Want to have a great (and cheap) time in Cancun without doing the all-inclusive thing?

Budget Travel in Cancun, Mexico?

You can smell the sea from the Cancun airport. No more stuffy airplane, no more boring job in your cold hometown. Welcome to paradise – the Mayan Riviera. Welcome to Cancun.

The Mayan Riviera is a 130 km stretch of Caribbean coastline in southeast Mexico. Between Cancún in the north and the Mayan ruins of Tulum in the south are countless white-sand beaches on the calm turquoise water of the Caribbean.

Cancun is famous for all-inclusive luxury resorts, while formerly lesser-known beach hangouts like Playa del Carmen are now firmly established on the beaten path. But a budget-conscious side remains to these world-class tourist destinations. You can still get a nice hotel room for under $30 USD in downtown Cancun, and eat the best – and cheapest – local food just a few blocks from the beach in Playa del Carmen.

The great Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, are only a few hours from Cancún on good highways. In the other direction, rocky Tulum rivals Chichén Itzá with its location on limestone cliffs overlooking the sky-blue Caribbean.

The Yucatan Peninsula

My Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary is for the independent traveler who likes the beach but also wants some culture. Besides saving a lot of money, you:

  • Have two full days on two gorgeous beaches: Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
  • Explore two Mayan ruins: Chichén Itzá, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and Tulum, a sunny fortress built on cliffs overlooking one of the most iconic beaches in Mexico.
  • Dip your toe into local culture in Valladolid, a small colonial town in central Yucatán.
  • Swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in the clear, freshwater Dos Ojos cenote.
  • Eat what Mexicans eat: seafood, tacos, and Yucatán specialties like panuchos and salbutes.
  • Shop, party, get tan, and learn some Spanish, history, and culture. And, if time permits, explore more places in the region, including Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, the Cobá ruins, Xpu-Ha beach, and Mérida.

It’s cheap at $7 for more than 100 pages of solid information. (Actually it’s only 6.99.) You’ll save that much the first time you follow my advice on a bus, restaurant or cenote.

The Mayan Riviera is the most traveled part of Mexico. People go there for a beautiful time in a beautiful hotel, on a beautiful beach.

But I say: Skip the beautiful hotel! Of course hang out on the beautiful beach, but don’t miss the beautiful culture too.

This part of Mexico may be the most visited, but perhaps the least understood. I try to remedy this with my modest guide.

From Amazon:

Cancun Unanchor Travel Guide – Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary

From Unanchor.com:

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About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com

Posted on August 24, 2013, in Mexico, Travel, Travel in Mexico and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I recently traveled to Cancun and stayed at a great hotel. I enjoyed the hotel life as well as going to Playa del Carmen to shop and walk down 5th ave. I also really liked Parque las Palapas in downtown Cancun for authentic Mexican food!

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