Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan peninsula. This beautiful town is filled with colonial buildings, warm weather and a great pace of life. That’s why Merida has continued to attract tourists, expats and digital nomads year after year.
But what’s the cost of living in Merida, Mexico?
Before we visit a place, we always do some research to see generally how much it would cost to live in a certain city. This allows us to budget better and in the end enjoy our time there without having to worry so much about money.
We spent close to 1 month in Merida as digital nomads and we had an idea of how much things would cost in Merida. It turns out we actually spent more…
…In this blog post, we will give you a detailed guide about our cost of living in Merida, Mexico for a month.
Why Should Digital Nomads Go To Merida, Mexico?
When we were Playa del Carmen digital nomads, we heard a lot of good things about Merida. It’s just a 4-hour ride from Playa del Carmen to Merida which makes it a great weekend destination. However, we wanted to see what it’s like to live there as digital nomads for a month and if it could be a rising digital nomad hotspot.
Spoiler Alert: We loved it but some things could be improved!
Colonial Architecture: One of the best things about living in Merida is simple: it’s just BEAUTIFUL! You’ll see when you first arrive in Merida. The historic buildings, the beautiful Paseo Montejo avenue, the mansions and the rich history will leave you impressed by this city.
Safety: Merida is the safest place to live in Mexico. PERIOD. It has been named the #2 safest city in all of North America a couple of years in a row. Now…in our personal opinion, did we feel Merida was safe? The answer is yes! I think it’s the safest we’ve felt even after living in San Cristobal de las Casas and Playa del Carmen. Matt and Dom, our friend, walked around the neighborhood at night and they didn’t feel like they were in danger in any way.
Food: The food scene in Merida is pretty great! If you love Yucatecan cuisine, Merida is one of the best places to eat the favorites like cochinita pibil, sopa de lima and more. When we wanted to take a break for Yucatec food, there were plenty of options!
We think digital nomads will love Merida because it’s got the amazing Mexican charm all around, good coworking spaces, great food and reliable wifi.
Is Merida going to be a digital nomad hotspot? We’re not so sure! We thought it would be pretty affordable but in our case…it wasn’t.
This Is Our Cost Of Living in Merida, Mexico
For all of our cost of living guides, we have to just put this little disclaimer out that:
This is what WE spent!
You can obviously spend less and you can also spend more. We have guilty pleasures like coffee that we don’t mind splurging on because it’s our favorite thing! Our cost of living in Merida Mexico was definitely over-budget but we also didn’t necessarily hold back. That’s on us!
We definitely believe you can live in Merida for much less but it all depends on how you want your lifestyle to be.
We’ve decided to also show the cost to get to Merida, Mexico so you know generally what to expect.
Flight Cost to Merida, Mexico – $244
We took a Turkish Airlines flight from Athens, Greece to Mexico City and booked a separate ticket from Mexico City to Merida. I’ll only share the flight cost from Mexico city to Merida.
We flew Viva Aerobus and the total cost for 2 people with 2 checked luggage was $244 for a one-way ticket. We always travel with 1 backpack and 1 50lb suitcase each. This means we usually have to pay extra to check our digital nomad luggage which can bring the cost up significantly.
We took an Uber from Merida Airport to our Airbnb in the Benito Juarez Norte neighborhood. We paid $14.73 for a 25-minute ride. I honestly can’t recommend Uber from the airport. It’s technically not allowed so the drivers will ask you to walk 15 minutes away to the major highway. If you don’t have a lot of bags – this is a good option but we had to lug all our luggage which wasn’t fun after a 20-hour travel day.
OVERVIEW: Cost of Living Merida, Mexico For Digital Nomads
Since we have become digital nomads, we understand that every new destination will give us a completely new experience. It’s the same with the cost of living in Merida, Mexico – it’s unlike any other place we’ve been.
We have also learned that in order to keep this digital nomad lifestyle up for years to come – you need to consider slow travel. What’s that mean?
Traveling to places for at least 1-3 months allows you to take advantage of monthly deals. You also get to build a routine, visit gyms and just enjoy life for what it is!
We like doing these cost of living guides through the lens of monthly costs because this is generally how long we stay in a certain place. This also gives you a better idea of what the cost of living in Merida, Mexico is like.
Here’s the monthly breakdown for a couple’s cost of living in Merida, Mexico:
- Accommodation Costs – $728 USD
- Coworking Costs – $340 USD for 2 people ($170 each)
- Grocery Costs – $278
- Dining Out Costs – $464
- Activities & Entertainment Costs – $241
- SIM Card & Pre-Paid Data Plan Costs – $28
- Coffee Cost – $144
- Drinking Water – $21
- Transport Costs – $268
- Gym Membership Cost – $0
Our total monthly cost of living in Merida Mexico for 2 people is: $2,588 USD
I can already hear you going…”woah that’s a lot”. Yes it is and we’re not happy with how much we spent in Merida. We know you can definitely do it cheaper – unfortunately, that was not our case.
