With warm, Caribbean waters, amazing food, and lush greenery everywhere you turn, Tulum is pure paradise.
A very small town in the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is roughly two hours south of Cancun. For a taster of this escape-from-reality spot, we’ve rounded up the best things to see and do, plus where to stay, eat, and drink while in town.
Here is our ultimate travel guide to Tulum, Mexico.
There are no direct flights to Tulum. You will fly into Cancun and will need to either rent a car, book a private shuttle, or use public transportation.
Always have cash! ATMs have high fees and many of them were broken when we tried to use them. Most places do not accept credit cards. US Dollars are accepted at many restaurants and shops.
Expect your share of mosquito bites, so best to pack insect repellent!
WHERE TO STAY
Home of the ‘Barefoot Spirit Experience’, Be Tulum is a stylish retreat plotted on the peaceful end of Tulum beach. Small and tucked away from the fray, chill out in bedrooms that sport a jungle-luxe vibe – think polished cement floors, exposed wood furnishings, and verdant planting.
For that WOW factor, check in to Azulik. The treehouse eco retreat is truly out of this world. Sleep in a Surrealist villa that has been beautifully crafted from wood by local artisans – with no electric light, candelit surrounds create a romantic atmosphere.
The former hideaway of the notorious Pablo Escobar has been transformed into an art-centric stay called Casa Malca. Guests can expect punchy design, a highly Instagramable pool scene, and a zesty food offering. Sign us up.
Other great hotel options: Ahau, Coco Tulum, Luv Tulum, Nomade, Rosa del Viento, and Papaya Playa Project.
WHAT TO DO
Swim In Cenotes
Cenotes are natural swimming holes and are a must-visit when in Tulum. If you’re a diving enthusiast, exploring the cenotes are a particularly magical experience. You can explore them on your own by purchasing entrance fees which are only a few pesos.
Alternatively, try a tour, like one from Adventure Tour Center – opt for their snorkelling package and visit three cenotes in four hours: Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, and Casa Cenote. Other cenotes close to Tulum worth a visit include: Cenote Zazil-ha and Cenote Dos Ohos.
Visit The Tulum Ruins
We’re sure you’ve seen plenty of photos of the Tulum Ruins, perched on high cliffs facing the Caribbean sea, so this entry is a bit of no brainer. We suggest visiting this site on your own – you don’t need a tour guide and it takes roughly 20 minutes to walk the entire place.
Visit The Coba Ruins
Book a tour for your visit to The Coba Ruins and if you’ve visit the cenotes nearby. Both sites are roughly 45 minutes from Tulum.
Party At A Beach Club
Papaya Playa Project has a beach club which is great for anyone looking for a bit of a boogy and/or a serious retox session.
Watch A Sunrise Or Sunset
When you have the beach as your backyard, watching the sun rise or set is an easy win. Walk along the coast and explore Tulum’s beachfront hotels – they are all connected so you can walk for miles! You will see plenty of people doing this and there are lots of opportunities to stop for a tequila (or two) along the seafront.
Day Trip To Akumal
Animal lovers should head to Akumal for the day – which is roughly 25 minutes from Tulum. Here you can swim with large sea turtles or pay a visit to a monkey sanctuary.
Relax And Enjoy Paradise
There is nothing better then relaxing on a beach and kicking back in a hammock. Factor in plenty of downtime.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Posada Margherita’s menu features the freshest seafood, moreish pasta dishes, and sweet juices. The owners of this beachfront restaurant take great pride in the look and feel of the place and it really shows – a great catch-all spot.
At this popular eatery the menu changes daily. If you head here for dinner, we recommend you sample the grilled Caribbean lobster with creamed yuca or the pulpo asado with roasted potatoes and coriander. Word to the wise: be sure to make a reservation as it’s one of the most popular dining spots in Tulum.
This beach restaurant and mezcal bar is the perfect spot for a laidback meal accompanied by some great live music – and a couple of rounds of mezcal-infused cocktails.
Presenting a mix of modern and traditional Mexican cuisine, NÜ Tulum is THE place for those who like seclusion. Feast on pork belly tacos, sea bass ceviche, and other lip-smacking delights at an outdoor table nestled in the jungle. For added theatre, many dishes on the menu are cooked right in front of diners.
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