Tulum Travel Guide - Traveling to Tulum Tips

Tulum Travel Guide: Insider Tips for Traveling to Tulum

Tulum, Mexico has surely graced your Instagram feed by now.  In recent years, this sleepy Mexican beach town has exploded into an international vacation hotspot.  Known for its white sand beaches, boho-chic aesthetic, and party scene, Tulum is nothing short of paradise.

If you’ve set your vacation desires on Tulum, you’re in luck!  I’ve been visiting this destination for more than 10 years, with friends, family, and even solo to compile this Tulum travel guide.  Read on for all the info you need to plan an epic trip to Tulum, Mexico: where to stay, top beaches and things to do, what to pack and more.

Sian Kaan Biosphere - things to do in Tulum

 In this Complete Tulum Travel Guide | Traveling to Tulum

Where is Tulum | When to Visit | How to Get To Tulum | Where to Stay | Best Areas in Tulum | Tulum Pueblo | Tulum Centro Hotels | La Veleta Hotels | Aldea Zama Hotels | North Tulum Beach Hotels | Middle Tulum Beach Hotels | South Tulum Beach Hotels | Tulum Beach Clubs | Best Tulum Beaches | Sian Ka’an Beaches | Things to Do in Tulum | Tulum Ruins | Tulum Cenotes | Tulum Restaurants | Wellness Activities | Chichen Itza & Coba Ruins | Instagram Spots | Packing Tips | Weather | Travel During COVID | Is Tulum Safe

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Tulum, Mexico Travel Basics

  • Closest Airport: Cancun International Airport, or CUN. Search Cancun flights
  • Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN or MX$); currently the exchange rate is around 1 USD to 20 MXN
  • Language: Spanish, although English is commonly spoken at resorts and in tourist areas. Additionally, there are many indigenous languages spoken throughout Mexico including Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • Visas: For tourism stays up to 90 days, most travelers do not need a visa. This includes the U.S., Canada, U.K., and many other countries. Find more information here.
  • Time Zone: EST (GMT-5) Check local time
  • Electricity: In Mexico, power plugs and sockets are North American type A and B. The standard voltage is 127 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Where is Tulum, Mexico?

Tulum is located in the state of Quintana Roo along a gorgeous stretch of Mexico coastline known as the Riviera Maya.  Tulum is about 2 hours south of Cancun on the east side of the Yucatan Peninsula, facing the Caribbean Sea.

When to Visit Tulum

  • For the best weather: Busy season in Tulum sees the best weather, from November until April.  March – April have the most sunny days and temperate daytime and nighttime temps.
  • For the best prices and fewer crowds: Tulum’s rainy season begins in June and lasts through September.  Note that this is also hurricane season in the Caribbean, although it’s not common for hurricanes to strike the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • For the best balance: The shoulder seasons of April – May and October – early November are my favorite times to visit.
  • For peak season: Late November – January including the Christmas and New Year holidays is peak season, along with Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter).
  • For festivals:  Riviera Maya Jazz Fest in late November, Zamna Festival in December – January, Day Zero Festival in January

Top Tulum Sights

Don’t miss visiting the Tulum ruins, swimming in a freshwater cenote, and sipping mojitos with your toes in the sand at one of the many beach bars.  After dark, head out to Tulum’s full moon events and party scene. More later in the guide on the best things to do!

How to Get to Tulum, Mexico

Cancun is the closest airport to Tulum, with direct flights from many cities in the U.S. and the region.  From there, you can take a bus, rent a car, or book a private car or shuttle service to get you to Tulum. From the bus station in Tulum, you’ll likely need to grab a taxi to your hotel or vacation rental.

Buy bus tickets  |  Search Cancun car rentals  |  Book a Cancun-Tulum airport transfer

Pro Tip: Arrive Early to Cancun

I recommend booking your flight to arrive in Cancun as early in the day as possible, preferably by noon.  After arrival, it could take an hour or more to clear immigration and customs. Then it will be at least another 2 hours of transit time from Cancun Airport to Tulum.  Especially if this is your first visit to Tulum, it helps to arrive during daylight hours.

How to Get to Tulum Mexico

Driving to Tulum

To get to the beach hotels of Tulum, head south from Cancun on Highway 307 to Tulum town.  Then turn left on Avenida Coba (Highway 15) toward the coast.  From there, you can either turn left onto the North Beach Road (Carretera Tulum- Boca Paila) for more remote Tulum hotels, or go south to the main hotel zone on the Beach Road South. 

The entire two-lane Tulum Beach Road is only about 6.5 miles (10.5km), starting from the Tulum Ruins in the north to the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the south.  Hotel addresses are denoted by their distance marker on the Beach Road.

How to Get Around in Tulum

For most travelers, I recommend not renting a car to visit Tulum, especially if staying in a beach hotel.  Traffic can be slow on the two-lane beach road.  Parking is also at a premium here.

The easiest way to get around Tulum is by walking or biking.  You can rent bikes, or some hotels have them available for guests to use.  One thing to note is that there are no street lights along the beach road, so bring along a light or plan to take taxis at night.

If you stay at a hotel in town or the main beach hotel zone, it’s possible to walk to restaurants.   

You can also take taxis, use Uber, or book local tours to get to sights like the Tulum ruins, Sian Ka’an Biosphere, or cenotes.

But if you’re a very independent traveler and want to take day trips in the area, you might want to rent a car to be able to explore at your own pace.  

Where to Stay in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum has two main areas where you can stay: Tulum Pueblo (Town) and Tulum Playa (Beach).  In general, it’s much cheaper to stay in town, where you can still find cute boutique hotels and Airbnbs at budget prices.

In Tulum Playa, there is a quieter area on the North Beach Road close to the ruins.  The main hotel zone is located on the South Beach Road.

Tulum’s beaches and beach zone hotels and restaurants are accessible via a 2-lane road that follows the coast, just outside of Tulum town.  Along that path, there are several different beaches where you can stay or hang for the day at a beach club.

Pro Tulum Tip: Addresses Along the Beach Road

Along the beach road, hotels and restaurants are usually designated by their mile marker starting from km 1 at the ruins down to around km 11 at the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

Areas to Stay in Tulum + Top Tulum Hotels

Deciding where to stay in Tulum can be confusing, particularly for your first visit! I recommend reading about the different options of areas and deciding on one that fits your travel plans and budget. From there, you can narrow it down to a specific hotel or Airbnb.

There are also some options of close Tulum all-inclusive resorts, although only Kore Tulum is located directly on Tulum beach.

Tulum Pueblo (Town): Budget & Midrange Stays, with a few luxury options

Tulum Pueblo includes city and jungle stays a 10-15 minute taxi or car ride from the beaches of Tulum. The downtown Tulum area is for travelers who want to be close to the action of Tulum, without being on top of it.  

Also, this part of Tulum is better connected to the power grid, so expect 24-hour air conditioning to be available in most hotels

There are several areas to stay here.

Tulum Centro

Tulum Centro is the downtown area of Tulum, full of bars, restaurants, and clubs. This is the heart of the city with many authentic restaurants in walking distance.  To stay in this area, you’ll find budget hotels and rentals, as well as a few upscale options.  Many hotels here have an outdoor pool.

Where to stay in Centro (downtown Tulum):

La Veleta

La Veleta is a new neighborhood west of Centro.  Because there is a lot of new construction and development, expect more noise here during the day. This area is about 15 minutes biking to the Centro, and about an hour to the beach.  But hotel prices are lower as a result, and there are trendy yoga studios and restaurants in this area. It’s also close to two beautiful cenotes, Cristal and Escondido.

Where to stay in La Veleta:

Aldea Zama

Aldea Zama is a new luxury development in between the Pueblo and the Beach.  Here you’ll find many condos, rentals and luxury homes.  It’s along the cycling path that connects the beach and town, making it a convenient base for your Tulum trip.  There are a few budget and midrange boutique hotels here, as well as restaurants.  For nightlife, though, you’ll need to head to town or the beach.

Playa Paraiso - best beach in Tulum

Tulum Beach Hotel Zone | Mid-range to Luxury Stays

This area is located on the Tulum Beach Road, or Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, which begins at the Tulum ruins and follows the beach 11km to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere before continuing down the coast to Punta Allen. This is the place to stay for travelers who want a classic Tulum experience, with restaurants, shops, and beach clubs within walking or biking distance. 

Tulum’s beach area is not as well-connected to services. Expect limited hours of electricity or AC at some budget and mid-range hotels.

You’ll find hotels and vacation rentals on both sides of the Beach Road, with less expensive options on the jungle side.  Hotels and restaurants here are usually noted by their mile marker rather than an address. There are also private vacation rentals along the beach road.

Check my top hotel recommendations by beach area. Note that the “budget” stays I’m including below are equivalent to mid-range stays in town.

North Tulum Beach 

The north section of the Tulum Beach Road begins at the Tulum Ruins and continues down to around KM 4, where it intersects with the road to the Pueblo (Avenida Coba) at the tourist police station.  This is the quietest area of the beach zone, and reminds me of old-school Tulum when I first started visiting.

In this area you’ll find two of the best Tulum beaches, Playa Paraiso and Playa Pescadores, as well as a few hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs.

Where to stay in Tulum Beach North:

Pro Tulum Tip: Check Your Hotel’s Location on A Map

There are luxury hotels north of the Tulum ruins that include Tulum in their names.  But there is no road along the coast here; you must drive from Tankah or Soliman Bay to Tulum Pueblo, then on to the Tulum beaches.  For this reason, if you plan on hanging at Tulum beach clubs and restaurants, I recommend staying in Tulum.

Middle Tulum Beach | Restaurants, Beach Bars + Party Zone

The central section of the Tulum Beach area is home to a popular group of hotels, restaurants, shops, and beach clubs.  It extends from around km 4 to km 8.  There are several classic Tulum stays here, like Habitas, Zamas, Azulik, and the Papaya Playa Project, which hosts famous beach parties every Saturday night.  

Small sections of the beach here are rocky, but most hotels have a soft, sandy beachfront. Many beach clubs in the middle beach are known for parties that don’t stop until well after midnight, so be sure to read reviews and choose a hotel in a location that fits your sleep schedule!

Several of the best restaurants in Tulum are in this area, including Arca, Hartwood, Gitano, Bagatelle, and Casa Jaguar.  There are also low-key places like Mateos and Tunich.

Where to Stay in Tulum Middle Beach:

Tulum Travel Guide - sunset in Tulum

South Tulum Beach 

The South Tulum Beach zone is a little more low-key than the party atmosphere of the middle beach, and gets quieter the farther south you go.  It’s still within walking distance to great restaurants, beach clubs, and nightlife, but you’ll find more yoga studios and wellness retreats.  

The stretch of quieter, sandy beach here makes it the best area to stay for families.  It’s also a choice location for a honeymoon, as many of the best hotels in Tulum are located here.

Where to stay in Tulum Beach South:

Sian Ka’an Vacation Rentals

It’s actually possible to stay within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a UNESCO-protected reserve south of Tulum’s beach hotel zone. Best reached with a rental SUV, these are more remote villas that provide a stunning setting and Eco-chic luxury.

Pro Tulum Tip: Stay on The Beach if You Can

Tulum is one of the few destinations I’ve visited where beachfront hotels are truly beachfront!  From most, it’s just moments from your room or cabana to the beach.  If it’s within your budget, I recommend staying at a beachfront hotel just to have the “classic” Tulum experience.

Tulum Beach Clubs Vs. Staying at a Beach Hotel

One consideration for visiting Tulum and choosing a hotel is how much time you want to spend on the beach. If you stay at a beach hotel, you’ll automatically have easy access to the beach. Most beachfront hotels also have a restaurant, beach club, or area for guests to lounge.

It’s generally cheaper to stay in town, then either bike or take taxis to get to the beach.  Once there, you can hang for the day at a beach club or a restaurant that offers beachfront service.  If you want to use the club’s facilities, you’ll pay a fee to use a beach lounger for the day, or agree to a minimum food and drink spend.

While beachfront hotels can be more expensive, paying daily beach club fees can add up too.

Tulum Ruins Beach - Playa Ruinas

Best Tulum, Mexico Beaches

Tulum’s beaches are world famous.  Starting from the ruins, these are all of the “named” beaches along the Tulum Beach Road.  I’ve listed info on each plus beach clubs you can visit for the day.

Playa Ruinas | Tulum Ruins Beach

Playa Ruinas is, as you might have guessed from the name, the beach located at the Tulum Ruins.  To get here, you’ll descend a set of steps down from the ruins; this beach usually isn’t accessible from the main beaches of Tulum.  This beach can get a little crowded with visitors that come on day trips from Cancun and other cities.  If you want to visit the ruins, come early or late in the day to avoid the crowds.

Tulum Beaches on the Beach Road North

Tulum’s North Beaches beaches are less-developed than those along the South Beach Road and have a much chiller vibe.  If visiting for the day, it’s easier to find parking.  Be sure to bring cash (Mexican dollars) to pay, since some of the smaller beach clubs and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.

Playa Santa Fe

Located just south of the ruins, this small public beach has a beach club and two hotels (Hotel Santa Fe and Zazil Kin).  Santa Fe is an extremely low-key beach

  • Beach clubs at Playa Santa Fe: Santa Fe Tulum Beach Club, Beach Club ZZK (at Zazil-Kin Hotel), Coral Azul Restaurant & Beach Club 

Playa Pescadores

Named “Fisherman’s Beach,” this small stretch of beach is where local fishermen bring in their catch.  There are several beach clubs, glamping and hotel options nearby including one of my favorites, Villa Pescadores.  It’s a popular spot for booking boat tours for snorkeling or to Akumal to swim with turtles.

  • Beach clubs at Playa Pescadores: Villa Pescadores Beach Club

Playa Paraiso

Just south of Pescadores lies Playa Paraiso, or “Paradise Beach.”  Playa Paraiso is the best beach in Tulum, with swaying palm trees, soft sands, and clear turquoise water.  There are several hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs so you never have to leave if you dont’ want to! 

  • Beach clubs at Playa Paraiso: Maia Restaurant, Gitano

Playa las Palmas

Another picturesque beach but less busy, Las Palmas is the beach adjacent to hotel Poc-Na, located just south of Playa Paraiso.  It’s famous for palm trees that stretch low over the beach, making it an Insta-worthy Tulum stop.

Tulum Guide - Tulum Beaches

Tulum Middle and South Beaches

Playa Mirador | Sunrise Beach

Around km 6, this rocky section of the coastline is a popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset.  You can also have a sunset drink at the hotels near here, Zamas and El Pez, or at Mateo’s restaurant.  There is parking along the road in certain sections adjacent to Playa Mirador.

More Tulum South Beaches

The other beaches along Tulum’s South Beach Road don’t really have specific names – it’s mainly one long stretch of beach with more closely-packed hotels. Parking is at a premium in this area unless you’re staying at one of the hotels or using a beach club for the day.

The easiest way to get to these beach clubs is by bike, taxi, or colectivo (shared van). Some of the clubs here are quite exclusive and reservations are required.

  • Beach clubs here: Papaya Playa Project, Ziggy Beach, La Zebra, Coco Tulum, Ahau Tulum, Mia Restaurant & Beach Club.  

Sian Ka’an Beaches

At the end of the Tulum beach zone lies the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage protected site.  Within the biosphere are pristine white-sand beaches to explore along with the flora, fauna, and marine life of the reserve.  

