Getting around Cancun on a budget
It’s easy enough to say that the easiest way around the city is by foot, but there are a multitude of reasons as to why you probably don’t want to travel around by foot! It’s not always easy and it can be exhausting! So how can you travel around Cancun on a budget?
The best way to get around Cancun is to use the ‘colectivo’, which is a form of public transport that resembles a mini van. These are particularly frequent in popular tourist zones, hold a lot of people and have even recently all been decked out with air conditioning, which is very nice when it gets crowded in the hot weather! It costs $20 pesos per person – which equates to just 0.87p in British money, so it’s incredibly cheap! These buses run 24/7 every 15 minutes (although this can vary from stop to stop – details are provided at each individual stop). You can find out more information about the Colectivos here: https://travelyucatan.com/collectivo/
Another good way to get around Cancun is via taxi. Uber, the popular taxi company that works from your mobile operates in Cancun, but there are also local taxi services to use too. Taxis in Cancun don’t run on a meter like British or American taxis, so you can expect to pay a fixed rate of around $24 pesos for a journey – although, if you’re travelling for quite a distance, it might be significantly more than this.
Getting to and from the airport in Cancun is just as easy as getting around the rest of the city. You can get to and from the airport via public bus, coach or shuttle bus – or, if you’re renting a car or fancy getting a taxi, you can do this too. However, these two options aren’t best suited for someone traveling on a budget! The most affordable way to get to Cancun from the airport is via the shuttle bus. There is no set price for the shuttle bus, as it does vary depending on where you’re travelling to, but you can expect to pay up to $549 pesos maximum (around £24). You can find out more information about the shuttle bus here: http://www.cancun-airport.net/shared-shuttle.php
Budget Accommodation in Cancun
Cancun can be quite a costly place to stay, but there is definitely a lot of cheap accommodation that goes unnoticed because a lot of people don’t think to look at any options outside of hotels and resorts! If you know where to look, you can find some really affordable accommodation in Cancun. Here are some of our top picks.
AirBnBs are always great for people travelling on a budget. You can usually rent out an entire apartment for a week for the cost of a hotel room for a night! If you’re looking for accommodation that feels like a home away from home, AirBnBs are your best bet. Here are some of our top picks.
Basic Room with Private Bathroom
$230 pesos a night
This AirBnB accommodation might be tiny, but for one solo traveller on a budget, it’s the ideal accommodation. Costing the equivalent of £10 a night, the private room has access to a communal patio area with a BBQ, so you can meet new people and make some friends on your travels! The apartment is just a short walk from the beach and is surrounded by shops and eateries.
Double Room in the Perfect Location
$184 pesos a night
This budget accommodation is comfortably sized for a couple travelling on a budget. The best part about the accommodation is probably the location; it is just a five minute walk from the beach, and a ten minute walk from the centre of Cancun, where you’ll find all the shops, restaurants and tourist attractions!
Casa Real Paraíso
$921 pesos a night
This accommodation is classy and luxurious and is definitely the kind of place you’d pay a small fortune to stay in if it was an ordinary hotel – however as an AirBnB accommodation, it’s a lot more affordable for a group to stay here than you might think! With a huge communal pool and garden, space for parking, and a great location, you really get your money’s worth here.
If you’re really after a luxury experience where you don’t have to look after yourself in terms of cooking and cleaning, you’re probably going to want to stay in a hotel. Hotels can be pretty expensive, but here are some of the best budget hotels in Cancun.
Hotel Hacienda De Castilla, Calle 17 **
$391 pesos a night
The Hotel Hacienda is the perfect example of a budget hotel in Cancun. The rooms are decked out with the necessities and the hotel provides free WiFi and parking, which is all you can really ask for the price they’re charging! If it’s luxury you’re after, this might not be the best hotel for you, but if it’s cheap accommodation then this is your best bet!
Dogtown Suites, Av. Lopez Portillo Y Torcasita ***
$691 pesos a night
The Dogtown Suites are quite glamorous, a curving block of apartments surrounding a small garden space with trees and vines; it’s quite lovely. The rooms are spacious, clean and modern with air con, WiFi and breakfast all included in the price, which is a bargain!
