In the last few weeks I’ve received a lot of messages like “Is Latin America expensive?”, “How much does it cost?” or “Are you within the budget?”. Well, I could answer: “It depends,” “Pretty much”and” Not really “:D.
For all those who occasionally go to South-East Asia – do not compare Latin America with Asia (as I still tend to do sometimes) because you may feel like crying. 😀
But in order to get a better sense of where and how quickly our money is spent and to help others plan their trips, we will prepare a budget breakdown for each country – how much does it cost to travel there.
If you travel for a long time, it is almost necessary to monitor your expensed, because otherwise, at the end of the month, you could quickly end up wondering where did a few hundred euros disappear. Also if you are planning shorter vacation it is good to set a certain budget at the beginning so that you avoid a headache after you return home😊
HOW DO WE TRACK OUR TRAVEL EXPENSES?
There are a large number of applications that can be downloaded free of charge which even help you make statistics. I’m not sure why (we may just be “old school”: P), but we found something that we did not like with each application. In fact, we would prefer to use pencil and paper (are we really so old? :D), but because we would probably lose everything very quickly, we went with good old excel table. 😉 Bojan is our “financial manager” because I would definitely forget to write down everything 😊
OUR MEXICO TRAVEL BUDGET: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Travel time: 44 days
Total costs: € 3188 + € 729 for a diving course for both and buying underwater equipment for GoPro (we did not count the latter in our average daily budget, but will be included in the total travel budget)
Average costs per day: € 70.7 35,35 € / person
ACCOMMODATION: 1116 € (cca 35%)
Accommodation represented 35% of our costs (our wish would be 30%) or on average 25.3€ per day. However, the prices of accommodations in Yucatan differ from ones in the rest of Mexico.
For example, in the rest of Mexico, we paid for a simple double room with own/shared bathroom from €11 (San Cristobal) to €25 (in Puerto Escondido and Mexico City). Accommodations sometimes included a breakfast while in others common kitchen was available. In Yucatan, however, the prices started at around 25 €/night. The priciest accommodation was a boutique hotel in Tulum – 60 €/night (we got discount, the regular price is much higher! :D) where we slept for my birthday. 😊
We usually book accommodations through Booking, Airbnb or Hostelworld. By the way, if you make a reservation at Booking using the link below, you will receive back 10% (of the accommodation price) after your stay, which you can then use for subsequent reservations (and yes, booking gives us small commision every time someone uses the link to book a room – so everybody wins 🙂 ).
You can share the link below freely via email and social networks (for the pigeon post I am not sure 🙂 ). Just be aware that you can use this discount only once – if you have used such link for 10% discount in the past, uncle Booking will know and you won’t get another reward on your Booking account 😉
So, by using this link you will sleep for less money: https://www.booking.com/s/11_6/b7bb5d87
TRANSPORTATION: 965 € (cca 30%)
We travelled around Mexico by using buses, private transports (mini buses / vans) and a rented car (6 days).
The latter hit our travel budget quite a bit, because instead of the foreseen €170 we had to pay €300 for rent, which was then (catastrophic) 50 €/day.
Perhaps our tip: in Mexico rent a car directly through the agencies (eg Hertz, Europcar, ..), although even them may try to …. khm you a bit 😉. We booked through Economy Car Rentals and, despite having read the fine print at least ten times, it turned out that the package only included basic insurance (and we really didn’t want to take a risk). In addition, 60 euros, (that website charged us immediately after reservation), disappeared into the unknown (at Hertz they did not know anything about this money).
Even with Hertz itself, we did not have a great experience, because in addition they were trying to give us bigger car (more expensive one, obviously), their mathematics was also quite weird.
Let me explain: Their original price was 300€ . Since I wanted to understand what we are paying for, I asked for an explanation. In the flood of words of density n/minute, the lady explained something about 110 € for rent and basic insurance and then 20 € per day for full insurance. However, at the same time she immediately offered discount and a price of 15 € /day and that then the price would be 240 €. In all confusion and anger (taking into account that 60€ that we payed to website for nothing) we just payed that 240€ and drove away. Only after few minutes when I calmed down I realized something: 110 € + 6×15 € = 200 €! What is then additional 40€ that we payed?? I was too tired to go back and argue again…
Perhaps I should count those €100 in unforeseen expenses for Mexico 🙂 But if you still want to rent a car then our advice is, that you book it directly from dealers (Hertz, Europcar,…)
ADO is the main bus operator in Mexico with offices all around the country, and you can also see prices, hours of departures and (approximate) occupancy on their website in advance. The buses are quite comfortable with a lot of space, so even a 13-hour night ride from Puerto Escondida to San Cristóbal wasn’t unbearable (the distance is not so long, but the roads are bad :D).
FOOD AND DRINKS: 705,6 € (cca 22,1%)
GROCERIES: 138,7 €
RESTAURANTS: 417.5 €
ADDITIONAL BEER/COFFEE: 149,4 €
In fact, we spent less money on food and drinks than we thought we would 😊 Food in stores is cheap (imported brands are a bit more expensive). Street food is good and cheap (but not as cheap as Asian :D) and you can not eat fried tacos all the time.
Prices in restaurants are also affordable; the price of a small beer (Mexican Sol or XX) is somewhere between 1-2 € (except for Yucatan where it can also be 3€ ). The price of coffee is around 2€, so we went to Starbucks quite often, because it was not much more expensive than the rest of the coffee shops. And of course because you can sit there with your laptop for whole afternoon. 🙂
TOURS AND ENTRANCE FEES: 327.5 € (cca 10.3%)
The entrance fees for the museums and for most of the ruins are quite low (on average 2-3 euros); we paid a little more to visit the cenotes in Yucatan (6-7 €) and Chitzen Itza -11 € (which we ultimately didn’t like as much as others).
In Oaxaca and San Cristobal we also went on a day trip (both extremely cheap – about 13 € per person), at Puerto Escondido we went to see the phenomenon of bioluminescence (for just over 10 € you swimm surrounded by a plankton and shine like a Christmas tree – Crazy!: D) and took a surfing lesson (50 € for both).
The priciest thing was one day MTB tour that Bojan took in Oaxaca (just under € 100).
OTHER COSTS: 71,4 € (cca 2,2%)
Other costs include: tips, internet and SIM for Mexican no., toilet, laundry, money exchange fees and some other unforeseen expenses.
HANDLING WITH MONEY IN MEXICO
The Mexican currency is a Mexican peso, the ratio is: 1 € = approx. 22.5 to 23M$
It is possible to find an ATM practiacally anywhere in the country (and they accept both Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, …) so there is no fear of ending up without cash. Consider the fact that the bank will charge you a commision of 3-4 €, so it is better to withdraw the maximum possible amount.
Additionaly, it never hurts to have cash with you, preferably US dollars. But (!) – pay attention especially at Yucatan where prices in dollars can be up to 15% higher in comparison to prices in mexican pesos.
SO…DID WE STICK TO OUR MEXICO TRAVEL BUDGET? 🙂
Well, not quite 🙂 We have also not spent THAT much. Anyhow, given the fact that we have a budget for the entire trip, it’s really only important how much will remain in the account when we return home. So, all good for now!😊