A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Tulum vs. Mexico City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Tulum or Mexico City?

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 Mexico City 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 active, lively, and ancient town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Mexico City

Mexico City is a colorful, cultural, and diverse city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Tulum and Mexico City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Tulum or Mexico City?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Mexico City than Tulum, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Mexico City is better known for its food, historical sights, shopping, and big city activities, while Tulum is more popular for its resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty. Tulum is more touristy than Mexico City and is popular for its archeological sights, beautiful beaches, and dramatic cenotes. Mexico City is well known for its vibrant street food scene, colorful markets, and historic architecture. Also, Mexico City is famous for Zócalo.

How is Tulum different from Mexico City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Mexico City 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 Mexico City?

Tulum
Mexico City

Both Tulum and Mexico City have terrific landmarks and museums for visitors.

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.

The museums and tourist attractions in Mexico City are world-renowned. The city is filled with historic buildings, fascinating museums, and interesting landmarks. At the heart of the city is Zócalo, where the country's constitution was signed. Nearby you'll find the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor. Other interesting museums in the city include the National Museum of Anthropology, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the National History Museum.


Is the Food Better in Tulum or Mexico City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tulum
Mexico City

Mexico City is terrific for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Tulum is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.

Many restaurants in Mexico City have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The city food scene is as diverse as the population itself. There are countless ways to experience the amazing street food, but there are also world class chefs working in award winning restaurants. Make sure you try the chilaquiles, tacos al pastor, and chiles en nogada.

Tulum has a huge number of terrific restaurants. 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).

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Nightlife?

Tulum
Mexico City

Both Tulum and Mexico City are terrific 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.

Mexico City is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. It's a huge city, so of course there's no shortage of diverse nightlife activities. Some of the most popular neighborhoods for nightlife include the downtown, La Condesa, and Colonia Juárez. For upscale clubs head to Polanco and for trendy and eclectic venues check out Roma.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Resorts?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is very popular for its luxury resorts. However, Mexico City is not a resort destination.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Tulum is a great choice. 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.

Mexico City is not a resort destination.


Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is very popular for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Mexico City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

The clear water and abundant marine life make Tulum a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. 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.

Mexico City is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Beaches?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is very popular for the beach. However, Mexico City is not a beach destination.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Tulum. 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.

Mexico City is not a beach destination.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for its Old Town?

Tulum
Mexico City

Mexico City is a city with good options for its historic old town. However, Tulum does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors go to Mexico City to see the historical old town. Centro Historico spreads out from Zócalo Plaza, and has many buildings that date back as far as the Aztec period. Many tourists gather here to explore the history and wander down the pedestrian-only Calle Madero.

Tulum does not have a historic old town.


Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Hiking?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is an excellent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Mexico City is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Tulum. 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.

Mexico City is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Tulum or Mexico City?

Tulum
Mexico City

Mexico City is terrific for shopping. Also, Tulum is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Mexico City is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. The city has everything from open-air bazaars (tianguis) to modern shopping malls. There are international brands as well as local art galleries, handicrafts, and retail outlets.

Tulum is well-known for its shopping. 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.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Families?

Tulum
Mexico City

Both Tulum and Mexico City are excellent 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, Mexico City is very family-friendly. It's a huge city, so there are enough diverse activities to keep everyone entertained. There's even a Six Flags. Popular museums for kids include Papalote Museo del Niño and Museo de Geología. There's also the Acuario Inbursa, and make sure you check out a Lucha Libre show.


Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Couples?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is very popular for couples. Also, Mexico City is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Tulum makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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.

Mexico City is a nice destination for couples. The city is filled with parks where you can enjoy a picnic, museums that are fascinating to walk through, and cultural activities that are one-of-a-kind. You can ride on a gondola in Xochimilco or spend the day exploring the amazing food scene.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Tulum
Mexico City

Both Tulum and Mexico City are excellent 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 Mexico City. It's a big city with a wonderful atmosphere and many hostels. Backpackers who want to experience the culture, food, and personality of Mexico will love a visit here.

Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Students?

Tulum
Mexico City

Mexico City is a well-known place for students. However, Tulum is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Mexico City. International students love the art, architecture, food, and culture that this colorful city has to offer.

Tulum is not popular with students.


Is Tulum or Mexico City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tulum
Mexico City

Mexico City is a well-known place for its public transit. Also, Tulum is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Visitors to Mexico City can move around easily with public transportation. The city has a complex and comprehensive public transit system that includes a metro, metrobus, and local buses.

Tulum has some 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.

Is Tulum or Mexico City a more walkable city?

Tulum
Mexico City

Tulum is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Mexico City is lacking in options for its walkability.

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

Mexico City is generally not very walkable. While you can walk within many neighborhoods, such as the historic city center, it's impossible to walk between neighborhoods and in many parts of the city.

For even more information, also check out Is Tulum Worth Visiting? and Is Mexico City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Mexico City or Tulum?

How long in Tulum or Mexico City?

In either Tulum or Mexico City, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Tulum has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Tulum than Mexico City. However, 3-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Tulum than Mexico City. 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 Mexico City. 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 Mexico City than Tulum 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 Mexico City.


  • How many days in Tulum or Mexico City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tulum 3-5 
    Mexico City 3-5

One day in Tulum or Mexico City?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the archeological town of Tulum. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Each neighborhood in Mexico City has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. 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 Mexico City?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the active destination of Tulum. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This town offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Mexico City. 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 Mexico City?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the active town of Tulum. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Mexico City is a fun place to experience. Each neighborhood in Mexico City has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Tulum or Mexico City?

Many people enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting Tulum. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the cultural big city of Mexico City. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


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, Mexico City or Tulum?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tulum is $121, while the average daily cost in Mexico City is $213. 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 Mexico City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tulum $59
    Mexico City $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tulum $118
    Mexico City $82
Compare Hotels in Tulum and Mexico City

Looking for a hotel in Tulum or Mexico City? 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 Mexico City


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 Mexico City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tulum $28
    Mexico City $13
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: $479
  • Horseback Riding in the Jungle w/ Transfers and Lunch: $100
  • Tulum to Xcaret - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $106
  • Tulum to Mahahual - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $191
  • Tulum to Cancun - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $151
  • Tulum to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $71
  • Tulum to Bacalar - Private Transfer with Optional Sightseeing: $185
  • Tulum Hotels to Merida Rejon Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $115
  • Private Transfer Tulum-Bacalar with optional 2h in Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: $242
  • Private Transfer Tulum Zone - Cancun International Airport: $160
  • Private Transfer From Tulum to Chetumal With a 2 Hour Stop: $250
  • Private Transfer From Cancun Airport - Tulum: $208

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Mexico City

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Mexico City:


  • Metro
    $1.20
  • Uber Ride
    $4.19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Mexico City

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

  • Transfer Mexico city Airport - Mexico city Downtown hotels: $18
  • Aguascalientes Airport (AGU) to Aguascalientes - Arrival Transfer: $24
  • Transfer to and from Mexico City Airport: $30
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Mexico City Airport: $34
  • Private Transfer: Benito Juarez Airport (MEX) to Mexico City: $35
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Mexico APT-HTL (MEX) : $36
  • Mexico City Private Airport Transfer : $36
  • Private Transfer From Mexico City Airport to Downtown: $37
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Mexico City - Mexico Airport (MEX): $43
  • Mexico Airport(MEX) to Ixtapan de La Sal Resorts-Arrival Transfer: $44
  • Ixtapan de La Sal to Mexico Airport (MEX)-Departure Transfer: $44
  • Private One Way Transfer from Mexico City to Mexico Airport: $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Tulum or Mexico City?

