Cancun has become the hottest beach destination in Mexico for the last couple of years. Aside from the increase in domestic tourism, you can now find flights from Canada, and cheap air fares through Munich.
Since living in Europe, Cancun has been my go-to arrival destination for connecting flights. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that even though it’s relatively cheap to arrive, it’s not so affordable to stay.
So in bookmark/save/pin this because I am sure you will visit this sweet Caribbean spot in the near future. And I am here to give you 10 tips to experience Cancun on a budget.
1| Book a hotel with shuttle service from the airport
Airport services are massively expensive, and I will suggest booking a hotel or resort that has this. Almost all of the inclusive hotels will include this though, but small hotels near the airport also offer this service. Just make sure to give them your schedule beforehand because it will really hard for you to make a phone call once you arrive at the airport.
2| Book an apartment
If you want to save the hundreds of dollars per night, skip the fancy hotels and book an apartment. Not only will you save a lot per night but you will probably save on the overprice expenses the all inclusive places have to offer. We stayed at Hotel Salvia and not only did it had a complete kitchen set, it was right in front of the beach and next to Cancun’s hotel zone. You can also check other apartments in AirBnb.
3| Choose a local restaurant over big chains
Skip the international overpriced cuisine and indulge in some authentic Mexican treats instead. Don’t worry about food being too spicy, these restaurants are still catered for the international palettes. How will you set them apart from the big overpriced places? Well this places will be smaller in size, but 10x better in taste.
4| Visit a local supermarket
You can go to two stores named: Chedraui or Oxxo to stock up some food. they are right at the center of the Blvd. Kukulkan. Since Cancun is a touristic area, most restaurants will be open only after 12 PM. Make sure you have storage something to eat for breakfast and some snacks for your trips to the beach.
5| Budget for tips for when you do go out!
It is not mandatory to tip in Mexico but it is pretty much the norm. Tipping fees can go to 10-15% of the bill. Customer service in Mexico is extraordinary, waiters won’t leave you one minute unattended so it is well worth it. Just add this extra expense on your daily budget.
6| Pre-drink at the beach
Bring your own towel and cooler filled with ’em goodies. The coolers are available in every convenience store around, and you can also get a bag of ice. AVOID paying for a space at the beach.
7| Splurge on a fun night out (or several, your call)
I can recommend three options: Fat Tuesdays as a prep for the party, Señor Frogs to dine and party without having to pay a cover fee, and splurge on Cocobongo if you really want to go all out in a night club. Why? This place is more than a club, you will get a full entertainment experience that will well cover the entrance fee.
8| Choose city-buses or colectivos over taxis
Colectivos are shuttles that take you around the international highway to the main touristic attractions and towns for a very low price. Let’s say that from Playa del Carmen to Cancun you will pay $35 MX pesos. City buses drive around the main routes (lines 1 & 2) for $8-12 MX pesos. With a map on your hand, and a little note here and there from your concierge, you will find your way through the city. Note: When in the airport, Choose ADO buses for transportation to the Cancun Airport to other cities (like Tulum and Playa del Carmen). Note 2: Cancun is safe, so feel comfortable with taking these options.
9| Invest in a couple of tours but book them online beforehand
If you are the kind of person who would rather relax by the beach and explore the surroundings from time to time then this choice is for you. Tours make it so much easier for you to navigate the city, and they also provide so much valuable information for your travels. If you don’t want to risk making the right choice, stick with these options from TripAdvisor. They are all well updated.
10| Plan ahead and map out your own adventure
And if you are the kind of person who loves to explore non-stop, then you might as well invest on some Lonely Planet guides. With all the information I provided here with the transportation, you can pretty much plan your own routes with your desired destinations!
Hope this mini guide of 10 tips to explore Cancun on a budget, helps you navigate one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. Enjoy your stay!
From the sunny side of this,