Quick Analysis of the Cost of Living in Merida Mexico:
We tried to look at each individual cost to see how it got so high and here’s what we think we could have improved on.
- We splurged on dining out. While we didn’t hold back on dining out in Merida – we think it also wasn’t the cheapest to eat out. There are plenty of cheap street tacos and ways to spend less on food. For some reason, we craved pizza and sushi a lot this month so we will put it down to that. The average meal cost us around $28 USD which is a lot more expensive than we expected.
- Coworking wasn’t cheap. This was probably the most expensive coworking we’ve taken since we’ve been digital nomads. Don’t get me wrong – the space was super comfortable, wifi was the fastest we’ve seen and the staff was very friendly. Just expensive I guess!
- Transport was expensive. We lived in the Benito Juarez Norte neighborhood which is about 15-20 minutes drive from the city center. We had to take Ubers to get anywhere which is why the cost was so high.
I can’t stress this enough – we know we over-spent in Merida!
You can definitely do it cheaper and we think a budget of around $1,500-$2,000 USD would be more than suitable for a couple to live in Merida.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details!
Accommodation Costs – $728 USD
Our time in Merida was a little different than most of our months as digital nomads. We were coming to Merida to spend our days with our close friends, Dom and Tara. This affected our accommodation cost but in a good way.
We booked a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in the beautiful Benito Juarez Norte neighborhood. The apartment has a fully-stocked kitchen, a dining table, a living area with a couch and a small TV. We paid $728 USD for our half of the apartment and our friends paid the other half.
We didn’t stay in the city center which was probably a mistake because we spent a lot on transport. If you’re wondering where to stay in Merida – the outer suburbs are really nice but you’ll need a car or just reside to the fact that you’ll spend a good chunk on Ubers every month. Otherwise, you could live in the city center, spend a little more on accommodation but you’re able to walk everywhere and Uber if needed at all.
Coworking Costs – $340 USD for 2 people
This was much higher than we were used to. For our cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas, we only paid $166 USD for 2 people (nearly half the cost). This was definitely one of our highest costs in Merida.
If you want to save some money, you could probably skip coworking. We choose to take coworking whenever we can because we get to meet people and have a comfortable space with fast wifi!
Coworking Merida? The best coworking space in Merida is Conexion60. It’s located above a mall and they have really done well with the furniture, chairs and desks. The wifi reached speeds of 80 Mbps which is impressive for Mexico particularly. We paid $340 USD for 2 people or $170 USD per person on a monthly unlimited plan. This is pricey and more than we are used to paying. If you love coworking spaces, then this might be worth the price for you.
Coworking not your thing? Cafes are a great alternative to get outside of the house if you’re working from home. We’ve created a list of the best cafes in Merida for digital nomads to work from.
Grocery Costs – $278
Going grocery shopping in Merida is very easy. There are plenty of options to shop depending on what you like. Here are some of the most popular grocery stores in Merida:
- Mega Soriana
- Costco (yes – you read that right)
We spent a total of $278 USD on groceries for the month which is impressive for us. If you divide that into 4 weeks, that’s around $70 USD per week for 2 people. It’s important to note – we spent a lot on dining out so this could be the reason why these groceries cost were so low.
Buying avocados in Mexico is our favorite thing – they are sooo cheap (less than $3.50 USD for a kilo of avocados) and they are always perfect. Just ripe enough and so creamy! Writing this makes me miss those Mexican avocados. Whenever we’re in Latin America, we love to make homemade guacamole and pico de gallo. you should try it when you live in Merida!
Dining Out Costs – $354
Ahhh yes. I already know what you’re thinking…”they spent too much on dining out”!
And I agree with you! We didn’t realize how much it could add up eating out in Merida. The average meal turned out to cost us around $28 USD which is pretty high for 2 people in Mexico. You can obviously go cheaper and eat street tacos which costs less than a dollar each. However…we do think that the average cost of dining out is much higher than the restaurants San Cristobal de las Casas had to offer.
We did eat at some of the best restaurants in Merida and it was worth it but we definitely splurged. Here are a couple of spots that are worth dining out at:
- Cheap tacos: Wayan’e ($0.77 cents per taco)
- Yucatec food: La Chaya Maya ($4.40 USD for a torta)
- Italian food: Trattoria La Pasta Montejo ($9.16 for a margherita pizza)
- Japanese food: Miyabi El Arbol ($5.79 for a sushi roll)
If you want to eat food other than Mexican cuisine, this is where the costs seem to rise. We ate out quite a few times a week and with the average cost being $28 USD for the two of us…well it hurt our wallets that’s for sure!
