The Best Things To Do in Cancun on a Budget

Nicole Tj
January 20, 2022

It's no secret that Cancun can be an expensive place, full of plenty of things to do, see and mingle with. But when you're on a strict budget, a lot of those options aren't on the table.

Luckily, there are ways to enjoy everything this tourist hotspot has on offer, without racking up some major credit card debt. 

Read on below to find out some of our favorite things to do in Cancun without breaking the bank. 


Mayan Ruins
Photo by @taketheleaptravel

1. Visit Mayan Ruins + Museo Maya de Cancun 

Top of our list is booking in a day to check out the fabulous Mayan Ruins (also known as El Meco), which is situated less than six miles from Downtown Cancun. This impressive site has recently been added as a ‘Modern Wonder’ of the world,  having been preserved from the time of the Mayan Civilization. Here you can explore the mysterious surroundings of the Riviera Maya, filled with archaeological sites including Xcaret and Xel-Ha.

These attractions are also a great way to learn about the history of this area and what life was like for Mexicans thousands of years ago. There are also some pre-Columbian artifacts on display at the Museo Maya de Cancun just down the road – such as ceramics, jewelry, and even clothing from their time period, so be sure to allocate some time in your itinerary for this destination. 

Where:  Mayan Ruins - El Meco Archeological Site: Carretera Puerto Juárez, López Portillo, 77520 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

Maya de Cancun -  Blvd. Kukulcan km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Cost: Admission fee starts at 80 Mexican pesos – approximately $4 USD.


Ventura Park
Photo by @venturaparkcancun

2. Ventura Park

We’re sure many travelers will agree that Ventura Park is a great place to go in Cancun when you’re needing to keep your hip pocket in mind. 

Explore the massive location’s many attractions, including the thrill-seeker’s dream at Aaahventura (a daring zip-line), Wet ‘n’ Wild and Fun World.  Additional things to check out here include:

  •  Seaside go-karting
  • The video game hub known as Underworld
  • Dolphinaris (yes, you can swim with dolphins) 
  • Beach Oh Club where you can enjoy kicking back on a four-post bed by the ocean, complete with food and drink service. 

If that’s not enough to keep you busy in Cancun, we don’t know what is. 


Where:  Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 25, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 5 p.m Wednesday to Sunday. The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Cost: Admission for adults is $42.50 USD (over 12 years old), while those over 42 inches and under 11 years old attract a fee of $37.50 USD. Children under 42 inches gain free admission. There are also additional passes available, including an unlimited pass starting at $44.95 USD. You can find out more on ticket prices here.

Punta Nizuc 
Photo by musamexico.org

3. Go Snorkeling at Punta Nizuc 

Unsurprisingly, Cancun is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are many choices when it comes to tours, but a popular option on the list is the underwater museum, featuring a four-meter deep gallery with 16 historical sculptures to explore. 

Snorkeling is available directly offshore at most beaches in this area, with vendors offering rental equipment or trips out on their boats for an exciting day out in the deep blue. All-inclusive resorts also have hotels that cater to adventure seekers like snorkelers.

Where: Located at the southern end of the Cancun hotel zone.

Opening hours: Punta Nizuc gallery snorkelling tours depart at 11 a.m and 1 p.m every day. Please note that you will need to book ahead through the above website.

Cost: Starting at $47 USD for tours, including a boat ride through the Nichupte lagoon, mangroves and ocean. 


Parque De Las Palapas
Photo by travelwithfiona.com

4. Hang out in Parque de las Palapas

If you are looking for a cost-effective vacation to Cancun, there's almost nothing that tops Parque Las Palapas.

This park is located in the northeast part of the hotel zone, keeping locals and tourists alike busy with an abundance of street food to try, activities to enjoy and entertainment to kick back and listen to, including scheduled shows for kids and adults.  It’s also home to beautiful artisan market stalls where you’ll find locals selling handicrafts, local dishes and super-affordable snacks. 

Take note that the park does become heavily crowded on Sundays, so getting the most out of this location would best be left to another day of the week. We also recommend setting aside three hours to enjoy everything on offer here. 

Where: Tulipanes LB, 22, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

Opening hours: Open 24 hours, but most of the action happens from 5 p.m onwards.

Cost: Free 

Time to explore Cancun?

The best things to do in Cancún don’t always have to be expensive, especially when you’re looking to explore some of the most stunning shorelines in the area, and the history surrounding it.

In our eyes, all of these options are well worth your time and can be done without having to dish out a load of cash. And if you’re looking for an easy, visual way to organise and plan your trips, remember Travis can always help you out with our moodboarding tool! Create your travel moodboard by saving places from travel-lovers in our community, or links from your fave websites and publications - and see it all on a map. Sign up to get access to the beta now.


Related blogs