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12 Cheapest and Safest Places to Visit in Mexico

Susan Laurent
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by Susan Laurent

Say ¡Hola to the 12 cheapest and safest places to visit in Mexico — Merida, La Paz, San Cristobal De Las Casas, Cozumel, Queretaro, Valladolid, Campeche, Tulum, Puerto Escondido, Monterrey, Isla Mujeres, and Oaxaca.

We’ll look at their crime rates as well as what the US government recommends for visiting these places. Then we’ll go through some inexpensive but beautiful hotel options, and cover how much it would cost to eat and get around town.

We also want to give you an idea of what you can do there for fun, so there will be a plethora of enjoyable activities listed for each of our suggested destinations. Let’s get started!



The city of Merida is a captivating blend of old Mayan legacy and modern allure.

The city is as safe as can be. According to Numbeo ratings, its crime rate is 25.45%, and the destination has the U.S. government’s lightest travel warning: “Exercise Normal Caution.”

But that’s not all. In 2019, CEOWorld named Merida the 2nd safest city in the Americas, and in 2022, Conde Nast Traveller picked Merida as the 4th best city in the world.

And it gets better. Booking a vacation for two in an affordable, but still very beautiful hotel in Merida will cost you around $20 to $50 per night.

Here are some suggestions to consider: Hotel Gran Centenario, Hotel Embajadores, Suites del Sureste, Hotel Mucuy, Hacienda Inn, Hotel Santiago, Hotel Santa Lucía, and Hotel del Gobernador.

Let’s talk about dining. You’ll love this. According to Numbeo, a meal at an inexpensive diner will cost you about $6, whereas dining at a mid-range restaurant and ordering a three-course meal costs around $35.

Now, onto transport. Numbeo statistics reveal that exploring the city also won’t cost an arm and a leg. Take a bus for $0.48 or a taxi for approximately $1 per mile.

There’s so much to do in Merida. For instance, you can visit the Mayan World Museum, check out the El Castillo Pyramid and the Ruta Puuc sites, swim in cenotes, take a boat ride through the UNESCO biosphere reserve Ria Celestun, or take a stroll through the city’s Centro Historico.

La Paz

Let’s set our compass south to the enchanting city of La Paz.

This city is nestled on the tranquil shores of the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, and according to the U.S. government travel advisory, the city is relatively safe, although “Exercising Increased Caution” is advised. The crime rate of La Paz gets a rating of 32.88%.

In La Paz, you can book yourself a beautiful hotel room without burning a hole in your pocket. The most affordable prices for two people per night range from $30 to $60.

Here are adorable hotels and rental units to consider: Posada Del Cortez, Calafia, Marina del Sol, Sunset Hostel, Habitación Azul, Del Mar, Lupita, Hostel Casa Esterito, and Miramar.

According to Numbeo, you can savor traditional Mexican cuisine  in a budget-friendly eatery for no more than $7, or treat yourself to a three-course meal in a semi-luxurious restaurant for $30. Yum!

Getting around La Paz is also affordable. A one-way bus ticket costs around $0.60, and if you prefer to ride with a taxi, expect to pay around $2.89 for a mile.

Now on to the good stuff: activities in La Paz. You can go and swim with Mexico’s most beautiful wild animals  — whale sharks, or go hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. You can also go to the desert and sandboard at El Mogote’s dunes, or take a walk around the city and admire the beautiful street murals. The Cathedral of La Paz is likewise a must-see cultural site.

San Cristobal De Las Casas

San Cristobal De Las Casas

Nestled in the highlands of Chiapas lies San Cristobal De Las Casas — a city of indigenous tradition and a vibrant bohemian spirit.

At 30.08%, San Cristobal De Las Casas has a low crime rating, according to Numbeo, and the U.S. government advises tourists to “Exercise Increased Caution,” which is a normal precautionary measure all tourists should consider.

Accommodations in San Cristobal De Las Casas are a fantastic bargain — there’s an abundance of beautifully decorated hotel rooms you can get for prices ranging from $20 to $40 per night.

Consider booking in some of the most gorgeous hotels, such as Posada Santa, San Martin, Posada Belen, Amayal, Posada Catalina, La Parroquia, Real del Valle, Jovel, Posada Dominnycos, Casa Azabache, The Coffee Bean Hotel, and Hotel Casa Mia.

