Many of our clients are confident in investing in the Riviera Maya but end up battling it out between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. We often hear them wondering, where should I invest? There really is no right answer and it depends on each individual case. However, there are general things from each city that you should know before making a decision. Because having an educated decision is the best way to invest in real estate in a foreign country.
Today, both Tulum and Playa del Carmen have become increasingly popular for anyone looking for a retirement, vacation or investment property. The truth is, both are quite young towns, and have only seen their real estate peak in the past decade or so. Regardless, they have both also seen exponential growth in the real estate market. From single-family homes to luxury condos, they have proven that there is no competition for them when it comes to investing in Mexicoâ€™s Caribbean coast.
Tulum: A Sustainable Paradise
Over the past few years, attention to sustainable construction and architecture has peaked in Tulum. More and more developers are now finding ways to protect the environment while still offering comfortable and luxurious accommodations. Tulumâ€™s incredible tourism growth have made it an investorâ€™s favorite. While just 10 years ago it lacked major infrastructure advances, today Tulumâ€™s master planned communities are leading examples in the region.
Places such as Luum Zama preserve 60% of the vegetation while offering high-end services and great real estate options. Other master planned communities like Aldea Zama have underground services that not even forward-thinking Playa del Carmen has (in some areas). In fact, Tulum has become so popular that just between 2016 and 2017 there was a 76% growth in tourism, according to Forbes Magazine. Tulum once lacked legal certainty when it came to titling properties. Today, however, regularizations in the processes have helped thousands of foreigners purchase home safely in the region.
Moreover, its eco-sustainable approach has made it a leading vacation rental destination. In fact, Tulumâ€™s revenue projections are always very favorable and historic income from previous clients has proved that investing in Tulum for vacation rentals is a smart choice. One disadvantage to Tulum is that it continues to lack the strength and steadiness of Playa del Carmen in the sense that Playa del Carmen is not a hype, but an actual destination. Tulum is reaching the same status, but is still figuring itself out in that sense. But numbers donâ€™t lie. That is why we can tell you with certainty that Tulum is a fantastic choice for investing. Nightly rates for vacation rentals are higher than in Playa del Carmen in certain areas, and the amenities are starting to equal or surpass those of luxury hotels.
Playa del Carmen: Confident and Trustworthy
Playa del Carmen has a long trajectory of challenging Cancunâ€™s popularity as the reigning tourism champion in the Riviera Maya. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The governmentâ€™s incredible infrastructure funding has helped Playa del Carmen keep up with its ever-increasing population and tourism influx. The reality is that this once-small-fishing-town is now a city that keeps developing and challenging the stereotypes of fast-growing cities. Its urban and upscale environment attracts a very unique type of crowd. One that would rather put down $100 USD a night for a comfortable studio or condo rather than a hotel.
We wonâ€™t lie â€“ competition in Playa del Carmen is slightly tougher than it is in Tulum. Playa del Carmenâ€™s hotel scene varies much more than it does in Tulum, so if youâ€™re looking for a vacation rental, you need to keep this in mind. That means your prices need to be more competitive. But the 80% year-round occupation rate for accommodation is reason enough to truly consider investing here.
The Best Beaches in the World
When it comes to comparing white-sand beaches against white-sand beaches, the reality is there is no loser. Both Playa del Carmen and Tulum have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Tulumâ€™s ocean is slightly more aggressive, but just as calming. Playa del Carmenâ€™s beaches can be slightly more crowded, but are just as beautiful.
Proximity to the beach can be much better in Playa del Carmen, as you can invest in a condo that is literally half a block from the beach. And even if you invest in a condo further way, you will not be further than five blocks from the cooling blue waters. Whereas Tulumâ€™s beach strip is occupied by hotels and resorts. However, privileged communities like Aldea Zama and Luum Zama are just minutes away by bike. And many developments offer alliances with some of the best beach clubs for residents to enjoy.
Pre-Construction vs Re-Sale Real Estate
Tulum is more of a pre-construction market, whereas Playa del Carmen has more options for anyone looking for a re-sale. You will find both options in both cities, of course. But Tulumâ€™s real estate market is just starting to truly find its potential, which means more developers are building from scratch there. In Playa del Carmen, you will find many, many pre-construction developments with amazing amenities. However, for turnkey and ready-to-rent properties, you might want to look at re-sale options, which there are plenty of.
Playa del Carmen has the added benefit that it has been developing for longer, which means you can find some homes and condos that are being sold due to moving or investing in other things at much more affordable prices than you would in Tulum. You can also find more options such as single-family homes, duplex, penthouses, condos, studios and more.
The advantage of pre-construction lies in being able to decide floor plan changes, finishes and other prior changes to your home while it is being built.
Tourist Attractions: Archeological Sites vs. Theme Parks
Tourist activities are plentiful in both cities, and their proximity (just under an hour away from each other), make it easy to enjoy both options. You will find more cenotes towards Tulum than you will in Playa del Carmen. And you have the gorgeous seaside archeological site, as well in Tulum. But Playa del Carmen is home to some of the best natural theme parks like Xcaret, Xplor, Xenses and Xochimilco. It is also closer to the Cancun International Airport.
So, Tulum or Playa del Carmen Real Estate?
Itâ€™s up to you to consider and decide. In both cities you will find from studios to 3 or 4-bedroom condos. The average cost of a condo in Tulum ranges between $200,000 and $300,000 fluctuating up and down, depending on amenities and size. In Playa del Carmen, you will find real estate options $160,000 to $360,000 USD. Again, this may fluctuate depending on location and size.
Both Playa del Carmen and Tulum have options in master-planned communities, in residential and gated neighborhoods or stand-alone properties Downtown. They all have their pros and cons. So, it comes down to your personal preferences, the use you plan on giving your property and your budget. We hope this comparison has helped you understand both markets and narrow down your options. At the end of the day, it doesnâ€™t matter where you invest, you are making one of the smartest decisions of your life.
And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estateâ€¦we make it happen!