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10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking an ATV Tour in Tulum

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking an ATV Tour in Tulum

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Tulum is famously known for its Mayan ruins overlooking the gorgeous blue Caribbean Sea. The town itself has grown in popularity over the years, and I can see why! It has become one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico, with its relaxing beaches, old and rich history, and accessibility to some awesome day trips. 

Of all the day trips you can take from Tulum, one of my favorites has been an ATV tour. An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is one of the most thrilling ways to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Tulum landscape, and change it up from all the lazy beach days! I have taken a few ATV tours on the Yucatan Peninsula now, and will definitely take another next time I visit Mexico. 

I love these tours because they include other activities like ziplining, swimming in cenotes, and rappelling, so you can really get a lot out of one tour. You also don’t need any prior experience on an ATV and can still have a great time racing through the jungle, so it’s a fun tour for anyone!

ATVing can be risky, so it’s important that you book the right tour with a reputable provider. To make your planning easier, I’ve compiled this guide about ATVing in Tulum. It has all the info you need to know, and the absolute best tours out there so you can be well-informed and choose the best tour for you!

Our Top Choice for an ATV Tour in Tulum

If you’re busy planning your Tulum vacation and don’t have time to read this entire blog post, we’ve narrowed down the best one for you! This ATV tour is our top choice for an enthralling day in Tulum. It includes all of the adventure activities you could want like a 30-minute ATV ride through the jungle, rappelling, and ziplining into a cenote where you can also snorkel and cliff dive. Transportation from Tulum is included and this whole experience is $129 USD per person. While it’s not the cheapest on the list, it is the highest-rated so you know you’ll have an amazing experience, check it out here!

1. When is the best time to go ATVing in Tulum?

People ride an ATV through a puddle on a tour in Tulum, Mexico
After rain, it’s so much fun!

The beautiful thing about Mexico (amongst so many) is that the weather is great for ATVing year-round! You will either catch Mexico in the dry and hot season (December to April) or around the rainy/hurricane season which is from June to October. Both bring fun new twists to an ATV tour in Tulum.

If you are taking this tour from December to April, I recommend booking a morning tour. The afternoons can get pretty hot and being outside in the heat of the day makes any tour a little less enjoyable. So I recommend getting out earlier if at all possible!

However, if you visit during the rainy season, you’re in for a treat. It usually doesn’t rain all day, so you should be able to catch a break in the rain to take your tour. The trails during this time of year are muddy and wet, which makes it so fun to drive your ATV and get covered in dirt! Go into this tour with the mentality that you’ll end up muddy, and it’s a blast.

Regardless of when you go, an ATV tour is one of the best things you can do in the Riviera Maya!

2. What to expect on an ATV tour in Tulum?

ATV buggy drives through the forest in Tulum, Mexico
You can choose different vehicles!

Pretty much any ATV tour you’ll find will take place in an eco-park, centrally located to Tulum. The tours will include more activities than just ATVing, such as ziplining, swimming in cenotes, rappelling, snorkeling, or participating in the Mayan Temazcal ceremony. Most have hotel pick-up options, which make your life way easier, and include lunch or snacks!

These experiences last around 4 hours and will start off with a bang by either ATVing or ziplining. While we love that these tours include so many other activities, it does cut your ATV time shorter than you might expect on this sort of tour. It ends up being about 30 minutes of ATVing, which doesn’t sound like much but we thought it was perfect as it was really hot outside! 

But, the tours follow up ATVing with swimming in a cenote, which was perfectly refreshing after getting so hot and sweaty on the ATV ride. The tours vary in other activities included, like rappelling or a Temazcal ceremony. A Temazcal ceremony is a super old tradition in Mayan culture, and it’s basically a sauna in a large clay hut. I found it to be an insightful experience and an all-around good sweaty time!

You can expect to have a good time and make a lot of memories if you book an ATV tour in Tulum!

Related Read: Did you know the Yucatan is home to some of the best Mayan ruins sites in Mexico? Spend a few days checking out Tulum Ruins or Chichen Itza from Tulum to experience this unique part of history!

3. Do you need to book an ATV tour in Tulum in advance?

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while ATVing in Tulum, Mexico
But first, a selfie!

Yes, I highly recommend booking an ATV tour in advance. These are extremely popular tours in Tulum and the best ones are booked first, so you want to be sure to secure your spot early. All of the tours I’ve listed in this blog are top-rated, so you can easily read through them and choose the best one for you!

