A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Tulum vs. Cancun for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Tulum or Cancun?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Tulum and Cancun can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Tulum

When you think of ancient ruins you probably picture dusty archaeological digs surrounded by sand and professors in khaki shorts. What if I told you there is a way to see ancient ruins and visit a tropical beach? That's exactly what you find in Tulum, Mexico.

Built near the end of Mayan era, the ruins of Tulum served as a port before the arrival of the Spanish. It may have been called Zama, meaning City of Dawn, given that these ruins face the sunrise. Because of Tulum's access to both land and sea routes, this spot was an important hub for the trade industry. It may have had another claim to fame, too. According to some murals and other works around the site, it seems this spot was an important site for the worship of the Diving or Descending God. Today, the area is the third most visited archaeological site in all of Mexico with daily tour buses dropping off visitors.

This area is usually packed with people looking to get a glimpse of the seaside ruins. To avoid crowds and capture the best view of the day, try to arrive as early as possible. Of course, Tulum is only one of several archaeological sites in the region, and you can see a comparison of Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan here.

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 Tulum?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tulum is $82, 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 Tulum and Cancun in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Tulum is $80. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

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
    Tulum $40
    Cancun $66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tulum $80
    Cancun $132

Food

Food in Tulum costs travelers about $23 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

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
    Tulum $23
    Cancun $18
Typical Food prices in Tulum

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


  • Lunch
    $2.52

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: $55
  • Mexican Cooking from Scratch and Mezcal Tasting in a Local Home: $87
  • Private transfer for 5 hours (go dinner,cenotes, shopping and more): $180

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

The cost of a taxi ride in Tulum is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $19 per person, per day, on local transportation in Tulum.

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.
    Tulum $19
    Cancun $12
Typical Local Transportation prices in Tulum

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


  • Scooter Rental
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tulum

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Tulum:

  • Tulum to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $87
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Tulum Riviera to Cancún Airport: $59
  • Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum - ROUND TRIP: $207
  • Roundtrip private AC Airport Transfer to Tulum: $75
  • Private Transfer From Cancun Airport To Tulum: $84
  • One Way Private Tulum Transfers to or from Cancun Airport: $123
  • Mexico Private Transfer from Tulum to Cancun airport: $121
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tulum to Cancun Airport CUN by Minivan: $100
  • Cancun One Way Private Transfer Airport to Hotel / Hotel to Airport: $61
  • Cancun Airport private departure transfer (Tulum to Cancun Airport): $103
  • Airport Transfers to Tulum - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $256
  • Airport Transfer Tulum: $130

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:

  • Shuttle Transfer Cancun Airport - Cancun Hotel Zone: $6.67
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Cancun International Airport: $8.00
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Cancun International Airport to Hotel: $8.00
  • Shared transfer from Cancun Airport to Cancun Hotel Zone: $8.48
  • Shared transfer from Cancun Hotel Zone to Cancun Airport (CUN): $8.48
  • Cancun Airport Shared One Way Trip Transfers: $8.50
  • Cancun One Way Shared Transfer Airport to Hotel / Hotel to Airport: $8.89
  • Private Departure Transfer from Cancun City Center to Cancún Airport (CUN): $12
  • Cancun Airport private transfer to Cancun hotel zone: $13
  • Private transfer to Cancun Airport from hotels in Cancun Area: $13
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Cancún Airport (CUN) to Cancún City Center: $14
  • Shuttle & PrivateTransfer from/to Cancun Airport: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Tulum or Cancun?

Prices for flights to both Cancun 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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Tulum typically cost an average of $21 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

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.
    Tulum $21
    Cancun $24

Tours and Activities in Tulum

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

  • (4X1) Tulum, Coba, Cenote & Playa del Carmen, 1 Full Day Tour From Cancun Now!: $71
  • 2 Cenotes Adventure from Tulum - Small Group - All Inclusive: $119
  • 4 in 1 Day Tour - Coba, Cenote ,Tulum & Playa del Carmen: $61
  • 4 in 1 Tour - Coba, Cenote, Tulum & Playa del Carmen: $53
  • 4 in 1 VIP Tour Tulum, Coba, Playa del carmen & Cenote: $66
  • An exclusive experience of high cuisine mixed with theater performance: $256
  • CENOTE TOUR ( Pet Cementery, Sac Actun and Nicte Ha): $123
  • Caribbean Sea Snorkeling, underground river and cenote adventure from Tulum: $116
  • Cenote Triple Adventure Tour in Tulum: $116
  • Cenote trail jungle bike tour & 3 cenotes in Tulum with lunch: $97
  • Coba Adventure: ATV, Rappel, Ziplines, Cenote, Archeological Zone Tour: $118
  • Coba Guided Tour with Visit to Cacao and Honey Sanctuary: $119

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

The average person spends about $17 on alcoholic beverages in Tulum per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tulum $17
    Cancun $9.01

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 Tulum and Cancun, we can see that Cancun is more expensive. And not only is Tulum much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Tulum would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Tulum 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 Tulum.

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Tulum vs. Cancun Travel Comparison

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