Cancun Vacation Rentals: All you need to know

If you are planning a vacation to Cancun you should evaluate the accommodation alternatives to find the best option for you, if you are not sure if choosing to stay in a hotel or a Vacation Rental in Cancun like a condo, villa or a house don’t miss this post, with some useful tips to find the most suitable one for you…

In recent years Airbnb, Vrbo, and similar platforms have added a lot of alternatives to the classic accommodation options in Cancun (hotels). 

Nowadays if you are traveling to Cancun you can stay in a hotel, villa, apartment, condo, house, bungalow, and much more.

It is true that vacation rentals in Cancun already existed before Airbnb, but there were fewer options and it was more difficult to find them, sometimes it was just a matter of luck to reach the destination and find a good option and price walking on the streets, or in some places, the local newspaper was the one that helped you.

But, with technology on the rise, today you only need to browse an internet platform like Airbnb, Vrbo, Tripadvisor, or even direct rental websites, and with some time and a good eye, you can find the best place that promises a charming stay.

Why a vacation rental in Cancun can be a good option for your trip?

A lot of people have long preferred a house or villa over a hotel, among the reasons for this we find: the price and comfort for a large family, privacy, space, kitchen, tradition, sharing spaces with other friendly families, etc.

Opting for vacation homes sometimes means enjoying rest in a more controlled space, with less exposure to people outside the family or friend's group.

This is why a lot of travelers are encouraged to rent a house, and platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking are gaining more popularity; if this is your case, you will need some tips to make a good choice and find the best vacation rental in Cancun for you…

How to choose a vacation home in Cancun?

Choosing a place to rest is very personal and everyone has their own tricks, but leaving tastes aside, you have to consider certain actions that will help you to be effective when searching among so many vacation homes in different zones of Cancun regardless of you use Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking or any other vacation rental service/platform.

Here are our main suggestions to find the best vacation rental in Cancun:

1. Choose the perfect location for you

When considering where to book your stay, it is important to gather as much information as you can about the area in which the vacation home is located.

If you are thinking about which is the best location for an Airbnb in Cancun, there is a lot to analyze. Cancun is a fairly large city and many areas are not clearly defined, which creates confusion when it comes to finding a good place to rent.

However, if you want to save a little more and look for something in the surrounding areas; if that is your idea, it is good to look for local references for the neighborhood or chosen area, in addition to analyzing available means of transportation, supermarkets, and security, among other important items to avoid jeopardizing the tranquility of your stay.

Cancun, like most touristic cities in Mexico, is pretty safe, but as in any city, certain zones are better to avoid.

In this aspect, it is good to know how to use Google Maps to locate the house or apartment and the possible places that you are going to visit, from tourist attractions, supermarkets, and shopping centers, among other places of interest; you can also establish safe routes, bus stops, etc.

Likewise, if you like to rest without disturbing noise, it is useful to make sure that you don’t book a place in areas with a large circulation of cars or areas with bars or a lot of nightlife; you must consider this and other requirements to feel comfortable in what will be your vacation home during your visit in Cancun.

Here are the main areas that you’ll find in Cancun:

Airport Zone

If you’re looking to stay close to the airport or have a car, this location may be a good option for you. 

However, if you prefer to walk, you may find that some accommodations are far from interesting places. 

The area has new neighborhoods, particularly near Huayacan Avenue, which is home to many restaurants, bars, pharmacies, and convenience stores.

👉 A great option in this new area with great reviews is this new condo.

Beach areas in Cancun

The coast of Cancun is quite extensive, so we can subdivide the beach area it into other areas that we will describe below, from north to south:

Beach area in Costa Mujeres

This area is located north of Cancun (like 20 minutes away from downtown) and is the newest area of the city in terms of tourism development. 

You’ll find large luxury hotel chains that opened a few years ago, as well as some small hotels and apartments for vacation rentals like La Amada, many of which are located on the beach.

One of the benefits of this area is that it is the least affected by sargassum, and the beaches are in a more private environment mainly in Playa Mujeres

Additionally, it is close to the ferry terminal that takes you to Isla Mujeres.

However, there are no accessible public means of transportation, so you will need a taxi for any transfer outside the zone (which can be expensive) or rent a car. 

Furthermore, as it is a developing area, it doesn’t have a lot of commercial activity. It is a more appropriate area to rest and relax away from the city crowd.

👉 A great option in this area with great reviews is this beachfront Apartment.
Puerto Juarez Beach Area

Puerto Juárez is located to the south of Costa Mujeres, an area that has apartments and hotels on the beach side and residential houses on the other side where local people live.

Although Puerto Juárez has better communication with the city center, it is recommended to stay only on the beachside.

It is worth noting that a part of Puerto Juarez includes a golf course and a shopping center.

At the end of this zone, you can find Puerto Cancun, which is one of the most luxurious areas of the city but also a little bit expensive.

Beach Area in Cancun Hotel Zone

Cancun Hotel Zone, which is 25km long, begins at the center of Cancun and is accessible from Kukulkan Boulevard and Tulum Avenue. 

The area is home to numerous hotels located on the beach side and the other side, in front of the Nichupte Lagoon. 

There are also buildings, private houses, villas, apartments, and a few hostels.

The Hotel Zone is the largest tourist development in Cancun, with many shops, shopping malls, restaurants, a craft market, a nightclub area, golf courses, a museum, water attractions, and more.

One of the best things about Cancun Hotel Zone is that it is quite safe at all times, with a lot of movement of people, public transportation is frequent until midnight, and it is cheap (except taxis).

