There are many things to consider when planning a vacation. How much money do you want to spend? What is your destination? What type of activities do you want to participate in? One of the most important factors for many people is how much the trip will cost.
Here are some tips on how to travel Tulum on a budget. In our guide, we’ll provide information on travel costs in Tulum so that you can plan your dream vacation without breaking the bank.
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But first, let’s see how expensive Tulum really is.
Is Tulum Expensive?
Mexico is not known to be the cheapest destination. In fact, many people believe that it is pretty expensive to travel here. However, this is not always the case. It all depends on your destination within Mexico and how you plan to spend your vacation.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to stay in Tulum, there are many options available.
There are hostels, Airbnbs, and hotels that are all reasonably priced. The average cost of a hotel room in Tulum is $85 per night. Airbnbs start at about $50 per night.
And, if you’re looking for a real bargain, there are hostels that cost as little as $10 per night.
When it comes to food, you’ll find that the prices in Tulum are very reasonable. A meal at a mid-range restaurant costs about $15 per person. And, if you’re on a tight budget, you can always find street food for less than $5 per meal.
As for activities, there are many things to do in Tulum that won’t cost you a lot of money. For example, you can explore the ruins, go for a swim in one of the many cenotes, or take a walk on the beach.
Of course, if you want to participate in activities that are a bit more expensive, such as scuba diving or snorkeling, you can always find discounts and deals.
So, as you can see, it is possible to travel to Tulum on a budget. You can find affordable accommodation, food, and activities with careful planning and research.
Keep reading for more tips on how to travel to Tulum on a budget.
Is Tulum Budget-Friendly?
As we mentioned above, Tulum can be an affordable destination. In fact, it is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in Mexico.
That said, if you’re staying in Tulum long-term as an expat or a digital nomad and if hostels are not your cup of tea, you might be shocked by the rental prices.
Long-term rental prices in Tulum start at about $500 for a studio apartment. And, if you want something bigger or more luxurious, be prepared to pay upwards of $1,000 per month.
Of course, the cost of living in Tulum is still lower than in many other parts of the world. But, it is essential to remember that it is not as cheap as some people make it out to be.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider Playa del Carmen. It is a nearby town but with lower prices.
Tips To Travel In Tulum On A Budget
Now, if you’re simply passing by Tulum during a backpacking trip in Mexico or if you’re planning a longer stay, here are some tips on how to travel to Tulum on a budget.
1. Find Affordable Accommodation
As we mentioned above, there are many affordable accommodation options in Tulum.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider staying in a hostel or an Airbnb. You can also find deals on hotels if you book in advance or during the off-season. Read our guide to the best hostels in Tulum.
2. Eat Local Food
Eating like a local is one of the best ways to save money while traveling.
In Tulum, this means eating street food and meals at mid-range restaurants. You can find affordable food options everywhere in town.
Alternatively, rent an apartment with a kitchen to cook your own food. That said, keep in mind that unless you buy food at a local market, you might pay a lot more for groceries in supermarkets.
3. Do Free Activities
There are many free or cheap activities to do in Tulum.
For example, you can explore the ruins, go for a swim in one of the many cenotes, or take a walk on the beach.
If you want to explore Tulum surroundings, do it on your own instead of organizing a guided tour. This is usually cheaper and it will give you more flexibility.
4. Find Discounts And Deals
If you want to participate in activities that are a bit more expensive, such as scuba diving or snorkeling, you can always find discounts and deals. Tulum has many tour operators and agencies that offer special rates for activities.
For example, booking several dives could be cheaper than booking one dive.
When booking your flights, be flexible with your dates to find a better deal.
5. Travel During The Off-Season
If you want to avoid crowds and get cheaper prices, consider traveling during the off-season. The best time to visit Tulum on a budget is from mid-April to June and from September to mid-December.
You’ll find cheaper accommodation during that time – as long as you avoid the high season, which is from December to April.
Remember that some businesses, such as tour operators, might be closed during the off-season. So, make sure to do your research before you travel.
6. Travel By Bus
The cheapest and most convenient way to get around Mexico is by bus (or collectivo if you’re on a tight budget). You can find a bus that goes to almost any destination in Mexico.
7. Use Your Feet
Tulum is a small town, and it is very easy to get around on foot. If you’re staying in the town center, you can walk to almost any destination. If you’re staying further away, consider renting a bicycle or an electric scooter.
Alternatively, pick accommodation in the city centre so that you can walk around easily around town.
8. Use Public Transportation To Reach Tulum
If you’re coming from Cancun Airport, the best way to reach Tulum is by public transportation. You can take the ADO bus that goes directly from the airport to Tulum town. The trip takes around 2.5 hours, and it costs around $24.
Do not book a private transfer as it is pretty expensive.
Tulum Travel Costs
Making your budget to travel in Tulum depends on several things:
- Travel dates: If you want to save money, consider traveling during the off-season or mid-week. You’ll find cheaper flights and accommodation.
- Length of stay: The longer you stay, the cheaper it will be. This is because you’ll be able to take advantage of discounts on accommodation.
- Accommodation: Book a hostel or an Airbnb instead of a hotel if you want to save money on your accommodation.
- Transportation: The best way to get around Tulum is by bus, bike, or on foot.
- Activities: There are many free things to do in Tulum. However, look for discounts and deals if you want to participate in more expensive activities.
Here are some sample budgets for different travelers:
- Backpacker Budget: $20-80 USD per day
- Mid-Range Budget: $80-200 USD per day
- Luxury Budget: $200+ USD per day
We recommend making a list of activities you wish to do and looking at the prices to have an overview of your budget for activities. Then, look at your travel dates and see the price of accommodation.
Finally, book the bus to Tulum and take a look at the transportation price if you plan on visiting nearby areas.
At the end of this exercise, you’ll know exactly how much to expect to pay. Add a budget for food, and you have your entire travel budget!
Tulum Budget Real Life Example
Let’s say you’re planning on visiting Tulum for 5 days. You’ve decided to travel during the off-season (September) and have found a roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Cancun for $350 USD.
For accommodation, you’ve found a shared room in a hostel for $10 USD per night, which comes out to $50 for your 5-day stay.
For transportation, you’ll take the ADO bus from the airport to Tulum, which costs $24. You’ll also need a ticket to go to your next stop in Mexico, which is $24. You also plan on renting a bicycle for $5 per day, which comes out to $25 for 5 days.
For food, you’ve budgeted $20 per day, which comes out to a total of $100 for the 5 days.
For activities, you’ve budgeted $75 for your 5 days in Tulum because you’ll focus on free activities.
This leaves you with a total budget of $298 USD for your 5 days in Tulum, without counting the flights. Realistically, you can count a total of $350. That said, you could cut the expenses by walking instead of renting a bicycle.
Tulum travel costs can really vary depending on the type of traveler you are. Keep in mind that this budget is just an estimate and that your actual travel costs may be higher or lower.
We also recommend you purchase travel insurance before your trip.
Final Thoughts On Backpacking Tulum
Tulum is a fantastic place to travel, especially if you’re on a budget. With its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and Maya ruins, Tulum has something for everyone.
Remember that the best time to visit Tulum on a budget is during the shoulder season or off-season, as this is when you’ll find the best deals on flights and accommodation.
We hope you found this travel guide helpful and that it gives you a better idea of what to expect when backpacking Tulum.
Traveling to Mexico soon? Read one of the following guides: