Playa del Carmen vs. Miami – The ultimate cost of living comparison

In need for a change? The city overwhelms you more and more? If you want to spend your next life phase in a nice, warm and calm place, you might have considered these two. First, there is Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with a paradise-like environment. Second, there is Miami, with a sunny weather and popular beaches. But, which is cheaper? What is more, which city will give you more for less? We ran this Playa del Carmen vs. Miami cost of living comparison to see, and these are the results.

Playa vs Miami Cost comparison

Food costs in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

We have analyzed the staple products one could find in a supermarket plus the cost of going out. The results are that food in Playa del Carmen is 47% cheaper than in Miami. Here are some of the numbers:

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
Lunchtime menu + drink at a Downtown restaurant
$225 MXN
$10
$18

upvote in cost of living  -43%

Meal in a fast food restaurant
$114 MXN
$5.16
$9

upvote in cost of living  -44%

12 eggs
$31
$4.15
$4.15

upvote in cost of living  -66%

1 L of milk (1 qt.)
$20 MXN
$0.91
$0.92

upvote in cost of living  -1%

1Kg of potatoes (2 lb)
$38 MXN
$1.74
$1.60

negative vote  +9%

1Kg of tomatoes (2 lb)
$23 MXN
$1.03
$4.17

upvote in cost of living  -75%

In addition to our calculations, we asked Mexpats if they find anything more expensive than in the US. and they said peanut butter (a typically American product). We took the brand JIF at Walmart stores to make the comparison:

Peanut butter PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference in price per Kg
JIF Peanut Butter (454g / 16oz)
$84 MXN
$3.73
$2.28

negative vote +64%

Thus, the expats are right! Peanut butter is more expensive. Nevertheless, it is very easy to overcome that! As you are saving a 47% in all your food, you can expend an extra buck on PB. Moreover, whenever you go visit the US, you can bring home a couple bottles of your favorite brand.

Are you a PB fan?

Housing costs in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

Even though Playa del Carmen has options for all wallets, housing prices are always lower than Miami. With an average difference of 64%, Playa del Carmen scores all points in rent and purchase. Take a look:

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
Monthly rent for a 85 m2 (900 square feet) furnished house in an expensive area
$22,047 MXN
$997
$2,442

upvote in cost of living  -59%

Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 square feet) furnished house in a normal area
$10,607 MXN
$480
$1,729

upvote in cost of living  -72%

Utilities for 1 month (2 people in a 900 sqft accomodation)
$1,285
$58
$172

upvote in cost of living  -66%

Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 square feet) in an expensive area
$13,100 MXN
$595
$1,610

upvote in cost of living  -63%

Monthly rent of a furnished studio, in a normal area.
$6,630 MXN
$300
$1,047

upvote in cost of living  -71%

1 hour of cleaning services
$75 MXN
$3.33
$17

upvote in cost of living  -81%

If you are looking for purchase prices, you can check with our advisors. You will easily see how the costs are much more affordable than any similar condo in the United States.

Don’t miss: the Surprising but Simple method to buy property as a foreigner in Mexico.

In addition to our calculations, we asked around expats and they said electricity was something to watch. For that reason, we recommend buying a good inverter air conditioning system. The better the A/C, the less you will spend on your monthly bill. 

Buying clothes in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

The price of clothing is not that different between Playa and Miami. That is because many of the clothing in both countries are imported, and the production is globalized. All in all, the results are that Playa del Carmen is 38% cheaper than Miami.

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
A pair of jeans (of a good brand)
$825 MXN
$37
$44

upvote in cost of living  -16%

A pair of sneackers (Adidas, Nike, Puma)
$ 1,200 MXN
$56
$104

upvote in cost of living  -46%

A dress in a global fashion store (such as H&M, Pull&Bear, Zara, Sfera)
$570 MXN
$26
$40

upvote in cost of living  -35%

A pair of men's shoes
$711 MXN
$32
$112

upvote in cost of living  -71%

Don’t miss our article on Downtown Playa del Carmen.

Transportation costs in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

When we asked Playa expats if there was anything in Playa more expensive than in the US, many didn’t doubt. Gasoline. Gas prices are slightly higher in Mexico than in the US. That is thanks to an onerous treaty signed after the US invasion of Texas, but never mind. Nevertheless, the cost of transportation is an overall 68% cheaper than in Miami. Let’s look at the figures.

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
1 L of gas (1/4 gallon)
$17 MXN
$0.79
$0.65

negative vote +21%

Monthly public transport
$ 400 MXN
$18
$92

upvote in cost of living  -80%

A taxi trip for 5 miles (8Km)
$198 MXN
$9
$19

upvote in cost of living  -54%

Buying a new car of standard quality
$235 MXN
$10,659
$24,191

upvote in cost of living  -56%

money on healthcare

Healthcare costs in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

US healthcare system is famous for being the most ridiculously expensive system in the world. In our comparison, it shows: medicine and private healthcare costs are more affordable in Playa, for both locals and expats. Not to mention that when you officially become a resident of Mexico, you are entitled to free public healthcare whenever you need it.

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
Visiting a private doctor
$500 MXN
$23
$148

upvote in cost of living  -85%

Cold medicine for a week
$64 MXN
$2.91
$6

upvote in cost of living  -55%

A box of antibiotics (12 doses)
$144 MXN
$6
$21

upvote in cost of living  -69%

Entertainment costs in Playa del Carmen vs. Miami

There is a wide range of activities you can do in the Riviera Maya for free or almost for free (like visiting cenotes, snorkeling, freediving, yoga or going to the beach). Besides that, Playa del Carmen is 61% cheaper than parallel entertainment activities in Miami.

Product PLAYA (pesos) PLAYA (USD) MIAMI (USD) Difference
2 tickets to a movie theater
$130 MXN
$5.72
$27

upvote in cost of living  -79%

Dinner for two in a pub
$354 MXN
$16
$52

upvote in cost of living  -69%

A cocktail in a Downtown pub
$121 MXN
$5.5
$16

upvote in cost of living  -66%

1 month of gym membership
$688 MXN
$31
$52

upvote in cost of living  -41%

Conclusion: a 61% difference

For all it matters, this was a sweeping victory to Playa del Carmen. In our Playa del Carmen vs. Miami comparison, the Riviera Maya city is much cheaper than its counterpart in Florida. The only exceptions? Gas, peanut butter and potatoes, and even then it is a manageable difference.

More information

If you want to learn about everything Playa has to offer, download our FREE GUIDE – Unforgettable things to do in Playa del Carmen.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

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