Tulum Travel Guide
Tulum is a bohemian paradise, bursting with immaculately designed hotels, spiritual centers, and restaurants that perfectly execute both ambiance and flavor. Of course, it was the city's inspiring Mayan ruins that overlook the clear waters of the turquoise Caribbean that brought all these wonderful things to Tulum in the first place. Humming blissfully in the background of the busy beach clubs and posing influencers, Tulum's spiritual scene is unrivaled, offering classes beyond your average yoga session, meditation practices, sacred cacao ceremonies, and many more mind-expanding activities. And surrounding all this, you'll find a dense cenote-filled jungle, and stunning nature reserves poise the opportunity for dolphin-spotting, cave diving, and ATVing.
This former fishing village's growing popularity has turned it into one of the most expensive destinations in Mexico—but there's a lot more to Tulum beyond whatever locale is dishing out the most hype. With a little know-how, you can also find authentic cultural experiences, make a real connection to your spiritual side, and find inspiration in the supreme natural beauty of Tulum, which has always been the main attraction.
Eastern Standard Time, but Daylight Savings Time is not observed. This means Tulum is one hour behind the East coast from April to October.
Best Time to Go
Winter in Tulum coincides with the high season, so while the normally hot and humid weather is at its most pleasant, hotel rates tend to skyrocket, especially around the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's. Like the rest of the Caribbean, Tulum sometimes suffers from the scourge of sargasso seaweed. The seaweed that washes up on the shore is usually raked away by mid-day, but from May to October it tends to wash up in larger and harder-to-manage quantities. For these reasons, the best time to visit Tulum is in the fall between late October and mid-December. This gives you some time to score more reasonable rates and avoid the seaweed.
If you can plan your travels around a specific time of the month, you may want to consider the lunar cycle. Full moon parties are extremely popular in Tulum and around this time, many spiritual centers and beach clubs host special events where visitors can gather under the light of the full moon, for either a dance party on the beach or a spiritual cleansing in the jungle.
Things to Know
Currency: Mexican Peso
I don't speak Spanish: No hablo español.
I'm lost: Estoy perdido.
I would like…: Me gustaria...
Calling Code: +52
How to Get Around
Taxis: Taxis are plentiful in Tulum, but they are also the most expensive way to get around the city. Every taxi is cash only and prices can fluctuate depending on how much traffic there is and from where you're coming from. To take a taxi from the city center to the beach, you can expect to pay at least 250 pesos ($13 USD) or on a very busy night up to 600 pesos ($30 USD) or more. Prices are negotiable but make sure to agree on what that price will be with the driver before you get in the car.
Bicycles: Biking is a very popular way to get around all the different neighborhoods in Tulum, thanks to the bike path that connects the city center to the beach road. Many hotels offer bike rentals, but you can also rent your own from a bike shop like Ola Bike Tulum.
Scooters: If you prefer not to work up a sweat, renting a scooter is a great way to get around Tulum more quickly. With it, you can more easily explore cenotes and attractions on the edge of town that would be too far to bike to. You will find the best deals in the city center where there are many scooter shops you can check out and compare prices. The typical cost of a one-day rental is 600 pesos ($30 USD).
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Beach Zone: Split up into a north side and south side, this is where you'll find all the top hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs in Tulum, stretched out along a busy main road. The north side of the beach is quieter and closer to the ruins, while the south side has more hotels and restaurants. This also makes it a little more difficult to get on the beach if you're not a guest or paying customer.
Aldea Zama: Halfway between town and the beach, this gated neighborhood is full of luxury condominiums and has its own shopping and dining area. An upscale residential neighborhood, Aldea Zama is a great place to find a large vacation rental or a quieter hotel room.
La Veleta: Located on the far side of Tulum, but connected to Aldea Zama by a shortcut, La Veleta is a neighborhood in development with a few modern apartment buildings and hotels already established, but more still under construction. The neighborhood is evolving and road conditions can be on the rough and muddy side.
Centro: The main town is the center of daily life in Tulum where you'll find the best local restaurants, plus fun finds like bookstore cafes and tons of souvenir shops. There are more affordable accommodation options here from hotels to hostels and you're more likely to find better prices on tours, bicycles, and moped rentals than down at the beach.
Villas: This is a small residential neighborhood that has few restaurants and no hotels, however, it may pop up if you're looking for a vacation rental. Here you'll find quiet local streets filled with larger-than-life murals. It's off-the-radar located in a convenient spot, just behind the main intersection where the main highway meets the road to the beach.
High temperatures in Tulum fluctuate between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, but winter offers some of the nicest weather with warm sunny days and cooler nights. Spring can still be warm and quite dry up until May when the rainy season begins. The rainy season lasts until the end of summer, making hotter temperatures even more uncomfortable due to the high humidity. As fall begins in September, temperatures and the chance of rain start to drop and the weather gets nice again as winter approaches. Hurricanes do not often affect Tulum, but tropical storms of any size are most likely to occur between July and November.