The ultimate travel guide to Tulum | Tech US News

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Tulum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and has become popular among wellness enthusiasts and content creators in recent years. This beach paradise has a reputation for being crowded and expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case. Tulum is still worth visiting!


Find out how to stay in Tulum on a budget, what to do while visiting, when to go for the best weather and deals, and where to eat.


What to know when visiting

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Image credit: Unsplash by Kamil Kalbarczyk

Tulum is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Caribbean coast of the country. As part of the idyllic Yucatán Peninsula, there are plenty of beaches and Mayan ruins to explore there.

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Many travelers imagine beachfront hotels when they picture Tulum, and while that’s part of the place’s appeal, there’s also a downtown area to explore.

Related: Is the ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum the best way to travel?

This area is called Tulum Centro or Tulum Town and is approximately 3 km from the beach. Travelers who choose to stay in Tulum town get a more authentic experience in terms of dining options and can save money on lodging.

The easiest way to get around Tulum town and travel along the beach is by bike.

Best time to go

Tulum is popular all year round, however, the peak season is during the winter, from November to January. The high temperature during this time of the year is around 23ºC during the day. The rainiest month in Tulum is October, so traveling after this time presents drier and more pleasant conditions.

Tulum’s low season is May to November, with the slowest months being July to September. During this time there are fewer crowds, less nightlife and warmer temperatures.

In August, the temperature can be around 28ºC during the day. Visiting during the low season can mean fewer crowds and better prices.

Must see tourist spots near Tulum

Tulum is the ideal combination of historical interest and natural wonders to satisfy every type of traveler. Some of the top things to do in Tulum include tours of the Mayan ruins, swimming in the many cenotes, and relaxing on the beaches.

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Image credit: Unsplash by Anna Sullivan

Archaeological Zone of Tulum

The Archaeological Zone of Tulum features the ruins of a Mayan city that is centuries old. It overlooks the Caribbean Sea from its clifftop position, just a 20-minute drive from Tulum Center.

  • schedule: from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
  • Admission price: ~$4.37 (~$85 MXN)

Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, And More

One of the biggest things to see in Tulum are the many cenotes (underground swimming holes/sewers) that are fun to swim and dive in. There are tons of them in and around Tulum Centro, leaving travelers spoiled for choice.

Some of the most popular are the Gran Cenote (only 10 minutes by car from Tulum Center) and the Cenote Dos Ojos (30 minutes by car from Tulum Center).

The Cenote Escondido is another option that is only 10 minutes from the city center.

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Image Credit: Unsplash by The Free Birds

  • schedule: from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (Gran Cenote), from Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Dos Ojos and Cenote Escondido)
  • Admission price: ~$25 ($500 MXN) for Gran Cenote, ~$18 ($350 MXN) for Dos Ojos, ~$10 ($200 MXN) for Cenote Escondido

Tulum National Park

Tulum National Park is home to Mayan ruins, white sand beaches and lush vegetation. Travelers can escape the busy Tulum Centro district in high season with a relaxing afternoon in nature at the park.

The park is only a 10 minute drive from Tulum Centro.

  • schedule: Monday to Sunday, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
  • Admission price: ~$4.37 (~$85 MXN)

Yal-Ku Lagoon

Yal-Ku Lagoon is a shallow cenote located a 30-minute drive down the coast from downtown Tulum.

This is a unique swimming spot where fresh water from underground rivers flows into the salt water of the Caribbean Sea. Swim and float in tropical paradise for a relaxing afternoon.

  • schedule: from Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
  • Admission price: ~$14.50 (~$280 MXN)

Where to stay: Beachfront vs. City of Tulum

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Image credit: Unsplash by Roberto Nickson

Whether travelers want to stay on the beach or in the town of Tulum depends on their budget. Tulum’s luxury beachfront resorts are stunning, but they come at a high price.

Related: The best Tulum accommodations for your next vacation

Backpackers will find that staying in one of Tulum’s desirable neighborhoods helps keep costs down. Tulum Centro, the city center, is an excellent option for travelers.

They can also stay in La Veleta, which is a promising place for travelers to base themselves while exploring the region.

Luxury hotels by the beach:

  • Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya
    • Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum 307, 77774 Tulum, Quintana Roo
    • Amenities: Private beach, water sports facilities, outdoor pool

Mid-range hotels in La Veleta and by the beach:

  • LUV Tulum
    • Address: Carretera Tulum Boca Paila Km 7.6, 77780 Tulum, Quintana Roo
    • Amenities: Private beach, complimentary breakfast, pets allowed

  • The Strabo Tulum
    • Address: Calle 16 Sur, La Veleta, 77780 Tulum, Quintana Roo
    • Amenities: Outdoor pool, restaurant, free toiletries

Budget accommodation in Tulum Center:

  • Che Tulum Hostel & Bar
    • Address: Calle Polar, 77780 Tulum, Quintana Roo
    • Amenities: outdoor pool, restaurant, lounge/bar

Best places to eat and drink

Tulum is a foodie’s dream destination and there is something for every budget here. Fine dining restaurants offer an upscale experience along the beach, but there are plenty of local restaurants and street vendors for great eats in Tulum town.