Caribe Internacional, Cancun ***
$483 pesos a night
This budget accommodation might only have a three star rating, but it is definitely worthy of a five star one in our eyes! The hotel is beautiful, with modern rooms that are well looked after by staff, a gorgeous patio area to relax and eat in and to top it off, the hotel is in a great location too, just a stone’s throw from the beach! For the price of the room, you really couldn’t ask for much more when staying in Cancun on a budget.
Hostels are a far cheaper alternative to a hotel, and a great way to meet other travellers if you’re on your own. While you can stay in a private room by yourself, it is far better if you’re traveling on a budget to stay in a dorm with other people! It’s safe, it’s friendly and it can help you to make some incredible memories. Here are some of the most affordable hostels in Cancun.
Las Flores, Cancun
$138 pesos per night, per person
Las Flores hostel is the cheapest hostel in Cancun, and is really conveniently located. It’s just a stones throw from a bus stop, and a short walk from a number of restaurants and shops, as well as the local flea market.
La Morena, Cancun
$200 pesos per night, per person
La Morena is hostel heaven for travellers, particularly those travelling to Cancun on a budget. The building is painted bright yellow which makes it feel like a happy, welcoming place to stay from the get go! Then inside there’s a room full of hammocks and even a ‘chill out’ room for people to use to wind down in.
Haina Hostel, Cancun
$217 pesos per person, per night
If you’re looking to stay in budget accommodation in Cancun, it doesn’t get much better than the Haina Hostel, which is also particularly popular with students on gap years and solo backpackers. Located in central downtown Cancun, the hostel is just ten minutes from the beach, which is always a plus!
Eating & Drinking on a Budget in Cancun
One of the best parts of experiencing a new country, or a city in a new country, is trying their local cuisine. Mexican cuisine is absolutely delicious – nachos, tacos, fajitas, the lot! And better still, food and drink in Cancun is really quite cheap, meaning that it’s relatively easy to eat in Cancun on a budget. Here are some of the best places to eat on a budget in Cancun for all three meals of the day!
Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day, and there are quite a few cute little cafes and restaurants to pick from suited to those who are eating on a budget that serve some great breakfast and brunch options. Here are our top picks.
Cafe Antoinette, Calle Xpuhil Esq Av Nichupte
Price Range: Moderate
What You Get: While this isn’t the most affordable place to eat breakfast, you certainly do get your money’s worth while you’re here! A typically French restaurant, the cafe serves up a range of delicious pastries, colourful macaroons and some sweet treats and cakes if you’re going for brunch, or even lunch, rather than breakfast.
Oceano, The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas and Spa
Price Range: Moderate
What You Get: Oceano offers a really delicious breakfast buffet, which has a lot of breakfast foods from both British and Mexican cuisine. You can pay to eat as much as you like, and the breakfast bar is open from 7am until 11am.
When it comes to lunch, there’s more than enough options for you to choose from. It could be that, in the middle of the day when the weather is at its hottest, you don’t want a proper meal and instead opt for some food from a street vendor. However, if you are looking for somewhere to sit down and eat properly, here are some of the best budget eats in Cancun for lunch.
Las Brasilenas, Plaza de Toros
Price Range: Very Cheap
What You Get: Las Brasilenas offers a delicious menu of South American fast food – think chips, burgers, tacos, nachos and lots more! If you’re looking for Cancun’s equivalent to McDonalds, this is the place for you!
The Surfin’ Burrito, Kukulcan Boulevard
Price Range: Very Cheap
What You Get: If it’s the best burritos in Mexico that you’re after, The Surfin’ Burrito is where you’re going to find them! They offer an abundance of fillings, but their shrimp burrito is top quality, and something you definitely must try!
Dinner, the final meal of the day… and definitely the best! You can gorge on a three course meal, look through your photos and memorabilia gathered throughout the day and reflect on what you’ve done while planning for tomorrow! You need the best food to accompany this kind of conversation, so here are some of the best places to eat dinner in Cancun on a budget.
La Dolce Vita, SM 3 Downtown
Price Range: Cheap
What You Get: A lot of the restaurants in Cancun are very expensive but La Dolce Vita offers huge portion sizes for some of the lowest prices around! Italian dishes cooked to perfection and served up beautifully, you won’t be disappointed here!
