Tulum is one of the most beautiful cities we can find in the Riviera Maya and unlike Cancun, Puerto Morelos or Playa del Carmen, gives us a totally different landscape, between a combination of jungle life, nomadic and luxury.
And no, it’s no joke, but the center of Tulum and some places near the hotel zone has an aspect of nomadic life, so you will be surprised how it is integrated with luxurious areas, hotels, bars, restaurants and if you give yourself the opportunity, you will also find hotels in the middle of the immensity of the jungle and very close to ‘beaches, cenotes, caverns.
And no, really one day is not enough to know and enjoy Tulum, if you really want to live the experience that this place offers you, if you really want to have the opportunity to know Tulum in depth, to be dazzled by its landscapes, its hotels, its beaches, its people, one day will not be enough.
The city of Tulum is a place to enjoy from beginning to end, to spend a whole week or even more days to get to know it.
Now we will start talking about this wonderful destination, we will tell you how to get there, what to see, what to do, what to visit, its beaches, its cenotes, its cavern, the life that is waiting for you and above all a travel guide to Tulum, Mexico.
How to get to Tulum
Tulum is a city that is part of the Riviera Maya and is located at a distance of 129.5 kilometers from downtown Cancun and 115 kilometers away from Cancun Airport. The travel time between both distances can be from 2 hours to 3 hours, and this depends a lot on the type of transfer service you choose.
In order to get from Cancun, you can take a private transportation service, public transportation, cab, ADO bus, rent a car or even ask for a ride.
The public transportation service is the cheapest way to get to this city, as it costs 45.00 MXN per person, although it also depends a lot on “where you are leaving from”. For example, if you take it from Cancun, you will have to take 2 public transportation services.
The first one from the Playa Express route to Playa del Carmen and the second one from the Tulum route (Tulum Expess), which as you can imagine, its destination is downtown. In this case the total cost can be 90 pesos one way and 90 pesos return.
Meanwhile the ADO can take you on a single trip, but the price per person is approximately 176.00 MXN. It should be noted that this cost is not a first class trip, so the bus will most likely make other stops along the way.
Meanwhile, if you are a trip that likes comfort and what you least want is to suffer with the transportation process and make courage with any inconvenience that may appear on the way, the best travel option is the private transfer service.
There are many companies in the city that offer this type of service, most of them give us the possibility to book from their website and the approximate prices can be 100 USD for a single trip and 175 USD for a round trip.
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Tips for visiting Tulum
Now that you know what are the options to visit Tulum, let’s go with some small tips that will make your stay in the city can be exploited to the fullest.
Visiting the archaeological zone of Tulum and Coba
Tulum has many things to see and do, however most of the tours to Tulum that you can buy either in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or travel agencies only include visiting the archaeological zone, Coba and one or another cenote.
But you don’t necessarily need to buy a tour to visit these places, you can go on your own and if you are traveling with little time you should definitely visit these 2 places and on another trip to the city you can visit the beaches, cenotes and the Mayan jungle.
One of the reasons why this area is so popular is because it is the only archaeological site in all of Latin America that was built in front of the sea. Of course, we can’t leave out its history, but we’ll talk about that later.
Traveler’s TIPS: If you are a resident of Mexico or the state of Quintana Roo, your access to the archaeological site is totally free every Sunday.
Take a picture at the Ahau Hotel
This hotel is located in the hotel zone of the city and one of the reasons why it is a must stop is because of the entrance to the hotel and applying the saying “a picture says more than a thousand words, we leave you one below.
Like the city of Cancun, the city of Tulum has a downtown area (affectionately called village) and a hotel zone. The town is located about 5 kilometers from the sea and here you can find inexpensive accommodations, restaurants, food places, artisan stores, but it is not as picturesque as you might imagine.
In fact, if you Google photos of the town, dazzling pictures surrounded by beaches, nature, picturesque, nomadic, hippie and jungle style. Well, this part is the hotel zone and of course, everything is a little more expensive.
Now, where to stay? You can really stay in the center, which is much cheaper and rent a bike to go to the hotel zone or, if you are looking for the most sophisticated and an unparalleled experience, then the downtown area is for you.
Tulum in Covid times
Do you need a covid-19 test to enter Tulum? No, not at all. Practically the test or PCR test is only needed to enter the country, other than that you can travel to any part of Mexico, but there is a constant monitoring of temperature to enter any place.
For example, to enter a plaza, your temperature is taken first, the same to enter a shopping mall and do not forget to use your mouth cover.
