I spent my last day of 2016 in Tulum, Mexico celebrating the new year and let me tell you it may have been the best New Years ever! Cheers to 2017!! Tulum has quickly become the hottest destination in the last two years and I can see why. With warm Caribbean clear blue water, amazing food and lush greenery everywhere you turn it truly felt like paradise.
Tulum is a very small town in the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is roughly 2 hours south of Cancun. I spent a total of 3 days in Tulum and it was not enough! I’m still dreaming about the clear blue waters and already want to go back! If you have plans to visit, here is an ultimate travel guide to Tulum, Mexico.
- No direct flights to Tulum. You will fly into Cancun and will need to either rent a car, book a private shuttle or use public transportation. Here’s a great post on how to get to Tulum from Cancun.
- Always have cash! ATMs have high fees and many of them were broken when we tried to use them. Most places do not accept credit card!
- U.S. Dollars are accepted at many restaurants and shops
- I used tour guides for adventures and taxi’s but you may want to rent a car if you like exploring on your own
- Best time to go is from October-December as weather is still nice but hotel prices are low
- I had my share of mosquito bites so don’t forget to bring Insect Repellent!
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of amazing hotel options but I highly suggest choosing one along the hotel zone with beach front cabanas! You will not regret it one bit! I stayed at Rosa del Viento and loved the beautiful property. It is the last hotel on the main road which is a bit farther but we felt secluded and was mostly away from crowds. There are plenty of taxi’s so you will not have an issue getting around. Tulum is also bike friendly so you can always rent a bike at the hotel and explore the town.
WHAT TO DO
Swim in cenotes – Cenotes are natural swimming holes that are worth a visit when in Tulum! The water is not cold as you would think, the water is extremely clear and if you’re a dive enthusiast, exploring the cenotes is a magical experience! You can explore them on your own by purchasing entrance fees which are only a few pesos. I opted for a tour with Adventure Tour Center where snorkeled and I visited 3 cenotes in 4 hours: Gran Cenote (top rated cenote), Cenote Calavera & Casa Cenote. A few other cenotes closest to Tulum include Cenote Zazil-ha & Cenote Dos Ojos (top rated cenote).
Visit the Tulum Ruins – I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of photos of the Tulum ruins perched on high cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea so this is a no brainer. I suggest visiting this site on your own, you don’t need a tour guide. We spent roughly 20 minutes to walk the entire place.
Travel Tip: Go early!! We arrived around 10am and it was already getting crowded so I suggest going between 8-9am. Don’t forget to bring pesos for the entrance fee and a taxi ride is roughly 200 pesos
Party at a beach club – Papaya Playa Project has a great beach club which is great for anyone looking to party on the beach.
Watch a sunrise or sunset – When you have a beach as your backyard you need to watch a sunrise or sunset!
Walk along the beach and explore other hotels – All of the beach front hotels are connected so you are able to walk for miles and explore other hotels!
Kitesurfing – You will see plenty of people kitesurfing and if you’re into this I suggest trying it. It looked like a lot of fun!
Relax and enjoy paradise – There is nothing better then relaxing on a beach and of course on a hammock.
Go swimming with Whale Sharks – This is something I’ve always wanted to do!
If you have a few extra days you may want to spend time in Bacalar, a small town 3 hours from Tulum or Playa del Carmen which is an hour.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Posada Margherita – Obsessed with this place! They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they have the freshest seafood/pasta and juices! The owners take great pride in the look and feel of the place and it really shows! The beach front restaurant serves for a great view for any meal.
Hartwood – Probably my favorite meal in Tulum. It’s very popular so make sure you make reservations for dinner.
Gitano – Come here for mezcal drinks and delicious dinner under the stars and live music and sometimes they even have live performances!
Raw Love – Best organic raw food and smoothie bowls (think Acai bowls). It is located inside Ahau Hotel.
Shop my Tulum favorites:
Have you been to Tulum? Tell me what you loved most about it below!