The Best Hotels in Tulum (and Where To Stay)

Updated: May, 2015

“The Yucatan is statistically as safe as Finland.” – The Economist

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The 15 Best Hotels in Tulum

  • Book far in advance for the best hotels on the beach. Tulum has the best beach along the Yucatan coast and it’s becoming incredibly popular. (High season is December, January, July, and August).

The hotels below are ordered by location starting with the north end of the beach road (closest to town) and moving south. All of these hotels have a great location on the beach close to several restaurants and biking distance to town.

  • Hotel Posada • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-806-4505
    Posada Punta Piedro in Tulum..
  • Zamas Hotel • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-877-8523
    Zamas Hotel in Tulum
  • Amansala • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984 100 0717
    Amansala Hotel in Tulum.
  • Playa Kin Ha • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-871-2321
    Kin Ha Hotel in Tulum.
  • Retiro Maya Tulum • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-143-1365
    Retiro Maya Hotel in Tulum.
  • My Way Luxury Resort • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: ++52 984-143-1365
    My Way Luxury Hotel in Tulum.
  • Ana y Jose Charming Hotel and Spa • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 998-880-6022
    Ana y Jose Hotel in Tulum
  • The Beach Tulum (Ziggy) • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-873-1223
    Beach Hotel in Tulum.
  • Villa Las Estrellas • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-879-0772
    Villas Las Estrellas in Tulum.
  • Playa Mambo Eco Cabanas • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-803-2144
    Playa Mambo Hotel in Tulum.
  • OM Tulum Cabañas and Beach Club • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-157-7903
    Om Hotel in Tulum.
  • Be Tulum • luxury • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-803-2243
    Be Tulum Hotel in Tulum.
  • Mestizo Hotel Boutique • moderate • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-879-9857
    Mestizo Hotel in Tulum
  • Las Tres Palmas (in town) • budget • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +52 984-116-4950
    Best Hotel in Tulum Town: Las Tres Palmas

The Best Restaurants in Tulum

  • Best Italian Restaurant in Tulum: Posada Margherita (Beach Road). Delicious. The best pasta in town.
    The best Italian restaurant in Tulum.
  • Best Tacos in Tulum: Antojitos (in Town). 3 minutes south of the bus station (on the same side of the street). Great salsa bar. Only open at night.
    The best tacos and street food in Tulum.
  • 2nd Best Tacos in Tulum (In Town). Delicious pastor tacos. Across the street from the Scotia Bank, you can’t miss it.
    The best Pastor tacos in Tulum.
  • Best Restaurant at Tulum Beach: Hartwood  (Beach Road). Very popular and widely regarded as the best restaurant in the area. Reservations are taken in person after 3pm for the coming evening. Good pics of Hartwood.
    The best restaurant in Tulum.
  • Best Pizza in Tulum: La Onda (Beach Road). Delicious wood oven pizza. The dessert pizza with Nutella is not bad either.
    The best pizza in Tulum.
  • Best Vegan Restaurant in Tulum: Restaurare (Beach Road). The best vegetarian choice around.
    The best vegan restaurant in Tulum.
  • Best Fish Tacos in Tulum: El Capitan (In Town)
    The best fish tacos in Tulum.
  • Best Steak Restaurant in Tulum: La Estancia (in Town). An Argentinian restaurant with a very fun atmosphere.
    The best restaurant in Tulum.
  • Best Roasted Chicken in Tulum: Pollo Bronco (In Town). Simple, cheap, delicious. Buy whole, half, or quarter roasted chickens with tortillas, rice, and salsa. Take to go as well.
    The best roasted chicken in Tulum.
  • Funnest Restaurant/Bar: Mateo’s Mexican Grill (Beach Road). Good food and fun vibe. Hammocks and great views can be found on the upper floors of this treehouse-style of a restaurant. Live music many nights here and across the road at Zamas.
    View from Mateos restaurant at Tulum beach.
  • Best Steak Restaurant at the Beach: Casa Banana. (Beach Road)
    Casa Banana restaurant along Tulum beach.
  • Best Coffee in Tulum: Ki ‘book (In town). Great espresso and insanely friendly staff.
    The best coffee and espresso in Tulum.

Travel Tips for Tulum

  • Tulum is divided into 2 sections: the town (pueblo) and the beach (playa). They are about 5 km apart. The town is inland. The beach is, uhm, along the beach.
  • Most hotels – and all of the best ones – are along the beach.
  • The town has cheaper and often better food (especially if you’re looking for authentic Mexican food and tacos). Even with cab fare to town and back dinner will be cheaper in town then at the beach. The town also has more shops and 2 large grocery stores (The Chdedraui is the most convenient for the beach.)
  • Most hotel websites are terrible and difficult to use. Use Booking.com for the best rates and most reliable reservations.
  • Ana y Jose is the best hotel in Tulum and is located on the beach.
  • It costs about $100 by taxi from the Cancun airport to Tulum and takes about 90 minutes. To get a taxi at the Cancun airport walk out the doors on the arrivals level and book with the transfer desk just to the left (can’t miss it, very easy to find). It’ll be a 5 to 30 minute wait for a car or van (it won’t be a taxi as they’re not allowed to pick up from the airport). You can prebook with SuperShuttle before you arrive. Pre-booked transfers cost about $30 but then you have a car waiting for you as you get through customs. Personally, I don’t pre-book but understand why some would want to.
  • Tulum vs Playa del Carmen: Tulum has a nicer beach, better food, more chilled out and relaxing, and cooler more unique hotels. Playa del Carmen feels like a spring break town. Nice but somewhat tacky. Tulum wins hands down vs Playa del Carmen.
  • The Tulum ruins are found along the beach (north of the hotel strip). They are easy to reach from both town and the beach hotels by taxi or bike but too far to walk from either. These are definitely worth a visit (plan for 1 to 3 hours). There’s a great place to swim just below the main structure on the coast.
  • Bikes are everywhere in Tulum. They’re easy to rent and cost about 150 pesos a day (less if you rent for multiple days). There’s a bike path from town all the way out the beach (near Zamas). From Zamas there is no path along the beach road but traffic moves slowly and it always feels safe to be on your bike as long as it’s not dark. The road along the beach is flat. There’s a slight incline as you start into town (from the beach, as the bike path starts) but most of that route is flat as well. Along the beach road car traffic can stop for 5 to 15 minutes for seemingly no reason at all. If you’re on a bike you sail right by all the traffic and are happy for not being in a car. The bike ride from the beach to town takes 20 to 35 minutes depending on where you’re staying along the beach road.
  • Taxi from the beach to town should be about 100 pesos from around Zamas Hotel (one of the closer ones) up to 150 pesos from Mestizo Hotel (one of the farther ones).
  • Tulum is surrounded by Cenotes that are great for fresh water swimming. The Gran Cenote is the most famous but others within easy reach are Manatee (towards Playa del Carmen), Carwash (towards Coba), and Crystal and Escondido (south of Tulum Town). Tell the name of any of these to a taxi driver and they’ll take you there for less than 150 pesos. Most have a charge of less than 100 pesos. Just take a towel, taxi money, and flippers and mask (optional) and you’ll have an amazing time at any of these cenotes. Manatee has a good restaurant right across the road. The rest I mentioned above don’t have much around. It’s just swim for an hour or so then head home.
  • The best day trips from Tulum are the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Coba, Chitchen Itza, Aktun Chen (underwater cave and cenote with swimming and ziplines) and the enchanting town of Vallodolid.
  • The best tours for Sian Ka’an are Community Tours, Centro Ecologico Sian Ka’an (CESiaK), and Yucatan Outdoors. All do small guided tours of the reserve.
  • Dreams Tulum is not in Tulum but is located 6 miles north of Tulum and the Tulum ruins (towards Akumal). It’s a huge all-inclusive resort with very little character. If you want to stay at a hotel closer to Akumal then choose the charming Jashita Hotel.
  • The Tulum Beach is beautiful – my favorite in Mexico.
    Tulum Beach
  • And the sand in Tulum is wonderful.
    Beautiful sandy beach in Tulum.
  • Eating cheap is easy in Tulum town (and typically more expensive out at the beach). Antojitos is my favorite taco shop in town and below you can see the menu. Those prices are in pesos so a delicious pastor taco is just $0.45. Cheap and just drop-dead delicious.
    Good inexpensive restaurant in Tulum.
  • Pastor is slow cooked pork that is shaved off directly into a taco.
    Pastor tacos.
  • The pastor tacos from Antojitos. These are my sons – OK, the kid likes the tomatillo sauce.
    Pastor tacos in Tulum.
  • When you buy a chicken they’ll also throw a stack of tortillas and salsa into the bag. It’s quick, cheap, and delicious food. (Once again, you’ll only find freshly roasted chickens in town, not at the beach.)
    Rotisserie Chicken.
  • Mexican soups are awesome and often overlooked. If you see soup on the menu, order it.
    Good soup in Tulum.
  • Chilaquiles are common breakfast food in Mexico and delicious. Usually cheaper than ordering western food too.
    Best breakfast in Tulum.
  • Eating lunch or dinner on the beach is a highlight of staying in Tulum.
    Beer and food on the beach.
  • Panna e Cioccolato gelato shop has the best ice cream in town (better than most restaurants). There are 2 shops in Tulum town and 1 on the beach (near Zamas).
    Ice cream shop in Tulum.
  • But home-made style treats are also popular and very tasty.
    Ice cream in Tulum.
  • Breakfast on the beach.
    Breakfast on the beach in Tulum.
  • Bike Rental shop in town (and neighboring laundromat). There are many rental shops but Kelly’s has the most bikes. A few doors down from the Scotia Bank. If you need a better quality bike, trailers, baby carriers, or scooters then try iBikeTulum. If you book in advance they’ll even deliver the bikes to you at your hotel.
    Bike rental and laundromat in Tulum.
  • Bike’s can be rented at the beach as well.
    Bike rental on Tulum Beach.
  • The bike path between Tulum town and the beach.
    The bike path between Tulum town and beach.
  • Bikes are everywhere in and around town.
    Downtown Tulum
  • Hotels and restaurants in Tulum have bike parking. Cool.
    Bikes in Tulum
  • If you do only one thing during your time in Tulum visit a cenote. This is the Gran Cenote and only about 5 minutes outside of Tulum. Take your own mask and snorkel. There are lockers and restrooms at the Gran Cenote. If you just want to go for a swim then Casa Cenote is great – very few tourists, small entrance fee, restaurant across the street. Ask any taxi driver and they’ll get you here in 10 minutes from the Tulum hotels.
    Snorkeling in the Grand Cenote near Tulum and Cancun.
  • Cenote’s are collapsed sinkholes that expose fresh water below.
    Grand Cenote near Tulum
  • Day Trip from Tulum: Chichen Itza.
    Chichen Itza Pyramid.
  • If you go to Chichen Itza or Coba hire a guide. You don’t have to prearrange. Guides will greet you as you enter and offer their services. Their knowledge makes the sights much more interesting and rewarding.
    Tour Guide at Chichen Itza.
  • At Coba you can climb the pyramid. (You can’t at Chichen Itza.)Climbing Coba pyramid.
  • The Coba ruins cover a large area and bikes are a fun way to get to the different sights.
    Bike rental at Coba Pyramids.
  • Valladolid is a wonderful little inland town that makes a great day trip from Tulum. The town is surrounded by good cenotes and there’s even one a short walk from the central square.
    Valladolid Day Trip from Tulum
  • Cenote in downtown Vallodolid. Great for cliff jumping.
    Cenote in Tulum.
  • There are several other cenotes within biking distance of downtown. Pictured is Samula. X’Keken cenote is directly across the road.
    Samula cenote near Vallodolid.
  • The taco stand located on this corner in Vallodolid is the best in the Yucatan.
    Best tacos in Yucatan.
  • Hotel Casa Quetzal is a great boutique hotel and the best place to stay in Vallodolid.
    Best Hotel in Vallodolid.
  • El Fogon is the best restaurant in Playa del Carmen. Expect lineups and great food.
    Best Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
  • Bank machines are found everywhere in Tulum, both at the beach and in town. These bank machines are at the bus station.
    ATMs in Tulum.
  • It’s easy to bike along the beach road I find your favorite spot.
    Bike to beach.
  • This is one of the few convenience stores along the beach road. Located at Playa Mambo hotel.
    Convenience store on Tulum Beach (for drinks and snacks)
  • The beach road near Zamas.
    Tulum Beach Road near Zamas.
  • The Tulum Ruins are (sort-of) in between Tulum town and the hotel zone on the beach road. Definitely worth a visit. They’re easy to bike to from both town and the beach hotels.
    The beach at the Tulum ruins.
  • Zebra is a kid-friendly restaurant and hotel with a beautiful beach and play area along the beach.
    La Zebra play area for kids on the beach

221 questions and comments

  1. Suenos in Tulum

    Hi, and thanks for the great information. It is very helpful . My wife and I will be traveling to Tulum and staying at Suenos . Can you give your opinion on this hotel and the beach there as we are hoping for good water and a quiet experience. Also what are your thoughts on transportation from Cancun to Suenos safety , time and cost ? Bus vs taxi etc. One last question , would you recommend going into town to eat for a much better price and experience or is eating at the beach better? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Suenos is very nice with a great beach. Good choice. If you’re arriving on a flight then taking a taxi to your Tulum hotel is so much easier than the bus I recommend that. But if you’re already in Cancun and aren’t getting off a long flight then taking the bus is sort of fun. Grab some snacks, sit back, watch a bad American movie on the tv screens, and enjoy. There are decent toilets on the buses too. You sometimes have to change buses in Playa del Carmen but there are a few direct to Tulum if you can pre-plan your departure time.

      Reply
  2. Bikes, Buses, and Where To Eat

    Why hello there David!

    Great sight and super informative.

    My partner and I are all booked up to stay at Le Pez 5th-12th September (fingers crossed the weather will be decent!)

    Noted down your ‘go-to’ restaurants, thanks a bunch, and a few others I’ve researched! (Le Zebra, Hartwood, Cenzontle & Kitchen Table). The rest we’ll wing when we arrive, street food etc.

    One question; we keep toying with renting a car, but I worry that once we’re there we’ll just be on bikes and it’ll just be a waste. We’re in our late 20s so like being around nightlife and in the thick of it, but will also want to hit the cenotes and Mayan Ruins. We’re pretty fit, so:
    A. checking that we can get around everywhere on bikes?
    B. How easy is it to get buses to and from the airport from Tulum, and/or what is the cab situation (happy to spend $200 as this is the rough car rental costs it would seen!)

    Ok, so one more question – it’s our anniversary, so any stand out experiences, culinary or other that you would recommend – we love outdoor adventure and tastebud adventure! Would love to organise a day of epic proportions!

    Thanks.

    Soph :)

    Reply
    1. Dave

      1) Getting around by bikes is easy. Between town and the beach is no problem. Getting to the cenotes is a little farther (and involves riding on a busier section of road) but still very doable. I wouldn’t rent a car. Taxi and bike are the way to go.
      2) Yes, take a taxi from the airport directly to your hotel. Bus is also an option but can involve switching buses in Playa del Carmen and even when you get to Tulum you have to get a taxi out to the beach. No need to book in advance, just walk out the doors of the Cancun airport and wait in line for a taxi.
      3) Eat at Hartwood and go to Zamas for some late night fun.

      Reply
  3. El Pez vs La Zebra

    Hi Dave,

    Love your blog – it is so helpful! My fiance and I are going to Tulum in September for our honeymoon and are staying Monday to Wednesday. We’re trying to decide between staying at El Pez or La Zebra. We want a nice beach that’s walking distance to bars and restaurants. Any preference between those or other suggestions we should look at? I’d love an authentic style with ac and pool if possible. Thank you!!

    Steph T

    Reply
    1. Dave

      El Pez is closer to the night spots. La Zebra has a nicer beach. Both have many restaurants within walking distance.

      Reply
  4. Renting Small Car in Tulum

    Hi Dave! Thanks for all the great information!
    We will be staying at the Coral Tulum. Hey, we usually rent the cheapest smallest car avail, but my husband is
    worried that the roads might require something bigger. What do you think?
    Mark Hayman-Martinez

    Reply
  5. Om, Alaya, or Ana Y Jose Hotels

    Hi Dave, thanks for this great list – and your diligence with responding to people! You are wonderful! I’m traveling w/my husband and 14 year old and we’ve decided to stay in Tulum as opposed to Cancun this time but are having trouble on choosing a hotel. How do you feel about the AnayJose trio of hotels vs Om or Alaya? THANKS in advance!
    Sadie

    Reply
    1. Dave

      All are quite nice. Om the least luxurious but still great (and has a very good restaurant). You can’t go wrong with any of those.

      Reply
  6. Kids at Be Tulum

    Hi!

    I am getting married in Tulum this March. We are looking to rent a house for a week and were going to stay at Be Tulum, booked the room, the best room and everything, only to find out kids are not welcome. My son is seven and quiet as a mouse. Do you think we could ask to have him with us for the three nights?

    Also, do you know of any chefs?

    Thank you!!
    Melissa Torpie

    Reply
    1. Dave

      It doesn’t hurt to ask but I doubt they’ll change their policies that easily. Sorry, I don’t know any chefs in Tulum.

      Reply
  7. Is A/C Necessary in Tulum?

    Hi Dave,
    How necessary is AC at the beach hotels in August? Do you think it’s worth it to stay in Tulum pueblo for a different experience (and save some $)? Thanks!
    Saehee

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There’s usually a nice breeze at the beach so not as vital as when you stay in town. Tulum Pueblo is great. I love staying in town and riding to the beach on bikes.

      Reply
  8. Playa Mambo in Tulum in July

    Hi Dave –
    My husband and I are taking our 18 months old with us. Looking at staying at Playa Mambo for a week – would you recommend the place to stay with the baby or does it get busy and noisy at weekends? Many thanks for your suggestions. How are the beaches in July? Much seaweed? Thank you!!!

    Silvia

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Playa Mambo is a great place and very quiet. Beaches are great in front of Playa Mambo but always hard to predict with the seaweed.

      Reply
  9. Coral vs Alaya

    Hello Dave,

    Thank you for writing such a informative blog. My family will be visiting Tulum in August to celebrate a milestone. We are considering Coral Tulum or Alaya for our 6 day visit. However, there seems to be a significant difference in price. Aside from the fact that Coral Tulum includes breakfast would you say there is enough reason to choose Coral over Alaya?

    Thanks for your opinion!

    Carmela Coyle

    Reply
    1. Dave

      If the price difference is large then definitely go with Alaya as there is not a huge difference in quality.

      Reply
  10. ATMs in Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    First off, your site is amazing. Sooo helpful and has answered many of our questions. My boyfriend and I are actually flying into Cancun tomorrow and will be in Tulum for 7 days :) Yay!! – I just wanted some advice regarding the ATM’s in town. I’m aware that they give the best exchange rate and are the safest (the one’s in town). Is there any preference to what ATM to use? Do the ATM’s show you what the daily exchange rate is for what you are withdrawing? if not, how do you know how much it’s exchanging your dollars for? – I noticed you pictured two ATM’s in the ADO bus station, which is great since we will be arriving there, so we will most likely use those there when we arrive. Do you know what the daily limit on those are?
    Thank you for all you help and input.
    Solanch Almeida

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There are several ATMs in Tulum town and are not hard to find (should the ones at the bus station not be working – which can happen). There are also a few ATMs along the beach road. They will not show the exchange rate and you won’t know what you were charged until you return home – not much you can do about that. Not sure on the daily limit but it’s fairly large (and probably depends somewhat on your account).

      Reply
  11. Coral or Alaya in Tulum?

    Marvelous blog!!
    We are planning our first trip to Tulum in August. And I’m really stuck between Alaya and Coral Tulum. Both seem smallish. Coral offers breakfast each day and looks lovely, perhaps hip and modern while Alaya seems gorgeous with thatchy wonderfulness for a tropical experience. I like that Alaya has yoga. We’re traveling with our 22 yr old daughter. It might come down to what you think is the prettiest beach and water? Best food? Does either have palm tree shade? I was under impression that Coral Tulum was the newest on Tulum, but from Trip Advisor reviews sounds like Alaya might be?
    So torn!!!
    Thank you for your insight…
    Carmela LaVigna Coyle

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I think you might be overthinking this :)

      Both hotels are nice and new – with a great beach. You’ll be happy at either. Book what has the best fit room wise and don’t look back. It’ll be great.

      Reply
  12. Is Water Safe to Drink in Tulum?

    Great website! We are traveling to Tulum later this month and am curious as to food/drinking water safety as I am pregnant. We are seasoned travelers and have never had food related issues while traveling in other countries but everyone talks about the risks of water in Mexico…. is the water at most restaurants purified and is it safe to eat fruit at restaurants in Tulum? I’m a huge fan of street food but my doctor has made me nervous….Thanks so much!
    Rachel

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I don’t drink the water in Tulum or Mexico but I do eat all fruit (washed or not) and brush my teeth with tap water. I’ve never had a problem. But not sure how that applies to being pregnant. I’m tempted to recommend being extra careful but that isn’t based on any hard evidence. (Restaurants don’t serve water that’s not in a bottle.)

      Reply
  13. Coral, Ana y Jose, and The Beach

    Dave-

    We are doing a last min trip next week. The hotels we are considering are Coral, Ana y Jose, and The Beach. I know the beach is the farthest from town and coral is the closest. How far apart are they. My gf is fine just sitting on the beach, but I go stir crazy so going into town if something we will do. Which has the best beach? Daybeds etc. The beach has ziggy’s, does that mean its overrun etc. Any other hotels I have not mentioned. Betulum is full. Playa Project? Your site has been very helpful, the best site for tulum

    Thanks
    Adam P

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The 3 hotels are less than 5 minutes apart on bike. Ana Y Jose and The Beach are very close to each other. The beach is slightly nicer in front of these 2 than at Coral – but not a huge difference. All are great places to stay.

      Reply
  14. Ahau, Alaya, Coral, and Zebra

    Hi Dave!

    I’m looking at hotels and having a bit of analysis paralysis. I’ll be joining a yoga retreat in Tulum in mid-July, but am adding a couple days onto the front end of the trip to spend in Tulum solo. I’m looking for a nice (luxurious, but not sterile) with a beach front room, good food, and welcoming people for a solo, female traveler. Coqui Coqui is booked (and seems a bit sterile). Sanara has some bad reviews that scare me a bit. Between Ahau, Alaya, Coral, and Zebra, what would be your pick? Thanks so much, and I really love your site! Samantha

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I personally just booked Alaya for my next visit so I guess I have to recommend it over the others but all are very nice places to stay. The Coral is the newest of the 4 so if you want a new everything in your room go with it.