Dining in this lively city is equally kind to your budget. Numbeo reveals that you can eat at small eateries for no more than $4, or have a three-course meal for as low as $14. Your taste buds (and your wallet) will thank you.

Getting about is simple and economical. You can take a bus for about $0.48 or a taxi for $2.89 per mile. There are a lot of local buses and taxis, allowing for swift travel at a fraction of the expense of these travel services in larger cities.

San Cristobal De Las Casas offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. For starters, it has some of the most gorgeous churches, such as the Central Cathedral, Templo Santo Domingo, and Iglesia de Guadalupe.

You can also take a stroll through the lively Mercado Municipal Market or visit the popular museum of Ambar. The city is surrounded by breathtaking nature, so take a day or two to visit the beautiful El Chiflon waterfalls, Sumidero Canyon, or the serene gardens of Orquideas Moxviquil.



Cozumel is an island situated on the Caribbean Sea off the coast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo state.

This tropical destination is one of the safest cities to visit, but also to reside in Mexico. The crime rating of Cozumel is 34.57%, and the US government has issued a mild travel warning to “Exercise Increased Caution.”

Cozumel has a variety of accommodations to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. From coastal lodgings to lovely boutique hotels, you can find very affordable options from $30 to $60 per night.

Sounds inviting? Consider these budget-friendly options: OYO Hotel Dos Mundos, La Perle Noire – Auberge, BeaBello Caribe Express, Bello Sol Caribe, Pal, Villas Colibrí Suites & Bungalows, Hacienda Ixtlan, Luna Azul, Caribe, Isla Esmeralda, and Mary Carmen.

Cozumel’s cuisine is a delectable blend of fresh seafood, signature Mexican flavors, and international influences. The best part — it’s affordable! Whether you pick a coastal restaurant or a local food booth, you may dine for as low as $3.

The relatively small size of the island makes it easy to get around. Rent a scooter for $25, bike around the city for $10, take the bus for $0.59, or take a taxi for $0.95 per mile.

Cozumel is the top spot for water junkies. For starters, the island has the second-largest reef system after the Great Barrier Reef waiting for exploration. Another water adventure you can indulge in on Cozumel would be to swim with the world’s largest (but most friendly) shark species  — the whale shark.

And that’s not all. While the west side of Cozumel is mostly resort and seaside clubs, the island’s east side is a utopia of quiet beaches and intact nature.

While the beach is a major lure for visitors to Cozumel, exploring the town is just as enjoyable. Visit the main church, Iglesia de San Miguel, go shopping at the Benito Juarez Park Plaza and watch the sunset from the famous Malecon boardwalk. Last but not least, go back in time to the ancient Mayan remains of San Gervasio.



The charming Queretaro is the capital of the state of Queretaro.

With a crime index of 37.30%, Queretaro is a relatively safe destination — the U.S. government gives no strict travel warning for tourism except to “Exercise Increased Caution.” Yay, that we can do!

In Queretaro, you don’t have to sacrifice hotel comfort and safety for cheap deals. Accommodations range from $20 to $50 per night, which is very reasonable for a two-person stay.

Here are some of the best budget-friendly hotel options to consider: Tecnologico, Cuauhtemoc, Hotel Hi!, Morelos By HomiRent, Cinco de Mayo, Meson de Isabel, Meson Del Obispado, Hi Hotel Impala, Meson de Carolina, Oliver Inn, Tres Sofias, Meson de Sara, Florencia, Plaza Queretaro, and Calesa Real Hotel Boutique.

Queretaro’s gourmet scene is a feast of sensations, and the food is reasonably priced. According to Numbeo, you can try street food or eat at a local restaurant for less than $5.

Queretaro’s transportation is likewise inexpensive and convenient. Buses and taxis are widely available, so all the city’s many attractions are just a $0.60 bus ticket or $1.44 per mile a taxi away.

Now, let’s look at what interesting things travelers may do in this city! Queretaro has a UNESCO-listed historic center with beautiful colonial architecture and plazas. If you are a wine enthusiast, take a tour of the Finca Sala Vivé by Freixenet México winery.

We also recommend going museum hopping — visit the Mucal Calendar museum and Museo de la Casa Zacatecana. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful ancient pyramid in El Cerrito. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss!



