Cancun: home to great beaches, endless entertainment and Maya culture. As a local for many and many years I have gained Cancun smarts that everyone should now. If you have never been to Cancun you might find this guide useful, if you have been to Cancun you might find tips in here you don't already know.
Travel Guide: I want to stay in Cancun for very cheap, should I choose a Hostel over a Hotel? Staying in Hostel definitely has great advantages over staying in a Hotel. A Hostel in Cancun could be incredibly cheap. You can spend your hard earned cash on other things like dinning and shopping. Cheap factor aside, there are some disadvantages including the fact that most, if not all, the hostels are located in downtown Cancun, far from the hotel zone in Cancun (Where all the beaches are). Second disadvantage would be you would need to be quite familiar with downtown Cancun and Spanish language. You will need to navigate avidly via public transportation or renting a car because most beaches are about 3-7 miles away from downtown. If you're an experienced Cancun visitor, then go for it!
Location is everything in Cancun, if you want to roll out of bed and be at the beach not worrying about anything other than choosing between a beer or margarita, then stay at the Cancun hotel zone.
Travel Do's and Dont's: Do not rent a car. Renting a car could spell disaster if you do not have proper GPS or are strictly relying on street signs. From the moment you leave Cancun airport in a rental you could get to the hotel zone easily, (there are only two exits you can take from the airport one to downtown, the other to the hotel zone) but good luck finding your hotel. If you find your hotel and want to explore around you parking could be hard to find as well as getting used to traffic signs. If your hotel is in downtown and you want to rent a car to get to it, poor soul... Handling traffic rules (lack thereof), complicated turns, transit policeman and nameless roads is a pain.
Do get a shuttle ride and ride public transportation. This way saves you many headaches, time and money. You will be dropped off directly your hotel. If you choose a shuttle be sure to book it online before you leave. If you try to get a shuttle when your plane lands you're at the mercy of the prices of over 100+ disorganized shuttle providers (they stand in the street begging for you to ride with them). Public transportation is easy to use (just ask the driver to let you know when you reach your shopping mall, beach or hotel name), cheap and safe.
Don't drink water from the faucet, be careful of street food. Montezuma Revenge will destroy all the nice memories you have about the traveling to Cancun. I have been hearing stories of friends that visit Cancun and still get stomach pains from eating the food from the hotels... A tip to avoid this from happening is to add salads and raw foods to your plate gradually, but choose cooked foods over raw if you can.
Do buy bottled water, it is the safest alternative when it comes to drinking water, BPA intake is bad, but not worse than drinking faucet water.
Don't drink and drive, you may think this goes without saying, but the law gets twisted. According to locals, the local authorities are even pulling people over for drinking a single cup of wine. Be extremely careful, because if you do get pulled over, your car is taken from you and you spend time in jail.
Do bring an umbrella, beach umbrellas, sunscreens. Bad news, if you're white and pale, you're in trouble the sun will cook you like a revolving hot dog cooker. Your hotel will have beach umbrellas but if you decide to go to a public beach, you will not have that privilege. If you walk on the street invest your money in a good umbrella it will save your skin. Make use of hats, long sleeve shirts and sunscreen. Many outdoor sport stores sell SPF long sleeve shirts that are pretty light and repel sweat, I have 2 and they are awesome.
Don't go outside without sunscreen. If you think wearing a hat and long sleeve shirt will be to lame, consider this the sun is really powerful, why ruin your vacation? Bring sunscreen you will get to enjoy the beach more.
Travel Tips: Bus fare: About 8-10 pesos (As of JAN 8, 2015 a USD dollar is about 14 pesos). There are no bus daily passes, you buy each way you ride. Buses run up and down the hotel zone which is a single street two way traffic. Buses do run to downtown, but the routes get more complicated.
Taxi Fare: In downtown about 25-30 pesos (As of JAN 8, 2015 a USD dollar is about 14 pesos). Pretty cheap, but keep in mind fares change if you're in a different part, for example taxis in the hotel zone charge a lot more even if you're even going somewhere close in the hotel zone. These prices change, its hard to say how much it is because it seems like they're extracted from thin air.
Museums and entrance fees: Some museums give special rates on Sundays, bring your student I.D. they might give you a special rate.
I hope you enjoy this breakdown of everything you need to know while in Cancun. Stay with your group when going out, consult your hotel about any specific prices to places around you might want to visit and ask them for any opinions. They might offer places they have a kickback or affiliation to so beware of that as well. Safe travels and hang loose!