First-Timers Guide to Visiting Tulum, Mexico

first timers guide to visiting tulum

Once a small, sleepy seaside town, nowadays Tulum is one of the hottest tropical destinations attracting thousands of people every year. Tulum is the perfect place where you can combine a wellness-type of vacation with a never-ending adventure. If you’re looking for a beach paradise, nature adventures, and holistic experiences, then you definitely need to visit Tulum, the town where the lush jungle meets the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. 

With so much to see and do in and around Tulum, it might be a little bit overwhelming and confusing for first-time visitors to decide how to plan their trip. For that reason, I’ve created this first-timers guide to visiting Tulum to answer all of your questions and help you make the most out of your trip. 

This is a very long post that covers everything that you need to know before visiting Tulum for the first time, so you can use the navigation menu below if you’re interested in something specific:

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING TULUM: 

Where is Tulum located?

Tulum is located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The town is situated in the very heart of the resort district Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Sea. It is approximately 130km away from Cancun and 65km away from Playa del Carmen.

is tulum worth visiting

Why does everyone go to Tulum?

That is a very good question that has a few very simple answers. Right now, in 2022, everyone is visiting Tulum as Mexico, in general, is one of the few places where there are no COVID restrictions. You don’t need to be vaccinated or provide a test to travel to Tulum, the only measures that are in place are checking people’s temperatures in some restaurants and museums and asking you to wear a mask.

Another reason why everyone is visiting Tulum is the communities. Whether you are a yogi, spiritual wanderer, entrepreneur, digital nomad, or artist, in Tulum there is a network for everyone.

Is Tulum too touristy?

Yes, very touristy. It is still perhaps not as touristy or developed as Cancun, but it is surely headed that way.

enjoying tulum

When is the best time to visit Tulum?

Without much of a temperature difference throughout the year, the only thing that you need to consider when making plans for your first trip to Tulum is the rainy hurricane season which falls between the months of May throughout October. December to April is the perfect weather-wise time to visit Tulum but is also the high season, which means that you can expect higher accommodation prices and lots of tourists everywhere.

November and December are considered by many to be the best months to visit Tulum. The hurricane season has just passed and temperatures are not that hot yet.

best time to visit tulum for the first time

Is it safe to visit Tulum?

If you’ve been keeping up with the news surrounding Tulum, then you might have some concerns about the safety in town. Although there has been an increase in crimes and safety incidents, Tulum is largely safe to travel to. Most of the crimes/safety issues in Tulum are connected to the cartels so, of course, you better don’t mess with them, or anyone for that matter.

I always say that if you’re looking for trouble, you’re going to find trouble, but if you use common sense and don’t do anything stupid, you shouldn’t have to worry about having any safety problems when visiting Tulum.

Can you fly into Tulum? 

As of 2022, you can not fly directly into Tulum. However, Tulum is set to open its brand new airport in 2023, according to the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).

What airport do you fly into for Tulum?

The closest airport where all tourists fly into when visiting Tulum is Cancun International Airport which is located 120km away. The other airport that you can fly into to visit Tulum is Chetumal, but it is twice as far away.

How to get from Cancun/Playa del Carmen to Tulum?

There are regular buses and colectivos (small vans) running from Cancun Downtown and Airport, and Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Shuttles are also available and might be offered by your Tulum hotel, so make sure to check that in advance.

*If you’re taking the colectivo from Cancun to Tulum, you will need to change in Playa del Carmen as only buses are direct. Both buses and colectivos depart from the Cancun ADO bus station. Colectivos leave you in Playa del Carmen ADO bus station here, but the colectivos that are going to Tulum depart from the Playa del Carmen colectivo station here. The two are only 4 minutes’ walk away.

**The buses from/to Cancun International Airport go around all airport terminals and arrive/depart at Tulum ADO bus station. You can check the schedule on ADO’s website.

How to get around Tulum?

