This includes useful information on how to get to Tulum, where to stay, how to get around, and the best time to visit! Happy travelling!!e wonder that tourists are flocking in their droves to visit this beautiful city.
I spent plenty of time n Tulum during my recent trip to Mexico and I have composed my 'Complete Guide To Tulum' to help you plan your visit.
Including useful information on how to get to Tulum, where to stay, how to get around, and the best time to visit! Happy travelling!!
HOW TO GET TO TULUM
There are a number of ways to get to Tulum depending on where you are coming from. The majority of tourists that visit Tulum are traveling south from Cancun to Tulum or heading north from Chetumal on the border of Belize. Whichever direction you are traveling in, there are plenty of transportation options to reach Tulum.
• Cancun → Tulum: 1 hour 30 minutes
• Playa del Carmen → Tulum: 1 hour
• Chetumal → Tulum: 3 hours
The closest airport to Tulum is located in Cancun. From Cancun International Airport to Tulum, it’s approximately a 1 hour and 30-minute drive.
If you are looking for flights, accommodation or activities in Cancun or you just want to find out more information on this wonderful city, read our Complete Guide to Cancun.
Traveling to Tulum by bus is the most convenient, affordable, and popular means of transportation - public transport is SUPER CHEAP throughout Mexico
The main bus company in Mexico is ADO with daily buses running every hour from major cities such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Chetumal. The Buses have plenty of leg room and air conditioning.
The main bus station is situated on the edge of the main road in the centre of town. From here, you can take a taxi to your accommodation for around 50 – 100 MXN if you are staying in town, or 150 – 200 MXN if your accommodation happens to be somewhere along Tulum Beach.
Renting a car is another great way to travel around at your own pace. This particular area of Mexico is said to be the safest when it comes to driving, so it’s a popular choice for tourists.
WHERE TO STAY IN TULUM You are spoiled for options when searching for where to stay in Tulum with cheap hostels, luxury hotels, and beachside resorts! Tulum has it all to suit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travellers, and everyone in between. We recommend using Master Travel and Events to book your hotels or contact us
Most of the accommodation in Tulum can be found in the 3 main tourist areas:
The Main Town, Tulum South Beach, and Tulum North Beach.
I have put together a complete guide of Where To Stay In Tulum
Below I have listed a few Tulum accommodations below that I can personally recommend: Luxury: The Beach Tulum
Receive the celebrity treatment at The Beach Tulum with this adult-only, beachfront resort in South Tulum. Complete with an outdoor pool, a beach club, an onsite restaurant, and spa. This really is the height of luxury and an experience it itself.
Each luxurious, beach-front room has stylish, minimalist décor, air-conditioning, free WIFI, and a seating area. These deluxe rooms come with large comfortable beds, private entrances, en-suite bathrooms and are situated on the shoreline in the South Beach zone. The surrounding area features an abundance of shops, cafes, and restaurants. This Tulum resort is extremely popular with couples. Smaller, more intimate rooms make for the perfect couples getaway. Check Prices with Master Travel and Events Mid Range: Playa Esperanza Hotel This is eco-sensitive hotel and resort boasts unique cabins made from natural materials and is located right on the shoreline of Tulum’s North Beach. With 15 different styles of rooms to choose from, natural interiors, large comfortable beds, and private bathrooms. Enjoy the free WIFI, beach bar, and ocean views. Playa Esperanza Hotel is great for a group of friends traveling together or couples. Choose a room with 2 single beds or a double bed.
Check Prices Budget: Che Tulum Hostel & Bar One of the top-rated hostels in Tulum! Complete with outdoor pool, lively bar and a large area to chill out with friends. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout and lockers are available for a small fee. Each bedroom has been designed to offer natural lighting. Featuring private bathrooms, air-conditioning, new beds and mattresses. With a huge range of rooms on offer, pick from one of the many dorm rooms or private rooms. This budget hostel in Tulum is great for travellers used to that hostel life. Check Prices . FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN TULUM Contact Us
HOW TO GET AROUND
There are many ways to navigate Tulum be it by car, taxi, bicycle, public transport or on foot.
