a trip to Mexico. Luckily, there are many options, and each has a different cost, so be sure to factor this in when budgeting for accommodation.
- Activities: Mexico has loads of fun activities and experiences to take part in, so it’s important to portion some of your budget for this as well.
- Transportation: Getting around Mexico is another thing you’ll need to think about, and whether you plan to take public transportation or hire a car, you’ll need to factor your transportation costs into your budget.
What is the Cost of Accommodation in Mexico?
The cost of accommodation in Mexico can vary based on the type of accommodation you want to stay in and the location. Prices in popular tourist areas, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, tend to be higher than in rural areas.
- Budget Travellers: The most budget friendly accommodation option in Mexico is hostels, which you can get for around $197 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night, with prices a little higher in popular tourist areas.
- Mid-Range Travellers: A vacation rental is a good choice for those who would prefer a little privacy, and the average cost of an apartment is $1,700 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night. Remember, however, the more of you there are the lower the cost per person.
- Luxury Travellers: For those who want a super luxurious holiday, you can get a room in a luxury hotel of beach resort for around $2,600 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night, although costs are likely to be higher during the peak summer season.
Different Accommodation Options:
- Hostels: Ideal for those looking for budget friendly accommodation, hostels are available in both shared and private rooms in Mexico. You can expect to pay an average price of $197 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night for a good hostel, although prices are higher in popular tourist areas, with the average price of a hostel stay in Mexico City costing $255 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night.
- Camping/Glamping: You can keep your accommodation costs lower by camping or glamping in rural areas of Mexico, and this is also a good idea if you’re looking to explore Mexico’s nature reserves. Bear in mind, however, that there are often entrance fees and amenities fees on top of the pitch space, and you can expect to pay around $1,150 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night when camping.
- Vacation Rentals: This is a good choice of accommodation if you’re travelling with a group of friends, and platforms such as Airbnb provide entire villas or apartments for fairly reasonable rates. Of course, this depends on the type and size of accommodation, but on average, you can expect to pay $1,700 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night.
- Budget Hotels: Whether you’re travelling solo or as a couple, some people prefer a little more privacy that only a hotel room can offer. While this is more expensive than hostels or camping, there are some good deals (particularly off-season), and you can get a budget hotel room for around $1,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night.
- Luxury Hotels/Beach Resorts: Those looking for a luxurious experience may find that a luxury hotel room or beach resort is the best option. As with any hotel, the price will increase depending on star rating, location, and amenities, but the average nightly cost of a room in a luxury hotel or beach resort comes to $2,600 Mexican Pesos (MXN).
Our Money-Saving Tips for Accommodation Costs:
- Split the Cost: One excellent way of saving money on your accommodation costs in Mexico is to travel as part of a group and split the cost between everyone. For example, six people sharing a rented apartment priced at $1,000 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per night will each only pay $166.
- Book Off-Season: As with most countries, accommodation costs fall significantly during the off-season, and you can get some luxurious accommodation for a much lower rate. The off-season in Mexico typically falls between May and June, then again from September to November. So, if you’re looking for budget accommodation, try booking for this time of year.
What is the Cost of Food in Mexico?
Mexican food is popular the world over for its spiciness and flavour-packed palate. But, far from Taco Bell or other Mexican-themed restaurants you might be used to visiting, tasting Mexican food actually made in Mexico takes everything to the next level. Of course, you’ll need to budget for this, and here’s what you can expect to pay for food when visiting Mexico:
- Street Food: Mexico is well known for its vibrant street food scene. From tacos to quesadillas and tamales and everything in between, eating at food stands is a great way of experiencing genuine Mexican cuisine and keeping your costs low. Some dishes cost as little as $70 Mexican Pesos (MXN), although it’s important to check each vendor’s hygiene ratings and authenticity before dining.
- Markets: Known as ‘Mercados’, Mexican markets offer both a taste of Mexican cuisine from food stalls and the chance to buy ingredients to recreate the dishes yourself. Here, you’ll find spices, fresh produce and snacks alongside cooked meals. Prices here vary based on what you want to buy, but the average price of a cooked meal is the same as street food (around $70 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per dish).
- Restaurants: When you want a change of scene from street food, you can grab a meal in a Mexican restaurant for a very reasonable price. From small family-owned eateries to upscale restaurants, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and the average price for a three-course meal comes to $230 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per person.
- Groceries: The price of groceries in Mexico varies depending on what you’re looking to buy and how many days you plan to cook for yourself. As a general guide, however, a month’s worth of food for two people will come to around $560 Mexican Pesos (MXN).
- Drinks: Compared to some other countries, the price of drinks in Mexico is relatively low. A coffee will cost around $20 Mexican Pesos (MXN), while a local beer will come to just $15 Mexican Pesos (MXN). Cocktails are a little higher priced and, depending on their ingredients, will cost between $50 and $80 Mexican Pesos (MXN).
Our Money-Saving Tips for Food Costs:
- Use Self-Catering Amenities: Some hostels and rented apartments have cooking facilities, which you can use to prepare some of your meals for the day. So, for example, if you buy some groceries to make your breakfast and pack a lunch, you’ll only need to worry about paying for dinner and drinks rather than covering food costs for the whole day.
- Go All Inclusive: Those with the budget to do so may find that choosing all inclusive accommodation can keep food and drink costs low because there are no extra food costs to budget for.
What is the Cost of Transport in Mexico?