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Image credit: Unsplash by Marvin Castelino

An attraction to visit all year round is the Tulum Street Food Market, which is simply a row of street food vendors in Tulum Centro.

Travelers will find tacos, burritos and even late-night vegan options here.

  • Date: All the year
  • Address: Calle Sol Ote. 3, Tulum Center, 77760 Tulum, QR, Mexico

Travelers staying in Tulum for weeks or more may prefer to visit the grocery stores instead of dining out constantly. The Wóolis Foodie Market Tulum is an excellent health food market with friendly staff and quality ingredients.

  • Schedule: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Address: Satélite Sur local 4, Tulum Centro, 77760 Tulum, QR, Mexico

In addition to these local food markets, there are many great restaurants to choose from in Tulum.

  • Best restaurants for breakfast: Raw Love, DelCielo, Don Cafeto
  • Main restaurants for lunch and dinner: Taqueria Honorio, Sabor de Mar, La Coqueta, El Cayuco Tulum, Mía Restaurant & Beach Club
  • The best bars: Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar, Papaya Playa Project, Naná Rooftop Bar.

Related: These Tulum Restaurants Are Worth an Entire Vacation Trip

Best beaches in Tulum

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Image credit: Unsplash by Spencer Watson

Tulum’s main attraction is its stunning beaches. These beaches have white sand, crystal clear blue waters and plenty of trendy beach clubs to hang out at. Paraíso Beach is a famous beach in Tulum that is beautiful but very crowded.

Las Palmas is another public beach a little more isolated. There are many to choose from in this part of the Yucatán Peninsula, but these are some of the best.

Related: A Non-Tourist Guide to Visiting Tulum, Mexico

Playa Ruinas is a beautiful beach in Tulum that is below a site of ancient Mayan ruins. This adds a new element to the area and makes it one of the most unique beaches in all of Mexico.

  • Address: Zona Hotelera Tulum, 77765 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Akumal Beach is another popular choice for travelers to hang out in Tulum. It is about 30 minutes from the city center and is very lively and well established.

There are restaurants and bars to choose from, allowing families or couples to spend a full day there.

  • Address: Carretera Tulum, Yodzonot, 77776 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico’

Secret Beach is no longer a secret, but it is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon in Tulum. This beach is located within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and takes about an hour to reach by bicycle from the city center.

  • Address: Secret Beach, QROO 15, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Tips for currency exchange

Mexico’s currency is MXN (Mexican pesos), so travelers need to exchange their USD or CAD if they want to pay in cash during their trip to Tulum. Many places accept credit cards, but for smaller establishments, beachfront bars, and street food vendors, travelers should be prepared to pay in cash.

Related: Packing for Tulum? Here’s what to bring (and what to leave at home)

Travelers can exchange currency at home before departure through their bank. If they want to wait until they get to Mexico, there are a couple of options. There are opportunities to exchange currency at the Cancun airport, but these vendors do not offer the best exchange rates.

Travelers can wait until they get to Tulum and use their bank cards to withdraw currency from local bank ATMs for better exchange rates. In Tulum there is an HSBC and a CIBanco Tulum.

How to spend the perfect day in Tulum

Tulum is a relaxing vacation destination when staying near the beach, but it can also be a culturally rich place for digital nomads to live for months on end. The perfect day in Tulum starts with breakfast in Tulum town before cycling to the beach.

Travelers can pay many hotels in the Hotel Zone for the privilege of using their beachfront during the day even if they are not staying at the hotel.

This is a great way to relax in some prime beach real estate while saving money on lodging by staying in Tulum Town.

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Image credit: Unsplash by Alex Azabache

Have lunch at Taqueria Honorio before taking a guided tour of some of the best cenotes in the region. Visit Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos or Cenote Azul. Spend the afternoon swimming, taking beautiful photos and enjoying the natural beauty. In the evening, return to the beaches of Tulum and dine at Mía Restaurant & Beach Club.

Afterwards, end the night with drinks and dancing at the Papaya Playa Project.

FAQ

Q: Does Tulum have an airport?

No, Tulum does not have its own international airport. Travelers will need to book their flights to Cancun and take ground transportation from Cancun International Airport to the city of Tulum. From the airport to Tulum Centro is approximately 1.5 hours by car. Travelers can take a bus, taxi or arrange a private transfer.

Q: Is Tulum accessible?

Tulum is no longer a hidden gem of Mexico, and due to its popularity, all prices have increased. Travelers can still visit on a budget if they stay in Tulum town in a trendy hostel and opt for street food for most meals.

Of course, there are plenty of budget hotels in Mexico, you just have to do your research to find them.

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