With its growing economy and developing infrastructure, Mexico offers an affordable cost of living that attracts expats and travelers alike. So is $100 a lot of money in Mexico? The short answer is yes—$100 USD goes a long way when converted to Mexican pesos due to favorable exchange rates.
But the details depend on where you are and what you’re spending it on.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the true value of $100 USD in Mexico. We’ll look at what the exchange rate means, what you can buy with $100 in different Mexican cities and contexts, and how far it stretches compared to incomes and costs of living throughout the country.
Understanding the USD to Mexican Peso Exchange Rate
Current exchange rate
As of February 2023, the exchange rate between the US dollar (USD) and Mexican peso (MXN) is around 1 USD = 19.50 MXN. This means one US dollar can buy around 19.50 Mexican pesos. The current exchange rate fluctuates daily based on forex market conditions, but has remained relatively stable in a range between 19-20 MXN per 1 USD over the past year.
Historic exchange rates and trends
The USD/MXN exchange rate has experienced significant fluctuations over the past decades:
- In the 1990s, the exchange rate was around 3-4 MXN per 1 USD due to Mexico’s economic crises and high inflation.
- In the early 2000s, the rate improved to 8-10 MXN per 1 USD as Mexico’s economy stabilized under NAFTA.
- During the 2008 global financial crisis, the rate spiked to 15 MXN per 1 USD before falling back to 12-13 MXN.
- In recent years, the rate has stabilized between 18-20 MXN per 1 USD.
Projections for future exchange rates
Most analysts expect the USD/MXN exchange rate to remain relatively stable near current levels in the next 1-2 years, fluctuating between 19-21 MXN per 1 USD. Appreciation of the Mexican peso is limited by Mexico’s high inflation relative to the US. However, some potential events could impact rates:
- The US Federal Reserve raising interest rates could strengthen the US dollar vs. the peso.
- A recession in the US reducing imports from Mexico could weaken the peso.
- Major reforms or economic growth in Mexico could strengthen the peso.
In the long run, Mexico’s ability to control inflation and implement structural economic reforms will determine the path of the exchange rate. Most experts think the peso is unlikely to return to single digits against the dollar anytime soon.
What You Can Buy With $100 in Mexico
Groceries and daily expenses
With $100, you can buy a good amount of groceries and cover your daily expenses in Mexico. The cost of living in Mexico is relatively lower compared to many other countries, so your money can go a long way.
You can purchase a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, and pantry staples to last you for a week or more. Additionally, you can also buy toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other household items without breaking the bank.
Meals and drinks
Mexico is known for its delicious and affordable food options. With $100, you can enjoy several meals at local restaurants, street food stalls, or even higher-end establishments, depending on your preferences. You can savor traditional dishes like tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and more.
Don’t forget to try out some refreshing beverages like horchata or agua fresca. So, whether you are a foodie or just looking to explore the local cuisine, your $100 can provide you with a memorable dining experience.
Getting around in Mexico is relatively inexpensive, allowing you to explore the country without breaking your budget. With $100, you can cover transportation costs for a significant portion of your trip.
You can take buses, taxis, or even hire a private driver to visit popular tourist destinations or simply explore the local neighborhoods. Additionally, you can also use a portion of your $100 to rent a bicycle or a scooter for a more adventurous way of getting around.
Entertainment and leisure
Mexico offers a wide range of entertainment and leisure activities that can be enjoyed with $100. You can visit historical sites, museums, or art galleries, and many of them have affordable entrance fees or even free admission on certain days.
If you are a nature lover, you can explore national parks, go hiking, or enjoy a day at the beach without spending a fortune. Additionally, you can also catch a movie, go to a concert, or indulge in some spa treatments to relax and unwind.
Mexico is known for its vibrant markets and shopping opportunities. With $100, you can buy unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, clothing, and accessories. Exploring local markets can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and support local artisans.
Whether you are looking for traditional Mexican textiles, silver jewelry, or colorful pottery, you are sure to find something special within your budget.
How Far $100 Goes in Different Mexican Cities
When it comes to traveling or living in Mexico, one common question that often arises is: “Is $100 a lot of money in Mexico?” The answer to this question largely depends on the city you are in. Let’s take a look at how far $100 can go in different Mexican cities.
Mexico City is the capital and largest city in Mexico. It is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 21 million people. With its diverse range of activities and attractions, $100 can go a long way in Mexico City.
