Tulum has become one of the most popular travel destinations of the year, so it’s time for you to take your trip there! I’ve created this guide to help you plan the best trip to Tulum, MX. This 5 day itinerary (does not include travel days) is the perfect blend of relaxation + adventurous activities so read along to find out where to stay, what to do, and what to eat.
Where to Stay in Tulum
When traveling to Tulum, you have 3 main areas to choose from in terms of accommodations:
- Pueblo (Tulum Town)
- Tulum Beach
- Aldea Zama
Pros & Cons of Each Location
- Near lots of restaurants
- Affordable options for accomodations
- Local nightlife scene
- Bit far from the beach (i.e you will have to taxi or drive to get there)
- If you’re not into the nightlife scene, maybe this isn’t for you
- Close to the beach!
- Near the famous tourist destinations (beach clubs & restaurants)
- Most accommodations here are priced high and not very budget friendly
- Near the famous tourist destinations (beach clubs & restaurants) – you may not like this lol
- There is horrible TRAFFIC so leaving or coming at high congestion times of the day may be annoying, but then again, when you want to do stuff in Tulum beach, you’re already there and won’t have traffic.
- New suburban type of area that is quiet
- Affordable options for accomodations
- Closer to Tulum beach than Pueblo (it is in the middle of the two)
- Walking distance to small convenient stores and restaurants , also a short drive from the grocery story
- Much of the area is still under construction so there is sometimes a lot of noise in the early morning.
We stayed in Aldea Zama and I loved it. Here is a link to our airbnb which was HUGE and CHEAP – the best kind. There is 24/7 security, a pool, private hot tub, rooftop, and it is around the corner from a small convenient store, yoga shop, and Matcha Mama. I recommend staying in Aldea Zama, but the decision is up to you based on your preferences and budget. Let’s get into the day to day itinerary!
8am-1pm | Visit Tulum Ruins or Explore Cenotes
- Option 1: Visit the Tulum Ruins
Location: Tulum Beach Calle Chan-chen, 77760 Tulum, QROO, Mexico
Price: $10-$89 (depending on choice of tour)
Tour Option: https://www.viator.com/tours/Tulum/Tulum-Ruins-Tour/d23012-91808P9
Start your day with some culture with a Tour of the Tulum Ruins.There are many tours that include transportation and refreshments (example link above), but if you have a car and want to lower your cost, you can travel there yourself and buy tickets here. Afterwards, it’s time to relax at one of the cutest beach clubs – Vagalume.
- Option 2: 4 Cenotes at Casa Tortuga
Location: Carr. Tulum – Cancún 239, Ejidal, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Price: $30 USD – $65 (depending on choice of tour)
Tour Option: https://www.viator.com/tours/Playa-del-Carmen/visit-4-cenotes-at-turtle-house/d5501-161680P10
Start your day off exploring some cenotes! There are many tours that include transportation and refreshments (example link above), but if you have a car and want to lower your cost, you can travel there yourself and buy tickets here. Afterwards, it’s time to relax at one of the cutest beach clubs – Vagalume.
1pm-5pm | Vagalume Beach Club
Location: Tulum, QROO 15, Tulum Beach, 77776 Q.R., Mexico
Price: $3000 Pesos | $150 USD Minimum spend on food & drinks
Beach clubs are a great way to enjoy the luxury of Tulum Beach at a fraction of the resort price. I recommend soaking up all the time you can and enjoying the beach for 3+ hours. Eat lunch here, drink some delicious cocktails, enjoy the ocean + pool and don’t forget to snap some instagrammable photos. After you’re done at Vagalume, head home to get ready for dinner at 7pm.
7pm | Dinner at Taboo
Location: Carretera Tulum – Boca Paila KM 7, 77503 Tulum, QROO, Mexico
If you’re in Tulum, you’ve got to try out Taboo – a Beach club and restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to make reservations as soon as your flight is bought because this popular destination gets booked quickly!
9:30pm | Drinks at Tseen-Ja
Location: Calle Zona Arqueológica Tulum – Punta Allen, 77766 Tulum, QROO, Mexico
Website for Reservation: https://www.sevenrooms.com/reservations/tseenja
End the night with drinks at Tseen-Ja – a Japanese restaurant that is a part of the famous AZULIK brand.
11am – 4pm | Jungle Secrets Riviera Maya (Adventure Day Tour)
Location: Transportation Included from Hotel or Local Tulum area
Price: $100 per person
Website: Booking Here
If you’re into adventures then this day tour will be up your alley! It is SUCH a fun experience I highly recommend. This tour includes: ATV riding (single or sharing), ziplining on one of the longest ziplines in the Riviera Maya (1KM), swimming in a cenote with a guided underwater cave tour and it ends with a typical Mayan meal at the end. It is 100% worth the money.
7pm | Street Tacos for Dinner
Location: Taco Stand by Super Aki (Carretera Federal Tulum Ruinas s/n, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico)
One thing you MUST have when visiting Tulum is STREET TACOS! You can never go wrong here. Delicious, local, taco trucks at very affordable prices – you can get a full meal for under $5! I’ve linked above one of the trucks we went to and loved (it’s located by the parking lot of Super Aki grocery store).
9am-10am | Raw Love for Breakfast (Optional)
Location: Tulum Beach, 77500 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Price: $10 USD | $210 Pesos
I am an early riser and love to take advantage of my travel days, but you don’t have to, so depending on your “waking up early on vacation” preference, you can get up and have breakfast at Raw Love at 9am! Raw Love is a super yummy vegan friendly cafe – perfect if you’re into superfoods. If 9am is too early? No worries, skip this activity.
