Today Tuesday March 7th I did a google search for “Cancun Private Tours”, which is basically my main market.
The two first Sponsored sites that show up are viator.com and nexustours.com. Then from what seem to be the natural results we have:
Then we come across another sponsored section with ToursByLocals.com
At the beginning of the 2nd page we have 3 sponsored sections, Nexustours.com marazulyachting.com and oceantoursmexico.com
The natural results of the 2nd page:
Followed by 4 sponsored sections, Viator, Nexustours, OceanToursMexico and TripAdvisor.
Custom Cancun Private Tours
I have been offering custom private tours for over 12 years. I consider myself an expert on private tours.
One of the key differences of the services I offer is that I do treat all my guests as if they were my own friends or relatives. I suggest the best spot for what they are looking for, rather than spots that offer me commissions.
As you can see I do offer very competitive rates without hidden fees.
So I do have mixed feelings about TripAdvisor. My main concern is that they do provide lots of good info, but at the same time they use their huge amount of traffic to mislead people. They own Viator.com where they sell all kinds of tours. Once you are on Viators site you really can’t see the name of the business you are looking at.
They claim they didn’t play favorite with those that listed their services on their Viator platform, however that wasn’t/isn’t really true. Businesses that don’t sell their product via Viator can still have a section for reviews, but on their business profile the website, email and phone number are much harder to find.
Please read up Viators section as well. In a nut shell any and all tours you book via viator include at least a 25% commission to Viator/TripAdvisor. Why not book directly with the companies and allow them to keep that 25% for themselves. Back to top.
By the look of the page not sure if it is an actual tour operator running the site, or if it is a site that promotes different operator services in exchange of a commission.
Here we can see their rates for one of their private tours
First thing I want to point out is how confusing the price is even though they are offering a custom private tour for 10 hours that doesn’t include any admission fees, tolls, etc. If you do the math they are basically charging $790 for the van and driver for up to 10 hours. (2×395=790 10×79=790)
I offer the smaller size vans for $449 for up to 12 hours and $549 for the larger 14 passenger vans. Back to top.
They were actually purchased by TripAdvisor.com. Viator doesn’t operate any tours themselves rather they charge tour operators a minimum 25% commissions. They offer a so called low price guarantee, but the tours are presented as white label so often you don’t even know which company you are actually hiring. If you don’t even know which company you are booking from then hard to find out if they are really offering the best rate or not.
Viator usually offers very buyer friendly terms, like no cancellation fees, etc. It is easy for them to do so because they are not the ones left holding the bag. If we put a hold on a van for a specific date, and the day before the service is canceled it can be difficult to put that van to work with such short notice.
Won’t do the full math, but if you think about it most if not all private tours offered in Viators store include all admission fees, meals, toll roads, etc. That means once the tour operator adds up all their costs, adds their own markup, they also have to add at least 25% more for Viator to keep. For example, Chichen Itza admission is 630 pesos, but in order to compensate for Viators 25% fee operator would have to charge at least 840 pesos. With my Custom Cancun Private Tours you pay all your admissions as you go. If you go to Chichen Itza you wold pay 630 pesos per person to visit. Back to top.
Another site that doesn’t offer their own tours rather promote other peoples tours in exchange of a 25% commission. From what I understand they are a bit more selective than Viator. They don’t approve EVERYONE that applies and those that do get accepted have to provide different unique tours so that they don’t compete with the current vendors.
I picked one of their Chichen Itza tours as an example. Two people for $835, and $50 more per each guest. With my private transportation service we could offer van, driver and myself for $499, once we take toll roads and admissions into account, it would end up being about $650 total for two people, and about $45 more per person. Back to top.
Also known as USA Transfers. They have been around for a while, and do consider them one of my true competitors. They are a much larger company than mine. I know many people that have used their services and most have little to complain about.
I am using their Tulum Express private tour as an example. If you look at groups of 2 to 5 people they do offer a lower rate than I offer. Up until recently only vehicles with capacity of 7 or more passengers could get tourism plates, but seems now regular cars can get tourism plates as well. Once you get to 6 or more guests it requires the use of vans, and that is where we start to compete on price.
For a group of 7 adults the fee would be $386.21 plus 16% tax for a total of $448 and would include the admission fees to Tulum. With my private tours it would be $449 but without the admissions, however the key differences would be that with us you would have van and driver for up to 12 hours, where as with them it would only include Tulum ruins, a stop for lunch, then head back to the resort.