If you are staying in town, you will need to know that it is around 1 hour and 15 minutes walk to the beach, so keep that in mind. I would highly recommend renting a bicycle or taking a taxi from the main town to Tulum Beach. It’s approximately a 15-minute drive or a 30-minute bike ride.
Bicycle rental is generally around 150 MXN per day and you can find a set of wheels at your hostel or from one of the many bike rental stores in the main town. If you’re staying along Tulum Beach, you can find a rental shop there.
A taxi ride from the main town to Tulum Beach is a set price of 150 MXN, so if there are a few of you it works out better to split this cost. Some cab drivers will try to charge you 200 MXN Don't fall for it.
If you have your own rental car, keep in mind that parking along Tulum Beach can sometimes be an issue. During high season it’s almost impossible to find free street-side parking though there are some parking lots with plenty of spaces that cost around 100 – 200 MXN for the day.
20 THINGS TO DO IN TULUM
Now that you’ve got all the information on how to get to Tulum, where to stay, and how to get around let’s get to the good stuff.
#1 SWIM AT PLAYA PARAISO (PARADISE BEACH)
Hands down one of the best things to do when you arrive is to head straight to the beach and the most beautiful is Playa Paraiso which translates to Paradise Beach. Located on Tulum’s northern stretch of coastline, Playa Paraiso is a hard-to-beat destination!
The name says it all – Playa Paraiso is indeed a slice of paradise and the most popular beach in Tulum. With a long stretch of glistening white sands, a palm tree fringed shoreline, and azure blue waters, Playa Paraiso is not to be missed!
If you can, I would recommend staying at Playa Esperanza Beach Resort located right on the beach at Playa Paraiso where you can soak up the sun, swim in the shallow waters, take long beach strolls and watch the sun rise.
If you’re looking for an awesome day at the beach, Playa Paraiso is your best bet. There are plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas to use, all you need to do is purchase something from the beachside restaurant and bar, if you’re on a budget you can perch up under a coconut palm for free.
#2 VISIT THE TULUM RUINS
The next location to check off your list is the Archaeological Zone of Tulum featuring amazing temple ruins drenched in Mayan history.
Tulum Ruins are located at the very end of Tulum’s northern beach, Playa Paraiso. The opening hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 7 days a week and the Tulum Ruins entrance fee is 75 MXN.
These ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum aren’t quite as impressive as that of Chichen Itza in Valladolid or Tikal Guatemala but it’s definitely worth checking out while you’re in the area. The biggest draw to these Tulum ruins is its location, set right on the beach with stunning views of the coastline.
Hot Tip → Get there early when doors open as this is one of the more popular Tulum activities to do and it gets very crowded during the middle of the day. If you want to get some decent photos without hoards of tourists in the shot, then the earlier you arrive the better.
#3 TAKE A PHOTO OF THE BENT PALM TREE
One of the top things to do in Tulum is to get the classic Instagram shot of the bent palm tree that sticks out over the ocean.
The famous bent palm tree in Tulum can be found along the northern shores at Playa Paraiso (Paradise Beach). It’s best to visit early morning if you want to get some shots without hoards of other tourists around.
Because of its east-facing location, this is a great location to watch the sunrise. I recommend setting your alarm for 6:00 am and making your way down to Playa Paraiso to catch the sunrise at Tulum’s bent palm tree!
#4 VISIT GRAND CENOTE
Grand Cenote is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Tulum, aside from the beach. This is not to be missed during your visit. If you don’t know what a cenote is, it’s basically a natural sinkhole filled with fresh groundwater which is typically a vibrant blue or crystalline colour due to the surrounding limestone rocks.
I highly recommend adding to your list of things to do in Tulum, visiting as many cenotes as you can, and the Grand Cenote should be at the top of your list.
Grand Cenote is a short 10-minute drive, 25-minute bike ride, or a 1-hour walk from the centre of town. It is open 7 days a week, from 8:00 am to 4:45 pm, and the entrance fee is 200 MXN.