What to do and see in Tulum
Although we refer to Tulum as a city, it really has a beach atmosphere and in some cases can be compared to Holbox Island, as its beaches are beautiful, crystal clear and cool, ideal for a day at the beach, sedentary, hiking, biking, etc, etc..
But not only its beaches attract attention, also its active life day and night, among which not only find tour, cenotes or caves, also various beach parties during the day, afternoon, evening, night and even see the sunlight.
In short it is a place where you will never get bored, because there is always, always and always something to do, to see or to surprise us with and now we will tell you some essential activities that you have to do and see in Tulum.
Visiting the Tulum Archaeological Zone
As we mentioned at the beginning of our article, the archaeological zone of Tulum is an impressive place to visit, so either through a tour or on your own, it is a must to visit.
Coba is another archaeological site of interest for all lovers of history, culture and eco-tourism, you have to visit it, but be prepared to walk, because this area is hidden in the jungle, so you will have to walk a lot.
But believe me, all this is compensated by getting to the place, because Coba is the only place where you are allowed to climb to the top of the pyramid.
Although Chichén Itzá is not located in the city of Tulum, you can escape for a whole day (if you travel with time) to visit it and thus complement a circuit of archaeological sites, but consider that you will have to travel 147.3 km to get there.
Enjoying the sunsets
It is no secret that sunsets in places with beaches are very beautiful, so among so many things to do in Tulum we cannot miss this activity.
Taking a picture at the city’s photo booth
Almost every city in Mexico and I dare say the world in general has in one of its main areas the colorful letters of the name of the city, well Tulum is not far behind and what better way to immortalize your visit with a souvenir photo.
Taking a picture at the Ahau Hotel
The Ahau Hotel is a luxury and privileged resort in the city, but something that has given it prestige and fame is not just its excellent service, but rather its characteristic entrance: The sculpture of mother earth.
The best thing is that this entrance is exactly on the main avenue of the hotel zone, so many people make a stop to take a souvenir photo and you can’t stay out of it.
One of the reasons why many people visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya is to enjoy and visit the parks of the Xcaret family, which are Xcaret, Xplor, Xenses, Xenotes, Rio Secreto, Xel Ha, among others.
Well, this last one is only 50 minutes away from the entrance of the city, so you have to add Xel Ha to your list of places to visit in Tulum.
Yoga & meditation
As mentioned, the city has a jungle and nomadic environment, so the closeness to nature is something inevitable and among so many activities to do in Tulum, a must is to practice Yoga and Meditation.
And why should I do this activity? Well, because unlike other places in the Riviera Maya, the Yoga and Meditation activities in Tulum are done in very well “decorated” places or located between the jungle, nature or the beach.
It is impossible not to mention the Gran Cenote as one of the things to know in Tulum, because the city despite having many caverns, subway rivers and cenotes, very few of them can really impress us and the Gran Cenote is one of them.
Zacil Ha Cenote
The Zacil Ha cenote is not far behind in the list of Tulum’s cenotes, but unlike most of them that are almost subway, this one is directly open on the surface, which will leave you with your mouth open and a great taste of its clear and crystalline waters.
Dos Ojos Cenote
Another cenote that is a must to visit in Tulum is the Dos Ojos Cenote, characterized mainly by its crystalline waters and for being one of the first to open its doors to tourism in the city.
Sian Ka’an Reserve
The Sian Ka’an Reserve or the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is one of the most important natural reserves in the state of Quintana Roo, in the Mayan Riviera and an essential place to know if you visit Tulum, it is one of the most important natural reserves in Mexico and occupies approximately 650 thousand hectares along 120 kilometers from north to south, between the municipalities of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
Talking about this place could take us a whole article, however we will tell you that this place is full of diverse outdoor activities and in harmony with nature, so much so that you will be surprised by all the types of wild animals you will find, as well as its active marine life and much more.
Among the tips we can give you to visit the city of Tulum you can not miss visiting the beaches and although the city has many beaches to visit, know, see and enjoy, there is one, specifically one that we recommend to know in a mandatory way and this is Playa Paraiso.
A beach considered by many the best in Mexico, for its beauty, its tranquility, the transparency of its waters and many other characteristics.
Would you like to swim with dolphins? Well, in the city of Tulum you can do it, because the city has a dolphin discovery dolphinarium, where you can swim, interact and learn more about these wonderful mammals.
Snorkel in the Great Mayan Reef
Do you like snorkeling or scuba diving? If your answer is yes, then add swimming and snorkeling at the Great Mayan Reef to your list of things to do in Tulum. A natural formation that extends very close to the coasts of the state and gives us a fun and dazzling marine adventure.
