A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Tulum vs. Cabo San Lucas for Attractions, Nightlife, Resorts, and Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Should you visit Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Tulum and Cabo San Lucas can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Tulum

Tulum is a archeological, tropical, and active town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a wild, adventurous, and scenic city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for hiking, shopping, and museums.

Tulum and Cabo San Lucas: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Both Cabo San Lucas and Tulum have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Tulum is more popular for its museums, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches, while Cabo San Lucas is known for its historical sights and impressive beauty. Tulum is popular for its archeological sights, beautiful beaches, and dramatic cenotes. Cabo San Lucas is popular for its beautiful coastline, all-inclusive resorts, and vibrant nightlife scene.

How is Tulum different from Cabo San Lucas?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Tulum is a world-class destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Tulum that are not to be missed. It's famous for its world-renowned archeological ruins. The Tulum Archeological Site is very popular for its Mayan temples and castles. You can also travel a bit further to see the Cobá Ruins.

Cabo San Lucas offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are several historical sights in the area such as the Church of Saint Luke and San Jose del Cabo.


Is the Food Better in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Tulum makes for a great culinary experience. Despite being well established as a top tourist destination in Mexico, you'll still find authentic and delicious local cuisine. Favorite dishes around town include the ceviche, tacos al pastor, and sopa de lima (chicken soup).

Cabo San Lucas has a huge number of terrific restaurants. If you step away from the all-you-can-eat buffets in the resorts, and the tourist hot spots, you'll find some excellent local Mexican cuisine and nice fine dining restaurants. Fresh seafood and local produce make the dishes unique.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Nightlife?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are world-class when it comes to partying.

Tulum is a must-see party destination. It's world renowned for its wild nightlife scene and you'll find iconic beach parties, jungle raves, and trendy Tuluminati parties. Most of the local places that are a bit more affordable are in town, and the more touristy and expensive places are around the Middle Beach Zone.

Cabo San Lucas is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. It has a long reputation of being one of Mexico's best party destinations. There are wild, all-night dance parties, crazy and crowded clubs, and music that lasts well into the morning. The best nightlife can be found in the blocks around Plaza Bonita, near the marina boardwalk.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Resorts?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Tulum is a world-class destination for its resorts. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for its luxury resorts.

Tulum is a world class resort vacation destination. If you're on a budget, you can stay in town for a more reasonable price, but if you want a classic beach vacation, head to the Zona Hotelera stretch along the coast. There are luxury hotels as well as resorts with beachfront pools and luxury restaurants.

There are plenty of resorts in Cabo San Lucas to choose from. Many of the resorts are along parts of the coastline where it's not safe to swim. If you really want to enjoy swimming at a beachfront property, make sure you do some research in advance. Medano Beach is a nice area to consider.


Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Tulum is a world-class destination for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for its diving and snorkeling.

Tulum is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. The water along the coast is shallow and clear, which is perfect for snorkeling. There are also dive trips that take you a short distance out to diverse and beautiful reefs.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Cabo San Lucas. There are many snorkeling and scuba diving excursions that go out on half day and full day trips. Some of the best snorkeling is found at Cabo Pulmo, which has the only living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Beaches?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Tulum is a world-class destination for its beaches. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beache.

Tulum is considered to be a world-class beach destination. World class beaches with turquoise water and long stretches of sand make this a true beach-lovers paradise. Playa Paraíso is a favorite beach in the area and many consider it among the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

Many people visit Cabo San Lucas for it's beautiful beaches. Because of the water conditions, it's not safe to swim at many of the beaches in the area. This is particularly true on the Pacific side of the city. Many people consider Medano Beach to be one of the best in the area, but also nice are Lover's Beach, the ironically named Divorce Beach, and Chileno Beach.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for its Old Town?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a well-known place for its historic old town. However, Tulum does not have a historic old town.

Cabo San Lucas is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. San Jose del Cabo is an "old town" that's a bit outside of town. It's particularly nice to visit on Thursdays when there's a nice market.

Tulum does not have a historic old town.


Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Hiking?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are destinations which offer great hiking.

Tulum is a popular spot for hiking. There are coastal walks and routes that take you through the jungle or by archeological ruins. There are many places where you can enjoy a stroll through nature.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Cabo San Lucas. It's not hard to get out into nature and you'll find many great hiking trails that go through varied and beautiful landscapes.

Is the Shopping Better in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are great shopping destinations.

Tulum is an extremely popular place for shoppers. Quirky souvenir shops, local artisan boutiques, and colorful bazaars make shopping a fun experience. Make sure you check out Mercado Maya or the Tulum Bazaar while you're in town.

Cabo San Lucas is well-known for its shopping. There are many great shopping areas where you can pick up souvenirs or other interesting items to remember your trip. There are mall, markets, and boutique vendors that sell a variety of products.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Families?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are great to visit with kids.

