Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mexico budget and other random stuff...

We spent a total of 32 days in the wonderful country of Mexico. It was a completely positive experience, leaving us with nothing but great memories from an underdog of a country! This post is just a little conglomeration of some notable, useful, or funny factoids from our time in Mexico.

  • Total money spent in US dollars: $2,130 = $33/person/day
(gas $579 ~ food $441 ~ camping $290 ~ scuba diving $228 ~ hotel/cabana $162 ~ alcohol $109 ~ tolls $92 ~ park fees $55 ~ auto $34 ~ misc (extending car insurance, mountain biking guide, ect) $140)

  • Average cost of campsite was $7 per person. Average budget meal from a street vendor or locals restaurant $3. Average local light beer $1.25. Gas $3.80/gallon (fixed price all over Mexico at this time).
  • We love the challenge of finding a sweet place to make camp for the night. It has been fun to sometimes plan this out and enter coordinates into the GPS, sometimes using the very handy ipad app iOverlander, and sometimes finding our own place by stumbling upon it or asking around. And hey, when all else fails, we are incognito, and can sleep pretty much anywhere we can park!

  • 23 nights slept in the 4Runner, 7 nights slept in a hotel or cabana, 2 nights spent in a tent. We prefer Lola, but situations like being in a big city, extreme heat, or not feeling well sometimes call for a room.
Home sweet home away from home & the comfiest bed we've slept in in Mexico

  • Favorite meals: Chris- aside from Mallary's cooking at camp... tacos pastor & anything with chorizo and cheese. Mallary- street tacos and chips with the many varieties of salsas, especially spicy ones!
Dutch oven meals are the best
  • Miles driven in Mexico- 3,187

  • Bad or scary experiences- only 1... The toll booth protesters which turned out to only be scary for a minute or 2. This bullet is most notable though because of all of the warnings and "oh not Mexico!" comments we received before leaving. As a whole, everywhere we went in Mexico felt safe, the people were insanely kind and helpful, and nothing remotely bad happened. Occassionaly there was a good amount of police or military presence, reminding us that there is a pretty active war happening between Mexico and the cartels, but its clear that they are not intersted in tourists and what we are up to. Overall, it is an exceptional place to travel!
  • Mexican people are the best! One fond example of some local love was when six of us rolled up to a stall style eatery 10 mins after they closed and had started packing up their food and equipment. Instead of the old ladies telling us adios, they quickly busted out their food, lit some fresh coals for the grill, and cooked us up some custom plates. The senoritas were even kind of enough to pass around a bottle of mezcal on the house for our pleasure. It seemed like quite the acheivement scoring all this while dishing out some of the worst gringo Spanish ever heard by these ladies. Yes, we realize that this is their livlihood and they are happy for business, but it was the way they went above and beyond with putting up with our questions, explaining what various things were, and all the while laughing and teaching us a little espanol. This was not an isolated incident, it was more like the norm... Mexicans going above and beyond to help us out, even when our language skills were lacking! We will be sure to pay this forward, and be more accommodating to non-english speaking visitors when back in the US!
  • We miss toilet seats and sanitary bathrooms and throwing toilet paper down the toilet, come down and see what we mean.
  • Leftover American change goes a long way when child banditos block the road with clothes lines demanding money or for you to buy their corn before letting you pass. A couple US pennies are enough to dazzle even the toughest of these child road warriors, or at least shock them enough for them to drop their line.
  • Corrupt police is an issue, we heard stories of other travels being hassled for a while with an attemped bribe, paying expensive bribes to get out of tickets, or paying expensive tickets. However, we had no such issue. In all we were stopped and questioned at a couple dozen police or army checkpoints. Usually these involved just showing our documents, but were searched a couple times and had an army K-9 unit sniff around the inside of the vehicle.
  • When language fails us, charades always helps us get our point across! It's funny the hand motions we make up for certain things and fine acting skills we can whip out when in need to communicate something.
  • The driving in Mexico is a controlled and systematic chaos. The biggest challenges are dodging potholes, topes, children, multitudes of different animals on the roads, and defunct vehicles.
  • Mexico is land of one million topes! Topes are speedbumps, and Mexico freaking loves their speedbumps... big wide pedestrian walk speedbumps 2 or 3 in a row of course, the high and skinny type, the home made dirt ones, the big metal turtle shell ones, the lots of little bumps in a row causing the car to vibrate kind, some hiding in the shadows, and the ones covered with vendors or beggers, and the best of all are the unmarked ones in the middle of nowhere for no reason on a perfectly good highway or better yet a pothole ridden street! These "Sleeping Policemen" are the worst enemy to our poor bikes bobbing up and down on the back of Lola everyday, slowly grinding away at the tow hitch. Topes are the bain of any drivers existence, enough to make any driver curse out of frustration from speeding up and slowing down for yet another tope just to repeat the process a few hundred more times a day. Come on clutch, hang in there!


  • Although much of our time over the past month was spent having fun, exploring, and finding new adventures, food, and friends... We also spent a good deal of time doing the normal day to day life stuff. For example, every time we get in the car to go somewhere new, we have likely spent a while doing some internet research, looking at paper maps, programming the GPS and checking its route, and usually planning a place to stay for the night. Daily tasks like having clean drinking water, food, somewhere safe to sleep, showers, and doing laundry are more of an intentional effort, and each of those things can come with some degree of difficulty at times.
  • For us, Mexico was 32 days of new experiences, people, and places everyday. Days of wandering around new cities and towns, days of biking, hiking, camping, hammocking, diving, snorkling, and swimming. 32 days of immersion into a new culture, new language, and new lifestyle. Our days in Mexico transformed us into the overlanders we are, and even though it seems like the day we crossed the border was ages ago and this past month was packed with endless amazing memories, we still have a long road in front of us. We are so thankful for the road we have traveled so far, and the prospect of what is to come on the road in front of us these next 11 months!











    1. Great update. Dad J. So glad you're sharing all this with all of us!!!

    2. Thanks!! I see that you worked out the comment thing with your gmail now! Nice!