Our Lucky $300 Apartment Rental in Mexico City
During our last two years of travel, Wes and I have rented apartments for a month nearly a dozen times. We prefer to travel slowly and have a base in a central city while we explore the area, take day trips and still have time to work online. But, wherever we've rented, there always seemed to be somewhat of a compromise...
In our Guanajuato apartment, the internet was so poor that it often took over 24 hours to upload a single YouTube video. During one winter in Croatia, we found a great place but the residential neighbourhood was a bit too far from the town and even our favourite pizza place wouldn't deliver there. In Bangkok we found a great deal on a local apartment in Chatuchak but had no kitchen and missed the small luxury of a hot shower. We spent a month doing a Workaway in Poland and had such a memorable experience but not much privacy while staying with a local family. It seemed we always had to settle when looking for something in our budget which is generally under $600 per month (or as cheap as we can get!). But luck was on our side once we arrived to Mexico City.
Renting an Apartment in Mexico City
To secure an apartment rental before we arrive to a city, we nearly always use Airbnb. If you've never used the platform before, our signup link can get you up to $40 CAD off your first booking (which means a free night at this Mexico City loft!). We like using Airbnb because it allows us to view photos, read reviews and contact the host with any questions we may have about their apartment beforehand. We also love the convenience because we can pay online with a credit card, have everything sorted out before we even arrive to the city and often benefit from a weekly or monthly discount if offered by the host. Normally it's smooth sailing but finding a suitable apartment in Mexico City on Airbnb proved to be a lot more difficult than we had expected. Wes spent a great deal of time online sorting through listings and was just about ready to throw in the towel when nearly all of the rentals were coming up at over $1000 CAD (and that was with a monthly discount included!).
I decided to open up the search on Airbnb to include private rooms which means we'd have our own bedroom but share common areas (kitchen, bathroom, etc) with a host or other guests. This wasn't our initial choice but would be better than paying double what we normally pay for a place to stay. It's worth noting that Airbnb isn't actually the best option for long-term apartment rentals in Mexico. For a greater variety of listings you can check on sites like Trovit and even Craigslist. If you can communicate in Spanish (or know someone that can help you translate) you'll have way better luck by hitting the streets and keeping your eyes peeled for signs that read "Se Renta Departamento" and call up every one of them. Though not recent, this article from 2015 recounts a bloggers 7-week search until he found an apartment in Mexico City so, whichever route you decide to take, be patient.
Our Perfect Apartment in Mexico City
After some frustrating searches online, I finally stumbled upon this loft in Mexico City that seemed too good to be true. It was listed as a 'private room' but was in fact an entire studio in a complex with similar lofts. I was pretty hesitant at first because, at the time, there were 0 reviews online and I always advise people to book Airbnbs with reviews just to err on the side of caution. Luckily the host was quick to answer any questions we had and we booked 2 nights as a sort of trial before committing to a full month. It isn't in a fancy neighbourhood like Condesa or Polanco but is very central and less than a 10-minute walk from Plaza de la Republica. About an hour after checking in, we booked the full month because we didn't want to lose out on this great find!
This apartment is a cross between a studio and a loft and you can catch the full loft tour in our YouTube video linked at the bottom of this post. I say studio because it's quite small and loft because the bed is overhead and is accessed by a ladder similar to a bunk bed. It's on the first floor of a complex called Noox which has other mini lofts available for rent in Mexico. Because it was a new listing, our host was offering an additional discount on top of the monthly discount so we scored a month-long stay for $300 USD. Judging by the YouTube comments shared by locals who watched our video, you can get cheaper rentals in Mexico City but likely not with all of the amenities that our building had.
What we loved about our apartment in Mexico City
- It is very well-connected to public transit and minutes away from Metro Revolucion with nearby buses servicing Chapultepec, the historic centre and even the airport.
- A security guard is at the front of the building 24/7 and the front door can only be accessed with a pin code.
- There are several students and international guests/travellers staying in this building.
- Despite not being a 'touristy' area, we always felt safe in this neighbourhood.
- There is a local restaurant at the corner called Gordo King's which is a convenient option for breakfast or 'comida corrida' meals all between $45-$65 pesos.
- Walmart is just up the street (7-min walk) and a perfect option for groceries.
- Forum Buenavista (a shopping mall) and the impressive Vasconcelos Library are both a 15-min walk away.
- There is a gym (Snap Fitness) and a coworking space (Homework) within walking distance as well.
- The unit itself is small but thoughtfully furnished so we had enough room for two without feeling crammed.
- There was plenty of hot water for our showers.
- Air can circulate throughout the small space once you open the balcony sliding door, bathroom and kitchen windows.
- The kitchen had everything we needed (mini-fridge, microwave, stove top, dishes and utensils) to cook all of our meals at home.
- We were able to do laundry at no additional charge using the shared washer located two floors above.
- The complex shares a common wi-fi with a speed that was surprisingly fast for our needs.
- There is a small rooftop pool that can be accessed during the day (though we didn't use it much).
- A few pieces of gym equipment can be found on the upper level.
- There are common areas throughout the complex including a larger kitchen and seating that can be used to entertain guests.
- It is pet-friendly.
Cons about this rental in Mexico City
- Though gaining popularity, this is a local neighbourhood. If you've only got a couple of days to see the sites, you will likely be commuting every day to visit the popular things to do in Mexico City.
- Nearly all of the restaurants and shops nearby are closed on Sundays.
- The loft setup may not be ideal for everyone because the bed is accessed by a ladder. However, the apartments in this building vary in size and have different layouts that may better suit your preferences.
- There is currently only one washer and dryer for the entire building. Laundry is free provided you have your own soap but you may be going up and down as you wait for the machines to finish a cycle.
- During the last 24 hours of our stay, the building didn't have any running water but there was a repairman working on the issue as we were checking out.
- For some reason, Google Maps would always lead us a few doors down from where the building is actually located. We started using Gordo King's as the address for our Uber rides to avoid confusion.
- There is no elevator.
Would we stay again?
All in all, we had a really great stay at this apartment in Mexico City. In our two years of travel, this was the first time we found a place to stay for the month where we didn't have to compromise much at all. I would definitely recommend this listing for someone who loves to travel off the beaten path and needs a comfortable base for exploring the country's capital or working remotely. There are plenty of other more 'attractive' neighbourhoods in city but we were more interested in finding something within our budget and didn't want to share an apartment with a host or other travellers. This was a great option for us and hopefully this post helps those looking for a budget apartment in Mexico City!