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How To Travel To Tulum Mexico


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Elyn Leeper



Welcome to Tulum, Mexico, a stunning coastal destination on the Yucatan Peninsula that offers a perfect blend of pristine beaches, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture. Located along the Riviera Maya, Tulum has gained popularity over the years for its natural beauty and rich history. Whether you’re a beach lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, Tulum has something to offer for everyone.


Boasting turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere, Tulum has become a sought-after destination for those in search of a tropical paradise. The town itself is a charming mix of bohemian vibes and modern amenities, with boutique hotels, eco-friendly resorts, and trendy restaurants lining its streets.


Tulum is also home to one of the most well-preserved Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico. The Tulum Ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, provide a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization that once flourished in the region. Exploring these ruins is a must-do activity for any visitor to Tulum.


Besides its beautiful beaches and historical sites, Tulum is famous for its cenotes. Cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear freshwater, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. These cenotes offer a unique opportunity to cool off in the refreshing waters and explore the underwater world.


In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know before traveling to Tulum. From getting there and getting around, to the best time to visit and the top attractions to explore, we’ve got you covered. So pack your bags, put on your sunglasses, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Tulum, Mexico.


Getting to Tulum

There are several ways to get to Tulum, depending on your starting point and personal preferences. Here are the most common options:

  1. Flying: If you’re coming from abroad, the easiest way to reach Tulum is by flying into Cancun International Airport (CUN). From there, you can take a taxi, shared shuttle, or rent a car for the approximately 90-minute drive to Tulum. Many major airlines offer direct flights to Cancun from various international destinations.
  2. Driving: If you’re already in Mexico or nearby, driving to Tulum is a viable option. The town is located along Federal Highway 307, making it easily accessible by road. Keep in mind that you may need to cross international borders and ensure you have the necessary permits and paperwork for driving in Mexico.
  3. Bus: Tulum is well connected by bus services from major cities in Mexico. The ADO bus company offers comfortable and reliable services to Tulum from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other nearby destinations. The buses are air-conditioned and provide a convenient and affordable mode of transportation.

Once you arrive in Tulum, you’ll find that the town itself is relatively compact and easy to navigate on foot or by bike. However, if you plan on exploring the surrounding areas or want more flexibility, renting a car is a popular option. Car rental agencies can be found at the airport and in Tulum town, offering a variety of vehicles to suit different budgets and needs.


It’s important to note that Tulum’s popularity as a tourist destination means that traffic can be heavy at times, especially during peak season. Be prepared for potential delays and plan your travel accordingly.


Whether you choose to fly, drive, or take a bus, the journey to Tulum is part of the adventure. Enjoy the scenic views along the way and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and magic of Tulum, Mexico.


Transportation Options in Tulum

Getting around in Tulum is relatively easy, thanks to the various transportation options available. Here are the main ways to navigate the town and its surrounding areas:

  1. Biking: One of the most popular and eco-friendly ways to get around Tulum is by bike. Tulum has a well-developed network of bike paths, making it safe and enjoyable to explore the town and nearby attractions on two wheels. Many hotels and rental shops offer bike rentals at affordable rates, allowing you to effortlessly cruise through the streets and soak in the laid-back atmosphere.
  2. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Tulum and offer a convenient way to travel within the town or to nearby destinations. You can find taxis at designated taxi stands or simply flag one down on the street. It’s recommended to agree on a price with the driver before starting your journey or ensure that the taxi meter is used for a fair fare.
  3. Colectivos: Colectivos are shared vans or minibusses that operate along specific routes, connecting Tulum with nearby towns and attractions. These are a popular option for budget travelers, as they are often cheaper than taxis and provide a comfortable mode of transportation. Colectivos can be found at designated stops or hailed from the side of the road.
  4. Renting a Car: Renting a car in Tulum offers the most flexibility and freedom to explore the region at your own pace. Many international car rental companies have branches in Tulum, and there are also local rental agencies. Having a car gives you the opportunity to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems in the area.

When it comes to driving in Tulum, it’s important to note that the town can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Parking can be limited in some areas, so it’s advisable to check with your accommodation if they provide parking facilities or if there are nearby parking lots available. Additionally, be mindful of local driving regulations and respect speed limits to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.


As Tulum continues to grow in popularity, there are also ride-sharing services available, such as Uber and Didi, which provide convenient transportation options at a reasonable cost.


With a range of transportation options available, getting around Tulum is a breeze. Choose the mode of transportation that best suits your needs and embark on an unforgettable adventure in this magical destination.


Best Time to Visit Tulum

Tulum enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and sunny skies throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Tulum depends on your preferences and priorities. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what to expect:

  • Peak Season (December to April): This is the busiest and most popular time to visit Tulum. The weather during these months is dry and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C). It’s the ideal time for beach lovers, as the waters are calm and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Keep in mind that accommodation prices tend to be higher during this period, and popular attractions can be crowded.
  • Shoulder Season (May to June, September to November): The shoulder seasons offer a great balance between good weather and fewer crowds. May and June are considered the spring shoulder season, with pleasant temperatures before the peak summer heat sets in. September to November is the fall shoulder season, with slightly higher chances of rain but still plenty of sunny days. Accommodation prices and tourist numbers are generally lower during these months.
  • Low Season (July to August): July and August mark the low season in Tulum due to the combination of hot temperatures and increased rainfall. Average temperatures during these months can reach up to 90°F (32°C), and there is a higher chance of tropical storms or hurricanes. However, if you don’t mind the heat and occasional showers, you may find cheaper accommodation deals and less crowded beaches.

It’s important to note that Tulum’s popularity has been steadily increasing, and even during the low season, there can still be a considerable number of tourists. If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons.


Regardless of when you visit, make sure to pack sun protection essentials, such as hats, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing, as the sun can be intense year-round in Tulum.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Tulum depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and budget. Whether you choose to soak up the sun during the peak season or enjoy a quieter getaway during the shoulder or low season, Tulum’s natural beauty and vibrant culture will leave you captivated.


Top Attractions in Tulum

Tulum is a treasure trove of natural wonders, ancient ruins, and cultural experiences. Here are some of the top attractions that you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Tulum:

  1. Tulum Ruins: Perched on a cliff above the Caribbean Sea, the Tulum Ruins are a must-see attraction. Explore the well-preserved archaeological site and marvel at the ancient Mayan structures, including El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. The sweeping views of the turquoise waters make this site even more enchanting.
  2. Tulum Beaches: Tulum is renowned for its stunning beaches. The powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and swaying palm trees create a picturesque setting. Playa Paraíso is one of the most popular beaches, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and natural beauty. Other notable beaches include Playa Ruinas, Playa Santa Fe, and Playa Pescadores.
  3. Cenotes: Cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with freshwater, and they are an integral part of the Yucatan Peninsula’s ecosystems. Explore these hidden gems and take a refreshing dip in their crystal-clear waters. Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Calavera are just a few of the many cenotes worth visiting near Tulum.
  4. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: Immerse yourself in nature at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a boat tour through the mangroves, spot tropical birds and wildlife, and discover the diverse ecosystems of this protected area. The biosphere reserve also offers opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking.
  5. Tulum Art and Culture: Explore the vibrant art and cultural scene in Tulum by visiting the many art galleries and workshops. Discover local artisans creating intricate handicrafts, unique paintings, and contemporary sculptures. Take part in a traditional temazcal ceremony or attend a yoga or wellness retreat to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

While these are some of the top attractions in Tulum, the town itself offers a charming and bohemian ambiance with its colorful streets, boutique shops, and flavorful cuisine. Don’t forget to try traditional Mexican dishes and indulge in delicious seafood and refreshing cocktails while exploring the local dining scene.


Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or art enthusiast, Tulum has a wealth of attractions that will captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories.


Tulum Beaches

Tulum is renowned for its breathtaking beaches that showcase the pristine beauty of the Caribbean Sea. The powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees create a picture-perfect tropical paradise. Here are some of the top beaches in Tulum:

