Planning a trip to Mexico, but not sure how to visit Tulum on a budget! Don’t worry, in this post, I will share with you some of my best tips for saving money in Tulum, including finding amazing affordable hotels, great affordable restaurants and cheap beach clubs!
If you’re new to this blog, hi! We are Liza and Jose, a Russian-Mexican couple based in London, UK. We try to go to Mexico every year and each time, I try to share the most useful city guides, tips and advice on this blog. Are you interested in more blog posts about Mexico? Read our Mexico destination page.
Here’s what you can expect to find in this post!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Where to stay in Tulum on a budget?
If you’re wondering where to stay in Tulum on a budget, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options. Travelling around Mexico isn’t so expensive so even with a small budget you would be able to rent a private room.
Some of the amazing affordable places to stay in Tulum:
(all of them are cheaper than $40 per night).
The best ways to explore Tulum on a budget: 5+ tips on how to save money in Tulum
Rent an apartment and cook yourself instead of eating out
If you want to keep your vacation in Tulum budget-friendly, I recommend renting an apartment (or room in an apartment with access to the kitchen) and cook at least 1-2 times per day yourself. Groceries are very affordable in Mexico, and fruits and vegetables are usually superb.
While eating out isn’t expensive either, it always adds up in the end. Meals in cheap restaurants in Tulum city centre would cost you at least $4-6 per person without any drinks, and in better restaurants, it’s very easy to spend $15-20 per person! Zona Hotelera is even more expensive, so eating at home will definitely save you some $$$.
There are plenty of large supermarkets in Tulum, from Chedraui to Soreana. There is also a fancy supermarket with organic food called Gypsea market; however, the prices there are exaggerated and even more expensive than Whole Foods anywhere in the US.
Skip beach clubs, bring your own inflatable beach bed
Beach clubs are expensive! You can expect to pay anything from $20 to $100 for a sunbed, and it doesn’t even always include credit for food at the beach club.
Luckily, all the beaches are free in Mexico, so you can just visit any beaches you want. You can even sit on a nice clean beach in front of a posh hotel like Ahau or Nomade.
However, if you want to visit an affordable beach club, I recommend going to Rosa del Viento – it costs $20 per person; however, sunbeds are amazing there, and it includes food and drinks credit for all the $20!
Visit restaurants where locals eat
Another tip is to eat where the locals eat – that would usually be in Tulum centre.
Many restaurants also have lunch deals called “Comida corrida” – in case you’re not sure if the restaurant you’d like to visit offers Comida corrida, just ask a waiter! Usually, the “Comida corrida” lunch deals cost from 60MXN to 120MXN ($3-6) and consist of 2-4 courses including a soup, main, dessert and a drink! Of course, the food is usually quite simple, e.g. chicken with rice, bean soup and flan; however, all the ones we tried were delicious and filling!
Use collectivos instead of taxis
I’m sure you would want to visit some of the attractions outside Tulum and maybe even to go to some slightly remote cenotes and even Playa del Carmen. Don’t worry, and you don’t need to take expensive taxis – take a white minibus (collectivo) that all locals use. It’s very affordable, and you can easily catch it when you go to the main highway (carretera Tulum – Cancun).
Some of the best places you can reach by a collectivo are cenotes Dos Ojos and Azul.
Buy a cheap bicycle and then sell it
As I mentioned before, taxis are expensive in Tulum. One very important thing to know about Tulum is that the beach is quite far from the city centre and other areas like Aldea Zama and La Veleta. If you’re staying around La Veleta, it will take you around 45-60 minutes cycling to go to the middle of Zona Hotelera. If you’re staying closer to Tulum Centro, it will take you around 30-45 minutes to get to the middle of the beach or Playa Paraiso beach. Hence, as you can imagine, YOU NEED a bike in Tulum. Taking a taxi isn’t an option – it will end up being very expensive.
You can, of course, rent a bike; however, it’s not so cheap. Many hotels and apartments also provide rental bikes; however, not all of them allow the bikes to be taken outside Tulum Centro area. The hotel, where we stayed, era hotel and spa had only broken bikes available, so sometimes it’s just easier to buy a used bike for around $100 or even cheaper and then sell it either to a second-hand shop or through the Facebook marketplace for a similar price!
Always bargain with the sellers
Another tip on how to save money in Mexico and visit Playa del Carmen on a budget is to always bargain with the sellers. Sometimes even if the prices are fixed and written down (unless it’s Oxxo or a large supermarket), you can still bargain for a lower price.
There are plenty of lovely markets and shop all around the city centre of Tulum, and it’s totally worth asking for a lower price as the prices are usually inflated!
If you want to visit the famous Chichen Itza, hire a car and drive yourself
If you would like to visit Chichen Itza, it’s very easy to hire a car to drive there from Tulum. It only takes about 2 hours, and the road from Tulum is toll-free (as opposed to the very expensive roads from Cancun or Playa del Carmen).
I recommend hiring a car online BEFORE coming to Mexico and only from a respected provider like Avis or Sixt. A lot of car companies in Mexico are known for scamming tourists, and despite the fact that Jose is local, we were also pretty much scammed in Cancun airport. So make sure to be careful and avoid companies like Sixt and National that scam tourists.
You can read my post about driving to Chichen Itza from Tulum here.
Summary of how to visit Tulum on a budget & the best money-saving tips for Tulum
Hopefully, this post about visiting Tulum on a budget was useful for you, and you learned some of the best money-saving tips. Some of the main tips are renting a private room in a shared apartment or staying in a tent, cooking in your apartment or eating Comida corrida lunches and buying a bike instead of renting it!
I hope you enjoyed this post and should you have any questions, send me a message on Instagram @lizatripsget!