As I mentioned earlier, Gran Cenote is the most popular tourist attraction in Tulum and it gets VERY busy during the day. I recommend arriving before doors open to be the first in line and once inside, you’ll get around 30 minutes to 1 hour to enjoy swimming in the cenote without hundreds of others around. Believe me, it’s far more enjoyable with fewer people, and your photos will turn out great!
There are two main swimming areas at Grand Cenote, one features a large open-air sinkhole and a wooden deck that is surrounded by crystalline waters. You can also spot freshwater turtles swimming around.
The second area can be accessed by swimming through a natural tunnel that emerges in a smaller cenote filled with turquoise waters and a little island of palm trees sits in the middle. This is a favourite spot to go for a dip and isn't too crowded.
#5 WATCH THE SUNRISE AT SUNRISE BEACH
Watching the sunrise is a daily routine of mine and if you’re an early person like myself, be sure to check out Sunrise Beach during your visit to Tulum.
Sunrise Beach is located along Tulum’s southern coastline and it’s a public beach with no entrance fees, unlike some of the beaches in Tulum.
Sunrise Beach is a large cove featuring a rocky shoreline at the northern end and a beautiful white sand beach at the southern end, which is an ideal spot to watch the sunrise.
You can also find a bright yellow roadside street sign at Sunrise Beach that says STAY PRESENT on one side and EMBRACE THE MYSTERY on the other. There are a few of these signs dotted around Tulum which make for an awesome Instagram-worthy shot!
#6 CLAN DESTINO BAR & CENOTE
Situated right in the heart of it all along Tulum’s south beach tourist area, Clan Destino Bar features its very own cenote surrounded by lush jungle. It truly is a little hidden gem.
There is no entrance fee to swim in the cenote, all they ask is that you purchase something from the bar or restaurant. The best seats in the house are the ones that are situated on the wooden deck on the very edge of the cenote.
#7 MIRADOR TULUM BEACH
If you like beaches and stunning views add Mirador Tulum Beach to your list of things to do in Tulum.
‘Mirador’ is the Spanish word for ‘Viewpoint’ and this one is easy to find. Sat on the southern end of Sunrise Beach, you’ll see a rocky islet that sticks out over the ocean just walk out to it from the beach.
Enjoy panoramic views to the north and south of Tulum Beach and you also have an incredible view of the Tulum jungle.
#8 RAW LOVE ART INSTALLATION
Raw Love is a restaurant that can be found along Tulum Beach and is most famous for its art installation located at the very entrance.
The very talented artist from Cape Town, specializes in art installations all over the world and this is by far one of his most creative works!
I recommend heading there early morning to take a photo with the Raw Love art installation as it gets busy during the day and you’ll most likely be queueing for a pic.
#9 ‘FOLLOW THAT DREAM’ SIGN
Another Instagram-worthy location to check out is the FOLLOW THAT DREAM sign.
Again, I found this location through Instagram and just had to go and check it out for myself! Located in front of Lolita Lolita store along the roadside in Tulum’s south beach tourist area.
It can be quite tricky to get a good shot riding your bike next to the Follow That Dream sign as there are cars constantly driving up and down the road. If you get there early in the day there will be less traffic, making it easier to get the perfect Instagram shot!
#10 DISCOVER EL CENOTE ENCANTADO
One of my favourite cenotes in Tulum is El Cenote Encantado because of its size and fewer tourists at this epic spot hidden in the jungle.
El Cenote Encantado can be found at the very southern end of Tulum Beach, far away from the tourist areas, and probably why it’s uncrowded most of the time. There are several entrances to this cenote as it’s shared between a number of accommodations.
I personally entered via Maya Cabanas and walked along the wooden boardwalk to the back of the property to where the cenote is located. I didn’t have to pay an entrance fee though the receptionist was busy and I walked past unnoticed. If you do end up having to pay I believe it wouldn’t be any more than 75 – 100 MXN to enter.