  1. Playa Paraíso: As its name suggests, Playa Paraíso (Paradise Beach) is a slice of heaven on earth. This expansive white sand beach is lined with palm trees and turquoise waters, making it a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and there are also beachside restaurants and bars where you can enjoy refreshing drinks and delicious Mexican cuisine.
  2. Playa Ruinas: Located right by the Tulum Ruins, Playa Ruinas offers a unique setting for beach lovers. After exploring the archaeological site, you can descend to this small, picturesque beach by a wooden staircase. The clear waters and unobstructed views of the ruins make it an unforgettable experience. Be prepared for some crowds as it’s a popular spot, especially during peak season.
  3. Playa Santa Fe: Situated north of Tulum’s town center, Playa Santa Fe is a quieter and more secluded beach. It boasts soft white sand, calm waters, and a peaceful atmosphere. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a more serene beach experience away from the crowds. You can find a few beach clubs and restaurants along the shoreline.
  4. Playa Pescadores: Located in the heart of Tulum’s beach hotel zone, Playa Pescadores is a popular spot known for its bohemian vibe and lively atmosphere. The beach is lined with colorful fishing boats, swaying hammocks, and charming beach clubs. Here, you can soak up the sun, enjoy live music, and indulge in delicious seafood and cocktails.

While these are some of the top beaches in Tulum, there are many others waiting to be explored. Some hidden gems include Playa Xcacel, a protected turtle nesting beach, and Playa Akumal, where you can swim with sea turtles in their natural habitat.


It’s worth noting that most of the beaches in Tulum are public, so you can access and enjoy them freely. However, certain beach clubs may charge a fee for the use of their facilities. Keep in mind the importance of respecting the environment and leaving no trace when visiting these beautiful beaches.


No matter which beach you choose to visit in Tulum, you’re guaranteed a magical and unforgettable experience. From sunbathing to snorkeling to simply taking in the breathtaking surroundings, Tulum beaches offer a little slice of paradise for all those who visit.


Exploring Tulum Ruins

The Tulum Ruins are a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and culture seekers. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this ancient Mayan archaeological site offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the region. Here’s what you need to know about exploring the Tulum Ruins:


History and Significance: The Tulum Ruins date back to the 13th century and were once a thriving Mayan city. The site served as an important seaport and trading hub, with its strategic location along the coast. The ruins feature several well-preserved structures, including El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. The breathtaking views of the turquoise waters make this historical site even more remarkable.


Guided Tours: To fully appreciate the history and significance of the Tulum Ruins, consider joining a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will provide insights into the Mayan civilization, the purpose of each structure, and the cultural significance of the site. They can also share stories and legends associated with Tulum. Guided tours are available in various languages and can be arranged through local tour operators or on-site at the entrance.


Exploring on Your Own: If you prefer a more independent experience, you can explore the Tulum Ruins on your own. The site is well-marked, and there are informational signs at each structure, providing historical context. It’s recommended to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the hottest part of the day. Take your time to admire the impressive architecture, walk along the ancient paths, and imagine what life was like during the height of the Mayan civilization.


Be Prepared: Remember to come prepared for your visit to the Tulum Ruins. Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a hat, as there is little shade on the site. Consider bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated. Keep in mind that climbing on the ruins is not allowed, but you are free to explore the areas around them. Additionally, be respectful of the site by not littering and following any designated rules or guidelines.


With its stunning location and well-preserved structures, the Tulum Ruins provide a fascinating journey into the ancient Mayan world. Whether you choose to join a guided tour or explore on your own, your visit to the Tulum Ruins is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.


Cenotes in Tulum

Tulum is not only famous for its stunning beaches and ancient ruins but also for its unique natural wonders known as cenotes. Cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear freshwater, offering a magical and otherworldly experience. Here’s what you need to know about exploring the cenotes in Tulum:


Types of Cenotes: Tulum is home to various types of cenotes, each with its own characteristics. Open cenotes are completely open to the sky and offer a stunning view from above. Semi-open cenotes are partially covered, creating a mix of sunlight and shade. Finally, cave cenotes are located underground, requiring a unique and adventurous experience to explore.


Swimming and Snorkeling: Cenotes provide the perfect opportunity for swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. Dive into the freshwater and marvel at the underwater world, which is often brimming with colorful fish and fascinating rock formations. Snorkeling gear is usually available for rent at the entrance of the cenotes, or you can join a guided tour that provides all the necessary equipment.


Diving: For those with scuba diving experience, exploring cenotes through diving offers a whole new level of adventure. The underground caverns and tunnels create a surreal environment to discover. There are certified dive operators in Tulum who can guide you through the magical underwater world of cenotes.


