Tulum Vacations… with all its confectioner-sugar sands, blue-green water and balmy breezes – makes this a top beach vacation destination in Mexico. There’s also excellent cave and cavern diving, fun cenotes and a variety of lodgings and restaurants to fit every budget. Tulum is mostly known for its beaches and yoga retreats. It’s where beautiful white sand beaches meet chic hotels and high-end resorts in addition to cute restaurants. You’ll find some of the best-preserved Mayan ruins in the Western Hemisphere, ruins that have the cerulean waters of the Caribbean Sea as a backdrop. And there are several cenotes (or underground water-filled caverns) and bioreserves. Tulum continues to be a tiny, quiet alternative to the other Riviera Maya resort areas during the spring break season. For a detailed description of all the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya, visit here. Tulum Vacations planning is simple, just read on and find everything you need for your Tulum beach vacation.
When to Go (Weather)
The best time to visit Tulum is between November and December. Temperatures fall to around the low 80s as the hurricane season slides away. Plan a trip for the early part of the this season if you want to save money. You’ll get the benefit of post hurricane-season breezes, and hotel prices are reasonable. Not to say that it’s hard to find good room rates at other times of the year – this small pocket of the Yucatán has one of the widest ranges of price points on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. If you’re concerned about crowds, though, avoid the region from January to March.
Entry & Exit Requirements
You’ll need a passport to visit Mexico, plus a tourism card (FMM) that can be issued at any Mexican consulate, border-crossing point, Mexican tourism office, or directly from your airline. FMMs are usually issued free of charge upon arrival. Be sure to hold onto this card for the duration of your trip, as you will need to present it upon departing the country. It’s also a good idea to leave your passport and FMM in a secure location and carry a photocopy of both documents with you at all times.
While Mexico has experienced a surge in drug-related violence, Tulum has remained a relatively safe travel destination. Travelers should use common sense when traveling in the downtown area: for example, don’t walk around alone at night. If you’re staying in a beachside cabana, be sure to lock your doors. Don’t walk on isolated areas of the beach at night. Driving during the daytime is relatively safe, but take caution when driving at night, as some foreign travelers have experienced robbery.
You should also not drink the tap water in Tulum. To avoid unnecessary illness, always make sure your bottled water is sealed, your ice has been tested for purity and your food has been prepared with bottled water.
Getting Around Tulum
The best way to get around Tulum is by taxi. You can walk or bike to the beaches, to the ruins and to Tulum Pueblo, but there’s a chance of overexerting yourself. You can rent a car in Cancún or Playa del Carmen, but it is not recommended because of reported auto crimes. Buses aren’t a viable option either – the only ones available are the shuttles that take vacationers to and from the other Riviera Maya areas, and to and from the airport in Cancún.
Taxis pretty much have a monopoly on getting you from your hotel to the beach, but you can also use them to get to the ruins or the reserves. They hang out around the hotel areas, but you can also find them near the bus terminal. Luckily, the fixed fares are reasonable. You’ll pay around $5 to ride from the popular hotels to the beach.
Driving from Cancún or Playa del Carmen to Tulum is not worth the hassle – residents motor the rocky roads swiftly, and you could easily be overwhelmed. Some travel sites have also reported problems with auto robberies (particularly at night) and even police scams, where the officers pull drivers over and then demand a bribe. If you do decide to drive, you will not need to obtain an international driver’s license; your U.S. license is valid in Mexico.
You’ll get some exercise, and a little independence by riding around town. Rental companies like Iguana Bike and Hola Bike will deliver your wheels to your hotel (fares average around 190 pesos, or $10, per day) and also offers tours of the area to cenotes and beaches.
Walking is always affordable, and in Tulum, it’s also feasible. You could choose to walk from the hotel areas to the beaches, the ruins and even Tulum Pueblo, depending on where you’re located. However, you may find taxis are a more comfortable option, given the heat. And you should always exercise common sense and not walk long distances alone at night.
