When you think of popular and affordable backpacking destinations, Tulum probably won’t be on your list. Visiting Tulum on a budget definitely isn’t easy but it’s certainly possible. You’ll find all the information you need to visit Tulum for well under 50$ per day below! So keep reading if you want to see what Tulum has to offer without breaking the bank,

In recent years, Tulum has become a hip holiday town filled with eco-chic boutique hotels, beach bars and a plethora of cafes and restaurants most of which come perfectly decorated with Instagram in mind. As a popular destination for vacation goers that want something different from the all-inclusive resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Tulum attracts young professionals, families, honeymooners, backpackers and celebrities alike. 

We knew it would be a bit of a challenge to stick to our budget while visiting Tulum. Nonetheless, we wanted to make this vacation town our first stop of our two month trip through Mexico.

1. AirBnb

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when first seeing the prices of hotels in Tulum. There are so many boutique hotels that line the beach and every single one of them are over a backpacker budget! We soon discovered that AirBnb would be our best bet at finding accommodation in Tulum within our budget.

For about 500 pesos per night (33$ CAD), we booked a large private room with A/C, private bathroom, shared kitchen and patio area.

Although quite basic, our place was very clean, well located in town and felt very safe.

Not bad at all! To save 45$ on your first AirBnb stay in Tulum, click here!

Tulum Mexico AirBnb on a budget
tulum on a budget bicycle at our airbnb rental
yard of our airbnb rental in tulum

2. Stay in Tulum town

If you’re trying to save money, you’ll want to stay in Tulum town.

Not only are the hotels along the beach out of any backpacker’s budget, but the food and drink options that line the beach are also two, sometimes three times more expensive than what you’ll find in town.

Locating yourself in town has some major advantages that will help you stick to your budget. The town is small enough to walk or cycle everywhere, which will help you save big on transportation costs. Taxis are cheap in Tulum but will add up quite fast if you’re using them several times a day.

Although saving on transport is great, the best thing about staying with the locals is the food.

3. Street Food

Staying in Tulum town also means you’ll be able to indulge in all kinds of delicious Mexican street food!

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know street food is the way to go to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.

Oh, and street food in Tulum is also some of the best Mexican food you’ll have in your life.

We found our best meals here by wandering from food stall to food stall, guided by the smell of barbecued meats, fresh salsas and tortillas being grilled. You can find delicious tacos for as little as 12 pesos in the street.

There are also a few great local restaurants that serve delicious food for a fraction of the price you’d pay along the beach.

Here are some of our favorite places to eat in Tulum town:

visiting Taqueria Honorio in Tulum Mexico
Taqueria Honorio Tulum Mexico
Farm to table restaurant Tulum Mexico
Farm to table restaurant Tulum Mexico
Farm to table restaurant Tulum Mexico
Taco stand how to save money in Tulum
Taco stand tulum mexico
Torta de asado Tulum mexico on a budget
torta de carne asado mexico street food on a budget

4. Rent Bicycles

Renting a bicycle is the best way to get around the Tulum region. Cycling from town to many cenotes takes about 15-20 minutes along the highway.

To get to the beach, there is a bike path along all of Route 15 and the ride takes 20-25 minutes. 

We really recommend renting bikes from Ola Bike Rental (not sponsored whatsoever).

As of November 2018, they charge 130 pesos for a 24h period, which is a little bit cheaper than prices we were quoted elsewhere in town (between 150 and 180 pesos).

They offer amazing customer service and their bikes are in great condition. They are also very reliable and transparent.

renting bikes in Tulum Mexico to explore the city
Tulum Mexico Bike riding on a budget
Tulum antique car visiting mexico on a budget

Renting bicycles also means you can take your time and stop at every photo opportunity you find (and trust us, there are a lot in Tulum!). We absolutely love this slower way of transport, going at our own rhythm and exploring as much as we can.

Biking through Tulum reminded us of riding our scooter in Bali, stopping when and for as long as we wanted. This was definitely our favorite way to get around the island of the Gods. If you’re planning on visiting Bali, click here to read our ultimate guide on travelling through this magical island.

It’s also a great way to get a bit of a sweat going on!

5. Visit the Cheaper Cenotes

There are many cenotes that are easily accessible from Tulum. However, the most popular ones do come with a steep entry fee. A visit to Grand Cenote will set you back 180 pesos per person whereas Cenote Dos Ojos will cost you 350 pesos per person.

If you’re budget is tight, you might have to pick only one or two cenotes to visit in Tulum. We opted to go for the lesser known Cenote Calavera instead of Dos Ojos, where the entry fee was a more reasonable 100 pesos per person. Although very different and much smaller, we loved this one just as much as the Grand Cenote. 

swinging in a mexican cenote in tulum
Tulum Mexico girl holding a Puppy
grand cenote in tulum visiting on a budget
couple at the grand cenote in tulum mexico
how to visit the grand cenote on a budget in tulum
swimming in the grand cenote in tulum mexico

Camera Gear we Shoot With

6. Do Your Own Grocery shopping

While booking your accommodation, picking a place with a kitchen is a great way to keep the cost down. We decided to cook all our breakfasts at home, saving us lots of pesos over 3 days!

We bought a dozen eggs, fresh fruit, avocados, bread, milk and coffee and ate our breakfast in the cute little courtyard in our AirBnb daily.

The best grocery store in Tulum is definitely the Super Aki located at the intersection of roads 307 and 109. It’s a huge warehouse that has pretty much everything you’d find in a Coscto back home!

eating at the airbnb when visiting Tulum Mexico
Buying Giant avocados when visiting Tulum at the grocery store

Tulum on a Budget: How much does it actually cost?

If you have any other tips on how to save money while travelling to Tulum, please leave them down below in the comments!

Overall, we loved our time in this pretty beachside town and we definitely feel like this is a place we’ll keep coming back to. 

Many people we’ve talked to about Tulum have said it’s left a sour taste in their mouths just due to the hole it put in their bank account. It’s definitely a place that takes some more thorough planning if you’re on a tight budget, but we had a blast doing it.

After crunching all the numbers, we can proudly say that we stayed well under our budget of 45$ CAD per person in Tulum. If you look at that in USD, that’s just under 35$ per person per day!

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