Who doesn’t love to say money? We all do and there are sure fire ways to get that vacation for less!
After living here for over 20 years, we know the ins and outs of how to save money in the Riviera Maya. If you want a cheaper vacation, read on. If you want to spend more on your accommodations and less on your day to day stuff, read on. If you want to spend all your vacation money on food and save on accommodations, read on!
Rent a condo or house with a kitchen. Save money cooking 2 out of 3 meals a day in your kitchen. Fruits and vegetables are much cheaper than the US and Canada, they are really fresh and you can try new foods right in the comfort of your own home. We go out for one meal a day, and eat the rest of our meals in our rental accommodations. Happy hour at your condo is always cheaper than paying retail!
Favorite Local Recipes by Region
Easy to Make and Even Better Tasting
Yes, it can be intimidating to try out new public transportation, but the Riviera Maya makes it easy, affordable and comfortable. Large buses are fully air conditioned, have on-board movies and wifi, and deliver you seamlessly from city to city. Collectivos or shared vans are found in the city and also from city to city. These passenger vans stop where you ask them to instead of having to go from bus terminal to bus terminal. Prices range from 20 cents USD to 3 USD for local travel. If you are going to other states, 20 USD will have you traveling up to 5 hours into another region.
Local food in Mexico outside the popular tourist streets (5th avenue in Playa del Carmen is a highly traveled tourist street, beach bars a second tourist area) is a great way to eat fresh, local food and save a ton of money! The food is great, the flavors authentic and you will likely get some recipe tips from any family run restaurant. Look for cocina economicas, street food carts, food trucks or a little hole in the wall. In small Riviera Maya beach towns cross over the highway and start investigating these great places. If you stumble upon a local market go and eat there!
Whether you go to a town’s main square, or venture to a museum, theater or ‘casa de cultura’ (commmunity center) there are fun free things to do, you just have to know which ones. In Merida there are free museums and state run art museums/galleries that are free to explore. In Playa del Carmen the planetarium, city theater and the main Zocalos (town squares) have free activities. Digging into these local attractions can provide some of the most authentic experiences.
I have to admit, whenever I travel I love going to the grocery store. I find I learn more about a culture strolling the aisles of a grocery store than I do walking through some cities. I also love buying items at local prices. Picking up the basics for your condo or vacation rental can save a ton of cash. In Mexico you will find small family run fruit stores that will have great prices. As small as they are, these are great places to buy local fruits and vegetables.
If you just want to chill on the beach, either rent a beachfront condo or villa, or put your beach towel away from the beach clubs with your cooler by your side. If your condo is not on the beach, ask if the rental has portable beach chairs. These easy to carry beach chairs are popular on the coast and well worth it!
Snorkeling and Diving in the Riviera Maya
Once you land in Mexico, get yourself some pesos. This is a great way to save money, take advantage of better exchange rates through your bank, or casa de cambios (exchange houses) and not rely on local stores and restaurants to provide a fair or friendly exchange rate. Bartering is also better in pesos if you want a better deal. CI Banco has the best ATM fee on the coast. These ATM’s are located in Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
We love visiting local hot spots on our own without the assistance of a tour company. Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, local cenotes, can all be done either using local transportation or by renting a car. If you are traveling in a group, you will save lots of money doing a DIY tour. If you are not confident driving internationally, and would prefer the convenience of a vehicle, renting a private van with friends or a large group will still save you some money. Oh and when you are on the road, roadside food is great! Check out how to complete your own DIY tour with our Loco Adventure Itineraries.
Get Your Guide to Valladolid Written By Locals!
Discover Secrets Not Found In Other Guide Books!
This is a sure fire way to have security and save money if anything happens on your trip. Premiums are low, headaches are less, and you will have peace of mind if anything goes wrong. We have hundreds of stories of people thankful for having trip insurance. This applies to travel anywhere in the world, not just the Riviera Maya.
A good time to save money on the Riviera Maya accommodations is from May 1 to November 1. I have to admit I love the summer here, sure it is a bit hot, but if you plan your day right, you will have a dreamy vacation. If you work out, work out before 8 am. The beach and the sea are a great place to hang out during the day with sea breezes, refreshing water. Evenings are glorious and a good time to walk around and see the city. If you want to see local attractions, I go early and leave early. There is something spectacular about seeing the ruins when they open, and leaving as the tour buses arrive.
If you dig around there are cheaper things to do in the Riviera Maya than meets the eye. If you speak with our concierge you will have the inside scoop and latest cheap things to do in the Riviera Maya.