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How expensive is Tulum? The budget you need for a week in Tulum!

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Is Tulum worth the hype? Pros and cons of Tulum
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Planning a trip to Tulum and wondering what kind of budget to have in mind? In this post, I’ll tell you a bit more about the prices in Tulum and how expensive is Tulum, including hotel prices, food, transport and, of course, beach clubs! I will also provide you with an approximate budget you need for a week in Tulum.

If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. Together with my partner Jose, we travel to Mexico quite often to visit his family. I’ve written a lot of useful posts about travelling around Mexico, so feel free to check them out in the “Mexico travel” category!

Here’s what you can find in this post:

Where is Tulum, and how to get there from Cancun Airport?

Tulum is a small town located in the state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Tulum is part of “Riviera Maya” – a large stretch of a jungle and beautiful coast that starts just after Cancun Airport and finishes after Tulum.

Despite being circa 1.5-2 hours driving away from Cancun, Tulum is primarily served by Cancun International airport. You can check the prices and availability of flights to Cancun Airport from your city here.

In order to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport, you have a few different options. The cheapest option is to take a coach to Playa del Carmen for $10 one way (ADO coach – check the schedule here) and then take a minibus (Collectivo) to Tulum Centro, however, that would ONLY work if you have a piece of very small luggage with you (e.g. a backpack), as you won’t be able to fit a suitcase in a public minibus. Alternatively, you can just take a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, which would be a bit more expensive (around $40-50 for a taxi), but much more convenient.

You can take a taxi directly to Tulum, however, that would cost around $100-150 for a taxi (which is okay if you’re a few people). There is also an option to wait for a shared taxi, which would be much cheaper, maybe around $60-70 in total for two people, however, it usually takes ages for one to fill. Another option would be arranging a pre-booked taxi (transfer), which would be around $60-80 for a car. You can check it on GetTransfer here.

Finally, the last option and the one I recommend most is to rent a car and drive to Tulum yourself. Let’s look at this option in more detail below.

Renting a car in Cancun Airport to drive to Tulum.

The earlier you book your car hire, the more competitive price you will get. The price really depends on the season; however, you can often rent a car for a week for as low as $90 (without full insurance). If you rent a day before your trip, that price can be already around $500-600 and it’s even more expensive on arrival (we were quoted almost $1500 once!)

Make sure to avoid providers like Hertz and National as they are known to scam tourists in Mexico, not including the third-party liability insurance in their rental price and then asking their customers to pay two to three times more without giving them an option to opt-out of this insurance.

I recommend renting through Rentalcars.com or through Expedia as they offer full insurance at a very competitive price. The providers I can recommend in Cancun are Sixt and Avis.

How expensive is Tulum? Prices in Tulum, Mexico

Now let’s talk about prices in Tulum. If you’re wondering if Tulum is expensive, the answer is no, not really. It all depends on your lifestyle. It is true that Tulum is more expensive than Playa del Carmen and even Cancun; however, it’s still affordable compared to most Caribbean destinations like the Bahamas or Barbados.

However, Tulum also has some very expensive places, and a huge downside of Tulum is that with a small budget, you wouldn’t be able to live close to the beach. You will have to either cycle or take a taxi to the beach, and it would take at least 35-45 minutes to get there. Hence, I’ve written a critical article about Tulum – whether Tulum is worth travelling to or not – you can check it out here.

Accommodation prices in Tulum

The cheapest way to stay in Tulum would be to stay in a hostel or apartment. An apartment would be much more affordable and convenient long term. You can find a very nice apartment close to the city centre (and about 30-45 minutes cycling away from the beach) for around $250-350 per week, e.g. Suite Casa Tortuga or Tulum Nah. Obviously, if you’re staying with a partner/friend, you can split the price in two, and it’s going to be a very competitive price for a nice apartment in Tulum.

If you have a bigger budget, there are plenty of stunning hotels to choose from, from budget-friendly trendy millennial hotels in La Veleta and Tulum Centro (e.g. hotel Bardo or era Hotel) or luxury beachfront hotels like nomade or Delek.

If you want to stay in a beachfront hotel in Zona Hotelera in Tulum, you need to account for at least $700 per week (for the most affordable hotel), but on average, it would be around $1300 per week. Some of the nicest and most Instagrammable hotels in Tulum would cost you around $4000-5000 for a week (e.g. hotel Ana y Jose or Ahau Tulum).