Prices for flights to both Mexico City 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
    Mexico City $27
Typical Food Prices in Tulum

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


  • Lunch
    $2.99

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: $88
  • Vegan Walking Food Tour with Tasting: $89
  • Mexican Cooking from Scratch and Mezcal Tasting in a Local Home in Tulum: $96
  • Gourmet Experience: 5 Course Dinner, Cocktail Class and Wine Pairing: $159
  • Private Mayan Food Cooking Class and Cenote: $289
  • Private transfer for 5 hours (go dinner,cenotes, shopping and more) : $299

Typical Food Prices in Mexico City

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $13
  • Coffee and Snacks
    $4.67
  • Dinner for 2
    $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Mexico City

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

  • Veracruz and Boca del Rio Food Tour with Mangroves Boat Trip: $50
  • Virtual Mexican Cooking Class (private and personalized): $50
  • Local Markets & Food Tour in Mexico City: $50
  • Tortilla Crawl: Food Tour in Mexico City: $55
  • Uruapan Food Tour: $61
  • Muchos moles: Multi-variety mole cooking class and feast: $72
  • Mexico City Vegan & Veggie Market Explorer plus Cooking Lesson: $73
  • MEXICO CITY FOOD TOUR: flavors on two wheels: $78
  • La Roma Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $78
  • Food Tour with Ride an Electric Bike in Mexico: $80
  • Flamenco Live Show and Dinner in Mexico City: $83
  • Flamenco Tablao Live Show & dinner: $83

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tulum $32
    Mexico City $15

Tours and Activities in Tulum

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

  • Romantic tour in Tulum: $169
  • Sian Ka'an Boat Tour: Full Day Experience: $185
  • 4-Hour Cenotes Tour with Hotel Pickup in Riviera Maya: $109
  • 4x1 Tour! Tulúm, Coba, Cenote and Playa del Carmen: $37
  • 5 Hours Mayan Snorkeling Experience in Tulum: $90
  • 5x1 Deluxe Tour Tulum, Coba, Cenote Transportation from Tulum: $88
  • 5x1: Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Mayan Village Full Day Tour: $81
  • ATV Extreme Adventure Single with Ziplines and Cenote Swim: $137
  • ATV Jungle Adventure with Ziplines, Cenote & Tulum Pickup: $75
  • ATV Tour with Ziplines and Cenote Swim Experience in Quintana Roo: $59
  • Adventure Tulum: $108
  • Adventure in the Mayan Jungle with ATV and Zip Line in Tulum: $90

Tours and Activities in Mexico City

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

  • MUCHO Museum of Chocolate Entrance Ticket: $4.79
  • Franz Mayer Museum Regular Admission Ticket: $5.99
  • Double Decker Bus Night Tour: $5.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour-Moctezuma and the Zocalo:The Aztec Empire : $6.99
  • Night Bus Tour Knowing Mexico City: $7.37
  • La Roma's Famous Sights and Local Lore: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Memory and Tolerance Museum Entry Ticket: $8.39
  • Mexico City (Coyoacan) City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $8.75
  • Mexico City (Historic Centre) City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $8.75
  • Mexico City (Coyoacan) Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $8.95
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Night Tour in a Double Decker Bus: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tulum $25
    Mexico City $21

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Mexico City

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Mexico City:

  • CDMX Pub Crawl: Mexico City Bar Crawl: $29
  • Mexico City Pub Crawl: $31
  • Mexico City Bar Crawl: $40
  • Best Bar Crawl at Downtown: $49
  • Nightly Historic Center From Above© Rooftop Bar Crawl +Taco Snack: $129
  • 2 Hours Private Mexican Wine Tasting in Polanco: $155
  • Third Largest Monolith in the World:Bernal with wine tasting: $235
  • Cavas Freixenet Wine Tour from Mexico City: $255


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tulum and Mexico City, we can see that Mexico City 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 Mexico City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Mexico City than you might in Tulum.

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


Which is Bigger, Tulum or Mexico City?

Mexico City has a larger population, and is about 1350 times larger than the population of Tulum. When comparing the sizes of Tulum and Mexico City, 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.