Types of Cenotes: Tulum is home to various types of cenotes, each with its own characteristics. Open cenotes are completely open to the sky and offer a stunning view from above. Semi-open cenotes are partially covered, creating a mix of sunlight and shade. Finally, cave cenotes are located underground, requiring a unique and adventurous experience to explore.


Respecting and Preserving the Cenotes: When visiting cenotes, it’s important to remember that they are sacred natural formations. Be respectful of the environment by not littering, wearing biodegradable sunscreen to protect the delicate ecosystem, and following any rules or guidelines provided at the cenotes. Remember that these natural wonders should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.


Some popular cenotes in Tulum include Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Calavera. Each cenote offers a unique experience, so consider visiting multiple ones to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Tulum’s cenotes.


Exploring the cenotes in Tulum is a must-do activity, allowing you to connect with nature and experience the wonder of these magical underwater formations. Whether you choose to swim, snorkel, or dive, the cenotes of Tulum will leave you in awe of their natural beauty.


Where to Stay in Tulum

Tulum offers a range of accommodation options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious beachfront resort, an eco-friendly jungle retreat, or a cozy boutique hotel, Tulum has something for everyone. Here are some popular areas and options for where to stay in Tulum:


Tulum Beach: The Tulum Beach area, also known as the hotel zone, is a popular choice for those wanting to be near the beach and enjoy easy access to the turquoise waters. Here, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations, from eco-friendly, off-grid cabanas to upscale boutique hotels and luxury resorts. Many of these establishments offer beachfront access, stunning ocean views, and a laid-back beach vibe.


Tulum Pueblo: If you’re looking to experience the local atmosphere and be closer to the town’s amenities, Tulum Pueblo, also known as Tulum Town, is a great option. This vibrant area offers a mix of budget-friendly guesthouses, boutique hotels, and charming bed and breakfasts. Staying in Tulum Pueblo allows you to have easy access to local restaurants, cafes, shops, and the lively nightlife scene.


Aldea Zama: Aldea Zama is a newer development located between Tulum Beach and Tulum Pueblo. It offers a blend of residential and vacation rental properties, providing a more secluded and tranquil setting. Many of the accommodations in Aldea Zama are modern apartments or villas with private pools and gardens, ideal for those seeking a home-away-from-home experience.


Jungle Retreats: For a unique and eco-friendly stay, consider booking a jungle retreat in the lush surroundings of Tulum’s jungle. These secluded retreats offer a tranquil ambiance, often featuring rustic cabins or glamping tents immersed in nature. Many jungle retreats focus on sustainability and eco-tourism, allowing you to reconnect with the natural world.


When choosing where to stay in Tulum, consider your priorities, such as proximity to the beach, access to amenities, budget, and desired ambiance. It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure the best options for your stay.


Whichever area or type of accommodation you choose, Tulum’s unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant culture will provide an unforgettable backdrop for your stay.


Tulum’s Food and Drink Scene

Tulum’s food and drink scene is a vibrant fusion of flavors, blending traditional Mexican cuisine with international influences. With a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients, Tulum offers a wide array of dining options to satisfy every palate. Here’s a taste of what to expect from Tulum’s culinary scene:


Traditional Mexican Cuisine: Tulum is a haven for food enthusiasts looking to indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, you’ll find a range of traditional dishes that showcase the diverse flavors of the region. Don’t miss out on trying classic favorites like tacos al pastor, ceviche, mole, and freshly made guacamole.


Seafood Delights: With its idyllic coastal location, Tulum has an abundant supply of fresh seafood. You can feast on dishes such as grilled snapper, octopus ceviche, shrimp tacos, and coconut-crusted fish. Many beachfront restaurants offer stunning ocean views, allowing you to savor your meal while enjoying the gentle sea breeze.


International Cuisine: Tulum’s culinary scene isn’t limited to Mexican fare. The town is home to a variety of international restaurants, with influences from all over the world. You can find everything from Italian pasta dishes to Japanese sushi, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine to fusion creations that blend different culinary traditions.


Vegan and Vegetarian Options: Tulum is known for its vibrant vegan and vegetarian scene. Many restaurants in the area cater to plant-based diets, offering creative and delicious dishes that cater to vegans and vegetarians, as well as those looking for healthier options. You’ll find innovative plant-based tacos, nourishing Buddha bowls, refreshing smoothies, and raw desserts.