El Cenote Encantado features a large natural swimming pool surrounded by mangroves and the water is crystal clear. There were some kayaks tied up at the end of the wooden boardwalk so I took one out for a paddle and spotted a group of friends throwing themselves off of a diving board at the other end of the cenote. Not a bad way to spend a few hours!
I decided to fly my DJI Mavic Drone to capture an aerial perspective and I was really happy with the shots I got. From above, El Cenote Encantado looks like the shape of South America and I could spot the other entrance trails leading through the jungle from the other accommodations.
If you’re up for an adventure-filled activity, be sure to include El Cenote Encantado on your list of what to do in Tulum!
#11 HAVE LUNCH AT TUNICH CAFE
I am pretty confident in saying that Tunich Cafe is one of the top restaurants in Tulum offering a wide range of Mexican and international cuisine as well as signature cocktails and a selection of beers, wine, and spirits.
Tunich Cafe is located in Tulum’s south beach tourist area and is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can check out the Tunich Cafe website for more information.
Tunich also offers accommodation during your stay in Tulum, featuring cozy cabanas at the back of the restaurant.
#12 DIVE INTO CENOTE CALAVERA
Cenote Calavera, in my opinion, is one of the best and most underrated cenotes in Tulum. Although it’s not as large as some of the other popular cenotes, Calavera is one for the thrill-seekers!
Cenote Calavera is located along the main highway in the same direction as the Grand Cenote. A short 10-minute drive, 25-minute bike ride, or a 1-hour walk from the centre of town, you’ll see a big white sign on the right-hand side of the road that reads CENOTE – you can’t miss it!
The opening hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, 7 days a week, and the entrance fee is 100 MXN.
Featuring an almost perfectly round sinkhole filled with freshwater, a wooden ladder, cliff jumps, and a chair rope swing, these are just some of the things that make Cenote Calavera so epic and photogenic at the same time.
Again, if you arrive early enough you will get to enjoy Cenote Calavera all to yourself. It’s a great spot for cliff jumping from the edges of the cenote or pin-dropping into the pool below through one of the cracks in the top.
You can also scuba dive here as it is quite deep! To book visit Master Travel and Events
You could easily spend a couple of hours hanging out at Cenote Calavera as it’s one of the top attractions in the area.
#13 CHECK OUT THE AZULIK MUSEUM
The ephemeral architecture is the distinguishing feature of the Azulik Museum and Art Gallery which is a must-see.
The best part about the Azulike Museum (also known as Sfer Ik Museio) is that it’s completely free to go inside and wander around. Upon entering, you must take your shoes off and leave them at the door and no professional cameras are permitted, only phone cameras are accepted.
Sfer Ik is a nest-like structure constructed out of locally sourced wood, smooth cement and a haze of incense fills the room. It’s an extraordinary space, to say the least! Some of my favourite features inside are the elevated walkway and the rounded glass windows.
Azulik Museum has many different art exhibitions throughout the year though unfortunately when I visited they had just finished up one of the exhibitions and were about to install a new one. It was still very beautiful inside regardless!
#14 FLY THE DRONE AT LAGUNA KAAN LUUM
For all the drone pilots out there, Laguna Kaan Luum is drone heaven and seriously looks incredible from a birds-eye perspective! If you don’t have a drone, no worries, you can still visit the lagoon, go swimming, and marvel at the grandeur size of this epic Tulum cenote.
Laguna Kaan Luum, also known as Kaan Luum Lagoon, is located 15km southwest of the main town, approximately a 20-minute drive, and the entrance fee is 100 MXN and an additional 300 MXN if you wish to fly your drone.
Kaan Luum Lagoon features an almost perfect circle, a long wooden pier that stretches out into a shallow-watered area for swimming, and a drop-off into a very deep sinkhole that is around 80 meters deep. This particular area of the cenote is roped off to swimming but it’s possible to go scuba diving down there.
This Tulum cenote is not quite as popular as Grand Cenote but it is known to get quite busy during the middle of the day so try to time your visit early in the morning when it opens at 9:00 am.