On the Nichupte Lagoon side, many houses are usually rented as Airbnb or vacation rentals and are a good option as long as you consider the distance from where the house is located to Kukulkan Boulevard and the beach.

Downtown area

Cancun Downtown is a highly sought-after area for vacation rentals in Cancun. However, it can be challenging to determine which part of downtown Cancun is ideal for your stay.

Cancun Downtown is delimited as a “square” with Tulum Avenue from Plaza de Las Américas to El Crucero on one side, López Portillo Avenue to Kabah Avenue on another side, Kabah Avenue (which changes to Rodrigo Gómez Avenue) on the third side, and Nichupte Avenue until the beginning on the fourth side. 

The “center” of this area is quite large, and there are recommended places and others that are not. 

If you’re looking to rent in this area, consider alternatives located near Tulum Avenue, from Plaza Las Américas to the ADO bus terminal. Both sides of that avenue are quite good and safe.

The Mercado 28 area, Parque de Las Palapas, Cobá Avenue and Downtown Walmart, Palenque Avenue near Cobá, Labná, Xcaret, and Yaxchilán Avenues near Malecon Shopping Center and Bonampak Avenue are the most recommended areas. 

While some of these areas may be a little dark at night, they are well-connected with public transportation.

It’s worth noting that Cancun Downtown is not like other cities and does not have nightlife except at certain points. Therefore, walking at night may not be very comfortable.

Finally, it’s always useful to analyze the map from Google Maps. To calculate the distance to the beach, take the hotel zone as a reference, and always confirm with the map when an Airbnb tells you that it is 10 minutes away from the beach, as this is not always true.

Besides location, check the transportation availability in the zone

When contemplating your vacation rental choices in Cancun, it’s crucial to factor in transportation options. While stumbling upon an attractive house at an appealing price, we often get captivated by its details without considering its exact location and proximity to places of interest.

Take a moment to evaluate whether renting a car, utilizing taxis, uber, or relying on local transportation aligns with your plans. Factor in the associated extra costs, check for the availability of a garage and assess the safety of the area for nighttime taxi services. 

Additionally, inquire about nearby public transportation and its operational hours. These considerations vary depending on the chosen mode of transportation.

In addition to transportation logistics, factor in the distances, travel times, and the number of individuals needing transportation. 

This comprehensive analysis ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience during your stay in Cancun.

👉 From the airport  it is better to avoid using Uber it for security reasons, instead, most travelers prefer to use taxi services or book private transportation from Cancun Airport to get to their hotel, airbnb or destination.

2. Look for references to avoid being scammed

Occasionally, while browsing the internet, you might come across enticing images of a beautiful house available at an unusually low cost.

Upon reaching out to the property owner, they may request a non-refundable deposit to secure the reservation.

Be very cautious in such situations, as sometimes is the modus operandi for fraudulent activities.

Especially if it’s your first time in Cancun you can better use reputable platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking, or any OTA or vacation rental brand that ensures security and provides support.

For added safety, consider seeking online referrals or recommendations. 

Tripadvisor and Google are excellent platforms for this purpose. When booking through Airbnb, it's also good to review the host's feedback and comments.

Additionally, specific indicators can help you identify potential fraud when searching for vacation homes, like exceptionally low prices compared to similar options in the area, an abundance of amenities offered at a low cost, insistence on high-value deposits, and other suspicious demands. 

Stay vigilant to protect yourself from potential scams.

3. Ensure the availability of services throughout your stay

While it may seem obvious, it is essential to verify that all amenities depicted in the photos and necessary services will indeed be accessible once you occupy the house or apartment. 

Despite the picturesque images, it’s crucial to confirm the operational status of amenities such as the pool, gym, air conditioning, cable service, gas, hot water, and more.

Your preferences shape your ideal stay, so it’s necessary to be explicit about your requirements. Many services may seem implicit, but without written confirmation, any assumptions made cannot be asserted.

For those traveling with children, consider the safety measures of the property, especially around areas like swimming pools, stairs, and entrances. 

Taking photos upon entry and reviewing the property with the host can be a practical way to prevent disputes over damages incurred during your stay.

Lastly, treat the rental agreement seriously. Carefully read and comprehend the terms before signing, ensuring a clear understanding of the expectations and responsibilities outlined in the agreement.

Costs of Vacation Rentals in Cancun

While the notion often prevails that renting an apartment or vacation home, or villa in Cancun is invariably cheaper than a hotel, this assumption may not always be true.

When contemplating an Airbnb or vacation rental in Cancun, it’s essential to conduct a thorough analysis and comparison with other lodging options. Factors such as location, available services, amenities, and additional expenses should be carefully evaluated.

If your Cancun vacation involves beach visits, assess the distances and transportation costs to reach the shoreline if it's not a beachfront vacation rental. 

Additionally, consider the duration of your stay and whether you plan to spend considerable time in the apartment or take day tours and excursions.

Normally the rule is to book as soon as you can to have more possibilities to find a good place at a better price, a great advantage is that now a lot of apartments and villas offer flexible cancellation policies.

If you are very relaxed and you like to improvise, you can try to reach the destination and find your best option among the vacation homes offered by individuals or by real estate agents in the zone… It all depends on you and your tastes.

In summary, compile a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of each vacation rental option, including all associated costs. Base your decision not solely on the nightly rate but also on your specific preferences and interests.

For those intending to explore the area extensively and spend the entire day outdoors, an Airbnb or vacation rental in Cancun could be an excellent choice. 

Conversely, if you prefer an all-inclusive experience with everything provided during your stay, an All-Inclusive Hotel might be a more suitable option.

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