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

Should you visit Tulum or Merida?

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 Merida 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.

Where Should I go: Tulum or Merida?

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.

Merida

Merida is the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula, which separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. It is also the capital of the state of Yucatan as a whole. There is a population of 750,000 and is very rich in diversity and culture.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Mexico, The Best Historical Tours in Mexico, The Best 2-Week Tours in Mexico, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Mexico.


Which place is cheaper, Merida or Tulum?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tulum is $122, while the average daily cost in Merida is $88. 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 Merida in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tulum $60
    Merida $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tulum $120
    Merida $88
Compare Hotels in Tulum and Merida

Looking for a hotel in Tulum or Merida? 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 Merida


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 Merida Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tulum $28
    Merida $18
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:

  • Transfer from Tulum airport to Bacalar: $240
  • Horseback Riding in the Jungle w/ Transfers and Lunch: $100
  • Tulum to Xcaret - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $76
  • Tulum to Playa del Carmen - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $81
  • Tulum to Chetumal - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $181
  • Tulum to Cancun - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $120
  • Tulum to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $69
  • Tulum to Bacalar - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $152
  • Tulum Hotels to Merida Rejon Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $113
  • Roundtrip Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $269
  • Roundtrip Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $211
  • Private transfer from Cancun airpot to Tulum up to 7 persons: $191

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Merida

Also for Merida, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Mexico Private Transfer from Merida airport to central Merida: $40
  • Mexico Private Transfer from Merida hotels to Merida airport: $40
  • Private Transfer From Merida to Uxmal, English Speaking Driver: $72
  • Private Transfer From Uxmal to Merida, English Speaking Driver: $72
  • One-way Airport Transfers to Merida Hotels: $120

Is it cheaper to fly into Tulum or Merida?

Prices for flights to both Merida 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 $34
    Merida $29
Typical Food Prices in Tulum

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


  • Lunch
    $3.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tulum

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

  • Mexican Cooking from Scratch and Mezcal Tasting in a Local Home in Tulum: $87
  • Vegan Walking Food Tour with Tasting: $90
  • Tulum Vegan Food Tour: $92
  • Gourmet Experience: 5 Course Dinner, Cocktail Class and Wine Pairing: $159
  • Private transfer for 5 hours (go dinner,cenotes, shopping and more) : $299

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Merida

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

  • Private Nandayo Food Tour: $40
  • Merida Walking Food Tour. Authentic & Local Cuisine: $64
  • Taste of the Yucatan: Merida Cooking Class and Market Visit: $89
  • Private Yucatecan Cooking Lesson in a Local Merida Home: $90
  • Private Market Tour and Authentic Mexican Cooking Class in Merida with Transfers: $126

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tulum $32
    Merida $16

Tours and Activities in Tulum

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

  • Full Day Tour from Tulum to Rio Lagartos: $179
  • Romantic tour in Tulum: $169
  • 2 Cenotes Guided Snorkeling Adventure in Tulum: $149
  • 4-Hour Cenotes Tour with Hotel Pickup in Riviera Maya: $109
  • 5x1 Deluxe Tour Tulum, Coba, Cenote Transportation from Tulum: $88
  • 5x1: Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Mayan Village Full Day Tour: $77
  • ATV Adventure and Horseback Ride with Ziplines, Cenote from Tulum: $105
  • ATV Extreme Adventure Single with Ziplines & Cenote Swim: $137
  • ATV Extreme Adventure Single with Ziplines and Cenote Swim: $140
  • ATV Tour with Ziplines and Cenote Swim Experience in Quintana Roo: $59
  • ATV, Zipline and Cenote at Extreme Adventure with Tulum Pickup: $89
  • Adventure Tulum: $108

Typical Entertainment Prices in Merida

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


  • Train at the Zoo
    $0.12
  • Uxmal Entrance (for 2)
    $20
  • Mayan Village Entrance (for 2)
    $6.01

Tours and Activities in Merida

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

  • Walking Tour Across the Historic Center in Merida: $22
  • Merida Private Tour on a Budget : $29
  • Mérida Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $35
  • Full Day Tour Chichen Magic Towns Izamal and Valladolid: $45
  • 3 Hour Tour in The Sotuta de Peón Live Museum: $62
  • Merida Street Food Walking Tour: $65
  • Private Walking Tour in City of Merida: $75
  • Day of the Dead Tour & Taco buffet: $80
  • Tour to progreso, corchito and salt ponds: $84
  • Kayak Adventure: $85
  • Tour to Uxmal + Choco Story Chocolate Museum: $89
  • Market Tasting and Yucatecan Bars Tour in Merida: $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tulum $25
    Merida $16

Sample the Local Flavors in Tulum

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Tulum:

  • 30 Minutes Brewery Tour in Tulum: $39
  • Wine Tasting at Pan y Vino Tulum: $59
  • Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour: $69


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

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


Which is Bigger, Tulum or Merida?