Valladolid is a Mayan jewel nested in Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.

Here, crime is almost non-existent. It has the lowest crime rates on our list so far, with a rating of 9.12% on Numbeo. Nice! With no rigorous travel warnings from the U.S. government, you are welcome to explore everything the city offers while “Exercising Normal Precautions”.

Valladolid is also a bargain! Accommodations range from $30 to $50 per night, making it an affordable haven for budget tourists.

Don’t know where to book your stay? Consider Zaci, Casa Rico, Nojoch Nah, Rosalia, Casa Bamboo, Valladolid, San Clemente, Recuerdos, Hotel 41, Hacienda Margot, Peregrina, Gayser, and Dsiena Valladolid.

Let’s move on to gastronomy! Numbeo’s ratings of the cost of food at this destination reveal that you can enjoy regional delicacies at local cafes for $3, or treat yourself to a lovely three-course dinner for no less than $18.

You can stroll around Valladolid’s lovely streets on foot, or take advantage of local transportation choices — buses for the price of $0.48 and a one-mile taxi ride for $0.96.

Ready to explore the ancient wonders of Valladolid? Be awestruck by the majestic pyramids and temples at Chichen Itza, or the Mayan ruins at Ek Balam. Marvel at the Iglesia San Juan church or the beautiful central cathedral Iglesia de San Servicio. Something you don’t want to miss is, visiting some of the most beautiful cenotes Mother Earth has made, by far — Suytun, Zaci, San Lorenzo Oxman, and Saamal.



Campeche is a coastal beauty just waiting to be discovered.

And rest assured, you can do that safely since the city has a crime index of 30.76% and is designated as the safest location for travel by the U.S. travel advisory — where you just need to “Exercise Normal Precautions.”

Affordably priced rooms await you in Campeche, with pleasant two-person hotel rooms ranging from $20 to $50 per night. And wait until you see how beautiful they look!

We recommend Puesta del Sol, Residencial Edzna, Barranquilla, Hotel Edzna, Maya Ah Kim Pech, Xucum, Malecón, Balamku Hotel Petit, Boutique La Toja, Murallas 231, and Casa Ximbal.

Campeche’s local eateries offer a delightful array of tasty Mexican dishes for just $3. Sitting at a mid-range restaurant won’t cost you a fortune either as you and your travel partner(s) can dig in a three-course meal for just $13.73.

Hopping from one place to another is affordable in Campeche. Opt for a $0.42 bus ticket or take a taxi for just $1.49 a mile. If you are staying at the city’s center, you are also free to explore the surrounding attractions on foot — trust us, you won’t be disappointed by the experience.

For starters, Campeche has well-preserved colonial buildings and fortifications designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s natural reserves are perfect for bird-watching and wildlife appreciation.

Take time to appreciate the Mayan heritage at the Museo De La Arquitectura Maya and don’t forget to visit the very beautiful Edzna Mayan Ruins. Take a tour to see the Pirate ship or explore modern street art in Campeche’s New Town. And hey, don’t forget that Campeche is on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, so take the time to sunbathe on the beautiful beaches.



Nestled along the stunning Caribbean coast of Mexico, Tulum’s grandeur and reasonable prices are your ticket to a memorable journey.

Tulum has a crime index of 37.17% , and it’s situated in one of the U.S. travel warning’s safest states to visit, so you can discover this seaside beauty while practicing nothing more than “Normal Precautions.” Sounds great!

And the cherry on top? Tulum won’t drain your bank account. Accommodations range from $20 to $40 per night, providing a cost-effective refuge in the midst of the Caribbean.

There are also tons of beautiful hotels. Consider Sacbe, Xamira Luxury Condo, Bufo Alvarius, MT, Hostal Mulut, Luhme, Bayou, Castillo, Harmony Glamping Boutique Hotel and Yoga, The Reserve, Elena 306B, Nah, Mimosa, Chaac, Nicte Ha, and Kukulcan by Emotion.

Let’s chat about eating and transportation. There’s tantalizing street cuisine and tasty dinner options that cater to all budgets, ranging from $3 at low-cost restaurants to $25 at luxury establishments. Hop on a bus for $1.18 or pay a taxi for $0.95 per mile and find your best dining spot!

