A Practical Travel Guide To Tulum, Mexico

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Tulum’s spectacular coastline and hippie-chic vibe make it one of the best destinations in Mexico. Almost every beach lover has Tulum on their bucket list. So naturally, we had to see it for ourselves! Last month, I went on a girls’ getaway to the sun-drenched Riviera Maya with Monica and Jasmine and had a five-day escape to Tulum. We experienced a mix of good, bad, and ugly – which inspired me to put together a travel guide to Tulum. If you’re considering visiting the area, read on and learn what to expect at this popular Mexico beach destination.

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Photo by Jasmine Chen

Tulum Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Tulum

Travel Guide Tulum Mexico

Table of Contents
1. Where Exactly Is Tulum?
2. How Is Tulum Different From Other Beach Towns?
3. Is Tulum Right For You?
4. How Many Days Should I Spend in Tulum?
5. When Is The Best Time To Go?
6. How To Get To Tulum, Mexico?
7. Tulum Pueblo vs Tulum Playa
8. How To Get Around Tulum
9. Things To Do In And Around Tulum
10. Best Places to Eat in Tulum
11. Best Luxury Hotels In Tulum
12. Other Advice

Where Exactly Is Tulum?

First, let’s look at a map and get an idea where Tulum is.

As you can see below, Tulum is on Mexico’s east coast – in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, to be specific.

To put into perspective, Tulum is about 2 hours from Cancun Airport and an hour from Playa del Carmen.


How Is Tulum Different From Other Beach Towns?

Located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast in Riviera Maya, Tulum boasts sugary-white sand, turquoise sea, and looming palm trees. But so do other beach towns in the area.

Why makes Tulum unique? Why are people going there instead of Playa del Carmen or Cancun?

The answer is its secluded location and boho-chic vibe.

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Because it is not-so-easy to get to, you can stroll the long stretches of beach with only a few other people sharing your little paradise. Sunshine and solitude make it the ideal destination for yoga retreats. As a result, a plethora of eco-boutique hotels, indie designer stores, farm (and sea-)to-table and vegan restaurants have sprung up. You likely won’t find this anywhere else.

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Is Tulum Right For You?

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Photo by Jasmine Chen

Tulum is a gorgeous and popular beach destination in Mexico, but it is not for everyone.

Tulum is undeniably a hotspot for Instagrammers and bloggers. Everywhere you turn, there’s a stylish, Instagram-worthy spot awaiting you. It’s truly an Instagrammer’s paradise.

But because of its increase in popularity, Tulum has also become ridiculously expensive. As luxury travelers, we want to make it clear that – it’s one thing to offer a high-end service and charge accordingly, it’s quite another to charge an outrageous price for a mediocre service. Sadly, Tulum falls into the latter category based on our experience.

To give you an idea how costly Tulum is, we paid US$300 per night to stay at a 3-star hotel on the beach. Compared to other hotels along the strip, that was at a lower end. Our room had the bare minimum – 2 beds, a bathroom, and a safe with the inclusion of beach towels, shampoo, shower gel and A/C (thank god!). That’s it. No food was included during our stay. Wi-Fi barely worked. Inconsistent hot water in the shower. Oh, and there was no hairdryer. Want to stay at a nice place? Sure, but you gotta pay more. Be prepared to see a whopping US$700, $800, or even $1000+ in price tags. And it’s not just the hotels. Taxis, restaurants, shopping work the same way.

Don’t get me wrong, we still had a great time in Tulum. Just that it’s not a destination I see myself going back anytime soon. Been there, done that. Let’s go somewhere else.

Aside from that, Tulum is also a fantastic escape from reality for those seeking for a health and wellness vacation.


How Many Days Should I Spend in Tulum?

4-5 days should be sufficient to see the town and enjoy some beach time. I would recommend 1 day on the beach, 1 day sightseeing, 1 day exploring the beach strip, and 1 day eating, drinking and shopping.