Merida has a larger population, and is about 90 times larger than the population of Tulum. When comparing the sizes of Tulum and Merida, 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.


When is the best time to visit Tulum or Merida?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Tulum or Merida in the Summer?

Both Merida and Tulum during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Tulum for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Tulum is generally a little warmer than Merida. Daily temperatures in Tulum average around 28°C (83°F), and Merida fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

In Merida, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Tulum. In the summer, Tulum often gets less sunshine than Merida. Tulum gets 232 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Merida receives 254 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Tulum. Tulum usually gets more rain in July than Merida. Tulum gets 145 mm (5.7 in) of rain, while Merida receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tulum 28°C (83°F) 
    Merida 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Tulum or Merida in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Tulum and Merida. The autumn months attract visitors to Tulum because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Tulum is a little warmer than Merida in the autumn. The daily temperature in Tulum averages around 27°C (81°F) in October, and Merida fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Merida this time of the year. In Tulum, it's very sunny this time of the year. Tulum usually receives less sunshine than Merida during autumn. Tulum gets 216 hours of sunny skies, while Merida receives 233 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Merida receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Tulum gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Tulum usually receives less rain than Merida. Tulum gets 173 mm (6.8 in) of rain, while Merida receives 210 mm (8.3 in) of rain each month for the autumn. November to April in Tulum is the dry season. Also, June to October is the rainy season in Tulum. The hurricane season in Tulum is June to October.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tulum 27°C (81°F) 
    Merida 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Tulum or Merida in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Tulum as well as Merida. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Tulum this time of year.

In the winter, Tulum is a little warmer than Merida. Typically, the winter temperatures in Tulum in January average around 23°C (74°F), and Merida averages at about 20°C (68°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Merida. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tulum this time of the year. In the winter, Tulum often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Merida. Tulum gets 213 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Merida receives 209 hours of full sun.

Tulum usually gets more rain in January than Merida. Tulum gets 56 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Merida receives 20 mm (0.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tulum 23°C (74°F) 
    Merida 20°C (68°F)

Should I visit Tulum or Merida in the Spring?

Both Merida and Tulum are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Tulum for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Tulum is generally a little warmer than Merida. Daily temperatures in Tulum average around 27°C (81°F), and Merida fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

It's quite sunny in Merida. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tulum. Tulum usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Merida during spring. Tulum gets 273 hours of sunny skies, while Merida receives 260 hours of full sun in the spring.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Merida. In April, Tulum usually receives less rain than Merida. Tulum gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Merida receives 150 mm (5.9 in) of rain each month for the spring. The dry season in Tulum is November to April. The rainy season in Tulum is June to October. June to October is the hurricane season in Tulum.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tulum 27°C (81°F) 
    Merida 21°C (70°F)

Typical Weather for Merida and Tulum

Tulum Merida
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 23°C (74°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 20°C (68°F) 20 mm (0.8 in)
Feb 24°C (75°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 20°C (68°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Mar 25°C (78°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 21°C (70°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 27°C (81°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 150 mm (5.9 in)
May 28°C (83°F) 101 mm (4 in) 22°C (72°F) 190 mm (7.5 in)
Jun 29°C (83°F) 192 mm (7.6 in) 21°C (70°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 145 mm (5.7 in) 21°C (70°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 167 mm (6.6 in) 21°C (70°F) 130 mm (5.1 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 228 mm (9 in) 21°C (70°F) 190 mm (7.5 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 173 mm (6.8 in) 21°C (70°F) 210 mm (8.3 in)
Nov 25°C (77°F) 103 mm (4.1 in) 21°C (70°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)
Dec 24°C (74°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 20°C (68°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)