Tulum Travel Guide: All You Need To Know

Tulum Travel Guide
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When the Conquistadors arrived at Tulum in 1518, they were astounded by what they saw. Perched on a cliff, the seemingly enormous and impregnable city—whose name literally means “wall”—would withstand Spanish occupation for seven decades. Even after all these centuries, a journey to Tulum never fails to astound first-time tourists. Not only are the Mayan ruins astonishingly well-preserved, but they’re also perched over one of the most picturesque beaches in all of Latin America.

Tulum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico because of its fascinating beachfront, ruins, and close proximity to Cancun airport.World-class watersports, contemporary cities, Unesco World Heritage Sites, and some of the most luxurious and nicest hotels in the nation are all easily accessible from this location. There’s no possibility you’ll get bored, whether your goals are to discover the secrets of the cenotes, devour your bodyweight in fish tacos, or learn about the history of the area. The wise money is down here on the Riviera Maya, so let the springbreakers have Cancun.

How to Proceed

Tulum town might not be much more than a base, but if you use it for that purpose, you’ll discover that there are a ton of incredible locations nearby.

The Mayan ruins on the shoreline feel almost completely unmissable. Even for those who have little interest in indigenous history, these buildings, which date back around 800 years, are incredibly picturesque. Slightly further inland, the Coba archeological site is from the same era and is shaped like a magnificent Mayan pyramid encased in the verdant Yucatan jungle.


Playa del Carmen overlooks the stunning island of Cozumel on the route from Cancun. All three places have far more American tourism offerings, but divers and those eager to learn especially adore Cozumel*. If the idea of diving with predatory sharks seems overwhelming, spend the summer snorkeling with the toothless cousins of these creatures, the migratory whale sharks, on Isla Mujeres.

Tulum’s cenotes, which are essentially water-filled caves or sinkholes, offer an incredible chance to swim and dive in crystal-clear freshwater even if you have zero desire to enter the ocean. You might not find the marine life or buoyancy of the ocean, but in locations like Dos Ojos*, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll never see clearer visibility.

The likelihood is that the Tex Mex you are familiar with is actually American-influenced unless you have spent a considerable amount of time in Mexico. That kind of thing is available along the Riviera Maya, but if you don’t try some authentic Yucatan cuisine while you’re there, you’re making a mistake.

A variety of slow-cooked and marinated meats are available at beach bars and pop-ups, to be eaten with rice or in tacos.Relleno negro (shredded turkey stew) and conchita (pulled pork) are also must-haves. When the opportunity naturally presents itself, make sure to try seafood tacos and keep an eye out for any place serving grilled dorado, sometimes referred to as dolphin fish or mahi mahi.

While there are still many great Mexican restaurants in the hotel zone, the upscale hotel restaurants can accommodate almost any dietary need or taste and typically have a much wider selection and higher rates.

Where to lodge in Tulum

While Tulum’s main street is a busy stretch lined with cheap hotels and bars, there are a few affordable options off the luxurious beachfront.

Perhaps the most reasonably priced choice in the area is Hotel Tiki Tiki, which makes up for its less-than-ideal location with bikes, scooters, and tuk-tuks.

Some of the best hotels in Latin America are vying for real estate on the sandy beach roads between the fascinating Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Tulum ruins, thanks to significant investment along the coast. Often referred to as the “hotel zone,” it features a wide range of accommodations, including expansive haciendas, luxurious resorts, and cozy boutique hotels.The majority of these estates demand substantial financial resources; nonetheless, the benefits include yoga sessions amid breathtaking sunrises, cabins with palm thatch roofing, and, occasionally, exclusive beaches. Perhaps the best of the lot is Hotel Esencia, which was once an Italian duchess’ vacation house.

Larger resort-style hotels and beach clubs, many of which can accommodate hundreds of people, can be found in Playa Del Carmen, farther up the coast towards Cancun. This is usually the starting point for visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula seeking a little hedonism. In the meantime, American tourists predominately visit the island of Cozumel, which lies directly across the water and offers activities like kitesurfing, diving lessons, and fishing trips.

Avoid missing in Tulum

When the New Seven Wonders list was formally released in 2007, many Europeans expressed disapproval at the name Chichen Itza* being listed; it appeared like a strange choice in comparison to other famous sites like the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China. Quite a few of them had just never seen this amazing pre-Columbian metropolis located two hours northwest of Tulum.

This once-mighty metropolis was mostly abandoned by the time the Spanish seized it in the 1500s. It was merely a cow pasture for a few centuries before becoming exceptionally well-preserved as a Mayan site. With the advent of authors, photographers, and most significantly, archaeologists, that began to change in the mid-1800s.

Even though the area’s pyramidal constructions, revered cenotes, and long-lost temples draw about two million tourists annually, one can still get a feeling of how magnificent it must have been when it was at its height. While visiting Tulum, it’s a fantastic day trip that can be made more enjoyable with the correct guide and a parasol.

When to go to Tulum

Although storms rarely hit the Riviera Maya directly, they are still a possibility. The most popular period to come is between December and April; the most turbulent weather occurs in October, however it can be unpredictable starting in May.

Activities and Places You Must See


  • Discover the intriguing Mayan city’s ruins perched on a cliff with a view of the Caribbean Sea in Tulum. Pre-purchasing tickets can help you avoid huge lineups.
  • Beaches: Tulum is home to stunning beaches with turquoise waters and fine white sand. Playa Zazil Kin, Playa Akumal (well-known for sea turtles), and Playa Paraíso are well-liked options.
  • Cenotes: Naturally occurring sinkholes that contain fresh water are the reason for the Yucatan Peninsula’s fame. In these unusual formations, go diving, snorkeling, or swimming. Cenote Azul and Gran Cenote are two well-liked choices.
  • Discover the many ecosystems found in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Mayan ruins, mangroves, and jungles. Popular activities include wildlife spotting, boat trips, and kayaking.
  • Explore Tulum Town’s quaint streets, which are dotted with vibrant stores, cafes, and eateries. Take in the bohemian environment while shopping for trinkets and handicrafts made locally.
  • Yoga and Wellbeing: Tulum is now a hub for wellness. Spa services, yoga lessons, and meditation sessions are provided by numerous resorts and studios.


Does speaking Spanish require me?

Although Spanish is not generally spoken in the area, it is nonetheless courteous and useful to know a little bit of the language.

To what destination should I fly?

The majority of the Yucatan Peninsula is served by Cancun International Airport, which is located around 75 miles and a 90-minute drive from Tulum.

I want to visit Tulum, Mexico; do I need a visa?

For visits under 180 days, the majority of Western travelers do not need a visa. When you arrive, you’ll probably be given a tourist visa. Before you go, make sure you are aware of the most recent visa regulations specific to your country.

How much does it cost to travel to Tulum?

Tulum is affordable for a variety of budgets. Restaurants by the beach and opulent resorts might be pricey. Local restaurants, hostels, and guesthouses are more reasonably priced options. To cut expenses, think about self-catering.

How can I navigate Tulum?

The majority of the town of Tulum is centered in a compact area, making it walkable. Hiring a bike is a common way to discover new places. Although they are widely available, taxis can be pricey, particularly for longer trips. Shared vans, or colectivos, are an inexpensive means of getting from Tulum to other Riviera Maya villages.

Which money is accepted in Mexico?

The Mexican Peso (MXN) is the national currency of Mexico. Even though some tourist locations take US dollars, you’ll get better deals if you convert your money into pesos instead of dollars. While many establishments accept credit cards, it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller businesses, street sellers, and taxis.

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