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33 EPIC Things to do in Tulum, Mexico (2024 Guide!)

33 EPIC Things to do in Tulum, Mexico (2024 Guide!)

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Tulum, Mexico is one of our all-time favorite places to visit in the Yucatán Peninsula, offering tons of exciting things to do and see. It’s the perfect place for travelers to explore!

In a nutshell, Tulum is full to the brim with everything that makes a trip to Mexico special. Pristine beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, fantastic food… The list just goes on and on.

In recent years, Tulum’s popularity as a tourist destination has exploded! Word got around about how incredible this small town really is. Now tourists from all over the world visit Tulum, with new hotels popping up on what seems to be every corner.

Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me – Tulum is one of the best places to visit in Mexico, with so much variety it’ll make your head spin! Whether you’re here for a day or a week, you’ll have no problem filling your Tulum itinerary.

With that said, such a bucket list destination deserves to be enjoyed properly. That means checking out some of the top attractions in Tulum, some of which aren’t that easy to find.

So, as regular visitors to Tulum, we’ve decided to share everything we’ve done and learned during our extended stays. This is the only list you need when looking for the best things to do in Tulum, Mexico!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Tulum is full of places to explore, and here are some of our favorites:

  1. Start your morning off right by visiting three awesome cenotes on this half-day tour
  2. Eat the local bites by going on a walking food tour
  3. Learn about the Tulum Ruins from an expert guide
  4. Feel the rush by ziplining through the jungle
  5. Relax and enjoy every shade of blue at Laguna Kaan Luum

About Visiting Tulum, Mexico

View of the gaurd house at the Tulum Ruins with views of the coast
The Tulum Ruins!

Tulum is a town located in the Quintana Roo region of Mexico that attracts people from all over the world for its pristine beaches, Mayan ruins, as well as unique cenotes.

Tulum is about a 3-hour drive from Cancun or about 1 hour from Playa del Carmen. It is the least touristic of the three while still being in the thick of all of the “must-see” attractions of the Quintana Roo. If you’re flying into Cancun Airport and want to get to Tulum, one of the best ways to get here is on one of the Cancun Airport Shuttles that take you directly to Tulum! Or if you’re based in Playa, then there are some excellent tours from Playa del Carmen to Tulum that take care of planning a day trip for you!

Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico

1. Go to the beach

 Xcacel beach, Tulum
Xcacel beach, Tulum

The town of Tulum isn’t right on the beach, however, there are lots of beaches close by! One of the closest beaches to Tulum is Paradise Beach, which is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. You can easily get to Paradise Beach by taxi, bike, or walking. It takes about one hour to walk to the beach from central Tulum, 20 minutes to bike, or a taxi costs less than $10 USD.

At Paradise Beach, you can rent lounge chairs for around $10 USD for the entire day and there are also lots of amazing restaurants nearby to eat and enjoy the view. If you’re only planning on visiting one beach in Tulum, make it Paradise Beach.

With that said, beach lovers like myself should certainly check out more of the beaches around Tulum. Some of my favorites include:

  • Playa Ruinas – This gorgeous beach is located just north of Paradise Beach below the Tulum Ruins. Those planning on visiting the Tulum Ruins should combine their visit with Playa Ruinas. Be warned though, the beach area is small and by lunchtime, it’s usually overcrowded!
  • Playa Las Palmas – Las Palmas Beach is the closest beach to Tulum and is a rather secluded beach, perfect if you like to escape the vendors and restaurants. I love coming down here in the morning – it’s so beautiful!

Related Read: Learn about all of the fun things to do in Riviera Maya, Mexico!

2. Explore the BEST cenotes near Tulum

Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum, Mexico
Cenote Dos Ojos!

One of the most famous things to do in the Yucatán Peninsula is to explore the cenotes, which are literally everywhere! There are just too many to see them all – so you’ll need to choose wisely which ones you want to check out. Or, you can pick from our list of the best cenote tours in Tulum.

Definitely ask around for other peoples’ recommendations, but I will tell you about the ones we chose to visit (based on what we heard are the absolute best!) These are just a few of the many cenotes in and around Tulum:

Dos Ojos

This cenote is a complex underwater cave system. From land, it actually seems like two different cenotes as they connect underwater.

Dos Ojos entrance gates are easy to get to by collectivo (only 20 minutes from Tulum.) Once at the entrance gate, it is another 2 km (1.24 mi) walk to the actual cenotes.

Dos Ojos Cenotes cost 350 pesos ($20 USD) entrance fee which is one of the pricier cenote fees. However, if you have never seen a cave with bright blue water before then definitely check this one out regardless of the price. It’s also a popular cenote to dive.

Bailey swims in Cenote Zemway in Tulum, Mexico
Bailey loves Zemway!
Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum
Dos Ojos Cenote

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is a very popular cenote located just outside of Tulum. The cenote is made up of caves as well as an open-air section.

Gran Cenote is popular for snorkeling, and the best part is that it is accessible by a short bike ride from Tulum (or a couple of dollars taxi ride.) The entrance fee for Gran Cenote is 180 pesos ($11 USD) per person.

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera is one of my favorite cenotes in Mexico. This small cenote is just a hole in the ground but underneath you can explore deep caves which are perfect for diving. It’s become very popular in recent years and now gets very crowded.

Cenote Calavera now has a 250 pesos ($14.50 USD) entrance fee per person and can be reached by bike or taxi from Tulum.

Cenote Zacil-Ha

Cenote Zacil-Ha is a small but stunning open-air cenote not far from Tulum. It’s one of the best cenotes for swimmers and is basically just a natural limestone pool!

Entrance to the cenote costs 200 pesos ($12 USD) per person.

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is a large open-air cenote that is just gorgeous. It’s really fun for swimmers and those who like cliff jumping. There is even a shallow area for kids to swim in, so it’s perfect for families.

Cenote Azul is located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and can be reached by taxi or collectivo. The entrance fee is 150 pesos ($9 USD).

Cenote Zemway

Out of all the cenotes we’ve looked at so far, Cenote Zemway is definitely one of the least well-known, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less amazing to visit! It’s about a 15-minute drive out from central Tulum, so it’s perfect if you’re renting a car, but you can also take the collectivo from Avenida Coba Street, or you can also take a taxi (though this can be a bit pricier!).

As for the cenote itself, it’s a beautiful spot for a swim with super clear water, though I wouldn’t recommend this as a snorkeling spot as there isn’t much life going on under the surface. However, this spot is perfect for families and casual swimmers, plus there are also some diving boards nearby where you can test your courage!

The entrance fee for Zemway is around 150 pesos ($8.50 USD), but make sure to bring cash with you as they don’t take card, and there isn’t an exchange spot or ATM on-site.

Tours to Cenotes in Tulum:

If you want to visit a few cenotes, and you don’t have a car, there are some excellent Tulum tours that visit a few in one day. This specific 4-hour cenote tour visits Cenote Cristal and Escondido, Gran Cenote, and Casa Cenote. It’s an awesome way of bundling together some of the best cenotes nearby into one tight package, so you won’t be wasting time figuring out how to get between the cenotes!

The tour includes transport, snorkeling gear, as well as a professional guide who will be happy to tell you stories about the cenotes and answer any questions you may have. Tickets for this tour cost $130 USD per person. You should book it online in advance here to secure your spot!

3. Go scuba diving in cenotes

Diving in cenotes in Tulum
Diving in Casa Cenote

Scuba diving in Tulum is unique because there are plenty of options to dive in cenotes!

Diving in cenotes was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Bailey and I. This was something I had been looking forward to for weeks! Although we had done a few ocean scuba dives in Mexico already, on this trip, I was excited about something different – and it sure was different!

We first dove in Casa Cenote which was really neat because you literally dive underneath mangroves. When I looked up, I could see all of the roots of the trees. This was a good dive to start with because although there were some covered areas, there were many openings allowing lots of light in and easy access to the surface if needed.

The next cenote we dove into was Cenote Calavera, which was completely opposite of Casa Cenote. Calavera Cenote was all cave diving around the large opening of the cenote. We saw lots of white rock formations and there was also a false surface effect that is created where the freshwater meets the saltwater.

This dive was a little bit more intimidating at first as we needed our flashlights the entire time and it involved swimming in between some smaller spaces, but it made for a very exciting dive.

Diving in a cenote in Tulum
Diving in a cenote Centote Calavera

Diving in cenotes is best done with a guide, even if you’re certified. With the added danger of caverns and caves, this type of diving can be very dangerous without a knowledgeable guide.