#15 SUNSET & LIVE MUSIC AT MATEO’S
One of the best spots to watch the sunset in Tulum is from the 3rd level rooftop terrace at Mateo’s Mexican Grill. With live music and happy hour drinks, Mateo’s is the perfect place to sit back and relax after an adventure-filled day in Tulum!
My accommodation happened to be a stone’s throw away from Mateo’s and so I visited this spot a number of times for lunch, drinks, and of course at sunset. Mateo’s is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Due to its popularity, you’ll want to arrive at Mateo’s a bit before sunset to score a seat on the rooftop terrace. Once you’re settled in you can enjoy table service and live music while the sun begins to set over the horizon!
#16 GRAB A BEER AT PURO CORAZÓN
If Mateo’s Bar & Grill happens to be at full capacity, another fantastic location to grab a beer and watch the sunset is Puro Corazón, which is conveniently located right next door. Boasting a street side restaurant and a rooftop bar out the back, this is the perfect location to pull up a chair with your friends and family and enjoy the jungle vibes that Tulum is best known for. Puro Corazón also offers cheap accommodation in their beach-shack-style bungalows. Click here to check availability and rates.
#17 CHICHEN ITZA TOUR
Chichen Itza is the second-most visited archaeological site in all of Mexico. Safe to say a tour of this incredible landmark is a must during your visit. Featuring a 24-meter high pyramid, Chichen Itza was elected as one of the new Seven Wonders Of The World in 2007 and it holds many traces of ancient Mayan Culture. Located a short 2-hour drive from Tulum, you can book a tour of this ancient archaeological site which includes a hotel pick-up and drop-off in a private minivan, an experienced tour guide, and a 3-hour tour of Chichen Itza. #18 TRY THE TACOS AT ANTOJITOS
Everybody loves taco’s right?! Well, Antojitos Taqueria in the main town of Tulum is low-key one of the best places to grab a quick and cheap feed. For just $15 MXN for a taco and $30 MXN for a beer, Antojitos Taqueria is hard to beat on both price and quality.
Apart from tacos on the menu, you can also choose from a variety of other local Mexican dishes such as quesadillas, tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, and more! Antojitos Taqueria
4 tacos and a beer for $5
#19 OVERNIGHT TRIP TO BACALAR
Bacalar is home to the biggest and most beautiful lagoon in all of Mexico, located just 2.5 hours south of Tulum.
Bacalar Lagoon is often referred to as Laguna de Siete Colores (lagoon of 7 colors), boasting 7 different shades of blue and it’s truly one of the country’s best-kept secrets.
You can do a day trip from Tulum to Bacalar Lagoon, although I highly recommend spending at least one night to get the full experience. #20 VISIT THE VALLADOLID CENOTES
The small charming city of Valladolid is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Tulum and I guarantee you will not regret checking this place out if you have the time. There are 4 epic Cenotes in Valladolid that are a must-see during your visit and they are;
Ik Kil Cenote
It’s possible to visit all of these Valladolid Cenotes on a single day trip from Tulum though I recommend spending a night or two in Valladolid to really immerse yourself in this vibrant town
BEST TIME TO VISIT TULUM The best time to visit Tulum is during the winter season from December to April. During this time there is little to no rainfall and the temperatures are just perfect.
The rainy season in Tulum is typically between May and October which sees higher temperatures due to the humidity. The only plus side to visiting Tulum during these months is there will be fewer tourists and prices are less inflated. BEST TOURS IN TULUM TULUM MAP LONELY PLANET MEXICO One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Mexico Guide! BUY NOW ON AMAZON → LONELY PLANET MEXICO MORE MEXICO TRAVEL GUIDES
Mexico Itinerary: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
San Cristobal: 13 Things To Do In San Cristobal
Puerto Escondido: 11 Things To Do In Puerto Escondido
Oaxaca: 7 Best Tours In Oaxaca
Bacalar: 9 Things To Do In Bacalar
Maya Riviera: Best Cenotes In Maya Riviera
Cozumel Island: 9 Things To Do In Cozumel Island
Mexico City: Day Of The Dead Festiva