Cancun has exploded in popularity in the recent decade, and it’s now among the most popular winter-travel destinations in the world. It didn’t even exist until the early 1970s, and now it’s lined with hotels and very crowded in season.
While Cancun is definitely cheaper than cities like Los Angeles or Miami, it’s not really the bargain that many people are hoping for. The nicer hotels charge prices that aren’t too far from similar hotels in Hawaii, and hotels lower down the quality range can be disappointing. On the other hand, you can get excellent rates at many of the all-inclusive hotels, especially in the low season, but even during peak periods if you book early enough.
If you are planning on just sitting on the beach during the day and drinking at night then Cancun can fit into a lower budget, but if you are planning on doing water activities where you are renting equipment and such then you’ll discover prices to be quite high. The best deals on food and drinks are the local places (still with English menus) clustered near the main nightlife and shopping area in the Punta Cancun district. Otherwise you might have little choice but to eat at your hotel and pay whatever they charge.
Food and drink prices can be reasonable though, and especially if you take advantage of the special deals or head into the downtown area.