From the Central Highlands of Mexico to the Pacific Coast, March was a month on the go. For a time we called each of the cities of Morelia, Patzcuaro, Zihuatanejo, and Acapulco home. We finished off the month by renting a casita in Puerto Escondido, and will remain here for a few more weeks
A life on the go increases transportation and food costs as we spent more on buses and eating in restaurants. Our overall housing costs actually came down, as we had a few low cost hotel nights and found a good monthly rate on our place in Puerto Escondido. For $1000 for a month, we have a small 1-bedroom casita with a partial ocean view, a small pool, a balcony with a hammock, a kitchen, a 5 minute walk to 2 beaches, and maid service twice a week
Our overall alcohol bill went down this month, despite drinking more. How much would you spend for a 12-pack of Victoria bottles and a 6-pack of Bohemia bottles, for sipping in your pool? How about for 6 beers here and there at restaurants, along with 2 margaritas and 4 piña coladas? How much for an additional 3 mid-range bottles of wine for dinners at home? That was our entire alcohol supply for the month, quite a haul really. I’m sure my liver didn’t appreciate it, but my pocket book didn’t mind. This whole stock of juice set us back a surprisingly low $62.
For meals out, we spend a whopping $706. Groceries set us back another $233. All together, we spent about $15/day/person on food for a total of $936. I think that is a crazy amount to spend on food, but yet we have managed to spend at close to that level for 3 months in a row.
Our extravagant dining experiences have included things like fresh sesame-crusted tuna with green beans, carrots, and mashed potatoes for 120 pesos ($9.75), a meal of a bowl of pozole, 5 beef tacos, and a glass of horchata for 70 pesos ($5.75), and 2 tamales in banana leaves for 24 pesos ($2.) We could definitely eat less tuna (and octopus, prawns, and mahi mahi) and eat more pozole and tamales, but we probably won’t. The tuna is just too damn tasty. (More details on our food budget reduction experiment here.)
For entertainment, we swam in our pool and the ocean, did a little surfing and a lot of dining, and went for a midnight stroll by the sea under a full moon
We spent a total of ~27 hours on a bus, en route to various cities. Riding the bus in Mexico is a lot like flying first class in the US, except that you can show up 10 minutes before your bus leaves, you don’t get a cavity search going through security, and they don’t give you a lot of lip about your seat belt or having your tray table stowed and your seat in its full upright and locked position.
- San Miguel de Allende to Morelia, 5 hours, 190 pesos each (~$15)
- Morelia to Patzcuaro, 1 hour, 30 pesos each (~$2.50)
- Patzcuaro to Morelia, 1 hour, 30 pesos each (~$2.50)
- Morelia to Zihuatanejo, 5 hours, 455 pesos each (~$37)
- Zihuatanejo to Acapulco, 5 hours, 170 pesos each (~$14)
- Acapulco to Puerto Escondido, 10 hours, 380 pesos each (~$30)
That’s a lot of time on a bus in any time period, and after that last long coastal haul to PE we called it quits on the buses for awhile and settled down for a month. Of course when we got here, I went straight to “work”
A visit to the Doctor in Morelia added a few bucks to our medical spending, although nothing like it would in the US ($45 for doc visit and antibiotics, intestinal flora pills, some lavender oil, and some miscellaneous stuff from the pharmacy.)
Finally, an organized tour to see the Monarch butterfly migration ($95), a visit to the Cliff Divers of Acapulco ($7), a surfing lesson ($28), and the purchase of a low-cost cell phone ($29) rounded out our spending. In the “Other”category this month is the cost for moving this blog to a self-hosted server for 3 years. Blog readership is on its way up, up, up, so we need to plan for the future
Early in the month, the average exchange rate between the USD and MXN dropped 2.5%, from about 12.7 to 12.4. This boosted our spending proportionally, with the difference on $1000 USD being about $25. This added nearly $75 to our spending this month compared to January and February.
Summary of total spending for March:
|Location||Mexico||Morelia, Patzcuaro, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido|
|Housing||$963||Various hotels, part of monthly rental in Puerto Escondido|
|Healthcare||$287||Our Monthly HDHP premium, Dr visit and antibiotics|
|Transportation||$281||1st class travel from SMA to Morela, Roundtrip to Patzcuaro, to Zihu, Acapulco, and PE|
|Alcohol||$62||3 bottles of wine, a 12-pack and a Sixer of beer for poolside drinking, 2 margartias, 4 pina coladas, 6 individual beers|
|Misc||$201||laundry, bought a towel, cell phone, Acapulco cliff divers, Monarch Tour, Surfing Lesson|
|Gifts||$1||Spare change to a young girl collecting for the Cruz Roja|
|Total||$2,731||$88 a day|
|Other Expenses||Nonrecurring and atypical travel costs|
|Self Hosting||$211||3 years of self-hosting, domain registration, site redirect|
|Total Spending||$2,943||$95 per day|
(Compare March spending to our total expenses since we left the United States)
We continue to live large. I’ve already touched briefly on our food budget, which could drop easily by $10 a day while still having a lot of room for easy trimming. This would save us another $300+.
We are also spending about $33 a day on pretty swank housing in PE, whereas the cheapest option we found (without trying too hard, it was right in our face) is about $8.25 a day. Over a month that is a difference of $750