Tulum is a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will love the beaches and archeological sights as much as adults. You can also visit a cenote or see the sea turtles at Akumal Bay. If you're open to getting out of town, there are many adventure parks in the area as well.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Cabo San Lucas is very family-friendly. Kids will love the snorkeling, boat rides, and kid-friendly cuisine. There are many places where kids can get up close and personal with animals, such as Wild Canyon’s Kingdom or camel riding. You might even be able to see migrating whales during your visit. Surfing, fishing, and hiking are also popular in the area.


Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Couples?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are world-class destinations for a couple's getaway.

Tulum is a great town for couples, as it has plenty to offer. Beautiful beaches, world famous archeological sights, and a wild nightlife scene make this a great honeymoon or couple's destination. There are also spas, cenotes, and even cooking classes that you can take together.

Cabo San Lucas is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. It has long been a favorite honeymoon destination and couples who enjoy a beach paradise with wildlife, diving, and outdoor adventures will appreciate Cabo San Lucas. There's also amazing Mexican food and world class resorts.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas are great destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Tulum. It's no longer an undiscovered backpacker paradise, but there are still affordable options in the area and there's a great nightlife scene.

Many backpackers visit Cabo San Lucas. It's a popular tourist destination, and there are a number of hostels and activities that backpackers will enjoy.

Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas offer good public transit options.

Tulum has a few public transit options. There are shared vans, Collectivos, that provide transportation through the area. The Tiburon is also a local bus that runs along the coastline.

Cabo San Lucas has some public transit options. Buses make up the main form of public transit. They are called Subercabos and run between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.


Is Tulum or Cabo San Lucas a more walkable city?

Tulum
Cabo San Lucas

Tulum and Cabo San Lucas both are great when exploring on foot.

Tulum is very walkable. It's easy to walk around downtown Tulum and explore on foot.

Cabo San Lucas is a very walkable town. The town is relatively easy to walk around with many things close together.

For even more information, also check out Is Tulum Worth Visiting? and Is Cabo San Lucas Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cabo San Lucas or Tulum?

How long in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Both Tulum and Cabo San Lucas have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Cabo San Lucas than in Tulum. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Tulum, and 3-7 days is enough time in Cabo San Lucas.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Tulum than Cabo San Lucas 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 Tulum.


  • How many days in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tulum 3-5 
    Cabo San Lucas 3-7

One day in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

In Tulum, you'll find nightlife and food. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Cabo San Lucas, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this wild destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Lots of people come for the nightlife. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Tulum is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cabo San Lucas. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tulum. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

Cabo San Lucas is a fun place to experience. In Cabo San Lucas, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this destination offers. Lots of people come for the nightlife. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the town of Tulum. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

In Cabo San Lucas, many people enjoy the museums and nightlife that this scenic destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the nightlife. One week is often enough time to do most activities.


Which place is cheaper, Cabo San Lucas or Tulum?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tulum is $119, while the average daily cost in Cabo San Lucas is $135. 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 Tulum and Cabo San Lucas in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tulum $58
    Cabo San Lucas $62
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tulum $116
    Cabo San Lucas $124
Compare Hotels in Tulum and Cabo San Lucas

Looking for a hotel in Tulum or Cabo San Lucas? 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 Tulum


Hotels in Cabo San Lucas


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: Tulum Hotel Prices and Cabo San Lucas Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tulum $27
    Cabo San Lucas $27
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Tulum

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Tulum are as follows:


  • Scooter Rental
    $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tulum

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Tulum:

  • Airport Transfer Tulum: $185
  • Cancun Airport Departure transfer from Akumal, Tulum: $192
  • Chetumal City to Chetumal Airport CTM Departure Private Transfer: $24
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tulum to Cancun Airport CUN by Minivan - Minibus: $117
  • EV Private Transfer from Tulum to Cancun Airport: $135
  • Mexico Private Transfer from Tulum to Cancun airport: $107
  • ONE WAY: Tulum Private Transfer from/to Cancun Airport: $145
  • One Way Private Tulum Transfers to or from Cancun Airport: $160
  • One-Way Private or Luxury Airport Transfer Tulum Cancun Airport: $185
  • Private Ground Transfer Tulum - International Airport: $160
  • Private Luxury Transfer Tulum to Cancun Airport: $220
  • Private Transfer From Cancun Airport - Tulum: $208

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cabo San Lucas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cabo San Lucas:

