At the 2017 SheNomads Remote Work and Wellness Retreat, I spent three days exploring Mexico City alongside a diverse group of women who work remotely and travel. Mexico City surpassed all of my expectations and I can’t wait to go back to sightsee and try more of the delicious food. In this Mexico City budget breakdown, I detail all of my trip expenses. This includes airfare, lodging, food and more. You can also find trip totals and commentary about affordability at the end.
Now depending on your interests, your Mexico City budget may vary but use this spending plan as a guide to help you better financially prepare for your trip. But before we get into it, here are the important financial things that you should know before you go.
Planning A Trip to Mexico City
What currency to use in Mexico?
Mexico’s official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN).
$1 USD = ~ $16 – $20 MXN
You can use all major credit cards in Mexico City including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. However, I recommend carrying cash as well. Smaller establishments may not accept debit or credit cards.
If your bank or credit card company requires a travel notification, set your travel dates ahead of time.
There are plenty of 24-hour ATMs in Mexico City. If you’re flying into Mexico City International Airport, I recommend taking out cash at an ATM there before heading out.
When is the best time to visit Mexico City?
Visit Mexico City during late spring. From March to May, it’s about 70°F with little rain.
Things to pack?
Bring sunscreen – I’m still peeling! I would also recommend bringing a light jacket or sweater. It gets chilly in the morning and at night.
3 Day Mexico City Budget
Round-trip Flights from NYC: $244.16 USD
I booked my flight with Volaris five months before departure.
Volaris Flight Review
Volaris is a no-thrills, low-cost airline. You can bring two carry-on items (one carry-on and one personal) onboard for free. Avoid baggage fees by making sure that your luggage doesn’t weigh more than 15lbs – they will check.
Personal items include a purse, backpack or briefcase. I traveled with my CabinZero backpack and a wheeled tote. I did not pay any baggage fees.
On the Volaris flight, my seat did not recline and I had little leg room. Also, nothing was complimentary on the flight – not even water. To avoid buying water at the airport, bring an empty bottle with you. Fill it up at a water fountain. Also, bring your own food and snacks.
Lastly, there was no in-flight entertainment. So I suggest bringing your own.
Overall, although seat comfort was poor, I would fly with Volaris again. Especially if I needed to save money on my Mexico City budget.
Total Lodging: $311 USD
At the SheNomads Remote Work & Wellness Retreat, I shared a charming Airbnb which accommodated 14 people in San Miguel Chapultepec. San Miguel Chapultepec is an authentic Mexican barrio in Mexico City. The neighborhood is quiet and there are ice cream shops, restaurants, and cafes nearby.
From the Mexico City International Airport, grab an Uber and arrive in less than 45-minutes.
Our house had a garden, a terrace and a large kitchen stocked with coffee and tea. There were also several large living spaces that we used for yoga and meditation. Housekeeping also cleaned my room daily.
If you rather stay at a hotel in Mexico City, there are also plenty of affordable options.
Transportation to/from NYC Airport: $72.67 USD
One-way Uber ride to JFK: $37.67 USD
One-way Uber ride to Manhattan: $35 USD
Transportation in Mexico City: $42.77 USD
One-way Uber from Mexico City International Airport to Airbnb: $7.95 USD or $157.76 MXN
One-way Uber from Airbnb to Mexico City International Airport: $6.11 USD or $119.35 MXN
Other Uber Costs
- $19.08 USD or $372.64 MXN
- $4.52 USD or $81.38 MXN
- $5.11 USD or $99.77 MXN
Taxi vs. Uber?
Since I heard a few negative things about taxis in Mexico City, I decided to go with Uber instead. Uber was convenient and affordable. It guaranteed door-to-door service and I knew how much the ride would cost ahead of time. Sometimes I did have connectivity issues, but if you can’t connect with your driver, cancel the trip and try again.
For safety, I always paid extra to ride Uber alone. The small price difference was worth compromising my Mexico City budget.
Note that in Mexico City, if you decide to take a taxi, make sure you ask for the price before you get in. If it seems too high, take another one.
Total Food Cost: $63.34 USD
Day 1 Food Total: $6.55 USD
- Dinner at La Baja Tacos: $6.55 USD or $130 MXN
Day 2 Food Total: $43.52 USD
- Dinner at La Casa Sirenas: $43.52 USD or $850 MXN. This included treating a friend to dinner.
Day 3 Food Total: $13.27 USD
Delicious brunch in the heart of San Miguel Chapultepec.
- Brunch at Cancino San Miguel: $6.61 USD or $129.15 MXN
- Dinner at Maison Kayser Reforma at Mexico City International Airport: $6.66 USD
How much to tip in Mexico City?
It’s customary to tip between 10%-15% at restaurants.
Although tipping at hotels is optional, 5%-10% is customary for housekeeping.
Total Activity Cost: $39.22 USD
Mexico City Budget Activity Details
- Visiting food and artisanal markets: Free
- 2.5-hour bus tour of downtown: $9.22 USD or $180 MXN
- Xochimilco canal cruise: $30 USD or $600 MXN
Visiting the UNESCO Floating Gardens of Xochimilco is a must in Mexico City! Not only was the Xochimilco canal cruise relaxing but it was also a unique cultural experience.
Live music cruising along Xochimilco!
Mariachi bands played traditional Mexican songs for us. We even stopped at a conservatory to see native flowers.
I tried all sorts of Mexican street food like elotes: ears of corn covered with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili. I also tried chips with hot sauce.
Total Alcohol Cost: $10.58 USD
- $10.58 USD or $210 MXN for two Margarita cocktails
Mexico City was affordable. In fact, Mexico City is my top budget destination to visit in 2017!
Notice that I’m not generalizing and saying that Mexico is affordable. Mexico is a large country that I’ve yet to fully explore. This Mexico City budget guide only takes into account my personal experience in the capital.
Overall, I spent $783.74 USD during my three day trip to Mexico City. Although I was pretty loose with my purse strings, you can travel to Mexico City on a tighter budget.
Eating out and Uber rides were cheap in Mexico City. Nevertheless, shave costs on your Mexico City budget by finding a cheap flight and an affordable accommodation. Everything else will have less of an impact on your overall travel budget.
Anything surprising about my Mexico City budget breakdown?
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 25 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.