Tulum, Mexico is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique cultural experience that celebrates Afro-Mexican history and heritage. The region is known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. There are also ancient Mayan ruins that share a glimpse into Mexico’s Indigenous roots and pre-Columbian past. Tulum hosts several events that showcases its culture and celebrates diversity through culinary traditions, natural resources and authentic communities.
- Best time to travel: May to September (shoulder season), October to November (off-season), December to April (peak season)
- Time zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)
- Noteworthy: Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival (February to March), Tulum Art With Me Festival (June), Tulum’s International Film Festival (August), Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (November)
- Best for: Solo Trip, Eco-Adventure, Couples Trip, Family Trip, Friends Trip
Play: Things To Do In Tulum, Mexico
Tulum Ruins, Turtles in Akumal and Cenote Tour
Travelers can learn and have fun at this delightful three-in-one Tulum Ruins, Turtles in Akumal, and Cenote Tour. They will start the day by exploring the Tulum archaeological site. A local tour guide will share the history of the coastal ruins with a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization.
After the tour, travelers will go to Turtle Bay to dive into an underwater adventure. Participants will be swimming with vibrant coral, tropical fish and sea turtles. Then, visitors will enjoy some rejuvenation in the naturally beautiful freshwater cenote. The day ends with an authentic Mexican buffet lunch.
Mexican Cooking from Scratch and Mezcal Tasting in a Local Home
Take a journey through Mexico’s culinary history with this experience. This intimate tour teaches guests all the flavors and ingredients in Aztec, Mayan and Mexican cuisine. This activity is unique because of the warm local host, three course meal and the backdrop of the Yucatan jungle.
Guests will have the opportunity to savor mezcal the traditional way, alongside national wine and beer. The menu guests will prepare includes homemade salsa and tortillas. They will use ancient Mexican cooking techniques and fresh local ingredients.
ATV Cenote and Zipline Sacred Jungle Expedition
Embark on an exhilarating adventure with an ATV Cenote and Zipline Sacred Jungle Expedition. This five hour tour sends guests into the Yucatan wilderness on a personal ATV. After enjoying the natural beauty of Tulum’s landscape, visitors ascend the treetops and soaring through the air on a zipline. The last stop invites travelers to take a refreshing dip in the natural underground pool or cenote. It is unique to this Mexican region.
Tulum Local Walking Food Tour
Led by a local guide, this tour promises hotspots beyond the tourist areas. Particpiants will try a plethora of traditional dishes and popular snacks, ranging from mouthwatering tacos to savory tamales.
With Tulum’s rich Indigenous heritage, there’s a lot to learn about the history of the local cuisine. The local restaurant waiters and staff often share valuable tips to get the most out of any stay in Tulum.
Mayan Clay Spa
Every traveler deserves a moment to indulge in the ultimate rejuvenation experience at the Mayan Clay Spa. Nestled between two beautiful natural settings, this unique sanctuary offers healing body care treatments and therapies to relax and detoxify. There are four amazing treatments to choose from to suit anyone’s needs.
For the ultimate indulgence, experience a two hour full-body Mayan clay massage using the spa’s luxurious mayan clay and honey. It also comes with a specialized face and hair treatment. The session concludes with a warm shower, a full body application of natural oils and a soothing back massage.
Gourmet: Best Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico
Panna e Cioccolato
Italian ex-pat David Grimaldi owns Panna e Cioccolato. This charming establishment is a must visit for those who love all things gelato and sweet treats. The tiny storefront is adorned with cartoon characters and automotive-themed advertisements that draw in crowds every day.
From the comforting taste of Gingerbread to the refreshing infusion of local fruits, each flavor base is smooth and delightful. There are 20 daily flavors showcased in front of the functional Chocolate studio. There are also an assortment of novelties, such as Alfajore cookies and a chocolate-dipped and pistachio-encrusted ice cream taco. Panna e Cioccolato has friendly service and outdoor seating that creates a welcoming atmosphere in Tulum.
Ferron’s Jerk Chicken Tulum
Ferron’s Jerk Chicken Tulum is where the best flavors of Jamaica come to life. Locals and foodie travelers love the the jerk pork ribs, fried jerk chicken and the creamy pasta dishes. The jerk chicken earned the best fried chicken title in Playa del Carmen.
The restaurant’s house-marinated sauce is infused with sweetness, sourness and a hint of Jamaican spices. For those seeking an extra kick, the sauce can be ordered separately to take home.
Once Tulum | Restaurant & CoWorking
Once Tulum | Restaurant & CoWorking is nestled in La Veleta and has a unique embrace of nomad culture. The restaurant offers a unique blend of delicious Mexican cuisine and a welcoming co-working space. The space makes it so that guests may never want to leave.
It is open to all community members and provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals to connect in a cozy atmosphere. This hidden gem offers great Wi-Fi for virtual work meetings and beautiful scenery to relax after the work day ends. It’s an ideal workspace for digital nomads seeking productivity and inspiration.
Che’z Cocco Tulum
This small Afro-Mexican-owned brunch restaurant not only offers mouthwatering cuisine, but also pays homage to owner Cocco Zaraté’s rich heritage. Born in Ometepec Guerrero, Zaraté hails from Costa Chica, an area known for its prominent Afro-Mexican community.
