Accommodation in Cancun

Updated 2022-05-22 14:27

Like in other parts of Mexico, the best way to find accommodation in Cancun is by searching for one while you're in the city. Although some rental properties are listed online, you can usually find better options by walking around and looking for signs that say “Se Renta”—For Rent. Therefore perhaps, your first step in finding accommodation in Cancun is to find a hotel for a short stay until you're able to find a more permanent solution.

Choosing a hotel in Cancun

Cancun is divided into two zones: the hotel zone (zona hotelera in Spanish) and downtown. The resorts in the hotel zone are large, expensive, and impractical for an extended stay. Besides, there aren't many rental properties in the hotel zone other than pricy timeshares.

Because of this, a good strategy is to book a hotel online in downtown Cancun for the first few days and then look around for a more suitable place for more permanent accommodation, such as an apartment. The central area in downtown Cancun is near the ADO bus terminal and a nearby park, Parque Las Palapas. Search for hotels for convenient access to transportation and other services like markets and supermarkets.

You can find good deals online by using Google Maps or travel booking websites, but the most affordable options do not have listings online. It's best to visit them to get prices and an idea of the neighborhood. Before agreeing to take the room, ask to see the shower and check the air conditioning. If you plan on staying for a long time, ask for a discount.

Finding long-term accommodation in Cancun

You can find anything in Cancun: furnished and unfurnished apartments, detached homes, condos, and timeshares. Also, take a look at the classified section of local newspapers and free magazines that list properties. Also, take a look at and, which are quickly becoming popular in Mexico.

Another strategy is to visit a local real estate agent, which is especially important if you plan on buying a property in Cancun. Most real estate agents in Cancun and surrounding areas speak English.

Because Cancun is a popular tourist destination, rent prices will be higher than in other parts of Mexico. But they should still be cheaper than a comparable place back home, especially in the western world.

If you plan on staying long-term, don't just limit yourself to downtown Cancun. Explore nearby communities like Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, which may have a better and more affordable range of choices for accommodation.

Cancun and its southern neighbors, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, are particularly attractive to foreigners because of the relaxed Caribbean beach lifestyle they provide. However, becoming this famous over the past few years comes at a cost. Rents have been increasing dramatically lately. Fair enough, we guess you get to live in paradise in exchange for it.

If you want to rent a place in Cancun, a one-bedroom unit in the city center would be around 600 USD. Beyond the city center, the same-sized apartment costs probably less than 500 USD. If you are looking to rent something bigger, we are talking about three bed/three-bath kind of house, and you can find that in the outskirts for around 700 USD, and obviously a lot more expensive the closer you get to the beach.

The best neighborhoods in Cancun

The Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone)

Zona Hotelera, as its name suggests, is densely packed with resorts and tourists. The entire area is a swarm of excitement every hour of the day. However, it makes it also one of the easiest and nicest areas to live in Cancun. This area definitely has some Miami vibes! It offers beautiful pedestrian areas, many shops and restaurants, and of course - the beach. All these amenities come at a price. Rents will be double, if not triple, what you would pay in other parts of Cancun. A big plus is that you won't be wasting a lot of money on taxis as you have pretty much anything you might need nearby, just a few steps away from your apartment.

El Centro (City Center, Downtown Cancun)

If you are looking for more accessible prices than in the luxurious Zona Hotelera, this might be the right spot for you. Rents will be half of what you would pay for an apartment on the beach strip. And yet it is not lacking any of the ocean lifestyle because its streets are full of palm trees. Also, the center has a stronger feeling of closeness to true Mexican culture than many other areas of town near the ocean, and it's simpler to purchase the goods you need while you can avoid paying overpriced tourist rates.

Why choose to live in Cancun?

For starters, it is part of the Caribbean. You will get to enjoy the most prestigious white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters in the world. And this with a year-round warm and tropical climate. The beach resorts and cities around the Caribbean Sea were designed as a vacation paradise and provide expats with a wide range of activities. If you're searching for something to do at night, Cancun's nightlife has plenty to offer. The city has got it all, whether you like big shows, casinos, or calmer piano bars. If you do make it to bed early, you can enjoy sunset cruises on a sailing boat, rent your own yacht for the day, go scuba diving or snorkeling, or simply go for a run at the beach.

Other places nearby that might be of interest to you

The Riviera Maya, as locals call the entire coastline down south from Cancun, offers more than just one place to settle down. Each town has its own culture and vibe, and what they all have in common is the precious Caribbean Sea, perfect white sandy beaches, and plenty of activities and rental options to choose from.