Things To Do in Riviera Maya Tulum Mexico

Match Mama in Tulum. Photo by Monica Houghton

Worried about the cost of accommodation? Consider staying at the town (pueblo) instead of the beach (playa). If you’re willing to travel 20 mins to get to the beach, the town offers much cheaper hotel and hostel options for your considerations.

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When Is The Best Time To Go?

Tulum is a tropical destination, but it has dry (December to April) and wet seasons (June to October).

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Seaweed on the beach in March

June, September, and October are the rainiest months. January to March are the busiest months, plus you might see a tremendous amount of seaweed on the shore (just like we did). July and August are hot and humid. So, the best months to visit Tulum would be during the shoulder season: May and November. It’s cheaper, less crowd, and cooler!


How To Get To Tulum, Mexico?

There are 4 ways to get to Tulum:

  • By ADO Bus: pronounced AH-DEE-O, ADO is a major Mexico bus company that operates in many cities. The buses are air-conditioned and fairly clean and comfortable. Luggage can be stowed in the bottom compartment of the buses. At Cancun International Airport, you can find ADO stand at all terminals. Buses leave every 30 or 45 mins. To get to Tulum, you will need to take a bus to Playa del Carmen first (190 pesos, no stop in between). Once you arrive at the ADO station in Playa del Carmen, you can transfer to another bus heading to Tulum (41 pesos). The whole journey takes about 2.5 hours (1.5 hr to Playa del Carmen, 1 hr to Tulum). Both tickets can be purchased together at the airport terminal.

Note: the ADO bus terminal in Tulum is located in the town (pueblo). If your hotel is on the beach (playa), you will need to get a taxi from there.

  • By Colectivo: these white shuttle vans are how the locals get from town to town. They are cheaper and smaller (holds about 10-12 people). They don’t operate on a fixed schedule. Instead, they just leave whenever the bus is filled up. You can catch a colectivo from Cancun downtown in the parking lot of “La Comercial Mexicana” on Tulum Ave. It will take you to Playa del Carmen for 30 pesos. From there, you can catch another one to Tulum (pueblo) for another 30 pesos. The colectivo will drop you anywhere along the main avenue in Tulum, just remember to tell the driver where you want to get off. From Cancun to Tulum, it takes approximately 2 hours in total.

Note: if you have large luggage, colectivo might not work as it is usually crammed with people and there’s no storage space. Usually, the driver doesn’t speak English well. You will need to speak a bit Spanish (Time to practice Espanol!).

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico


    • By Private Shuttle: If any of the above sounds too complicated or too much hassle, a private shuttle is another option. This can be arranged through the hotel or on your own. The price for a round trip ranges from USD$135-$200.
  • By Car: If you’re planning to do a lot of exploring in the Riviera Maya area, you might want to consider renting a car rather than taking a taxi all the time. It is about US$40-45 per day with full insurance. Make sure you DON’T book from third-party booking sites such as Expedia or Kayak – they often quote $5 per day and don’t fully disclose hidden costs. Book directly from the rental car company, such as Avant and Easy Way.


Tulum Pueblo vs Tulum Playa

It’s important to know that the main town of Tulum is not on the beach. Tulum is divided into 2 parts: Tulum Pueblo (town center) and Tulum Playa (beach strip).

The main town (pueblo) runs along Highway 307 and it is where the local lives. Almost everything you need is located along the main avenue, from convenient stores, pharmacies, ADO bus stations, bike rental shops, to authentic local restaurants and bars.

The beach (playa) is 15-20 mins drive from the town. If you’re looking for the pretty bohemian hotels and cute Instagram spots, this is where you want to be. The long strip runs along the coast, with hotels on the left facing the ocean, and shops and restaurants on the right.

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Tulum Beach Strip


How To Get Around Tulum

  • By Bike: There’s a nice bike path connecting the town to the beach. You can rent one for about 150 pesos a day. Make sure it comes with a lock.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are everywhere. It’s very easy to find one. From the town to the beach, it’s approximately 120-150 pesos. To get from one place to another along the beach strip, it’s about 100 pesos, but you can negotiate down to 80 pesos.
  • By Colectivo: These shared vans will take you from the town to anywhere on the beach for 15 pesos (they sometimes charge tourists 20 pesos). They can be found on the main avenue. You can also wave it down if you see one on the road, going in the same direction as you want to go. Once you hop on, tell the driver your destination.
  • By Car: as I mentioned earlier, if you’re planning to do a few day trips, consider renting a car. We spent 1000 pesos (round-trip) to go to a cenote that is 30 mins away and got into a nasty fight with the taxi driver. That’s a story I will save for another time. But seriously, if we could do this trip all over again, we would rent a car, at least for the day when we venture outside Tulum.


Things To Do In And Around Tulum

  • Visit Tulum Ruins: One of the most popular things to do in Tulum is to visit the Mayan ruins, and you don’t need to go too far to see one! Tulum Ruins is merely 10 minutes drive away from the playa. This iconic attraction of Tulum remains so popular because it’s the only Mayan city built on the coast! Entrance fee is 80 pesos. Add 70 pesos to join a tour with a professional guide.

Note: The gate opens at 8 am. Be sure to come early if you want to beat the crowds. The beach opens at 9 am. Remember to wear a swimsuit underneath your clothing if you want to take a swim in the ocean!

Things To Do in Riviera Maya Tulum Mexico

Tulum Ruins

  • Relax on the beach: There’s nothing wrong with a relaxing beach day! When you’re surrounded by turquoise waters and silky white sand, you gotta take advantage of it. Where else can you find better beaches? Spend a day lazing about in a hammock, sipping margaritas, and basking in the ocean at this tropical paradise!
  • Explore the Beach Strip: Running alongside the beaches is the long narrow paved road called Boca Paila (a.k.a. Road 15). It runs from the Tulum town all the way to Punta Allen. With so many beautiful boutiques and stylish restaurants lined the street, you will never run out of photo ops!

Pro tip: Because the shops are fairly spread out, we recommend renting a bike to explore all the quirky, chic spots!

Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

Photo by Jasmine Chen

  • Go shopping in Tulum Town: Looking to buy a straw hat, a pair of sunglasses, or souvenirs to bring home? The best place to shop is in the town, not on the beach strip. In comparison to the beach strip which is filled with expensive local designers shops, the shops in town are more budget-friendly. You can find anything from handbags to hammocks. Having said that, the rates are usually hiked up so don’t be afraid to haggle on the prices.
  • Swim in cenotes: Your trip to Tulum is not complete without a visit to a cenote. Cenotes are natural sinkholes with clear blue water, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving!The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has an estimated 12,000 cenotes, many of which are easily accessible from round Tulum. Some of the beautiful ones include Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos. If you want a more exclusive experience, check out Cenote Labnaha, which is only open for a few visitors daily.
    Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

    Dos Ojos. Photo by Jasmine Chen

You might also like this post: Gran Cenote Photography Guide

  • Take a Day Trip: Want to see more Mayan ruins? No problem! There are a few nearby, including Muyil ruins (20 mins south of Tulum, Coba ruins (45 mins away hidden deep inside the jungle), and the world-famous Chichen Itza (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’!!). Other than the ruins, Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve is also worth a visit. Located just south of Tulum, the reserve is home to a spectacular variety of exotic wildlife. You can even go boating and snorkel amongst the huge diversity of fish and corals! To go there, you will need to book a tour.

For more fun things to do in Riviera Maya, check out this post.

