Where to Stay in Tulum? – The Only Guide You Need to The Best Areas to Stay in Tulum
Are you looking for where to stay in Tulum? Tulum is the ultimate bohemian paradise, where cafes, beach clubs and hotels are not just buildings but unique pieces of art. It also boasts some incredible beaches, and experiencing them is by far one of the best things to do in Tulum. Imagine soft, white sand under your feet, swaying lush palms and perfectly turquoise water gently lapping against the shore. Yes, this is the ultimate paradise you’re about to experience!
Whether you have a busy Tulum Itinerary planned out or all you want is to lounge on the beach and relax, this guide to the best areas to stay in Tulum will help you decide on where to stay.
This post is divided into three main sections. In the first section, you’ll find out about the very best places to stay in Tulum on the beach, the second talks about affordable places to stay in Tulum and in the third section, I review some cool alternative places to stay near Tulum.
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Quick Tulum Travel Guide
✈️ Browse for cheap flights with Expedia
🚕 Book your private transfer Cancun to Tulum
🚗 Need a car? Use Discover Cars for the best deals
🏨 Where to stay in Tulum?
Tulum Beach Best Hotel – La Valise Tulum (boutique)
Tulum Beach Budget Hotel – Ikal Tulum Hotel
Tulum Town – Xperience Tulum Hotel (affordable)
🛕 Best Chichen Itza Tour From Tulum
Private Chichen Itza + Cenote Suytun & Samula
⛵️ Best Tulum Day Trips
Tulum Ruins + Reef Snorkelling + Cenotes & Caves
Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon + Rio Lagartos
ATV Tulum + Ziplining + Cenote Swim
Isla Mujeres from Tulum by Catamaran + Open Bar
Where to Stay in Tulum Summary
If you don’t have the time to read the whole post, check out the table below, which outlines the best areas to stay in Tulum and why. The main dilemma, in this case, is where to stay in Tulum beach or town. I won’t lie, nothing compares to staying by the beach if you only have the budget for it.
The most beautiful and best location to stay in Tulum is the chic Tulum Beach (section #2 & #3), which boasts some of the best luxury hotels in Tulum, fancy beach clubs and plenty of fantastic restaurants.
If you’re after the best affordable places to stay in Tulum on the beach, choose the northern public beaches (section #3).
For the best places to stay in Tulum on a budget, check out Tulum Pueblo (section #4). And, for the best places to stay in Tulum all inclusive, consider the more remote northern beaches.
|Where?||Why Stay There?||Best Hotel||More Hotels|
|Tulum Beach South||Best place to stay in Tulum||La Valise Tulum||More Hotels|
|Tulum Beach Centre||Unique hotels||Papaya Playa Project||More Hotels|
|Tulum Public Beaches||Affordable beach hotels||Ikal Tulum Hotel||More Hotels|
|Tulum Town||Cheap accommodation||Xperience Tulum Hotel||More Hotels|
|Aldea Zama||Hipster neighbourhood||Jade Tulum||More Hotels|
|North of Tulum||All-inclusive resorts||Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya||More Hotels|
Tulum Where to Stay Map
Best Areas to Stay in Tulum
This section will answer the question,” Where is the best place to stay in Tulum Mexico”.
#1 Tulum Beach South – The Best Area to Stay in Tulum
What’s considered to be the Tulum Beach area starts at the bottom of the Avenida Coba, which is the main road that connects Tulum town and the beach, and continues for more than 5 km south along the coast, almost all the way to Sina Kaan Reserve. Getting around Tulum Beach South will largely depend on where you decide to stay. Unless you stay in one of the very remote southern hotels, a lot of the restaurants and bars will be within walking distance for you.
Tulum beach strip is also known as Tulum Hotel Zone, or in Spanish – Tulum Zona Hotelera. Here, you’ll find all the best Tulum boutique hotels with picturesque bohemian design and luxury services. All the best places to stay in Tulum beach feature an exclusive, private beach for their guests, which is probably the best perk of staying on Tulum Beach. Zona Hotelera is super famous for its gorgeous soft, white sand framed by lush palm trees and turquoise sea.
However, if you’re not a hotel guest, it will, unfortunately, be difficult to access this beach. Many beach clubs and hotels will charge you just to pass through their venue to access Tulum beach.
Tulum Beach South Things To Do
If you’re an avid Instagrammer, Tulum Beach is also the ultimate place for all the epic Tulum Instagram Spots, such as the famous Tulum sign – “Follow That Dream”, “Ven a La Luz”, Tulum Sculpture and Vegalume Beach Club.
Zona Hotelera is also where to stay in Tulum Mexico, for the best nightlife! Papaya Playa, Selina, Todos Santos Bar and Confessions are just a few places you can choose from for your nighttime activities in Tulum.
Tulum Beach South Best Restaurants
If you’re a foodie, you won’t be disappointed either, as Tulum Beach boasts many incredible dining options. There is Matcha Mama and Raw Love, which are excellent for a healthy breakfast and Ziggy’s, Rosa Negra and Macario and more for more substantial meals. Finally, along the Tulum Beach strip, you will also find various unique and upscale fashion and souvenir boutiques, perfect for some vacation retail therapy.
Tulum Beach South Pros & Cons
Best Beach Hotels in Tulum
La Valise – Best boutique hotel Tulum beach
Set amongst lush palm trees on the quiet private beach, La Valise features boho style, luxury jungle suites and oceanfront rooms, each uniquely decorated.
Selina – Best place to stay in Tulum for singles
Selina is the best hotel to stay in Tulum for socialising. It features private and dormitory rooms, various events and activities, coworking, yoga studios and a shared kitchen.
Casa Ganesh – Best place to stay in Tulum beach on a budget
Casa Ganesh features ten boho-style double rooms and a beach villa with a private plunge pool situated centrally on the Tulum beach strip for great value for money.
You may also like: 16 Best Tulum Hotels On The Beach | Resorts, Boutique, Villas & Hostels
#2 Tulum Beach Centre – Where to Stay in Tulum for Couples & Unique Accommodation
The central area of Tulum Beach is located at the bottom of Avenida Coba (the main road that takes you from Tulum Pueblo to the coast), with the public beaches to the west and the busy Tulum Beach strip area to the east.
If you decide to stay in this area of Tulum, you will still need some sort of transport to get to the downtown of Tulum, which is situated just under 5 km away. Unfortunately, Tulum doesn’t have any public transport, so your options are a taxi, rental car or scooter and bicycle. Tulum may not have public buses, but what it does have is a decent cycle path that allows for safe cycling between the town and the coast. So, if you want to do some working out during your vacation, go ahead and rent a bicycle.
Tulum Beach Centre is the best place to stay in Tulum for couples; quieter than Tulum Beach South but still within walking distance or a short cab ride to a range of excellent restaurants and the best Tulum nightlife spots. Here you’ll find all the best unique places to stay in Tulum. And, if you’re planning a honeymoon or celebrating a special life event, Tulum Beach Centre also has some of the best places to stay in Tulum for couples.
Tulum Beach Centre Things To Do
This Tulum area is quieter than the neighbouring Tulum Beach south. If you stay here, you can take advantage of its central location and cycle to the neighbouring Playa Paraiso or Tulum Town. If you’re a photography enthusiast, visit SFER IK, which belongs to hotel Azulik and is open to the public. SFER IK is a unique structure made of natural materials such as wood and stone, with shapes resembling plants and trees.
Tulum Beach Centre Best Restaurants
Some of the best restaurants of this area of Tulum include Gitano Beach, Itzam-na Restaurante Mexicano and Mivida.
Tulum Beach Centre Pros & Cons
Tulum Best Places to Stay for Unique Accommodation
Hotel Azulik – One of the coolest places to stay in Tulum
Azulik Tulum features unique electricity-free bamboo treehouses with outdoor beds, a clothing-optional private beach and a spa with pampering and medicinal treatments.
Papaya Playa Project – One of the most unique stays in Tulum
One of the best Tulum boutique hotels boasting super unique Tulum huts on the beach with rooftop plunge pools. It is also one of the best luxury Tulum party hotels, hosting events every Saturday.
Habitas – Best Tulum Glamping Hotel
Habitas Tulum offers eco-friendly, luxury jungle or seafront tents; some come with private pools. Guests can enjoy complimentary yoga and meditation classes, a private beach and live events.
Affordable Places to Stay in Tulum Mexico
In the previous section, you discovered all the fancy places to stay Tulum is renowned for. But, you may be asking where should I stay in Tulum for more affordable Tulum hotels. In this section, I will tell you about the three best places to stay in Tulum Mexico, for the best affordable accommodation.
#3 Tulum Beaches North – Where to Stay in Tulum Beach For Affordable Accommodation
If you’re looking for beach accommodation Tulum is so famous for, but you don’t have a huge budget, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Your best area to stay is to the north of Avenida Coba, the main road linking Tulum Pueblo with the coast.
Here, you will find all the goegeous public beaches of Tulum such as Playa Las Palmas, Playa Paraiso, Playa Pescadores and Playa Santa Fe. The public beaches are equally beautiful as Tulum Beach in the south, they boast soft white sand, swaying palm trees and a turquoise sea. You can also find here the best places to stay in Tulum Mexico on the beach that offer great value for money.
Tulum Beach North Things To Do
One of my favourite things to do on Tulum’s northern beaches is coming here for sunrise. Tulum beaches are eastward facing, and they are not the best for sunset, but if you’re okay about waking up early on your holiday, make sure you get to see at least one sunrise!
Another great thing to do in this area is visiting the Tulum ruins, which are situated very close, and it is also possible to cycle to the archaeological zone of Tulum from the beach. In this part of town, you will also find Carveceria Tulum, an excellent restaurant and a local beer brewery featuring giant, blue Tulum letters. Playa Paraiso also has another famous Instagrammable place – the crooked palm tree.
Tulum Beach North Restaurants
Coffee Shop La Carreta
Tulum Beach North Pros & Cons
Where to Stay on the Beach in Tulum on Budget
Ikal Tulum Hotel – Best place to stay in Tulum Mexico for couples
Set on Playa Paraiso, Ikal hotel features a range of beach boho-style suites, bungalows and treehouses. Some of the best ones come with a private plunge pool and ocean view.
Cinco Tulum – Best place to stay in Tulum on the beach for nature lovers
Cinco Hotel is located on Playa Las Palmas and features boho beach luxury tents set amongst the palm trees and a private beach area.
El Paraiso Hotel Tulum – Affordable hotel to stay by the beach in Tulum
This property is set on Playa Paraiso and features simple yet modern rooms, complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool.
#4 Tulum Town – Where to Stay in Tulum on a Budget
If you’re on a budget, the downtown of Tulum is where to stay in Tulum for cheap accommodation. The hotel prices differ drastically compared to Tulum hotels on the beach, and if you want a great bang for your buck and don’t mind staying away from the beach, Tulum Pueblo is for you. Tulum town is also an excellent area for a longer-term stay.
There are many advantages of staying in Tulum town, such as an excellent choice of restaurants and shops, including a proper, large supermarket where you can buy your groceries.
Tulum town is also one of the best places to stay in Tulum for singles, with a surprisingly lively nightlife scene and many excellent bars and affordable drink prices.
Tulum town is situated just over 6 km from Tulum Beach and about a similar distance to the public beaches of Tulum. The city lacks any sort of reliable public transport that would connect the city with the beaches, but there is a good cycle lane. Alternatively, you can get to the beach by taxi or rent a car or scooter. You’ll also find the ADO Bus Tulum Terminal here, which offers excellent connections with places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Bacalar and Holbox.
Tulum Pueblo Things To Do
Apart from eating your way through the excellent Tulum restaurants, shopping and enjoying the nightlife, Tulum town is conveniently located near some of Tulum’s best cenotes. Cenotes such as Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera and Cenote Escondido are located only a few kilometres away from the city centre, and a great way to visit them is by bicycle.
