NYC Photographer, Blogger, Author and Travel Expert Sher shares the basics of a Tulum Trip, in a must-read if you’re planning to visit this trendy tourist destination in the Mexican Caribbean….
Tulum is famous for its soft, white sandy beaches and laid back vibe. There are actually two parts to Tulum: the original sleepy town that has now boomed with restaurants, scuba shops and affordable hotels, and the beach strip. You might hear locals refer to the town as pueblo and the beach as playa. The two are roughly 5km apart and easy to get between via cab or bike. The best hotels and restaurants are located on the beach but if you want authentic Mexico food, head into town.
WEATHER IN TULUM AND BEST TIMES TO GO
The best time to travel to Tulum is in during Mexico’s dry season from December to April. Expect higher prices and crowds. Rainy season starts in Tulum around June and lasts until roughly October. Weather wise, it’s pretty much a flat, windless 80 degrees all year.
We went to Tulum in mid December and the beaches were fantastic – I didn’t experience any of the seaweed issues that some friends had mentioned. The weather was extremely hot, about 90 degrees every day and I definitely got a deep tan.
I would recommend budgeting 3 to 4 days in Tulum. This is enough time to see the ruins, do a day trip or two if you want to and still have plenty of time to relax on the beach and sample the best restaurants.
WHERE TO STAY IN TULUM: HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION
The high end resorts are located on Tulum beach, a long north to south strip of land with the best beach access. You actually have to walk through a hotel property in order to get to the beach as there aren’t public access points from the main road. The best beaches (and the nicer, luxury Tulum hotels) are further south as the farther south, the beaches are smoother with less seaweed.
Best luxury hotels on Tulum Beach:
Dreams Tulum | When I first arrived, every cab driver thought I was headed to Dreams Tulum as this is the luxury hotel in the area. Dreams Tulum is a luxury all inclusive with its own spa and views of the Tulum ruins along with scuba diving, amazing rooms and family friendly activities for the kids. Note: it’s not located on the beach strip.
Check rates on Hotels.com | Booking.com | Read reviews on TripAdvisor
Be Tulum | A five star resort at the end of the Tulum Beach strip and definitely very ‘sceney’. Even if you don’t stay here, come around sunset for cocktails, sit at the bar swings and enjoy the atmosphere.
Best Eco Friendly Resorts in Tulum:
Eco resorts are quite popular in Tulum and all of these hotels are stunning. Design wise, they blend high end materials with the surrounding beach & jungle for a “glam rustic” vibe. These are the most popular accommodation to stay in Tulum at the moment!
But, if you are the type to want strong wifi, 24 hour electricity and hot running water, eco-hotels are probably not for you. They do try to protect the environment after all ha!
Papaya Playa Project | Rustic and minimalist, the property is made up of cabins facing the beach. Book the cabanas for private patios that open up right on the water.
Best Tulum Budget Hotels:
For budget friendly options, head into Tulum town. Prices are cheaper, rooms are clean and you can always head to the beach on your own!
Ginger Tulum Hotel | Located right in Tulum town between the main strip and the bus station, each room is slightly different. Comfortable, modern decor, free breakfast and wifi.
Azura Boutique Hotel | Near the edge of downtown and a quick short ride from the beach. Free internet, comfortable rooms and an all around solid budget option.
GETTING AROUND TULUM
Bikes and cycling around Tulum | If you’re staying on Tulum beach, you can get around to the different hotels and fancy restaurants by either walking or renting a bike. The bicycles for rent are simple, older bikes and make for a great workout!
If you want authentic tacos al pastor which I highly recommend, you’ll need to head into Tulum central, the actual town. It’s about a 20 minute car ride north east of Tulum beach.
Cabs in Tulum and approximate costs | Depending on where you are on the long strip of Tulum beach, a cab ride will cost anywhere from 70 to 150 pesos. Make sure to negotiate and settle on the price before you get in, although prices are generally set. Here are some rough guidelines for how much a cab will cost from central Tulum to the beach.
Top of Tulum beach (around Papaya Playa Project hotel) – 70 mexican pesos
Middle of Tulum beach (around Hartwood) – 90 – 120 mexican pesos
End of Tulum beach (around Be Tulum hotel) – 150 mexican pesos.
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