Some people are impressed by finding a $300/person all inclusive package for a 1 week vacation - and I do have to admit, this is impressive.
However, my cheapest vacation ever was a 4 day trip for 2 people for $100. While it wasn't at a fancy all-inclusive resort, it most certainly included everything (except a T.V.) and was 100 times more to my taste.
One fall my wife and I had only $100 (1300 pesos) and we were itching to go on a vacation before settling down into a more regular routine. So, we left Mexico City, headed to Veracruz with these $100, a small suitcase, and nothing more (no back-up money!)
I can't remember how much the tickets cost, but I think we got a special holiday/student discount of 50%. Needless to say, took the first good chunk of our cash. I can't remember 100%, but I think we took an all-night bus to save the first hotel.
Arriving to Veracruz we took some time just to walk around the picturesque old colonial city center (our luggage was light.) This city is old, charming, picturesque, and very non-touristy; if Veracruz had nicer beaches, I'm sure it would be a favorite for anyone. But since I never really cared for beaches anyway, it was perfect for me. In addition to beautiful colonial architecture, the little wooden homes of some of the local neighbourhoods had their own charm - not "nice," but a flavour of a distinct working class culture.
Then we undertook the task of finding an inexpensive hotel. First we had a few disappointments of places that advertised 60 pesos, realizing that it was 60 pesos/hour, and that they weren't the kind of hotel we would want to to stay in (my wife naively asked me why anyone would want to rent a hotel for only an hour, and realized the answer for herself before finishing the question.)
We finally discovered a nice simple, little hotel in a historic building advertising for 180 pesos a night. After a bit of convincing, they finally gave us a a room for 120 pesos ($10), asking us several times, if we would be happy without a T.V.
"It'll be hard," we told them as sincerely as we could, "but we'll manage some how." Of course, we had no intentions of wasting any of vacation in Veracruz watching T.V. But finding this room was key to making our $100 dollar vacation work. We paid the 3 nights upfront to make sure that side of things was taken care of.
To be continued, tomorrow ...