You can enjoy a delicious meal at a mid-range restaurant for around $10-15, visit museums and cultural sites for a few dollars, and even take public transportation to explore the city. However, keep in mind that some upscale areas and touristy places may be more expensive.
Guadalajara, known as the cultural capital of Mexico, is a vibrant city with a rich history. $100 can stretch quite far in Guadalajara, allowing you to enjoy a variety of experiences. You can savor traditional Mexican dishes at local eateries for around $5-10, visit museums and art galleries for a nominal fee, and explore the charming neighborhoods on foot.
Guadalajara offers a great balance between affordability and cultural experiences.
Monterrey is a modern and industrial city in northern Mexico. While it may be slightly more expensive compared to other cities, $100 can still provide you with some memorable experiences in Monterrey. You can enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant for around $15-20, visit attractions such as the Macroplaza or Fundidora Park, and even take a day trip to the nearby stunning natural landscapes.
Monterrey offers a unique blend of urban and outdoor adventures.
Merida, located in the Yucatan Peninsula, is known for its colonial charm and rich Mayan heritage. $100 can go a long way in Merida, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. You can indulge in delicious street food for a few dollars, visit historical sites and cenotes for a small entrance fee, and even take a day trip to the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.
Merida offers a great value for your money.
Oaxaca is a vibrant and colorful city in southern Mexico, famous for its indigenous culture and cuisine. With $100, you can experience the authentic flavors of Oaxaca by dining at local markets and street food stalls.
You can also visit historical sites, such as the Monte Alban ruins, and explore the vibrant arts and crafts scene. Oaxaca offers a unique and budget-friendly experience.
Puerto Vallarta is a popular beach destination on the Pacific coast of Mexico. While it may be considered more touristy, $100 can still go a long way in Puerto Vallarta. You can enjoy a day at the beach with free access or rent a beach chair for a small fee.
You can also savor fresh seafood at local restaurants or explore the charming Old Town. Puerto Vallarta offers a great balance between relaxation and affordability.
Cancun, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, is a popular tourist destination in Mexico. $100 can provide you with a range of experiences in Cancun. You can enjoy a beachfront meal for around $15-20, visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum or Chichen Itza, and even take part in water activities such as snorkeling or diving.
Cancun offers a mix of luxury and affordability for travelers.
$100 USD Compared to Mexican Incomes and Costs of Living
Average monthly incomes
When it comes to comparing $100 USD to Mexican incomes, it’s important to consider the average monthly incomes in the country. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the average monthly salary in Mexico is around $400 USD.
This means that $100 USD is equivalent to a quarter of the average monthly income for many Mexicans.
It’s worth noting that incomes can vary significantly depending on the region and occupation. In urban areas and industries such as finance or technology, incomes tend to be higher than in rural areas and sectors like agriculture or construction.
Home rental prices
When looking at the cost of living in Mexico, one of the key factors to consider is home rental prices. Rental prices can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and condition of the property. In major cities like Mexico City or Guadalajara, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $300 to $500 USD.
However, in smaller towns or rural areas, rental prices can be significantly lower. It’s not uncommon to find one-bedroom apartments for rent for around $150 to $250 USD per month.
It’s important to note that these prices are just averages, and there are always exceptions. It’s always a good idea to research specific locations and consult with locals or real estate agents for more accurate information on rental prices in different areas of Mexico.
Average Cost of Living
To determine whether $100 USD is a lot of money in Mexico, it’s essential to consider the average cost of living in the country. The cost of living can vary depending on various factors such as location, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
According to Numbeo, a website that collects and analyzes data on the cost of living worldwide, the cost of living index in Mexico is 47.33, with New York City being the base index of 100. This means that, on average, the cost of living in Mexico is almost half of that in New York City.
Basic expenses such as groceries, transportation, and dining out are generally more affordable in Mexico compared to many other countries. For example, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can cost around $5 USD, while a kilogram of rice may cost around $1 USD.
However, it’s important to consider that certain items or services, such as imported goods or healthcare, may be relatively more expensive in Mexico. So, while $100 USD may not go as far as in some other countries, it can still cover basic expenses and provide a decent standard of living in Mexico.
While $100 USD may not get you very far in the U.S. or Canada, it stretches much further when converted to Mexican pesos. The exchange rate combined with Mexico’s relatively low costs of living means your money goes a lot further there.
With $100 in Mexico you can cover a week’s worth of groceries or meals out, transportation, entertainment, shopping and more depending on where you are. While it may only be a fraction of the average monthly income, $100 still gives you considerable spending power and value throughout Mexico.