One more adventure checked off my “Bucket List”. For me travelling rhymes with happiness and exploring new destinations makes my heart beat faster. That’s why my travel posts are special to me, because I love sharing my experience with you.
If you are planning to visit Tulum, it’s always good to have more insider tips ahead of time. I have received many questions on Instagram regarding Tulum travel tips, so here I’ve created a comprehensive travel guide to help you prepare for your visit. The pre-Columbian Mayan walled city was called Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. Located about an hour south of Playa del Carmen, Tulum is a laid-back destination and a hotspot for so many years. Well known for its Mayan ruins on an archaeological site along the sea, Tulum has become an essential destination for white sand beaches, beautiful nature, eco friendly hotels and good food.
I left my heart in Tulum and the moment I arrived, I knew I’d feel at home and fall in love immediately. If you love Bali, Marrakech and Mykonos, you will definitely find all these vibes in Tulum. Keep scrolling down to read everything about Tulum.
HOW TO GET THERE?
If you want to travel to Tulum, you will land in Cancun International Airport by plane and drive from the airport to Tulum for about 90 minutes. You have few choices, either take a taxi (about approx. € 60,-), with a hotel shuttle (about € 100,-), or you rent your own car. I traveled with few friends, and we definitely opted to rent a car for a week and paid approx. € 100,-. Yes, it was a great deal! Personally, I found it very pleasant to be able to drive around spontaneously whenever we wanted to. Even if Tulum is not a huge place, we were mostly out in Tulum town for breakfast, or dinner, as well as drove to the beach, which was about 5 km away from our villa.
THE TULUM AREA
Depending on the place where you will stay, you can also rent bicycles (about € 11,- per day). But during the day it gets very warm, and I don’t think that cycling in the heat is a good idea. However for a short distance it’s surely fun. If you want to see a little bit more of the Tulum area and maybe even want to make day trips, I definitely recommend to rent a car.
We planed to be mostly on the beach, but unfortunately the seaweed problem in Tulum is still present. Locals said that it started late summer of 2014 and at first everyone thought it was just some seaweed washing ashore. When we arrived in Tulum, it was horrible – not just it smelled so unbearably bad, but the seaweed is toxic and it’s dangerous to swim in the sea. (Read here about this problem). We were very disappointed to see the Riviera Maya – that once was the most beautiful coast, and now tuned into a brown toxic seaweed area. But we made the best out of it, and visited everyday a new Cenote to escape the seaweed. These natural water pools are inland and have crystal clear water and are safe to swim, dive and snorkel. (Scroll down for “What to do in Tulum?”)
Since Tulum is not so big and it has a limited surrounding area, I think it’s absolutely sufficient to stay one week. Anyone planning a longer trip would definitely recommend staying in Tulum for a few days and then driving around Yucatan, either for day trips, or stay one or two days in other places such as Merida, Puerto Morelos, or Isla Mujeres. Mexico offers many beautiful sights such as caves, (pink) lakes or pyramids. However, since we decided to stay one week in Tulum, we preferred to relax, and visit Cenotes during the day, which were quiet impressive.
The prices in Tulum are okayish, but it’s not as cheap as you might think. For breakfast including drinks for two people it’s about € 30,-. It is not as expensive as, for example, New York or Paris, but not as cheap as Bali. Tulum has gained lot of hype last years, and the prices went sky high too. I would recommend budgeting 4 to 5 days in Tulum. This is enough time to rest, see the ruins, visit the cenotes, do a day trip or two if you want to and still have plenty of time to relax on the beach and sample the best restaurants.
WHERE TO STAY?
Tulum doesn’t have many options where to stay, either you book a hotel in Tulum town or you book an eco friendly luxury accommodation on the beach. Since we were a group of friends and wanted to stay together, the best and affordable option was to rent a villa in Tulum, which was 5 km away from the beach. Our villa was luxurious, with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, an open kitchen inside, an open kitchen outside, a huge living room, a terrace and a garden with a pool. For all this we payed approx. € 1.900,- for 6 nights. However, if you are looking for an eco friendly resort and you are ready to pay over € 500,- per night – there are few nice options. What you have to know before booking an accommodation in Tulum is that the high season starts from December until March/April, and the prices are really high. Depending on the budget, aspirations and wishes, I think there is something for everyone. I recommend you to check out Google Maps on Boca Paila Road, there are many hotels with beach access and sea views.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK?
I love Mexican food and was really looking forward to go to Tulum because of my favorite cuisine. However, we realized that there were not so many traditional Mexican restaurants, but a mixture of modern Mexican and international cuisine. Surely, we discovered some good places for breakfast and dinner (at lunchtime we usually ordered small bites on the beach, or wherever we were). Here are my favorite Café and Restaurants in Tulum:
MACONDO (for breakfast)
With Moroccan vibes, Hotel Nomade’s restaurant Macondo serves delicious wholesome and holistic food, with natural and seasonal flavors. There was a variety of vegan, gluten free and vegetarian selection for everyone. I loved having breakfast here, and everything was wonderful! Address: KM 10, Carr. Cancún – Tulum, 77880 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
RAW LOVE (for breakfast)
If you are looking for super healthy, sugar, dairy, wheat free food, go to Raw Love. With organic and local ingredients whenever possible, they make their coconut milk fresh everyday from local coconuts. Their acai bowls and smoothies are delicious! Address: Hotel Ahau Tulum, Tulum 77760, México
DelCielo (for breakfast)
Located in Tulum town, this bistro bar is a real hot spot for breakfast. If you are a big fan of avocado toast, acai bowls, banana bread, pancakes or french toast, you should definitely go to DelCielo. It can be extremely busy in the morning but it’s worth waiting a bit and to enjoy their amazing banana bread, or the famous avocado bread and the french toast. Address: Satélite Sur 5, Centro, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
GITANO (for dinner)
One of my favorite places to dine in Tulum is definitely Gitano. The food is amazing, harmonious atmosphere, jungley garden, gorgeous chandeliers hanging from trees, and disco balls, looks absolutely stunning. For dinner they light up lots of candles and create a very romantic place with live music. Address: Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila, QRO, Mexico
CASA JAGUAR (for dinner)
Located in the Jungle side of the Boca Paila beach road, Casa Jaguar serves from a fresh Todos Santos Salad, to a delicious Pez Romero. Like Gitano, this restaurant was also highly recommended by the insiders, and it’s really worth visiting. It’s perfectly decorated, great service, and mind-blowing fresh food and drinks. Address: Carretera Boca Paila Km 7.5, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
MORO (for breakfast and dinner)
This restaurant overlooking the beach, is perfect for food, drinks, and to relax. The ground floor restaurant helmed by Chef Federico Cappi, serves the freshest ingredients, and has seating for both large groups and intimate dinners. Modern and relaxed, the clubhouse is adjacent to the beachside bar, where guests can sip cocktails all day long until late at night. Definitely one of my favorite places to spend the day and evening! Address: Av. Boca Paila, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
KIN TOH (for dinner and sunset drinks)
This place took my breath away! I have never been in a treehouse before, so visiting KIN TOH was an unforgettable moment for me. As the restaurant of AZULIK, Kin Toh’s brings a great experience with the most breathtaking view over the Mayan jungle. This restaurant serves Mayan-Mexican avant-garde cuisine that combines methods and local ingredients from the native cuisine with international twist on each dish. Azulik has a surreal architectural design and aesthetically very pleasant. The private nests for dining are the most romantic places to dine under the starry sky overlooking the Mayan jungle. Warning: it’s quite pricey! Address: Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 5, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
WHAT TO DO IN TULUM?
BOCA PAILA ROAD
As mentioned above, Boca Paila Road is one of the most beautiful streets in Tulum. Why? Because it’s authentic, you can find beautiful small shops, cafes and restaurants. There is so much to discover on Boca Paila Road, and the best part is that it goes completely through the jungle and you are surrounded by palm trees and trees all the time. So, if you’re in Tulum, take your time and stroll along Boca Paila Road – either on foot or by bike.
Although Tulum is rather small, the town has a center. This is actually only a main road, on which there are various small souvenir shops, boutiques, pharmacy, food market, restaurants and bars. Especially if you are looking for a little souvenir or gifts from Tulum, you will find a wide selection of little things like hammocks, sombreros, leather goods or handmade Mexican ceramics.
You can’t visit Tulum without swimming in a Cenote. There are thousands of Cenotes dotted all over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and they are just breathtakingly beautiful. Right in Tulum you will find the famous Grand Cenote, Casa Cenote, Dos Ojos, and Azul. Here you pay entrance, and each Cenote has its price. If you want to rent a locker, snorkel and glasses at the bottom of the grotto, you have to pay around € 5,-. We loved visiting Cenotes, even though during 11 am and 2 pm there is a bit of a “rush hour” and it can get pretty crowded. However it’s worth it, especially when the sun is shining and the water turns to a sparkling turquoise colored natural pool. Soon I will write more about this natural phenomenon that I’ve never experienced anything like them anywhere else in the world.
Magical – there’s no other word for Cenotes.
Right in Tulum you’ll find the Mayan ruins. Admission costs about € 3,- per person. Personally I found it relatively unspectacular and it was very crowded. After about 20 minutes we have seen pretty much of everything. Nevertheless, this little mini-trip can be done during the day. Pro tip: plan to visit Mayan ruins between 3-4 pm, it’s less crowded. (Don’t forget the opening hours: 8 am-5 pm).
WHEN TO GO TO TULUM?
Basically, anytime you want, but the best time to travel to Tulum is during Mexico’s dry season from December to April. Expect higher prices and crowds. Rainy season starts around June and lasts until October. We went to Tulum in mid of September and we didn’t had a single rain. The weather was extremely hot, about 35 degrees every day, so it all depends how the season is.
Tulum is a DREAM! Of all the places I’ve traveled to, I can see myself returning over & over again.
CATCH SUNRISE & SUNSET
I’m typically a sunset girl, but if your hotel has a beach view, you’ll wake up to sunrise and the incredible colors are worth every lost minute of sleep. To watch the sunset go to KIN TOH.
VISIT THE TULUM ART CLUB & IK LAB GALLERY
The Tulum Art Club is a multi-use event space and multimedia studio features an array of artistic works from emerging Mexican and International Artists. It’s a dynamic exhibition space, boutique hotel and cafe located in the heart of the town of Tulum. Also, I loved the new contemporary art gallery IK LAB, designed by Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel. The seaside gallery is located on the site of Tulum’s eco-friendly Azulik Resort, also designed by the Sterkel. It is truly worth to visit!
An art gallery in a treehouse — and you have to take off your shoes to enter.
Above the treehouse with breathtaking view over Mayan jungle.
Where we spent or time relaxing almost every day.
If you want to know more and have questions regarding Tulum, do not hesitate to comment below.
This post is 100% not sponsored.