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Choosing the Best Destination
But we don’t want to live just anywhere- we want an enjoyable adventure, comfort, beauty, access to amenities and more. Below is our checklist for choosing a place to live. If it all adds up, then it is a yes.
- Within our budget for airfare, housing and food
- Moderate to warm weather
- Easy to get around
- Good internet
- Near the ocean
- We can snorkel off the beach
- Affordable adventures
- People speak some English
Does Riviera Maya Fit the Bill?
A Parade of Guests
A Bit Over the Top
And we did that! We are watching our spending again as we prepare for more visitors in March. We love it when our family and friends come to play. This is one of the ways long term travelers can keep the connections to the people they care about.
The month included these special treats:
- Laurie’s birthday- rental of beach chairs and umbrellas, with drinks and lunch at the Blue Parrot Beach Club $39
- Two hour Snorkel trip- three of us on a boat trip out to the reef in Puerto Morelos $100
- Cenotes and Tulum Ruins visits. (details below)
- Extra groceries, taxis and restaurant meals (details below)
- Not included in our expenses was a lovely adventure at Rio Secreto, a gift from our children
Our airbnb townhouse rent came to about $700/month for the period from mid January to late March.
We spent a little less for our first six weeks here and we did have to negotiate to get these prices. Rental prices are very inflated in Playa from December to March or April.
- Cell Phone plans for two $24/month
- Transportation (including extra taxi rides and Collectivos to Puerto Morelos and Tulum ) $120
- Groceries and sundries – including bottled drinking water $285
- Restaurant meals (including the previously mentioned Blue Parrot birthday lunch) $239
- Miscellaneous adventures (Cenotes, Ruins, movies, snorkeling trip) $178
- Haircut $18
The restaurant, transportation costs, and adventures all pushed us slightly over the limit of our $1500 monthly budget.
Is Playa Del Carmen An Affordable Long Term Travel Destination?
If you are deciding if Playa is within your budget here are some things to consider.
We do a lot of our own cooking. Restaurants are affordable but daily dining out would not fit our spending plan. Street food is cheaper, unless you are like us and care about getting your veggies!
Airfare is a cost we amortize over the length of the trip. Be sure and add this expense to your monthly budget. We also purchased travel insurance for our trip ($100 for the whole trip for us both)
Live with the Locals. Don’t expect to stay at the beach during high season. We spoke to a couple with a studio near the beach. They paid $1000 rent for December and $800 thereafter for their 6 month stay.
Be prepared to do some walking and take a few bus rides. We were often the only non locals on the bus and sometimes we had to stand.
Do not think of yourselves as being on vacation, but rather of living in a lovely place and exploring, by walking, visiting the beaches and cenotes. Take advantage of inexpensive activities with only the occasional special treats. If you can swing it, stay for six months. There are some deals to be had, especially if you know Spanish.
Will We Return to Playa Del Carmen?
We think we will return to Playa in the future, making contact with folks we met here to help us secure a long term rental for a bit less than we spent this time.
We were wondering about Tulum as a destination for a 2 week vacation? Less touristy and more of a bohemian/hippy vibe? …. not Sure …. any comments 🙂
Hi Steve and thanks for your question. We enjoyed all our visits to Tulum. The beaches are beautiful and less crowded than the ones in Playa. Also, the town has a nice “local” feel, being much smaller and more laid back. I am not sure that I would call it a bohemian/hippy vibe though, at least not any more. Most of the lodgings in Tulum are more expensive than in Playa. There are a ton of high end hotels and resorts, as well as lots of expensive restaurants. So, I think it would be a great destination for a couple of weeks if you don’t mind the cost. Some of the all in one resorts are spectacular if that is your thing. Since we travel on a tiny budget, we enjoyed some of the local restaurants in Tulum, but stayed in more affordable Playa del Carmen.
Hey Neil & Laurie – What a fabulous visit we had with you in Playa del Carmen! You guys are the perfect companions-cum-tour guides, not to mention good friends. I lost count of the many tips on navigation, shopping, cooking, restaurants, staying healthy, sights and adventures that made our stay there (of almost two weeks!!) unforgettable. Thanks to the “local knowledge” you’ve collected, we wasted little time getting to the fun stuff, and were so happy to be able to trust your judgement. And, seriously, the food was no better at any restaurant than it was at your table. And thanks for taking awesome photos!
Hi Barbara. We had a great time too. We both really enjoy discovering new places and sharing our knowledge with others.