Now, brace yourself for adventure! Tulum’s renowned Mayan ruins sitting on the coast look like something from a fantasy. However, there’s something very special in the jungle as well — the Coba pyramids!

Sunbathe on one of Tulum’s most gorgeous beaches, Playa Paraiso, and don’t forget about the enchanted cenotes. Explore the caves of Caracol Cenote or go diving in Dos Ojos Cenote. Every day in Tulum will be filled with special memories that will linger with you like the murmur of the ocean.

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido

Introducing Puerto Escondido, a hidden jewel buried along Mexico’s Pacific coast that promises a dreamy retreat from everyday life.

The city’s crime rate is 43.19%, so the US government approves of visiting this paradise, but while “Exercising Increased Caution.”

And guess what? Your wallet will be grateful that you chose Puerto Escondido. Prices here range from $20 to $40 per night, and there are excellent accommodation options — you and your vacation partner would be in for a treat. Consider Yurimar, Casa La Paz, Costa 55, Carruiz, Gamito, Palmarito, Naxhiely, Lekami, DuHotel, Cabañas Pepe, OYO Hotel Arena Surf, and VidaMar.

According to Numbeo, getting about Escondido is simple, with inexpensive local transportation options ranging from $0.59 for a bus to $0.95 for a taxi. When you’re done seeing the city, restore your batteries and fulfill your hunger at charming diners for no less than $5 per meal.

Puerto Escondido welcomes you to a world of low-cost activities, from seaside leisure to adrenaline-pumping water sports. The location is a surfer’s heaven, with waves that beckon thrill seekers. Go to the beach at night to see the stunning bioluminescence phenomenon. The Atotonilco Hot Springs and the coffee plantations near Pluma Hidalgo are popular trekking locations. Take a break from hiking while you’re at it, and plunge into La Reforma’s rainforest waterfall.



Welcome to the beautiful capital of Nuevo León, Monterrey — an urban oasis nestled in the rugged mountains of northeastern Mexico.

Safety is your co-pilot in Monterrey, but as with any bustling capital, the crime rates are a bit higher — 48.25%, so make sure you follow the U.S. travel advisory and “Exercise Increased Caution.”

When it comes to lodging, Monterrey is a budget-friendly jewel. Accommodations range from small hostels to stylish hotels, with costs anywhere from $20 to $50 per night.

You’ll love the low-cost lodgings we’ve picked for you. Check out Platino, Regis, Victoria, Adhoc Madero, CHN Hotel Monterrey Santa Fe, Hotel Hi!, Hotel 5a Avenida, Plaza Arteaga, Madero Express, El Regio, Hotel25, Ibis Monterrey Aeropuerto, Fundador, Antique Barrio Antiguo, Booking 500.

Is eating well a priority for you when you travel? You can satisfy your appetite in Monterrey without breaking the bank. Eat at charming local eateries for $7, or choose a three-course meal at a gorgeous mid-range restaurant for $30.

In terms of transportation, public buses cost $0.71 per mile, and taxis cost $0.76 per mile, so it’s super cheap to get around the city.

But which direction should you take? If you want to explore the city, you can go to art galleries, museums, bustling plazas, or the magnificent Santa Lucia Riverwalk

If you prefer nature, Monterrey’s landscapes invite you to hike in the Sierra de Madre Oriental mountains, go rock climbing at La Huasteca Canyon, take a dive at the natural pools of Matacanes Canyon, or explore the stunning Grutas de Garcia caves.

But there’s more — visit the city’s Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey, take a boat trip down the Paseo Santa Lucia, explore the Old Town, and savor sweets at the Museo del Dulce, or Museum of Sweets. Yum!

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a slice of paradise off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Isla Mujeres is the second destination in Mexico with the lowest crime levels, 14.71%. According to the U.S. travel warning, you can relax on this island while “Exercising Increased Caution.”

Isla Mujeres has the most magical places to call home during your visit. And they are affordable too — ranging from $40 to $60. Your accommodation options are varied — there are hotels, hostels, and even boat homes too!

Check out these affordable accommodations: Ocean Drive Hotel, Ma Elena, Fitz-Mar, Sayil, Casa María, Depto. El Abulon, Casa Iguana, Casa de los Elefantes, El Malecon, and Island Retreat on the Gemini Sailboat.