Refreshing Drinks: As the sun sets over Tulum, the town comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Sample artisanal cocktails made with local spirits like mezcal or opt for refreshing margaritas made with freshly squeezed lime juice. Don’t forget to try local craft beers and mezcal tastings to fully immerse yourself in Tulum’s contemporary drinking culture.


Tulum’s food and drink scene embraces creativity, authenticity, and sustainability. Many establishments prioritize using organic and locally sourced ingredients, supporting the community and reducing their ecological footprint.


Whether you’re seeking a traditional Mexican feast, exploring international flavors, or embracing plant-based dining, Tulum offers a diverse and exciting culinary adventure for food lovers. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds and embark on a gastronomic journey through Tulum’s vibrant food and drink scene.


Safety Tips for Traveling to Tulum

Tulum is generally considered a safe destination for travelers; however, it’s always important to take precautions and prioritize your safety. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind when traveling to Tulum:


1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings: Like any tourist destination, it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid displaying expensive items that may attract unwanted attention. Stay on well-lit and populated streets, especially at night.


2. Use Reliable Transportation: When moving around Tulum, opt for official taxis or reputable transportation services. If you decide to rent a car, choose a trusted rental agency and lock your vehicle when unattended. Be cautious when driving, as traffic rules may differ from your home country.


3. Take Care of Your Valuables: Tulum’s beaches are relatively safe, but it’s always wise to take necessary precautions. Avoid leaving your belongings unattended while swimming or sunbathing. Consider using a waterproof pouch or beach-safe bag to keep your valuables, including passports, cash, and electronic devices, secure and protected.


4. Stay Hydrated and Use Sun Protection: Tulum can get hot and humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the strong rays of the sun.


5. Swim Safely: When swimming in the ocean or cenotes, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Be cautious of underwater currents, especially during the rainy season. If you’re not a confident swimmer, consider wearing a life jacket or taking part in organized tours that provide safety equipment and supervision. Always follow any posted signs or warnings related to water conditions.


6. Respect the Environment: Tulum is known for its natural beauty, and it’s crucial to help preserve it. Respect the local ecosystems by not littering and participating in eco-friendly practices. Avoid touching or damaging coral reefs, and never remove items from the cenotes or archaeological sites. Follow any guidelines provided by tour operators and be mindful of your impact on the environment.


7. Use Licensed Tour Operators: If you’re planning to participate in activities such as snorkeling, diving, or exploring the cenotes, ensure that you use licensed and reputable tour operators. This will help ensure your safety and provide a quality experience. Research reviews and certifications before booking any tours or excursions.


8. Know Emergency Contact Information: Familiarize yourself with emergency contact information, such as the local authorities and your embassy or consulate. Keep important phone numbers and addresses handy in case of any emergencies.


By following these safety tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience during your visit to Tulum. As with any travel destination, it’s always a good idea to stay informed and exercise caution, providing you with peace of mind as you explore and immerse yourself in this beautiful part of Mexico.



Tulum, Mexico, is a destination that truly has it all: stunning beaches, ancient ruins, natural wonders, and a vibrant culture. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, Tulum offers endless opportunities to create unforgettable memories.


From the moment you step foot in Tulum, you’ll be captivated by its natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere. The pristine beaches, with their powdery white sand and turquoise waters, provide a picture-perfect backdrop for relaxation and beach activities. Dive into the crystal-clear cenotes, explore the ancient Mayan ruins perched on the cliffside, or indulge in the vibrant food and drink scene offering a fusion of flavors and culinary delights.


When planning your trip to Tulum, be sure to consider the best time to visit based on your preferences for weather and crowds. Take the time to explore different areas to find the perfect accommodation option that suits your style and budget, whether it’s a luxury beachfront resort, a cozy boutique hotel, or an eco-friendly jungle retreat.


Remember to prioritize your safety by staying aware of your surroundings, taking precautions with your belongings, and respecting the environment. By following simple safety tips, you can have peace of mind and focus on enjoying the wonders that Tulum has to offer.


Whether you spend your days relaxing on the beach, exploring ancient ruins, snorkeling in cenotes, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Tulum will undoubtedly leave you enchanted and yearning for more. With its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality, Tulum is a destination that will capture your heart and beckon you to return time and time again.


So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready for a journey of a lifetime in Tulum, Mexico.