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Best Places to Eat in Tulum

  • Burrito Amor: If you ask the locals, they’ll tell you Burrito Amor is home to the best breakfast burritos. Their menu is paleo and vegan-friendly and offers gluten, dairy, egg-free options!
    Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

    Burrito Amor

  • Raw Love: If you’re into raw vegan food, check out Raw Love. This discreet cafe serves delicious smoothies and acai bowls that will keep you energized for the rest of the day!
    Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

    Raw Love

  • The Dining Experience Tulum: For traditional Yucatecan cuisine, book a dinner at The Dining Experience Tulum. During the 7-course dinner, the hosts will take you on a gastronomic journey across the Yucatan Peninsula. Expect a lot of laughter and interactions throughout the evening!
    Things To Do in Riviera Maya Tulum Mexico

    The Dining Experience Tulum

  • Hartwood: The most sought-after restaurant in Tulum, owned by Eric Werner and Mya Henry from New York. The restaurant is known for serving up exquisite meals using wood-fire cooking. Their menu changes daily and celebrates fresh local ingredients. If you want to dine there, you better be quick and make a reservation one month in advance.
  • Ginato: This open-air jungle bar right next to Hartwood is the perfect spot for small bites and drinks! They have a fabulous Mezcal-infused cocktail list. I highly recommended the Jungle Fever!
  • Flor de Michoacan: Popsicles, anyone? This cute tiny store is hidden on the main ave in Tulum town. In the freezer, you will find a wide variety of brightly colored fresh fruit popsicles. Grab one and beat the summer heat!
    Tulum Travel Guide Mexico

    Flor de Michoacan

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Best Luxury Hotels In Tulum

We didn’t have a great lodging experience in Tulum. But if I were to do this trip again, I would have stayed at these luxury hotels:

  • El Pez: Located in the south end of Tulum, El Pez boasts gorgeous ocean views from all their rooms. On top of that, breakfast is included with freshly brewed coffee delivered to your room daily. El Pez also guarantees 24-hour hot water, daily turndown service, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi inside the room. Sounds like a truly luxurious experience.
  • Mi Amor: This boutique hotel is beautifully designed. All the rooms are tastefully furnished and come equipped with a fully stocked mini bar, a Nespresso coffee machine, and a wireless Bluetooth speaker. Of course, toiletries and hairdryer are provided so you don’t need to worry about bringing these!
  • Azulik: Fairytales do exist! If you want to stay in a treehouse in an actual jungle, Azulik is the place to be! There’s no TV, A/C, or WiFi at the property, but you will be rewarded with amazing ocean and jungle views. Each villa is artistically and ecologically designed, with swings and private pool on the balcony!


Other Advice

    • Tipping: You are expected to tip 10% at restaurants and bars.
  • WiFi: Be ready to disconnect because WiFi connectivity is slow in Tulum. Some places don’t even get cell service.
  • Language: Practice your Spanish. Although there are many English-speaking tourists visiting Tulum, most of the locals don’t speak English. Learn some Spanish before you arrive!

This guide sums up everything you need to know about Tulum. I hope you find it helpful and informative for your planning. Have a wonderful trip to Tulum!

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43 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. These prices are indeed ridiculous-for Mexico in particular. That alone-would make this not a destination I’ll be going to. I could stay a month elsewhere in Mexico for the cost of one week in Tulum. But love your photos!

  2. I do find that the Caribbean can be as you describe with mediocre service at extreme prices. I love the Far East for value as you can get amazing value at incredible prices. That said, I visited Tulum a few years back and it really is stunning 

    • Exactly, Anne! That’s why we would rather go back to South East Asia for a tropical vacation that is much more luxurious! I have heard Tulum has changed a lot since a few years back. Too bad it has evolved into a destination like this.

  3. Interesting how expensive Tulum is and how many backpackers flock there. Those would seem to be mutually exclusive. Jenn and I have Tulum very high on our list. We want to dive the cenotes. I have always loved caving and am getting into diving. That adventure seems like the perfect combination of the two.

  4. Yes, like you said Tulum might not be for everyone. And it wasnt for me. Its not Tulum itself but more the Maya riviera area. But I must say, Tulum is not as bad as other town further up. I did like Laguna Bacalar further south. And of course, the Maya ruins, the cenotes the paletas that I could lick all day! 