You can still book ATV tours with short notice or in Tulum, but they are less popular for a reason! With an activity like ATVing, you’ll want to be sure to have a reputable tour provider as it can be a risky activity. We prefer to book through Viator so we can see reviews from others who have taken the tour, and we know we are getting a fun and safe tour!

Related Read: Another Mexico activity you’ll want to book in advance is swimming with whale sharks! This is one of the few areas in the world where you can do this thrilling activity, so the tours definitely fill up quickly.

4. Why book on Viator?

Viator ATV tour cancelation 1
Viator ATV tour reservation and cancelation policies

We love booking tours on Viator, as they have a great cancellation policy. All of these ATV tours mentioned allow free changes or cancellations up to 24 hours before your tour. This allows you to book the tour you want in advance, and still gives you flexibility in case your travel plans change, as they often do!

If you’ve ever booked a tour in Mexico, you’ll know that booking directly through the tour provider can be a huge pain. Their cancellation or change policies are ever-changing, even if they are posted on the website, and you can’t read real reviews, so you never really know what you’re getting.

Booking with Viator is so simple and doesn’t cost extra, so we always book with them when we can!

5. Do you need a license to drive an ATV in Tulum?

Two people sit on an ATV ready to start the tour in Tulum, Mexico
We went with our friends!

No, you do not need a driver’s license! To drive an ATV you must be at least 16 years old or 18 years old to drive alone. Those who are 16 or 17 have to have an adult accompanying them in order to drive an ATV. Honestly, operating an ATV is so different from operating a car, so having a license won’t do much good anyway!

Kids as young as four years old can join ATV tours, and honestly, kids love these tours! It is a super fun family activity. I’ve seen so many dare-devil kids that end up wanting to go faster than the adults do!

Related Read: Renting a car in Mexico is a great way to get around, especially since Tulum is a ways from the airport. But even if you don’t rent a car, don’t worry, there are still ways to easily get from Cancun Airport to Tulum.

6. What are the best ATV tours in Tulum?

1. Hidden Cenote Swim, Rappel, Zipline, and ATV Outdoor Adventure in Riviera Maya

Bailey and Bailey sit on an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
Off we go!
Bailey swims in a cenote near Cancun, Mexico
The water is crystal clear!

We love a good adventure tour! Not only do you get to experience four exhilarating activities, but you get to do it in one of the most beautiful areas of the Yucatan Peninsula. This tour is just a half-day, but manages to fit a lot of fun into that short time!

Since this is an ATV tour, you’ll start out by cruising through the jungle on your Polaris ATV. This track climbs some serious terrain going over rocky areas, through creeks, and up to beautiful viewpoints. This will bring you to your first cenote where you will rappel down a hole just big enough for one person. If you’re brave you can volunteer to go first!

This tour is high on my list because, inside the cave, there is a zipline system – what!? Here, you can fly down the zipline and splash into cenote waters. I had never seen this on a tour, and I’ve taken quite a few ATV tours on the Yucatan, so this one is truly a standout.

You’ll then hop on your ATV again and head towards another cenote where you can swim, cliff-jump, and snorkel. Or if you’ve had enough adventure, you can simply relax!

This tour is one of the most fun ones out there. It includes roundtrip transportation from your Tulum hotel, all of your equipment, snacks, and water. I recommend reserving this tour in advance, as it is sure to book up quickly. You can secure your spot for $129 USD per person.

2. Riviera Maya Jungle Half-Day Tour: ATV, Ziplines, Cenote Swim, Rappel

Daniel and Bailey ride an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
So much fun!
Bailey swims in a Cenote on a tour in Mexico
Cenotes are the perfect place to cool off after ATVing!

This is a great tour option for those who are short on time, but want to experience a lot! This Riviera Maya Jungle Half-Day Tour will take you on a thrilling ATV ride, flying down a zipline, swimming in a sacred cenote, rappelling into a cave, and also has a little surprise at the end!

You will be picked up from your hotel in Tulum and taken to an eco-park nearby for your adventure activities. I love it when tours take place at eco-parks because you don’t have to waste time driving to every activity, they are all next to each other!

This one starts out with an ATV ride through the jungly park, either on your own or shared. You’ll make your way to the zipline course and step into a harness for some high-flying fun. This course has a zipline that goes for 1 kilometer/0.6 miles – this is one of the longest ziplines on the Riviera Maya!

After this, you will rappel into a cave to find a cool refreshing cenote. You’ll have some time to swim and relax in the cool waters, and simply take in how remarkable this natural wonder is! There are a ton of great cenotes in Tulum, so we love that you get to experience one on this tour. 

The last surprise is a Mayan Temazcal ceremony, which is a cleansing sauna sort of activity. Not only does this have great health benefits by sweating all of the toxins out, but it’s also unique to experience such an old tradition. 

This 4-hour experience includes hotel pick-up/drop-off in Tulum, all safety equipment for the activities, snacks, and water! You can book this tour for $127 USD for adults and $89 USD for kids 4-11. Book this experience online here before it fills up!

3. Adventure in the Mayan Jungle with ATV and Zipline in Tulum

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while riding an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
Bailey likes to ride on the back instead of drive her own!

This Adventure in the Mayan Jungle tour includes the same thrilling activities of ATVing, ziplining, and cenote swimming as the others, but it’s a bit more affordable and includes lunch! Over your 4.5 hours, you’ll experience a good mix of exciting activities and connect with the culture for a great day trip in Tulum.

You’ll meet up at a central point in Tulum and take off for your tour with your guide. While this tour isn’t very different from others in terms of what you’ll be doing, it does stand out because of the tour guides. They do a fantastic job of encouraging everyone to step out of their comfort zone to try something new and make the whole tour fun. Sometimes the guides can make or break the experience – and they definitely make this one 10 times better!

The tour starts by ATVing through the jungle, taking in the landscape as best as you can as it zooms by. Then take on the zipline circuit, which boasts the “Evolution” zipline as the star of the show. This zipline is 1 kilometer/0.6 miles long and gets crazy fast!

You’ll then rappel into a cenote, which is one of my favorite parts! I love hanging out in the cenotes, seeing the intricate rock formations and stalactites that hang from the ceiling. 

The last stop on this tour is the Mayan Temazcal ceremony which you can choose to participate in, if you’d like! The whole tour explains the history and significance of the area, but this is really the best way to connect with ancient Mayan culture. Then finish it off with a traditional Mexican lunch – arguably the best part of the tour!

This tour includes transportation, all equipment necessary for a safe and fun time, and lunch. It is $90 USD for all ages, which is actually a pretty good price for all that it includes. I recommend booking this tour in advance, you can do so here!

4. ATV Cenote and Zipline Sacred Jungle Expedition

Two people ATVing on a tour from Tulum, Mexico
Woo!

While most people visit Tulum for its famous ruins, we love that these ATV tours get you out into nature to experience another side of Tulum! This half-day tour is no exception as it spends five hours exploring the jungle on an ATV, ziplining over the trees, and taking a soak in the natural underwater river system. 

This tour starts out by picking you up from your Tulum-based hotel, which takes all of the planning off your plate! You’ll go over a safety briefing and make sure you’re confident on the ATV, then they will let you loose to navigate the jungle trails. The terrain will be rocky and possibly muddy but so fun and lets you see a different side of Tulum.

You’ll then get even more amazing views from the treetops, as you zipline through the canopy! Your final ATV destination will take you to a cenote, where you’ll have time to swim and explore the fascinating underwater river system.

Cenotes exist in only a handful of countries, so it’s definitely a must-do activity while in Tulum – luckily this tour includes it!

This tour has two departure times you can choose from, 9 am or 1 pm, and includes roundtrip transportation and all equipment you’ll need for the day! This one doesn’t provide any food, so I recommend packing some snacks as it lasts for 5 hours.

You can reserve this ATV tour out of Tulum here for $95 USD per person for a shared ATV or $119 USD each for a single ATV!

5. Best ATV Tour, Ziplines, and Cenote Swim with Lunch and Transport Included

Daniel rides an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
When Bailey is not on the back I go much faster!

This is the best ATV tour if you’re on a budget, and I honestly think this might be the best value for adventure all around! This 5-hour ATV experience is only $85 USD, which is the cheapest on our list, but includes the same top-rated activities. 

The tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Tulum and will take you to the adventure park to get started. You’ll hop on an ATV and tackle the rocky, bumpy, and exciting road that will lead you through the jungle and to a cenote.

After a hot ATV ride, jumping into the cenote is a refreshing change of pace! This one has a Tarzan swing and spots to cliff jump, so it’s a rather exciting cenote stop. 

Then you’ll head to the zipline course and spend some time flying over the treetops. The last activity is a traditional Mexican lunch, so you know it will be absolutely delicious!

This is one of the highest-rated ATV tours due to the fun activities and the amazing guides! As I said before, there are plenty of ATV tours out of Tulum, but the popular ones are popular for a reason – they are all-around awesome!

This tour includes roundtrip transportation, admission fees, all necessary equipment for activities, and lunch. It can be reserved online for $85 USD for a shared ATV. It’s only $10 USD extra if everyone in the group wants their own ATV. I recommend booking this tour in advance as it’s one of the best out there and super affordable!

7. What is the best ATV tour for beginners in Tulum?

Bailey on an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
Bailey likes to go slow and steady!

If we had to pick a tour for a beginner, we’d choose this offroading tour! This tour lasts 4.5 hours and has four activities in it, so you really won’t be on the ATV for a long time (only about 30 minutes). After taking ATV tours ourselves, we think this is enough time for you to get a taste of it and maybe get a little more comfortable, without having to commit to a long ATV ride. 

This tour also includes plenty of other adventure activities, like ziplining and rappelling, with chill activities like swimming and a Temazcal sauna ceremony, so you have a little bit of everything. 

The guides of this tour are truly amazing! In my opinion, having a good set of guides can make any activity I’m nervous about seem less intimidating. They will go over safety instructions and let you move at your own pace, so you never have to push it too hard. But on the other hand, these guides are very encouraging so it’s a safe place to try something new!

8. Are Tulum ATV tours safe?

Riding an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
They are also as safe as you make them!

Yes, ATV tours are a safe yet riveting activity! You get to drive your own ATV (or be a passenger on your friend’s vehicle) and so you can control the pace, how crazy you drive, and can really make it your own adventure. The guides do a fantastic job of instructing and ensuring safety standards are upheld so you can feel comfortable the whole tour. 

Each tour company provides helmets and follows strict safety rules in Mexico, and all of the tours mentioned in this blog are highly rated. Keep in mind that these tour operators thrive on their customers having a great time and spreading the word, so they want to ensure your safety so you will come back the next time you’re in Tulum!

The trails are rocky terrain, but there aren’t any cliffs or drop-offs, and the trails are well marked, so the drive itself isn’t too wild. Hundreds of travelers take these tours every day, so rest assured that they are a safe activity in Tulum!

Related Read: I highly recommend taking a luxury catamaran boat ride to Isla Mujeres. They take off from Cancun, but these catamaran tours include transport from Tulum so it’s an easy day trip!

9. What should you wear on a Tulum ATV tour?

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie on an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
Don’t forget to bring your smile!

Comfortable enclosed shoes

You’ll definitely want to wear closed-toe shoes for an ATV tour. There will be a lot of rocks, debris, and dirt that you’ll want to protect your feet from, and you’ll want to have decent stability and grip while operating the ATV. Most tours will require closed-toe shoes for ATVing, as well as for ziplining and rappelling. 

A solid pair of sneakers will be just fine, but be prepared for them to get muddy! Especially if you’re taking a tour during the rainy season when the mud is thick. You will have to get on and off the ATV or put your foot down at times, and it might be in thick mud! I wore waterproof hiking boots and was very thankful I did!

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are essential on this tour. First, they keep the sun out of your eyes so you can see where you’re going. Second, to protect your eyes from dust, dirt, bugs, or all other things that might get kicked up as you’re ATVing through the jungle. 

Some tours provide goggles (or are available for an extra fee) but they are often scratched and make it harder to see. Sunglasses are just as protective and usually comfier, as they are your own sunglasses! Just make sure they don’t slip down and can stay on your face while operating the ATV.

Buff or mask

It can get very dusty on the ATV tracks, and you definitely don’t want to breathe it all in! Having a buff or face mask is a lifesaver, as it keeps you from inhaling the dust or debris that is getting kicked up by other ATVs. It simply gives you a layer of protection that makes your ride more enjoyable. The last thing you want is to be coughing the whole time you’re out adventuring!

Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty

The best thing you can wear on an ATV tour is something you are comfortable in and don’t mind getting dirty! You’ll likely end up being sweaty and dirty, and quite possibly muddy, so I don’t recommend wearing your best outfit. Plus, you’ll want an outfit that is comfy for all of the other activities, so put on your adventure pants!

10. Is ATVing in Tulum worth it?

Yes, I’ve taken four different ATV tours and will definitely take more! It’s a fun, thrilling activity that is a nice change of pace from the normal activities in Tulum. It’s a great way to balance out a multi-day Tulum itinerary.

I also love that the tours include other activities, so if you’re short on time you can experience a lot in just a few hours. It’s definitely one of the best tours on the Yucatan Peninsula you can take!

