one hundred peso bill

Ten Tips for Saving Money While on Vacation in Mexico

We have given you tips on saving money on airfare and car rental but by the time you book airfare, lodging and maybe an activity or two,  you are probably ready to find some ways to save some money on your Mexican Vacation.  These have some ideas specific to Vidanta Mayan Resorts but most can be used anywhere.

By the way, at the time of this writing , the 100 peso bill shown was worth  just over $5.80 US.   This is an improvement for our Mexican guests , but means somewhat increased food and fun costs for for Americans and Canadians.

Money Saving Tip #1-  Baggage Fees

It might sound silly, but be sure you watch the weight on your bags.  Get a good sbaggagecale, but it on a hard floor and stay under 50 pounds.   If you are flying Spirit, there is  total art form to planning your baggage, notifying the airline etc..  But for most other carriers,  you just need to stay under 50 pounds.  We have seen many a tourist frantically pulling things out of a suitcase or ponying up the sometimes exorbitant fee.  So save yourself some grief and leave out that extra purse or pair of shoes.  Southwest is now flying to Mexico, so if their prices get competitive ,  they don't charge for baggage !  Finally, it might pay to have an airline credit card that has free baggage as a perk.

Money Saving Tip #2 – Coffee

All of the one and two bedroom suites at the Vidanta Mayan Resort accommodations come with a coffee maker.  This includes, the Luxxe Villa Studio (but not the regualar Luxxe studio) and the  Loft studio.  The Mayan Palace, Grand Mayan and regular Luxxe (some call it a condo) studio do not.   All that remains is a trip to one of the easily accessible grocery stores to pick up somep good ground coffee  cafe, (we buy a brand called Garat  in a brown pouch labeled 100% Arabica)..   If you are a sissy coffeelike me, don’t forget the sugar (azucar) and the cream.  Most places have half and half now.  You will have to buy more sugar than you need, unless you also plan to make your own margaritas (see below)

You will also want to buy some bottled water (also under Money Saving Tip #5).  The resort water is drinkable, but has a chemical taste that will ruin the beauty of your morning cup of joy.

Our friend Ann Stidham says that a cup of coffee is like a great big hug in the morning .  We have to agree.


Money Saving Tip #3 – Cooking In Your Suite.

All the units listed above with coffee makers have a stove and cooking equipment except the Luxxe Villa studio, which has only a fridge, microwave and coffee maker.

So while you are at the grocery store, decide how much you want to cook. It can be a simple as yogurt and granola for breakfast to full meals.  We found that rotisserie chickens were delicious and make a simple start for several different recipes.   For more extensive cooking ingredients, see Money Saving Tip #6 below.

Money Saving Tip #4 – Alcoholic Drinks

Drinks on the resort run $8 to $10 US each (maybe $12 for a Cadillac Margarita).  So make sure you know when happy hour is and what the drink of the day is.  If you plan to drink often, it is worth making some of your own.   You can get the liquor at the market right on the resort.  It will cost you 20 or 30% more than the grocery store, but still cadillac margaritamuch cheaper than poolside service.   One of the easiest things is gin and tonic, however gin is available only at the more American style stores like Walmart or La Comer.

If you go into Puerto Vallarta for any reason, the  La Playa liquor stores on the main highway have the best liquor prices and variety.

If you are a  bit more energetic you can make your own margaritas, including a Cadillac margarita   We have posted a  tequila guide and on perfecting out Cadillac Margarita recipe.  .

Money Saving Tip #5- Water

OK, so this is not rocket science.  A one liter bottle of water in your suite will cost you now $8 or so!   You can get Six liters at the market on the resort for $2 and at the grocery or Oxxo convenience store for $1.  Always check you bill for charges for water bottles you didn’t use when you check out.

Money Saving Tip #6  - La Plaza

The La Plaza market on the Riviera Maya and the Nuevo Vallarta Vidanta resfruits at marketorts are a surprising source of money savings.

If you  are full out cooking you might think about the high quality meats and vegetables .  The prices are high ,but might be worth it.

Lunch:  the deli has garbanzo bean salads,  curried lentil salad and a large variety of surprisingly good  and flavorful options for surprisingly good prices.


crepes at la plazaCrepes:  custom made crepes make an affordable, breakfast, lunch or even light supper.

The prices in general are often surprising.  In some cases surprisingly low and in some cases surprisingly high.  There is a Peruvian ceviche for much less than it costs at the Blue Fish restaurant nearby.


Money Saving Tip #7 – Café de Lago

They don’t advertise it much, but the first hour and the last hour of the morning , the Café del Lago breakfast buffet in both Riviera Maya and Nuevo Vallarta is discounted significantly.    Also,  you can order a la carte at the Café del Lago and the prices are fairly reasonable.  While we don't condone buffets in general, this one is the best we have ever seen.

#8  Don't Charge in US or Canadian Dollars

If the price is listed in pesos,  always ask them to run the charge in pesos.  If they do it in dollars, then they can choose the exchange rate.  Usually you will lose 2 or 3 percentage points, but if  you hit a less honest vendor, the exchange can be even worse.   The exception to this rule is if the price is listed only in dollars.  Then ask to have it charged in dollars.   Your credit card company will give you the best exchange.  

Professional Tip for Checking Out

The same rule applies to checking out of the resort.  Be sure to request a charge in pesos or they may assume dollars.   If you have Mexican cash left over, you can simply apply the cash to the bill first and pay the balance by credit card... in pesos.

#9 No Foreign Transaction Fees

Hopefully you are reading this before you are in Mexico.  Make  sure you have at least one credit card without foreign transaction fees. No reason to add 3% onto your vacation costs for no reason.  Did you catch that play on words?

#10 Using ATMs

It used to be true that taking out cash at ATM's was the best way to get a perfect exchange rate. atm Especially if you have a bank or credit union that reimburses you for ATM fees.    We think ATMs are still the best method, but now pretty much all ATM cards will add a 1% foreign transaction fee.  Not huge, but I preferred it when it was free.  You have to accept this fee, but be sure to decline their conversion in the next step.  It seems intuitive to accept, but if you do they will give you a significantly worse conversion than your credit card company.  Also, be sure it is connected to a major Mexican bank and not a free lance ATM.    There are ripoffs.

Bonus Tip:

Of course we have to point out that renting a fabulous timeshare from us is the best money savingcheck availability button method of all.

So there you have it.  Our seven tips for saving money while on vacation, so start planning and Inquire here

1 Comment. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed