Tulum Mexico Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Tulum Mexico


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Tulum Mexico: At a Glance

Tulum was once a sleepy beach town, popular with backpackers who camped out on the beach under the stars. In the last decade or so, it has become one of the top travel destinations and most popular beach towns in Mexico. Millions flock to Tulum each year — and this Ultimate Guide to Tulum will tell you everything you need to know!

Tulum Mexico: Know before you go

  • ✈️ Airport: Cancun International Airport (code: CUN), and you can use this Cancun to Tulum guide to determine the best way to get to Tulum for you.
  • 💰 Currency: Mexican Peso
  • 🗣 Language: Spanish, though English is quite common, and you may even hear some locals speaking Maya
  • Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5)
  • 🎫 Mexico Visa: The vast majority of travelers do not need a visa for Tulum — this includes Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans. Head here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.
  • 🔌 Electricity Socket: You’ll mostly find Type A (two-prong) and Type B (three-prong) — the same as used in the U.S. For visitors from other countries, you’ll need this universal travel adaptor.

What’s the best time to visit Tulum Mexico?

For the best weather: November to March are the ideal months to travel to Tulum. This is, of course, the high season or busy season in Tulum, so expect higher price tags and larger crowds.

Tulum Shoulder Season: March to May is the shoulder season in Tulum — a magical time when the weather is still nice, and the prices are still low.

For the best value: May to September will get you the most bang for your buck! However, know these months can be rainy, hot, humid and buggy. Surrounded by the Mayan jungle, mosquitoes an issue in Tulum, especially in the summers, so don’t forget your eco-friendly bug spray 🦟

Note: June 1 to November 1 is the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Located on the Caribbean Sea, Tulum is susceptible, though direct-hit hurricanes in Tulum are rare.

Follow That Dream to Tulum Mexico! (Photo: Alex Azabache via Unsplash, Tulum Follow That Dream sign)
Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Where is Tulum Mexico located?

Tulum is in southeastern Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is about two hours south of Cancun, and about 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya.

What state is Tulum Mexico in?

Tulum is in Quintana Roo state. This is one of the three states that makes up the Yucatan Peninsula — along with Yucatan state and Campeche state. Besides visiting Tulum, you’ll find other great things to do in Quintana Roo state in these cities: CancunPlaya del CarmenHolbox IslandBacalar Lagoon, Puerto Morelos and Akumal.

Tulum Map

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

What’s the closest airport to Tulum Mexico?

As there is no Tulum airport (at least not yet!), the closest one is Cancun Airport (code: CUN), located about two hours north of Tulum. The Mexican government is slated to open an airport in Tulum in 2023, so there will one day be flights to Tulum Mexico!

What’s the best way to get to Tulum Mexico?

The safest, most-stress free, easiest and best way to get from Cancun to Tulum is via private shuttle. I recommend booking with Cancun Airport Transportation, especially if this is your first trip to Tulum. The private shuttle is the fastest way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum, with door-to-door service to your accommodation. ▶︎ BOOK NOW!

cancun to tulum
Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Where to stay in Tulum Mexico

Check out this guide to the best neighborhoods in Tulum Mexico to get a better idea of the town’s layout. In short, you basically have three options for neighborhoods in Tulum — Tulum Town (also called Tulum Pueblo or Downtown Tulum), Tulum Beach, and trendy Aldea Zama, located in-between the two.

boho vibe azulik tulum beachfront eco resort | tulum travel guide

Tulum All Inclusive Resorts

There are so many great all inclusive resorts in Tulum, with options for adults only and family-friendly vacations. Check them out by clicking below ⤵

Best Tulum Beach Hotels

Among the best hotels in Tulum, there’s Casa Malca, Nomade Tulum, Papaya Playa Project, Be Tulum, Alaya Tulum, Azulik Tulum, Ahau Tulum and Coco Tulum.

tulum beach house overlooking the caribbean sea in yucatan peninsula mexico | tulum travel guide

Tulum Beach Houses

Tulum has everything you need for an epic Mexico vacation — but just because you’re traveling to an exceptional place, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your ducks in a row.

The truth is, your accommodation can make, or break, your Tulum trip. However, booking the perfect beachfront villa will set the tone for the perfect Tulum vacation!

woman in the jungle at her tulum airbnb | tulum travel guide

Cheap Tulum Hotels

By Mexico travel standards, Tulum can be pricey. However, traveling to Tulum on a budget is 100% possible.

