Cost of Living Playa Del Carmen – Budget

Got to admit I‘m a bit of a budget geek. Nothing I love more than noseying through what other people have spent in far-flung places around the globe. Well, there are a few things, but I do like to see how long I could live in a place before selling a kidney to get by.

Hopefully this will be useful to all you fellow statos….

Cost of Living in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – One month

 

These are costs for two people:

breakdown cost

 

A pie chart for all those who like pretty colours. Mmmmm pie…
Mmmm pie - cost

 

Avg per day (2 people) = $85 or £52

 

Considering Playa Del Carmen is a touristy part of Mexico, we took a couple of trips away and didn’t make a massive effort to keep to a budget, we are extremely pleased with this total. Plus we were there in December, which is peak season, when rent prices can go through the roof.

One month rent –

$615 or £375

P1040449

We snapped up a bargain apartment after hours of surfing the Internet. Airbnb was the simple answer. This place was on the outskirts of town, basic, comfortable, and only a 10-minute inexpensive bus ride ($0.60 or 40p) from the centre. It was spacious and we liked being away from the touristy areas, but still in reaching distance if we fancied raving (we didn’t). Plus it had a kitchen.

Groceries –

$533 or £325

We saved a lot of money by cooking in our kitchen. Groceries include home cooked food, snacks, products for the house, and water.

Eating out –

$294 or £179

Shrimp tacos - a little piece of heaven!

There are some real mouth watering restaurants in Playa, where I would gladly stuff my face frequently, but we controlled ourselves. Although you may not thinks so; we ate out, drank coffee, ordered takeaway etc, a total of 17 times in one month.

Obviously tourists and locals both need to eat, so you can take your pick from high to low budget. We stayed away from 5th Avenue restaurants, as we felt they were overpriced. Even eating just off the main street prices drop dramatically.

Transport –

$69 or £42

Since landing in this marvellous country we have discovered that the Mexican transportation system is frickin awesome. Travel costs were low here as we only travelled to Playa on an ADO bus, then out to house sit on a Mayab bus, along with very very cheap local buses to get us around Playa.

ADO buses – first class option; they are most expensive but extremely reliable, air-conditioned, have a toilet and you can book online or at the terminals.

Mayab buses – second-class option. They are great and run some alternatives destinations to ADO. They stop more frequently, have no toilets, but are a lot cheaper. Buy tickets in advance at the bus station or as you get on the bus.

Local buses and colectivos – cheap to get around town and other local destinations. They are just a few pesos and you can basically hail them wherever you see them, unless they are full. Destinations are written on the windows.

Entertainment –

$590 or £360

Pedro and us

A big spend because we decided there is no point simply existing in a place and not doing fun stuff, you’d get pretty bored. We did two big trips away, visited cenotes, hired snorkelling equipment, hired a car, went to the cinema ($2 or £1.20 per person on a Wednesday), paid for petrol, and lots more.

Here’s a break down of major costs:

A trip to the beautiful Isla Mujeres:

Accom 2 nights – $80 or £48

Transport – ADO Bus from Playa to Cancun ppn each way $5 or £3, boat to Isla from Canacun ppn each way $5 or £3.

Golf buggy rental 24 hrs (best way to see the Island) – $41 or £25

We detailed all our costs for Chichen Itza road trip.

 

Miscellaneous –

$460 or £280

Definitely bought some none essential stuff here and unavoidable costs, like Kellie getting sick. Here’s a few to give you an idea:

Converse trainers (My must have travelling shoes) – $47 or £28

Guitar, Fender acoustic (bought second hand off Tell Them I Said Something) – $90 or £55 absolute bargain!!

Mexican Nano Sim Card for iPhone – $23 or £14

Phone Credit – $15 or £9

Kellie blood test – $60 or £36.50

Kellie Meds – $70 or £42

Iphone cable – $15 or £9

VPN (Witopia – allows us to stream TV online from abroad, great for movies and BBC) – $49 or £30

Laundry per 3 Kg at local laundrette – $2.71 or £1.65

Massive savings!!

About us

We are not going to do a budget for our current off the grid house sit as it seems a little bit pointless (it mainly involves food).

What I will say is that for the month of January we only spent $820 or £500.

Meaning our spends for two months = $3,381 or £2,061 

Avg per day (2 people) = $56.35 or £34.35

Basically house sits save you money on accommodation, meaning longer travel… No brainer really!

Hope this is helpful, if you feel we missed any essential info let us know. Thanks!

Heuvos a la Mexicana – Mexican scrambled eggs

scrambled eggs

For the last month I have been without bread.