Must See Places
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Just south of Tulum, the reserve contains more than 1.2 million acres of estuaries, reefs, cenotes and wetlands. Within the park, you can take tours of the local wildlife, take part in a diving or snorkeling tour or simply just walk around the beautiful and expansive park.
With the recent arrival of the Nuddy Beach Club, the beach has grown extremely popular. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving, plus a few hammocks, lounge chairs and umbrellas to choose from, and a few beach bars should you want refreshment.
El Gran Cenote
Considered sacred waters by the Mayans, the expansive El Gran Cenote is an underground cavern that is ideal for swimming and diving. Here you can swim, snorkel and dive amid some pretty cool geological features, including stalagmites and stalactites.
The Tulum ruins are one of the most popular Mayan archaeological sites along the Riviera Maya. Sitting on a patch of rocky coastline just south of Tulum’s downtown, the ruins showcase several templos (temples) and castillos (castles) from the once-thriving pre-Colombian Mayans.
Catering to the yoga tourist, this spa in the Azulik hotel offers massages, body wraps, crystal therapy treatments and yoga classes. The true highlight of Maya Spa are the nighttime temazcal sessions, or steam baths that indigenous Mexicans believed had healing and purifying powers.
Things to Do
From the ancient Mayan Ruins, to the pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean- and so much more in between. Snorkel, zipline, Jungle ATV ride, Mayan Ruins~ and ALL in one day if you like! For more information call 52-984-871-2209, or visit them on the web at Edventure Tours.
Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf and Paddlesurf
They are a kite and SUP School. They do Paddle boarding tours to cenotes, lagoons and bays. All in beautiful Tulum Mexico “A day in the water is a good day” For more information call 52-984-168-1023, or visit them on the web at Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf and Paddlesurf.
Mexico Kan Tours
Mexico Kan Tours is a travel agency committed to showing visitors to Mexico the country’s incredible range of culture and biodiversity. They design every tour with a desire to share their own extensive travel experience in Mexico, combined with the love. For more information call 52-984-140-7870, or visit them on the web at Mexico Kan Tours.
Pro Kite Tulum
The goal of ProKite Tulum is to provide the best quality lessons and kite trips. From complete beginner to the advanced rider that wants to bring it to the next level in surf strapless, freeride or freestyle, they can help you achieving your goal. For more information call 52-984-100-5878, or visit them on the web at Pro Kite Tulum.
Diving Cenotes Tulum
The best service is their philosophy. Talk to them and you will see. From discovery scuba diving to their cave diving course. They dive all cenotes around Tulum and will recommend the right time to avoid the crowds. Satisfaction is guaranteed! For more information call 52-984-140-6813, or visit them on the we web at Diving Cenotes Tulum.
Best Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$$ Posada Margherita
Posada Margherita is an Italian gem that serves handmade pasta on the Yucatan Peninsula. Its menu lists classic Italian favorites like tagliatelle with red sauce or drizzled in olive oil and topped with prawns. If you stop by the beach restaurant early enough, try their famous egg-in-a-hole with a side of beans and roasted potatoes. For more information call 52-984-801-8493, or visit them on the web at Posada Margherita.
$$ – $$$ Que Fresco!
The flagship restaurant of iconic Tulum hotel is Que Fresco! It is the ideal spot to grab a coastal lunch or dinner. Not only will you be treated to supreme quality fresh food – Mayan flavors and local, seasonally sourced produce dominate the dishes at Que Fresco! You’ll also be able to enjoy some truly beautiful vistas over the Tulum coastline. For more information call 52-984-877-8523, or visit them on the web at Que Fresco!
Dine at dusk with candles places along the pathways and illuminate the dining area. The menu changes nightly based on what is caught by the local fisherman. All ingredients are locally sourced from nearby farms and markets. You will find the menu drawn on a large chalkboard, brought to each table when ordering. Get an early reservation, because the waiters cross out dishes as they are gone. For more information visit them on the web at Hartwood.