The biggest minus of Tulum from a tourist view, in my opinion, is that the beach is too far away from the center. And while it is possible to walk (in about an hour, an hour and a half), the best way to get from the center to the beach, cenotes, and other nearby areas is by renting a bicycle or a scooter. Another easy way to get around Tulum is hitchhiking. I did that a couple of times and it was super fun and safe.

There are also colectivos, but most of the time they get full pretty quickly and cannot take more passengers, so they are definitely not a very reliable way of getting around Tulum. Taxis are widely available but could cost quite a lot. They are, however, a great option for a group of people.

How long to stay in Tulum?

That depends on what you want to see and do in Tulum, but in my opinion, you should stay for a minimum of 4 days and 3 nights. By reading until the end, you’ll get a clear idea of how long you’ll need to cover all the places and activities of you’re interest and plan accordingly. I went for 5 days but ended up staying for 12 and still haven’t covered everything that Tulum and the region have to offer.

tulum first timers vacation

Is Tulum cheap or expensive?

Tulum could be both cheap and expensive depending on your travel style and what you opt for accommodation,  restaurants, and activities. In Tulum Centro, there are plenty of affordable hostels and hotels, as well as restaurants and street food vendors that can allow you to keep your budget low if that’s what you want. If you want to indulge in luxury, boutique hotels, and fancy restaurants, you can easily do that too. Some restaurants and bars are more expensive than restaurants and bars in London, Paris, or Rome, for example.

Activities and admission fees are generally reasonably priced, but if you want to do too many then that would quickly add up a lot to your budget. You should also have in mind that since Tulum is now one of the most visited places in the world as you can easily travel to Mexico during the COVID, prices have drastically gone up.

How much does it cost to visit Tulum?

If you want to visit Tulum on a budget, it is possible to do that on only 30 EUR per day or even less. If you, however, want to eat in a restaurant every once in a while, go to a fancier bar, or stay in a nicer place, then budget around 70-80 EUR per day.

Tipping in Tulum

A lot of people don’t notice that but most of the restaurants in Tulum will be automatically adding a 10-20% gratuity to your bill. Of course, restaurants staff don’t tell you that, so you can tip them double. Make sure to check when your bill arrives and if it isn’t clear just ask.

tips for visiting tulum for the first time

Use bank ATMs

More and more restaurants, bars, activity shops, etc. now accept cards, but cash is still king in Tulum. To get cash, please use only bank ATMs and withdraw more money so you don’t have to use the ATMs often. There are many shady ATMs around town that can either swallow your card, steal your card’s data or charge you ridiculous fees.

During my trip to Mexico, I’ve only used my Revolut card and I was only withdrawing money from Banamex ATMs. Other banks like Santander and HSBC wanted to charge me insane fees, while Banamex charged me only 33 MXN. For you it might be the other way around, so make sure to check which one is the best for you and the card that you own.

Pay in pesos, not dollars

In Tulum, you can pay almost everywhere with US dollars, but I would advise you not to. I know that especially for those visiting from the US it can be very easy and convenient, however, paying in dollars means that you’ll be often paying more because of the exchange rates based on which they are charging you.

Beach clubs have a minimum spend

Many beach clubs in Tulum are open for outside visitors, but it’s good to know that many of them have a ”minimum spend” or a fee to reserve one of the poolside or beachside beds, cabanas, or chairs. The cheapest will come at around 1000 MXN per person (45 EUR), while more luxurious and fancy ones can cost 400+ EUR.

The minimum spend/reservation fee goes towards food and beverages throughout the day and typically the place would have a DJ and some kind of party atmosphere.

beaches in tulum

Is Tulum better than Cancun?

Ah, that question! Tulum and Cancun have a lot in common and yet are so different. Both feature a downtown area that is more ”authentic” than the rest of the town, and both have hotel zones. In both places, you can find and have wild parties and both places have nice beaches. So, which one is better – Tulum or Cancun?