I can tell you gasped a little there. This has been forced on me due to the fact we are housesitting in the middle of a jungle and only get food delivered by a Mexican in a truck.

Initially this realisation caused mild internal panic. But what about sandwiches? What will I have for lunch?!

Well, I can happily tell all fellow sandwich lovers out there we have other options! As long as you have access to a hob anyway…

I discovered heuvos a la Mexicana (Mexican scrambled eggs). This recipe is my favourite type, quick and delicious. Perfect for when you are ‘han-gry’.

scrambled

I would go as far as saying it’s an addiction, I seem to make it almost everyday now.

Ingredients

This recipe makes enough for 2 people.

  • 4 eggs.
  • Half a red onion, roughly chopped.
  • 1 chopped chilli (seeds removed if you don’t want it too spicy).
  • 1 garlic clove – smashed and chopped.
  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 1 Avocado – halved then cut into strips.
  • 4 Tortillas.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Tbsp oil.

scrambled eggs

Method

  1. Heat the oil and fry off the onion for a few minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli and stir for another minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes and fry until they become soft, add a bit of water if the pan gets dry.
  3. Crack the eggs into the pan and keep stirring.
  4. Whilst the eggs are cooking add a little oil to a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Add the tortillas individually and fry until slightly brown.
  5. When the eggs are cooked serve, with the tortillas and avocado. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Buen provecho!!

scrambled eggsScrambled eggsscrambled eggsscrambled eggs

Bridges and Balloons – Be Inspired

In the deepest depths of our travelling savings mission, we lived vicariously through Bridges and Balloons. Victoria blogs beautifully about her life and adventures with her partner Steve, as they travel and work throughout the world.

Bridges and ballooons

Bridges and Balloons is blog packed full of personality, inspiration, travel tips, stunning photography and a great beard (that’s Steve obviously). It’s also a good old fashioned love story, which can’t fail to put a smile on your face. People like this make you want to get out there, do more and live the life you want. They certainly motivated us to get off our bottoms and try and achieve our dreams of indefinite travel.

Happily we got to interview them about food, travel and super powers. All the important stuff really. Enjoy…

1) What made you decide to pack in your jobs and head off on a never-ending travel journey?

Both of us have travelled a lot before and always knew we’d take off some day. I was eager to leave my 9-5 routine, and Steve realised he could take his work on the road, producing and editing films.

Most simply, we wanted to explore the world and our own place within it. We said at the time, we had no idea where it would take us or how long we’d be away for, and two years later, our answer is still the same.

2) We are obsessed with food and constantly seem to be planning our next meal, which leads to the question: If you could travel to one city for breakfast, another for lunch, another for dinner and a final one for pudding… where would you go and what would you eat?

Nice question! We too are obsessed by food.

For breakfast, I think it’d be a competition between a full veggie English in London, or a pot of acai in Rio.

Then for lunch, we’d head to Ubud. It’s probably one of the best towns in the world for vegetarians.

For dinner, we’d go to La Gazetta in Paris. It’s the ideal place for a special occasion with a seven-course tasting menu!

And finally for dessert, it’d have to be San Pancho for an ice cream sundae with homemade hot fudge sauce and candied pecans.

3) What’s your most memorable moment, the one that always makes you think “that’s why we did this!”?

Discovering San Pancho, a tiny beach town in Mexico. We completely fell in love with the community and it proved to us that it was possible to find a place that really felt like home.

4) Travel can often have moments of tedium or time killing. We often get through this by filling it with ‘would you rathers’. So, would you rather go back in time and meet your ancestors or travel way into the future to meet your great great grandchildren?

Back in time. I have dear ancestors who have already passed so I’d love to go back and see them.

5) Music is a huge part of our memories and lives and we can see that you share our passion having named your blog ‘Bridges and Balloons’ after a Joanna Newsom song. But, if you had to choose just 3 albums to listen to until the end of time what would they be?

Ooooh, that’s hard. I’d say Up From Below by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Milk Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom, and Shallow Grave by The Tallest Man on Earth.

Steve would choose Ys by Joanna Newsom, Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox and Doolittle by The Pixies.

6) If you could chose a favourite photo from your journey what would it be? What’s the story behind the picture?

One of the surprises of travelling has been that I trained as a yoga teacher along the way – something I never thought I’d be able to do. I taught lessons by donation to the local community in San Pancho for six months and loved every minute of it. People would give me anything from fruit to cakes to massages in exchange for the classes. It was a lovely way to live. One of my favourite things about the classes was the amount of dogs who came to visit. Sometimes they’d create chaos, other times they’d simply watch. This photo is of one who seemed to fancy himself as the teacher! I love the dogs of San Pancho. They have a life much more similar to cats than those in the UK. They’re free to come and go as the please.

