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

Should you visit Playa del Carmen or Cancun?

Should I visit Playa del Carmen or Cancun? 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.

Cancun

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.

Which city is cheaper, Cancun 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 Cancun is $99. 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 Cancun 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.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $132 in Cancun For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Playa del Carmen $26
    Cancun $66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Playa del Carmen $52
    Cancun $132

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 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Playa del Carmen $16
    Cancun $18

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

Typical Food prices in Cancun

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $18

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: $35
  • Cancun Authentic Untouristed Food Tour: $43
  • Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $44
  • Dinner and Show on a Pirate Ship in Cancun with Open Bar: $50
  • Dinner-Show-Party on a Pirate Ship from Cancun! (Open bar included).: $55
  • Experience a Pirate Party Dinner Show at Cancun with Open Bar included!: $56
  • Dinner Show on a Pirate Ship from Cancun with Open Bar: $62
  • Mexican Dinner and Sprits Tasting in Cancun with transportation: $79
  • Captain Hook - Pirate Show and Dinner (Grilled Chicken) 2X1: $85
  • Captain Hook 2X1 - Pirate Show & Dinner with Open Bar: $85
  • Combo Capitan Hook chicken dinner + Isla Mujeres Catamaran: $86
  • Captain Hook - Pirate Show & Dinner (Grilled Chicken) 2X1: $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.

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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Playa del Carmen $16
    Cancun $12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Playa del Carmen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Playa del Carmen:

  • Wedding Transfers Services in Round Trip Playa del Carmen: $144
  • Transfers Mexico (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum): $55
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Playa del Carmen to Cancún Airport: $33
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport: $40
  • Transfer in Private Car from-to Xcaret to Cancun Airport (CUN): $32
  • Transfer from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen - ROUND TRIP: $143
  • Transfer Airport - Hotel - Airport (From Paradisus Esmeralda to Playacar): $56
  • Transfer Airport - Hotel - Airport (From Ocidental Xcaret to Barcelo Palace): $66
  • Super Deal: Cancun Airport-Hotel-Cancun Airport Private Round Trip Transfer: $105
  • Shuttle Transfer Cancun Airport - Playa del Carmen: $13
  • Roundtrip private AC Airport Transfer to Riviera Maya: $70
  • Private Transfer to Xplor / Xenses / Xplor Fire: $15

Typical Local Transportation prices in Cancun

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


  • Taxi Around Town
    $1.41
  • Airport Shuttle (for 2)
    $12
  • Ferry to Isla de Mujeres (for 2)
    $14
  • Local Bus (for 2)
    $1.71

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): $82
  • Airport Private Transfer Puerto Aventuras: $85
  • Airport Transfer Cancun: $48
  • Airport Transfer Playa del Carmen: $85
  • Airport Transfers to Isla Blanca - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $138
  • Airport Transfers to Puerto Juarez - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $112
  • Airport transfers to Isla Mujeres: $95
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Cancun by Minivan: $26
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa Mujeres by Minivan: $31
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa del Carmen by Minivan: $52
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Playa del Carmen by SUV: $117
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cancun Airport CUN to Puerto Aventuras by Minivan: $76

Is it cheaper to fly into Playa del Carmen or Cancun?

Prices for flights to both Cancun 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.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Playa del Carmen $11
    Cancun $24

Tours and Activities in Playa del Carmen

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

  • (4x1) Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Playa del carmen in a full day tour: $53
  • 15-Day Trip in Mexico: South 2 North Adventures: $1,553
  • 2 Cenotes Tour From Playa Del Carmen: $71
  • 2 Cenotes Xpress Tour From Playa Del Carmen: $58
  • 3 Cenotes + 1 Lagoon Extraordinary Tour from Playa del carmen: $83
  • 3 Cenotes + 1 Lagoon Fantastic Tour fom Playa del Carmen: $88
  • 3 Cenotes + 1 Lagoon Tour Full Day from Playa del Carmen: $90
  • 3 days diving tour: $352
  • 3-in-1 Discovery Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves: $109
  • 3D Museum of Wonders Admission Ticket: $32
  • 3x1 (Cenotes + Lagoon) Tour Full Day from Playa del Carmen: $88
  • 4 ADVENTURES 1 DAY Tulum Coba Cenote and Playa del Carmen: $52

Typical Entertainment prices in Cancun

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


  • Seasick Pills
    $0.50
  • Whale Shark Tour (for 2)
    $86

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: $4.99
  • Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun: $5.00
  • Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun plus Aquatic Activity: $19
  • Turibus Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Cancun plus Wax Museum: $19
  • Holbox Street Art Tour: $25
  • Cancun Street Art Tour: $27
  • Cancun City Tour: $27
  • Reef Snorkeling Experience in Puerto Morelos: $27
  • Skip the Line: Cancun Wax Museum Admission Ticket: $28
  • 3 Hours Private Kayak Experience in Cancun: $28
  • Classic 3-island tour on a shared boat: $32
  • Cancun Shopping Tour: $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.

Typically, people visiting Cancun spend on average $9.01 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Playa del Carmen $14
    Cancun $9.01

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

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: $161


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, we can see that Cancun 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 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 Playa del Carmen.

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Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun Travel Comparison

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