Other Activities to do While You’re in Tulum

Diving in Tulum, Mexico
My first cenote dive was in Tulum!
Bailey poses for a photo while enjoying the views of the Tulum Ruins and ocean in Tulum, Mexico
The famous viewpoint at the Tulum Ruins!

Besides taking an ATV tour, you have to see more of what this awesome city has to offer before you leave! Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Tulum:

  • Check out the Tulum Ruins – Honestly, if you don’t do anything else while you’re here, make sure to check out the Tulum Ruins! This is an amazing place to get a glimpse into the area’s Mayan history, and with a 90 MXN ($5 USD) entrance fee, it’s also pretty inexpensive. For the best experience, I’d recommend going with this private guide for an awesome tour of the Tulum Ruins, which also includes early access to beat the crowds!
  • Explore Tulum’s epic foodie scene – “Mexico” and “good food” might as well be synonyms. No matter where you go, you’ll find out-of-this-world food – Tulum really is no exception! Whether you fancy learning how to cook your own authentic Mexican meal or sampling some of the best local spots on this walking food tour, it’s all up to you!
  • Have a beach day – With all the adventuring and exploring you’ll likely have in Tulum, a lazy beach day is a perfect activity to relax! Tulum has some of the best beaches in Mexico. The closest beach to Tulum is Paradise Beach, and the name speaks for itself. You can rent lounge chairs here for $10 USD and enjoy the nearby restaurants.
  • Try a Temazcl ceremony – Some ATV tours include this, but you can make it an entire half-day activity. A Temazcl ceremony is a bit like a sauna where a shaman helps you rejuvenate and cleanse the body. I’ve tried one before in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and had a blast. I’d recommend this Temazcal tour from Tulum, which offers both shared and private tours.

Where to Stay in Tulum

Che Tulum Hostel Pool
Che Tulum Hostel Pool

These ATV tours are sure to leave you exhausted by the end of the day, and there’s nothing better than knowing you have a great place to rest up. No matter what you’re looking for in a hotel, Tulum has it! Offering everything from hostels to 5-star luxury hotels, there is accommodation for everyone!

Here are some of the best places to stay in Tulum (categorized by budget!):

Luxury – $$$

If you’re looking to make your vacation a luxurious trip, there are plenty of good options in Tulum! 

Hotel Boutique TerraNova is a top-rated boutique hotel that truly makes your stay like paradise. All the rooms are spacious and have a garden patio, and there is an outdoor pool as well! You can expect to pay at least $300 USD per night during the peak season for a deluxe queen room. For an upscale hotel with modern, serene vibes, book your stay at TerraNova here!

Another incredible luxury option is Kan Tulum. This hotel is actually built around its own private cenote! These rooms have a unique jungle treehouse design, with gorgeous terraces to see the sunset. You are well located right next to beaches and nightlife. Rooms cost around $250-$450 USD, but will certainly be a memorable experience! For a unique stay you’ll only find in Tulum, reserve your room at Kan Tulum online here!

Mid-range – $$

Aruma Boutique Hotel is a moderately priced, artsy hotel that’s still very comfortable and family-friendly! It has a great location and is only a few minutes away from Tulum’s city center and many shops and restaurants. They also serve an exceptional breakfast, including espresso, and the staff is so friendly! There’s a rooftop pool and bar, which makes a great place to relax after a day of exploring.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$150 USD a night depending on the time of year you are visiting. But to take advantage of this awesome deal, you’ll want to reserve this accommodation well in advance!

Budget – $$$

For budget travelers, my favorite hostel is Che Hostel. It’s just steps from downtown Tulum and has a tropical vibe with gardens surrounding the property. There are lots of events happening here, including salsa dancing and pool parties!

You can get a dorm room for as low as $20 USD, which is truly a steal considering how nice this hostel really is! They also offer gorgeous private rooms. If you’re traveling on a budget, I encourage you to book well in advance – and you can do so on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while driving an ATV in Tulum, Mexico
Thanks for reading!

Taking an ATV tour has been one of the best tours I’ve taken in Tulum! It is a fun way to experience the great outdoors and have a memorable day of adventure. I will certainly be taking another ATV tour next time I’m in Tulum, and maybe we will even end up on the same tour!

I hope you found this guide helpful as you pick out your perfect ATV tour in Tulum! If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out our other Mexico blogs to help plan your next vacation:

6 BEST Tulum Tours from Cancun + 7 Things to Know

Guide To Bacalar, Mexico & 18 Best Things To Do

How to Spend 3 Days in Mexico City: An Ideal 3-Day Mexico City Itinerary