Tulum Town Restaurants
El Bajon Vegan Tacos
Sabor de Mar
Tulum Pueblo Pros & Cons
Best Hotels in Tulum Pueblo
Here are some of the best places where to stay in Tulum town.
Hotel Bardo – 5 Star Adults Only Hotel Tulum
Hotel Bardo, located in the western part of town features elegant boho suites with a private plunge pool and patio, a restaurant and complimentary bikes.
Hotel Blanco Tulum – One of the Best Budget Tulum Places to Stay
This adult-only hotel set in Tulum town along Avenida Coba features stylish suites with balconies and a shared pool area with a garden and a bar.
Xperience Tulum – Affordable Apartment-style Accommodation in Tulum Mexico
The property features stylish & fully equipped apartments, some of which come with a hot tub or plunge pool. Xperience also features a shared pool area and a fitness centre.
#5 Aldea Zama Tulum – Where to Stay in Tulum With Kids / Family
For those still undecided about where to stay in Tulum, Aldea Zama offers an excellent alternative. Aldea Zama is a new and exciting neighbourhood of Tulum located in the south of the city, between Tulum Pueblo and Tulum Beach.
This area of Tulum is famous for its new development featuring eco-conscious apartments, organic markets, healthy cafes and pedestrian-friendly streets with an excellent network of cycle paths. With its chilled vibe and safe streets, Aldea Zama is the best place to stay in Tulum with family.
Being away from the main tourist zone, Aldea Zama also boasts some fabulous restaurants that offer casual to fine dining at fair prices. Check the section below for a few good recommendations.
Tulum Aldea Tulum Things To Do
Aldea Zama Tulum is a small area, and the best thing to do there is trying out its fabulous restaurants. There is also a small cenote called Aldea Zama Cenote, which is a true hidden gem.
Aldea Zama Restaurants
La Barra Estelar
Safari Comedor Zama
Tulum Aldea Zamá Tulum Pros & Cons
Best Aldea Zama Apartments in Tulum Mexico
Jade Tulum – Stylish apartments with an outdoor plunge pool
Jade apartments have a fully equipped kitchen, a balcony, and a spa bath. Guests can also enjoy a shared pool, a fitness centre and a restaurant.
Suites at TreeTops Tulum – Modern apartments + shared pool
The property features modern suites with a balcony and kitchen, a luxury fitness centre and an outdoor pool.
Luxury Apartament With Private Plunge Pool – Ground Floor by Sessile
Located in Aldea Zama, the property features one- and two-bedroom modern, spacious apartments with a balcony and private pool.
Where to Stay Near Tulum?
In this section, you will find where to stay in Tulum area for the best resorts.
#6 Remote North Beaches – Where to Stay in Tulum All Inclusive
If your idea of a perfect Mexico vacation is getting spoiled in one of the all inclusive hotels in Tulum Mexico, then consider staying on one of the more remote beaches north of Tulum.
Akumal Beach Playa Kantenah, Xpu-Ha Beach and Gran Bahia Principe are some of the best places to stay near Tulum for all-inclusive resorts. Many of the resorts boast incredible facilities so that you may never need to leave the resort! And, the beaches further north of Tulum are equally gorgeous and way less busy!
Tulum Beach North Things To Do
Being based further away from Tulum doesn’t mean not having exciting things to do nearby. On the contrary, north of Tulum, you will find many incredible cenotes such as Casa Cenote, Sac Actun and Cenote Dos Ojos. The area of Akumal Bay Tulum is also famous for its rich marine life, including countless colourful species of fish and turtles and Xel-Ha Park, which is a fabulous destination for a family day trip.
Tulum Beach North Pros & Cons
Best All Inclusive Resorts in Tulum MX
O’ Tulum Boutique Hotel – One of the more affordable places to stay in Tulum with private pool
The property features rooms equipped with an in-room bathtub for a romantic evening, and some rooms come with a private plunge pool and ocean views.
Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya – Adults only all-inclusive Tulum resort
Set on the gorgeous Akumal Beach, this all-inclusive resort boasts swim-up suites, perfect for a romantic getaway.
You may also like: 13 Incredible All Inclusive Resorts in Tulum Adults Only
Tulum Trip Planing Tips
How to Get to Tulum?
Cancun Airport to Tulum
There is 118 km (or 73 miles) from Cancun to Tulum, and the most convenient way of getting from the Cancun airport to your Tulum hotel is with a private transfer.
A fantastic way of staying flexible on your vacation is, renting a car at the Cancun Aiport. I recommend pre-booking your car through a reputable car rental comparison website such as Discover Cars to avoid local scams, which are unfortunately not rare.
ADO Bus Station Tulum
Another excellent way of moving around the Yucatan Peninsula is using ADO buses, especially for travellers on a budget. ADO buses are modern, very reliable and also highly affordable. ADO offers regular bus services throughout the day on the most popular connections, such as Cancun to Tulum and Tulum to Valladolid.
It is always a good idea to book your bus ticket as soon as you fix your travel dates (I recommend 2-3 days in advance), especially on the more popular ADO bus routes.
You can either pop into the ADO Bus Stop Tulum to get your bus tickets or buy the tickets online. If you don’t owe a Mexican credit card, which is required on the ADO website, use the BookaWay site, which is a reliable international travel website.
ADO Bus Terminal Tulum location
ADO Cancun Tulum Bus
ADO Tulum to Cancun buses leave multiple times a day from the central ADO bust station in Tulum. The first departure is at 7:20, and the last is at 16:20. The earliest arrival at Cancun Aiport is at 09:15, and the latest arrival is at 18:10. If your flight is outside of these times, you will need to book a private transfer.
Ticket cost | $12 to $20 per person, each way.
Trip time | between 2 and 2.5 hours.
ADO Tulum Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is an excellent destination for a day trip from Tulum, with multiple connections running throughout the day. The first ADO bus Tulum to Playa del Carmen leaves at 8:15 in the morning and the last at 20:00.
Ticket cost | $6-$7 per person, each way.
Trip time | about 1 hour.
ADO Tulum Bacalar
If you’re planning to take the ADO Tulum to Bacalar bus, opt for the first-class service, which costs a few dollars more but will give you greater comfort during the 3-hour trip. The first ADO Tulum to Bacalar bus leaves at 9:00 in the morning, and the last departure is at 20:00.
Ticket cost | $17 to $20 per person, each way.
Trip time | about 3 hours.
ADO Tulum Merida
There are 8 ADO Tulum to Merida buses daily, and the journey takes just over 4 hours. The first ADO bus Tulum to Merida leaves at 1:50 at night, then at 8:57 approximately every two hours, with the last service at 21:27.
Ticket cost | $27 per person, each way.
Trip time | over 4 hours.
ADO Tulum Valladolid
Valladolid is also a doable destination as a day trip from Tulum. You can catch the first bus from Tulum downtown at 7:50, which will get you there well before 10 am. There are several daily connections, with buses leaving every hour until 15:00.
Ticket cost | $10 per person, each way.
Trip time | 1 hour 35 minutes.
ADO Bus Tulum to Chetumal
ADO Tulum to Chetumal buses run almost every hour; the first one leaves at 9:00 and the last at 22:55.
Ticket cost | $25 per person, each way.
Trip time | almost 4 hours.
How to Get Around in Tulum?
Tulum Car Rental
I normally only advise pre-booking car rental online during the high season, but in the case of Mexico, it is super important that you get your booking through a reputable car rental service such as Discover Cars and opt for full cover.
The car rental price, including full coverage, which I recommend, can vary from $20 to $60 per day, depending on car rental duration, whether it’s high season or not, age and origin of the driver.
You can either pick up your car at the Cancun airport or rent it out later with delivery to your hotel in Tulum. Most hotels in Tulum provide free parking.
You can also rent a scooter in downtown Tulum. Ask your hotel for a recommendation or check the nearest scooter rental shops near where you’re staying. Expect to pay 500 to 900 pesos per day ($25 – $45), and don’t forget to ask for a discount if you’re renting for more than one day. Riding a scooter around Tulum is relatively easy as the roads are wide and not too busy.
