Playa del Carmen has become a digital nomad hotspot in recent years, and the city even has a Digital Nomads Playa del Carmen Facebook group.
After living in Playa del Carmen for a month, here is a good idea of the cost of living in Playa del Carmen for one person.
As of the time of this article, the exchange rate is 1 USD to 19 Pesos.
As I was only staying for a month, I decided to rent my room through AirBnb.
It is also possible to just show up and walk around to find a room or an apartment for rent. Most of the people renting out the rentals near 5th and 10th avenue (the tourist strip a.k.a downtown Playa del Carmen) speak at least some English, so you should not have any troubles negotiating your rent if you do not speak Spanish.
Spotted this place for rent while walking around downtown Playa
Another great resource for finding rooms and apartments for rent in Playa del Carmen are the Roomies Playa del Carmen, Rentas y Roomies en Playa del Carmen, and the RENTA DE CUARTOS PLAYA DEL CARMEN Facebook groups. You will need to understand at least some Spanish though, as most of the postings in these Facebook groups are in Spanish.
However, you will also be able to find cheaper rooms and apartments through these Facebook groups as they are targeted more for the local Mexicans moving to Playa from other cities.
In general, the closer you are to the beach, the more expensive your rent is. For cheaper rents and a more local vibe, you would want to look for rentals past the highway (the further inland you get, the cheaper the rent).
I ended up paying 6000 pesos (all-inclusive) a month for my apartment that was located a street past the highway, which considered is pricey for the area but I did not have much choice since I booked through AirBnB.
I met other digital nomads who were living closer to the beach and they were paying 7000 to 10,000 pesos for a room or a studio apartment. Some of them found their place just by walking around the neighborhood and calling up the number on the “for rent” signs.
Playa del Carmen and Quintana Roo, in general, is considered more pricey than the other parts of Mexico. However, it is still affordable to eat out and groceries are cheap.
I typically ate out once a day and cooked the rest of my daily meals, and I did all my grocery shopping in the huge supermarkets such as Walmart, Mega and Chedraui.
Here is a breakdown of the cost of food items I usually buy, in Pesos and US dollars:
- 2 Tuna steaks - 79 pesos ($4.20)
- Brocolli 1kg - 33.90 pesos ($1.80)
- Tomatoes 1kg - 16.90 pesos ($0.90)
- Mangoes 1kg - 26.90 pesos ($1.40)
- Strawberries 454g/a box - 64 pesos ($3.30)
- Eggs 18 pieces - 26.50 pesos ($1.40)
- Avocado 1kg - 69 pesos ($3.60)
- White Onion 1kg - 13.90 pesos ($0.73)
- Doritos - 22.50 pesos ($1.20)
There are cheap street food options as well as pricier restaurant options in Playa. If you are looking for cheap and quick food, check out the popular Las Quekas chain which sells 13 pesos ($0.70) quesadillas and 15 pesos ($0.80) sopes.
There are many options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, and you can find a Las Quekas in many parts of the city, including one right across the Mega supermarket.
When I’m eating out, I pay on average 60 to 80 pesos per meal. Some of my favorite places include Falafel Nessya for amazing falafels (a falafel for 5 pesos!), La Floresta for delicious yet cheap seafood tacos (25 pesos per shrimp/crab/fish taco), Nativo for Mexican food (70 pesos for an enchilada), and Kaxapa for Venezuelan food (60 to 100 pesos).
If you traveling within Playa itself, the city does not have Uber service here. However, there are lots of taxis that ply the street and the regular price is around 15 to 30 pesos within the downtown area.
There are also taxi sitios where you will find taxis waiting for passengers - the most popular sitio being the one right at 5th avenue next to the ADO bus station. Taking a taxi from the sitio stands are slightly more expensive at around 10 pesos more than flagging down a taxi along the road.
Colectivos, or shared vans, run up and down 30th Ave, Colosio, 115 Ave, and Juarez. Check out their various stops written on the windshield in shoe polish so you will know where they are going. Regardless of your stop, the fare is 5 pesos flat rate.
Walking is absolutely possible within the downtown area and I never had to take a taxi or a colectivo except to get to other cities.
Final Thoughts on Cost of Living In Playa del Carmen
On the surface, living in Playa del Carmen might seem more expensive than living in Mexico City or Oaxaca. However, there are cheap options and bargains available if you know where to look for them.
If you are constantly eating out, partying or drinking at the restaurants along 5th and 10th avenue, then your cost of living In Playa del Carmen will be a lot higher than mine.
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Hopefully this information will help you plan and budget for your stay in Playa del Carmen!