Discover the 11 most chic options at under $99USD per night for Tulum hotels and Tulum Airbnbs. If you don’t mind staying in one of the best Tulum hostels — you’ll find rates as low as just $25 per night!

treehouse for glamping in tulum mexico, yucatan peninsula | tulum travel guide

Tulum Glamping

Tulum basically invented the boho beachy jungle style — so you have numerous amazing options for glamping in Tulum Mexico! (Wondering, What is glamping? It’s basically glamorous camping.)

In Tulum, there’s everything from beachfront glamping tents, to Tulum treehouses and geodesic glamping domes. For the non-traditional traveler, you’ll love your Tulum glamping experience.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Best things to do in Tulum Mexico

For a smaller town (Tulum population: Approx. 46,000), there is a seemingly endless amount of things to do in Tulum. The majority of them involve being in, on, or near the Caribbean Sea — though there’s a lot to see in the jungles surrounding Tulum as well. Click on any image below to learn more

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Best Tulum tours

Tours in Tulum are a great way to see the town and its surrounding areas — and unless you’re planning to rent a car in Tulum, this is the best way to get around because taxi fees add up quickly! (💡 Note: If you do want to have a car in Tulum, the best way is to rent a car in Cancun, and drive to Tulum.)

Below, you’ll find the most popular and best tours in Tulum — including the ruins in Tulum, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and more. For a complete guide to the best Tulum cenotes tours, head to 10 Best Cenotes Tours Tulum Has to Offer.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Is Tulum safe?

According to experts, you are statistically quite safe while visiting Mexico. In fact, the Yucatan Peninsula — where Tulum is located — is one of the safest parts in Mexico. That’s not to say bad things don’t happen in Tulum; they do.

Millions of Americans go to Mexico on vacation every year, so if we play the numbers game, the number of incidents is very small… When I’m asked if Mexico is a safe place to go travel on vacation, my response is yes.

Carlos Barron, FBI Veteran (source: Forbes)

As with traveling anywhere, follow general travel safety like not walking home alone at night, watching your alcohol consumption and staying aware of yourself and surroundings. For an added safety measure, pack these travel safety items, dress in a way so your Mexico outfits blend in with the locals, and buy a Mexico SIM card.

Some less-obvious things you’ll want to watch out for in Tulum are dehydration, sunburns, mosquitoes and hangovers! Located in a tropical beachy jungle, Tulum is hot year-round, and the mosquitoes are quite bad in the summers. Speaking of summer, this is the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and located right on the Caribbean Sea, Tulum is susceptible.

travel insurance for mexico paperwork

What’s the best travel insurance for Mexico?

This is a question I get a lot as a Mexico travel writer and Mexico expat. To determine which Mexico travel insurance is best for you, consider factors like the policy’s total cost, your deductible, the coverage you need, your medical benefits, etc. 🏆 In general, I only ever recommend three companies to purchase Mexico travel insurance from:

  • World Nomads — For general travelers and adventure travelers.
  • SafetyWing — For general travelers and digital nomads in Mexico.
  • Travel Insurance Master — Mexico travel insurance search tool, for those who want to compare policies.

Click on any of the links above to get a FREE quote on a policy

Tulum Travel Blogs: Learn more about Tulum Mexico 🇲🇽

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Travel: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink the water in Tulum Mexico?

No — Unfiltered Mexico tap water is not safe for human consumption. However, you will need to keep drinking water and to stay extra hydrated, as Mexico is quite close to the Equator. In fact, dehydration is one of the most common ways people get sick in Mexico. So what can you do?

  1. If you’re renting a Tulum Airbnb or VRBO with a kitchen, you can boil the water before drinking it.
  2. You can keep buying bottled water — Though this gets expensive, and is horrible for the planet!
  3. Use the Water-To-Go Filterable Bottle. This refillable bottle not only keeps you hydrated, but also filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico, and is good for the planet ♻️ Get 15% OFF with code SOLO15!
water bottles

The Water-To-Go Bottle has a built-in, three-stage filtration system that removes 99.9999% of all water-borne contaminants. These include bacteria, microplastics, viruses, heavy metals, chemicals and more. I personally own one, as you can drink Mexico water from any source (even the tap), and be completely safe. Get 15% OFF with code SOLO15!

🧳 Tulum Packing list

Wondering what else you need on your packing list for Tulum, Mexico? Check out this guide — Ultimate Tulum Packing List: What to Wear in Tulum.

Is Tulum expensive?

When comparing Tulum to other beach towns in Mexico, yes, Tulum is on the expensive side. However, budget Tulum travel is possible by saving money here and there. Check out this article for money saving tips, Tulum On A Budget: 10 Ways to Make Your Trip Affordable.

What’s the Tulum weather like?

Tulum has a tropical climate — meaning you can expect warm and hot temperatures year-round, and heavy rains throughout the summer. In the summers, temperatures hover around 95°F (35°C), though can feel hotter because of the humidity. For the best weather in Tulum, visit between November to May.

Is Tulum worth visiting?

Yes — Tulum is a unique Mexico destination that so many types of travelers will want to check out. Once a sleepy beach town, Tulum has become one of the most Instagram worthy Mexico travel towns and most popular travel destinations in the last decade.

If you understand what you’re signing up for — high price tags by Mexico standards, rustic boho vibes, lots of other tourists — and you don’t mind those things, you’ll enjoy your Tulum trip. If you’re looking to lay on a beautiful Caribbean beach, take a lot of photos and swim in the cenotes, then Tulum is for you. If you aren’t a fan of crowds, skip Tulum!

How many days do I need in Tulum Mexico?

Tulum is a small town — and in fact, is one of the Mexico pueblos magicos, or “magic towns.” If you just want to explore Tulum itself, you’ll want three full days. However, if you want to explore the surrounding areas in Yucatan, you’ll want five full days; but of course: The longer the better!

This Tulum Itinerary has options for planning the ultimate 3 days in Tulum, 4 days in Tulum or 5 days in Tulum travel itinerary.

🗣 Mexico Language

Mexico Fun Fact: There’s actually no official language of Mexico!

Spanish is the most widely-spoken, so some mistakenly say Spanish is the official language of Mexico. However, the government actually recognizes 68 national languages, including the Nahuatl Aztec language, and the Maya language.

💰 Mexico Currency

Mexican Peso — Exchange rates vary, but have hovered around $18-21 pesos to $1USD for about the last decade. You will find some places that take U.S. dollars, but usually at an unfavorable rate, so stick to using pesos in Mexico.

☀️ Mexico Weather

Mexico is a big country — the 7th largest on Earth, in fact! It’s hard to generalize the weather in Mexico, because it will vary greatly by where you’re traveling.

In general, temperatures are mostly mild everywhere all year long, though summers on the coast are hot and humid, and winters in Central and Northern Mexico are on the colder side. Throughout the whole country, the rainy season runs from (about) April through September.

✈️ Mexico Busy Season & Slow Season

• Mexico Busy Season: The busy season in Mexico runs October to March, as this is the dry season and you’ll get the best weather. December is the busiest month for tourism in Mexico.

Mexico Slow Season: If you don’t mind some rain, you’ll often find the best travel deal during the Mexico slow season of April to September. Do keep in mind that June 1-November 1 is Hurricane Season, and Mexico beaches are all susceptible.

Mexico Shoulder Season: The shoulder season is that magical time when prices are still low and the weather is good. The Mexico shoulder season is from about mid-October to November and January to early-April.

🧳 Download your FREE Mexico Packing Checklist!

Check out this Ultimate Packing List for Tulum — so you know what to pack and what NOT to pack for Tulum Mexico! This article offers advice on packing for Mexico cities, and packing for a Mexico beach vacation.

Beyond what Mexico outfits and clothing you’ll want to bring, here are a few extra things to consider:

• Filterable Water Bottle: Mexico is close to the Equator, so you’ll need to stay extra hydrated. In fact, dehydration is one of the most common ways people get sick in Mexico.

A filterable, refillable water bottle not only keeps you hydrated, but also filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico.

The Water-To-Go Bottle has a built-in, three-stage filtration system that removes 99.9999% of all water-borne contaminants. These include bacteria, microplastics, viruses, heavy metals and chemicals.

• Mexico SIM Card: Want to be able to use your phone in Mexico?! Of course you do! Pick up a TELCEL Mexico SIM card before your trip, and swap it out on the plane while you’re waiting to exit, so you have phone and data service the second you arrive in Mexico!

• Anti-Hangover Meds: Planning to party hardy?! Make sure you’re not wasting any of your precious travel time with a hangover. Liquid I.V. has about 70,000 reviews on Amazon, and is considered the best defense against a hangover.