Beaches of Tulum
As we mentioned, the city of Tulum is a beach city, so it is mandatory to visit some of its more than 50 beaches, both those that are part of the city, as well as those near them, so in your list of things to do and see in Tulum, schedule your visit to one of them.
- The beach of the ruins
- Boca Paila
- Xcacel Beach
- Xpuha Beach
- Maya Beach
- Kin Ha Beach
- Mirador Beach
- Akiin Beach
- Pico Beach
- La Zebra
- Esperanza Beach
- Tankah Cove
- Roca Beach
- Paraiso Beach
- Santa Fe Beach
- Los Pescadores Beach
- Soliman Bay
- Chemuyil Beach
- Kantenah Beach
- Xpu-Ha Beach
- Akumal Beach
- Sian Ka’an Beaches
- Allen Point
- Las Palmas Beach
- Punta Bete Beach
- Ziggy Beach
Cenotes of Tulum
Among the tourist sites of Tulum, there is a great offer of cenotes and although above we specifically talked about 3, here we leave you the complete list of all the cenotes in Tulum and surroundings.
- Crystal Cenote
- Choo-há Cenote
- Corazon de Paraiso Cenote
- Big Cenote
- Dos ojos Cenote
- Zacil-Ha Cenote
- Cenote Calavera
- Cenote Manatí House
- Cenote Cristalino
- Cenote Tak Be Ha
- Cenote Carwash
- Escondido Cenote
- Enchanted Cenote
- Angelita Cenote
- Blue Cenote
- Kaan Luum Lagoon
Entrance fee for cenotes 2021
- Cenote Cristal + Cenote Escondido: 120 MXN (6.22 USD)
- Cenote Choo-há: 100 MXN (5.19 USD)
- Cenote Corazon de Paraiso: 150 MXN (7.40 USD)
- Great Cenote: 180 MXN (9.33 USD)
- Dos Ojos Cenote: 350 MXN (18.15 USD)
- Cenote Zacil-Ha: 70 MXN (3.63 USD)
- Cenote Calavera: 100 MXN (5.19 USD)
- Cenote House: 120 MXN (6.22 USD)
- Blue Cenote: 100 MXN (5.19 USD)
- Cenote Tak Be Ha: 200 MXN (10.37 USD)
- Cenote Carwash: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
- Kaan Luum Lagoon: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
- Cenote Encantado: 50 MXN (2.59 USD)
- Cenote Angelita: 150 MXN (7.78 USD)
Archaeological Sites in Tulum
Among the things to do in Tulum, without a doubt is to visit its archaeological zone, however, how many archaeological zones does Tulum have? Only 1, but thanks to its proximity to Coba (47 kilometers) and Chichen itza (147.3 km), it is counted as the existence of 3 archaeological sites in Tulum.
Hotels in Tulum
Continuing with our list of tips for visiting Tulum, we have come to the hotels. The city has humble accommodations that can cost less than 200 pesos a night, but it also has some 5 star hotels, all inclusive and with such surreal aspects that they can cost up to 20 thousand pesos per night.
It all depends on the type of traveler you are, if you want to stay in a luxury resort with a jungle atmosphere, here you will find many and if you want to stay in a humble place, but with a nice and homey atmosphere, you will also find it, however we will list 3 luxury hotels and 3 budget hotels that we recommend.
The Azulik Hotel in Tulum is one of the most prestigious resorts in the city and the Riviera Maya, because it not only gives us an incredible lodging service, but also a unique experience for its southern architecture that resembles being in a Peter Pan story.
Practically the design and architecture is contributed with very resistant wood, well cared for and resembles being on the trees, but all this is enhanced by being in front of the sea and among the immensity of the jungle, giving an aspect never seen before anywhere in the world.
But it is necessary to consider that this is a luxury accommodation, not cheap, but worth it if you are looking for a complete vacation experience.
We have already talked a little about the Anau Hotel, which has become famous for having at its entrance the sculpture of mother earth, a place where thousands of travelers take advantage of the opportunity to take pictures, but moving away from the entrance and looking inside, the accommodation has a jungle look and facing the sea.
This lodging does not have a similar architecture to the previous one, but it is pleasant in its facilities, the atmosphere is very beachy, the rooms with ocean view and without a doubt it is another of the best places to escape at least for a weekend with your partner.