According to Numbeo, local eateries serve scrumptious dishes for no less than $6. On the other hand, eating at beachside restaurants cost around $35.81. Too much? Not at all, as the price includes a three-course meal for two. Now that’s a steal right there.

Isla Mujeres is fairly small, so exploring it feels like a breeze. Your best option would be to rent a golf cart for only $15 per hour. While a golf cart is a far more fun experience, if you aren’t comfortable driving one, you can take a cab for $0.77 per mile.

On this island, you’ll have plenty of beachside options for adventure and relaxation. Stick your toes in the most popular beach Playa Norte, or visit the historic park of Punta Sur. There you’ll enjoy the sights of the Mayan ruins — and meet some wild iguanas as well.

And, of course, there are the lovely turquoise waters that surround this island, inviting you to swim, surf, boat, and snorkel. While we’re on the subject of snorkeling, if you take a deep dive in the ocean, you’ll come upon the world-famous MUSA Underwater Sculpture Park.



Introducing the last city on our list — the intriguing Oaxaca, a cultural capital nestled in the heart of Oaxaca state.

Oaxaca City is a safe and welcoming place with crime rates of 42.84%. The crime rates may be higher than in the rest of the cities, but this is normal for a big capital. Plus, the U.S. government approves of visiting this city, so be “Extra Cautious” and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Now let’s talk about hotels. Boy, oh, boy, you’ll love it here. The capital features lovely and affordable hotels for around $15 to $40 per night for two people.

Here are some options you may like: Casa Leonor, El Andariego, Rivera, Villa Alta, Frida Bed & Breakfast, Posada San Rafael, La Casa Del Nenufar, Hostal Eclipse Oaxaca, Esperanza, NIUT-JA, and El Nito Posada.

Oaxaca City’s gastronomic scene invites you to treat your taste buds for only $5 in a budget-friendly restaurant. If you’re feeling extra hungry, go on a three-course culinary adventure at one of the city’s mid-range restaurants for only $20. Wow!

Explore the city’s colorful streets on foot, and when you’ve had enough of walking, hop on a bus for $0.48 or take a taxi for $0.96 per mile.

Oh, and wait till you see the splendor of activities that this city has in store for you. You can go to the El Zocalo, Oaxaca’s main square, and marvel at the beautiful central Cathedral. If you’re in the mood for more religious sights, then you must visit one of the most beautifully ornamented churches in the city, Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

Visit the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca to learn about the city’s history and culture. Visit the Oaxacan pyramids in Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last but not least, stop by a local craft store, such as La Casa de las Artesanas de Oaxaca, and purchase a handicraft to take home as a souvenir of your trip.


So, which place is your go-to cheap and safe destination in Mexico?

Our absolute favorite is Tulum. It’s a haven of safety, situated on one of the safest states in Mexico — the Yucatan Peninsula. The crime rate is around 30%, which is very low compared to the other coastal hotspots tourists usually pick. For instance, one of the most popular destinations in this area, Cancun, has a crime rate of 56.33%.

Another destination we like is the island of Cozumel. Here, accommodations are a dream you don’t need to stretch your wallet for! You can feel at home for no more than $30, which is way cheaper than what you’d pay in popular tourist destinations like Cabo San Lucas, where the cheapest hotel room is around $50 per night.

And if you want to feel like you’re on vacation but don’t want to be concerned about getting from point A to point B, Isla Mujeres is the place to be. Here, everything feels close, plus the main forms of transportation are golf carts and bikes. If you go to Mexico City, for example, you’ll have to continually move around by bus, taxi, or rental car, which means more money spent on transport.

Every location offers a unique experience in and of itself, so pick wisely and have your fantasy Mexican vacation.

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
  1. I really like your stories about Mexico but might you date your articles? As a world traveler (58 countries, lived in seven) and someone who has lived in Mexico for five years, I can tell you that prices and crime rates have changed a lot in this country during the past few years. If you give your readers a date, we’ll have a sense of how much things might have changed. Thanks.

    1. Hi Doris, thank you for reading and providing your insights. Our usual writing methodology is the initial writing of the article and then continually updating it as significant changes arise. It’s a great idea for us to think about how we can providing some dating maybe within the article to show update areas and the timing. We’ll think about the best way of doing that, thanks again!

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