In my opinion and experience, Tulum is better. In Tulum, you are closer to nature, there is a community for everyone, you can have a very relaxed and quiet vacation if you want to, there are Mayan ruins just right next to the center of the town, and is closer to Chichen Itza. On the other side, Cancun is easier to get to, can be cheaper than Tulum and has prettier beaches.

In a conclusion, if you’re looking for nice beaches, great nightlife, an abundance of activities and comfort, then Cancun is probably the better destination for you. If you’re looking for more of a holistic experience and jungle parties, then you should definitely choose Tulum.

cancun beach

*Playa San Miguelito, Cancun

Buy a local SIM card

Every time when I travel outside the EU (where I can use my home SIM services), I buy a local SIM card to stay connected. Wi-Fi in Tulum is not the most reliable and as someone who’s working full-time while traveling, it is very important to me to have a good Internet connection. That is reason #1 for me to buy a local SIM card, but in Mexico and Tulum, especially, another good reason to buy a local SIM card is the fact that all businesses operate on WhatsApp and over the phone.

Mexican SIM cards are affordable and usually come with a package of MB of your choice and unlimited use of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. You’ll also get free calls within Mexico and usually to the US and Canada.

Drinkable water in Tulum

Tap water in Mexico is not drinkable, so you’ll have to buy bottled water. To avoid buying water all the time, and mainly to reduce plastic waste, bring your own reusable water bottle and refill it at a water dispenser. In Tulum, many shops, hostels/hotels, and even some restaurants have water dispensers available for their clients to refill their bottles, so make use of that.

Seaweed in Tulum

The seaweed in Tulum becomes a serious issue for locals and tourists alike as the mountains of seaweed are making the water nearly unswimmable turning tourists away. Unfortunately, the arrival of seaweed is unpredictable. If you read on the Internet, you’ll find information that the seaweed season lasts between May and October, others say that it starts in March. However, when I was there, I learned that the seaweed ”season” has shifted and now the seaweed comes at different times.

With that being said, there is not much that you can do to ”predict” the seaweed season and plan your vacation accordingly. One thing that could be of help is the live webcams. If you have the flexibility to book your trip last minute, this can be a great resource to help you plan your first trip to Tulum when there’s no seaweed, or when there is just a little bit of it.

tulum mexico seaweed

P.S. This picture was actually taken at Isla Blanca, a beach near Cancun, but there was the same amount of seaweed in Tulum at that time. 

Let’s talk about the beach vendors

Beach vendors are no news. They are everywhere. However, I’ve never seen anything quite like Tulum. What is different you might ask… the difference is that in Tulum probably 90% (and no, I am not exaggerating) of the beach vendors are foreigners and tourists – I’d say mainly South American backpackers selling their wares, or Europeans, Australians, and North Americans selling sandwiches and snacks.

And while I don’t think that there is anything wrong with trying to make a few extra bucks on your trip, in this case, I disagree with them and I’m against what they’re doing. 

See, one of the main issues in Tulum are the foreigners coming here, liking it, deciding to stay, and taking local Mayans’ jobs. With that said, I would encourage you to buy whatever you want to buy from local sellers.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO ON YOUR FIRST TRIP TO TULUM:

1. Explore the Tulum Mayan Ruins

Your first trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Mayan Ruins. The archeological site features the remains of the Mayan walled city that served as a seaport fortress and a major port for Coba. Tulum ruins are situated on a 12-meter-tall cliff surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribean Sea, leaning palm trees, and delicate cactus flowers. All that makes the Tulum ruins one of the most beautiful Mayan ruins in Mexico and the third most visited archeological site in the country after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. 

TIP: Try to arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds and the heat. Alternatively, visit the Tulum ruins before they close. You need around one hour, an hour and a half to explore the archeological site. 