  • San Jose del Cabo hotels to Los Cabos Airport (SJD) - Private Departure Transfer: $31
  • San Jose del Cabo to Los Cabos Airport (SJD) Departure Transfer: $31
  • Los Cabos Airport (SJD) to San Jose del Cabo hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $31
  • Cabo San Lucas Airport CSL to Cabo San Lucas Arrival Transfer: $33
  • Cabo San Lucas Port to Cabo San Lucas - Arrival Private Transfer : $33
  • Cabo San Lucas City to Cabo San Lucas Port Private Transfer : $33
  • Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port to Airport CSL Departure Transfer: $33
  • Cabo San Lucas Airport CSL to Cruise Port Arrival Transfer: $33
  • Cabo San Lucas to Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port- Departure Private Transfer: $33
  • Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port to Cabo San Lucas hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $33
  • Cabo San Lucas Port to Cabo San Lucas Airport (CSL) - Departure Private Transfer: $33
  • Departure Transfer from CaboSanLucas to CaboSanLucas Airport(CSL): $33

Is it cheaper to fly into Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Prices for flights to both Cabo San Lucas and Tulum 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
    Tulum $33
    Cabo San Lucas $50
Typical Food Prices in Tulum

Some typical examples of dining costs in Tulum are as follows:


  • Lunch
    $2.93

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tulum

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Tulum.

  • Tulum Local Walking Food Tour: $78
  • Vegan Walking Food Tour with Tasting: $79
  • Tulum Vegan Food Tour: $81
  • Mexican Cooking from Scratch and Mezcal Tasting in a Local Home in Tulum: $87
  • Dinner in the Tulum Jungle with Premium Wine Tasting: $120
  • Authentic Mexican Food Tour in Tulum: $146
  • Gourmet Experience: 5 Course Dinner, Cocktail Class and Wine Pairing: $149
  • Private transfer for 5 hours (go dinner,cenotes, shopping and more) : $219
  • Private Mayan Food Cooking Class and Cenote: $289

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.

  • Los Cabos: Sunset and Dinner Cruise: $63
  • Tasting Cabo San Lucas Like a Local Food Tour: $65
  • Cabo San Lucas Sunset Cruise with Dinner and Open Bar: $75
  • Authentic Mexican Legacy Cooking Class in Cabo San Lucas: $75
  • Sea to Table Fisherman's Seafood Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $75
  • Eat Like A Local Cabo Food Tour: $78
  • Seafood Galore, Los Cabos Food Tour: $80
  • Cabo: Sunset Cruise with Dinner, Music & Open Bar: $84
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise with Tequila & tacos: $85
  • Sunset Mexican Dinner Cruise Fajitas dinner & live music: $86
  • Parrillada dinner with a Private Chef in your villa/condo in Cabo or San Jose: $86
  • Cabo Sunset Dinner-Party Cruise: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tulum $31
    Cabo San Lucas $42

Tours and Activities in Tulum

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Tulum are as follows:

  • Audioguide Tulum, Audioguide-App Mayastadt Tulum, Tour Tulum Archaeological Site: $4.28
  • Coba Ruins: Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour - The Return Home: $10
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour - Coba Ruins: The trail of the Mayas: $10
  • Tulum Archeological Site Skip-the-Line Ticket: $12
  • Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket: $12
  • Skip-the-line Admission Ticket to Tulum Archaeological Zone: $15
  • Self-Guided Mayan Ruins Tour: $15
  • Archaeological Site Guided Walking Tour: $24
  • Archeological Guided Walking Tour in Tulum: $26
  • Mystika Immersive Entrance Ticket: $26
  • Mystika Immersive - A One-of-a-Kind Sensory Spiritual Experience: $27

Tours and Activities in Cabo San Lucas

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

  • Your Own Private Luxury Yacht Experience in Cabo, Lunch included: $1.20
  • Tour paseo al Arco + bajada en playa: $15
  • Boat Tour to Cabo San Lucas Arch and Rock Formations: $18
  • Glass bottom boat tour: $19
  • Water Taxi Tour: $20
  • Tour al Arco en Barco Fondo de Cristal: $22
  • Glass Bottom Boat Sightseeing Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $23
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour - Cabo San Lucas: $23
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $23
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $25
  • Glass Bottom Boat Sightseeing Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $25
  • Tours in Cabo to the Arch in the only Clear Boat by Envatours! : $29

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tulum $25
    Cabo San Lucas $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Tulum

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Tulum:

  • 30 Minutes Brewery Tour in Tulum: $39
  • Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour: $69

Sample the Local Flavors in Cabo San Lucas

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Cabo San Lucas:

  • Cabo Bar Crawl - The BEST Bar and Clubs in Cabo : $55
  • Wine Tasting Sunset Cruise Tour in San Jose del Cabo: $190


When comparing the travel costs between Tulum and Cabo San Lucas, we can see that Cabo San Lucas is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Tulum or Cabo San Lucas?

Cabo San Lucas has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Tulum. When comparing the sizes of Tulum and Cabo San Lucas, 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.