A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Cancun vs. Guadalajara for Nightlife, Families, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Cancun or Guadalajara?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

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 Guadalajara can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cancun

Cancun is a active, adventurous, and wild city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a historical, vibrant, and cultural city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Cancun and Guadalajara: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Cancun than Guadalajara. While Guadalajara is larger than Cancun, Cancun has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Cancun is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Guadalajara is known for its food, historical sights, shopping, and big city activities. Cancun is more touristy than Guadalajara and is known for its water sports, white sand beaches, popularity at spring break, and access to Mayan ruins. It is also home to . Guadalajara is popular for its mariachi music, tequila, and many festivals.


How is Cancun different from Guadalajara?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Guadalajara and Cancun. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Cancun and Guadalajara.

Many visitors head to Cancun specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. It's possible to do a day trip to visit the impressive Chichén Itzá, but closer by you'll find El Rey Maya Ruins and El Meco Archaeological Site. You can also visit the Maya Museum in town. For something truly unique, you can take a diving or snorkeling trip to the Cancun Underwater Museum.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Guadalajara can be an interesting and educational experience. It's a city that's filled with culture and history, with many impressive landmarks such as the Guadalajara Cathedral. Also make sure you visit the Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Expiatory Temple, the Government Palace, and the Regional Museum of Guadalajara.


Is the Food Better in Cancun or Guadalajara? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Cancun is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Guadalajara has a huge number of terrific restaurants. The cuisine uses some key ingredients such as corn tortillas, chilis, and beans. You'll find a lot of street food which includes tacos and tortas as well as restaurant dishes like birria (meat stew), pozole (hominy soup), and fish ceviche.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cancun area. If you step away from the tourist scene, you'll find some amazing local restaurants that serve authentic and fresh Mexican cuisine. Favorite dishes in the area include tamales, sopa de lima, and tacos al pastor.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Nightlife?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for its evening party scene. Also, Guadalajara is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife.

Cancun has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. It's long been known as a party destination and there are large world famous clubs as well as smaller bars where you can hang out. The party never stops here, so be prepared for all night dancing and drinking, and it will definitely live up to its reputation.

Guadalajara has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The city comes to life at night. You'll find vibrant dance clubs, live music, and traditional bars. The craft beer scene has also grown in recent years. The most active areas are around Chapultepec Avenue and Zapopan.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Resorts?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Guadalajara is not a resort destination.

Cancun offers an unforgettable resort vacation. You'll find most of the accommodation options in the Hotel Zone, which runs along Boulevard Kukulkan. The stretch can be divided into three areas, which each have a slightly different personality.

Guadalajara is not a resort destination.


Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Guadalajara is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

People travel to Cancun specifically to enjoy its famous scuba diving and snorkeling areas. Beautiful reefs and world class dives make this a popular destination for those who want to explore the undersea world. You'll find plenty of snorkeling and dive excursions in the area with diverse coral and marine life.

Guadalajara is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Beaches?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for the beach. However, Guadalajara is not a beach destination.

The beaches in Cancun are among the best in the world. There are stunning white sand beaches and turquoise blue water that make this a beautiful beach destination. There are miles of sandy coastline with many of the beaches found in the Hotel Zone.

Guadalajara is not a beach destination.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for its Old Town?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a very popular place for its old town. However, Cancun does not have a historic old town.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Guadalajara. The city center is filled with Spanish colonial architecture. With a walking tour you will find baroque, neoclassical, renaissance, and Gothic style buildings that highlight the city's long running past and rich history.

Cancun does not have a historic old town.


Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Hiking?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is a nice place to visit for hiking. However, Guadalajara is not a hiking destination.

Cancun has hiking trails worth exploring. There are some beautiful walking paths and hiking trails that are within the area.

Guadalajara is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Cancun is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Guadalajara is well-known for its shopping. One of the best shopping streets is Avenida Juarez. A must-see stop is also the large indoor market of Mercado Libertad. You'll also find shopping centers and retail outlets around town.

Many visitors go to Cancun to go shopping. While most people visit for the beaches and nightlife, there are shopping malls and markets where you can enjoy some retail therapy.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Families?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for its kid-friendly activities. However, Guadalajara is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

Cancun is an amazing family-friendly city to visit. Although this part of Mexico has long had a reputation for its party scene, the area also attracts many families, who come for the family-friendly resorts, world class snorkeling, and fascinating jungle tours. You can snorkel at the Garrafon Natural Reef Park or have fun on the water slides at Ventura Park. Xel-Ha Park is also worth a visit.

Guadalajara is not the most family-friendly destination. While it's not the most popular destination for families, those who visit will enjoy exploring the nature parks or amusement parks.


Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Couples?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is an amazing city to visit for couples. Also, Guadalajara is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Cancun has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. As a world class honeymoon destination, you'll find stunning white sand beaches, amazing snorkeling and diving, and a huge range of entertainment options. You can enjoy the nightlife scene or check out Cirque du Soleil. Sunset boat cruises and romantic horseback rides all make this an amazing honeymoon destination.

Guadalajara is a nice destination for couples. It's filled with nice architecture, a vibrant nightlife scene, and great urban parks, making it a nice and romantic destination for couples.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun and Guadalajara are both excellent destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Cancun. Mixed in between the luxury resorts are a few hostels that cater to the backpacker crowd. There are so many activities in the area, from diving to partying, that appeal to the backpacker crowd, that it won't be long before you find your people.

Guadalajara is a very popular city for backpackers and budget travelers. There are plenty of hostels and cheap hotels around town.

Is Cancun or Guadalajara Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Guadalajara does not have public transit.

While Cancun offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The buses are an efficient way to get around. They stop along Boulevard Kukulcán and throughout the downtown.

Guadalajara does not have public transit. There's a bus system as well as a metro system with two lines, which are primarily used by commuters.


Is Cancun or Guadalajara a more walkable city?

Cancun
Guadalajara

Cancun and Guadalajara are excellent when it comes to walkability.

Cancun is a very walkable city. The Hotel Zone is where most tourists spend their time, and this area is very walkable.

Guadalajara is a very walkable destination. The city center is pedestrian-friendly. This is also where you'll find most of the sights.

For even more information, also check out Is Cancun Worth Visiting? and Is Guadalajara Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Guadalajara or Cancun?

How long in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Cancun and Guadalajara. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Cancun than in Guadalajara. Usually, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Cancun, and 2-3 days is enough time in Guadalajara.

Families should spend more time in Cancun than Guadalajara. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cancun, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cancun than Guadalajara. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cancun that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cancun than Guadalajara if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cancun.


  • How many days in Cancun or Guadalajara? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cancun 4-7 
    Guadalajara 2-3

One day in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the tropical city of Cancun. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Guadalajara. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the tropical destination of Cancun. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. This city offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Guadalajara is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the adventurous city of Cancun. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Guadalajara. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Cancun or Guadalajara?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Cancun. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the historical destination of Guadalajara. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Playa del Carmen, The Best 2-Week Tours from Cancun, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Mexico, and The Best Historical Tours in Mexico.


Which place is cheaper, Guadalajara or Cancun?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cancun is $145, while the average daily cost in Guadalajara is $115. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cancun and Guadalajara in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cancun $96
    Guadalajara $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cancun $192
    Guadalajara $82
Compare Hotels in Cancun and Guadalajara

Looking for a hotel in Cancun or Guadalajara? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cancun


Hotels in Guadalajara


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Cancun Hotel Prices and Guadalajara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cancun $17
    Guadalajara $38
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cancun

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cancun:


  • Taxi Around Town
    $1.65
  • Airport Shuttle (for 2)
    $14
  • Ferry to Isla de Mujeres (for 2)
    $16
  • Local Bus (for 2)
    $2.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cancun

Also for Cancun, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Cancun Airport to Tulum Roundtrip Private Transfer: $290
  • Limo Transfer Airport Cancun - Puerto Morelos Hotel Zone: $279
  • Round trip private transfer VAN-Airport-Hotel-Airport-Puerto Morelos: $260
  • Round trip private transfer VAN-Airport-Hotel-Airport-Playa del Carmen: $260
  • Private Transfer roundtrip (Cancun Airport-Akumal): $259
  • Roundtrip Transfer Service to Costa Mujeres and Playa Mujeres: $248
  • Round trip Private airport transfer to Playa del Carmen Flat Rate per vehicle: $244
  • Full-Day Tour to Xcaret Plus with Transfer from Playa del Carmen and Lunch: $238
  • Airport Transfers to Costa Mujeres - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $235
  • Private Transfer from Cancún Airport (CUN) to Tulum : $226
  • Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $220
  • Private round airport transfer from Cancun - Puerto Aventuras - airport.: $210

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guadalajara

Also for Guadalajara, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer by car to or from Guadalajara Airport: $29
  • Transfer Guadalajara Airport Metropolitan Area And More: $45
  • Tequila to Guadalajara Airport (GDL): Departure Private Transfer: $39
  • Tequila to Guadalajara - Private Transfer with English-speaking driver: $100
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotels to Guadalajara Airport: $26
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Guadalajara Airport to Hotels: $26
  • Private transfer: Guadalajara to Guadalajara Airport (GDL): $74
  • Private transfer from Guadalajara to Sayulita: $243
  • Private Transfer from Guadalajara to Tequila: $189
  • Private Transfer from Guadalajara city hotels to Manzanillo Port: $77
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Airport to Guadalajara, Chalapa & Tequila Hotels: $63
  • Airport to City Transfer: $156

Is it cheaper to fly into Cancun or Guadalajara?