Also, the highway connects all of these towns along the way from Cancun to Chetumal, the last city before crossing the border to Belize.

In the following list, we have gathered the most helpful information about every town mentioned to make your decision a little bit easier.

Isla Mujeres

The island just off the coast of Cancun has been a popular spot for tourists for many years. Especially retirees from the United States and Canada have made it their home during the colder winter months to escape the snow and freezing weather conditions. You can find many options to rent an apartment or house, and all of them are within close proximity to the beaches as the island is quite a small one. Even though it is a tiny island, it comes with its own airport, making it even more accessible to its visitors. Being an island, it comes with a marina, should you plan on buying a boat or might even already own one. You have countless restaurant and cafe options. It is more popular looking for something to rent in the central and southern parts of the island.

Puerto Morelos

Probably the best part of Puerto Morelos is its distance to Cancun, or shall we say closeness. It won't take you longer than 20 minutes by car once you leave the airport in Cancun. Until a few years ago, it was an undeveloped small fishing village, mostly overlooked by travelers as it did not have much to offer. However, this has changed over time, especially as the area experienced growth because many big hotel chains have settled right before Puerto Morelos.

Playa del Carmen

The second-largest city of the Rivera Maya has turned into a pretty developed place from once being a small hippie town. These times are definitely over, and it has become one of the top tourist spots in Mexico. Being located only 1,5 hours away from the International Airport of Cancun, it is easily accessible whether by bus or car.

The center itself is growing more every day, but what makes it a very attractive place to be, is that you can still find reasonably priced apartments just a block away from the beach yet enjoy all the parts that make it worth living in a city.


Cozumel might be your place if you want to have it all - an island lifestyle and a city. It has its own airport, or you can get there from Playa del Carmen by ferry. The schedule is quite frequent, so don't worry about being trapped either on the island or the mainland. This island is particularly interesting for diving fans! It is surrounded by a well-intact reef where you can explore the Caribbean's magical underwater world full of bright-colored fish and other species.

Puerto Aventuras

This town has become very popular amongst expats with families. It offers houses with gardens, proximity to the beach, and, most importantly, an international school. It is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, away from the hustle and bustle of both touristy hot spots. There is also a prominent local community, and the expats tend to blend in just fine.


This town is even further south of Playa del Carmen and just 15 minutes away from Tulum. If you like to snorkel, this is just your place. You do not have to hop on a boat to reach the beautiful coral reef because it is right in front of you, just off the beachside. You can find everything you need for daily living in town, but if you look for bigger chains, you have to go to Playa del Carmen. There are not that many options for nightlife, but you are just minutes away from Tulum, where you get to choose from a wide range of parties every night.


Probably the most famous spot in all of Mexico. Everyone wants to go to Tulum. And they do. Especially over the last two years during the pandemic, the once idyllic tiny village has turned into a mecca for digital nomads and expats. Why? It does have its own magic that seems to mesmerize almost everyone. Tulum is a dream come true kind of place. Eye-wrenchingly beautiful beaches (if there is no seaweed), jungle villas, and a wide range of world-class restaurants and bars make it the perfect utopic bubble. This wonderland comes at a high cost, though, and we are not only talking about the ridiculously high rents but also its impact on the local environment. But this is stuff for another article. If you want to move to Tulum, we won't judge - it is pure bliss.


Although it is not precisely located on the Rivera Maya, it definitely deserves to be mentioned on this list. The beautiful 7-colored lagoon of Bacalar has become another popular destination for expats, especially those who want to escape the busy coastal towns like Tulum and Playa del Carmen. It is still a town in plain development, so don't expect the same amenities as in other places mentioned before. But this is exactly what attracts people: the quiet and peaceful environment, hippies playing music on the streets, and a huge barefoot culture.

Practical information

To avoid surprises during your search for accommodation in Cancun, you should:

  • start by staying in a hotel, so you can take the time to identify more appropriate accommodation according to your preferences and budget.
  • Have a handle on Spanish to be able to better negotiate with owners. However, many locals speak English in that region due to the high percentage of tourists and English-speaking expats.
  • Inquire about rent prices in other places in the neighborhood before signing the lease. Try to meet some friendly expat residents for insider tips.
  • Visit the neighborhood at various times of day, including late at night, to make sure there isn't a loud nightclub, barking dogs, or a busy highway nearby.

Useful links:

Craigslist Yucatan


Metros Cúbicos (renting)

Zonaprop (renting)

Trovit (purchasing and renting)

Gomfy (renting and homestays)

Compartodepa (renting and flat-sharing)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.