Opening hours: 9am to 4:30pm (last access at 3pm)

Tickets: 80 MXN 

visiting tulum maya ruins

tips on things to don in tulum

best places to visit in tulum

2. Visit as many Cenotes as possible

Cenotes are water-filled sinkholes that naturally occur in limestone rock when an underground cave collapses in on itself and exposes the groundwater underneath. You can find cenotes in various places around the world but the Yucatan Peninsula and especially the Riviera Maya are completely unique due to the sheer number of cenotes. The Yucatan and Quintana Roo regions have over 6000 cenotes! You will not find this quantity anywhere else in the world.

Tulum is home to some of the most beautiful and popular cenotes in Mexico and any first trip to Tulum should include a visit to at least a few of them. 

Here are some cenotes that you can visit in and around Tulum: 

  • Gran Cenote (Tulum)
  • Cenote Carwash (Tulum)
  • Cenote Calavera (Tulum)
  • Cenote Zacil-Ha (Tulum)
  • Cenote Escondido (Tulum)
  • Cenote Dos Ojos (between Tulum and Akumal)
  • Casa Cenote (between Tulum and Playa del Carmen)
  • Cenote Jardin del Eden (between Tulum and Playa del Carmen)
  • Cenote Ik Kil (Valladolid)
  • Cenote Suytan (Valladolid)

Opening hours and tickets vary. 

cenote tour tulum

things to do in tulum

snorkeling in cenotes in tulum

3. Go diving or snorkeling in Cenotes

Not only you can swim in cenotes, but you can also have the unique experience of snorkeling or diving in the cenotes in Tulum. Diving in the cenotes in Tulum must be a once-in-a-lifetime, unique experience and is something that I for sure want to experience when I return to Tulum and after I get comfortable with diving in the first place. 

If you’re not a diver, but still want to experience the underwater world of the cenotes, don’t you worry, you can also do snorkeling. I did a cenote snorkeling tour with Koox Adventures. We snorkel in the cenotes Dos Ojos and El Pit where we swam between rock formations, saw fishes and bats, and watched the divers and then some free divers disappear into the darkness of the cenotes. 

diving and snorkeling in cenotes in tulum

dos ojos cenote tulum mexico

So, when you’re planning your first trip to Tulum, if you want to go diving or snorkeling in cenotes, consider booking a trip with Koox Adventures; they come with my highest recommendations. 

4. Enjoy Tulum’s beaches

Tulum is a beach bum’s paradise with the picture-perfect Caribbean coastline blessed with long stretches of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and leaning palm trees. It is needless to say that checking out and enjoying the beaches is one of the top things to do in Tulum. Here are the ones that you shouldn’t miss:

The North beaches of Tulum, Playa Ruinas, Playa Paraiso, and Playa Las Palmas are the best beaches that you can visit in Tulum. Although technically they are three different beaches they sort of blend together so there is not much of a difference between them. 

I prefer the northern beaches of Tulum for a few simple reasons: 

  • They have been shielded from too much development so are more ”wild” 
  • Beachfront is wilder 
  • You can find a quiet and a peaceful spot 
  • Bars are cheaper 

The South beaches are home to the luxurious hotels and beach clubs of Tulum. You wouldn’t see much or any people laying their towels on the sand and as mentioned above most beach clubs have a minimum spend fee and are quite expensive, especially for those who want to stay on a budget. 

first timers guide to visiting tulum mexico

things to do in tulum on a first trip

best things to do in tulum mexico

5. Discover Tulum Pueblo

Tulum Pueblo (Tulum Town or Tulum Centro) is where you gonna find yourself when you first arrive in Tulum. This is the area where local people live and do business and where you can find grocery stores, markets, restaurants, cafes and bars of all sorts, playgrounds, bicycle/scooter rentals, street art, and much more. 

It is a better budget-friendly area to shop and eat in comparison to the hotel zone. I do like the Tulum Pueblo a lot more than the hotel zone and most of the places that I will be referring to in this post are in this part of Tulum. 