  5. When I went to Cancun a few years ago, I saw several advertisements about visiting Tulum but I was like eh, it’s just another beach. However, toward the end of the trip, I saw the Tulum Ruins online and it made me regret not going there. I wished I checked it out than just immediately saying “it’s just another beach.” However, now that you mention all that cost at Tulum, it doesn’t fit my budget at all. Maybe it’s good to go with a large group or with my family but not for myself as a backpacker. Maybe one ruin in Tulum isn’t worth it considering there are Chichen Itza, cenotes and many other attractions. Have you been to Xcaret or Xei Ha? 

    I’m glad you’re being honest that Tulum isn’t the destination that you’re going back soon. Many bloggers tend to just write guides but don’t really often share what they really feel or thought about it. 

  6. I love how thorough this article is! And finally someone who actually explained what is the difference between Tulum and other tropical beaches! I think I’d go not only for the white sand but also because it’s secluded!

  7. It’s funny–I visited Tulum in 2014 and I don’t remember it being NEARLY this trendy. When we tried to book a visit back in early 2017, the prices were just insane–we ended up back in Playa del Carmen instead and were perfectly happy there. That said, you really can’t beat the views of the ruins overlooking the beaches–I’d love to see Tulum again, but we’ll see. It’s a big price tag these days!

  8. The Tulum Ruins was one of my favorite place in Mexico because I had no idea that the site has so many things to see, including a beach in the ruins that visitors could swim in! The wonderful sunshine and azure ocean was the perfect combination for a vacation and thanks for sharing so many other things to see and do there!

  9. I love your summary of secluded location and boho-chic vibe as the pluses of Tulum. I would like to add those colorful popsicles especially this summer!!!.

  10. Never been to this part of the world. But I do like the fact that Tulum offers a secluded location and boho-chic vibe. Having said that, if I can get a better experience and value for my money elsewhere (somewhere similar) then I may not pick Tulum. For those willing to splurge, Tulum might be a good pick though.

  11. I’ve been reading quite a few of your posts on Tulum. It truly seems like such an interesting place to visit. Your tips and recommendations will certainly come in quite handy for anyone who visits.

  12. Tulum has been part of my bucket list. Too bad that wifi is not good and it a deal breaker for me since I need to stay online for longer vacations. Will definitely consider visiting when I can afford to be totally of work 100%

  13. US$700, $800, or even $1000+ per night to stay is really ridiculously expensive! I appreciate sugary sandy beaches, but with the same amount of money you can enjoy much more and longer in summer in Croatia where I am come from. But, I guess there are cheaper destinations in Mexico too.
    Wonderful guide to Tulum though!

  14. I visited the ruins at Tulum with a huge crowd of like-minded explorers. The history behind it went in one ear and out the other, but I was fascinated by all the iguanas there. Then, I looked down the wooden stairs that lead to that incredible turquoise water and wished that I had more time to stay and explore the surrounding area. Next time… especially now that I have this guide!

  15. So sad that they do this to tourists, it really makes it a sour experience when they do so. I really appreciate the honesty though. The last time I went to Tulum was visiting via Cruise ship, I think that was my favorite way to visit for sure. You don’t get as much time there, but it is prob less pricey to take the cruise vs actually staying there. Thanks for your honest review!

  16. I could just have one of those popsicles right now! Tulum looks beautiful and I’m kicking myself because I could have gone. I had a very good night out in Playa del Carmen and didn’t get on the colectivo the next morning. I would love to go back and sample the beaches down there and the ruins. The food and drink selection looks great too

  17. I like to visit Mexico but Im not sure if Im willing to spend $700 a night here. Your photos are nice though.

  18. Looks like a really beautiful place. A girls getaway sounds like a fun time. Stinks that the prices have gone up though. Seems like a deterrent for me lol.

  19. Never been to Mexico. Yet.! I think USD300 for night is abominably hiigh. Maybe becasue of their private beaches or somthing like that. Tulum looks pretty and I will probably add it my list of things to do in Mexico. Thanks.

  20. Mexico has always been on my bucket list. Apart from the great spicy food I would love to see the ruins.all over the country Good to know that there are ruins that are only a 10-minute drive from Tulum. It seems that the accommodation comes with a heavy price tag though.

