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On a Shoestring — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca

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Eating  |  Sights  |  Shopping  |  Spanish Language Schools  |  Bookstores  |  Listings  |  Sleeping

Traveling in México is not as inexpensive as it once was. Indeed, budget travelers, arriving from other places in Latin America, especially Central America, expecting the same low prices, often experience sticker shock. Still, budget travel is still possible in México.

Staying only in modest hotels and eating exlusively in inexpensive restaurants, budget travelers can get by on USD$30-60 a day. Getting by on less is still feasible, but it takes real effort, staying only in hostels, shopping in markets and eating in often, only eating out at food stalls, street vendors, and the most inexpensive restaurants.

Traveling during the off-season when most hotels, airlines, and many tourism dependent businesses offer steep discounts is the easiest way to cut costs. The high seasons in Oaxaca are Easter week in early April, late July during Guelaguetza festival, the week of November 1 during the Day of the Dead Celebration, and Christmas/New Year from mid-December through the first week of January. (See When to go for information on the best time to travel.)

Use local buses to get around instead of more expensive taxis. Taxis are not that expensive in México; nevertheless, using them regularly can be costly.

Rental cars start at around Mex$500 a day and go up from there. If possible, share the cost with other travelers.

For long distance travel in México, if you have the time, take a bus instead of flying. This is a great way to save money and to get a feel for the landscape and people.

Drinking a lot at bars and clubs can be expensive. If you really feel like having a night on the town and getting a buzz but don't want to spend a lot of money, buy your alcohol of choice at a supermarket or package store, partake of it before going out, and then have only one or two drinks at the bar or club.

Wash laundry in bathroom sink, don't pay to have it done. Be advised that some hotels, especially those with shared bathrooms, explicitly prohibit this.


There are great deals on excellent Méxican food to be found from street vendors and food stalls. Don't be afraid of sampling it, just be discerning. Keep in mind Méxicans are extremely conscious of health and sanitation. Follow the wisdom of Méxican crowds, choose the busiest establishments, they're the ones with the safest and tastiest food.

For those staying in hostels and renting apartments with kitchen and dining area, eating in is another excellent to save money given the low cost of raw food at outdoor markets and supermarkets.

The cost of eating out two, three, times a day adds up quickly and prices at cafés and restaurants vary widely. To help locate budget eateries fast, all cafés and restaurants where a meal can be had for less than Mex$50 are listed and organized by neighborhood.
Eating listings go here...


Many museums and other cultural sights are free on Sundays. When fee information for a sight is available it is listed. The city and cultural centers often stage free concerts and other performances on the Zócalo throughout the week.
Sights listings go here...


Notes, if any, go here...
Shopping listings go here...

Spanish Language Schools

notes, if any, go here...
Spanish language schools listings go here...


notes, if any, go here...
Bookstore listings go here...


notes, if any, go here...
Listings go here...


In México hotels charge a base rate for one adult in a room. For each additional person only a few more pesos is charged. By traveling or joining up with other reliable travelers, the cost per person will be much less than for a solo traveler.

Some hotels offer reduced weekly or monthly rates for long-term stays. Even if long-term rates are not posted, inquire about a reduced rate for stays of a week or more. Also consider renting an apartment or a house. Most rental terms are for a month or more, although some places will rent for as little as a week.

And hostels are a great way to get a bed for the night for under Mex$100.

Homestays, living with a Méxican family, are great way for Spanish students to save money and improve their language skill quickly. Prices vary, but they usually cost around Mex$150-200 for a private room and 1-2 meals a day. Most Spanish language schools in Oaxaca will help their students find a homestay.
Sleeping listings go here...

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