$ El Camello Jr
Originally founded by a local fishing collective, El Camello Jr is now one of the best, and arguably most authentic, places to eat in the town. Even so, it’s now widely known in both local and international circles, and this perennially popular spot is famed for its generous and super fresh ceviche and seafood dishes. Order fish tacos to ease yourself in, and bring at least basic Spanish, as English isn’t spoken. For more information call 52-984-871-2036, or visit them on the web at El Camello Jr.
$ La Chiapaneca
If you want an authentic spot to grab a quick on-the-go meal, but seafood just doesn’t float your boat, then you can’t go wrong with La Chiapaneca. This is the essential place if you want to enjoy some authentic (and incredibly cheap) tacos al pastor in Tulum, often considered the best in town. Alongside their trademark spit-roasted meats, you can also get a handful of other local treats. For more information call 52-984-114-3249, or visit them on the web at La Chiapaneca.
Gitano is a mescal bar and is the place to go for cocktails, dancing and lite bites. Tiny lanterns are hung on overhead branches, along with an array of beautiful chandeliers. Two cocktails not to miss are the Mescal Mule and the Stardust. The mule is mixed with Gitano’s own how made mescal, while the Stardust has mescal, dark rum, and a mixture of fruit juices. For more information call 52-984-745-9068, or visit them on the web at Gitano.
Try the expertly mixed mojitos which range from the classic to local fruits like prickly pear, to innovative combinations like cucumber basil. No matter which flavor you order, the sugarcane juice is pressed to order. The kitchen turns out some great Italian snacks to go with your mojitos. For more information call 52-984-745-4571, or visit them on the web at Batey.
This is a favorite of the local business owners. You can get an expertly mixed cocktail and chat it up with the friendly bartenders. The ingredients are fresh. Try the Maria Sandia with mescal, watermelon, lime, and worm salt on the rim. You can eat dinner here as well, with grilled seafood, rib eye, and the catch of the day. This has a picturesque open-air jungle setting. For more information call 52-998-222-2749, or visit them on at Casa Jaguar.
Papaya Playa Beach Club
The Papaya Playa Beach Club throws a major party every Saturday with guest DJs. The drinks here include mescal and papaya or the well-balanced cucumber and lime drink. Great place for dancing. For more information call 52-984-871-1160, or visit them on the web at Papaya Playa Beach Club.
Encantada Tulum – All Inclusive
On an unspoiled beach between the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and Tulum National Park, Hotel Encantada offers tropical gardens, a free Wi-Fi zone and stylish rooms with sea or garden views. Decorated with local textiles and artwork, each charming room has sliding glass doors which open onto a private terrace. A varied continental breakfast is provided, including home-baked bread, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. Mexican and international dishes are available for lunch, served in the bar or on the beach. You can book a relaxing massage or hot stone treatment on the beach at Hotel Encantada. The 24-hour front desk also includes a concierge and free bike rental service. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Encantada Tulum.
Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel – Adults Only – All Inclusive
Featuring free WiFi and an outdoor pool, Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel-Adults Only offers accommodations in Tulum. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and sun terrace, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. The hotel also provides bike rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel – Adults Only.
El Pez a Colibri Boutique Hotel – Great for Families
Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, El Pez a Colibri Boutique Hotel offers accommodations in Tulum. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and views of the sea, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. The hotel also provides bike rental and car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit El Pez a Colibri Boutique Hotel.
La Selva Mariposa – Budget Friendly
Featuring free WiFi and a hot tub, La Selva Mariposa offers accommodations in Tulum, just 17 miles from Akumal. Free private parking is available on site. Enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out at the pool or garden. You will find a shared lounge at the property. Guests can enjoy various activities in the area, including biking and hiking. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit La Selva Mariposa.
Mezzanine Colibri Boutique Hotel – Adults Only
Mezzanine a Colibri Boutique Hotel-Adults Only is located in Tulum, just 16 miles from Akumal. The hotel has an outdoor pool and year-round outdoor pool, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. The hotel also provides bike rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Mezzanin Colibri Boutique Hotel – Adults Only.