Playa Del Carmen – Mexico – GRANDPAcking Costs

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My costs start in Isla Mujeres and include:

  • Transport from Isla Mujeres to Playa Del Carmen
  • 14 nights in an ABOVE GRANDPAcking Standard Aircon Vacation Rental
  • Bicycle Rental for 12 days
  • Food & Drink
  • Mobile Data / Communications


For more detail, read about Playa Del Carmen Information.

Click here to read about Retirement Locations in this country.

Click here for detailed Travel Information and more Travel Budgets in this country.

Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.



Cost Of Existence (COE):

My costs are purely provided for information purposes.

I do not always follow ‘GRANDPAcking Standards’. In fact, I deviate from them all of the time! But, my costs are real costs and they may help you formulate your own budget.

Accommodation: My Vacation Rental exceeded ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’; It was an 1 Bedroom Apartment with Aircon and Hot Water Ensuite.

Transport: I was on the very edge of the ‘Purple Zone’ (see Playa Del Carmen Information); I rented a bicycle for 12 days so that I could ‘get in and amongst’ the atmosphere that PDC has to offer.

Communications & Fees: My Mobile Phone was stolen in Isla Mujeres, so I purchased a new Mobile Phone with a 1 month AT&T Package with unlimited calls & texts and 600MBs of data. Due to a ‘misunderstanding’ with AT&T, I (unnecessarily) topped this up for another month for MXP150.

Food & Drink:

I averaged MXP129 / day. But, you should totally ignore my figures.

In PDC I lived an ‘Apartment Oriented Lifestyle’. I needed to cover the cost of my new Mobile Phone (MXP5,000) but, also, I didn’t really like the ‘Restaurant Scene’ down on 5th Street … I found it really hard to meet people down there … so, I hardly ever ate there. I was happy to stock up with groceries from the local supermarket and to live a simple ‘Beach Oriented Lifestyle’.

Even with an MXP5,000 new Mobile Phone cost, my ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was MXP829 / NZ$64 / US$46 / €28 / £24.


My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were MXP213 / NZ$16 / US$12 / €11 / £9.

Visa: There is no Visa Apportionment. The 180 Day Visitor’s Visa is free.

Getting There: It cost me MXP184 to get from my Isla Mujeres Hotel to my PDC Vacation Rental. This consisted of 1 Ferry, 1 Taxi, and 1 Long Distance Bus.

Drink / Partying: I averaged MXP50 / night. This was a mix of Happy Hour beers and cheap beer from the supermarket.

Personal: I put all of my clothes through the Laundry (MXP84) and had a haircut (MXP35).

Entertainment / Trips: A couple of small fun trips.

Shopping: A ‘skin’ for my new Mobile phone.

Other / Gifts: Tips in restaurants are almost compulsory, so I’ve included the tips in the food costs.

My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at MXP934 / NZ$72 / US$51 / €47 / £40 per day. This was 90% of my total budget … I had 10% left to play with.

If I ignore my new Mobile Phone purchase, this would have been MXP602 / NZ$46 / US$33 / €30 / £26 per day. Or 58% of my total budget … with 42% left to play with.


To afford to take a GRANDPAcking ‘Holiday’ to PDC, you will need to be realistic about where to stay.

You can choose to ‘trade down’ from ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ to be in the ‘Green Zone’, or LIVE to GRANDPAcking Standard in the “Purple Zone’, or live more cheaply and ‘away from it all’ in the Suburbs (but, why?).

I suggest that you start looking for hotel ‘specials’ online (with someone like BOOKING.COM, or EXPEDIA.COM, or AGODA.COM) well in advance and compare them with the Holiday Rentals found on TRIPADVISOR. Then, you can pick the best deal for you.

Cost Of Existence (COE):

Accommodation: In Mexico, it is hard to find a decent ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ Double Fan Room with Ensuite online for less than MXP500 / night. Under MXP500 you are usually looking at below GRANDPAcking Standard rooms in Hostels and / or rooms with Shared Bathrooms.

This is NOT the case in PDC. Competition is fierce and there seems to be a ‘glut’ of accommodation outside of Peak Season. I can’t say what happens in Peak Season … but this blog is not about Peak Season.

Big discounts should be easy to find … where I stayed was excellent value for money at US$18 / night. There are plenty of other options to choose from in the ‘under US$25 / night’ price range.

I have budgeted for you to stay in a Vacation Rental in the ‘Purple Zone’ or a Double ‘Budget Hotel’ Room on the edge of the ‘Green Zone’.

Transport: I STRONGLY advise you to get as close to the Green Zone as you can. If you do, you will not need transport. I have budgeted for you to take a Day Trip out of town each week on a local bus. My budget will get you as far as Tulum on a Day Trip to see the ruins.

Communications: I have included a prepaid 1 Month ‘unlimited’ calls & texts MXP150 Package with 400-600MBs of data from one of the 3 major suppliers.

Food: You will not get breakfast included with your accommodation. Target a cheap breakfast in your favourite local cafe. Do the same for Lunch or grab something like a Rotisserie Chicken take away. For Dinner, I have budgeted for you to have something from the lower quartile of the menu in a budget restaurant in the Purple Zone. The budget that I have provided is enough for you to NOT have to eat Tacos every meal.

The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about MXP898 / NZ$69 / US$50 / €45 / £39 per day.


This is about MXP144 per day to LIVE on (i.e. 14% of your GRANDPAcking budget).

With that amount of LIVING funds available you could:

  • Buy a 5 bottle bucket of Coronas on 5th Avenue
  • Almost buy 2 ‘2 for 1’ Happy Hour Cocktails on 5th Avenue
  • Buy 8 Liters of Beer from a local store
  • Buy a 1.5L bottle of cheap Tequila (MXP100)
  • Upgrade your Dinner to something from the upper quartile of the menu in a budget restaurant

On a GRANDPAcking Budget, LIVING will be ‘tight’.


PDC is worth a visit but you will need to ‘deviate’ from our GRANDPAcking Standard. But, that is not as bad as it sounds …

The cost of LIVING in the 5th Avenue restaurants is the problem.

And, 5th Avenue is where the ‘atmosphere’ is.

Get yourself a nice Vacation Rental in the Purple Zone where you have full kitchenette facilities, get in groceries for your Breakfasts, do the same for the majority of your drinks, grab a cheap ‘street stall lunch’, and go out at night to restaurants (but choose wisely) … if you do that, you can afford to LIVE a idyllic PDC ‘Beach Lifestyle’.

PDC has made it into my GRANDPAcking Holiday Table … but, if I keep strictly to GRANDPAcking Standards, it DOES NOT make it into my Retirement REVIEWS.

Come for a month and have a look … I think that you’ll like it.

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