Food prices in Tulum

Now let’s talk about the food prices in Tulum. There are plenty of restaurants for any budget. Cheaper options are usually located near Tulum Centro. Some of my favourite places were street food markets like Palma Central, where you can eat for around 250 MNX per person ($11-13 USD). Street tacos and comida corrida meal deals are even more expensive (you can eat for about $5-7).

When we were eating in restaurants in Zona Hotelera, we would usually pay $20-25 per person for lunch and $30-35 per person for dinner; however, there are places that are cheaper or more expensive than that. 

However, if you want to stay on a budget, make sure to account for at least $30 per day per person – $210 per week, however, you can cut that amount significantly if you cook some of the meals in your apartment.

If you want not to worry about food and just eat wherever you want, you need to allocate around $60-100 per person per day (that would include drinks as well). 

Are beaches in Tulum free?

If you aren’t staying in Zona Hotelera in a beachfront hotel, you will have to go to a public beach, or you need to pay for a beach club. While all beaches are public and free in Tulum, none of them will have sunbeds and umbrellas unless you go to a beach club. Moreover, in Tulum, it’s also challenging to get to the nice beaches in Zona Hotelera, as most of it is taken by hotels and you just won’t have access to walk to the beach (there are ways, but it’s usually very far away).

However, you can always go to the public beach Playa Paraiso that is also absolutely stunning! Make sure to bring a lounger with you as well as a very strong but at the same time reef-friendly mineral sunscreen.

How expensive are beach clubs in Tulum

The next logical question is how expensive are beach clubs in Tulum. If you decide that you want a comfortable stay on the beach, well, you can visit one of Tulum’s multiple beach clubs. The good news is that many of Tulum’s beach clubs give you the fee you paid as a food credit, so you can count it as a lunch – not too bad!

Tulum has plenty of amazing beach clubs and restaurants with beach access. The most affordable beach club is probably Rosa del Viento – it costs just $25 per person, and you can spend all of it on food.

There are some pretty expensive beach clubs that cost $70-100 per person and even more in case of some special events, e.g. Papaya Playa Project, Nomade or Casa Malca!

Tour prices and attractions in Tulum

Finally, the last cost to keep in mind is tour prices and attractions in Tulum (if you’re planning to visit any). For example, entrance to the Tulum Archaeological side costs around $5 per person. If you’re planning to visit some cenotes as well (e.g. cenote Azul), the entrance can cost around $5-6 as well. If you’re considering taking some amazing tours (e.g. visiting Sian Ka’an Biosphere), each tour can cost around $100 per person.

Here are some amazing tours to take in Tulum:

Cenote Triple Adventure Tour

Chichen Itza Day Trip Including Cenote and Lunch

Sian Ka’an Adventure 

DRIVING TO CHICHEN ITZA FROM CANCUN, PLAYA DEL CARMEN OR TULUM: FAQ

Budget for 1 week in Tulum

Now, finally, let’s discuss a budget for a week in Tulum. I calculated 3 options of budgets for Tulum for 1 week (I feel it’s the most suitable option for everyone).

Low budget option (staying in a private room, no hostels):

$150-200 accommodation (divide by 2 if you’re staying with a friend / partner), food – $25 per day (or $175 for a week), going out – $10 per day or $70 for a week, 1-2 visits of beach clubs – $50, bike rental for a week $30, transport (collectivo) – $20 (to go to cenotes), shuttle bus from the airport and back – $80, visiting cenotes – $20.

Total: circa $500 (or $600 if you will stay in a separate room). You can reduce this budget even more if you stay at a hostel, eat fast food and only visit public beaches (then it should be around $300)

Medium budget for a week in Playa del Carmen (mid-range hotel, nicer restaurants, visiting beach clubs every day, hiring a car):

$450-600 – hotel (divide by 2 if sharing with a friend or partner), food – $40 per day or $280 for a week, going out $20 per day or $140 for a week, beach clubs – $200, hiring a car + tickets to attractions – $300.

Total: circa $1200 for a week in case you’re sharing a room with your friend or partner

Luxury week in Tulum:

$2000-4000 – hotel, food – $1000 for a week, beach clubs (if you want to visit other beach clubs) – $500, hiring a car + tickets to attractions – $500.

Total: circa $5000 for a week in case you’re sharing a room with your friend or partner

Here are some other posts about Mexico that you might find useful:

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