6. Discover the Tulum hotel area

I’d be honest with you and tell you that exploring the hotel area was my least favorite thing to do in Tulum. I kind of get why people like that part of Tulum that much and maybe if on another trip I dedicate more time to explore more of it, I might like it more too, but it just doesn’t feel like Mexico at all. I typically don’t really like places that have been designed to attract people and the hotel area of Tulum is exactly that.

There is nice architecture and some interesting sculptures that you can see there, but for me, personally, everything looked the same – every hotel, every restaurant. Also, there is one main street that goes through the hotel area, and walking there is a complete nightmare. Also, in my opinion, the beaches in the hotel zone are not as nice as the ”public beaches” of Tulum.

But please don’t get me wrong. That is not to say don’t go to the Tulum hotel area. In fact, I think that you should definitely go there on your first trip to Tulum, so you can experience the difference between the different areas for yourself. And who knows maybe you’ll love it!

first time in tulum mexico

7. Discover Tulum’s jungle

The jungles around Tulum make for some fun adventures. You can join a tour and get to explore the wild ecosystem of Tulum which is represented by a variety of more than 300 species of birds, and marine life animals that inhabit the cenotes, lakes, and mangroves like turtles, snakes, manatees, and even crocodiles. There are also different activities that you can do in the jungle including ziplining and riding an ATV. 

8. Visit Laguna de Kaan Luum

Laguna de Kaan Luum is one of those bucket list things to do in Tulum that is still relatively secret. Meaning ”Yellow Earth” in the Mayan language, Laguna de Kaan Luum is most notable for the 82 meters deep cenote at its center – a truly unique view. 

The cenote is closed off by ropes and the rest of the lagoon is pretty shallow. There are hammocks and swings in which you can chill, as well as a small tower that you can climb for a view of the whole lagoon. 

The best way to get to Laguna de Kaan Luum from Tulum is either by bicycle or scooter. 

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm

Tickets: 300 MXN 

best things to do in tulum mexico

laguna kaan luum

9. Join a yoga class

Yoga is a big thing in Tulum. And when I say big, I actually mean HUGE. There are literally hundreds of yoga studios in Tulum offering private and group lessons and all types of yoga. Many hotels are also offering week-long yoga retreats for those who want to ”find themselves”.

I was lucky to find other yoga enthusiasts (and teachers) at the hostel where I was staying, so we did morning yoga quite a few times on the rooftop by ourselves. I also found an acro yoga buddy with whom a played a couple of times. But when it comes to yoga studios, there is just one that I went to a few times and can 100% recommend it.

OM Collective is located in Tulum Centro near the Aki supermarket. It is a small and super cute studio that hosts multiple classes per day, including Vinyasa, Hatha, and other types of yoga as well as Thai massage and ecstatic classes, handstand workshops, breathwork classes, and more.

You can check the schedule on the OM Collective Instagram page here. Most classes are donation-based.

10. Join a temazcal and/or cacao ceremony

Other spiritual/wellness things to do in Tulum include participating in a temazcal and/or cacao ceremony. 

Temazcal is one of the oldest rituals of Mesoamerican cultures which works simultaneously with our physical, energetic, and spiritual bodies, helping us to clean our thoughts, emotions, and karma. The ceremonies are held in small “domes” built with stones and other natural elements which are typically located in the middle of the jungle or close to a cenote. The ceremony is accompanied by a steam bath. 

Some of the reported benefits of temazcal ceremonies include clearing the skin, flushing out the toxins, aiding blood flow, releasing mental burdens, decreasing risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and supporting weight loss. 

In the ancestral medicine of the heart, the cacao ceremonies encourage people to accelerate their evolution by letting go of everything that does not serve them anymore, connecting to themselves, and opening their hearts. They help the body to heal and release old patterns and traumas, detoxify, and give your immune system a good boost.