Another advantage that we offer over them is that since we are not as large we can offer a much more personalized service. I do offer CUSTOM private tours which means I actually take the time to give suggestions to help my clients create their perfect itinerary. Back to top.
These is one of the companies fighting for the “Cancun Adventure” name. Honestly not sure which I the “original” one, but there seems to be 4 or more companies using the same name or variations like Adventure Cancun, etc.
This one in particular I am pretty sure is the page of the actual transportation company. We see the vans with their logo around all the time. I personally have nothing good or bad to say about them or any of the other Cancun Adventure companies.
I am using their private Tulum and cenotes tour. If you break down their rates, they are basically charging $500 for the van, then $30 per person. With me it would be $449 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours. Back to top.
This is another of the Cancun Adventure business that pops up towards the top. By the set up of their site I seem to think they don’t operate their own vans, but rather they sell other peoples services.
I am using their Chichen Itza private tour as an example, I couldn’t figure out their pricing scheme. For example not sure why for 1 passenger they would charge $396, but $576 for two people. That is a difference of $180. For 3 passengers it would be $646.60 which is only a difference of $69.60. The only way the 1 person rate vs the 2 person rate makes sense is if they were planning on taking the 1 guest on the back of a motorcycle.
For comparison I will use a group of 6, in which CancunAdventure.net would charge $873.60. With my Cancun private tours, it would be $499 for van, driver and myself as a host for up to 12 hours. Admissions to Chichen, cenote and lunch would end up being about $50 per person for a grand total of about $799. Back to top.
This is another one of those middle man sites. They don’t operate their own tours bur rather they promote other companies services in exchange for a commission. My problem with these type of companies is that they are the ones spending money on expert web developers, advertising, etc., making it that more difficult for people being able to actually find the tour operators and book directly with them.
For comparison I am looking at their Tulum Discovery Private Tour. Again I couldn’t crack the math as to how they come up with their pricing structure. Using a group of 6 as an example the total would be $849 for a 6 hour tour including admissions to Tulum ruins and a cenote. With my custom Cancun private tours we would charge you $449 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours, and each guest would pay about $40 per person for admissions to Tulum and a cenote. $449 plus $240 for admissions of 6 gives a grand total of $689, about $160 USD less! Back to top.
So I find this site interesting in a couple of ways. First thing I noticed they don’t have any rates available on their site. Only way to find out how much they charge is by contacting them. Personally if a company doesn’t want to share their rates publicly is because they have something to hide.
What I found more interesting is that they claim they can get groups into Chichen Itza and Tulum before 8am when they open. I won’t go as far as to say they are straight out scamming people as this is Mexico and with enough money pretty much anything is possible. That said both Tulum and Chichen are national treasures. It is against the law for ANYONE to accept money and allow people to come into national treasures when they sites are closed to the public.
During covid the INAH director at Chichen Itza got in trouble since he got caught not only letting people go into Chichen Itza while closed because of Covid he was allowing the groups to climb the main pyramid which has been prohibited since 2007. There were pictures and a short video taken, so it was hard for the official to deny it.
Some years back a local guided mentioned to me he could get my groups in before they opened at 8am. I contemplated taking advantage of the offer but then came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be fair to put my clients in a bad position. “Cancun Manny got a group of tourists arrested by taking them into Chichen with some connections before opening” is definitively no the type of headlines I want to be making. Back to top.
This company I had never heard about. Taking a quick look I am pretty sure they are another middle man website. I did find a section for private tours, and for being a reseller the rates are actually not that bad.
For example I took a look at the Tulum and Grand Cenote tour. A group of 6 would be paying $88 per person for a total of $528 with admissions to Tulum and El Grand Cenote included. However if you want a host/guide it would be an additional $85 for a total of $613.
With my Cancun private tours you would pay $449 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours. You would pay your own admissions a you go, which would be about 500 pesos (about $30 usd) for both Tulum and Grand Cenote admissions. $449 plus $180 for admissions for 6 would be $629. A few dollars more but the key difference is that you would have up to 12 hours total. If you wanted to stop in Playa del Carmen for a stroll the way back we wouldn’t charge you an additional $5 per person. Back to top.
This company has me confused, not sure if they have a connection to the auto company with a similar name and similar logo. After poking around for a bit I am confident they are yet another middle man company offering other businesses services.
