Yes, this is another Tulum guide! Pretty sure you guys have seen many of these around.
I decided to make one because I received so many questions about my trip that I have prepared this little guide for you. Shall we?
There are many ways to get to Cancun from Tulum:
- Go by bus: this is the most affordable option since it only costs around $15 for one way ticket. The bus chain is called ADO and they travel all around Mexico. Is super safe, fast and wait get’s better they have Wi-Fi in the buses and terminals. You can buy tickets in person or even online.
- Hire a driver: This cost is around $50 – $60 to take you to Tulum. It’s something I would recommend if you prefer something private and you’re still not sure if you should rent a car.
- Rent a car: this is my best recommendation since you can control your time, and will end up been cheaper if you plan to explore the area. You will definitely need a car to go to the cenotes because they are in long distances. The streets of Mexico are quite good and you will not need a 4×4 car in this area.If you don’t want to rent in Cancun you can also rent a car in Tulum. There’s a few agencies around the town.
If you are staying in the hotel strip you will need parking. It is a bit difficult since many properties have limited parking, and the public parking are only a few, and probably far from the area you want to go. My best recommendation for the hotel zone area is to rent a bicycle. It’s super easy, it’s more fun and you will not have to worry about parking. Make sure to only use or rent the car for when you go to explore the cenotes or make the longer distances.
Where to go?
Let’s go to the fun part!
Mexico in general and the Quintana Roo area has many things to do among its cenotes, Mayan ruins, beaches, caves, even the most photogenic places for those Instagram photos. So here are my favorite places:
- Gran Cenote: one of the first cenotes that I visited and that made me fall in love with Tulum. It consists of several cenotes where you can dive and see lots of marine life from beautiful fishes to turtles. The water is super clear that you will be able to snorkel. The entrance costs is around $10 per person.
- Casa Cenote: a super magical place where a cute and gentle crocodile called Pancho lives. Don’t panic when they told me it scared me too! But in truth it’s almost always hidden. This cenote is ideal for diving and snorkeling. The entrance costs is approximately $10 per person.
- Cenote Cristal y Escondido: located on highway 307 and both on opposite sides. They are two cenotes with the same owners. This has an approximate cost of $6 per person which includes the entry for both cenotes. These are surrounded by lots of nature, jungle and you will have plenty of space to sunbathe.
- Cenote Sac Actun: one of my favorite cenotes and probably one of the most expensive since the approximate entrance fee is $20 per person which includes a guide. However, this 100% worth it because it is really fascinating! This is more than a cenote since it is also the largest underwater cave in the world that exists today. The water is very clear and quite cold but the fun part is to cross and swim inside the dark caves which are really extraordinary. Do not worry that your guide will have a flashlight to guide the way and where you will discover thousands of icicle-shaped stalactites hanging from the ceiling of the caves. The light of the lantern makes them shine as if they were encrusted with thousands of small diamonds. Without a doubt visiting this cenote was quite an experience and if you are looking for a good agency I would recommend: Tulum Diving Travel
- Nativus Glamping Cenote: a hidden gem within the hotel zone. Suprising not to crowded because the only access points are hotels or properties that live near the place. I discovered it while I stayed at Nativus Tulum for a glamping experience. This is at the end of the hotel strip of Tulum, with the Caribbean ocean on one side and the beautiful cenote surrounded by mangroves on the other. It is the perfect place for paddle boarding.
- Cenote Ik Kil: this is a short distance from the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, on the road to Valladolid. If you are going to visit the ruins of Chichen Itza then I would recommend doing this cenote. To get to the water you have to go down 26 meters. The water is 40 meters deep, while its diameter is 60 meters. This has approximate cost of $5 per person.
- Cenote SuyTun: this is a short distance from Valladolid and it is definitely worth visiting as it is one of the most impressive cenotes that I have visited. This is an underground cavern surrounded by stalactites, glaciers and shallow waters where you can see at a glance the freshwater fish that live in it. Personally I wanted to photograph this cenote with the ray of light that enters in the cave that make it look magical but this does not enter until midday. So, my options here were: either photographing it without people in the morning or with many people with the dam ray of light lol. I decided to do it without people. My best recommendation to do it without people is to go in the morning when they open 9am. The approximate cost is $5 per person.
- Visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum: a must place to do while in Tulum. Not only to see the beautiful pyramids but also because they are located on the cliffs fifteen meters high on the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. They offer an easy access to the beach, so I would recommend taking your bathing suit. However note that this can be extremely crowded depending on the time you go. The approximate cost is $3 – $4 per person.
