A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Cancun vs. West Palm Beach for Nightlife, Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Beaches

Should you visit Cancun or West Palm Beach?

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 West Palm Beach can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cancun

Cancun is a party-hard, tropical, and active city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a diverse, vibrant, and fun-filled beach area. Visitors also love the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and nightlife.

Cancun and West Palm Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance


Is there more to do in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cancun than West Palm Beach. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Cancun is more touristy than West Palm Beach and is known for its water sports, white sand beaches, popularity at spring break, and access to Mayan ruins. It is also well known for . West Palm Beach is famous for its nice resorts, a lively boardwalk, great seafood, and fun watersports.


How is Cancun different from West Palm Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a great city for its historical sights. However, West Palm Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

Cancun offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.

West Palm Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Cancun or West Palm Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a popular place for its local flavors and cuisine. However, West Palm Beach is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Cancun. 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.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in West Palm Beach. Oceanfront restaurants usually have a great view and offer local and fresh seafood. There are also many local restaurants concentrated around Clematis Street and CityPlace districts.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Nightlife?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is very popular for nightlife. Also, West Palm Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice beach area for nightlife and partying.

Cancun is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. 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.

West Palm Beach offers plenty to do in the evening. With rooftop bars and clubs, oceanfront venues, and plenty of nightlife options downtown, this city rivals most places when it comes to nightlife. The nightlife scene is particularly active during spring break, when university students head to town.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Resorts?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Cancun and West Palm Beach.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Cancun is a perfect choice. 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.

West Palm Beach offers an unforgettable resort vacation. All of the major names are present including the Hilton, Marriott, and Four Seasons.


Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is very popular for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, West Palm Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice beach area for its diving and snorkeling.

The clear water and abundant marine life make Cancun a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. 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.

There is a nice variety of marine life that makes scuba diving and snorkeling great in West Palm Beach. Check out Phil Foster Park in Rivera Beach. It's a man-made reef that is surprisingly clear.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Beaches?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun and West Palm Beach are world-class choices for a beach vacation.

With world-famous beaches, Cancun is a very popular vacation destination. 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.

The beaches in West Palm Beach are among the best in the world. From bustling beaches with a boardwalk to quieter, more relaxing beaches surrounded by parkland, there are are number of options in the area.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Hiking?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a popular place for hiking. However, West Palm Beach is not a hiking destination.

Cancun is a good destination for hiking. There are some beautiful walking paths and hiking trails that are within the area.

West Palm Beach is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a popular place for shopping. However, West Palm Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Cancun. While most people visit for the beaches and nightlife, there are shopping malls and markets where you can enjoy some retail therapy.

West Palm Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Families?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, West Palm Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice beach area for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Cancun is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

West Palm Beach is a very kid-friendly city. Animal lovers will appreciate the zoos and aquariums in the area. Check out McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary, Manatee Lagoon, the Palm Beach Zoo, and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Couples?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is very popular for romance. Also, West Palm Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice beach area for its romantic activities.

Cancun makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

West Palm Beach is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples will enjoy kayaking, dining out, or simply relaxing on the beach. It's fun to spend a day exploring the botanical gardens and an evening wandering around Clematis Street.


Is Cancun or West Palm Beach Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a great city for backpackers and budget travelers. However, West Palm Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

Cancun is very popular with the backpacker crowd. 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.

West Palm Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

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

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Visitors will find nice public transit in both Cancun and West Palm Beach.

Cancun has some public transit options. The buses are an efficient way to get around. They stop along Boulevard Kukulcán and throughout the downtown.

You'll find some public transit in West Palm Beach, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There's a downtown trolley, a commuter trail line (connecting West Palm Beach, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale), and a bus system with about 30 lines.

Is Cancun or West Palm Beach a more walkable city?

Cancun
West Palm Beach

Cancun is a great city for its walkability. Also, West Palm Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice beach area for its high level of walkability.

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

West Palm Beach is a somewhat walkable place. West Palm Beach has a surprisingly walkable area and it's possible to explore the downtown area on foot.


For even more information, also check out Is Cancun Worth Visiting? and Is West Palm Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in West Palm Beach or Cancun?

How long in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Both Cancun and West Palm Beach have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Cancun has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Cancun than West Palm Beach. In general, 4-7 days is a good amount of time for Cancun, and 3-7 days is enough time in West Palm Beach.

Families should spend more time in Cancun than West Palm Beach. 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 West Palm Beach. 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 West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cancun 4-7 
    West Palm Beach 3-7

One day in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

The tropical destination of Cancun offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife when visiting the destination of West Palm Beach. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

The city of Cancun offers scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

West Palm Beach is a great place to explore. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Cancun is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This city offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in West Palm Beach. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Cancun or West Palm Beach?

The active city of Cancun offers museums and nightlife. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. For many, it makes a great getaway for one week. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the diverse destination of West Palm Beach. This beach area offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.