Navigating their site was a bit difficult but did manage to find their private tours sections. For comparison I am using Their Tulum and Cenote Without Lunch private tour . The tour only includes admissions to Tulum and an undisclosed cenote, as the name of the tour suggests without lunch.
I was surprised to see that for a group of 6 they charge $924 USD. I can offer van, driver and myself as the host for up to 12 hours for $449, and guests pay their admissions as the go. However a cenote and Tulum admissions would set you back about 500 pesos, about $30 USD. A group of 6 would spend about $629 with us doing the same activities, that is almost $300 less! Back to top.
So I am surprised to see this one pop up. She is actually a blogger that only resells other business services. One of the reasons marketing is so hard for me is because it is difficult for me not to be honest. For example she has no problem creating a blog talking about the “top 10 private tours in Cancun”, but I can guarantee you she hasn’t done private tours with all the different companies. I know these type of sites can be effective, but I personally don’t understand how/why. Back to top.
This is a totally different concept that I’ve seen. Seems you put in a city and then it gives you a list of locals you can contact and hire for the day. The issue I see with this company is that many can quickly end up in the gray area. Transportation of tourism is extremely regulated in Cancun, in fact Uber had a HUGE fight to be able to offer their services in the area. Some of these locals might want to charge you money to drive you places on their own personal cars. I personally don’t have anything against it, but there is a chance you might find yourself stranded if local guide gets caught charging money to transport tourists on a private car. Back to top.
This website does seem to be an operator owned website. For comparison I looked at their Chichen Itza with cenote private tour. For a group of 6, the grand total would be $1092. With my private tours it would be $499 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours. Admissions to Chichen Itza and cenote would be about 830 pesos, a bit less than $50 USD per person. That would bring the total cost to about $800 total for the group of 6. Back to top.
And then on the 15th spot on the search results my site pops up! As you can see I do offer very competitive prices. I do have over 10 years experience offering custom private tours out of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The reason I am good at setting up custom tours is because I take the time to listen and try to understand what my clients are looking for, and based on that I give them the same advice I would give my own friends and relatives visiting Cancun.
My big problem is I don’t know how to market my services. I feel that if I just start dumping money on ads I won’t be able to compete with the large corporations like Viator and their deep pockets.
That is why I plan to put most of my resources into word of mouth advertising. If you find my posts interesting, please like, comment and share them. If you have used my services please do leave me a review. Back to top.
This site popped up when I googled originally, but a couple of days later they don’t seem to show up on the top 20 search results. It seems to be a small operation similar to mine. They are based out of Playa del Carmen.
I am using their Tulum plus cenote private tour for comparisons. For a group of 6 it would be $160 per person, for a total of $960. In addition since they are based out of Cancun there would be a surcharge of $95 for pickup/drop off in Cancun. With my Cancun private tours it would be $449 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours, plus about 600 pesos ($40 USD) per person for admissions to Tulum and cenotes, for a total of about $689 usd. That is about $400 USD less! Back to top.
This company seems to be out of Playa del Carmen. In the past I had looked for operators based out of Playa del Carmen but didn’t have much luck. Glad to see there are new options for that market. Their rates do seem to be competitve, especially for smaller groups.
I am using their Tulurm Private tour from Cancun for comparison https://myquestconcierge.com/cancun-tulum-private-tours/. For a group of 6 it would be $130 per person, for total of $780. With my custom private tours it would be $449 for van, driver and myself as your host for up to 12 hours, plus about 600 pesos ($40 USD) per person for admissions to Tulum and cenotes, for a total of about $689 usd. Back to top.
If I am not mistaken this is a reseller site. I don’t think they operate their own vehicles/tour. I tried to look for their private tour sections but didn’t seem to find one. On the footer there is a link to a private tour but the link is broken. Back to top.
As the website name implies they do offer cheap transfers and tours out of Cancun. I am honestly still confused about their rates. I am looking at their Tulum Private Tour and if I select 1 guest rate is $255 but they don’t specify if it is per person or in total. If I select 3 guests, rate goes up to $315 which leads me to believe that is for the total group. The rate peaks at $323 if you select 5 guests. But from 6 to 10 guests, the larger the group size the lower the number guets, with $277 being the lowest rate with a group size of 10.
$277 USD for a group of 10 is a great price! Buy then why would they charge $323 for a group of 5? Back to top.