Pik Nik, Cancun
Price Range: Very Cheap
What You Get: Pik Nik offers classic Latin and Mexican food for very low prices! Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, Pik Nik serves everyone. There’s often a bit of a queue but this goes down pretty quickly – and the food is definitely worth the wait!
Chuchito Perez Cancun, Boulevard Kukulkan
Price Range: Cheap
What You Get: The best fusion of Latin and Mexican food around! Seafood, meats, American foods and some delicious alcoholic beverages on the drinks menu, there’s not a lot that you won’t get from Chuchito Perez Cancun, even when you’re eating on a budget.
Nightlife in Cancun
Cancun is notorious for its party scene; you’re bound to have a good night out wherever you go, even if you’re experiencing the nightlife in Cancun on a budget. There’s plenty of bars, clubs, lounges and pubs to choose from! Here are some of the best ones to visit if you’re in Cancun on a budget.
Don Libando, Plaza Solare Local
Price Range: Cheap
What You Get: Don Libando is a pub-cum-restaurant, serving great Mexican food in tapas style, alongside cheap alcohol, which is ideal for those drinking on a budget.
Price Range: Moderate
What You Get: The ultimate party experience is provided by Cuncrawl, where you can experience various levels of partying. Pay for entry into multiple bars and clubs, special packages or VIP entry and deals, and FREE drinks ALL NIGHT! So at $1350 pesos, if you compare that to how much you would spend on drinks over a whole night, it’s a bargain!
Cheap or Free Attractions in Cancun
You don’t have to break the bank when looking for things to do in Cancun on a budget. While Cancun can be pretty pricy, there is more than enough to do for free, or for a very small amount. You can still enjoy everything Cancun has to offer while traveling on a budget. Here are some of the best things to do without spending too much money.
- Visit the Mayan Ruins – The Mayan Ruins are a huge part of Mexican history – in fact, world history! You can visit this beautiful ruins for just $72 pesos. The site almost doubles as a zoo, because there is an abundance of iguanas living here too, so make sure you take your camera to snap some cute photos!
- Spend the day at Parque de las Palapas – Parque de las Palapas is Cancun’s main square where you can really immerse yourself into Mexican life, mingling with the locals, eating good food, watching street performers, taking your kids to the free play area or doing some shopping. The square is bright and colourful and is always bustling with friendly people!
- Go snorkelling – This is a free thing to do in Cancun, all you need to do is make sure you have a snorkel and goggles! The waters in Cancun are so clear you can dive down quite far and see so many gorgeous fish and sea plants.
- Spend the day on Isla Mujeres – Isla Mujeres is a smaller island just a 20 minute boat trip from Cancun. It’s definitely worth spending the day on this island, and costs just $108 pesos to do so, making it the ideal attraction to visit on a budget. There’s plenty of shops to visit on the island, as well as a gorgeous beach which is often a lot quieter than Cancun’s main beach!
- Visit the Museo Maya de Cancun – For $71 pesos you can visit the Museo Maya de Cancun, a museum that holds many interesting and unique Mayan artefacts that have been preserved for hundreds of years. It’s worth visiting if you’re interested in the Mayan history and want to learn more about Mexican history and culture.
Final Top Tips for Visiting Cancun on a Budget
So there you have it, a jam packed guide on how to travel to Cancun on a budget. Here are some final top tips that are worth remembering:
- Make sure you confirm the price of your taxi trip before taking the trip if you’re using a local taxi and not an Uber.
- Negotiate taxi prices if you can; don’t be afraid of bartering a price as taxi drivers do try to overcharge tourists who don’t know any better!
- Look after your money! In Mexico they are very strict about only using money in perfect condition. If notes have been ripped, torn or damaged in any way, they won’t be accepted. Similarly, you shouldn’t accept notes that have been ruined, as you won’t be able to use them.
- Use waterproof suncream, as you’re probably going to spend a lot of your time in the sea or in a swimming pool, and it’s important to stay safe!
- Be careful when walking around Cancun! In Mexico, pedestrians don’t have the right of way on the roads, so it can be quite dangerous at times! Make sure you allow cars to drive where they want and keep yourself safe!
- Watch out for sealice in the ocean! Sealice season is from April-August, so make sure you purchase some preventative spray or cream as well as some soothing spray.