In past years, when we’ve spent a month in Mexico, we were lucky enough to get our airfare and about five days food and lodging paid for by International Living. However, in 2015, IL held it’s last conference in Mexico for the foreseeable future. So this year, for our 30 day trip to Mexico, we paid all of the expenses on our own which significantly increased the cost of our trip.
As you can see in the graphic to the right, we spent a total of $3,417.98. Of that, hotels accounted for almost $1,000 and airfare for both of us was $617.46. If you figure that we normally spend about $2,000 per month to live in Costa Rica, the 30 day trip to Mexico really cost us an additional $2,400. We’re happy with that! So, let’s break it down.
One of the things worth noting right off is the great exchange rate we got. Last year when we visited Mexico, the U.S. dollar was worth just over 14 pesos. This year, it was up to over 19 pesos to the dollar, so we got a lot more for our money. When we charged expenses on our travel card, we got the full 19+ pesos exchange rate. To save ATM fees (which are 3% of the amount withdrawn at Bank of America), we brought cash in USD and changed it for pesos at currency exchange booths at the airport and in the towns we visited. The exchange rates we got there ranged from 17.63 to 18.2 pesos to the dollar, still good, and a lot better than 14+ pesos to the dollar.
Transportation – $860.70
Our transportation costs break down like this:
- Airfare: $617.46
- Buses (city to city): $128.97
- Taxis: $97.51
- Buses (local): $12.05
- Colectivos: $4.23
- MotoTaxis: $0.57
Our number one mode of transportation (and least expensive)? Walking! We walked everywhere, and where we couldn’t walk (or were just too tired from all the walking), we took buses, taxis, colectivos, and even one mototaxi.
Public transportation is very inexpensive in Mexico. Colectivos are taxi’s the run a specific and regular route from outlying towns into Oaxaca City and back. The usually cost 10-15 pesos (about 55-80 cents) per person with a total of 6 people, including the driver, along for the ride so it’s a tight fit in the small sedans. Sometimes people pay for an extra person so that the driver doesn’t fit a 3rd person in the front seat. They pick up and drop off riders along the route as well.
Mototaxis are often available within the outlying towns and are basically a motorcycle with a cart attached or built-in. Our cost for a mototaxi was 10 pesos (57 cents).
Local buses are another bargain; we paid only 6 or 7 pesos (about 35 cents) per person, depending on the town. Regular taxis within the city limits cost 35-50 pesos (about $2.00 to $2.80).
Our city to city first-class buses were, understandably, more expensive. We traveled from Mexico City to Puebla, Puebla to Cholula, back and forth to Atlixco, and to Oaxaca, then Oaxaca back to Mexico City. All on first-class, air-conditioned buses with movies, a bathroom, and rest stops. All that cost only $128.97 for the two of us. You can see the route we took in the map below. Just click to enlarge it.