Prices for flights to both Guadalajara 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cancun $28
    Guadalajara $47
Typical Food Prices in Cancun

For Cancun, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch for Two
    $21

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: $46
  • Mayan Chichen Itza And Pirate Dinner Two Day Experience: $57
  • The Ultimate Cancun Taco & Street Mexican Food Tour: $59
  • Dinner Show with Pirates! (2x1 Price): $62
  • (2x1 price) Pirate Night! Dinner, Fun and Show: $63
  • (2x1 price) Dinner Show and Pirates Experience : $63
  • Cancun Street Food Tour with Food Stalls, Local Market and Murals: $64
  • Pirate Show and Dinner (2x1 price)! Best Promo : $64
  • Dinner Show on a Pirate Ship from Cancun with Open Bar: $65
  • Private Ultimate Cancun Taco and Street Mexican Food Tour: $69
  • Cancun Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $78
  • Cancun Hands-On Mexican Cooking Class : $79

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Guadalajara

For Guadalajara, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Mexican Cooking Classes and Market Visit in Guadalajara: $61
  • Guadalajara private food tour: $68
  • Mexican Traditional Cooking Class: $101
  • Authentic Mexican Cooking & Tequila tasting experience-Casa Humo: $114
  • VIP Tequila Night Tour with Dinner and Tasting: $199

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cancun $35
    Guadalajara $27
Typical Entertainment Prices in Cancun

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cancun's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Seasick Pills
    $0.59
  • Whale Shark Tour (for 2)
    $100

Tours and Activities in Cancun

For Cancun, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 Hours Speed Boat Tour and Snorkeling in Nichupte Lagoon: $39
  • ATV Jungle Adventure with Ziplines, Cenote Transportation Included: $8.00
  • Cancun Private Street Art Tour: $65
  • Catamaran Cruise in Riviera Maya With Snorkeling & Beach Club: $85
  • Full Day All Inclusive Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres : $99
  • Holbox Island Magic Tour from Cancun : $144
  • LDS Tour to Chichen Itza + Cenote : $165
  • Party Adventure at Isla Mujeres from Cancun & Playa del Carmen: $93
  • Private Tour to Tulum Ruins and Cenotes : $257
  • Reef and Sunken Ship Snorkeling Experience in Cancun: $85
  • Riviera Maya Luxury Snorkeling Cruise with Lunch and Drinks: $139
  • (4x1) Full day tour to Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Playa del Carmen : $48

Tours and Activities in Guadalajara

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Guadalajara.

  • Romantic tour in Zapopan: $186
  • 10-Day Audio Guide Tour of Guadalajara: $15
  • 3-Hour Guadalajara Bike and Food Guided Tour: $65
  • 6 Hours Private Tour Guide in Guadalajara, you choose!: $144
  • Adventure tour Between Charros, Mariachi and Parián de Tlaquepaque: $153
  • Canopy Experience Panoramic Flight in Zip Lines: $44
  • Cantaritos and Tequila Factory Tour: $89
  • Chapala Ajijic Area Tour from Guadalajara: $40
  • Chapala Lake and Ajijic Tour from Guadalajara: $77
  • Chapala and Ajijic Private Tour: $120
  • Charreria heritage tour be a charro for a day: $50
  • City Tour Downtown Guadalajara Historical and Cultural Walking Tour: $45

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cancun $13
    Guadalajara $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Cancun

Also in Cancun, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Brewery Tour / Craft Beer Tasting Cancun Mexico: $129
  • Small Group EkBalam Pink Lakes Cenote and Tequila Distillery Tour: $287

Sample the Local Flavors in Guadalajara

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Guadalajara:

  • Friday Night Bar Crawl in Guadalajara, Mexico: $25
  • Cultural tour, city fields and distillery: $32
  • Guadalajara Arquitecture and Brewery Tour: $58
  • Tequila distillery experience, Jose Cuervo & Tequila Magic Town: $77
  • Private One Day Adventure Tour in Tequila and La Fortaleza Distillery: $178
  • Private Adventure to El Tequileño Distillery and visit to Tequila: $178
  • Sip & Savor Tequila Experience Distillery w/ Lunch fr Guadalajara: $180
  • Private Tour La Fortaleza Distillery and visit to Tequila: $190
  • Private Tour to El Tequileño Distillery and visit to Tequila: $190
  • Private Tour one day in Guachimontones and La Fortaleza Distillery: $215
  • Private Tour to Tequila Ocho Distillery and the Town of Arandas: $216
  • Private Adventure to Casa Sauza Distillery and Visit to Tequila: $216


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cancun and Guadalajara, we can see that Cancun is more expensive. And not only is Guadalajara much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Guadalajara would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Guadalajara 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 Guadalajara.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cancun Expensive? and Is Guadalajara Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cancun or Guadalajara?

Guadalajara has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Cancun. When comparing the sizes of Cancun and Guadalajara, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.