Bridges and Balloons

7) Having sold most of your possessions before heading off on your life adventure, is there anything you really wish you had kept?

Ooooh, I’m afraid we didn’t sell much! We actually have a ton of stuff in Steve’s parents’ basement. Every time we come home, I’m surprised by the amount of it. We could really do with sorting it out.

8) We love your feature “If I had a super power”. What would your super power be?

As you can imagine, we’ve thought about this quite a lot. Mine changes all the time, but for now I’ll go with compassion – the ability to turn anyone’s negative emotion into compassion. For example, aggression, anger and fear. I think it’d solve a lot of problems.

Steve’s would be to be able to speak every language.

9) What’s been your worst moment when travelling? And what got you through it?

I think the worst moments are the times when you really miss home and it feels a million miles away. You see a photo of a group of friends hanging out together and you think “What am I doing on the other side of the world to so many of the people I love?”. That’s the thing I find hardest – trying to balance the instinct for adventure with the pangs of missing loved ones and the desire for community. It’s still something we’re trying to puzzle out, but in the meantime, we visit home, we Skype, and Steve and I always look out for each other.

10) If you were to pass on a gem of advice to any would be traveller or somebody on the verge of packing in their job for travel, what would it be?

There will be plenty of naysayers who say that it’s a crazy, irresponsible thing to do. Ignore them. There’s nothing more irresponsible than living your life according to other people’s rules.

Bridges and Balloons

A big big thank you to Bridges and Balloons for this interview! You can get your fix of their adventures at all these places:

Website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Off the grid housesit in pictures – Xcalak, Mexico

Xcalak

So we managed to grab ourselves a housesit that’s way off the grid. Bring on the wild!!

It’s on the coast of Mexico right in the jungle/swampland, down a hellish bumpy road, 15km from the nearest tiny little town of Xcalak and at least 2 hours from proper civilisation. There’s no mains electricity. The Wi-Fi is like good old fashioned dial up a lot of the time, occasionally it makes me want to headbutt the wall. The showers can be shrivellingly cold!

From this description you may think we are living in a wooden hut, sleeping in hammocks, washing in swamp water, fighting off crocodiles and mosquitos, and making our own clothes from coconuts and palm leaves.

This is far from the reality.

I have to be honest and say this is a housesit like no other on the planet. We have found luxury in the wild. It’s like Ray Mears, or Crocodile Dundee, met Posh Spice. Bizarrely they got on like a house on fire and spawned their dream home far away from the rest of the world.

That’s a crap explanation, so I have taken a few pretty picture so you can judge for yourself. Take a look…

Probably obvious, but this is the bedroom. Love the Mayan style carvings!

Xcalak

Xcalak

Our perfect little kitchen – has all we need and more for our cooking escapades (everything is now mouse proofed after a suprise invasion)

kitchen table - Xcalak kitchen - Xcalak

Cosy and bright living area (You can actually see the ocean from our sofa)

living room - Xcalak
Outside the bodega is surrounded by palm trees, which lead down to the ocean just a few metres away. The water is clear blue and the bay is protected by a coral reef 200 metres off shore, it’s perfect for kayaking and snorkelling.
Xcalak

Xcalak

Xcalak

Xcalak

The guest rooms – when I grow up I want to have a house with palapa roofs.
Guest space
The main house – It actually has a moat or you could call it a swimming pool. We spend many hours chilling on the pier in hammocks, listening to the waves lapping on the shore and pelicans diving for fish.
Xcalak

Xcalak

Xcalak

From the top of the main house you can see we are surrounded by miles of jungle and swampland.
Xcalak

Here’s the all important food truck with weekly supplies. A proper father and son business. The truck is a bit of a lottery but usually brings deliciously fresh meat, veg, fruits, and dairy.
Xcalak

Xcalak

Hope you enjoyed the little tour. It’s such a beautiful place and for us, a once in a lifetime opportunity. We love it!

Info…

We found it through Trusted Housesitters. Membership was around £40 for a year, which seems like a bargain for this unique experience and money saved on accommodation.

The house owners had over 60 applications for this house sit, apparently they chose us mainly for our blog and supporters (thanks friends!!). But previous to this we’d done a couple of lovely housesits without mentioning the blog, so it’s definitely possible to find cool opportunities all over the world…