With so much to see and do, you’ll need to think about the best way of getting around Mexico in line with your available budget. Here are some transportation options, along with their average prices:
- Public Transportation: One of the most cost-effective ways of travelling around Mexico is by using public transportation. The metro system is particularly useful if you’re staying in Mexico City as you’ll easily be able to get between popular tourist spots quickly for as little as $5 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per trip. There are also local buses and trains all over Mexico that are equally as inexpensive.
- Taxis: Some destinations in Mexico are harder to reach by public transportation, so in this instance, it may be better to use a taxi. The cost will ultimately depend on how far you’re travelling and will range from $15-$50 Mexican Pesos (MXN) each way.
- Rental Cars: For those who prefer to travel with a little more independence, hiring a car is another great way of exploring Mexico. Car hire is a lot more expensive than public transportation, however, and you can expect to pay around $400 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per day.
Our Money-Saving Tips for Transportation Costs:
- Buy an ‘Integrated Transit Card’: You can save money on public transportation in Mexico by buying an ‘Integrated Transit Card’. This costs $15 Mexican Pesos (MXN) and covers you for up to a month of travel across the Metro, Metrobus, Light Rail, RTP buses, and the Trolleybus.
- Cycle: You can explore local towns and villages by bicycle, and the costs are quite low, with the average price of hiring a bike for the day coming in at $140 Mexican Pesos (MXN).
What is the Cost of Activities in Mexico?
Whether your ideal Mexican holiday includes beach activities, hiking trips, or shopping expeditions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. However, each activity comes with its own price. So, to give you a better idea of how to budget, let’s take a look at the cost of some of the most popular activities in Mexico:
- Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropologia: Containing 23 separate exhibition halls, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia is considered one of the best natural history museums in the world. Perfect for history lovers and those looking to learn more about Mexican culture, a guided tour of the museum will cost around $380 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per person.
- Explore Rio Secreto: This underground river offers a fantastic way to see Mexico’s natural beauty and take part in a thrill-seeking activity at the same time. You can take a tour of Rio Secreto and explore its crystal caves for an average price of $1,600 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per person.
- Tour Chapultepec Castle: Another great activity for history lovers, Cahpultepec Castle is an 18th-century palace located in Mexico City. It’s also home to Mexico’s National Museum of History and features murals, stained glass galleries, and beautiful gardens. A guided tour here will set you back around $690 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per person.
- Stroll Along Malecon Boardwalk: Spanning 12 blocks and home to dozens of food stalls and bars, the Malecon Boardwalk is an excellent way to spend a day in Mexico. Better yet, it costs nothing to visit, so it is ideal for those trying to stick to a lower budget.
- Go Shopping on Quinta Avenida: Often referred to as ‘the most important street in Mexico’, Quinta Avenida is the perfect place to visit if you need to pick up some souvenirs or you simply want to indulge in some shopping. Prices vary between stalls and products, and there are also restaurants and bars to enjoy here.
- Take a Sensory Experience at Mystika Immersive: Whether you’re travelling with your family, a companion, or by yourself, Mystika Immersive is one of the most exciting places to visit in Mexico. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind sensory experience where you’ll learn more about Mayan cosmology and Mexico’s natural sanctuaries for just $420 Mexican Pesos (MXN) per person.
Our Money-Saving Tips for Activity Costs:
- Take Advantage of Group Discounts: Some tour operators will give you a discount if you’re happy to visit somewhere as part of a group. This could be with a group you’re already on holiday with or fellow travellers looking to save money.
- Visit Off-Season: As with your accommodation, visiting Mexico and booking your activities off-season could save you quite a bit of money, as attractions will lower their prices to keep trade ticking over during quieter times of the year.
Other Expenses to Consider for the Trip
The four topics we’ve covered above will make up most of your travel budget. However, there are some other things you’ll also need to account for which, while less exciting, are equally as important. These include:
- Visa Fees: You’ll need to apply for a visa when visiting Mexico. Luckily, the application fee isn’t very expensive, but you still need to factor it into your budget.
- Travel Insurance: From missing luggage to medical emergencies, travel insurance will cover you for any unforeseen circumstances that take place while you’re in Mexico. You may be tempted to go without insurance, but we wouldn’t recommend this as life is often unpredictable, and it’s better to be covered for any eventuality!
- Gifts & Souvenirs: It’s always nice to have a memento of your holiday and to gift something to your friends and family, so make sure you’ve left some space in your travel budget for souvenirs.
- Emergencies: Leave a portion of money for emergencies, too. Even if you have travel insurance, it’s worth having cash readily available for any issues that come up that your insurance doesn’t cover.
Most Cost-Effective Way to Take Mexican Pesos to Mexico
Without a doubt, the most cost-effective way of taking Mexican Pesos (MXN) to Mexico is in cash. While card payments are widely accepted throughout Mexico, many banks and credit card providers will charge an ‘International Transaction Fee’ for each purchase, which can add up to a significant amount over time. Likewise, taking cash will give you ultimate freedom in exploring Mexico, as some local food stalls or remote shops may not accept card payments.
Crown Currency Exchange is the best place to pick up your Mexican Pesos, and you’ll get a competitive AUD to MXN rate with no hidden costs or commission fees. You can find all of the information you need on buying Mexican Pesos here, as well as your closest Crown Currency Exchange store here.
What currency does Mexico use?
The form of currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso (MXN).
Is Mexico expensive to visit?
This ultimately depends on where you want to stay and what you want to do while in Mexico. There are great options for budget travellers and luxury travellers alike, meaning there’s something suitable for all budgets.
Can I use cards to pay in Mexico?
While you can use cards to pay for goods and services in Mexico, it’s much better to use cash. This will stop you from incurring any International Payment Fees and give you more freedom to buy from anywhere you visit.