- Visit the ruins of Chichen Itza: one of the largest and most impressive Mayan archaeological sites that you should not miss. The approximate cost is around $15 per person and I would recommend going in the morning hours as it can get very busy!
- Visit Valladoid: a magical town from the beginning of the Yucatan region but near Tulum, that’s why I included it in this list. It is a colonial village with a quiet and charming atmosphere that have striking pretty little houses and buildings with pastel colors. Would definitely recommend visiting but not staying here over night.
Where to eat?
Tulum has a wide variety of delicious and very photogenic restaurants. In this list I will put some of my favorite places that I went more than once:
- Matcha Mama: one of the most photogenic places you’ve probably seen a lot in the gram. Famous for their cute white structure of swings where they sell refreshing smoothies, teas, coffees and acai bowls. This is a short distance from the “follow your dreams” sign in the hotel strip. If you are going to visit this one I would recommend doing both the same day.
- Cocos Tulum: another of the most photographed places in Tulum since it is famous for its beautiful swings overlooking the beach. This is located in the hotel strip. My best recommendation is going at sunset hours to enjoy their delicious drinks with the magic hour of sunset.
- Charlie’s vegan tacos: I’m not vegan but I think this place has helped me to consider that vegan food has delicious flavors. This is located near the end of the hotel strip very close to Nativus Tulum. I would never thought that vegan tacos taste this delicious. Without a doubt a place that I highly visiting in Tulum. My favorites were the Charly’s signature tacos.
- Ojo de Agua: also located in the hotel strip. This is a very famous chain in Mexico that is characterized by its delicious and fresh products. I love the breakfasts options and the great variety of bowls that they offer. Tacos here are so delicious too!
- Raw Tulum: located in the hotel strip and is famous for being an open-air vegan restaurant. Personally I loved their smoothies, hamburgers and acai bowls.
- Casa Margherita: located almost at the beginning of the hotel strip and was one of the first places I visit in Tulum. This is also a small boutique hotel that offers exquisite cuisine. The salads and the pastas here are delicious!
- Boca Negra: they sell the best pizza in Tulum! I went here with some friends to have dinner and the taste of the pizza is very delicious with a thin crust. Just how I like pizza.
- La Popular in Nomade Tulum: this was the first restaurant I visited on my third visit to Tulum. It is located inside the Nomade hotel and has a great atmosphere. It is outdoors with armchairs, pillows, carpets and low tables in the sand. They have live music on the beach and the vibe is very cool! I found the food a bit pricey but it was delicious! I really liked the dishes we ordered: tuna tartar, the fish tacos, the ceviche and the guacamole!
- Rosa Negra: one of the most popular restaurants in Tulum! The atmosphere is quite cool with live music. Located in the middle of the hotel strip. You will pass thru this place a lot if you are staying in the area. They offer a great variety of tonic cocktails and the food was also very authentic and delicious.
- Tulum Art Club: this is located in the town and was one of my favorites places to eat that I went to several times. This is a coffee shop, boutique and art gallery. The vibe is very cool and the food is delicious too. Some of my favorites were the guacamoles and the acai bowl, and the smoothies.
- Co con Amor: I discovered this restaurant by a friend who is a vegan who took me to lunch here. It has a great vegan menu and I remember tasting a very delicious bowl of quinoa.
- Burritos Amor: a must place to eat in Tulum. Located in the town and they sell all the types of burritos that you can imagine. If you are leaving the party this is the best place to eat. All your combinations of burritos including breakfast are delicious.
Where to Stay?
I spent almost 2 weeks in Tulum so I stayed in different places all with a quite unique and different experiences:
- Kima Tulum: One of the most beautiful properties I have visited! This is a retreat in the middle of the jungle. My experience in this place was really wonderful since it was very relaxing and had a lot of down time with myself. Is only 8 minutes from the town and about 15-20 minutes from the hotel zone. Read a full review of Kima here.
- Zorba and Mahayana Tulum: the ideal beach house that you are looking in Tulum beach. Two sister properties that offer rental homes on the beach. Located in the hotel strip near all the spots you want to visit. I had the opportunity to stay in both and the truth is that both gave me very different experiences. Zorba is their newest property which makes it more modern. Mahayana is more intimate and the houses are more authentic and rustic. Read a review of both properties here.
- Nativus Tulum: this is a glamping experience that reminded me of my African adventures. It is a very different and unique hotel that offers only 9 rooms in the form of a bell tent. Read more about my glamping experience of this place here.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide and if you are already in Tulum or are planning to go there I hope you have a great time!