      Reply
  15. Bike Rentals in Tulum

    Dave,
    Thanks for this great content, and answering everyone’s questions!

    You talk a lot about bikes, but it seems you’re mostly talking about riding around town/beach. Do you know if any of the rental places have racks so that I can put panniers on it and go for a multi-day journey?

    Cheers,
    Karen

    Reply
  16. Coral Hotel in Tulum

    Hello Dave,

    We are coming to Tulum for our honeymoon and are splitting our time between a few hotels since we can’t just pick one. Esencia for a few days, then we are thinking Jashita for a few days, and finally we were going to stay at Ana Y Jose for a few days but I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews online and instead we’re considering staying at The Coral, the owner’s new hotel. Have you been there or heard anything significantly more positive or negative than the Ana Y Jose?

    Thank you!

    Melissa

    Reply
    1. Dave

      This used to be the AYJ Beach Club but has recently been converted into a hotel. Everything is very new and boutiquish. It’s a little closer to town and the ruins than Ana Y Jose. The beach is a little wider at Ana Y Jose than at the Coral.

      Reply
  17. Cancun to Vallodolid to Tulum to Cancun

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome site!

    Week long Family vacation with a 10 year & 5 year old.

    I am thinking of doing a “triangle” trip/adventure!

    Cancun, Tulum, Valladolid, Cancun! 7 days.

    I do not think I want to stay in cancun other than maybe the first and last day of the trip. Thoughts on that?

    I thought maybe there is an option to hire a guide to take us out one day from tulum and one day from vallaolid? Are there any guides you would recommend?

    Any thoughts on areas to stay in vallaolid? We would like to rent a house via airbnb. Like the idea of being able to ride bikes or walk to food from our rental. I heard there are great ruins near vallaolid? Cenotes for sure! Anything else?

    Would heading down to belize from tulum be crazy???

    Thanks,

    Eric

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Sounds great and easy to do. Buses between the 3 run often. Vallodolid has some great nearby cenotes and Chichen Itza is 20 minutes outside of town. I have no idea what’s available on Airbnb or there locations but you would want to be close to the town square – though nothing’s too far away. It’s easy to ride bikes to some of the cenotes. Sorry, I don’t know of any guides but should be easy to find.

      Reply
  18. Coral Tulum Hotel

    Hi Dave! Thanks for the great information, greatly appreciated. Taking my wife somewhere for her 40th bday and am leaning towards tulum. We are going the week of October 12. Too rainy this time of year? Also, looking at coral tulum. We don’t want a mere hut on the beach But do NOT want TV, golf, glitzy, Busy And all that. We DO want clean, quiet, and nice long stretch of clean quiet beach. Any recs?

    Reply
  19. Special Restaurant in Tulum

    Hi Dave, will be there in a couple of weeks to celebrate my husband’s 50th bday. Can you recommend a place with great food and a special setting to have dinner on his bday. I know there are a few must hit spots, but is there one or two that are really special? thanks, Amanda

    Reply
  20. Alaya Hotel in Tulum

    So far your site is my Tulum Bible!
    I would greatly appreciate your insight on a few things.
    My girlfriend and I are only staying 4 nights in early July at Alaya Tulum (sister to Ahau).

    1) Any thoughts on Alaya?
    2) They state AC is only to be used 8pm – 8am, will this be a problem? I don’t know if I can take the heat and humidity without periodic AC breaks…
    3) My girlfriend doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle… but I ride bikes and motorcycles. What is your recommendation based on our location? tandem bike? scooter?
    * I ask because we’d like to take your advice to see the town as well as head over to a couple cenotes and definitely the ruins.
    4) Airport shuttles from Cancun to Tulum seem to have horror stories… would you go with a private shuttle or a taxi?

    Lastly, you mentioned Mateo’s and Zamas earlier when referencing Ahau, but do you other “must do/see/go/eat” recommendations nearby?

    Dave, I truly appreciate any help and guidance. You rock!
    Many thanks,
    -JC

    Reply
    1. Dave

      1) Alaya is brand new and one of the nicest places on Tulum beach.
      2) Maybe, but I doubt it. There’s a nice breeze off the ocean most of the time. AC to get a nice sleep makes a difference.
      3) Tandems are hard to find, so probably a scooter. Lots of places to eat within walking distance. La Zebra and Hartwood are both very good.
      4) I prefer taxis from the airport. The shuttles can make lots of stops (at different hotels) and aren’t a lot less many either.

      Reply
  21. Where to Watch Sports in Tulum

    Hi Dave – loving my stay in Tulum thus far and thank you for this incredibly informative site.

    Quick question: where can I watch the Warriors in the NBA Finals tonight? I truly love that there are seemingly no TV’s anywhere on the beach, but I would love to catch my home team in the Finals for the first time in 40 years tonight. I dropped by Mateo’s Sports Bar and there is a private party in the area where they have their one TV :(

    Any other suggestions? Happy to go into town if you know the right spot to go to.

    Thank you!
    Miles Suter

    Reply
    1. Dave

      El Pequeno Buenos Aires on the main road in Tulum Town has a large TV and usually shows big games. If that fails, walk north and you should find 1 or 2 more places that have TVs playing sports. Very few restaurants or bars along the beach show sports. (Cavs in 6.)

      Reply
  22. How Much to Tip Driver

    Mornin’ Sunshine,

    My daughter and I wii be heading to Tulum in a couple of days. We have made arrangements with a transport company from the airport to Tulum. What should I expect to tip our driver and should this be in pesos or dollars?

    Thank You and Great Job on this site!
    Rebecca Hampton

    Reply
  23. Suenos vs My Way Resorts

    Dave,

    Great blog. I am planning to visit Tulum in three weeks. Traveling solo. Obviously I’m a little rushed, and the only vacancies really are Suenos and My Way. I’m really just looking to relax, and enjoy the tranquility I always enjoy when I’m there. The A/C might be nice, since it’s June, but maybe not totally necessary. WiFi/electricity might be nice. However, it maybe rejuvenating just to unplug and do Yoga. My question is: What is your impression of these two very different hotels?

    Thanks
    Ty

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Both are great. My Way is more central and closer to town. Suenos a little quieter and beach a little wider.

      Reply
  24. Zamas Hotel

    DAVE!

    Incredible blog. We’re trying to plan on coming for December 12th – 16th. I looked at Ana y Jose but I think it’s out of our price range. We’d read elsewhere that Zamas was the place to go but your blog makes it sound possibly too noisy. Not a deal breaker, but what would you recommend for a twenty something couple looking to be in the middle of it all, great beach, at a moderate price range?

    Thanks!
    Bob

    Reply
    1. Dave

      It can get a little noisy at Zamas – both from the bars in the area and the road. Nothing crazy though but if you’re looking for tranquil seclusion this isn’t it. It does have a great location (restaurants, easy bike ride to town and ruins) and a nice semi-private beach cove – not a wide beach like farther south.

      Reply
  25. Which Cenote for a Non-swimmer

    Hi, Dave. Love your site! We have been to Cancun and Tulum several times and can’t wait to get back in August. I (Gilberto) don’t know how to swim but I do pretty well snorkeling either from the shore or getting dropped from a boat. I’ve always wanted to snorkel in one of the cenotes. How competent a swimmer do you need to be? Are there any that would be good for a non-swimmer like me? Thanks for your site and your help, Gil

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The Gran Cenote is pretty small so that would be the best place to start. Go in the late afternoon when it’s least busy.

      Reply
  26. Great Hotel in Tulum

    Great advice. I want the best of both worlds – I want to be close to Tulum town in the very best hotel on the beach. great swimming, bike to ruins, taxi to cenotes. Help! Thanks, Becky
    Rebecca Johnson

    Reply
  27. Hotel for Family of 4 (2 Adults, 2 Teens)

    Hi there! Can you recommend a great hotel on the beach for a family of 4, 2 adults, 2 teens. Because
    it’s June we’ll probably go for air conditioning. We’re happy to splurge this trip as well. Is June
    the quietest because of mosquitos? Thanks!

    Theresa Rodgerton

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There are not a lot of rooms/suites in Tulum that are good for families. Some but not a lot – so book ASAP. My favorites include Amansala (large family room with 2 double beds and 1 king); Playa Mambo Hotel (the deluxe bungalow is great but no A/C here); Suenos and OM have good sized rooms with 2 queen beds; El Pez (luxury room has 2 twins and a king bed).

      June is quiet because of weather and season (good weather in the US but still not summer vacation time).

      Reply
  28. Jashita Hotel

    Hello,

    We have booked a stay at the Jashita – any thoughts on this? Also what precautions (if any) do we need to take regarding drinking water? We are renting a car and driving from Cancun airport to Tulum. Anything we need to be aware of? Is it safe to drive?

    Thanks so much for your advice!

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Great hotel but a good distance from Tulum and a little isolated (depends what you’re looking for, I guess). I always think renting and driving a car in Mexico is a hassle. I much prefer using a combination of taxi and bus.

      Reply
  29. Ashton

    Thanks for this awesome website. We just got back from a week in Tulum and tried many of your restaurant recommendations, and everything you said was spot on! I’m not sure we would have known to go into town if we hadn’t come across your blog so thank you for putting this together. Now I feel bad for people that go to Tulum and don’t leave the hotel zone. We ended up only eating a few dinners in the hotel zone (which each topped $100 USD for two!!!) and none of the meals were better than the tacos at Antojitos :)

    We want to go back to the area next year and try Cozumel and Vallodolid also. Any chance you’ve been to Cozumel and have any advice on where to stay/what to do there?

    Reply
  30. July or October/November in Tulum?

    Hey Dave.. stumbled upon your site- it’s great, thanks for all the helpful tips! We’ve been researching Tulum as a honeymoon spot and were originally thinking of heading there early July for a week or two. By the looks of things- temperatures seem to peak around 35-40 degrees (yikes!) and the rainy season is at it’s peak- is it still worth braving the rain and humidity (We’re from South Africa originally so we know all about high temperatures and humidity) or should we look into postponing the trip and heading out there late October- November instead. If you had to visit for the best general weather which month would you say is best to visit? (that being said, December – March isn’t really an option)
    Thanks so much!
    Candice

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The summer is a fine time to visit – especially if you’re fine with the heat and humidity. But if I had to choose between summer and fall I’d visit in October and November. It’s a little cooler, not as much rain, and less humidity.

      Reply
    2. Mr. Tulum

      WOW, Great site, I have lived in Tulum for 15 years and do not let the weather bother you. It mainly rains at night during rainy season, Tulum is very romantic in the rain, and us locals love it. Just come and enjoy,

      Mr. Tulum

      Reply
  31. Car Rental and Parking in Tulum

    We are thinking of staying at Casa Amor Del Sol up in the Tankah Bay area, so we will be likely need a car to visit town for food. What advice can you give for car rental agencies and parking around Tulum. Also, websites are full of stories of police stops and getting cheated at the gas station, is this much of a problem around Tulum?

    Thanks,
    Marcus

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There’s an AVIS rental car in Tulum which I recommend using. Parking is easy – just go a block off the main strip there should be lots. You will have to deal with police stops along the highway and if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing you will get cheated occasionally at the gas station. Renting a car is generally a pain. I recommend using taxis in the Yucatan unless you’re moving around a lot. So much easier and not that much more expensive.

      Reply
  32. Chetumal to Tulum

    Hey Dave, After looking throughout the internet for info on Tulum you hands down have the best, most relevant information. Thanks for all the info so far. We have had a problem trying to find out what to expect for a cost for a taxi from Chetumal to Tulum. We have limited time and arrive in Chetumal via water taxi from San Pedro at 11am. The bus schedule for ADO doesn’t seem to have any buses scheduled during the day until 6:30pm so it looks like a taxi or private transfer is the only option. Any info would be appreciated.
    Allarosa

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There will be buses from Chetumal to Tulum through the day but they will be 2nd class buses. Still nice but they make a few more stops along the way, take about 1 hour longer, cost less, and don’t have toilets (like the 1st class buses). There should be a bus every 1 to 2 hours running from Chetumal to Cancun (and stopping in Tulum). I don’t know exactly what a taxi from Chetumal to Tulum would cost but I’m guessing about $100US.

      Reply
  33. Seaweed Problem in Tulum

    Hi Dave- Coming to Tulum next week and I read that there had been a big seaweed problem lately, even causing some of the hotel beaches to close. Is this true? Do you know if some hotels are affected and others are not? THANKS! Annie

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I have not heard about any hotels closing down (I can’t see how that’s possible, actually) but it has been a bad year for it. That said, most hotels do a pretty good job of clearing it away and I still enjoy hanging out at the beach even when there’s lots of seaweed about. I still swim but there’s no doubt it’s a bit of an eyesore.

      Reply
  34. Car Rental in Tulum

    Hi Dave-My husband and I want to rent a car for just a couple of days while in Tulum to visit Coba, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, cenotes, etc. Can you recommend any good car rental places? I was looking at Tulum Car Rental, have you heard anything about them? Thanks Tara Roberts

    Reply
      1. Tara Roberts

        Thank you!

        AVIS was recommended by the gentleman that is renting us an apartment in town as well.

        Reply
  35. Snorkeling off Beach in Tulum

    Hi Dave, I stumbled upon your website and it is wonderful!! My husband and I are looking to visit in early September and we really want to stay at a hotel that has great snorkeling right off the beach. Any suggestions? Also, we are worried about the seaweed. Has it been a real problem? Thanks for your help! – Emily

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There is very little snorkeling off the beach in Tulum. There is a reef about 500 meters out but you’ll need a boat to access it (ask at your hotel for the best nearby place to find someone to take you out). Akumal is better than Tulum for snorkeling. Also visit one of the nearby cenotes for some great and very unique snorkeling (Gran Cenote is good, Dos Ojos is better).

      Seaweed can be bad at times but it comes and goes and is hard to predict. Sometimes you’re there for 2 weeks and don’t see any at all.

      Reply
  36. Tulum in June

    Hi Dave,

    We will be on our honeymoon here in June. A few night sat Casa De Olas and a few at La Selva Mariposa and can’t wait.

    Do you know how busy the area is in June as it is not peak season. Also how long do place stay open an night for some casual drinking? Any late night spots you would recommend?

    Cheers
    Ross Keen

    Reply
    1. Dave

      June is one of the quieter months but it will be far from dead. Try Zamas or Mateo’s for some late night fun, live music, and drinks.

      Reply
  37. Beach Clubs in Tulum

    Hi Dave – I’ll be visiting Tulum this weekend and was wondering if you could recommend a few nice beach clubs to visit. Ideally, we’d like a beautiful stretch of beach with calm water, not crowded with lounges and great affordable food/drinks. Would prefer an adults only vibe rather than a family beach as we’re 30 years old. We will have a car. I’ve read about El Paraiso (which apparently isn’t as nice as it used to be..?), Ziggy’s, OM, La Zebra, etc. What about beach clubs like La Luna, Zulúm, Mestizos, and Rosa del Viento. These seem to be less popular than the previous clubs I mentioned. Thanks for your help in advance!
    Kimberly

    Reply
    1. Dave

      OM (good pizza, but can feel busy), La Zebra (great food), and Ziggy’s (most club like, good drink deals) are my favorites.

      Reply
  38. Rosa Del Viento Hotel

    Hi Dave – hoping you can help.I’m trying to book a holiday with my boyrfriend for November. We’re early 30’s looking for chilled out hotel, great beach, relaxed beach bar whilst also being able to get to some more lively restuarants etc. Happy to pay a little extra for good service, nice room but dont want a big resort feel. What do you think of rosa del viento – what hotels would you recommend?
    Thanks Kat

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Rosa Del Viento is at the far southern end of the Tulum beach. There’s not a lot around it but you can get to many restaurant with their bikes or about a 20 minute walk along the beach road. The beach is great here. I’d also recommend having a look at Be Tulum which is a little closer the restaurants along the beach road.

      Reply
  39. Location of Villa Morena

    Hello, glad I found this site…wondering if you heard of B&B Villa Morena in Akumal? We are looking at staying there, they have great reviews but is the area ok to get to ruins, restaurants, etc? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Rina Lindenbaum

    Reply
    1. Dave

      A good location for Tulum? No. The ruins? No. Restaurants? Not really. But since it’s in Akumal and not in Tulum this isn’t surprising so I’m not exactly sure what you’re expecting. It’s a nice, rustic place on the jungle side of the road half-way between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and a short drive from Akumal Bay.

      Reply
      1. Rina Lindenbaum

        It says it’s 17 miles from the Tulum ruins? That’s about a 20 min drive? Correct?

        Reply
  40. Beach Chairs for Non-Hotel Guests

    Hello, Dave! You are the greatest!
    We will be renting villa In Akumal, June 25-July 5.We are planning to spend several days at the beach restaurants (Ziggy’s, Ahau Beach and etc.) My question is , how it is works with the “non hotel guests” ? You just walk in? I know, we have to buy food/drinks and this is what we are going to do, but lets say, we’ll start with drinks and then we’ll have lunch in couple of hours, then maybe some more drinks.Do we have to order everything in advance, for them to see, that we are spending money at their place or they just trust you? I mean for us , in order to spend several hours during the day and get the loungers/beach chairs , what should we do? Do they bring drinks to the loungers on the beach, or we should seat around the table all the time?
    I really appreciate your help! Lena

    Reply
    1. Dave

      This is almost never a problem. As long as you order something when you sit down and get the occasional drink, entree, or appetizer you won’t have a problem. They know if you spend enough time there, then you’ll spend enough money there. Go, hang out, have fun, don’t worry.

      Reply
  41. Planning/Booking/Reservations

    Dave, This is such great and helpful information! My husband and I will be honeymooning in Tulum later this month. Are there any activities/restaurants/etc for which you would recommend making reservations before we get down there? Anna

    Reply
    1. Dave

      You might want to pre-arrange a tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (see above for tour recommendations) and perhaps reserve a bike through iBikeTulum.com if you need a special bike (I’m 6’6″ and need to reserve large bikes as the typical rental won’t fit me) but that’s about it. As for restaurants Hartwood is the best restaurant in Tulum but they only take reservations the day-of and only between 3pm and 6pm so there’s nothing to do in advance.

      Reply
  42. Thank You

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful website. We fortunately found it just before our trip, and now that we are back we can say that this advice was invaluable and really enhanced our stay so much!

    THANKS for the photo of the ATMs in the bus station! Would never have thought to look there! And the restaurant recommendations, and all the reassuring advice. One thing that we found that I would like to share with this forum is to not be put off by the town of Tulum and how it looks by day (ie, pretty scruffy). Like many towns in hot climates it blossoms at night. All the restaurants are alight and you see unnoticed courts and gardens looking suddenly romantic with fairy lights etc, many of the shops are still open — you see families out strolling and the whole town takes on a quite a magical feel. We were so glad we tore ourselves away from the beach and spent one evening in the town. Anyway, THANKS again for taking the time to create and maintain this site!

    Amy

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Yes, Tulum town is great at night and I highly recommend making an effort to get there for at least one evening dinner. Thanks for the great comment.

      Reply
  43. Papaya Playa Project Location

    Hi dave – great info on here, thanks!
    My hubby and I are looking to stay at the Papaya Playa Project but not sure if the location is good, near restaurants and the cool spots of Tulum. If we were to stay closer to the centre, walking distance to shops and restos, where would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Papaya Playa Project is a party hotel with DJ’s and beach parties on a regular basis. This IS the destination for many people. That said, it’s walking distance to Zamas, Mateo’s, and a handful of shops and restaurants. To get into town you will need to taxi or ride a bike (about a 20 minute ride).

      Reply
  44. Ahau or Coral Tulum

    How helpful this is thank you!
    I am trying to arrange a stay for a quick long weekend in July. Is Ahau Tulum worth the $$? What do you think of Coral Tulum? My most important “must have” is a beach view and comfy bed. Kate

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Both Ahau and Coral are great places but I would go with Coral seeing as it just opened and everything (beds, sheets, paint) is fresh and new. Both have great spots on the beach with other restaurants along the beach road within walking distance.

      Reply
  45. Mosquitoes and Heat in March

    Hi Dave! My husband and 3 children age 9, 13 and 15 are planning a trip to Tulum next March. We were thinking of staying at either Ana Y Jose or Casa Violeta. Ana y jose has air conditioning…do you think we will need it end of March? Is there a nice enough breeze to go without? Also, a lot of the rooms have mosquito netting around the beds. Are mosquitos really bad? And what time of the year are they at their worst?

    Thanks!
    Anne

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There is usually a good breeze off the ocean at night when you stay at the beach and it can actually be almost chilly – though by March it can be heating up a bit. Mosquitoes should be ok as March is still a dry month. Mosquitoes are bad during the rainy months and are at their worst in September. The nets work quite well for keeping them away. Spraying your nets directly with mosquito spray works well.

      Reply
  46. Spanish Classes in Tulum and Biking from Beach to Town

    Hi Dave! I am planning a trip to Tulum in the middle of June. I’m planning on taking a spanish class in town, but I would like to stay on the beach. Is it reasonable for me to ride my bike there every morning, or is it too far? The woman who runs the class said most people stay in town, but I really want to stay on the beach. On that note, do you have any recommendations for classes on or close to the beach?

    Thank you!
    G

    Reply
    1. Dave

      It’s a nice, easy, and (mostly) flat ride from beach to town – I think it would be a great way to start the day before classes. The bike ride from beach to town would take 20 to 35 minutes depending on where you’re staying along the beach. I believe all Spanish classes are in town and none are at the beach (let me know if you find I’m wrong).

      Reply
    2. Barbara Escaler

      Hello,

      I am the director of Chac-mool Spanish School, full immersion program, we were the first school teaching our method here and we have over 18 years of experience.

      Our web page is http://www.chac-mool.com and we are located in the town of Tulum.

      Please write me (directora@chacmoolschools.com) so I can quote for you our spanish classes, I am sure we will love Chac-mool and our rates.

      Reply
  47. Dos Ojos vs Gran Cenote

    Hi is there one cenote better than the other between Dos Ojos and the Gran Cenote?

    Also, do you know where is the best place to exchange dollars to pesos to get the best rate?