• Sun Hat: No matter if you’re headed to the beach or a city, you’ll want to wear a hat to shield yourself from the strong Mexican sun. This cute sun hat is the perfect stylish and practical accessory for your Mexico vacation.

 Sunscreen: As you’ll want to reapply a few times throughout the day, a light, Mineral-Based Sunscreen is ideal. Headed to the beach? Do your part to practice responsible tourism in Mexico by only using an eco-friendly Reef Safe Sunscreen while swimming. You can even ditch the sunscreen altogether and opt for a Long Sleeve Swimsuit instead.

 Bug Repellent: Mosquitoes are common throughout Mexico — especially on the beaches! REPEL Insect Repellent is an eco-friendly brand that’s DEET-free and plant based, with a pleasant lemon and eucalyptus scent. Don’t want to use a spray? Pick up some Mosquito Repellent Bracelets.

The vast majority of travelers do not need a visa for Mexico — this includes Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans. Head here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

🎫 What is the mexico FMM?

When you go through Customs & Immigration to enter the country, you’ll receive your Forma Migratoria Multiple, or FMM Tourist Card (sometimes listed as FMT). If you’re coming by plane or cruise ship, there is no charge; for those driving across the border, the FMM costs about $30USD.

In most circumstances, all visitors get a 180-day (six month) visa — so you can legally stay up to six months!

🚨 Have your FMM on you at all times

Keep in mind that though it’s called an FMM card, it’s actually just a small piece of paper. Keep your FMM on you at all times in your wallet, as this proves your legal status in Mexico. It’s rare, but if an officer stops you, they can ask to see your FMM.

🎫 Don’t lose your FMM!

You need to have your FMM on you at all times, as proof of your legal status in the country. Be sure to keep track of your FMM, as you’ll have to give it back to an Immigration officer at the airport, cruise port, or land crossing when you’re leaving the country.

If you lose your FMM, there is a $600 peso ($30USD) cost to replace it, and some paperwork you’ll need to fill out before you can leave the country. If you’re flying home, plan to arrive at the airport about one hour earlier than you normally would to do the paperwork and pay the fine.

As this question doesn’t have a yes/no answer (I wish it did!), I do my best to answer it in depth in this article, Is Mexico Safe: 25 Mexico Travel Tips You Need. However, for the most part, Mexico is actually statistically quite safe for all travelers — including solo travelers! Check my Solo Female Mexico Travel page for more info.

Mexico solo travel guides

Mexico is a big country, and it has plenty of amazing solo female travel destinations — like the ones featured in this article, Mexico Solo Travel: 20 Safe Destinations for Female Travelers. In it, you’ll get recommendations of places to visit in Mexico, from solo travelers who have actually been to them.

🎧 solo travel podcasts

• Ep. 34 | Planning your first Mexico solo trip
• Ep. 40 | Tips for safe solo travel in Mexico
• Ep. 53 | 30 Solo female travel tips, Pt. 1

To answer the question, Is it safe to drive in Mexico?YES, it’s considered safe to rent a car and drive in Mexico. As the country is quite large, road trips are a great way to see a lot in a little time, and especially popular in the Yucatan Peninsula and Baja California Peninsula.

The one caveat to Mexico driving safety is that you’ll be in a foreign country, unfamiliar with their laws and customs. Head here for a complete guide to Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know, where you’ll also get 10 useful Mexico driving tips!

🚙💨 Looking for the best Mexico car rental company? Discover Cars works with both local Mexican companies and international companies to get you the best rates. Not only do I recommend them — I also use them!

Find Your Rental Car

As a general rule, you’ll want to know at least a few words of Spanish when visiting anywhere in Mexico. This is both a sign of respect, and will also help you have a better, smoother trip.

If you stick to the more touristic places in Mexico, you should be fine with basic Spanish. For those planning to venture off the beaten path, be advised most people in pueblos (small towns) speak little to no English.

Here are some options:

  • Brush up on your Spanish: Use a language-learning program like Rocket Spanish, so you’re confident, and conversational, before your trip.
  • Download the Google Translate App: For this to work at all times, you’ll need a Mexico SIM card with data — as the app won’t work when you’re off-WiFi.
  • Travel with a Mexico phrasebook: This Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook is an Amazon best seller, and a great non-digital language assistant!
  • Save the infographic below as an image on your phone. This way, you have access to these common words, phrases and questions even when you’re off-WiFi.
List of useful spanish words and phrases