Tulum has become such a popular destination, but before you go, there are some things you should know! Here are 8 top tips for traveling to Tulum.
1. Where should you stay?
In Tulum, there are 3 main areas you can stay in. Where to stay depends on your budget and preference.
- Aldea Zama – Best if you are on a budget, but want to be in a more residential type of area. This is also closer to the beach.
- Pueblo (Tulum Town) – Best if you are on a budget and want to experience local lifestyle – clubs and local eats – but this is a bit further away from the beach.
- Tulum Beach – best if you’re willing to spend lux prices, want the convenience of being by the beach and close to popular Tulum restaurants & beach clubs.
I stayed in Aldea Zama in a really nice airbnb penthouse apartment linked here. I went with a group of 10 other people and we all fit comfortably here — also only paid around $200 per person for an entire week, so it fit within my personal budget. Wherever you stay is up to you, but it will all be worth it!
2. Make Sure you Bring Enough Cash
When traveling to Tulum, you 100% need cash. It is also best to pay with pesos not dollars even when USD is accepted. Typically, you save money when paying in the country’s local currency rather than paying the conversion price of your own currency. Even if you use a credit card (some establishments do accept cards) be sure they are charging in pesos not USD.
Wondering how much cash you should bring? It really depends on what kind of activities and where you plan to spend your time. Some accommodations will be under $50 a night while the high end is $600 a night. So it’s best to plan out your trip beforehand by outlining how much your accommodations and activities will cost, then you will know how much money to bring for food & shopping based on your personal budget. Tulum can truly accommodate the lowest to the highest end of a budget.
3. Pack light clothes and these miscellaneous items
I recommend packing light because it’s easier to get around and you won’t struggle with figuring out what to wear by having too many options. Tulum is hot and humid so I recommend light clothing like summer dresses, linen shorts, and flowy tops or bottoms.
Here are some things to remember to bring when going to Tulum (optional):
- Small travel umbrella or poncho (it will often randomly rain so it’s best to be prepared!)
- Pair of “throw away” tennis shoes to get dirty in your activities (ATV, zipline, hiking)
- Portable Charger
- Bug Spray! Don’t get caught with the mosquitos
- Water bottle – this will help you stay hydrated
- Beach bag / tote
- Medication: anti itch (for bug bites), tums, imodium, travel first aid kit, pain killers
- Copy of your passport
4. Be aware of Tulum Beach Road Traffic
When you go to Tulum, note that there is one road in and out into Tulum Beach. This means that traffic gets crazy during popular times of the day (after 1pm and especially around 6pm). I recommend that if you are going to dinner or a beach club at night, rather than driving all the way down, park towards the beginning of Tulum beach road and walk to your destination. Or if you are in a taxi, get dropped off in the front. Now if you don’t mind the traffic then you’re fine, just know it can take up to an hour if not more to get down the road.
5. When going to popular Cenotes or photo ops, go early
Tulum is known for its Cenotes or even popular photo ops. For all of my adventurers out there who are looking to have a nice experience of those destinations, be sure to visit the sites early – as in before 11am. This way you will avoid any tourist crowds and can enjoy the Cenote on your own, take pictures, and make lasting memories.
6. Visit in the off season & avoid Sargassum season
With the growing popularity of Tulum, it is becoming a hotspot for travel. With that being said, it’s probably best to go in the off season when it’s not super crowded – October through December. You will get to enjoy all that the city has to offer without feeling like you’re in an overrated destination.
Also, if you’re not aware, the Caribbean is susceptible to sargassum season AKA seasons of seaweed. This isn’t just your regular amount of seaweed in the ocean but I mean HEAPS of it to the point where you can’t even get into the water without wading through miles of seaweed. Sargassum season runs from April to August so try to avoid travel then, if you care about open waters.
7. Make reservations ahead of time for popular destinations
Since Tulum is at the top of travel destination lists, it is important you book your tours and reservations ahead of time. You will avoid missing out on fun and won’t run into sold out dinners or activities. Check out my 5 day Tulum itinerary to get an idea of where to go on your visit.
8.Renting a Car is worth it
If you’re staying in Tulum beach and don’t plan on leaving the area then a car isn’t necessary, but for adventurous travelers out there, My last tip is to rent a car. Of course this depends on your budget, but generally car rentals from Tulum are not that expensive. Here are my reasons for renting a car:
- You have the flexibility to travel to more unique locations (Cenotes, ruins, other beaches) that are 30 min – 2 hours outside of Tulum.
- You can go places on your own time rather than being constrained to a timed tour – this gives you more freedom during your trip
- Since Tulum is more popular, taxi prices have risen, so you will likely save money renting a car
I hope these tips will help you in planning your trip to Tulum! For more tips and travel inspiration, check out my other blog posts on Tulum.