At Che’z Cocco Tulum, every aspect of the dining experience is infused with love and authenticity. From the natural local ingredients to the warm hospitality, this gem captures the essence of cultural pride. The menu includes crêpes, enchiladas, burritos and chilaquiles.
Aroma Cafe Tulum
The Aroma Cafe Tulum is nestled within the Aldea Xaan Ha Tulum Condos. From the first sip of coffee to the satisfying bites of pastries, this café offers a place to relax. It boasts a delicious brunch menu and fresh fruit smoothies.
Aroma Cafe Tulum includes Mexican chilaquiles, freshly made burritos, Motuleño eggs, french toast, pancakes and more.
Omg Snow Ice Cream Co.
Omg Snow Ice Cream Co. provides a sweet escape from the summer heat with a range of menu items. One must-try sweet treat is the Snow Ice Volcanoes. They are filled with velvety soft ice cream, tantalizing fruits, popping boba and chewy mochi. It is topped with luscious coconut foam.
There are vegan ice cream flavor options available, such as the classic Mexican Mangoccino infused with chamoy and chilito powder. For those seeking a simple refresher throughout the day, the ice cream shop also offers water, coffee and tea.
Stay: Best Places to Stay In Tulum, Mexico
Cristalida by Casa Paraiso
There’s a perfect blend of comfort, convenience and breathtaking views at Cristalida by Casa Paraiso. There’s a king-sized bed in the first bedroom and two single beds in the second one. Guests seeking relaxation will wake up to a serene garden and resort views. Digital nomads will appreciate the dedicated workspace.
There’s a full range of amenities including a well-equipped kitchen, and a washer and dryer unit. Guests can unwind with exercise equipment and a 45″ television. Those are perfect companions after a long day of exhilarating excursions. There’s also a Pack ’n Play travel crib for families with little ones visiting Tulum.
Jungle Vibe Hut with Outdoor Bath
This Jungle Vibe Hut with Outdoor Bath is the ultimate natural vacation haven for travelers seeking an unforgettable trip. Nestled within a private jungle oasis, this open-layout hut offers an immersive experience.
The six private cabins exude rustic charm with natural and locally-sourced materials, handcrafted furniture and unique decor. There’s a spacious king-size bed, along with a private hot water bathroom stocked with organic products. Guests can stay connected with WiFi, savor Nespresso coffee and enjoy their own snacks with the mini-fridge. The private patio and hammock are meant for lazy afternoons. Beach towels also are provided for any seaside adventures.
King-Sized Cozy Loft
This King-Sized Cozy Loft is situated in the peaceful Harmony area, which is five minutes from downtown Tulum. The amenities make the stay comfortable and enjoyable. There’s a complimentary concierge service that can help plan activities in and around the Tulum area. Guests also have free access to common areas, such as the pool, BBQ area and a washer and dryer.
This exclusive development has eight apartments, so the stay is a private experience. The owners also include two free bikes for the guests to explore the area at their leisure.
Jungle Eco Treehouse
Jungle Eco Treehouse is nestled on the edge of the Mayan jungle and within walking distance of cenotes. This private and eco-friendly treehouse offers glamping comfort. It features a king-size bed, private bathroom and high-speed fan.
It is also a short drive from some of Tulum’s most pristine white sand beaches. The secluded retreat allows you to be close to nature, while still having easy access to town. This stay allows guests to fall asleep gazing at the stars and wake up to the sounds of the jungle. With minimal environmental impact and daily cleaning protocols, it’s also the perfect getaway for eco-conscious travelers seeking adventure and tranquility.
Get Away: Getting To and Around Tulum, Mexico
Since Tulum does not have its own airport, the closest major airport is Cancun International Airport. Upon arrival, travelers will proceed through immigration and customs to collect any checked luggage. The peak tourist season has higher prices and more crowds. However, the shoulder season has a good balance of great weather and low costs with minimal crowds. Flight availability and prices fluctuate throughout the year, so don’t hesitate to contact a travel agent to help with booking.
The best way to get to Tulum by car is by driving along the coastal highway after landing in Cancun. The road is well-maintained and gives stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Once in Tulum, travelers can get around by car with the help of several car rental agencies.
Renting a car gives travelers the freedom plan their own day according to how they feel. It leaves room for both a jam-packed itinerary and some spontaneity. Keep in mind that parking in Tulum can be a bit challenging. Research which places offer parking before embarking on that journey.
By Public Transit
Tulum has public transit from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. ADO is the main bus company in the region and offers frequent services to Tulum.
Once in Tulum, getting around is easiest with a taxi service or colectivo, which is a shared van or minibus. These options are affordable and convenient. Colectivos run along the main road between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Travelers should make sure to research which route to take and what companies work best for personal itineraries.
There are also bike and scooter rentals available to help navigate the small and walkable city.
Explore Tulum, Mexico on Foot
Exploring Tulum on foot is one of the best ways to fully experience its charm and beauty. There are colorful murals, quaint shops and delicious eateries to enjoy around the town center. Travelers can take a stroll down Tulum’s beach road. There, they will be exposed to breathtaking views. They will also have easy access to several beach clubs and cenotes.
The ancient Mayan ruins are a must-see experience. They are located on the edge of the sea and offer a unique perspective on the area’s history and culture. Be sure to know which comfortable shoes work best on the various terrain.