Perched beautifully astride the Tropic of Cancer, Mexico has a galaxy of jaw-dropping attractions that’ll sweep any traveler off his feet. Its haunting beauty will blow away the first-time traveler, and hook the seasoned one like a drug. For American travelers, Mexico is literally cheek by jowl. Tijuana, the multi-faceted city in Barja California Mexico, is just about 16.8 miles from San Diego. But it’s not just because it’s a stroll away. The ecosystem in Mexico is breathtakingly diverse. At one end are burning, inhospitable deserts, at the other end, thick, tropical rainforests. Towering mountains stand side by side with vast, unending grasslands.
Mexican fauna is even more of a treasure trove. Whether it's the spider monkeys or the endangered, strange-looking Axolotl, Mexico has a fair share of beautifully unique rare sights, many of which cannot be found anywhere else on the globe. It also has thousands of beautiful sandy beaches elegantly spread out on its 5,800-mile coastline. And this is not just some legend: Mexicans are some of the warmest, friendliest people on the planet.
And while Mexico is beautiful, is it kind to the wallet? We take a deep dive into what 200 pesos can get you in Mexico.
Where To Eat For 200 Pesos In Mexico
200 pesos comes to about $10. With this amount in California, you’ll just be scraping by, perhaps just able to afford one Grilled Cheese sandwich, if you’re lucky, with a bottle of Coke. A mention of these price points on Twitter actually made a post go viral. In Mexico however, this is an amount that can afford you 2 or 3 square meals in a day. And you’ll not just be eating steamed Tacos on the streets, though that may not be a bad choice after all. Street food is the cheapest in Mexico. A basket of Tacos, locally known as Tacos de Canasta, may set you back about 20 pesos, and that’s 4 or 5 of them. These filled tortillas are a common sight in Mexico and are driven about on either bicycles or screeching pushcarts, or served in the many street stalls that compactly line Mexico’s streets and alleys.
Hole-in-the-wall eating places usually look weird for first-time travelers. But these joints are easy on the pocket and serve fairly decent food. They are great for Tacos and other quick, simple meals like Mexican pork dish, locally known as cochinita pibil.
Tacos are tasty. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean eating them for days on end. Fortunately, there are many Taco alternatives in Mexico that interestingly alliterate with the letter “t” and are cheekily categorized in the unofficial Vitamin T group. These include tlayudas, tamales, and tortas. All these are in the same price range, and, almost certainly, on the same street. For non-starchy options, you can get Tacos made of seafood, or, brace for this: grasshoppers.
There are also many food markets, locally known as mercados. One of the cheapest is Central de Abasto. The food in this market is pleasantly fresh as the produce comes directly from the farmers. You’ll be fine with about 20-40 pesos. With 80, you’ll eat like a Moroccan king. Mercado Medellin in Roma Sur is also a pretty fine place to graze through.
- Location of Medellin Market: Calle Campeche 101, Mexico City 06760 Mexico. 10-minute walk from Chilpancingo.
- Neighborhood: Cuauhtémoc District.
Still, street food can be a little intimidating. That’s the reason Fondas are also an excellent budget-friendly alternative. These are small restaurants where one person (or two) is in charge of everything: from buying food supplies, cooking, serving customers, and processing payments. A meal, typically Mexican homemade, will set you back about 80 pesos. For a new traveler, just ask any local for directions. The servings are large, filling, and if you get a good one, very delicious—if a little spicy. At that price point, you’ll most likely get some salad, rice, vegetable or chicken soup, and some pieces of meat.
For those who want a different cuisine environment, there are many pocket-friendly restaurants where one can savor sumptuous meals in a more classy ambiance. El Parnita, on Yucatan Street, serves quality food at unbelievable prices. With 100-150 pesos, you’ll enjoy crisp, tasty tacos in addition to a meal of your choice–and actually get to sit down in a super cool environment. Pali Pali restaurant, located in Colonia del Valle, within the Benito Juarez borough of Mexico City, on Oregon 751, is a vegan’s paradise with unbelievably low prices as well.
But while food can be a top attraction, a traveler will ultimately need to travel.
How To Travel For Cheap In Mexico
To travel cheap, you’ll need to stay in a central location where you’ll not have to spend money commuting. Fortunately, Mexico City has many low-cost accommodation options. And for that, budget travelers may have to opt for basic hostels, not fancy hotels. While hotels can charge anywhere between $40 and $4,000 a night, the charges for most hostels will hover around 300-600 pesos per night. Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral, at the heart of Mexico City, is perfect for its centrality though a little noisy. One room in a 6-bed mixed dormitory goes for $16, or about 320 pesos–including breakfast. From such a central location, many attractions are a walking distance.
For instance, Alameda Central Park is only ten minutes away. The same with Bellas Artes Palace. You can have amazing views of the city from the hostel’s rooftop bar as well. If you’re confident, you can rent a bike for about 370 pesos a week. That translates to just above 50 pesos per day. Otherwise, public transport is also fairly inexpensive. Metro trains charge 5 pesos for a ride. With negligible variations, the same goes for buses and microbuses. Also, instead of taxis or Uber, travelers should consider collectivos, which are shared public vans.
That’s just how a traveler can get by in Mexico City with no more than 200 pesos in his wallet every day.