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5 days in CDMX: What I've spent


My trip to Mexico City was bomb. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have kept up with my stories. The best thing about that trip is that it didn't (really) break the bank.

Getting there

Mexico City (Ciudad de México, CDMX) has been on my mind for 3 whole years. I had previously spent a 20-hour layover there and longed to spend more time. I have been talking about that layover as though I had discovered the Eldorado. So much so, that hubs got curious. Some time last year, he started to track the flights.

Four. Hundred. Canadian. Dollars. That's how much each ticket cost. No miles or points from a credit card.

We flew out of Ottawa, with a single layover in Toronto. We booked our flights on Aeromexico, but WestJet operated our flights within Canada. (To be noted: On the 4-hour flight from Toronto to CDMX, they serve a meal. You already know how I feel about that. 😊)

The catch. We caught a 1 a.m. flight back to Canada. This was exhausting, but totally worth it. (A colleague saw me catching some zzzs on a bench at the Toronto airport. She's still getting a chuckle out of it.)

My Airbnb was popping

In CDMX, the average cost of an Airbnb for 2 guests, all types of rentals and locations combined, is 74 CAD* (for 1 guest, it's 64 CAD).

* CAD = Canadian dollars

We opted for a very colourful and cozy place in Coyoacan. The owner converted the front rooms of her town home, which is located in a very quiet gated property, into a living/eating area on the first floor and a bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. We shared the town home gate with the owner, but had a private entrance to our place.

For 5 nights, we paid a little less than 225 CAD, breakfast (bread, jam, cheese, ham, coffee and a coffee maker were available) was included. Talk about a steal!

This is our second time sharing our space in an Airbnb. In both cases, we had a positive experience.

Tip: When booking with Airbnb (or a similar service), read the comments. Superhosts usually have a stellar reputation. Look for apartments with a lot of reviews and high ratings.

Getting around

There are plenty of options: subway, city buses, taxis, Uber, car rental. You name it!

Rant. I hate it when people speak ill of places they've never been to or have very little information about. People speak of CDMX without knowing/realizing that it is a modern city. One of the largest (in size and population) in the world. End of rant.

We used Uber every day. It was cheap (for us, because of the exchange rate, and compared to what they charge in Ottawa) and convenient. Our rides were about 25 minutes on average — the city is huge and there's traffic – and we paid about 9 CAD on average. Our most expensive ride cost us 15 CAD. It lasted approximately 40 minutes, and I tipped the driver.

Budgeting for food and souvenirs

The exchange rate was about 18 pesos for an American dollar, and a bit less for a Canadian dollar.

Our most expensive meal — we paid for the view, not the food — amounted to a little less than 130 CAD. Total. And we splurged. Eleven-course meal plus drinks (1 cocktail, 1 coke, 3 beers).

Our lowest tab totalled roughly 220 pesos (a shared appetizer, an entrée each, a shared dessert, a couple of beers and a natural fruit juice). That's roughly 12 CAD.

If we were eating street food*, eating cost would significantly be lower. The street food scene is amazing. Tacos. Meats. Roasted corn. Juices. Fruits. Everything is inexpensive.

*We didn't eat street food this time around. I know. I'm sad. See, my stomach has been bulletproof for the past 39 years. But it has started to fail me. While I didn't get food poisoning, it did take me a couple of days (this never happened to me before!) to get accustomed to the food. This did not stop me from eating. I was just a bit more careful. *sigh* I blame it on the amount of avocado and beans I've eaten. I also blame it on turning 40. I've noticed a difference since the beginning of the year.

We purchased all our souvenirs, and even had lunch, at Mercado de Artesanías La Cuidadela (that's where we had our cheapest meal). When it comes to budgeting, this is where I'm lacking.

Lucha Libre and other activities

This was our first time booking Airbnb Experiences. I booked them partly for research and partly because I hadn't had time to do my own planning (life has been hectic). They were a bit on the pricey side considering the cost of living.

The amounts indicated are for 2 people.

Lucha Libre: 142 CAD; included snacks (tacos, 1.5 per person), a drink and tickets to the show. Our guide was awesome. He's a journalist who hosts a show about Lucha Libre and who's in the process of writing a book about the sport/act. He really added value to the experience.

Half-day (more or less 5 hours, depending on traffic) trip to Teotihuacan: 130 CAD; included ride to the site and back, and a guided tour. The experience was just OK. It felt a bit tourist-trap-y at times.

In hindsight, I should have booked the 8-hour Teotihuacan-Guadalupe tour with Turibus. Their offer was better. For less than 100 CAD, their tour includes a stop in the Guadalupe church and lunch.

Turibus also offers city tours in CDMX. The 4-route tour costs less than 20 CAD. It's your average big-city tour bus with stops near major attractions.

Tip: Taking the city tour bus on a Sunday is best, as there's less traffic.

I found Airbnb Experiences to be a good way to schedule activities with minimal planning. The same tip I've provided for rentals apply here; you are more likely to enjoy an outing that has a lot of positive reviews.

Entrance fees to museums were minimal. I've paid extra to be allowed to take photos at the Frida Khalo Museum and the Diego Rivera Mural Museum.

Cheap seats, amazing concert

We attended a Sebastián Yatra* concert at the Auditorio Nacional. We didn't get the seats we wanted, not because we couldn't afford them, but because the concert sold out quickly. They've even scheduled a new date after we purchased our tickets.

We became aware of the concert by happenstance. Did you know that Spotify has a feature that lists upcoming concerts in a particular city? Earlier this year, Hubs switched his location to CDMX on Spotify and the concert popped up. Voilà!

We paid less than 25 CAD per ticket. We were seated on the third level (there was at least one level above us), to the side. Not the best seats in the house, but we were in said house. By the way, this is one of the nicest concert venues I've been to. One of the guest artist was none other than Luis Fonsi! Best 25 bucks I've ever spent!

*If you listen to Latin Pop, you've probably heard a song by Sebastián Yatra, or a song in which he's featured. (You should definitely listen to Un A~no, featuring Reik. It's one of my favourite songs this year. Robarte Un Beso is also a gem. But I digress...)

We bought the tickets from Canada, using Ticketmaster. We picked them up at will-call the day before the concert.

Plan more than one trip

This is my second trip to CDMX, and I'm thinking about going back. A 5-day trip isn't enough to experience all the city has to offer.

Also, I fell in love with the city itself. Its energy. Its colours. If my budget permits, will probably drop by in CDMX on my way to another part of Mexico.

Is there an aspect of my trip you're curious about? A number I did not provide? Let me know. I'll be glad to address it.

#CDMX #MexicoCity