    Elizabeth

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Dos Ojos is larger and has more to see. Gran Cenote is warmer and more relaxing. Both have lockers and snorkel gear for rent. Dos Ojos also has wet suites to rent if you don’t want to be cold. Gran Cenote is quicker to get to from Tulum. Both can be busy early in the day. The best time to visit is 1 or 2 hours before closing, or if you have to go early get there 10 minutes before opening.

      There’s not big difference on exchange rates (just don’t change at hotels or restaurants). I use ATM’s to get pesos.

      Reply
  48. Diamante K Location

    Hi
    This is a brilliant blog… so informative. We (a couple) are travelling to Tulum in a couple of weeks but are yet to book our accommodation. I am looking at Daimante K as it is on a private beach and looks quiet. Is it very far from other restaurants and is the beach nice? We are very active and happy to bike and walk. I really appreciate your help

    Thanks!
    Anya

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Diamante K is a little removed from the main strip of restaurants and hotels along the beach road – probably too far to comfortably walk but biking to the restaurants would be very easy. It’s a 10 minute ride at most, there’s a bike path for part of the way, and it’s mostly flat.

      Reply
      1. Anya

        Thanks so much. Is the beach nice there? Really appreciate your help. Can’t wait for my holiday after reading your blog!

        Reply
  49. Long Term Stay in Tulum

    Thanks for inspiration:-) i’m moving to tulum from August to November, and I’m looking for a safe and cheap place to stay. I prefer to live on the local part of town, rather than in the tourist area. Do you have advice? Maria

    Reply
    1. Dave

      For long term stays I would wait until you arrive and ask around town (cafes, restaurants, shops) for a place to rent. The cheapest places are best to arrange in person.

      Reply
  50. Mezzanine Hotel in Tulum

    HI Dave, awesome guide!
    My fiance and I are going to Tulum for the first time in mid May to celebrate his birthday- very excited!
    We are staying at Mezzanine Hotel for 4 days – any thoughts on this property?
    Good quality food and drinks are very important to us, in addition to the recommendations listed where do you suggest we go for a celebratory dinner?
    Also, how far in walking distance is the hotel from the main town (restaurants, shops, etc..) Should we cab it?
    Should we buy alcohol at the airport or are nearby convenience stores available by the hotel?

    Many thanks!
    Liliana

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Mezzanine Hotel is on a quiet and beautiful stretch of beach north of the most popular area of beach. It is off on it’s own a bit and to get to a wide range of restaurants requires a 5 to 10 minute taxi or bike ride. To get into town is a little farther. For alcohol there is a huge Chedraui grocery store in between the beach and town that’s about a 10 minute taxi or bike ride from Mezzanine. They have beer, wine, liquor, everything. For a special meal go to Hartwood on the beach road. The only wrinkle is that they don’t accept reservations for less than 8 people in advance. The only way to get a reservation for less than 8 people is the on the day-of, between 3pm and 6pm, and in person – but that’s part of the fun. (Yes, there’s usually a line up for reservations.)

      Reply
  51. Zamas Hotel

    Hi Dave! My family of 5 (3 boys ages 10, 8, 6) is in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Tulum next February for my 40th birthday. Lots of hotels are already booked, but Zamas has an ocean front cabana that can accommodate us. I’ve read some iffy reviews about the beach (rocky) and location (loud, busy road) but also many excellent reviews. Would love to hear your thoughts. We’re also considering Nueva Vida de Ramiro but it feels a bit out of our price range. Would love to know whether you think it’s worth it, though, Many thanks!!
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Zamas, the hotel, is great. But yes, the beach is not the best immediately around Zamas. And the road is a little busy there. It also is a “lively” area (for Tulum) with Mateos across the street and good beach is a short walk away. The bike path to town starts just up the road from Zamas so you can ride into town with almost no riding on busy road. The beach around Nueva Vida de Ramiro is excellent. The area is quieter and there are still several restaurants within walking distance.

      Reply
  52. Tulum in Early July

    This blog post is everything that I needed! Thank you! I will be traveling to Tulum July 3-7, any tips? I was thinking about staying in town or Zamas village. How’s the weather at this time, I heard its rainy season, will I be okay? Will there be people there or is it a ghost town around that time. I love meeting other travelers!

    Thank you.
    Sheila

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Tulum is quiet in June but picks up for July and August even though it is rainy season. There will be plenty going on along the beach and in town.

      Reply
  53. Jackie

    Going to stay at a rental 10 minutes from Tulum in November. Is there any place you can go for the day that are all inclusive? Is it safe in this area? If you leave a tip when you leave a rental, what is proper etiquette for the maid, caretaker, etc.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There are no all-inclusives in Tulum. The closest is Dreams Tulum – not sure if they allow day guests. Tulum and the Yucatan are very safe. Tipping 10% to 20% in restaurants is good. For maid service, I’d go with $5 to $10 per day.

      Reply
    2. jackie

      Hey Dave,

      Just to say this is the most informative site I have ever seen. Great job and thanks for answering my questions so quickly.

      Jackie

      Reply
  54. Tulum and What Other Town?

    Great information thank you so much!
    I am really mixed up. We have a bungelo booked for 5 days in May at Nueva Vida Tulum. Then we have two more nights before our flight out of Cancun to book. I thought maybe different than a beach property. Some suggested Valladolid , but it is very expensive to get a transfer there. I was quoted $190 roundrtrip for our airport to Tulum and when I added the Valladolid leg (airport, Tulum, Valladolid, then ariport) it came to almost $800 (there are 4 of us). I know there is a bus, but I don’t want a stressful vacation and worry about that. They say it is easy, but is it really easy for someone who never takes buses back home? Also I don’t speak Spanish!
    Do you have any suggestions for where it would be good to go and visit for 2 nights from Tulum beach area. Someplace interesting that my two college age kids would enjoy that is FEASIBLE to get to without renting a car. I do not want the stress of a car rental.
    Thank you!
    Carol

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Vallodolid is great and I highly recommend it. The bus really is easy. Go to the bus station the day before to buy your tickets. You don’t need to speak Spanish. Wait in line and when you get to the front just say where you’re going and when. They’ll show you a list of available times on the computer screen. Pay and get your tickets. The next day show up at the bus station 10 minutes before your departure time. Buses are clean and modern and have a bathroom at the rear of the bus. The bus station in Tulum has a little mini mart where you can buy snacks for the 90 minute trip. It’s fun and very cheap. Do it.

      Reply
      1. Carol

        Such helpful information – thanks to the kindness of a stranger:)
        I’ve booked my stay in Valladolid and now plan to utilize the bus. I noted some eateries you suggest, as well as bike rentals!
        Thank you for your practical advice in planning.

        Reply
  55. Tulum Weather in June/ ATMs/ Happy Shuttle

    Hi Dave-

    Your blog is super helpful! I’m going to Tulum in the first week of June – is there a strong chance of rain? What is the weather like during that time of year (super hot/humid/buggy)? Should I exchange money before I get to Mexico or using the ATMs will be fine? Have you heard of Happy Shuttle / used it before?

    Thanks for your advice!

    Krista

    Reply
    1. Dave

      June is the start of the rainy season and you can get some intense thunder storms. That said, they are usually short lived and you can often enjoy beautiful weather on most June visits (the rains often come at night). It is usually hot and humid in June. It’s also one of the quieter months and you can find great deals on hotels. Exchanging money before arriving is a good idea – there is little difference between exchange rates in the US and Mexico. ATMs are found in town and along the beach road – no problem finding them. I have not heard of Happy Shuttle.

      Reply
  56. Family Hotel in Tulum

    Awesome website! My husband, me & our kids (ages 9 & 4) are planning to visit Tulum in November. Any recommendations for family friendly hotel? We love nature & love to explore, we like some kind of privacy with calm waters, good for snorkeling. We are also thinking of renting a villa/house by the beach & curious what you think about vacation rentals versus hotels. A friend of mine suggested renting a car if we are renting a private property & using taxis if we are staying in a hotel. We are thinking of visiting Chichen Itza & the Sian Ka’an Reserve & go to Tulum Pueblo for the local cuisine plus the cenotes, so would your recommend car vs taxi? Appreciate your feedback.
    Olivia

    Reply
    1. Dave

      OM has good sized rooms for a family of 4, a good onsite restaurant, beautiful beach, and good location. I prefer hotels to vacation rentals but many people love getting a rental. Hotels definitely have better locations along the beach. I also prefer taxis to rental cars but the more you have planned the more a rental car can make sense. Be prepared for lots of paper work when renting, though.

      Reply
  57. Moderately Priced Hotel with Pool

    Dave,

    Thank you for all the great information. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Tulum this summer and we are trying to decide on a hotel. We are looking for a small hotel on the beach, moderately priced with a pool. Is there anything like that in Tulum?

    Thank you

    Reply
  58. Renting Snorkel Gear in Tulum

    I just wanted to know where to hire snorkel for grand cenote, do they hire them there? thanks so much Dave.
    Jaimie

    Reply
    1. Dave

      There is a dive shop in Tulum that rents (and sells) snorkel gear. The Grand Cenote did used to rent snorkel and mask but not sure if they still do. I highly recommend buying a mask and snorkel before coming to Tulum as they’re cheap, it’s good to have one that fits, and if you have one you’ll use it more than you think. It’s also nice not using someone else’s snorkel.

      Reply
  59. Budget Hotel on Tulum Beach

    Hi Dave. The lady and I are going to Tulum in June for a week. We are in our mid 20’s and looking for something directly on the beach. Possible a cabana or bungalo with a bathroom. Our budget is around $150 a night. I would like to be able to get a drink on the beach. Are their bars on the beach to accomplish that? Any recommendations on where to stay would be appreciated.
    Ethan

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I love (and highly recommend) Playa Mambo. It’s one of the cheaper hotels right on the Tulum beach. There are a couple of restaurants a short walk north and south of it. There’s also a small convenience store attached to the reception area (on the beach road) where you can get cheap beer, drinks, and snacks.

      Reply
  60. Cabanas La Luna's/ Rental Car for Cancun and Tulum

    Hi – we have booked a stay at Cabanas La Luna’s, in large part because they were the only hotel that could accommodate a family of four with two teenage boys – good choice? Also, we are planning on renting a car as we like the freedom of a car and are comfortable driving in Mexico – can you offer any advice on car rental companies? We will be in Tulum and The Cancun area for 10 days in August. Thanks!
    Kristi

    Reply
    1. Dave

      La Luna is great. Good location with many restaurants within walking distance. Great beach. Like many places in Tulum, just be prepared that you’re not getting a 5 star resort, e.g. there is only salt water in the sink and shower taps at La Luna. There is a free parking lot across the street from La Luna for your rental car. I do have to say that taking taxis (for short trips) and buses (for longer trips) around Tulum and area is so much easier than a rental car. And be prepared for lots of paper work when renting a car. That said, there is Budget Rental Cars in Cancun and at the airport.

      Reply
  61. Best Beach for Visitors not Staying at a Beach Hotel

    Hi Dave, thanks for this very informative post! My sister and I will be traveling to Tulum for the first time in May. We will be staying in a condo on the south side of Tulum in the jungle (felt that staying in a location with AC was a priority for us). Do you have any recommendations for the best beach spots that we can visit without being hotel guests? Would love a few options that also serve good drinks and/or lunch. Thanks!
    Kristina

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The beach around OM is my favorite. Zebra is another good area. But there are many good spots and pretty much everywhere along the beach you can cut down, through, or around any of the hotels and find a spot. All beaches in Mexico are public so you needn’t worry about getting kicked out.

