What We Paid: Riviera Maya

This is part of a series where I break down the costs for airfare and lodging for a specific trip, as well as how much PTO time was spent. I am not including costs for food and activities as those prices fluctuate based on traveler preferences. In general, you can assume that airfare and lodging will be the bulk of your costs. All prices are in US dollars.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a resort-type of girl. Or at least, I wasn’t. After this trip, I am now officially a fan.

I’ve visited over 25 countries over the last 18 years, all independently and without a tour group. While I thoroughly enjoyed all of those trips, I’m getting tired of having to plan everything, figure out where to eat, where to go, how to catch the local bus. I’m tired of haggling. Traveling has never really been a vacation for me. It’s actually a lot of work. So while I’ve loved every minute of traveling, I’m now ready to actually vacation.

Minneapolis-Cancun airfare

In August 2019, a deal popped up in my Facebook feed from Thrifty Traveler: $250 round-trip Minneapolis-Cancun on Sun Country Airlines. No layovers. 3.5 hours flight. We immediately booked it for Thanksgiving. How many times do I have to remind you that Thanksgiving is the best time to travel internationally? Americans tend to stay in the States on Thanksgiving, so international flights out of here are wide open and cheap.

Coati on the prowl for human food.

Cancun Car Rental

This is our second time renting a car in a different country (see my Croatia Road Trip post). We read up on it extensively and found that the number one piece of advice was to buy full insurance in advance to avoid the $500+ hold on your credit card. Got it. 

So we rented a car in advance of the trip with Mex A Rent through rentalcars.com. The total cost was $119 for a 7-day rental with full insurance. After booking, Rentalcars.com sent us an email letting us know that we will be offered full insurance at the Mex A Rent counter and to refuse it because we had already paid for it. Sure enough, when we reached the Mex A Rent counter at the Cancun airport, they offered us full insurance. We said we already had it and showed proof. They still put a hold on our card for $512. Travelers take note. 



Grand Sirenis – the lazy river

We drove straight from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen where we stopped for lunch. It was an easy one hour drive. After lunch, we continued on for about an hour to Tulum. We stopped at a grocery store there to pick up some wine and snacks, and then backtracked to Akumal and the Grand Sirenis Resort and Spa. We spent $276 per night for a Deluxe Junior Suite. This is their standard room.

$276 per night at Grand Sirenis Resort and Spa

At Grand Sirenis, all food, drinks, room service, and entertainment for the three of us were included. The only money we spent on site was $200 for tips, or about $40 in tips per day.

Partial Ocean View at Grand Sirenis


Renting a car really came in handy. We spent a lot of time poolside at the resort, but we also drove to the Tulum Ruins and to Chichen Itza. Driving here couldn’t be simpler. Near the end of our trip, we drove back to Cancun to spend a couple of days before our departure flight. 

We booked the Westin Resort and Spa for our last two nights because it’s very close to the airport and not inside Cancun’s Hotel Zone. We were hoping for a low-key resort, and this fit the bill. We paid $223 per night for a Studio room with Ocean View and Balcony. This is one of their more expensive rooms; other rooms can go as low as $140 per night. This resort is also not all-inclusive, so food and drinks will be paid separately.

Studio room with Ocean View and Balcony

After all of that relaxing and vacationing at Grand Sirenis, I’m now ready to experience more of that all-inclusive resort life. Is this the end of travel as I’ve known it? Stay tuned!

The following totals do not include tips, excursions, or road tolls. The totals are split between two adults.


Airfare Minneapolis-Cancun on Sun Country Airlines: $250 per person

Grand Sirenis all Inclusive for 5 nights: $1,380 

Westin Resort and Spa Cancun for 2 nights: $448 

Total airfare and lodging for 1 person, 7 nights: $1,164

PTO time: 5 days

Leave a Reply