Tulum vs Cancun? Discover the Best Mexican Destination for you [2023]

December 12, 2022

Tulum vs Cancun? Discover the Best Mexican Destination for you [2023]

Published at : December 12, 2022

Where should you live? If you are thinking of moving to Mexico, it is important to compare the pros and cons of its two most popular beach towns, Tulum and Cancun. Both of these destinations offer their own set of perks and disadvantages, each catering to different lifestyles, budgets and levels of investment opportunities. 


So which one should you pick? That’s what we are here to help you decide! 


In this post we will highlight the benefits of living in Tulum vs. Cancun, so you can find the best Mexican beach destination for your needs. Keep reading to learn more.


Tulum is an intimate beach town located about 100 km from the Cancun airport. It’s most famous for its nature, stylish design and world-class nightlife. It is well-situated for those looking to swim in cenotes, explore ancient ruins and indulge in local Mexican cuisine. 


With a population of 46-thousand, Tulum is a lot more relaxed and slow-moving than Cancun, home to young international ex-pats and families looking to escape the cold and embrace the laid-back beach lifestyle.


Cancun is Mexico’s most developed and populated beach destination, welcoming over 30 million tourists each year. Famous for its all-inclusive resorts, crystal clear water and bustling nightlife, Cancun is the go-to choice for many North American spring break vacationers, honeymooners and snowbirds.


If you are looking to merge the perks of big city life with the relaxing benefits of living by the Caribbean coast, Cancun is perfect for your lifestyle.


Tulum vs. Cancun: Getting there

Tulum is set to open a new luxe airport in 2023, but until then, travelers need to take a rental car, private shuttle service or bus from the Cancun airport. The ride is approximately two hours long and just over 100 km.


Cancun has a very accessible international airport, welcoming hundreds of international flights each day. It is about a 30-minute drive to the center of the city from the airport and about a 35 to 40-minute drive to the Hotel Zone. 


Where to stay and live


Tulum is a small beach town with two main tourist areas: Tulum Town and the Hotel Zone. Many locals choose to live in condos and villas in some gated communities that are part of Tulum Town. 


Aldea Zama and La Veleta are some of the most popular neighbourhoods where people choose to live, but we are seeing a lot of new neighbourhoods on the rise with new developments.


Cancun, on the other hand, has multiple areas to choose from for different interests.


Zona Hotelera (or ‘Hotel Zone’) is a popular choice for ex-pats moving to Cancun. Lined with beachfront villas and high-rise condos and easy access to the beach, this is an idyllic place to live in Cancun.


Puerto Cancun is also considered one of the best places to live in the city. This family-friendly community is home to private gated communities, expansive golf courses, nature and luxury amenities like a modern sports center.


Lagos del Sol is a gated community with a wide range of residential, condominium and commercial lots. This is one of Cancun’s most exclusive communities, offering its residents free passes to Cancun’s most desirable hotel beach fronts and luxurious on-site amenities like a spa, gym and beauty salon.


Real Estate and Investment Opportunities


Tulum is growing at a fast pace and now is a great time to get in early on great presale deals. New gated communities are being built every day to meet the destination’s high tourist demand. These properties are ideal if you are looking to invest in a short-term or 

vacation rental property, as they are equipped with luxury amenities, 24/7 security and many guest amenities and perks. 

Read Now: How to Buy Property in Tulum Mexico


The average short-term rental in Tulum can rent for an average daily rate of up to US $187, which would bring you to an average monthly rent of around US $5,000 if your occupancy rates are high. There are multiple property management companies in the area available to help with day-to-day administration and even manage your rental’s revenue, boosting your rental’s occupancy and returns even more. 


You can find 2-bedroom units for sale in Tulum for as low as US $130,000

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Ocean Tulum

Ocean Condos Tulum


Cancun, on the other hand, has been in development since the early 1970s, making its market highly saturated and highly exclusive. With many well-established luxury hotels and vacation villas, it is difficult to enter the market if this is your first investment property.


In addition to its investment opportunities, Cancun’s return on investment still falls short of Tulum’s. Many tourists flocking to Cancun are in search of all-inclusive resorts since they are highly affordable and have private beach access. The short-term rental market in Cancun is not in as high demand due to its value for money. For example, a rental property in Cancun for the same price as Tulum will not be as close to the beach or include the same luxury amenities.


Here is an example of a USD $130,000 unit in Cancun


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Exemple :

Astoria Condos

Key Takeaways


When comparing Tulum vs Cancun, they both have their own set of perks and disadvantages. When deciding where to settle down in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, it is important to take into consideration your lifestyle, your budget and your investment strategy. 


Cancun is a highly developed city that has been a popular tourist destination for over 50 years, making it highly saturated and a harder market to enter. In terms of quality of life, Cancun’s developed infrastructure makes it an idyllic place to live with many perks. 


Tulum, on the other hand, is growing rapidly, making it the perfect time to invest in a property. Its small size and high tourist demand make it a tremendous short-term or vacation rental investment, as tourists flock to gated communities and condo developments to escape the expensive and luxurious hotel zone. 


If you do have the budget, however, a few benefits to owning a property in Cancun is the city’s international airport accessibility, well-developed infrastructure and central access to nearby islands like Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. 


Interested in buying a property in Mexico? Start your property search today with Zisla. 


Help me find the perfect property in Mexico

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