      Reply
  62. Christina

    Hey Dave – awesome article! GREAT lists and suggestions. it pretty much sums up everything about Tulum. We are headed down in about 6 weeks. this will be our third visit in a year. We’ve stayed at Encantada twice, but, unfortunately were not able to book our length of stay this time so we are going to try Mi Amor. It’s a new place on the beach road but to the LEFT at the Y instead of a right. We’re super excited. since we have 10 days this time, we’re looking to do more than just “wake up, have fabulous coffee and wonderful tropical fruit, head to the beach, drink margaritas and eat dinner on the beach road somewhere” (although that’s been perfect for us the last two times!) – your lists of the puebla restaurants and other things to do is going to come in handy. We’d like to go to Coba, maybe Valladolid for a day (then i suspect we’d want to go to Chichen Itza?). I just wanted to reach out and say thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Thanks! Valladolid is an absolute treasure of a little city. Definitely worth a visit (as are Coba and Chichen Itza, of course).

      Reply
  63. Hotel for 30 Year Olds

    Hi Dave!
    My friends and I will be travelling to Talum in July. We are 3, thirty year old ladies who love the beach, enjoy eating great food and a few drinks. Where would you recommend that we stay that’s not too honeymooney or family orientated? Trina

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Ana y Jose is great and not dominated by either honeymooners or families (though it being July both will be well represented all around Tulum).

      Reply
  64. Bike Rentals/Tipping/Safety in Tulum

    Wonderful article on Tulum! My husband and I will be staying at BE Tulum in May for our anniversary. Any information on the following questions would be greatly appreciated!

    1.) Do you have a link of a map of the town of Tulum that would include the beach and town with restaurants, bike shop rentals ect.? I would love to be able to plan day trips before arriving and have had no luck finding a map with distances between the hotels and restaurants. To be specific, I was wondering how far of a walk it is from BE Tulum to a bike rental shop that is close to the path that connects the beach to the town. I believe BE Tulum has bikes for rent, but I’m not sure if the bike ride from BE Tulum to town would be too much considering that it is on the south end of the area.

    2.) Is it safe to walk around the town of Tulum at night? Also, my husband and I are in our mid-twenties and would love any suggestions for fun night life!

    3.) Lastly, what is the general rule for tipping in Tulum?

    Thank You!!!
    Lindsey from Texas

    Reply
    1. Dave

      1. There are different places to rent bikes all the way along the beach road from BE to the first little collection of shops and restaurants at the start of the beach road/end of the bike path from Tulum. For a larger bike shop with more selection you’ll need to go into Tulum. From BE to the start of the bike path is a very good walk (like, an hour).
      2. Tulum is very safe, day or night.
      3. Tipping is all over the place and there isn’t a standard percentage like in America. 10% would be fine if you’re on a budget, 20% is nice if you can afford it. But look for an included service charge at nicer places.

      Reply
  65. Tour or Do It Yourself

    Great, quick and to the point info!
    We are visiting Tulum in 2 weeks and are very excited. We were planning on doing a private tour which would include Chichen Itza, Ik-kil, and Coba all in one day. Figured transportation and lunch would be easier and cheaper this way, and we want to take the rest of our stay easy. Too much? Or would doing it on our own be a better idea?

    Any recommendations for truly off the beaten path, amazing things to see or do……things that are not well known or just by locals?

    Cheers!
    Carmen

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I would hire a taxi for the day and visit the sites on your own. Hire tour guides at the individual sites – I’ve always found them to be good. Ask the taxi driver you hire for their favorite restaurants (usually out on the highway) and get him to take you to a cenote or two.

      Reply
    1. Dave

      Suenos is located at the far south end of the Tulum hotel zone – but still within walking distance of many restaurants. Nice place, beautiful beach.

      Reply
  66. Playa Mambo in Tulum

    This list is awesome Dave, thank you! Do you know anything about Playa Mambo? We are considering staying there, or Posada Lamar or at Maya Tulum.

    Thank you!!

    Kedist Tsadik

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Playa Mambo is a great place. The picture above labeled “Breakfast on the Beach” is from the beach front cabins at Playa Mambo. Love that place.

      Reply
  67. Chilaquiles/Scooters in Tulum

    Thank you, this is so helpful! May I ask, do you recall where you ate those Chilaquiles pictured above? Also, do you have any experience renting a scooter in Tulum?
    Haley

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The Chilaquiles were from Petit Paris in downtown Tulum (far from my favorite restaurant but their Chilaquiles are good). Scooters are the most efficient way to get yourself into a hospital. I’ve seen (and heard of) more scooter accidents by travelers than any other accident.

      Reply
  68. When To Book Hotels for Tulum?

    Hey was wondering about hotel availability, especially Papaya Playa Project, and how for I should book hotels in Tulum in advance? Joe

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Most hotels in Tulum are small and fill up quickly. Book as soon as possible. I know some of my favorite places are booked 6 months in advance (though to be fair, I’m usually looking for a large family room – which are limited).

      Reply
  69. Quiet Beach in Tulum

    Hiya – great info. We are heading to Tulum in a week. We rented a house that is not on the beach. I would like to take one day to just lie on the beach, yet be able to order cocktails. But I dislike crowded beaches. Suggestions? It can be outside of Tulum as we rented a car. Thanks a ton! Dana

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The farther south you go on the beach road the quieter the beach gets (generally). Within the main strip there’s Ziggy’s which isn’t always quiet but the beach is large enough to never feel busy. Farther south around Las Ranitas (currently closed for renovations) there’s a quiet stretch of beach with restaurants north and south. Going farther, you can drive right up to the edge of the biosphere, park your car, and then walk north along the beach until you find a restaurant. That will be the quietest stretch of beach there is. (Also, just south of the ruins around Zazil-kin is good beach that’s not too busy and easy to bike to from town.)

      Reply
  70. Airport to Tulum

    This is the best thing I read about Tulum! I am traveling there in end of May with 3 others. Was wondering if still taking a taxi is a good idea withings that many ppl. I priced Canada transfers and it was $160 roundtrip for a private shuttle. Also we have 7am returning flights (scary) what time should we leave our hotel to make it to the airport in time.

    We are staying at Ahau hotel. Are you familiar with this hotel? How is the beach here? Also do you know where that is located in comparison to biking to town and the ruins also are the cenotes close enough to bike to?

    What are some of the best bars to go to with live music in the beach and in town?

    Where is the best beach with the least amount of seaweed?

    How bad are the mosquitos in Tulum?

    Any affordable spa recommendations?

    Okay I think I’m done :)

    Courtney

    Reply
    1. Dave

      $160 sounds pretty good for a shuttle from the airport to Tulum. I’d book it. For the return I’d leave about 4am.

      Ahau is a great place with a beautiful beach. Lots of good restaurants are within a short walk, say 3 to 15 minutes. You can definitely bike to town from Ahau – it’s about a 30 minute leisurely ride. Several cenotes are another 10 to 20 minute ride in different directions – some on the opposite side of town, some on the road to Coba, and some on the road to Playa del Carmen.

      The beach can have seaweed but it changes every day with the current and can come and go in very little time. If you show up on arrival and see seaweed on the beach don’t despair, you’ll likely wake up the next morning and have a beach without a spot of seaweed. Some hotels and restaurants dig holes in the beach and then bury the seaweed. For live music check out Mateo’s and Zamas. Mosquitoes are present in Tulum but not terrible, the breezes on the beach keep them away for the most part. They can be a little worse in town but still not awful. For spas in Tulum try Maya Tulum, Maya Spa, Coqui Coqui, or Ana Y Jose.

      Reply
  71. Location of Villa Pescadores

    Thanks for putting this together. Great list! I will be in Tulum 1st week of April… Looking forward to this trip. Tulum seems like an amazing place! Staying at Villa Pescadores. Would you happen to know how far this is from the main beach road? :-) Thanks!
    Patty

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Villa Pescadores is between Playa Maya and Zazil Kin and about 3km from the main beach road that leads from town out to the beach. But it is on (a different) beach road that leads from the ruins to the main stretch of beach in Tulum. (Does that make sense?) It’s about 1 km south of the ruins, if that helps.

      Reply
  72. Snorkeling near Tulum

    Hey man, awesome site. I’m gonna be in Tulum around October and I was wondering where the best places to snorkel are- so far it looks like people speak highly of the Mayan Reef tour on the VisitSianKaan site, and the Yal-Ku lagoon near Akumal. Do those seem like good picks? I’d like for it to be beginner-friendly, but still have really great varieties of fish and coral without toooooo long of a journey from Tulum itself.

    Reply
      1. J

        Great, thanks. I hadn’t even really considered snorkeling in the cenotes, will definitely keep that in mind.

        Do you have any experience with the VisitSianKaan people?

        Reply
  73. Weather in Late September, Early October/ Xel-Ha

    This post has been extremely helpful!
    I plan on going in late September to Early October, do you think this would be a good time to go? I plan to spend a lot of time in the water……. 😮
    Would you recommend going to Xel-Ha? I want to swim in the cenotes, go zip lining, snorkel, and go cliff jumping.
    I’m not sure if xel-ha would be the best option though – what do you suggest?

    Thank you in advance!
    Ashley

    Reply
    1. Dave

      September and October are hurricane and tropical storm seasons and technically part of rainy season (though less rain than July and August). Generally the weather is good unless a storm hits in which case there can be heavy rain. If you’re looking for hotel deals September, October, and November are great months. (The weather in November is ideal.) Xel-Ha is worth a trip and has lots to do. Snorkeling is the highlight but there is also tubing, rope swing, and zip lining, etc.

      Reply
      1. When To Go To Tulum?

        Would you say it’s a bad idea to go in late September then? I would be there from 09/30 – 10/04.. but if it’s going to be raining I’d rather go in November.

        Would you say Xel-ha is the best option then? Seems a bit pricey

        Ashley

        Reply
        1. Dave

          If you have a choice then go in November. If you don’t, personally, I would still go – just be prepared for the potential of rain.

          Xel-Ha is pricey but you get a fair bit (and the price includes all meals). If you’re only looking for a cenote/snorkeling experience then the Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos are way cheaper and great. But Xel-Ha is a full day experience with lots to do.

          Weekends are less busy than weekdays at parks such as Xel-Ha, Xcaret, and Xplor and they sometimes have discounts for weekend visits if you purchase in advance.

          Reply
  74. Shopping in Tulum

    Thanks for all the great info. I will be in Tulum for a week and have rented a house. I was just wondering about shopping. Would you stick to Tulum or venture out to another city?

    Thanks,
    Javi

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The shopping in Tulum town is pretty good. The main strip has a number of funky shops. It’s pedestrian friendly and fun to walk up and down in the evening. If you’re looking for a grocery store the Chedraui, just outside of town on the way to the beach, is the best in the area.

      Reply
  75. Cozumel vs Tulum/Cenotes

    Good morning Dave,
    Thanks for the info! My wife and I are heading to the Yucatan for 5 days in June, time to take a well deserved break from the kiddo. We were thinking of either a couple days in Tulum and a few in Cozumel or just making Tulum our home base with a day trip to Cozumel. Can you think of a good reason to stay in Cozumel? Right now we’re leaning towards just getting a cool place and staying in Tulum. Also, what is your favorite cenote? Anywhere off the beaten path where we can possibly go cliff jumping?