Ikal Tulum Hotel
Continuing with the list of tips for luxury accommodations in Tulum, we find the Ikal hotel. This hotel is located very close to Paradise Beach and just like the previous one, its jungle aspect gives it a touch of mystery, tranquility and closeness to nature.
Tubo Tulum Hostel
This lodging is one of the most pleasant and economical that you will find in the city and although it is not near the sea and does not offer great restaurants, rooms or facilities, it is considered by many the best place for travelers and backpackers in the city.
Oostel Smart Hostel
Another budget accommodation that we recommend is Oostel Smart, an accommodation very close to the center of Tulum and where the stay can cost from 300 to 400 pesos per night. It is worth mentioning that this place has a small outdoor pool for common use by all guests.
Chill Inn Hostel
As a last tip for low cost accommodation in the city, but with an excellent treatment and excellent quality, we have the Chill Inn hotel, an accommodation that has cabins where you can rest and regain strength to continue knowing this incredible place called Tulum.
Where to eat in Tulum
Like many other places in the Riviera Maya, Tulum’s gastronomy is very varied and you can find from Spanish, German, Asian, French cuisine, to the so desired Mexican gastronomy.
Of course, there are also places where eating can be very expensive and others where eating has a cost no more than 100 Mexican pesos, we will talk about that later, however the most recommended places to visit to enjoy and delight your palate are:
- Antojitos La Chiapaneca
- Roraima Burgers
- El Pollo Bronco
- ZINE Food & Films
- Taqueria Honorio
- Sabor de Mar
- Manglar Pizzeria
- La Coqueta
- Rosa Negra
- Bal Nak
- Banan House
- Gypsy Group
What to buy in Tulum
There is nothing better than buying something that will remind you of your trip to the city and surely handicraft stores come to mind, but Tulum does not only have handicraft stores, let’s remember that Tulum is a beach, jungle and nomadic city,
This results in an offer of products ranging from classic handicrafts, to incredible designs of masacrarme, lace swimsuits, artistic paintings, jewelry, etc, etc..
Well, if you are thinking about where to buy or at least go for a walk and see what convinces you to buy, we leave you a list of recommended places to visit.
- La casita de xama
- We Love T-shirts
- Bikinis alfonsina and the sea
- Quintana Roo Hammocks
- Candelaria Market
How much is the fare from Cancun to Tulum?
The cost of public transportation (colectivo) is 45.00 MXN, but you must consider that you take two colectivos to get to Tulum, which leaves us with a price of 90.00 MXN. The cost of the ADO bus can be from 150.00 MXN to 350.00 MXN per trip.
The best price on the private transfer service is 2,429.00 MXN round trip and the cab cost can be almost 3,000.00 MXN.
How much is the fare from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?
The cost of public transportation (colectivo) to Tulum is approximately 45.00 MXN, the cost of the ADO bus is approximately 90.00 MXN to 120.00 MXN and if you rent a car to visit Tulum, the approximate cost is 350.00 to 450.00 MXN per day and the cost of the cab can be up to 1,500.00 MXN per trip.
How much does it cost to enter Tulum?
The cost of access to the archaeological site of Tulum is 100.00 MXN per person, however, if you are a Mexican national, you can have free access on Sundays of each week.
How long does it take to get to Tulum?
The average time to get to Tulum from Cancun is 2 hours and 30 minutes, while the average time to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is 1 hour and 5 minutes. Remember that these times are approximate and may vary depending on the weather, traffic and transfer schedule.
Best time to visit Tulum
Like any tourist destination in the world, there are good seasons to visit Tulum and bad seasons and if you want to make the most of the place knowing everything you can with the company of a good tropical climate, the best season is between February and March.
These months are “low season” so the city will not be crowded and you will be able to enjoy the places on your list of things to do and see in Tulum with more calm and tranquility. August to November is also an excellent time to visit the city.
Tips for visiting Tulum
As you can see Tulum is without a doubt a real odyssey and has everything for everyone, from luxury places to humble places, however you will lack time for all the things you want to see, do and know.
However some of our final tips for visiting Tulum are:
- Try to create a list of places to visit.
- Calculate an estimated budget of minimum and maximum expenses.
- Change your money to local currency and don’t pay more.
- In the hotel zone you can find everything, you have to visit it.
- The beaches are beautiful, but the closest one is the beach of the archaeological zone.
- Visit the cenotes
- Rent a bike to tour the city
- Go out at night and enjoy the night life
- Be careful with cabs
Tulum is one of those places that the Riviera Maya has in store for you and you should definitely take the time to visit and get to know it during your visit to the state.