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

Should you visit Tulum or Playa del Carmen?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Tulum and Playa del Carmen 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.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Playa del Carmen or Tulum?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tulum is $81, while the average daily cost in Playa del Carmen is $54. 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 Playa del Carmen 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.

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.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tulum $40
    Playa del Carmen $26
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tulum $80
    Playa del Carmen $52

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.

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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Tulum $23
    Playa del Carmen $16
Typical Food prices in Tulum

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


  • Lunch
    $2.51

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

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

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.

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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tulum $19
    Playa del Carmen $16
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:

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Playa del Carmen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Playa del Carmen:

  • Shuttle Transfer Cancun Airport - Playa del Carmen: $13
  • Private Transfer to Xcaret Park: $15
  • Private Transfer to Xplor / Xenses / Xplor Fire: $15
  • Transfer in Private Car from-to Xcaret to Cancun Airport (CUN): $32
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Playa del Carmen to Cancún Airport: $33
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport: $40
  • El Dorado Maroma to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $41
  • Private Transfer to Xavage / Xoximilco: $45
  • Playa del Carmen to Cancún Airport (CUN) - Private Departure Transfer: $46
  • Private Transfer to Xel-Há Park: $50
  • Parasailing in Playa del Carmen with transfer: $50
  • Departure Private Transfer Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport CUN by Minivan: $52

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

Prices for flights to both Playa del Carmen 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.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tulum $21
    Playa del Carmen $11

Tours and Activities in Tulum

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

  • Discover the ancient Mayan city and its legends on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Maya Ruins of Tulum Admission Ticket: $12
  • Tulum Taco Tour: $16
  • Tulum City Tour: $24
  • Tulum Street Art Tour: $24
  • Tulum Mural Tours: $28
  • Tulum Bike Art Tour: $45
  • Tour Cenote, Coba, Tulum & Playa del Carmen 4x1 VIP: $52
  • Tour VIP Coba, Tulum, Cenote & Playa del Carmen: $52
  • 4 in 1 Tour - Coba, Cenote, Tulum & Playa del Carmen: $53
  • Four in One Tour - Coba, Tulum, Cenote & Playa del Carmen: $53
  • Tour 4 in 1 Tulum, Coba, Cenote and Playa del Carmen.: $54

Tours and Activities in Playa del Carmen

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

  • Playa del Carmen Shopping Tour Fifth Avenue and Mamitas Beach Club: $9.99
  • Playa del Carmen Street Art Tour: $27
  • Playa del Carmen City Tour: $27
  • 3D Museum of Wonders Admission Ticket: $32
  • Reef Snorkeling Experience in Playa del Carmen: $34
  • PDC Running Experience w/Breakfast: $35
  • Playa del Carmen PhotoWalk and City Tour: $37
  • Playa del Carmen Private PhotoWalk Tour: $41
  • Playa del Carmen Private Art Tour and Gallery Visit: $41
  • Playa del Carmen Bike Art Tour: $42
  • Chichen itza full day tour: $43
  • Chichen Itza FULL DAY TOUR: $43

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.

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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tulum $17
    Playa del Carmen $14

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


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

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Tulum vs. Playa del Carmen Travel Comparison

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