How many major cities do you know that you could eat, play and learn about for 25 dollars or less? The fact is that you could today enjoy the sites and eat great food in the largest city by urban area in Latin America. Knowing that allows you to make travel plans without having to worry much about money because once you make your airline and hotel reservation, 25 dollars a day will be more than enough to get a lot from your vacation (try that in Europe). All that you will need is some planning and you could even feel as if you are splurging because of the prices that you will pay once you are there. Here are some ideas to enjoy your Mexico City vacation while saving your money.
As it is the case with most cities in the world you can see a lot of the sights for free, but there are secrets to enjoy even more things when you are on a tight budget. Some of the free tourist attractions in Mexico City include Zocalo which is the area with City Hall and the city cathedral. Cuicuilco is one of the best archeological sites in the area and it is free.
You can also head for a day in the park at Bosque de Chapultepec. You can take a lot of pictures of the monuments and you will only need to spend less than .60 dollars to get to and from them (with conversion rates the metro system is only about .26 dollars). The Zoo and the botanical gardens at Chapultepec are free for everyone and food and souvenirs are surprisingly really affordable.
Another great thing that can save you money is visiting museums. Most museums will charge anywhere from 14-60 pesos to visit ($1.20-$5.00 dollars) but a lot of the museums have free Sunday admission. Some of the most visited museums with free admission on Sunday include the Museum of History in Mexico City, Bellas Artes, Museo Mural Diego Rivera and others. Students and seniors will also get discounts in many other places so if you have a Student ID, then make sure to bring it with you.
Food is one of the best things about Mexico City and the truth is that you technically could spend about 3 dollars for food each day. There are great satisfying food choices for under a dollar such as gorditas, but since variety is important here are a few other options. "Comida corrida" is the term given to a full satisfying meal which usually ranges between three and four dollars. The meal includes rice or salad, soup, your choice of main course which can include chicken, beef or pork prepared in different ways, tortillas and a drink. Not bad for less money than you would pay at a fast food restaurant. Tacos, Gorditas, Quesadillas and Sopes are traditional foods which are available at stands for less than that but still leave you full. A Fruit Salad is usually a dollar fifty or less at most stands.
A lot of people in the states will head to a fast food chain to save money, but that is not the case in Mexico. Fast food is usually a lot more expensive, less filling and lower quality than comida corrida restaurants. it is easy to spend twice as much in fast food than you would at a traditional Mexican restaurant. If you still want to try fast food restaurants then pay attention to their daily specials where you can get a full meal for 4 dollars or less.
If you are keeping track, then you already know that the previous choices take you to about 13 dollars, leaving you with 12 to spare. You may not think that is enough but consider that if you head to a bar you could have a beer for 2 dollars and in some cases even less. These do not have to be bad bars either. Places like karaoke spots can in some cases charge a fee to get in, but there are also plenty which have no cover, the same goes for night clubs. As long as you are doing the right things in Mexico City you could do a lot with your dollars. If you were just to have a couple of beers on your night out and have the gordita for a meal or two you could save the rest for souvenirs and even guide services.
Some of the areas around the center will give you the better choices for clubbing at a reasonable price. Other areas like Zona Rosa and Condesa also have a few clubs, but they are a lot more expensive and harder to get into. While at the center you will find spots with cheap beer you could pay 3 times as much for the same drink in the more trendy neighborhoods. One thing to keep in mind when partying in Mexico City is that no matter how cheap the price you are given, you should stay away from high risk areas like Ciudad Neza and Tepito.
No matter where you are going most tourist attractions are within walking distance of a Metro station and that is the number one choice for transportation in the city. Each ride is only 3 pesos and you can transfer as much as you need to from one line to the other as long as you do not leave the station. By comparison the Metro Bus is normally 5 pesos with the only exception being the airport line. The smaller public buses are not as safe and they are a higher price at anywhere from 4 to 6 pesos; a taxi has the potential of being expensive depending on how far you are going.
The light train takes you to the south of the city and it is a separate fee to ride at 3 pesos each way. The light rail is safe and fast, but it can get packed especially on the weekdays. The smaller light rail can take passengers to points of interest like Azteca Stadium, the Dolores Olmedo Museum and the Xochimilco canals. Other city buses are available and the rate depends on where you are going with some buses charging as little as two pesos but mostly they charge from five to seven.