Tulum, Mexico is located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, about a 45 minutes drive south of Playa del Carmen and 90 minutes south of Cancun. The Mayan ruins of Tulum along with its pristine white sand beaches and eco chic beach resorts draw tourist from all over the world. Expect a good mix of couples on vacation and young singles looking to party and enjoy the beach. Tulum can be broken into 3 areas; Tulum beach, Tulum ruins and Tulum Pueblo.
Tulum beaches are like no other with their stunning white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and beautiful boutique hotels and cabanas. The scene has become trendier over the past 10 years or so, but Tulum has managed to avoid ecological problems that have haunted some of the larger towns to the north. Along Tulum’s beach you can find hip boutique style hotels and spas as well as a number of more affordable beach front cabanas. If you just walk the beach and pop-in and ask about rates you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at some and shocked at others. Most of the cabanas at Tulum do not provide electricity after midnight which can add to the charm of the place, but it may not be for everyone.
The Mayan ruins of Tulum are located just off the beach on the north end of Tulum. The Tulum ruins draw a lot of one-day visitors who come specifically to see the archeological site. The main road leading to the ruins are lined with several restaurants, a handful of mid-range hotels and a commercial area where vendors sell souvenirs and handcrafts.
Referred as “El Pueblo” by the locals, this flourishing area is split by highway 307. West of the highway is where most of the locals live. Also in El Pueblo you’ll find Tulum’s bus station; stores; groceries; internet cafes; tour operators; yoga classes; many hotels and hostels; international, seafood and Mexican restaurants; plus a new Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School. Vacation rentals are available here and at a lower rate than right on the beach. There is a new hike and bike trail that runs about 3k out to the beach and bicycle rentals are available by the day or week. There is a fun nightlife in El Pueblo that is worth checking out, some places offering live music.
The best way to get between the 3 areas is by taxi. The taxis aren't expensive and the roads between the 3 areas of Tulum are good if you have rented a car.
The weather in Tulum is sub-tropical and is warm all year around. The average temperature between November and March is 79F/27C. During the summer is much warmer, April to September the average temperature is 96F/35C. The winter months Mid September to November is 66F/19C and also see the most rain fall. See the Travel Resources section of this guide for more detailed Tulum weather averages.
How to get to Tulum
Getting to Tulum is not difficult considering its somewhat remote location. Fly into the Cancun Airport and take a taxi, collectivo bus or rent a car and drive south 90 minutes on highway 307.
Things to do in
Obviously the beach is a big draw at Tulum, and there are plenty of different scenes, offered by the various beach clubs, restaurants hotels that line the beach. Walk the beach and find a vibe that works for you. The crowd at Tulum seems to lean more towards Europeans and tourists from Mexico City who are quite liberal. Although there is no officially sanctioned Tulum nude beach, clothing is often optional at certain parts. Just remember to use sunscreen.
Scuba Diving Tulum
There are plenty options for snorkeling and scuba diving in Tulum. Several dive shops offer the ability to get your diving certificate in Tulum, which makes for a fun vacation activity. We highly recommend a Cenote dive (or snorkel) at one of the area Centoes (under ground fresh water caves). Everything can be arranged through your hotel.
The Mayan ruins of Tulum are definitely worth a visit and only cost $4 US to enter. We recommend going early to beat the crowds that start to show up around 9:00 AM.
There are various tours you can have arranged at your hotel. Popular Tulum tours are cenote tours, swimming with dolphins tours, tour of the Tulum ruins, and kayaking tours.
Downtown Tulum, or El Pueblo, is great for a beak from the beach and a good way to experience a little of the local flavor. There’s plenty of shopping, local restaurants, fresh fruit stands and cafés. There are also a couple banks where you can use your ATM card.
Nightlife in Tulum ranges from the very mellow hippy scene to the hip dance party on the beach. Mezzanine offers the later and often ships in European DJ’s to spin late into the night. In El Pueblo we recommend Habana Café for some Latin beats and excellent drinks.
Xel-Ha – An aqua park located about 30 minutes north of Tulum. Swim with dolphin, snorkel, rent a boat all in a very controlled tourist environment.
Tulum Beach Huts
Cabanas la Conchita – Great cabanas right on the beach, eco friendly, clean and nice staff. Electricity is on form 6AM to 6PM. Located: 5 Km, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila.
Santa Fe – Cheapest place to stay on the beach. Camping available. Located on the northern most point of the Hotel Zone.
Lo Nuestro – Mexican style hotle located in El Pueblo.
List of Tulum Hotels
Playa Kin Ha
Rancho Playa Azul
Piedra del Sol
Casita del Mar
Casa Cosmo Shiva
La Nueva Vida de Ramiro
El Viejo y El Mar
Villa la Vida
Tulum Average Temperature by Month:
Tulum Weather January: Average temperature 75F/24C
Tulum Weather February: Average temperature 75F/24C
Tulum Weather March: Average temperature 77F/25C
Tulum Weather April: Average temperature 79F/26C
Tulum Weather May: Average temperature 82F/28C
Tulum Weather June: Average temperature 82F/28C
Tulum Weather July: Average temperature 82F/28C
Tulum Weather August: Average temperature 82F/28C
Tulum Weather September: Average temperature 82F/28C
Tulum Weather October: Average temperature 81F/27C
Tulum Weather November: Average temperature 79F/26C
Tulum Weather December: Average temperature 75F/24C
Tulum Average Rainfall by Month
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
70mm 53mm 37mm 45mm 108mm 187mm 130mm 146mm 220mm 202mm 102mm 92mm
7 Days 6 Days 4 Days 3 Days 7 Days 12 Days 12 Days 13 Days 15 Days 14 Days 8 Days 8 Days