12 Tips for Traveling to Cancun on a Budget

Cancun Tips

If you are planning a trip to Cancun but don’t have too much money to spend, these tips will help you get the best deal and keep you within your budget.

1. Know when to Go

The best time to visit Cancun is from April to June. There are fewer visitors during those months and you can find good deals for flights and hotels. September to November can be risky since it is rainy season, and whatever you do, avoid spring break.

2. Save on Airport Transfers

The cheapest way to get from the airport to Cancun and vice versa is to take the ADO bus. The ride takes about 30 – 45 minutes, it costs less than $5 USD each way, and buses leave/arrive to the bus terminal in downtown Cancun.

Is this enough to convince you to come to #Cancun?

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3. Choose a Budget-Friendly Hotel

The cheapest hotels in Cancun are located close to the bus terminal in downtown Cancun. Getting from there to the Hotel Zone and beaches is easy and cheap.

4. Take the Bus

If you need to travel between downtown Cancun and the Hotel Zone, buses are the cheapest way to get around. A ticket can cost as little as $1 USD, and most drivers are friendly and helpful with tourists.

5. Eat Where the Locals Go

Restaurants that target foreign tourists tend to be more expensive. The best way to save on food in Cancun is to eat at the smaller, more authentic places; you can find some of those around the Parque Las Palapas. Aim for the crowded places, they usually serve the best food.

Can you guess how much we love tostadas? What's your favorite Mexican dish? #food #TGIF #travel

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6. Buy Like a Local

If you need to buy snacks, go to the local markets and small convenience stores. Avoid buying things in the Hotel Zone where everything can be more expensive.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate

If you are booking a tour or buying souvenirs in the local market, it never hurts to try to negotiate the price. You may be surprised by what you get.

8. Pay in Pesos

Always carry some Mexican pesos with you. Remember that if you pay in foreign currency, you won’t get the best exchange rate for your money.

9. Bring Toilettries From Home

Things like sunscreen, cosmetics and mosquito repellent tend to be more expensive in Cancun than what you’d normally pay back home. It is always wise to bring your own.

Want to learn about our culture? Come visit the pyramids in #Cancun. #HappyWeekend

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10. Speak Spanish

At least try, it can go a long way. People love it when foreigners make an effort to speak their language and understand their culture. In return, they are more likely to be friendly and help you find your way around.

11. Visit the Architectural Sites on Your Own

If you want to explore the Maya Riviera, do it on your own instead of booking a tour. It’s cheaper, and will have the freedom to come and go as you please.

12. Be Flexible

Keep your eyes open for the best travel deals. If your dates and plans are flexible you will be able to take advantage of the best offers that come up.

This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series.

❤︎ Mexico ❤︎


  1. How do you recommend getting to architectural sites, like Chichen Itza, on your own from Playa del Carmen?

  2. I think it would help to do a range of price comparisons (i.e. all-inclusive rates versus separate booking). This blogging bit is too general. I understand that fares vary between country to country, but that research would knock this article out of the park! And even recommending more specifics – like touristic areas or even a couple restaurants that you tries your lovely tostadas from. Any traveler knows that “Moctezuma’s Revenge” is often the reason travelers avoid street food.
    Having said that, from my perspective, it would definitely help weighing whether the separate flight/hotel/transportation booking rates are far less than an all-inclusive package.

    • Thanks for your input, Anna. You make some valid points and I agree with you that a comparison between all-inclusive packages and separate bookings would be very useful for travellers. Perhaps I will address that in a future post. Thanks for your comment! Happy travels :)

  3. I visited Cancun in June this year for the first time and would highly recommend it! We stayed all inclusive in the hotel zone It was amazing although the humidity in June is pretty intense and it was rainy season although we didnt have much rain for the 2 weeks we stayed
    Definitly visit Chichen Itza and Tulum I was blown away by the history and culture of these Mayan ruins!
    Be careful of the flea market you do get hounded preventing you from looking properly at things, we found the local.supermarket had everything you could imagine and was much cheaper than the shops near our hotel


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