A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Playa del Carmen vs. Cabo San Lucas for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Playa del Carmen or Cabo San Lucas?

Should I visit Playa del Carmen or Cabo San Lucas? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula. It's a popular resort town and is about seventy kilometers south of Cancun. It has a European atmosphere with many small hotels and a nice relaxed feel. It was originally a small fishing town but tourism began with the introduction of a passenger ferry to Cozumel. The area developed rapidly and there are many luxury hotels, condos, and resorts. There are also American chains and a variety of shopping opportunities nearby.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas ("Cabo") is on the far southern end of the Baja Peninsula. It has countless resorts and activities for visitors. There are world class golf courses, fine dining options, and five star resorts. Prior to the 1980s, Cabo was a quiet fishing village but with the construction of a nearby airport in 1977, the city rapidly grew into one of Mexico's most popular resort vacation spots. Today, Cabo has one of the country's most vibrant nightlife scenes. It also has plenty of water sport activities, and a great beach scene.

Which city is cheaper, Cabo San Lucas or Playa del Carmen?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Playa del Carmen is $54, while the average daily cost in Cabo San Lucas is $95. 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 Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $26. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Playa del Carmen the cost is $52 on average.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Cabo San Lucas is $84. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Playa del Carmen $26
    Cabo San Lucas $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Playa del Carmen $52
    Cabo San Lucas $84

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Playa del Carmen cost around $16 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $6.40.

The average traveler spends about $36 per day in Cabo San Lucas for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Playa del Carmen $16
    Cabo San Lucas $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Playa del Carmen

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Playa del Carmen.

  • Playa Del Carmen Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $54
  • Local Walking Food Tour: $54
  • Walking Food Tour in Downtown Playa del Carmen: $55
  • Vegan Mexican Walking Food Tour: $69
  • Playa del Carmen Food Tour: $71
  • Playa del Carmen Authentic Mexican cooking class and Market Tour: $91
  • Hands-on ● Mexican Cooking Class: $92
  • Authentic Mexican Cooking Class in Playa del Carmen: $103
  • Playa del Carmen Mexican Cooking class and Local Markets Tour: $105
  • Traditional Mexican Food Cooking Lesson: $109

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cabo San Lucas

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cabo San Lucas.

  • Cabo San Lucas Sunset and Dinner Cruise: $50
  • Eat Like A Local Cabo Food Tour: $59
  • Parrillada dinner with a Private Chef in your villa/condo in Cabo or San Jose: $59
  • Catch of the day dinner in your private villa/condo in Cabo or San Jose del Cabo: $62
  • Cabo San Lucas "Catch of the Day" Seafood Tour: $62
  • Sunset Mexican Dinner Cruise. Fajitas dinner & live music: $68
  • Jumbo Shrimp Dinner in Your Private Villa or Condo in Cabo or San Jose del Cabo: $78
  • Lobster Tail Dinner with a Private Chef in Your Villa in Cabo or San Jose: $80
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise with Open Bar from Cabo San Lucas: $89
  • Los Cabos Sunset Dinner Cruise: $89
  • Whale-Watching Dinner Cruise in Los Cabos: $89
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise in Cabo San Lucas: $89

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $16 per day to get around in Playa del Carmen.

The cost of a taxi ride in Cabo San Lucas is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $18 per person, per day, on local transportation in Cabo San Lucas.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Playa del Carmen $16
    Cabo San Lucas $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Playa del Carmen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Playa del Carmen:

