Yes- You Can Live in Playa Del Carmen on Less Than $2,000 a Month!

Living in Mexico certainly has its advantages!

The lower cost of living is one of them. And having a lower cost of living will help you do the things you enjoy like dining out frequently, traveling and going out for drinks with friends. Without having to sacrifice your other expenses like running a household. 

The things you never thought would be possible to afford may be accessible to you living in Mexico. And you don’t necessarily have to be wealthy to afford them.

So let’s put a realistic monthly budget into perspective.

Your Lifestyle Will Dictate Your Expenses

The following budget example is from a real person. Jeff is a single guy living in a gated community with tons of amenities. In this gated community you have a few pools, a gym, sports fields and 24/7 security. 

This apartment complex is on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen, so a car is needed to come and go. Otherwise, you’d have to wait a while for taxis or public transport. Jeff loves to cook for neighbors and friends- so there is a hefty grocery bill that may not be typical of a couple or a single person.

He also loves going out to eat. And he orders food deliver a few time a week. All this to say, that this person lives well within his budget but also doesn’t stay home or have a tight budget.

Another important factor is that he owns his home- which means he doesn’t have mortgage or pays a monthly rent. If you rent in Playa del Carmen, you can expect your budget to increase by the amount of your monthly rent.

What Are His Monthly Expenses in Playa del Carmen?

Compared to other areas in Mexico, living in Playa del Carmen tends to be more expensive. Like any resort town or major tourist destination in Mexico, the cost of living in playa isn’t typical of smaller towns or other cities in Mexico.

It also helps to learn Spanish because in doing so, you will live like the locals do. And when you live like the locals do your budget will reflect that.

These are Jeff’s expenses for one month. But you also have to consider he has other variable expenses such as

  • Car Maintenance
  • Auto insurance
  • Health Insurance

To make the conversion simple, we’re using 19 pesos to the dollar which has been the monthly average recently.

Condo Fees$1995$105
City Water$216$11
Bottled Water$100$5 including tip
Propane Gas$1000$52
Electricity- *less in the winter months$1500$79
Fiber Optic Internet$865$45
Cell Service$200$11
House Cleaner 2x/Month$800$42
Dining Out$5000$260
Misc.- snacks, cigarettes, etc.$3500$184
Expat TV- TV service to watch US shows$665$35
Satellite TV$683$36
MONTHLY TOTAL$22,024$1,154

Other Luxuries You Can Now Afford

With all of these expenses, Jeff still managed during the month of August to spend 4 days in beautiful Bacalar, and 4 days on the Island of Holbox. The total of these two trips was about $1000 dollars USD. Which includes my hotels, my meals, and excursions for 8 days of travel. Bear in mind that Jeff’s expenses above also include the 16% IVA or Mexico’s value tax!

Still a skeptic?

Jeff’s yearly property taxes are only $85.00 USD. That’s not a typo- his YEARLY taxes are $85 USD.  

Mexican Health Insurance through IMSS only costs him MXN $15,300.00 a year. That’s about $783 USD a year for public health insurance. 

His car insurance is only USD $315.00 A YEAR!

Now, it’s important to keep in mind always that these are Jeff’s expenses. And this article is for information purposes only. Your expenses will depend on your lifestyle (how much you eat out, what type of place you live in, the kinds of groceries you’ll buy, etc) But it is very doable to live in Playa del Carmen on $2000 USD a month or less!

How To Learn to Be A Local?

Interested in Playa Del Carmen? 

Jeff is a local relocation tour guide recommended by Mexico Relocation Guide- come down to the beautiful Riviera Maya and let Jeff show you how to move to Mexico the right way and the fun way!

You’ll learn about

  • What the local neighborhoods are
  • What your shopping options are
  • Where the locals eat and hang out
  • How to maintain your home in the tropics
  • Things to watch out for locally
  • How to make friends
  • Things to do in the area
  • How to get local discounts
  • How to get around in Playa del Carmen
  • And soo much more! All with the help of an actual local

Check out our complete Mexico Relocation Guide and book your Playa del Carmen Tour!

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kieran Chung says

    Great article. I own a condo in playa del Carmen and looking to retire in playa by mid-2024. To own a car do you have to have a temporary or permanent visa?

    I am applying for temporary visa.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Kieran
      thanks for reading it!
      No you don’t need to be a resident to own a car. If you bring a car from the USA or Canada you can drive it in Mexico with foreign plates for up to 180 days as a tourist. If you are a temporary resident you can drive it in Mexico for up to 4 years
      Otherwise, if you want to buy a car in Mexico you do have to be a resident or citizen to get Mexican plates on it.

      • Pat Puccillo says

        Hi Mariana, my name is Patrick Puccillo and I’m interested in relocating to possibly Playa Del Carmen! If you have any information , it would be gratefully appreciated! I am a widower and would live alone! Thankyou

        • Mariana Lange says

          Hi Patrick! Welcome to our site.
          I’m happy to help you understand what you need to know about moving to Mexico in general and locally in Playa del Carmen.
          The first thing you have to determine is if you qualify for residency in Mexico. Here’s a quick guide
          If you qualify for residency, we can give you the steps to follow if you plan to do it on your own. However, we highly recommend hiring an immigration facilitator who will help you obtain your residency in Mexico.

          Once you’re ready to move forward with your residency visa process, I recommend buying our ccomplete Mexico Relocation Guide.
          Our guide will answer the most important basic questions on moving to Mexico. And because we know Mexican government processes can be complicated, we also give you our directory of contacts across Mexico that can help you with immigration, healthcare, rentals, real estate, bringing your pets, household goods etc
          check out what’s include

  2. John says

    Great article! Thank you.

  3. Les says

    Do I need Mexican car insurance while driving on Canadian plates?

    • Mariana Lange says

      When driving in Mexico, you always need Mexican car insurance regardless of where the car is from.

  4. Norma Lockett says

    Are there many gated neighborhoods near shopping? Condos, townhouses, homes for rent while checking out where u want to live?

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