Anywhere that attracts backpackers is bound to have a hostel where you can be kept awake in dormitory beds by a snoring Pole and get your milk stolen from the fridge. Hostel beds go from $4-10 a night depending on where you find yourself in the country. Chiapas and Oaxaca tend to be the cheapest, whilst hostels in the Yucatan and North Mexico make a fortune packing backpackers like sardines into bunkbeds.
Still, most travellers in Mexico can’t speak Spanish so they like to get together and have the usual backpacker conversation:
“So how long have you been in Central America? Where have you been? Where are you going? When do you go home?”
Gripping stuff but hostels can be a good source of info on the road and you do meet some cool characters as well as lots of single travellers. Not the best place to get to grips with Mexico though.
There are also Mexican guesthouses where you can get a room for roughly the same kind of place. But then you won’t have the toast and jam for breakfast, nor the book exchange and organised salsa lesson in the evenings. More likely you’ll be complaining about the television playing all night in the corridor and avoiding the leering travelling salesmen. But hey, this is the real Mexico!
If you’re looking at hanging around for a while you should be able to find an apartment for around $100 or less in most places but be prepared to pay at least twice that if you’re in a resort town. As usual, one of the best ways of finding a place is just to walk around and ask.