    Also, rumor is renting a car is less expensive than taking taxis. True?
    Thanks!
    Aaron

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I would recommend staying in Tulum unless you have a big interest in snorkeling or scuba diving – that’s the main reason to go to Cozumel. The beaches in Tulum are much better than Cozumel and there’s lots to do within an hour’s drive of Tulum to keep you busy for 5 days (if you want to be busy). You can visit cozumel as a day trip, but once again, is it worth a 4 to 6 hour return trip (from Tulum) to drive around the island? I’d spend my time doing something else. The only cenote I’ve done cliff jumping from is Zaci in downtown Valladolid. It’s great. There are several different levels to jump from including one that has to be 30 or 40 feet. Samula (near Valladolid) and Gran Cenote (near Tulum) are my favorite cenotes but neither have cliff jumping. Other cenotes with cliff jumping: Jardin del Eden, Cristalino, and Azul. The Xel-Ha attraction also has jumping but that’s part of an adventure park.

      Renting a car vs taxi comes down to how much you’ll use it. A trip to Tulum town from the beach and back again will be cheaper by taxi. But if you set out in the morning with the goal of visiting 4 or 5 cenotes around the area then that would be cheaper to get a taxi. I prefer the ease of taking a taxi most places and never seem to do more than 1 or 2 things on any one day. But if you’re someone that packs more into a day then the math will change.

      Reply
      1. Aaron

        Awesome, thanks Dave! We decided to stay in Tulum, will be there 6/17-6/22. If we see you around, we’ll treat you to a drink!

        Reply
          1. Dave

            One of the few places I’m not familiar with but just looked it up on AirBnb and it looks great. Have fun.

  76. Lynne

    My husband and I are in the middle of our stay at Villa las Estrellas – a wonderful place to stay and just relax! Have enjoyed reading your suggestions and recommendations – they are spot on!!!

    Reply
    1. Josh

      I’m looking into a honeymoon at Villa Las Estrellas in October! Glad to hear you are loving it? May I ask which room you chose, the Standard, deluxe, or Suite? Thanks for any info you can provide!

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        We stayed in a standard room on the first floor – felt very pampered by the staff!
        Food was excellent – some of the best we experienced during our stay! Bar and restaurant close at 10 pm and then it feels like you are on a private beach – amazing!!!
        Would return in a heartbeat!

        Reply
  77. Breakfast and Dinner on the Beach

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if you could tell me where your breakfast/dinner on the beach photos were taken? Looks like a great place to visit! We’ll be traveling down to Tulum for a week in April with our toddler!

    Thanks!
    Lydia M

    Reply
    1. Dave

      In the pictures above, breakfast was at Playa Mambo, lunch/beer at La Zebra. Breakfast can be tricky to find along the beach (most people eat at their hotel). There are many places to eat lunch and dinner.

      Reply
  78. Bikes in Tulum

    My question about the bikes, how safe is it to leave your bike at places? Should we take our own locks? What is the protocol? Thank you! Carolina

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Every bike rental comes with a bike lock so you’re fine taking and leaving it anywhere. (They’re not high end bikes.)

      Reply
  79. Cost of Meals/Save Money

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for hosting this forum. This is some of the most practical travel information I’ve read about Tulum. My husband and I will be going down there in early May and are staying at the southern end of Tulum beach. Our hotel has bikes to rent and we were thinking this could be our means to get from the beach to the town. I’ve read that you estimate the ride to be pretty manageable (a 20 – 40 minute, flat ride). I’d really like to spend the evenings in town, to take advantage of the delicious (and more affordable) restaurants. Do you estimate the ride back to the hotel at night would be safe? (It’s our first time in Tulum so don’t know the town layout, if the roads have streetlights, etc…). Also, what is the average cost of a dinner at Tulum Beach versus in town? Thanks so much for any advice you could offer!
    Beth

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Meals are definitely cheaper in Tulum town (pueblo) than at the beach but in both places there is a wide range. Breakfast at the beach can cost 80 to 120 pesos (per person), lunch from 100 to 150 pesos, and dinner 200 to 300 (and up). In town lunch and dinner can be half the cost – or less if you only eat tacos (which I love). Though there are a few expensive places in town where costs can approach those on the beach. Biking back from town at night is doable but I don’t think I’d be comfortable with it. There’s a sidewalk/bike path for a good ways but seeing as you’re at the south end of the beach you’ll have to ride along the main road for several miles in the dark and there’s not much lighting. Traffic doesn’t move too fast along here so it’s not a crazy idea but still I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Reply
      1. Beth

        This is such great info, Dave! Thanks so much again for hosting this forum and providing your valuable advice!

        Happy Travels!

        All best,
        Beth

        Reply
  80. Bus to and from Cancun Airport

    I disagree about taxis to and from the airport; the ADO bus is very comfortable and affordable. You have to transfer at PDC on your way to tulum but there are direct buses back 4 or 5 times per day.

    Nicole

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I agree, taking the bus is cheap and easy in the Yucatan. We usually take it everywhere we go – except to and from the airport. To get from the airport to Tulum you usually need to switch buses in Playa del Carmen, then another bus to Tulum, then a taxi to your hotel (unless you’re staying in Tulum town). If you’re a couple this will still be cheaper than a taxi directly from the Cancun airport to a Tulum hotel but I don’t think it’s worth the extra 1 to 2 hours travel time. If you’re a family of 4 (like us) then the bus won’t be much cheaper, if at all. Here is an excellent post on taking the bus from Cancun airport to PDC. From there it’s pretty straight forward getting a bus to Tulum.

      Reply
  81. La Zebra with Kids

    Hi Dave,

    Any tips on travelling to Tulum with young kids (2 and 4 years old)?
    We’ve booked last minute room at La Zebra for end of March and wonder if our kids will find it pleasant. I guess biking the Beach road to town is out of question for us since our kids can’t ride bikes yet. We’re left with taxi. What about the collectivos, any experience with those? Thanks a lot!
    Dan

    Reply
    1. Dave

      La Zebra is great. Really good food, good location that’s walking distance to some other good restaurants (La Onda for thin crust and nutella pizza). La Zebra has a kids play area with swings and climbing structure on the sand. Small but fun. There are also hammocks hanging in a couple different spots. Be sure to get to a cenote for swimming. Grand Cenote if your kids can wear snorkel and mask, Casa Cenote just for swimming. Taxis are easy to find.

      Reply
    2. Lara belle Schneider

      Thanks Dave for your wonderful information! We will be in Tulum (from snowy windy cold Maine, USA) in one week. Wohoo! I have been to Tulum 3 years ago (solo) and this time will be traveling with my partner and 5-year old son. We will be staying at Uno Astrolodge (next to Shambhala Petit) about mid-way down the beach. We are on a budget and plan to tent it, then stay in a cabana part-time. I stayed there the last time – and really appreciated the location and the beach. Someday we’ll do a fancier spot! But this way we’ll have more resources for even more yummy food, biking, some day trips, etc..

      Bikes! In 2012 I rented a beater beach cruiser (an old one they pulled from out back for me :) from Amansala and had a complete blast. I didn’t need to step in a car after my arrival for 9 days – it was heaven! I biked up and down the beach road and would head into town for food and to catch music, etc..I have a few question.

      1. Do you know of a bike shop that rents a child’s seat or tag-along or bike trailer? I know you can pick up beach cruiser just about anywhere, but it’s the child’s seat/trailer I’m concerned about. My hope is to ride to the ruins, into town, and up and down the beach. Our son isn’t a rider yet, but we are so excited to be relatively car free (except for possible longer day trips).

      Unrelated but…
      2. In the bioreserve it sounds like the community tours are great! Do you have a suggestion for a good trip for a couple and 5-year old?

      Really thank you! Such relevant, clear, and helpful (and fun!) information and tips.

      Warmly, (well almost… :)
      Lara

      Reply
      1. Dave

        I don’t know for sure but I’d be surprised if you could find a bike seat or kid trailer for your child. I’d consider taking a trailer along with you. You could probably find a used one (if you don’t already have one) for pretty cheap. It would be great for getting around and they’re wonderful for transporting a lot of stuff. For tours of Sian Kaan check out Community Tours.

        Reply
  82. Ana y Jose, Be, or The Beach Hotels

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Tulum in July for 7 nights. I want to make the correct hotel choice. I am torn between Ana Y Jose, Be and the Beach. What would be your choice and why.

    Thanks,
    Dave

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Ana y Jose and The Beach are in the central strip of Tulum and have more beach traffic and activity and more restaurants within a short walk along the beach road. Be is more isolated and not nearly as much within walking distance. The beach gets a little nicer as you move south so Be might have a slight advantage but all 3 have great beaches. I tend to think Ana y Jose has more of a resort feel (centered around the pool back from the beach) while The Beach is more focused around the beach area and has more beach front rooms.

      Reply
  83. Private/Public Beaches in Mexico

    My traveling companions have heard that beach access is restricted unless you stay at a beach hotel? Has anyone found this to be the case.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      All beaches in Mexico are public and access can’t be restricted to non-guests. Resorts can, however, charge people to use their beach chairs, umbrellas, and pool – and this can have the effect of making non-guests feel unwelcome. But in theory you can walk, sit, or lay your towel on any free spot of sand you find.

      Reply
      1. April

        Have you personnally had any issues with this? Just bringing a cooler and a couple towels and finding a spot?

        Reply
  84. Best Beach in Tulum/Taxis

    We stay 3 nights in Cancun before coming to Tulum to stay at Ana Y Jose. We would like to explore the full stretch of beach along Tulum’s coast. where is the best swimming and the best sand in Tulum? And how hard is it to get taxis into Tulum? I’ve been told you sometimes need to walk up to Zamas to get a taxi, is this true? How much is a taxi from Cancun beach to Tulum?

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The beach south of the ruins is great (around El Paraiso) and then the stretch further south where most of the hotels are (starting just north of Ana y Jose and all the way south for several miles – all great beach). Ana y Jose has a great beach club on the sand but if you’re looking for a different destination ride a bike south to OM – good restaurant, great beach. Taxis are easy to find along the hotel strip but you can get caught in traffic and just sit there without moving for 5, 10, 15 minutes. Walking a bit north (towards town) isn’t a bad idea but I wouldn’t say you “have to” walk to Zamas. If you’re only going as far as Mateo’s or Zamas then just ride your bike – no taxi necessary.

      Reply
  85. Tulum Bikes/Rentals/Transfers

    Hello Dave…
    First of thank you for all your amazing info. My husband and I are traveling to Tulum October 23-29. Our first visit to this area. We have traveled several times to the PDC area, and always have sayed at an all- inclusive resort. This time we are booked at CalaLuna on the north end of the beach. Our first time to a Eco resort. I’m very excited. I really want this trip to be low key, and live like a local if that’s possible. When I booked our trip I included a car. The more I think about it, I’m not sure if I want to mess with having one. Especially reading on traffic issues. IF you can, please tell me what transfer you would recommend, and approximately how much that would cost us. The bike rentals sound great. If we want to go a bit further, we can call a cab. Also, how much money would you exchange at the airport to get us started. I really don’t want to running to the bank machine to much.
    Thanks, Becci Schutte

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The Cataluna is a cool hotel (formerly Cabanas la Conchita) with a great location. Check out Zamas and Matteos – a very short walk away, good food, live music most nights. Getting into town is a 15 minute bike ride and you can rent bikes either from your hotel or several others just out the door. There’s also a small market nearby where you can buy essentials. You’ll love your choice as long as you’re not expecting anything like a all inclusive resort – not sure the current policy but there likely will only be power for a few hours every day (probably from 5 to 10pm). No need to rent a car especially where you’re located. Beach is right there and Tulum ruins are easily reached by bike. I’d probably change $1000 before arriving in Tulum. You can do that at the airport or your bank at home (a little more expensive changing money in the US but not a huge difference in currency rates and fees). At the Cancun airport walk out the doors and get the taxi service to your left (no need to book in advance) – it will cost about $100 from the Cancun airport to Tulum hotels.