The best way to see Sian Ka’an is with a day trip tour.  There are private luxury homes inside the biosphere that might not take kindly to visitors.  Plus a guide can help you find the best beaches. 

To visit Sian Ka’an, it’s easiest to join a tour – here are my best picks:

Sargassum Seaweed on Tulum Beaches

In recent years, there have been outbreaks of sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic beaches of Central America, including Tulum and the Riviera Maya.  Most hotels have staff clear their beachfront throughout the day.  Check out webcams in the region here; conditions can change from day to day.

Tulum Mexico Mayan Ruins

More Things to do in Tulum

If you get tired of lazing on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, there are other Tulum activities and sights to explore.

Tulum Ruins

One must-do activity in Tulum is visiting its Mayan ruins.  Perched at the edge of a high cliff, the remains of this ancient Mayan city offer sweeping views of the turquoise Caribbean waters and white sands below.  I recommend visiting in the early morning to beat the heat of the day and avoid the crowds.

Surviving ceremonial buildings at Tulum include the main temple overlooking the sea, called El Castillo.  You can’t climb the ruins here, but you can hire a Mayan guide onsite to make the most of your visit.

Tulum is a must-see Mexico ruins site, because of its dramatic location and spectacular views.  You can also swim on the private beach, accessible by a long staircase from the cliff, and relax with enormous iguanas that live on the site! 

the best things to do in Tulum - swim in a cenote

Cool Off in a Cenote

Cenotes are fresh water-filled sinkholes found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula that form when limestone bedrock collapses.  Today they’re the perfect place to cool off on a hot day!  But the ancient Maya made offerings to the gods at cenotes, believing that they were portals to the underworld.

There are thousands of cenotes in the region, but some of the most popular and easiest to reach from Tulum are:

  • Gran Cenote: large system with crystal clear blue water set in the lush jungle, located just a mile outside Tulum town center.
  • Cenote Calavera: located on QR 109, this open cenote is more off-the-beaten path and is perfect for jumping and swimming.
  • Cenote Aktun (Carwash): one of my favorites, it’s also located on the road to Coba.  its cave sections are popular with divers, although there is also a rope swing and it has beautiful underwater plants that make dreamy photos
  • Cenote Zacil-Ha: an open cenote located just past Cenote Carwash, it has a zipline and platforms for jumping, as well as hammocks for lounging.
  • Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido: located in La Veleta as you head out of Tulum Pueblo, these cenotes have one entrance fee but are located on opposite sides of the road.  Both are picturesque pools with clear water set in the jungle.
  • Cenote Encantado: located on the beach road at km 10 near the entrance to Sian Ka’an, this is the easiest cenote to reach from Tulum’s beach hotel zone.
  • Cenote Dos Ojos: located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this is one of the best cavern cenotes for diving in the area.
  • Kaan Luum Lagoon: Located outside Tulum, the Kaan Luum Lagoon is a hidden gem with a secret! This shallow lagoon has a deep cenote at its center. It’s perfect for swimming, lounging in hammocks over the water, and paddleboarding or kayaking.

Short on time?  Book a tour to visit three of the most popular Tulum cenotes

Tulum’s Restaurant Scene

Thanks to its international profile, the restaurants of Tulum attract chefs from around the world. 

  • Restaurants in the Tulum Beach South hotel zone: check out Hartwood, Arca, RosaNegra, and Gitano for modern Mayan plates, wood-fired fare, and the iconic Tulum candle-lit jungle ambiance.  
  • On the Beach Road North: check out Moro at Habitas and the restaurant at Mi Amor Hotel. 
  • In Downtown Tulum: Tulum Pueblo is full of up-and-coming restaurants for everything from breakfast bowls to tacos and fine dining.  Check out Matcha Mama, Taqueria Honorio, Antiojos La Chiapaneca, Verdant, and Burrito Amor.

