Low season in Mexico runs from late spring to early fall. The most expensive times to go are Christmas and New Year’s, which are especially popular with travelers escaping the cold. Prices stay high throughout the winter, but then dip after Easter. But these 12 hotels offer solid value year round, with offerings like free homemade Mexican breakfast, check-in cocktails, daily yoga classes, and in-room W-Fi. Take a look at the top value hotels in Tulum and Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya.
This small, service-oriented beachfront boutique has a quiet spot on the southern end of the Hotel Zone that remains in walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops. The mid-range Encantada is strongly focused on preserving and sharing local culture: Its restaurant serves authentic regional dishes; its bar pours local craft brews and liquors and hosts local music nights; and the property uses regional artisanal goods throughout. The eight spacious, eco-friendly guest rooms have no air-conditioning or TVs, but they do have fans and private furnished terraces. Full breakfast (eggs, yogurt and granola, fresh breads, fruit, and coffee or tea), Wi-Fi, loaner bikes, and on-site parking are all free.
A Cape Cod aesthetic meets Mexican colors at this relaxing beachfront spot. All 19 rooms have cool tile or concrete floors, personal patio space, and come with free breakfast and hot coffee (delivered to the room), 24-hour electricity and air-conditioning, organic toiletries, and great ocean views. Thanks to the hotel’s location -- in a semi-restricted area -- guests get a mix of coastline spots from a soft sand beach to elevated grassy banks to a rugged and rocky beachfront. Alas, the water here is choppy and not made for swimming. There’s also an excellent on-site restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a fantastic bar with tasty cocktails and healthy smoothies, and a small pool. Wi-Fi is free throughout.
The 20-room, adult-only Beach Tulum is one of the best options at its price point. Its 20 rooms are right on the beach (you can step out onto the sand from the ground-floor units), the beachfront restaurant, Ziggy's, has great food (and a generous free breakfast with fresh juice and smoothies), and the small size allows for lots of personalized attention from the staff. Charming rooms combine rustic and modern elements, and all have ample outdoor space and ocean views. Property features are impressive for a boutique, and include a pretty, meandering pool; an outdoor whirlpool; and daily yoga classes. Free Wi-Fi, parking, tequila and wine tasting events, and welcome cocktails at the lobby bar all add to the value. Year-round mosquitos can be an issue.
Located across the street from Playa del Carmen's town square, La Pasion Hotel Boutique has 34 rooms that are both practical and stylish, though some are small. Thoughtful on-site features include booze tastings, two pools and a hot tub, a fantastic free breakfast spread (fresh pastries and hot a la carte menu), and lots of indoor and outdoor lounge space, plus spa treatments for an extra charge. The hotel is just outside of the La Quinta Avenida zone, but it's one of Playa Del Carmen's better and quieter boutiques. For those who want to be closer to the action, check rates at Aventura Mexicana.
Comparatively budget-friendly for the Tulum Hotel Zone, the eco-friendly Nueva Vida de Ramiro has 33 rustic rooms and studios set within a natural setting along a long stretch of beach. This family-owned, mostly solar-powered property has been around for two decades, and set the tone for the glut of properties that followed. It has free Wi-Fi throughout, 24-hour electricity and hot water; some rooms come with air-conditioning, but the hours for it are limited. Slightly bare bones but with a small business center and rental bikes, this is one of the better bargains in the area ("bargain" is a relative term here). Nueva Vida de Ramiro has an on-site conservation program, and during turtle season, guests have a good chance of seeing some hatchlings. The hotel's restaurant across the road, Casa Banana, serves fresh Argentine dishes and craft cocktails. A free continental breakfast is served here (and down at La Zebra hotel). In low season, guests can opt to have breakfast in their rooms.
Las Palmas Maya is a quirky eco-resort located on the main strip in Tulum's touristy hotel zone. It offers the communal benefits of a hostel, such as a shared kitchen with many food prep gadgets, while guests can enjoy the privacy of having their own rooms (albeit very simple ones). This resort is welcoming to families with children and pets. It is a solid option for budget travelers seeking an escape away from the party atmosphere of some larger resorts. Boogie boards are free to use, and a morning coffee service and reliable Wi-Fi are free, as well. While Las Palmas Maya does not have its own beach, guests are encouraged to use other (mostly public) beaches along this sandy stretch of coastline, including that of the nearby Hip Hotel. Guests will need to cross the road to get to the beach.
The tons of extras offered here make this upper-middle-range property feel like a steal: free daily yoga classes, bike rentals, full breakfast (including hot items), and Wi-Fi. The 16 spacious, hip rooms have air-conditioning, safes, attractive open-plan bathrooms, and furnished terraces, but no TVs. Nice touches include personal yoga mats, outdoor clothes lines, and beach bags. A quiet on-site beach with powdery white sand has loungers and a swing set. There is also a small pool, plus off-site restaurant, bar, and beach club.
The 540-room Valentin Imperial Maya's rates are reasonably competitive for its luxury category. The adult-only all-inclusive is set in an exclusive area of the Riviera Maya known as Playa Secreto. The draws here are the long white-sand beach, massive main pool with two swim-up bars, lazy river (select rooms have swim-out access), quality food, lively entertainment, beautiful grounds, and full-service spa and fitness center. Rooms have traditional, earth-tone decor, and all have outdoor space -- some have ocean views, though they can be obstructed by vegetation on lower floors. There are 11 bars where top-shelf liquor is included, and seven a la carte restaurants where reservations are not required (though Privilege Package guests can make reservations to avoid a wait).
Located at the end of a residential road, the eco-friendly, mid-range Posada Yum Kin is ideal for those looking for a break from Tulum's growing tourist center. The hotel's 12 clean, casita-style rooms have free (if temperamental) Wi-Fi, kitchens, garden views, and Mexican tiles galore. Though you won’t find televisions or telephones, there are exotic garden grounds, a small pool, tiny restaurant, and upper-level sundeck and massage areas. Note that the hotel’s locals-only location comes with a hot and sweaty 20-minute walk to Tulum’s main road, so you may want to take advantage of the rental bikes. Posada Yum Kin offers a free breakfast buffet with eggs, cereals, fruit, juices, and yogurt.
The Apart Hotel Casaejido is a unique budget property off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen, and has a wide range of accommodations, from basic bungalow rooms to partially furnished studios to fully furnished modern apartments with ovens, stoves, king-size beds, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. It's a cute and comfortable property with a distinctly bohemian vibe, but its location on the western side of the highway far from the downtown sprawl and beaches means guests are in the middle of nowhere.
This tranquil art hotel is directly off the north end of Playa del Carmen's La Quinta Avenida strip. The 28-room upper-middle-range boutique offers free homemade Mexican breakfast, property-wide Wi-Fi, and beach towels, as well as free access to Mamitas Beach Club and special deals at Canibal Royal and Las Palapas. Rooms have simple chic decor and thoughtful toiletries; some have whirlpool tubs or outdoor showers. While there’s no direct beach access, the hotel has free or discounted entry to some local beach clubs, two small pools (but no loungers), and a large rooftop deck.
With 25 rooms and suites (and one upscale Master Suite), the lower-middle-range Riviera Caribe Maya has both standard budget rooms and larger, chicer suites with multiple bedrooms, tubs, and bidets. There’s also a small garden pool, built-in lounge areas, and a big lending library in an atrium where the hotel’s bar used to be; the hotel doesn't have a restaurant. Location is key here, it's just one block from La Quinta Avenida. While the main building is ideal for friends and families, the off-site is ideal for couples seeking privacy and tad more luxe vibe.