Cost of Living Playa Del Carmen – Budget

Got to admit I‘m a bit of a budget geek. Nothing I love more than noseying through what other people have spent in far-flung places around the globe. Well, there are a few things, but I do like to see how long I could live in a place before selling a kidney to get by.

Hopefully this will be useful to all you fellow statos….

Cost of Living in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – One month


These are costs for two people:

breakdown cost


A pie chart for all those who like pretty colours. Mmmmm pie…
Mmmm pie - cost


Avg per day (2 people) = $85 or £52


Considering Playa Del Carmen is a touristy part of Mexico, we took a couple of trips away and didn’t make a massive effort to keep to a budget, we are extremely pleased with this total. Plus we were there in December, which is peak season, when rent prices can go through the roof.

One month rent –

$615 or £375


We snapped up a bargain apartment after hours of surfing the Internet. Airbnb was the simple answer. This place was on the outskirts of town, basic, comfortable, and only a 10-minute inexpensive bus ride ($0.60 or 40p) from the centre. It was spacious and we liked being away from the touristy areas, but still in reaching distance if we fancied raving (we didn’t). Plus it had a kitchen.

Groceries –

$533 or £325

We saved a lot of money by cooking in our kitchen. Groceries include home cooked food, snacks, products for the house, and water.

Eating out –

$294 or £179

Shrimp tacos - a little piece of heaven!

There are some real mouth watering restaurants in Playa, where I would gladly stuff my face frequently, but we controlled ourselves. Although you may not thinks so; we ate out, drank coffee, ordered takeaway etc, a total of 17 times in one month.

Obviously tourists and locals both need to eat, so you can take your pick from high to low budget. We stayed away from 5th Avenue restaurants, as we felt they were overpriced. Even eating just off the main street prices drop dramatically.

Transport –

$69 or £42

Since landing in this marvellous country we have discovered that the Mexican transportation system is frickin awesome. Travel costs were low here as we only travelled to Playa on an ADO bus, then out to house sit on a Mayab bus, along with very very cheap local buses to get us around Playa.

ADO buses – first class option; they are most expensive but extremely reliable, air-conditioned, have a toilet and you can book online or at the terminals.

Mayab buses – second-class option. They are great and run some alternatives destinations to ADO. They stop more frequently, have no toilets, but are a lot cheaper. Buy tickets in advance at the bus station or as you get on the bus.

Local buses and colectivos – cheap to get around town and other local destinations. They are just a few pesos and you can basically hail them wherever you see them, unless they are full. Destinations are written on the windows.

Entertainment –

$590 or £360

Pedro and us

A big spend because we decided there is no point simply existing in a place and not doing fun stuff, you’d get pretty bored. We did two big trips away, visited cenotes, hired snorkelling equipment, hired a car, went to the cinema ($2 or £1.20 per person on a Wednesday), paid for petrol, and lots more.

Here’s a break down of major costs:

A trip to the beautiful Isla Mujeres:

Accom 2 nights – $80 or £48

Transport – ADO Bus from Playa to Cancun ppn each way $5 or £3, boat to Isla from Canacun ppn each way $5 or £3.

Golf buggy rental 24 hrs (best way to see the Island) – $41 or £25

We detailed all our costs for Chichen Itza road trip.


Miscellaneous –

$460 or £280

Definitely bought some none essential stuff here and unavoidable costs, like Kellie getting sick. Here’s a few to give you an idea:

Converse trainers (My must have travelling shoes) – $47 or £28

Guitar, Fender acoustic (bought second hand off Tell Them I Said Something) – $90 or £55 absolute bargain!!

Mexican Nano Sim Card for iPhone – $23 or £14

Phone Credit – $15 or £9

Kellie blood test – $60 or £36.50

Kellie Meds – $70 or £42

Iphone cable – $15 or £9

VPN (Witopia – allows us to stream TV online from abroad, great for movies and BBC) – $49 or £30

Laundry per 3 Kg at local laundrette – $2.71 or £1.65

Massive savings!!

About us

We are not going to do a budget for our current off the grid house sit as it seems a little bit pointless (it mainly involves food).

What I will say is that for the month of January we only spent $820 or £500.

Meaning our spends for two months = $3,381 or £2,061 

Avg per day (2 people) = $56.35 or £34.35

Basically house sits save you money on accommodation, meaning longer travel… No brainer really!

Hope this is helpful, if you feel we missed any essential info let us know. Thanks!

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Cost of Living Playa Del Carmen – Budget — 14 Comments

    • Got to be honest Tyrhone until you pointed that out I didn’t even notice what a stupid amount we spent. Mexican food seems very expensive to me. In England we used to spend about £50 a week. If we had tried to control our budget I’m sure we could have brought that number down a bit, but hey who cares I ate lots of tasty donuts and gained 3kg in 3 weeks. Glad you like the pie!

  1. Love seeing other peoples’ budgets from different places in the world! I totally agree… you can’t live somewhere awesome and then not spend money traveling around a bit. Those are the times you’ll probably remember most! 😀 If you don’t have a budget app, I’d recommend one that we use, GoodBudget, for keeping track of expenses and purchases–even has pretty charts! :) Fun!
    Vanessa recently posted…Let It Go: Why Is It So Popular With Korean Students?My Profile

    • Me too! I was a bit over excited releasing our first ever budget post.

      Thanks for the tip, I will check it out. I currently am being a bit old fashioned and writing everything in a little diary. You have sold me with pretty charts!

  2. I too love budget breakdowns so thank you for sharing these numbers! I completely agree that there’s no point going to these places, even if you spend most of your time living like a local, only to skip some of the more touristy fun activities!

    We are thinking we might head to Mexico later this year/early next year, so it is always good to see what other travelers are spending so that we can have some sense of what we might need to roughly budget. So much more useful than guidebook estimates!

    I was a bit surprised by your food budget—are groceries in Mexico/Playa really expensive? It looks like you were spending over $125US/week. That’s more than what Tony & I used to spend back in Nashville!

    • Amen to that Steph!

      Glad the budget breakdown was helpful. Mexico is fantastic, highly recommended.

      I am completely shocked by the food budget, we also spent much less back home in the UK. All I can say is that groceries included, toiletries, food and anything else you would buy on a weekly shop. We used to go to the supermarket most days so this may have been our downfall, you end up buying stuff you don’t really need. If we had budgeted and planned we could have brought the bills down a fair bit. I still think Mexico supermarkets seem expensive though…

  3. Great breakdown Rob, and who doesn’t like a good pie chart? I may have to add one onto our next one. As with most other people, I was surprised about the food costs, were they similar for your second month, you say you spent about £500 mostly on food again? We usually spend more on food than anything else these days but not quite that much. 😉
    Andrew recently posted…Snaps from a Tuk TukMy Profile

    • Thanks for the pie chart love.

      Well it’s such a buzz subject this food that I broke down January’s costs:

      Groceries (food, toiletries etc): £266 or $437
      Meals out: £137 or $224
      Transport: £80 or $131
      Misc: £73 or $119
      Total: £556 or $911

      It’s still £403 on food, which seems a lot, but restaurants here are few and expensive, and we went for a really posh meal on our anniversary. The food trucks which deliver to our house sit are also much more expensive than the shops.

    • Well a big fat welcome to you Celia! Thanks for checking us out!!

      Glad you like the budget breakdown. We left nearly 2 months ago now, we are a few hours down the road house sitting near a place called Xcalak.

      How long you there for? Hope you are enjoying it :-)

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