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Cheap airfare to Cancun, but how to do a budget vacation?

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I noticed I can get fairly well-priced airfare from Vancouver to Cancun around the Christmas holidays/New Year.

However, I want to be sure that I can reasonably spend 10 days or so there if I eschew the pricey resorts. I'm accustomed to traveling around Mexico by bus, so that does not faze me.
However, I am just unfamiliar with this part of Mexico, so I want to be sure I can arrange a reasonable trip.

Let's say a budget of $100-150/day (I would hope for less, but I don't want to forego any great experiences). This is more than I would typically spend in Mexico for sure.

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