Is it possible to travel in Mexico on a budget? Learn how much it cost me to backpack through Mexico — along with my favorite travel tips & highlights.
The first thing I want to say is that Mexico is not as dangerous as people make it out to be. I can say with confidence that Mexico is just as safe as parts of the United States.
Because the American media only reports on sensational news from Mexico, individuals who have never been there assume the whole country is a wild and dangerous place. This gives people a skewed view, resulting in a sort of mass hysteria.
Mexico is very big, and just because there’s violence in parts of the North does not mean the whole country is a failed state. Major cities in the US have ridiculous crime rates too, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe for foreigners to visit our country.
While knowledge of Spanish is a huge benefit, it’s not needed to travel in Mexico. I was a bit worried about my lack of Spanish. Sure it was frustrating to communicate at times, but it wasn’t impossible. I carried a small Spanish phrasebook that covered the basics which worked fine.
In touristy towns the local population sees you as a dollar sign, another reason I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time in these places.
For the most part though, the people I met in Mexico were all incredibly friendly, hard working, patient, and generous individuals. Many would insist on buying drinks or cooking food for me, without wanting anything in return other than conversation and friendship. Complete strangers would help me with directions or interpret bus announcements.
At first I was wary of this type of thing, my own deep fears revealing themselves. But the more it happened the more I realized it was just natural kindness. Good luck trying to find that kind of attitude in South Florida!
In my 5 weeks of travel through the Yucatan, I only met a handful of travelers from the United States. Most travelers I met were from Europe or Mexico City. The summer season is slow here because of the heat, and boy did I feel it. I got used to not having AC after a while though, and changing my shirt twice a day. Cold showers were actually nice in the afternoons.
Mexico Travel Costs:
Here is a breakdown of how much money I spent during my 5 weeks in Mexico:
- Food & Drink: $367 US (groceries, restaurants, water, alcohol)
- Accommodation: $327 US (hostels, hotels, camping fees)
- Transportation: $149 US (buses, taxis, boats)
- Activities: $86 US (entrance fees, rentals, classes, tours, etc.)
- Other: $66 US (laundry, internet, phone, toiletries, souvenirs, etc.)
DAYS = 36
TOTAL SPENT = $995 US
DAILY AVERAGE = $27.64 US
While this may seem like a very low number, Mexico is cheap to travel through if you avoid the major tourist cities. Staying in dorms at backpacking hostels and traveling by second class bus and collectivos saved me a lot of money.
So did cooking a majority of my own meals. I did make sure to eat out at least once a day at either restaurants or street vendors. I never felt like I was missing out on something important because I was spending less money, in fact I actually felt like I was receiving a more worthwhile experience by eating and getting around like a local would.
- Scuba diving cenotes & underground rivers
- Hiking the ancient Mayan ruins of Calakmul
- Eating tons of delicious Mexican food
Summer heat in the Yucatan is brutal
Mexico is plenty safe & friendly
Yucatan Mexico Slideshow
Stories & Adventures From Mexico
Planning to travel to the Yucatan soon? Browse all my blog posts from Mexico to get ideas & recommendations for your own adventures.
Read My Travel Stories From Mexico »
I think I’m becoming a lot more relaxed and patient with problems that pop up from time to time, as they did in Mexico. Bus breakdowns in the middle of nowhere, towns without working ATMs, getting caught in downpours, no hot water, walking everywhere, foreign language issues, power outages, lack of air conditioning in 102 degree heat and other experiences I had in Mexico make minor inconveniences I’ve experienced in the US seem ridiculous. ★
My last trip to Mexico was in 2010. Prices have probably changed a bit since then. We don’t all travel the same way either. So to help you get a better picture, here are a few Mexico travel budgets from other bloggers:
- Mexico Travel Costs from A Little Adrift
- Mexico Travel Costs from Nomadic Matt
- Mexico Travel Costs from Almost Fearless