If you plan to go to Riviera Maya, here is a Tulum travel guide with tips on things to do and for the best restaurants and bars in Tulum because Tulum is still THE place to be in this part of Mexico!
Tulum was my very first trip to Mexico. I can’t believe I have been to this part of Mexico before going to Mexico City that has been on my bucket list for years but all those dreamy pictures of Tulum that I have seen on Instagram, and my desire to finally go back to the caribbean where I was born, have made me gone there first.
If you plan to go to Tulum here are my recommendations.
How to get to Tulum?
If you book a resort in Tulum, chances are you will be picked up at the airport. If not you can come by taxi, Tulum is 90minutes away from Cancun and it will cost you around 100dollars.
A cheaper option is the bus from Cancun. I took this option. I took the Ado bus and it costed me around 10dollars. It takes 2 hours and you arrive at the bus terminal in Cancun town. From there you can either walk if your hotel is situated in the town or take a taxi if you hotel is situated in the beach area (around 30 minutes travel time).
What to do in Tulum?
Casa Magna, the vacation house of Pablo Escobar
One of my highlight in Tulum was to see the old house of Pablo Escobar : Casa Magna. The house is for rent for a small price of around 10 000Euros a week :D, if like me you can’t afford the house you still can go walk by and have a look outside the house.
Visit the Tulum Ruins
The Tulum ruins are the most famous coastal Maya site in Mexico. Perched atop of cliffs over the ocean they are set in a very nice location and therefore are very photogenic and popular among tourist.
You can go there by yourself if you already are in Tulum or you can take a day tour or a half a day tour from Cancun. Best is to go early in the morning when it is not too hot and when there is less people.
Entrance to the Tulum ruins costs 65 pesos per person and 45 pesos extra for your camera.
Tip : take your bathing suit as there is a little beach accessible from the Tulum ruins, where it is possible to swim and refresh.
Go explore Tulum town
While the hotel zone aka where the beach is, it is very touristic and has got a lot of fancy restaurants and bars, the town is very cute and authentic. If you want to experience what real Mexico is, you can’t miss Tulum town. I enjoyed exploring the neighborhood with the many colorful houses and street art.
In Tulum town you will also find cheap and tasty Mexican food. Perfect for a change to the gourmet meals served in the restaurants in the hotel area.
Finally, for all fans of Tequila, don’t miss Tequileria, a shop with a large selection of Tequila!
If you want to experience what real Mexico is, you can’t miss Tulum town.
Eat and drink in the best bars and restaurants in Tulum!
There is a great going out culture in Tulum so you will find both in Tulum town and Tulum playa, lots of bars serving great cocktails. For the food, it is more expensive than in town and more gourmet than authentic Mexican food but at least you will have many healthy and local food.
Where to eat and drink in Tulum
My favorite bars in town is Encanto and Batey. Perfect for a drink under the week. Indeed parties starts in the hotel area on Thursdays!
In the hotel zone you will want to try :
- La Suerte del Coyote – more of a restaurant than a bar with a laidback atmosphere candlelight. So romantic! They serves mezcals from Mexico only!
- Gitano they serve great Mezcal cocktails and they also do salsa nights on some evenings! For tequila lovers, you will want to check out Ziggy’s.
- Casa Jaguar – The menu offers a delicious mix of Mexican, local food and healthy ceviche dishes.
- Nomad for great Tacos
Don’t miss the beach bar Coco Tulum with it’s swing chairs. It is best to go at sunset!!
Papaya Playa Project is an institution and was inspired by one of Berlin’s most famous club the bar 25. Who says Berlin says wild party so this is what will awaits you at the Papaya Playa Project in Tulum. Great dancing in the weekend and good drinks all day long 🙂
Mezzanine, where you will sit as the name says in a mezzanine with views over the ocean!
Tip : check out every place’s agenda as some bars have only parties on certain days 🙂
Enjoy the beach
Because it would be a shame to be in the caribbeans and not enjoy the beach!! Tulum has got a lot of seaweeds those days so if you have a problem with that, I would recommend to stay in an hotel at the end of the hotel zone as there is less seaweed there. I stayed in 2 hotels : Rosa del Viento and Luv Tulum that I can both recommend.
Shopping in Tulum
Tulum is a little shopping paradise. You can find nice clothing as well as artisanal products in the many air shops. Especially in the hotel area, you will find many designers shops so shopping in Tulum is not cheap but it is for sure a great pleasure for the eyes.
La troupe, Hoki Poki Kana, Mr Blackbird and Mixik are some of the best shops! But there is many to discover. Just take the main road and walk along to discover them all.
Also for more affordable shopping, Tulum town is a great place as well especially for souvenirs shops!
Take a daytrip to Chichen Itza from Tulum and Il Kil Cenote
One of the seven world wonder is only 2 hours away from Tulum so take a tour or the bus (cheap and very easy option) to go to Chichen Itza. If you choose to take the bus, take the VIP ticket to enter Chichen Itza to avoid the queues.
Swim in a Cenote – Gran Cenote and Il Kil Cenote
– If there is one thing to do while in Tilum is to swim in a cenote. Grand Cenote is only 5 minutes away from Tulum and is not to miss.
– If you go to Chichen Itza you can go to Il Kil Cenote at the same time. I had so much fun there!
Tip : Don’t make the same mistake I did. Ask your taxi driver to wait for you as there is no taxi waiting outside the Cenote otherwise you will desperately wait for a taxi to pass by. I waited almost one hour 😀
You can also go on a half a day organized tour if you want to avoid any stress.
I had a great time in Tulum but I wish I have had more time to go to Isla Holbox which seems to be amazing and to the city of Campeche and it’s surrounding beaches. If you go there, 10 days are definitely not enough.
I hope to go to Mexico soon again to explore more of this amazing country.