Food Tours and Cooking Classes

Foodies will want to explore Tulum’s authentic through cooking classes. I always recommend taking cooking classes when you travel, as a way to connect more with the local culture. For solo adventurers, it’s also a great way to meet other travelers. Check out these options with great reviews and online booking:

Wellness experiences: De-Stress and Detox in Tulum

Tulum is known as a destination for yoga and wellness, with many hotels offering retreats, massages, and spas to help you disconnect and recharge.  Hotels like Amansala, Ahau, Shambala Petit, Nomade, Habitas, Maya Tulum, and Holistika offer yoga classes and retreats.

If you’re looking for a unique local experience, consider a temazcal, or Mexican sweat lodge ceremony.  Ask at hotels Delek, Maya Tulum, Casa Violeta, or the Yaan Wellness Center.  Or take a tour that combines a visit to the Tulum and Coba ruins with a temazcal.

For spa treatments, massages, crystal therapy, and more, Tulum has a wealth of options to help you center your mind and body.  Check out Encantada hotel, Kaze Therapy Center, Mayan Clay Spa, Yaan Wellness Energy Healing Spa, and Sanaprana Tulum. 

Chichen Itza - Mayan Ruins day trip

Vist More Mayan Ruins at Coba or Chichen Itza

Explore more Mayan ruins at Coba or the iconic Chichen Itza.  Coba is a large site, and you can climb the ruins for views over the jungle.  Many tours to these sites also include a stop at nearby cenotes to cool off; Cenote Ik-Kil near Chichen Itza is one of the most well-known cenotes.

Snap some Insta-Worthy photos

Tulum’s boutique hotels, stylish restaurants, and stunning beaches are perfect for some stunning photos.  Punch up your Instagram feed or get a personalized photo shoot with a local Tulum photographer during your stay.

Tulum Instagram Spots

Be sure to visit Ven La Luz & popular Tulum photo spots to make everyone back home jealous! 

Here are some of the most popular Tulum Instagram spots you won’t want to miss: the “Follow that Dream” sign at km 8.5, Matcha Mama, I Scream, Mia Beach Restaurant, the “climbable” palm trees at Playa Paraiso, Casa Malca hotel, beach bar swings at Coco Tulum, and Nomade hotel.  

Also, don’t miss the Ven La Luz sculpture by Daniel Popper at the Ahau hotel and the SFER IK museums at the Azulik hotel.

Photo shoots

In Tulum, you can hire a photographer to help you get ahhh-mazing photos (way better than selfies!) in local spots:

Explore Tulum Via Bicycle

Tulum’s Beach Road is only two lanes, and traffic jams are common here during high season.  One of the easiest ways to get around is by bicycle!  Many hotels either lend them to guests or you can rent them.

To bike the 5-6 miles from the main beach zone to town or vice versa, it takes about 20-25 minutes. 

Tulum Travel Guide - Traveling to Tulum Tips

More Tulum Travel Tips | Tulum Travel Guide

What to Pack for Tulum

Tulum is a relaxed destination, so you won’t need the formal clothes prescribed by some Riviera Maya all-inclusive resorts.  It is a stunning setting for photos, though, so pack with that in mind. 

I recommend dresses or jumpsuits (polos and khakis/nice shorts for guys) for upscale restaurants and nights out.   Casual dresses, rompers, or shorts and tees work great for around town.  Bring at least two cute bathing suits (one to wear, and one to dry) as well as cover-ups, caftans, or maxi dresses for the beach.  

If you travel in the winter months, or chill easily, bring along a light cardigan or denim jacket.

Leave the heels at home for this trip!  Tulum’s roads are uneven, and many restaurants and clubs are right on the beach anyway.  Pack flip flops and pretty sandals.  (Or wedges, if you must!)

For visiting the ruins, definitely bring your bathing suit, sunscreen, and a hat.  I always bring a pair of hiking sandals for hot-weather destinations – they’re great for general hiking, give traction on slippery surfaces, and you can even swim in them.

