Travel to Mexico on a budget and never pay the “Tourist Tax” again!

Never Pay the TOURIST TAX Again! Mexico TRAVEL ON A BUDGET

Are you planning a trip to Mexico? Let me, Paulísima from Spring Spanish, help you make it amazing and memorable!

I will show you how to make your trip on a shoestring budget. Because the best places in Mexico are for free (or really cheap). 

You will also discover how to avoid paying the so-called “tourist tax” ever again. It has to do with chunks…

Pay attention to this: 

1. Desayuna en casa y come en fondas

Uno de los mejores consejos que te puedo dar es que desayunes en casa. Como eres un viajero joven, moderno y aventurero, lo más seguro es que te alojes en un Airbnb o en un hostal, por lo que tendrás al alcance algo de equipo de cocina. (One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is that you have breakfast at home. Since you are a young, modern and adventurous traveler, it is very likely you are staying in an Airbnb or in a hostel, so you’ll have some kitchen equipment at your reach.)

Ve a un supermercado o a un mercado local y compra tus bebidas matutinas favoritas, por ejemplo café, té o jugos de frutas. Lo que te guste. Compra cereal, pan y muchas frutas. (Go to a local supermarket or local market, and get your favorite morning drinks, for example, coffee, tea or fruit juice. Whatever you like. Buy cereal, bread and lots of fruit.) 

La fruta mexicana es la mejor del mundo mi gente. Pero si tú crees que hay algún otro lugar en el mundo que tenga mejor fruta que la México, dime en los comentarios. (Mexican fruit is the best in the world my people. But if you think that there's another place in the world that has better fruit than Mexico, let me know in the comments.) 

So, you’ll have breakfast before leaving your place, you’ll go out to explore and by the time it is lunchtime, you have to eat at a fonda

 Las fondas son pequeños restaurantes donde puedes comprar menús de dos o tres tiempos por un precio muy bueno . Pon atención a los siguientes chunks de español, puedes encontrar letreros que digan: menú ejecutivo o menú del día o comida corrida. (Fondas are small restaurants where you can buy two or three courses meals. Pay attention to the following chunks in Spanish, you can find signs that say: executive menu or menu of the day or meal on the run. ) 

Además de ser muy amigables con la billetera, las fondas ofrecen platillos muy tradicionales que tal vez de otra forma te habrías perdido. (In addition to being very wallet-friendly, the fondas offer very traditional dishes that you might otherwise have missed.)

Fondas sell the kind of food that Mexican moms would cook at home. Bonus: locals love to eat in fondas, so it is a great place to mingle and practice your Spanish. 

Best part is… that they’re everywhere! Even near the sights. You just have to walk a few blocks away from the sights themselves and you’ll find one. Want to get help from the locals: Ask them: 

¿Disculpe, una fonda por aquí? 

(Excuse me, a fonda near by?)

Las fondas venden comida con las tres B’s, o sea bueno, bonito y barato. 

(Fondas sell food with the three B’s, good, pretty and cheap.) 

Did you catch that? ¡Bueno, bonito y barato! Check out this no-frills grocery store that has capitalized on Mexico’s favorite phrase to describe how we like things: 

¡Bueno, bonito y barato! 

(Good, pretty and cheap!) 

Before we get to the next tip, I have an amazing tip for you at the end that even my Mexican friends have been grateful for. 

2. Viaja en transporte público  

El sistema de transporte público de México tal vez no es el más bonito o el más eficiente del mundo pero tampoco está tan mal, ¡eh! (Mexico’s public transportation system might not be the prettiest or the most efficient of the world but it’s not that bad, eh!) 

If you’re in a city that has enough attractions to have attracted you to come visit! It is very likely the city sights would be reachable by public transportation. The difference can be abysmal. 

Por ejemplo, en Cancún ir de un hostal en el centro de la ciudad a, digamos, la playa el Mirador, si te vas en taxi, serían como más de cuatrocientos pesos. Si te vas en camión serían diez pesos.  

(For example, in Cancun to go from a hostel downtown to , let’s say, Mirador beach, if you go by taxi, it would be over more than 400 pesos. If you went by bus it would be 10 pesos.) 

3. Habla español y evita las trampas 

La gente te va a tratar mucho mejor si por lo menos intentas hablar español con ellos. 

(People are going to treat you so much better if you at least try to speak Spanish with them.) 

A simple buenos días, buenas tardes, muchas gracias, o disculpe (good morning, good afternoon, thank you or excuse me) can make a huge difference! 

Do check out our Spring Spanish traveling series to discover the phrases or word combinations that will need to survive a trip to a Spanish-speaking country. These phrases are called Spanish chunks and they’re going to do wonders for your confidence speaking Spanish, un ejemplo (an example.)

¿Cuánto cuesta?  

(How much is it?) 

Como en cualquier otra parte del mundo, los lugares que están cerca de los atractivos turísticos, son más caros. (As in every other country in the world places near famous sights will be more pricey, so please avoid them if you’re on a shoestring budget.)

A veces los jaladores se pasan de persuasivos. ¿Los jaladores? Sí, los jaladores. (Sometimes the pullers go beyond persuasive. The pullers? Yes, the pullers. The people who are outside restaurants showing you a menu, trying to get you in. In Mexico we call them jaladores. No estás siendo grosero, al contrario, si cuando te abordan, les respondes con una sonrisa en la cara y la frase: (You’re not being rude, quite the opposite, when they approach you, you answer them with a smile in your face and the phrase:)

  • Ahorita no, gracias. 

(Not now, thank you.) 

Some, only some service providers, are guilty of using abusive tactics against tourists (I know it doesn't make it better but they do it to Mexican tourists too!) so if you are under the impression that you have been mistreated, let them know you know your rights and day:

Conozco mis derechos ¿eh? Voy a ir a la Profeco a denunciarlos. 

(I know my rights, ok? I’m going to go to Profeco to denounce you!)

La Profeco is our National Consumers Rights authority and they’re not that bad, not at all. 

4. Ve a los espectáculos gratuitos. 

No importa en qué parte de México te encuentres, las plazas públicas siempre son un buen lugar para ver espectáculos culturales gratuitos. 

(It doesn’t matter where in which part of Mexico you’re at, public plazas are always great places to enjoy free cultural shows.) 

It could be dances, photographic exhibitions, singing, clowns, there’s always something going on! In Mexico City we have had full on concerts. I saw Gogol Bordello for free at Zocalo and in 2012 Paul McCartney played there… gratis!!! 

Otro ejemplo es Mérida, donde el cuadro principal de la ciudad cierra por completo, todos los domingos. (Another example is Merida, where the main square of the city closes down completely every Sunday) in a program called Mérida en Domingo. 

5. Compra tus recuerditos en el supermercado 

¡Este es el mejor tip del mundo y no sé por qué no toda la gente lo hace! Hasta mis amigos mexicanos se sorprenden cuando les doy este tip. (This is the best tip in the world and I don’t know why not everyone does it. Even my Mexican friends are surprised when I give them this tip!) But yeah… Major supermarket chains will carry the most popular local products and those are always great presents to bring to your family!  Even if you wanted a typical T-Shirt or tequila glass, you can find them there too for cheaper!

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