Mexico City Budget Breakdown - How much to budget for a trip to Mexico City

At the 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

Currency

What currency to use in Mexico?

Mexico’s official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN).

Credit Cards

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.

ATMs

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.

Related: How Much Does A Trip To Bermuda Cost?

Total Food Cost: $63.34

Day 1 Food Total: $6.55 USD

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 Mexico City Activity Cost: $39.22 USD

Mexico City 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.

For more things to do in Mexico City, check out this list of Mexico City tours and sites.

Total Alcohol Cost: $10.58 USD

Alcohol Details

  • $10.58 USD or $210 MXN for two Margarita cocktails

Final Thoughts

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?

40 replies
    • Danielle Desir says:

      During the last day of my trip, I spent the day exploring the heart of Mexico City solo and I had a wonderful time. I’m so happy that I got to really see more of the landscape of the city through a hop-on-off bus tour. I hope you have a blast!

      Reply
  1. FERNANDO says:

    I’m surprised no one had mentioned anything about Mexico’s incredible museums, I would highly recommend the Natural History Museum in Chapultepec where you will need at least two days to fully explore.

    Reply
  2. Maria Davis says:

    I just returned from Mexico City, and I absolutely love the country! I have gone 3 times since 2014. I’m fortunate to have lots of family there so I don’t pay for hotels. This time I took a side trip to Guadalajara and stayed at Airbnb, 3 bedroom house, could sleep up to 6 people, for $185 US total. Also visited Guanajuato, Tequila, Tlaquepaque, Morelia and San Miguel de Allende. (some of which are World Heritage sites)

    Mexico City is such a cosmopolitan city…. Most people have no idea what an amazing place it is. There is so much to see and do that one should really plan for two weeks to fully enjoy and appreciate it’s culture, food, people, and museums.
    I can’t say enough about Mexico City!

    Reply
  3. Joel Phillips Laycock says:

    What No one seems to mention is the Diego Rivera mural in the stairwell of city hall. I consider it one of the world’s great public art treasures, and I live in Chicago where we have a world class collection of public art so I have fairly high standards. In my opinion this is a must see. And hotels, particularly historic ones, can be had for a very modest price.

    Reply
  4. Clau says:

    Taxis in Mexico City DO have meters. It is their obligation to use the meter, if the driver doesn’t want to use it you can demand that they do or get off the cab.

    Reply
  5. William C Jenkins says:

    I’ve never paid that much for accommodation. I like to stay in older traditional small hotels in the center. There is an excellent subway system from the airport as well, so I’ve never paid as much for transport. Ask around for a pulgueria as well for a great traditional experience.

    Reply
    • The Thought Card says:

      Well that makes sense that you stayed at more affordable hotels in the center but I visited Mexico City to attend a wellness retreat so there’s a difference there. And thanks for the pulgeria recommendation!

      Reply
      • Cristina Potters says:

        It sounds like you had a great trip to Mexico City, where I live. Next time you come, look into flying from JFK with Interjet.com, an infinitely better airline than Volaris (better luggage policies, terrific leg room) and just as inexpensive.

        The best currency exchange rates are always through an ATM. Check to see if your bank has a global alliance with any bank in Mexico–that means you’ll be able to use their ATMs without a foreign ATM fee.

        Any taxi is required to have a meter. Make certain that the driver gives you an estimated cost to your destination–if it seems too high, take a different cab! And yes, Uber is a wonderful, inexpensive option. One needs to download the app from a computer to a cellular phone prior to leaving home; all Uber fees then come out of your credit or debit card.

        Food costs range from minimal (a quesadilla at a street stand shouldn’t cost more than 25 pesos or so) to high-end at some of our fantastic restaurants.

        William Jenkins suggested that you find a “pulgueria”. In fact, he meant “pulquería”–with a ‘Q’–a bar where only the mildly alcoholic beverage pulque is sold. Fair warning–it’s an acquired taste.

      • Danielle Desir says:

        Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about Mexico City, I’m looking forward to checking out Interjet next time on flights and discovering more of Mexico City’s exciting food and drink scene.

  6. kosovogirltravels says:

    I considered Mexico City cheap too. I visited in 2015 and was pretty happy with what I got in turn of money. Don’t remember how much I spent for my 3 nights, but was pretty much affordable.

    Reply
  7. sophie says:

    This indeed is a great writeup! I am traveling to Mexico next month and I think this is going to save me lot of money. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

    Reply
  8. stellaencina says:

    aww been wanting to go to Mexico for ages already. i hope i can make it soon. the travel cost seems fair enough. i am very much inclined with trying out he food though. thanks for the tips and info! awesome post!

    Reply
  9. carrieemann says:

    Super useful information! I’m considering a second visit to Mexico City this fall. Last time I was there I just walked everywhere, but I missed out on the canal tours because they were so far away. Good to get a sense for how much Uber costs!

    Reply
  10. secretmoona says:

    Great post and useful information. I have always wanted to go to Mexico since I was in high school! It’s good to know that it’s safe enough and cheap.

    Reply
  11. Anuradha Goyal (@anuradhagoyal) says:

    I like the idea of work and wellness retreat. Can you tell me more about what it is and how can one participate in it?

    Reply
  12. SpringToMyMind says:

    I love this detailed cost breakdown. For some reason I thought that food cost would be higher in Mexico city but now it looks totally affordable for me) I will keep it in mind in caseI see some good deals on flights from Europe))

    Reply
  13. Sarah says:

    Thank you for such a detailed cost breakdown. This is super helpful. I live in Costa Rica and flights to Mexico City are extremely cheap, so its been on the bucket list for awhile now. I’m saving this post for later. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Ozzy says:

    Mexico has always been in my bucket list and would love to explore the country extensively. I have a feeling that more or less it would feel like some parts of Asia but with a little bit of difference.

    Post saved for future reference 🙂

    Cheers

    Reply
  15. Gem says:

    Mexico sounds a lot like the Philippines where I come from! This is a very detailed and helpful guide for anyone planning a trip to Mexico City. I haven’t been to countries outside of Asia yet but Mexico is definitely in my bucket list. Would love to hear the Mariachi bands when I get the chance to go there someday.

    Reply
  16. Queens of Virtue says:

    Mexico is one of my all time favorite destinations. My first trip was during an Alternative Tour to Tijuana. While my group was in the facility, where we learned about juicing and alternative treatment for cancer, we snuck across the street to a quaint shop, where I spent $5 US and got the best, largest, yummiest authentic Mexican Quesadillas EVER. The best part was how happy the shop lady was to receive the $5. This is truly important information. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  17. Rachelle Gordon says:

    Awesome breakdown of costs! I think Mexico gets such a bad rap from everyone and it’s absolutely beautiful and affordable. Ubers are the way to go and for sure paying for a solo ride is a great idea. Elotes and fresh fruit are my favorite Mexican treats! I can’t wait to return!!

    Reply
  18. nycgingeronthego says:

    I like knowing that they have uber there. When I visited I was warned about taxis. I found a “secure” one from the airport for my excursion that day, but uber just brings a little extra sense of safety. I only had a one day layover, so I have a lot of exploring to do. It’s nice to know that Mexico City is still an affordable destination. I would love to get back and see the canal tour and some of the museums.

    Reply
  19. Travel Pockets says:

    Can’t believe how cheap it is to travel to Mexico City! Surprised that it only cost $8 for that 45-minute Uber ride. Is it relatively safe there?

    Reply
  20. Amelie says:

    Mexico is such a bucket list destination to me and I found your breakdown very helpful – especially the part about Margaritas 😉
    Thank you for sharing this
    Amelie

    Reply

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