11. Tulum art & museums

Tulum is the art capital of Rivera Maya and is home to a vibrant community of artists and creators who design fascinating sculptures, galleries, and museums. Some of the best places to check out for their unique design or exhibitions are Sfer Ik, Mystika, and Holistika. 

12. Tulum street art

A highlight of any trip to Tulum is the abundance of colorful street art. If you’re hopping from downtown to the beach, cenotes, hotel zone, etc., the chances are that you’re not gonna notice much of it. There are some really nice murals on the main street of Tulum Pueblo, Avenida Tulum, but if you really want to explore the street art scene of Tulum make sure to check out the backstreets. 

exploring tulum pueblo

13. Check out the nightlife

When the sun goes down in Tulum, you’ll find a buzzing party scene with a host of bars, clubs, and beach and jungle parties. The two main areas to find a party in Tulum are the Tulum Pueblo and the hotel zone. Tulum Pueblo offers more affordable bars and clubs (although some are insanely expensive, talking about 16 EUR cocktails!), whereas the hotel zone has more chic, upscale spots for partying. 

Occasionally, there are also parties and festivals in the jungle, so if you want to go to one, make sure to ask around. 

7 OF THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM TULUM:

1. Chichen Itza

When visiting Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula area of Mexico for the first time, one of the must things that you have to include on your itinerary is a day trip to one of the New Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. 

Built by the Mayan people, Chichen Itza was one of the most important city-states in pre-Hispanic America and one of the largest Mayan cities. The city served as a political and cultural city and unlike the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the pyramid in Chichen Itza served as a temple and a focal point for Mayan religious practices where offerings were made to the gods. 

The archeological site features temples and tombs, there is also a cenote, restaurant, and plenty of souvenir vendors. 

*My recommendation is to visit Chichen Itza with a guide so you can learn more about the history and culture of the Maya civilization. Plus, joining a tour is generally cheaper than doing the trip by yourself.

**You can combine your Tulum to Chichen Itza day trip with a visit to Cenote Ik Kil. 

Opening hours: 8am to 5pm (last access at 4pm)

Tickets: 533 MXN

visiting chichen itza from tulum

2. Valladolid

Unlike Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen which are over or somewhere overdeveloped, full of tourists, and don’t really feel like Mexico, Valladolid is an authentical Mexican town that is yet not ruined by mass tourism. Situated right in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, Valladolid is a charming and laid-back small, colonial town that offers easy access to Chichen Itza and other Maya ruins and cenotes, a chilled cultural experience, great restaurants, and much more. The town is also one of Mexico’s 135 pueblos magicos (just like Valle de Bravo and Taxco). 

Unfortunately, my visit to Valladolid was very short. Going back to Mexico in the future tho, I am planning to spend at least a couple of days in Valladolid. 

first timers guide to visiting tulum mexico

3. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Translated from the Mayan language as ”origin of the sky”, Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve in the municipality of Tulum that is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. The reserve was established in 1986 and in 1987 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the third-largest natural protected area in Mexico. 

When visiting Sian Ka’an, you can see dolphins, crocodiles, rays, manatees, and turtles, a large variety of birds, swim in lagoons, and much more. And although it is possible to visit the biosphere on your own, joining a tour to Sian Ka’an is an easier option. 

4. Coba

Coba is another ancient Maya city and one of the best day trips from Tulum. The ruins of Coba are part of the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world, containing many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Mesoamerican civilization.

Opening hours: 8am to 5pm

Tickets: 80 MXN

5. Playa del Carmen

To be honest, I didn’t like Playa del Carmen at all, but many people fall in love with it. The best thing about Playa del Carmen, in my opinion, is its proximity to Cozumel and some of the most beautiful cenotes. When visiting Playa del Carmen people tend to enjoy its beaches, party atmosphere, and doing a variety of water activities such as parasailing and riding a jet ski. 