  21. Tulum is such a beautiful destination in Mexico! I really love the beach, I would really love to try also swimming, snorkelling, and diving in cenotes of Tulum that has a very clear water. The food looks very delicious also and I really love that Boho vibe of the beach! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing this detailed post.

  22. Someone recently suggested we head to Mexico after we are done touring America. I thought I would be going to Tulum first, but not if they are price gouging. Too bad too because it does look like a great place to get pictures. Maybe I will visit in the future after they bring the prices down a little.

  23. Your insights are invaluable in setting expectations for traveling to Tulum, especially in relation to the expense. And, I can’t believe your room didn’t at least have a hair dryer! The boho chic appeal is definitely calling to me though.

  24. I am so pinning this for future use! I’ve been wanting to get down to Tulum for quite a while now. It’s not only beautiful, super hippieish but also a vegan food mecca.

  25. My friends keep telling me how beautiful Tulum is but also super expensive. Considering it’s in Mexico, it is a tad too expensive. However, the place looks gorgeous from your article. I might want to visit it until someone is paying for my visit 😛

  26. Tulum is a very stunning place! I want to experience to swim in one of Tulum’s beaches and eat local home best burrito. Go shopping souvenirs in the town and buy some brightly colored fresh fruit Popsicle. Really want to grab one and beat the summer heat! That is so refreshing! Thank you for your wonderful post.

  27. Yes, I totally agree, Tulum is an amazing place to visit.I must say that you should spend all your vacations there. Beaches, spa treatment, tasty dishes are always there to make you happy.
    Enjoy your tour in Tulum!!!!

  28. Great write up! But with reading some of the comments, most people seem to be hung up on the price. It is possible to do Tulum on a smaller budget. There are plenty of places in town that is very reasonable, and if you hunt you CAN find beach deals. We booked a hut for $70 Canadian a night that include free bikes and breakfast. More than I’d usually spend, but better than 300 usd! There is no A/C, but in December, and with the ocean breeze, that is no issue. (although maybe not suggested in the summer.)

    We are also spending a night in an all inclusive hostel near the tulum ruins for $100 cad – private room – 2 people for the price. All food, booze, a daily tour, and bikes included in the price. Decent rooms surprisingly too. It is easy to fall prey to the ridiculous luxury prices, but I would hate for people to not visit because they think that is the only option. Although if people are looking for resort luxury I wouldn’t look in Tulum. The same experience can be achieved much less in other areas.

  29. Tulum does have a lot going for it but it’s shocking to hear how expensive it’s become. I loved the small town of Isla Mujeres and then Cozumel for diving. Not as Instagrammable or hip, I guess but still authentic.

  30. I’ve been to Tulum but it’s been a long time and was way before my blogging days (read: before I had any photography skills whatsoever). I will say that the last time I went to Mexico (Cancun in 2013), I felt that it was a bit expensive and the service was mediocre and I was at an all-inclusive! The wifi was awful like yours. What-you had no hair dryer? Really, wow! I remember the ruins (Tulum and Chichen) but didn’t see any cenotes and I wish I had gotten to do this. Matcha Mama looks really cool and I. Must. Have. Those. Popsicles.!!! One thing I do like about visiting Mexico the few times that I have is that they don’t speak English and I love going places I can practice my Spanish!

  31. Verrrry interesting, and thank you SO much for sharing such an honest opinion! Honestly, great article, but I will probably NOT go to Tulum after reading it haha! It sounds great in theory with the natural paradise, cenotes, beach, instagrammable scenes, and wellness focus. But WAY too expensive for the value you are getting, and it definitely sounds overtouristed. I will have to find somewhere else in Mexico to visit!

  32. I’ve wanted to go but every time I look at the prices I close the browser. They seem way out of perspective and I fear overrated. I want to find the next Tulum with the same features at 1/3 the price! I am so thankful for this post, it is honest and insightful!

