I’m on a very tight budget but I still want to attend. What advice can you give me?

Merida CAN be one of the most economical, yet most enjoyable vacation spots you’ll ever visit. As the number 1 reason for not attending is likely to be money, let me give you some hints for those who want to make the most of their money at Magic in Merida.

Plan now and budget for the event. My wife uses kitties to save for various things that we must pay. We have a kitty for rent, another one for utilities and another one for vacations and each week or month she adds to the kitties so when payment time comes. The money is there.

You will find that the expenses for this trip fall into the following categories from most expensive to least expensive:

  • Transportation (air transportation)
  • Lodging
  • Food and drink
  • Entertainment (events)
  • Shopping
  • Incidentals

Let’s look at each of these and discuss the options that can save without sacrificing.

Transportation (air/sea fare, local transportation)

Air fares vary significantly, often without obvious reason. and it may take some legwork to find the best fare. We have provided you hints on obtaining the best air fare in our travel section

The key to getting affordable and convenient air transportation is to BOOK EARLY !!         DO NOT PROCRASTINATE !!

Please read that last paragraph again, noting the emphasis.

Air fares very seldom go down as the flight date approaches, and usually go up, very sharply, in the last few weeks!! Your airline choices are limited but we have negotiated discounts for you. If you check our sample air fares section, you’ll see there isn’t a lot of variation no matter where you are, but sometimes changing origin airports can create a small savings..

CAUTION ==> If you think you can wait until the last minute and get a bargain, such as an unsold seat from a travel broker, or a super deal from priceline.com, think again. If you’re traveling from Poughkeepsie to Fargo, maybe this will work, but seats to popular leisure spots, such as Merida with its limited options, from most airports are frequently  not available at the last minute at any discount

As far as local transportation, most of the activities are within a  five to ten minute walk of your hotel. Your transportation to and from the airport is included in your registration, and transportation for the tours and events is included within the event price.

Taxis are almost always available in front of the hotel, or by hailing on the street, or by phone. They are relatively cheap.


We have negotiated a special rate of $99 a night (single or double), to include a full breakfast. This is a meal you won’t forget and your choices are many with both a Mexican and an international cuisine. Check the Hotel section. The rooms are lovely.

You will need to book your room through Sister House to obtain your discounts. The quality of the rooms is superior and the ranking of our hotel by various travel sites is consistently high. Check our hotel section.

HINT==> Many of you will be checking in on a Tuesday and staying at least through Sunday night. Room rates in any class are almost always higher on Friday and Saturday nights, and some hotels and agencies have been known to charge the weekend rate for all nights if the check-in is on a Friday or Saturday. We have negotiated this special discount rate for 5 days before and five days after our event

HINT ==> Share a room. Two to a room cuts this expense by half, more details to follow.

Food and drink:

For the MiM-sponsored meals, care has been taken to make sure that options that are reasonable in price are available and that the meals reflect the highest possible quality

Delicious food in Merida

Delicious food in Merida

Beyond that, eating in Merida can be dirt cheap, moderate. a little pricey, or just plain expensive, but cost is relative. I rarely spend 500 pesos ($35) for a main meal for two in an American style restaurant. Lite eating is much less expensive and a sandwich in a supermarket may cost you 20 pesos. I suggest you DO NOT eat from street vendors as laws for sanitary conditions are almost non-existent. We don’t want anyone having to use a restroom unnecessarily.


The only formal shows during Magic in Merida are at the major carnival locations. We will have seats in the VIP sections. There is a variety of street entertainment in the parks and local theaters which are noted in our About Merida section. Most of these are free but where this is a charge, it’s only a few pesos.

Because most of the activities are optional; and you can chose from those that meet your interest, you have some control over this expense. But even then, the costs are reasonable and in line with the value you receive


Again, this is where you can either spend big time, or save big time! If money is tight, don’t spend it on anything you don’t absolutely need. You won’t likely be able to buy clothes in the stores  if you are tall or plus-size. Simply not carried. There are a myriad of handicrafts and trinkets you can buy, all for reasonable prices, and don’t be afraid to bargain. If you don’t, you’ll be sure to get the “gringo” price

Altabrisa Mall

Altabrisa Mall

There are five large mainline malls in Merida, all in the north part of the city. Altabrisa is the most luxurious fashion mall (not necessarily by your standards), but it’s the place to be seen. Other nice malls are Liverpool, Gran Plaza, City Center, and Macro Plaza.

However, there are many small boutiques in the centro area and they are fun to visit. There are also hawkers in the downtown area but don’t be misled by what they tell you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much the dollar buys here.

Merida Boutique

Merida Boutique


If you plan on many phone calls, you’d be best to invest in a cell phone with international dialing from Mexico. If you use Skype, we will have it available in the Hospitality Suite.

Incidentals can generally be purchased at small shops in the street but if you are used to specific American brands, best to bring it with you.

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