Scooters are suitable for short routes and trips that take less than one hour each way, such as Tulum downtown to Tulum Beach, Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote and Kaan Luum Lagoon. Coba, for instance, which is situated 47 km away from Tulum, is already a little too far for a motorbike trip.
Also, make sure you are a confident motorbike rider! Mexico is probably not the best place to ride a scooter for the first time!
Check if your driving licence allows you to ride a scooter and, if so, what size. This will vary depending on your country. I, for example, owe a full UK driving licence, which gives me the right to ride motorbikes and scooters up to 125cc.
Another thing to check is your insurance. Make sure your travel insurance covers you when you have an accident on the scooter. Injuring yourself on a scooter is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions for tourists abroad! Travel insurance typically covers motorbikes up to 125cc, but don’t rely on this information, and verify your own insurance contract.
Another very common mode of transport in Tulum is a bicycle. Renting a bike can be an enjoyable way of exploring Tulum Pueblo and getting to the beach from downtown while getting in some workout! If you’re super active and have the time, you can also cycle to some of the Tulum cenotes, such as Gran Cenote and Calavera. Some hotels offer free bicycle rental to their guests, but if yours doesn’t, expect to pay 200 pesos per day ($10).
Taxis in Tulum are plentiful, but the taxi drivers are notorious for overcharging tourists, so it’s entirely up to you if you want to deal with it or not. I personally use taxis as a last resort only and always, absolutely, always agree on a price before I get into the car.
What’s the Best Time to Travel to Tulum?
What’s the best month to visit Tulum? If you’re looking for perfect weather conditions, the best time to visit Tulum is the months between December and April, during the high season in Mexico. The weather between December and April is dry with low humidity and pleasant temperatures, ideal for sunbathing and swimming in the sea. However, this is also the busiest time, especially during Christmas, with the highest prices.
June, September and October are the wettest months, with the highest possibility of storms and hurricanes between August and October. As you can imagine, this is the least busy period with many hotels and attractions offering fantastic discounts.
So, what’s the best time to visit Tulum Mexico? The best month to go to Tulum is either November or May, which is just before the high season starts or right after. During these two months, Tulum is not yet as busy as during the middle of the high season, and the weather is already more stable with not much rain.
How Many Days in Tulum?
While this is always a tricky question because it depends on your travel style and how many places you want to explore, I’d say stay in Tulum for a minimum of 3 to 5 days.
3 to 5 days will give you enough time to spend on the beach and see the most famous attractions in Tulum, a few cute cafes and a couple of cenotes.
Make sure you have one full day to visit Chichen Itza, which you can combine with visiting the incredible colonial city of Valladolid Mexico.
Where Do You Fly Into For Tulum?
Does Tulum have an airport? The answer is no. Tulum does not have an airport; the nearest airport to fly to is the Cancun International Airport.
What Are the Best Day Trips from Tulum?
Some of the best day trips from Tulum include the local cenotes such as Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos, Laguna de Kaan Luum, Chichen Itza & Valladolid, Cenote Suytun, Coba ruins and the Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon.
Is Tulum Safe?
Tulum is generally safe for foreign travellers. However, there are a few things you should be aware of. Also, always check the up-to-date travel advisory before your trip.
ATMs | Only use the supervised cash points that are inside the bank.
Car rental scams | Mexico has been known for car rental scams where they either add an astronomical insurance cover to your daily rental or try to blame you for damages you’re not responsible for. Use a reputable car rental service such as Discover Cars to protect yourself from scams.
Petty theft | This problem is no different from minor theft problems experienced in big cities in Europe or the US. Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t leave your belongings unattended. Also, get travel insurance!
Drug cartels | Tulum does have a problem with drug cartels; however, you are very unlikely to be of any interest to them. Again, be aware of your surroundings and take a taxi back to the hotel if you go out at night.
Is Tulum Worth It?
That depends on your expectations and budget. Yes, Tulum has some of the most incredible beaches in the world, and you will love its hip cafes, yoga parlours and boho beach clubs. However, Tulum is also hugely overpriced, a little snobbish and has nothing to do with experiencing the real Mexico.
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