Activities & Entertainment Costs – $241
As we were only here for almost a month, we did want to make the most of it! The other reason we decided to spend a little more than usual is that we were with our friends, Dom, Tara and Alejandro. It’s so much more fun to do things with friends and we made the most of the opportunity!
Some of the activities were more expensive than others and we tried to balance it out. Here are just some of the things we did while living in Merida and what they cost us:
- Day trip to Celestun: approx. $40 USD per person
- Entry to Cenote Santa Barbara: $12 USD per person
- Cinema ticket: $3.77 USD (popcorn cost more than double the movie ticket)
We had already visited the famous Chichen Itza on our first trip to Mexico but it’s also a great day trip from Merida. It’s not the cheapest activity at around $25 for the entrance alone (more if you want a guide who will actually teach you about what you’re looking at). Chichen Itza is definitely worth visiting at least once in your lifetime!
SIM Card & Pre-Paid Data Plan Costs – $28
SIM cards and data plans are relatively inexpensive in Mexico. You pay for around 3 GB of data and social media is usually unlimited. This is enough for us because we can usually find wifi wherever we go and save the data for Google Maps, etc.
We paid $28 USD total for the 2 of us on Telcel (which is the BEST phone company in Mexico tbh). If you divide that by 2, that’s $14 USD per person per month for a phone/data plan. We think it’s very reasonable and close to what we paid in Bali, Indonesia.
Coffee Cost – $144
Ahhh yes. Our controversial coffee cost! I have to preface this and say: we LOVE coffee! It’s our favorite thing to drink and we just love sitting at cafes and chatting for daysss.
So can we justify spending over $100 USD?
Yes! It’s our guilty pleasure and we know it might be excessive but we love to have 1-2 cups of coffee out. A cup of coffee in Merida costs around $60 pesos ($2.90 USD) and the bill does add up eventually. This is another area you can save – especially if you don’t drink any coffee.
Drinking Water – $21
Can you drink the tap water in Merida, Mexico?
We usually spend around this much on drinking water in Mexico. It’s similar to our water expense in our cost of living Playa del Carmen guide – we might have spent a little more this time because we have upped the amount of water we’re drinking. Always worth it!
The best solution to get water is buying the 20L blue jug of water. You can buy this at any OXXO and for your first transaction, you’ll have to pay for the bottle. Once you’re finished with that first bottle, you can return it to OXXO and just pay for the water this time (not the bottle).
Transport Costs – $268
Ahhhh transport in Merida…
…this was one of the biggest shocks in our cost of living Merida guide! Why?
We usually don’t spend this much on transport especially in Mexico. When we were living in Playa del Carmen and San Cristobal de las Casas, we barely spent $50 USD…barely!!
I guess this begs the question – how did we get to spending $268 USD on transport in Merida?
Simple: We lived 20 minutes drive away from the city center. This meant we had to take Ubers to get anywhere! The average cost for an Uber ride to the city center was around $3.50 USD and this can add up – in our case it did! This was an additional cost we weren’t expecting to be this high but it makes sense since we chose an apartment that’s 20 minutes away from all the action.
While we did get better value for money in terms of a nicer apartment and neighborhood – it was too far from the city center and ran our transport bill up. One thing we could’ve done instead was added this cost to our rent budget and say looked for places around the $900 USD price and save on all the Ubers instead.
You live and you learn! Don’t make the same mistake as us if you don’t want to pay $268 USD per month in transport. Get a place closer to the city center and your cost of living in Merida Mexico could become less than what we spent.
Gym Membership Cost – $0
We didn’t sign up for a gym in Merida for our month there. We mostly did at-home workouts.
When I was at home in Alaska for the summer, I went to this movement studio called Burn and Bloom. It’s the most intense and fulfilling fitness class I’ve attended. The owner, AlisaMarie, has uploaded 70+ fitness videos you can use to exercise at home.
A subscription to the Burn and Bloom fitness videos cost $18 USD per month.
Wrap Up: Cost Of Living In Merida Mexico for Digital Nomads
That’s our monthly cost of living in Merida Mexico!
We spent around $2,500 USD for the month and it’s one of our highest cost of living since we became digital nomads. We know it was a pretty high month but hey what can you do – that’s what happens sometimes.
Again – you can definitely do it cheaper than us! I think the cheapest you can go is around $1100 USD per month for a single person who wants a decent quality of life. Merida is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico and it’s worth the cost to try it out for a month and see if you like it.
If you spent less or more than us – let us know! We’ve heard people spend more but they also have private chefs and we’ve heard people spend way less which meant they shared a hostel dorm. Whichever it is – we’re curious what your cost of living in Merida Mexico was!