  • Airport Transfers to Playa del Carmen - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $137
  • Cancun Airport Private Transfer One Way:To or From Playa de Carmen Upto 11 Pass.: $85
  • Cancun Airport Private Transfer One Way:To or From Playa del Carmen Up to 3Pass.: $68
  • Cancun Airport Private Transfer One Way:To or From Playa del Carmen Up to 7Pass.: $85
  • Cancun Airport Private Transfer One Way:To or From Playa del Carmen Upto 15Pass.: $150
  • Cancun Airport private departure transfer (Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport): $72
  • Cancun Airport: Private Transfer to Hotels in Playa del Carmen: $60
  • Departure Private Transfer Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport CUN by Minivan: $52
  • Departure Private Transfer Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport CUN by SUV: $105
  • El Dorado Maroma to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $41
  • Mexico Private Transfer from Playa del Carmen to Cancun airport: $87
  • Parasailing in Playa del Carmen with transfer: $50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cabo San Lucas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cabo San Lucas:

  • Arrival Share Transfer Service One way from Los Cabos airport to Hotel: $21
  • Cabo San Lucas hotels to Los Cabos Airport (SJD) - Private Departure Transfer: $92
  • Departure Private Transfer Service One way from Hotel to Los Cabos airport: $66
  • Private Round Trip Transfer - Los Cabos Int. Airport and Local Area: $180
  • Private Tesla Transfer from Los Cabos Airport to Cabo San Lucas Area: $261
  • Private transfer: Cabo San Lucas to Cabo San Lucas Airport (SJD): $622
  • Round trip transfer from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz up to 15 passengers: $514
  • Round trip transfer from Cabo to La Paz up to 10 passengers: $457
  • Round trip transfer from Cabo to La Paz up to 5 passengers: $400
  • Transfer in Private Car from Cabo San Lucas to Los Cabos Airport (SJD): $201
  • Transfer in private minivan from Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo(SJD): $113
  • Wild Canyon Adventures Park Pass with transfers included: $199

Is it cheaper to fly into Playa del Carmen or Cabo San Lucas?

Prices for flights to both Cabo San Lucas and Playa del Carmen 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.





Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $11 per person, per day in Playa del Carmen. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Entertainment and activities in Cabo San Lucas typically cost an average of $29 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Playa del Carmen $11
    Cabo San Lucas $29

Tours and Activities in Playa del Carmen

Here are a few actual costs in Playa del Carmen for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Playa del Carmen Shopping Tour Fifth Avenue and Mamitas Beach Club: $9.99
  • Playa del Carmen Street Art Tour: $27
  • Playa del Carmen City Tour: $27
  • 3D Museum of Wonders Admission Ticket: $32
  • Reef Snorkeling Experience in Playa del Carmen: $34
  • PDC Running Experience w/Breakfast: $35
  • Playa del Carmen PhotoWalk and City Tour: $37
  • Playa del Carmen Private PhotoWalk Tour: $41
  • Playa del Carmen Private Art Tour and Gallery Visit: $41
  • Playa del Carmen Bike Art Tour: $42
  • Chichen itza full day tour: $43
  • Chichen Itza FULL DAY TOUR: $43

Tours and Activities in Cabo San Lucas

Here are a few actual costs in Cabo San Lucas for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour - Cabo San Lucas: $17
  • Glass Bottom Boat Sightseeing Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $20
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $20
  • Land's End Tour in a Glass Bottom Boat (VisitA Cabo): $26
  • Cabo's Only Clear Boat Tour- see it all in one tour!: $28
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour to the Arch in Cabo San Lucas: $30
  • Cabo's only Clear Boat Tour to Lands End, Lover's Beach, the Arch and more!: $33
  • Lands End & Snorkeling Adventure: $33
  • Cabo San Lucas only Clear Boat Tour to Lands End: $33
  • Sunset Tour & Land's End in a Glass Bottom Boat (VisitA Cabo): $36
  • Clear Glass-Bottom Boat Cabo Tour: $36
  • The Fenway Bar Experience: $39

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Playa del Carmen may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 per day on alcoholic beverages.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cabo San Lucas may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $19 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Playa del Carmen $14
    Cabo San Lucas $19

Sample the Local Flavors in Playa del Carmen

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Playa del Carmen:

  • Playa Del Carmen Private Mexican Wine Tasting: $152


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

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Playa del Carmen vs. Cabo San Lucas Travel Comparison

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