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 Luxury Tours to United States of America, and The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, West Palm Beach or Cancun?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cancun is $134, while the average daily cost in West Palm Beach is $330. 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 West Palm Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cancun $88
    West Palm Beach $234
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cancun $176
    West Palm Beach $468
Compare Hotels in Cancun and West Palm Beach

Looking for a hotel in Cancun or West Palm Beach? 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 West Palm Beach


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 West Palm Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cancun $16
    West Palm Beach $49
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cancun

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


  • Taxi Around Town
    $1.52
  • Airport Shuttle (for 2)
    $13
  • Ferry to Isla de Mujeres (for 2)
    $15
  • Local Bus (for 2)
    $1.84

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
  • Transfers in Lincoln Strecth Limousine with Wi Fi on board: $261
  • Round trip private transfer VAN-Airport-Hotel-Airport-Puerto Morelos: $260
  • Private Transfer roundtrip (Cancun Airport-Akumal): $259
  • Private Luxury Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $228
  • Private Transfer from Cancún Airport (CUN) to Tulum : $223
  • Round trip Private airport transfer to Playa del Carmen Flat Rate per vehicle: $223
  • Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $220
  • Round private transfer Airport- Akumal - Airport.: $220
  • Private Round Trip Transfer (Cancun Airport - Playa del Carmen): $219
  • Airport Transfers to Costa Mujeres - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $214

Hired Cars and Shuttles in West Palm Beach

Also for West Palm Beach, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • One Way Palm Beach International Transfer: $72
  • Private Transfer from Cruise Port of Palm Beach to Palm Beach: $42
  • Port of Palm Beach to Palm Beach Intl Airport (PBI) - Departure Private Transfer: $42
  • Palm Beach to Palm Beach Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $41
  • Palm Beach hotels to Cruise Port of Palm Beach - Departure Private Transfer : $42
  • Palm Beach Port to Palm Beach Airport (PBI) - Departure Transfer: $41
  • Palm Beach Intl Airport (PBI) to Port of Palm Beach - Arrival Private Transfer : $42
  • Palm Beach International Airport: Transfer to Palm Beach: $70
  • Palm Beach Airport (PBI) to Palm Beach Port - Arrival Transfer: $42
  • Palm Beach Airport (PBI) to Palm Beach City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $61
  • Palm Beach Airport (PBI) to Palm Beach City - Arrival Private Transfer: $31
  • Departure Private Transfer: Palm Beach to Palm Beach Airport PBI in Luxury SUV: $109

Is it cheaper to fly into Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Prices for flights to both West Palm Beach 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 $26
    West Palm Beach $66
Typical Food Prices in Cancun

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $19

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
  • (2x1 price) Dinner Show and Pirates Experience : $63
  • Cancun Street Food Tour with Food Stalls, Local Market and Murals: $64
  • Puerto Morelos Walking Food Tour: $72
  • Cooking Show & Tequila Tasting: $78
  • Cancun Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $78
  • Mexican Cooking Class with fresh Local Market ingredients selection and transpor: $79
  • Amazing pirate dinner in Cancun, you must be here!: $89
  • Pirate’s Night Out: Dinner and Entertainment in the Caribbean: $89
  • Unforgettable Pirate Dinner Adventure in the Mexican Caribbean: $89

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in West Palm Beach

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

  • Mornings in the Market Food Tour: $75
  • Mornings in the Market Food Tour: $75
  • Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour: $85
  • Downtown Food Tour: $85
  • Prohibition Dinner & Drinks Tour: $101
  • Food Tour of Historic West Palm Beach Neighborhoods: $101
  • Prohibition Dinner & Drinks Tour: $101
  • Historic Neighborhood Food Tour: $101

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cancun $32
    West Palm Beach $19
Typical Entertainment Prices in Cancun

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


  • Seasick Pills
    $0.54
  • Whale Shark Tour (for 2)
    $92

Tours and Activities in Cancun

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

  • ATV Jungle Adventure with Ziplines, Cenote Transportation Included: $8.00
  • Bacalar tour + Lunch + Boat, from Cancun and Riviera Maya: $139
  • Cancun Private Street Art Tour: $65
  • Catamaran Cruise in Riviera Maya With Snorkeling & Beach Club: $85
  • Coco Bongo Music And Show Ticket: $105
  • Full Day Chichen-Itza, Cenote and Valladolid Complete Tour: $37
  • Holbox Island Magic Tour from Cancun : $144
  • 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
  • Tour to Chichen Itza & Cenotes Ik kill & Suytun from Cancun: $128
  • (4x1) Full day tour to Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Playa del Carmen : $48

Tours and Activities in West Palm Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for West Palm Beach.

  • 2-Hour Guided Snorkel Tour of Phil Foster Park, Blue Heron Bridge: $55
  • 3 Hour Cruise & Swimming Excursion off Peanut Island Park: $77
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Experience With Videos in West Palm Beach: $99
  • Blue Heron Bridge Half Day Reef Snorkeling Adventure With Lunch: $56
  • Bulk Candy Store Tour: $13
  • Christmas Light Cruise from Jupiter: $75
  • Clear Kayak Eco Tour in Jupiter, Florida: $75
  • Clear Kayak Tour in Jupiter: $79
  • Experience Peanut Island Adventures: $50
  • Flamingle Happy Hour Cruise: $40
  • Guided Haunted Ghosts Tour in Stuart By US Ghost Adventures: $26
  • Guided Jet Snorkel Experience, Free Videos in West Palm Beach: $69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cancun $12
    West Palm Beach $39

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


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cancun and West Palm Beach, we can see that West Palm Beach is more expensive. And not only is Cancun much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cancun would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cancun 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 West Palm Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in West Palm Beach than you might in Cancun.

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


Which is Bigger, Cancun or West Palm Beach?

Cancun has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of West Palm Beach. When comparing the sizes of Cancun and West Palm Beach, 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.