      Reply
      1. Where to Buy Alcohol/Airport Transfers

        Thank you Dave :) I think we are going to be happy with our hotel choice. I think there will be pretty much everything we will need to grab very close to us. What about alcoholic drinks? Are they sold at the little convience stores? I understand the Calaluna provides coolers for drinks ect.

        I read somewhere that the cenots may close to the public soon, is this true? I hope not, we would really like to see the area.

        On transfers, I was checking the difference between a shared van v/s a cab. Big difference in price, my guess is we will get to our hotel faster in a cab. One review mentioned making sure we have a set price from the cab driver, so they won’t take advantage of us. Have you ever experienced this?

        Thank you again… Becci

        Reply
        1. Dave

          Beer and alcohol are available at the couple of little stores along the beach. For cheaper prices and more selection go to the Chedraui grocery store – about 5 minutes by cab or 15 minute bike ride from your hotel. I have not heard about closing of cenotes – hope that doesn’t happen. There are thousands of them so I bet there will always be something accessible. The shared van would stop at a number of different hotels along the way, so yes this can take a lot longer. You pay for the taxi at the airport before you get in the cab. But yes, on any other trip you should agree on a price before you get in.

          Reply
  86. Grand Bahia Principe Tulum

    Hi Dave, great info. Prior to seeing your site we made reservations and have already paid for our stay at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum, any advise while we are there? Travelling in mid march. Never been to the area or even mexico before.

    Tim

    Reply
    1. Dave

      The Grand Bahia Principe Tulum is not in Tulum. It’s about 15 miles north of Tulum (and the ruins) and 30 miles from Playa del Carmen. If you like resorts then you’ll be impressed by the GBP – but, you know, it’s a resort, so you’re not getting a lot of character or seeing Mexico. Try to get to Coba (the ancient Mayan city), Tulum town (to walk around, shop, eat dinner), Tulum beach (the best in the area – lots of restaurants along the beach will let you use their beach chairs when you eat and buy drinks – OM Tulum is a good one), and swim in a cenote or two (there are many close to the resort or head towards Tulum for more choice).

      Reply
  87. Rental in Tulum

    Hi Dave. This is the best info I have found on Tulum! Thanks. Hey we are coming there is Oct with 5 close friends and we are thiniking about renting and Air Bnb instead of hotels. Any advice on this? We love being part of local culture and not shut off in a tourist enclave/ resort.
    April

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I think it’s a great option. But it is different. It’s not a hotel which can be both good and bad. You usually don’t just show up and walk into reception. You have to organize when and where to meet – which is often very easy but it does have to be arranged. When something goes wrong you have to know how to contact the owner – not just walk downstairs. And rentals are typically not any cheaper than hotels for what you get. But that said, it is a great way to get outside the tourist bubble. I’ve had good experiences whenever I’ve used AirBnb. Most accommodations are in Tulum town but there are a few rentals out by the beach.

      Reply
      1. April

        Thanks so much for your response. We have rented vacation rental houses a lot in the states so we are familiar with the various aspects of them. I think we decided it would be best to have a hotel by the beach for 2 nights when we first arrive and then an AirBnB for the next 5 days in town so we have time to work out the logistics. Thanks again.

        Reply
  88. Renting Bikes vs Taking Taxis/ Getting to and from Biosphere

    Great info you have shared !! The wife and I have been staying in Akumal the last couple of years. We rent a villa there for 10 days or so. Last year we decided on taking the colectivo to Tulum beach for a day trip. Loved it so much we did it again and did the bar hopping along the beach. Any rate we are going back this May for 10 days and we are staying at “The Beach”. Of all the places we visited during the day we liked Ziggy’s and The Beach. We are pretty out going and I have worked internationally for many years. We like to do as “locals” do when it comes to eating etc.
    Would you suggest getting bicycles over just taking a cab to town from Ziggy’s? I can see us hanging out in town a day or two but 2 bikes will be around 20 bucks a day plus I have to pedal…do you know what the current cab rate is to town from Ziggy’s? Thinking it will be just as cheap without the worry of having to return before dark. What are you thoughts?
    Another question is how would we be able to go to the biosphere to hang out on beach? We do not want to rent a car and deal with that. Can a cab take you there? How the hell would you get back ???
    Any suggestions for this 10 day trip to Tulum would be greatly appreciated !!

    Kenny Barkley

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Yes, if you’re just comparing one return bike trip to one return taxi trip per day and basing expenses on that it’s pretty comparable. But you’ll likely use the bike many times throughout the day zipping here and there. It’s a lot of fun, especially when the traffic on the beach road backs up and you zoom by on your bike.

      If you did take a taxi to the biosphere then you’d need to hire it for the day/morning/afternoon. A tour would probably be your best bet. Check out Community Tours – they have an office in downtown Tulum. Tours are pretty small and not the huge bus tours you’d get from a resort.

      Reply
      1. Kenny Barkley

        Thanks for the info. I guess we will do both some. Cab if we are going to be after dark and bike during the day. On the Biosphere we were not looking at going with any group, just ourselves to explore the beach for the day.
        I know this has been asked a thousand times but…..where is the best exchange rate when changing money? I have done it at the airport ATM and bank at home in the states. Both comparable. I now have a American Express card that does not charge an extra fee for foreign exchange. We usually do the airport because of convenience.
        This is def the best site for info. Thanks for putting this up !

        Reply
        1. Dave

          We usually get a little at home before we arrive and then use an ATM to get more when we’re there. And I agree, there’s not much of a difference. Not sure how your AMEX will work in practice (I imagine there will still be bank fees related to the ATM) but that sounds like the best route. There are HSBC and Scotiabank ATMs in town and a bunch of independent ATMs scattered around the town and beach.

          The biggest difference money wise is be sure to pay in pesos whenever you can (and not simply not-exchange your money and pay in dollars – you nearly always get a terrible exchange rate when you pay in dollars).

          Reply
          1. Kenny Barkley

            We have been to mexico 6 times in the past 4 years and you are right. The most important thing to do is use Peso’s and not dollars. On small roadside places etc it is usually rounded to 10 Peso’s to the dollar. Easy to count that way. Use Peso’s for everything. Makes it easy on them also to use peso’s. Thanks again !!

  89. How To Save Money in Tulum?

    Best site I’ve seen for Tulum, thanks!

    My fiancé and I are leaving next week for our 2nd Tulum trip and want to be more conscious about spending $ this time. Last year we stayed at a great beachfront hotel with a great restaurant and basically never left that spot. It was fantastic but we spent way too much $. We used a credit card for everything. I recently read that if you use a credit card at these hotels you actually end up paying 20% more than if you use cash, a jacked up exchange rate. Do you know anything about this?

    Any advice on how to keep our costs down would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    Anikka

    Reply
    1. Dave

      5 Ways to save money in Tulum:
      • Stay in town – hotels are much cheaper, food is much cheaper, still fun biking to the beach every day.
      • Even if you’re not staying in town, try to eat in town. The riddle is that most people will take a taxi into town which cuts into your savings, but if you can share a taxi or bike into town then you’ll find very inexpensive food. When in doubt, eat tacos.
      • Use booking.com to find the cheapest hotel rates.
      • Negotiate everything. Never get in a taxi without deciding on a price first.
      • Pay in pesos, not dollars (not just hotels, restaurants and shops too).

      Reply
  90. Derek

    Great list! Thanks for putting this together. We opted for an airbnb joint over a hotel… look forward to exploring this March and will provide feedback.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Look forward to hearing back from you. Just wish AirBnb had more listings for Tulum beach area – they’re mainly in town, I believe.

      Reply
  91. Tulum Town or Beach

    We have ten days in Tulum and are trying to decide whether to spend all of our time at beach hotel or split our time and spend 3 days in Tulum town. Any thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      I love both though they have a very different feel (as you’d expect). The beach area is spread along 5+ kms of beach road with hotels on one side (along the beach) and in some places there are restaurants and small shops on the other side, in other places there’s nothing but forest/jungle. Everything is very spread out. If you’re walking you might have only 4 or 5 restaurants within a 15 minute walk from your hotel.

      The town is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. Most hotels in town are budget or mid-range. On our most recent trip we stayed in town and rode bikes to the beach every day. It’s about a 20 to 40 minute ride depending on where you’re going and how fast you go. I did it with my boys (ages 8 and 11) and wife and we had no problems. It’s an easy, flat ride. (Obviously you can take taxis to and from the beach too. They’re cheap and plentiful.)

      So doing both would probably be great for you. I’m hesitant to say that with more certainty as I think some people would be disappointed staying in town. But if you love Mexican food, are into riding bikes to the beach, and don’t mind staying in a non-luxury hotel then you’ll probably love staying in town.

      Reply
  92. When Should I Book Hotels

    We will be visiting Tulum in early July. When should we book hotels? Do rates increase or decrease over time?

    Reply
    1. Dave

      Book hotels as soon as possible. The best rooms get booked, the rooms with the best rates get booked. I recommend using booking.com and they won’t have hotels more than 10 or 11 months in advance (which doesn’t apply here) but other than that book as early as you can.

      Reply
  93. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum?

    We have 2 weeks and are flying from New York to Cancun. We are trying to decide where to stay, whether to move around or find a base, and where that base should be. We do not want an over active vacation but we do want to see some of the historical sights and those cenotes look great.

    1) What beach town would you recommend, Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum?
    2) What’s the best way to get from the Cancun airport to these beach towns?
    3) Which one of these 3 towns has the best beach?

    Thanks,
    Elsie

    Reply
    1. Dave

      1) I far prefer Tulum to either PDC or Cancun. PDC has a spring-break party feel. I don’t dislike it but a few days there is as much as I can take. Cancun is largely mega-resorts and all inclusives. The beach is great but it lacks a town or center along the beach (where the hotels are located). Tulum has a very different feel than both. It’s got a very relaxed atmosphere, bike is one of the main forms of transport, and the hotels are small boutique or family-owned. The beach is also great.
      2) Taxi is the best way to get to and from the airport. There are shuttles that are cheaper for a single traveler. But for 2 or more people the shuttles aren’t much cheaper (and you likely will have to make stops at other hotels). Booking in advance isn’t necessary. Just walk out the Arrivals door after you pass customs and queue for a taxi. There is usually a wait but not terribly long.
      3) All have really good beaches. It’s more what’s behind the beach that is different. At Cancun you have giant hotels fronting the beach. In PDC the town is right on the beach and there are bars and a few hotels (and the beach area is quite active and busy). In Tulum there are low-rise hotels and restaurants spread along the length of the beach. It’s never too busy in any one spot but not deserted either. There are far fewer hawkers in Tulum too.

      Reply

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