Should you visit Cancun or Ensenada?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Cancun and Ensenada can help you decide which place is right for you.
In the northeast corner of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun is one of Mexico's most popular destinations. The area that is now Cancun was actually selected specifically by the Mexican government for development as a tourist destination. The area was chosen because it has fourteen miles of beautiful white beaches, nearby Mayan ruins, and turquoise blue water with nearby snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Prior to its development as a tourist destination, there were few inhabitants in the area.
Ensenada is on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, south of Tijuana. It's the only deep water port in the state of Baja California and as such, it is an important commerical fishing port as well as a cruise ship destination. The city has a population of almost 500,000 and is located just 78 miles south of San Diego. The city sits between the ocean and a small mountain range. The surrounding area is known for its wine production, which produces some of the best wine in Mexico.
Which city is cheaper, Ensenada or Cancun?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Cancun is $98, while the average daily cost in Ensenada is $66. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Cancun and Ensenada in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $132 in Cancun For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $31. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Ensenada the cost is $62 on average.
The price of a meal in Cancun can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $18 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $7.20 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
While meal prices in Ensenada can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Ensenada should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Ensenada is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Cancun
For Cancun, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cancun
For Cancun, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Captain Hook: Pirate Show and Dinner Cruise in Cancun:
Cancun Authentic Untouristed Food Tour:
Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors:
Dinner and Show on a Pirate Ship in Cancun with Open Bar:
Dinner-Show-Party on a Pirate Ship from Cancun! (Open bar included).:
Experience a Pirate Party Dinner Show at Cancun with Open Bar included!:
Dinner Show on a Pirate Ship from Cancun with Open Bar:
Mexican Dinner and Sprits Tasting in Cancun with transportation:
Captain Hook - Pirate Show and Dinner (Grilled Chicken) 2X1:
Captain Hook 2X1 - Pirate Show & Dinner with Open Bar:
Combo Capitan Hook chicken dinner + Isla Mujeres Catamaran:
Captain Hook - Pirate Show & Dinner (Grilled Chicken) 2X1:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Cancun than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $12 on transportation in Cancun on average per day.
The average price of local transportation around Ensenada is $14 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Cancun
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cancun:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cancun
Also for Cancun, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
ATV Combo (Horseback, Ziplines, Cenote, Water, Lunch and Transfer Included):
Airport Private Transfer Puerto Aventuras:
Airport Transfer Cancun:
Airport Transfer Playa del Carmen:
Airport Transfers to Isla Blanca - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE:
Airport Transfers to Puerto Juarez - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE:
Airport transfers to Isla Mujeres:
Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Cancun by Minivan:
Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa Mujeres by Minivan:
Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa del Carmen by Minivan:
Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa del Carmen by SUV:
Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Puerto Aventuras by Minivan:
Is it cheaper to fly into Cancun or Ensenada?
Prices for flights to both Ensenada and Cancun change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Sightseeing expenses in Cancun, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $24 per day, per person.
Ensenada's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.24 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
Typical Entertainment prices in Cancun
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cancun's activities, tours, and tickets:
Whale Shark Tour (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Cancun
For Cancun, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Museo Maya de Cancun Admission ticket:
Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun:
Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun plus Aquatic Activity:
Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun plus Wax Museum:
Holbox Street Art Tour:
Cancun Street Art Tour:
Cancun City Tour:
Reef Snorkeling Experience in Puerto Morelos:
Skip the Line: Cancun Wax Museum Admission Ticket:
3 Hours Private Kayak Experience in Cancun:
Classic 3-island tour on a shared boat:
Cancun Shopping Tour:
Tours and Activities in Ensenada
Here are a few actual costs in Ensenada for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
4 days Dirt Bike Tour at Baja North:
Dirt Bike One Day Tour from Ensenada to San Felipe (Point to Point):
Ensenada Shore Excursion: Blowhole and La Bufadora Tour with Horseback Riding:
Ensenada Shore Excursion: City Tour & La Bufadora:
Ensenada Shore Excursion: Entre Santos and El Cielo Winery Tours with Lunch:
Ensenada Shore Excursion: Wine and Cheese Tour with Lunch in Ojos Negros Valley:
Ensenada Travels Tours:
Tuk Tuk, Beach and Bar Tour:
Ensenadas Ziplines , Pai Pai Zoo and Bufadora Private tour.:
Family-Friendly Baja Wine and Food Adventure:
Ford model T tours:
Guadalupe Valley Wine Route Tour in Baja California:
Typically, people visiting Cancun spend on average $9.00 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Ensenada may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.39 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Sample the Local Flavors in Cancun
Also in Cancun, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Cancun Private Mexican Wine Tasting:
Sample the Local Flavors in Ensenada
Also in Ensenada, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Private wine tour:
Private Full-Day Wine Tour in Valle de Guadalupe:
Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tour, All Inclusive by AKA Expeditions.:
Valle de Guadalupe Off The Beaten Path Wine Tasting:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cancun and Ensenada, we can see that Cancun is more expensive. And not only is Ensenada much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ensenada would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ensenada and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Cancun would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cancun than you might in Ensenada.
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