  33. The more I hear about Tulum, the more I feel it is a place I could only visit via a cruise. I am hearing more and more tourists that have been there and stayed solely in Tulum, felt very ripped off upon leaving. I’m glad you spelled out a sort of self-guided tour to help save a little money for the sub-par accommodations.

  34. Tulum is actually a gorgeous beach, when I was there I decided it as the prettiest one in the area. However that was before it hit its stride in insta-popularity. wow $300 for a 3 star hotel, what a crazy price hike! I would probably be staying in playa, and bussing in to Tulum, for the day. That way I could enjoy the beach and luxury with out the…luxury price ahaha. 

  35. Thanks for your honesty about Tulum. To be candid, it makes me sad hearing about what’s happened to Tulum. We visited in 1999 and could actually climb up on the Mayan ruins. People seemed to be more respectful and reverent of Tulum then, before the days of IG and social media. When I read about things like where to get the best IG photos in Tulum, it makes me cringe. I remember reading an article in NY Mag a few years ago about how Tulum has become the new “Williamsburg” because it’s so trendy and all of the NYC elite were flocking there. It’s just so different twenty years later after our visit. That being said, you do have a good guide to the Tulum of 2018.

  36. Wow! I had no idea Tulum was such an expensive place to stay! I’ve only been there as a day excursion from a cruise and am glad that I didn’t have to pay for a room there. I loved wandering around and enjoyed seeing all the iguana. The ruins were pretty, but I have to admit that the history was lost on me. I just liked looking at them. And looking down at the beach — which I didn’t have a chance to go to. I wish I had! The water looked amazing!

  37. This article makes me a little sad because, although the beach is very boho/trendy/expensive, staying in town can knock hundreds or thousands of dollars off the pricetag and make Tulum very, very doable. I’ve been to Tulum twice (3rd trip coming up in a week) and have always stayed in AirBnb’s with really no problem. We bike/taxi to the beach (30 minute bike, more of a 10 minute drive) and tend to stay at whichever beach we eat at to relax or swim (if you purchase food/drinks you can usually stay on their chairs/hammocks). My favourite is Piedre Escondida.

    Back in town are incredible restaurants as well, so make sure to check those out as well. 🙂

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  39. Tulum is for me! Yes, it’s expensive but there is a reason. It is beautiful, more secluded than most places and partially off the grid. Therefore you cannot expect good wifi! It’s loving life in it’s natural form! Hairdryers use too much electricity, which costs a lot in Mexico. It’s for those who don’t want that large all inclusive resort. I enjoy a lovely simple room right on the beach, going to yoga each morning and indulging in some really amazing food. Yes, I will pay to be away from the craziness of other busy hotels!

    • I wouldn’t calll it away from craziness. Loud music keeping you awake till the early morning everywhere….the road is a constant traffic jam polluting the area horribly. There are other beautiful places in the world against a fraction of the costs….the prices in Tulum are ridiculous. As a matter of fact, we left an hotel in the beach preliminary because the sheets were stained, the room was dirty, it was raining inside, the chair on the terrace was covered in birdshit, not even a small fridge in the room, no ac and we paid 450 usd. If you are willing to pay this amount of money for a shitty place, you are filling the pockets of thieves willingly.

  40. I appreciate your honesty regarding Tulum. It saddens me to hear about the changes that have taken place in Tulum. Back in 1999, when we visited, it was possible to climb up the Mayan ruins, and people seemed to have a greater sense of respect and reverence for Tulum. It was a time before the advent of Instagram and social media, which has seemingly altered the dynamics. It’s disheartening to come across articles discussing where to capture the best Instagram photos in Tulum, as it feels somewhat cringe-worthy. I recall reading an article in NY Mag a few years ago that likened Tulum to the new “Williamsburg,” attracting the trendy crowds and the elite from New York City. It’s undeniable that Tulum has undergone significant changes in the twenty years since our visit. However, I must acknowledge that your guide to the Tulum of 2018 is indeed valuable.

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