10am – 3pm | Casa Malca
Location: Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, 77780 Tulum, QROO, México
Price: $100 USD | $2000 Pesos
Start day 3 with another beach club, but this isn’t your ordinary beach club, this is Pablo Escobar’s old mansion. If you’re not familiar, this gorgeous property was converted into a luxury hotel in 2015. Now owned by art collector Lio malca, this boutique hotel is one for the books. There’s an underground pool, beautiful artwork around the property and enough places to relax for hours. You can purchase a day pass here in person which includes a voucher for food and drinks!
6pm-8pm | Dinner at Kin Toh Azulik
Location: Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen KM 5, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Menu & Reservation Link Here: https://www.azulik.com/gastronomy/kin-toh/menu
This Mayan-Mexican restaurant is located at Azulik Resort (native + contemporary brand and resort) and is widely known for their bird nest-like in the sky seating. I have heard the food is not necessarily worth the money BUT the drinks are good and the experience IS worth the money. So I would make a reservation ASAP because they get booked months in advance, but it will be worth it eating here during sunset. Check out some of my photos taken there in my latest Most Instagrammable Spots in Tulum blog.
9am | Breakfast at Matcha Mama
Location: Quintana Roo 15 470 Zona Hotelera • 77780, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R.
Price: $3-10 USD per item
If you’re wanting to get up early to get breakfast, then head to Matcha Mama before getting the day started. Yummy place with smoothies, bowls, health shots and it’s a great place for a photo opp.
12pm – 5pm | Boat Day!
Price: Varies by party numbers but generally up to $150 pp
Website for booking: getmyboat.com
On your trip it is always a good idea to have a yacht day! I recommend booking via getmyboat.com to find the best option for you. You can find a boat trip to accommodate small to large parties, some have unlimited drinks or also provide a meal. Many will also include certain activities like snorkeling, paddle boats, and will take you to a party cove where you can swim, drink and dance to music. This is the time to have fun and live life as luxurious as you deserve.
7pm | Chef Dinner
Location: Your Airbnb
Website for Chef Kiril: Take A Chef
After having a long day, how great would it be to come back home, clean up, and have a fully prepared 4 course meal?? Yeah it sounds amazing so why not make that a reality? Book with Chef Kiril Grechin. He prepared such a lovely meal from his Mexican cuisine menu for us and everything was so so good.
Last day in Tulum, then you’ve gotta finish big. Two famous places to visit are the Coba Ruins and Punta Laguna. I recommend doing them all in one day because Coba Ruins is on the way to Punta Laguna. It is best to have your own transportation to get here, but if not, then I recommend an organized tour that includes both locations!
7:30am – 5pm | Tour of both Coba and Punta Laguna
Book Here: Coba & Punta Laguna Tour
Includes: Pick up and drop off, guided tour of Coba, traditional meal, mayan ceremony, hike in the jungle, underground cenote, and zip lining.
OR for Driving on Your Own: (a cheaper alternative if you have a car)
10am – 1pm | Coba Ruins
Location: 20°29′24″N 87°43′55″W (just search Coba Ruins)
Price: $4 USD | 70 pesos (There is additional cost for video/cam equipment $3USD)
The Coba ruins are a really cool archeological site to visit especially if you’re into Mayan History. Coba means “waters stirred by the wind” and the city is thought to have been a very important city in the Mayan World. It is a huge site to explore and for sure worth the visit. You can explore by foot, bike or bike taxi. We toured the beginning by foot with a guide, then used bike taxis to see the rest of the pyramids.
1pm – 4pm | Punta Laguna Nature Reserve
Location: Punta Laguna
Carretera Quintana Roo Nuevo Durango-Coba, Solidaridad, YUC, Mexico
Price: $10 USD | $200 pesos
Punta Laguna is a huge nature reserve north of Tulum that is uniquely home to hundreds of spider monkeys. This area is near a Mayan village so you get to really feel what the culture is like. When you arrive, go to the main “office” and purchase entry for a guided excursion. This includes: a traditional Mayan ceremony, hike through the jungle, ziplining, kayak ride, and lastly you get to go into an underground cenote. A great way to end your tulum adventures.
7pm | Gitano Tulum
Location: Boca Paila Km. 7.5, 77710 Tulum, QROO, Mexico
Price: $15-40 per item
For your last dinner, head to Gitano Tulum – a modern mexican restaurant located in Tulum beach. Be sure to make your reservations ahead of time so your table is secured.
Important Tips to Consider
- For all of the activities that you don’t book online ahead of time, bring CASH, specifically pesos to pay for them in person.
- Be sure to make reservations for every restaurant you’re planning to go to. You don’t want to end up waiting hours and not be able to get in.
- If you are driving a car, note that driving to Tulum Beach at night (i.e headed to dinner) you will run into crazy traffic coming and going. I recommend parking toward the beginning of Tulum Beach and walking to your destination so you’re not stuck in traffic.
- Always have extra cash on you in cases of emergencies where you need help or need to buy something and they may not accept cards.
- Most importantly, have fun and take lots of pictures!
This 5 day itinerary will be your guide to Tulum. It is a great mix of adventure and rest, scheduled in a way to give yourself the needed relaxation between the packed days. Enjoy your time and check out my 8 tips for traveling to Tulum post before you go.