KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
WHEN TO GO: Any time! There is tropical weather year round. Hurricane season is annually from June through October. Make sure to buy trip insurance if planning a trip during this time.
RESTAURANTS: Posado Margherta, Nomade, Mateo’s Mexican Grill, Kitchen Table, Hartwood, Raw Love, Matcha Mama
CASH: Many restaurants and activities in the area like cenotes only accept cash. Make sure to have pesos handy! We always recommend withdrawing from an ATM once arriving in your destination in lieu of exchanging money at the airport. The exchange rate will be better and more in your favor. Double check with your bank on their withdrawal policies before you leave to help uncover any associated fees that may be charged to you.
TRANSPORTATION: We highly recommend renting a car. Tulum is an hour and half to two hours south of the Cancun airport. A rental car gives you the flexibility to travel around the Yucatan Peninsula and visit places like Chichen Itza and Vallalodid. Airport transportation can also be arranged by your hotel. Once in Tulum, bikes are a great way to get around Tulum as well!
POINTS OF INTEREST: Tulum Beach, Beach Road, Gran Cenote, Vallalodid, Chichen Itza, Tulum Ruins, Cenote Oxman
GUIDE TO TULUM
Tulum is an eclectic foodie paradise located an hour and a half south of Cancun, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. Often called the “new Bali”, Tulum has quickly become a hot spot for travel. Our post covers where to stay, where to eat and what to do for your trip to Tulum.
WHERE TO STAY:
Tulum is made up of two sections: Tulum town and the beach road. While only a few miles apart on the map, it can take 20 to 30 minutes by car to get between the two as the beach road is very narrow and crowded.
Kasa Hotel Parota Tulum was located in a more residential area between downtown and the beach. We really enjoyed our stay here especially with the apartment style suites! Check out our blog post on Kasa Hotel Parota Tulum for more information.
WHERE TO EAT:
Tulum is a foodie paradise! Every meal seemed better than the last with fresh healthy ingredients and mouth watering flavor. There seems to be an endless list of restaurants to try but with only a week, we had to narrow our list down.
Let’s start with restaurants that were pretty kid friendly. Mateo’s Mexican Grill is a great option for lunch or dinner. With a causal sports bar vibe, it makes for a relaxed atmosphere for fresh tacos and delicious margaritas.
Posada Margherita makes their pasta in house daily and cooks their delicious pizzas in a wood burning oven. The mediterranean theme restaurant was a personal favorite!
Another personal favorite is Nomade. Nomade is a beautiful resort and fun to explore all food aside! But their Moroccan themed restaurant should not be missed. If traveling with kids, dine for lunch versus dinner.
If you are in the mood for smoothies or fresh fruit bowls, plan for a stop at Matcha Mama or Raw Love. Not only do these places have delicious food and vegan options, they are both great spots to snap a photo as well! The entrance to Raw Love located on beach road is where you will find the Instagram famous sculpture and Matcha Mama is known for its swings and brightly colored signs.
Other dining options great for the whole family, Clan Destino is a burger bar located on its own cenote tucked off of beach road. Easy spot for kids and adults alike! If wandering the streets of downtown Tulum, El Milagrito offers up decent tacos but the street side entertainment of local performers makes this worth the stop.
WHAT TO DO:
If you are looking for activities outside of laying poolside, Tulum has got you covered! Check out these recommended stops while visiting Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula.
One of the most unique things to do in Tulum is swim in one of the many cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes are a natural sinkhole resulting from the collapse of bedrock which exposes groundwater found in the Yucatán Peninsula. The Gran Cenote is the closest to downtown Tulum but some of the most unique cenotes like Cenote Oxman are located around an hour and a half away.
Check out our blog post devoted completely to exploring cenotes in and around Tulum for more information on hours, pricing and which ones to visit.
Any history buffs? The Maya civilization ruled this area over a century ago and left their mark on the peninsula with their grand cities and temples still standing today. Satisfy your thirst for knowledge by visiting one of the many surrounding Maya archiological sights in the area: Chichen Itza, Tulum Archaeological Site or Coba Ruins.
And of course, the beach! The white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters are a big draw to visitors. Relax in the sand at one of the many beach clubs located up and down beach road or find a local spot past the tourist destinations.
Per Mexican law, the beach is free and open to everyone; however, beach clubs make this less obvious with their high entrance price. You will need to pay a beach club to use their facilities, chairs and umbrellas, but it is free to walk the beach and enjoy the sand.
Sea weed can be an issue for the area. During certain times of the year, sea weed can wash up on shore by the boat loads and pile up on the sand. The late spring and summer (starting in May) seem to be the worst time of year for this. Some resorts scrape the beach in front of their property but it is a fight against nature! We found the further down beach road you traveled, the less sea weed there is on the beach.
EXPLORE BEACH ROAD
Beach road is a destination in itself! Interesting art installations, bright colored murals, unique restaurant and beach club architecture line the narrow paved road running the length of the beach in Tulum. Fun places to check out along beach road include I Scream Bar, Vagalume Beach Club and walkway, Raw Love Sculpture, Matcha Mama swings, the grounds of Nomade, Follow that Dream road sign and Sfer Ik Museum.
DAY TRIP TO VALLADOLID
Valladolid is a city bursting with color, charm and history located in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula. Around an hour and a half from Tulum, Valladolid is an easy day trip with so much to do in the surrounding area. Walk the colorful city streets and stroll through the main square, Plaza e Parque Francisco Canton, centered in front of Cathedral de San Servasio
There are beautiful cenotes surrounding Valladolid. Cenote Oxman is a deep open air cenote (resembling a large water well) with beautiful tree roots cascading down the walls and a rope swing for a grand entrance into the water. Cenote Dznitnup and Cenote Chukum are open local cenote options with similar physical characteristics to Oxman. Suytun Cenote is another option near Valladolid which features the rock platform in the center of the cenote (made famous by Instagram!) If you in interested in a cave cenote with stalactites hanging from the ceiling, check out Cenote Xkeken.
For more information on a day trip to Valladolid, check out our blog post devoted to this recommended day excursion.
The activity list is seemingly endless for this area! Take a day trip to the beautiful islands of Cozumel or Isla Mujeres. Check out Xel Ha or Laguna Kaan Luum for more epic swimming spots.
Enjoy your time in Tulum, Mexico!