Other Tulum packing must-haves:

  • Insect repellant or wipes: Do not underestimate how hungry the mosquitos in Tulum are!  Bring a spray with DEET, or wipes are handy for traveling carry-on only.
  • Tissue packs: when traveling, you might encounter a restroom without toilet paper.  Oh, and septic systems in Mexico generally aren’t made to handle toilet paper. Instead, place it in the small trash can next to the toilet.
  • A water bottle: the tap water isn’t safe to drink in Mexico, so you’ll want to bring a water bottle that you can refill or one with a built-in filter.

Weather in Tulum

Tulum has a tropical climate with warm weather year round.  Temperatures here average 75-90 degrees F (23-32 C) throughout the year.

For the best weather, visit from December to April for warm, sunny days with little rain.  June begins Tulum’s hot, rainy season; this is also hurricane season, which continues until late September.  

Cash and Credit in Tulum

The currency in Mexico is the peso (abbreviated MXN, MX$, or just $).  If you’re not sure, just ask if the price is in US or Mexican dollars.  The current exchange rate at the time of writing this is around 1 USD to 20 MXN.

Small shops and restaurants in Tulum might not accept credit cards, so always plan on having cash.  Some places will accept U.S. dollars; it’s better to pay in pesos, though, to avoid being overcharged.  To make sure tips go to the person providing service, I tip in cash whenever possible, even at upscale restaurants.

There are ATMs available in Tulum.  There is also one after you exit Customs in the Cancun Airport, located right by the restrooms.  I always recommend exchanging some dollars or getting a small amount of local cash out right away at the start of a trip.

Tipping in Tulum

Known as la propina, a tip in Mexico is customary and appreciated in return for good service. In Tulum restaurants, 10-20% of the total bill is expected. 

In hotels, I leave $20MXN to $100MXN (the equivalent of $1-5 USD, depending on hotel class) per day for maid service; I always tip daily for the best service, and because staff schedules rotate. It’s also common to tip 10 pesos for porters, taxi drivers, and gas station attendants.

For resort staff and valet parking attendants, 10-20 pesos is a common tip (hang on to your 20 peso bills!). Other situations when you might tip a few pesos: informal “car watchers” at public lots, washroom attendants who hand you toilet paper and keep the facility clean. Tips go directly to local workers; please don’t neglect this meaningful gesture in your travel budget.

Mexico Travel During COVID

A test or vaccine is not required to enter Mexico, and a required entry health form was discontinued in January 2022.

For return travel to the U.S., a COVID test is required.  Many hotels will arrange this.  Or, I have been traveling using an FDA-approved self-test that includes an online telehealth monitor.  Order them before you go and get more info at Optum Store

Travel Insurance for Mexico

Consider buying travel insurance in case you get sick during your trip or if you’re traveling during hurricane season.  Be sure to read the exclusions on your policy, like motirized water sports, as well as the fine print to be sure it applies to your trip, situation, and timeframe.

Safety in Tulum

Is Tulum safe?  Tulum is actually safer than many places in Mexico and the United States!  In recent years, as Tulum became a “party scene,” tourism increased dramatically. This has led to an uptick in crime in the region, but it has also led to an uptick of reporting on that crime. 

In reality, more than 6 million tourists visited Cancun and the Riviera Maya in 2021, and all but a handful experienced a peaceful vacation.

I travel in Mexico solo and with my friends and family, and I feel safe traveling there. I always plan ahead, prioritize safety, and trust my instincts. But each traveler must weigh the risk and reward of any travel destination for themselves.

For more information, check out travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State and consider registering for their STEP Traveler Enrollment Program.

For more general travel advice, check out my Mexico travel tips.

Ready to Head to Tulum?

I hope you have all the information you need to plan a trip to this dream beach destination.  Get ready for turquoise waters, soft white sand beaches, and a totally relaxing vacation!  But if you get tired of that, don’t forget my tips on the best things to do, like visiting Mayan ruins, experiencing the local food scene, and jumping into crystal clear cenotes.

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