Maybe I didn’t spend enough time in Playa del Carmen to be able to appreciate the place and even though it is my least favorite place in Mexico, I think it’s still worth checking out. If not the town itself, at least for its surroundings. 

tulum to playa del carmen

6. Cozumel

Situated opposite Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea home to the second-largest reef in the world. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System stretches over 1,100km along the coasts of four countries – Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras – and is home to more than 1,000 marine species.

With that being said, the best thing to do on Cozumel island is diving, or if you’re not a diver then snorkeling. You can also enjoy the white-sanded beaches, explore San Miguel, the capital of Cozumel, visit Punta Sur Ecological Park, and check out some more Mayan ruins. 

7. Akumal

Please, please, please, don’t skip Akumal. Located only 25 minutes away from Tulum, Akumal is the ”place of the turtles” (Akumal in the Mayan language). Not only that is what the name translates to, but actually, the most popular thing to do in Akumal is swimming with turtles at Playa Akumal. Today, you can swim with the turtles only as a part of a guided tour that takes you to the turtles’ hot spot. However, if you want to avoid the tours, you can swim a little further from the marked areas and take your chances. I swam on my own and was able to see them. 

day trip from tulum to akumal

Akumal beach is absolutely beautiful and worth the visit, but you should not skip Akumal Pueblo too. Located on the other side of the highway, Akumal Pueblo is like an open-air gallery and hosts the annual Akumal Art Festival that I was lucky to witness. 

visiting akumal from tulum

Once a year, over 100 domestic and international artists come to Akumal to paint murals, offer workshops, performances, and engage with the local community and each other. The vision of the festival is to bring an art festival to Akumal Pueblo through an international consortium of artists who make art, involve the community, and improve and beautify the city for the locals. 

Follow for future dates on the Akumal Cultural Foundation website. 

akumal art festival

exploring akumal street art

WHERE TO EAT IN TULUM:

As you can expect from such a trendy destination, there are tons of places where to eat in Tulum – from street taquerias and fish diners to high-end, fancy restaurants serving traditional Mexican food, Mediterranean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and American cuisines. 

where to eat in tulum

Tulum Pueblo has restaurant options for all budgets, as well as plenty of street vendors most of which begin to operate in the evening. I visited a couple of restaurants, most of which I wouldn’t recommend, but there are a couple of places – both restaurants and street food stalls – that I will suggest you try when you visit Tulum for the first time: 

  • El Camello Jr. – for ceviche and seafood 
  • Tacos de Canasta – tacos for breakfast, open until 1pm 
  • Av. Satelite – gets lined up with street food stalls every evening
  • Tacos madras Jr – the best vegetarian sandwiches located on Av. Satelite (you can add meat too)
  • Calle Sol Ote – more street food; make sure to try the elote
  • Mercado Publico – Tulum’s market. Come to eat here with the locals at lunch 
  • Frutería Pool Centro – shop here for fruits and vegetables 

best food in tulum mexico

*A lot of people also recommend Burrito Amor. I went there to try Tulum’s most popular burritos but had to wait in a long line to be seated so I just left. So, if you want to give them a try, it might be worth making a reservation in advance. 

WHERE TO STAY IN TULUM: 

If you want to stay in a design hotel or a hut by the beach, prepare to pay anywhere between 700 USD – 1300 USD per week (for the most affordable hotels). If you can afford that, you’ll surely have a memorable experience. However, for those who want to stay on a budget and long-term visitors, Tulum Pueblo is the recommended area. By staying in Tulum Pueblo, you’re basically close to everything and have a variety of accommodation options to choose from.

During my stay in Tulum, I’ve stayed in the DayTripper Hostel. Very basic, but with an atmosphere like nowhere else. I’ve met many wonderful people while staying there and when I am back in Tulum, I’ll definitely visit it again. 

I hope that this article gave you a good overview of what to expect and how to plan your perfect first trip to Tulum. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below, and don’t hesitate to contact me.

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tulum mexico blog

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