In ancient times, Tulum was a place to visit as trading and ceremonies were held here to honor the gods and to keep commerce with cities from the entire Mesoamerican world.
Today Tulum is still one important stop for the modern explorer, not only because of its majestic buildings by the sea, but also because of its great location in the Peninsula, not too far from all important Maya sites and cities and in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Staying in Tulum
No matter if you are a conservative traveler or an adventurous one, Tulum can offer many different options for you to stay and to do, whether you need a top of the list accommodation or just a cozy hut next to the beach, Hotels in Tulum vary in price and style, you can find air conditioned and TV, or candles and sandy floor, the choice is yours. Hammocks will be hanging from the walls in all of them.
There are also a few hostels in town with private or shared rooms but these are located in the downtown area a few kilometers from the beach, prices here can vary a lot but normally in the range of the $12 to $30 USD per night.
Staying downtown or by the beach means that you will need to get transportation to move around, you can find taxis all over and they work 24/7 but this can get expensive at the end as each ride is at least $40 pesos. There are options, a little van going every day to Punta Allen, a beautiful fisherman village at the other end of Sian Ka’an natural reserve, this van runs all the way down the beach area and it’s a cheap way to get to the beach from downtown, but it only does the trip once a day so you need to be on time and ready to get it back on its way to Tulum on the afternoon.
Renting a bicycle may be a good idea too, they are around $10USD a day and the town is bike friendly, flat roads all over and places to luck up your bike everywhere.
If you feel like renting a car or a scooter, take advantage of the freedom it provides and explore the attractions nearby like Coba’ or the many Cenotes (from the Mayan word “Dznot” meaning abyss and the entrance to the underworld) these are natural sinkholes connected by underground rivers, some of them can be explored.
The Biosphere of Sian Kaán, is a natural reserve, the name means “Born from the Sky” In Mayan language. The Sian Kaan reserve is a magical place, characterized by its bio-diversity: jungle, marsh, mangrove lagoons, shallow bays and an extraordinary coral reef. This natural reserve is famous for its numerous cenotes, its hidden Mayan ruins and its only inhabited place, Punta Allen, a small village of lobster fishermen. This coastal zone was declared a national park in 1986 and since 1987; it has been part of the U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage Program.
There are high quality tour companies that can offer these and other activities like the Whale shark adventure, swim with them as they pass by in their annual migration trough the oceans, snorkeling and much more.
If you like the adventure of camping and finding your own path, you will find some options to camp near the ocean, even if you don’t have a tent or camping equipment, some of these lodges will offer tents to use as well, some of them around the $10USD per night. You can also do the activities without booking a tour but you will have to find your way there. From renting a bike to renting a van or a boat ride is possible in Tulum and nearby.
Getting to Tulum is fairly simple. From Cancun´s international airport, a shuttle to Playa del Carmen is available almost every half an hour, once in Playa you will find the vans to Tulum on 2nd street and 20th they also run very often from Playa to Tulum and back till midnight. The first ride starts very early in the morning.
If you rent a car at the airport you will have to take road 307 south and that’s it, keep driving for 163Km and you there. You will find clear signals and roads are ok to drive day or night.
You can catch a bus to go to the nearby sites of Chichen Itza and Cobá as well to the town of Bacalar, Playa del Carmen, Mahaual, Cancun, etc. the bus station is located on the main avenue and runs 24/7.
Food and Drinks
Eating, drinking and dancing are easy to find in Tulum, whether on the beach or in a restaurant downtown, Italian, Mexican, Mayan, French, Japanese, Arab, Indian and many other cuisine styles are available in town, some of the places on the beach will have live or dance music and party can go on for hours.
To find these spots all you need to do is take a night walk on the beach and where you see the lights, the fire, and hear the music, that’s where the party is. Don´t forget, always ask the locals for the tonight’s party or event in town.
There are two grocery stores in town, this are always needful if you are camping or if you just like to cook a meal or two,these are located in the downtown area and their inventory is fairly good, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, pharmacy, hardware and more is available.
Other services such as Doctor, Bank, Real State and more are available in town.
Tulum is a vibrant town with a whole lot of history and things to do and see, the hospitality of its people and the beauty of its natural heritage will fulfill everyone’s expectations, whether you spend a day or a month in Tulum.