If you’re a certified diver, check out this awesome cenote dive experience for $119 USD! It includes two 40-minute dives, one in Casa Centote and the other in Dos Ojos. It includes all your equipment, go-pro photos, and video, an expert divemaster, and transport.

If you’re new to scuba, you can still dive in a cenote – it just won’t be in a cave. I recommend booking this Discovery Dive in Casa Cenote which gives you a nice introduction to diving in an open cenote. This version costs $149 USD per person and lasts for around 5 hours in total.

For those of you who want to get your PADI certification, you can also do that in Tulum! The first official certification you will take will be the open-water certification, which generally takes between two and three days to complete, depending on the dive school you go with.

While there are lots of great diving schools here in Tulum, we’ve heard amazing things about Tulum Diving Center, who offer this certification as well as others, like cavern diving and more!

4. Go on a food tour

Tacos we tried on a food tour in Tulum, Mexico
Try the best tacos in town!
Beef tacos on a food tour in Tulum, Mexico
Barbacoa Tacos

Mexican food is amazing! So, it’s no wonder that joining a food tour made this list of things to do in Tulum. Of course, this will cost you a lot more than just wandering around and trying the street food, but you’ll also visit the best restaurants in Tulum (and go to the local secrets!)

From the humble taco to other delicious Mexican foods such as mole (mole is so good!), you’ll eat your way around the streets of Tulum and the best part is you’re going to leave with a full belly!

A great tour to do is this walking food tour through Tulum. Juan was an amazing guide for us, so you’re sure to have an awesome time! The tour visits seven locations including one of the best taco stands in Tulum, Mercado Tulum, Tamales Don Taco, and Parque Dos Aguas. For only $74 USD, it’s one of the best value tours in Tulum!

5. Learn to cook Mexican food

Making Guacamole on a cooking class in Mexico
Making fresh guacamole was a highlight!

Let’s be honest, do you really want to go back to eating Tex-Mex after your Mexico Trip is over? Yeah, neither do I!

The best way to avoid this is to join a Mexican cooking class. Now, I didn’t do a cooking class in Tulum, instead, I actually did mine in Mexico City – but it was honestly one of the best things I did in Mexico.

So, I highly recommend doing one during your trip regardless of whether you do it in Tulum or another city around Mexico (one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta is also a cooking class!)

Most cooking classes go for around 3 hours, but there are different styles to choose from depending on the experience you’re after.

This cooking class and mezcal tasting is the top-rated experience in Tulum and comes highly recommended. Nothing is more Mexican than tacos and Mezcal, and on this top-rated tour, that’s just what you’ll get! You’ll cook a 3-course meal as well as homemade salsa and tortillas. Then it’s time to try some authentic mezcal!

Lily is a fantastic teacher and has been doing this tour for years in Tulum. The tour is also great value (in my opinion) at only $87 USD per person. It is also limited to a small group size, so you should book your spot online well in advance online here.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

6. Drink beer at Cervecería Tulum

Bailey sips a beer at Cerveciria Tulum, Mexico
The beer is amazing!
A beer at Cerveceria Tulum
The perfect pour!

If you love craft beer, then you simply must visit Cervecería Tulum! This is arguably the coolest brewery in the world and not only serves up delicious craft beer but also a decor that will blow your mind.

Cervecería Tulum is located on the outskirts of Tulum, around 10 minutes from town. You’ll know when you’re there because there is a huge Tulum sign out the front that’s arguably more spectacular than the actual Tulum sign (it is!) 

Once inside, grab yourself a table and let the beers flow. They have a huge range of craft beer on tap and also serve delicious food. I do think that the food was on the expensive side, however the beers were pretty reasonably priced. I’d recommend grabbing food beforehand and enjoying drinks here, so you can cut your wallet a little extra slack!

Visiting Cervecería Tulum was easily one of my favorite things to do in Tulum and one you don’t read much about elsewhere.

7. Go boutique shopping 

Boutique shopping at Kaahal Home Tulum
The store itself is so beautiful and there is so much to see! Photo credit: Kaahal Home Tulum

It’s no secret Tulum has become a mecca for ex-pats. Although this has changed Tulum from the sleepy beach town it once was into a busy tourist destination, Tulum is now filled with small boutiques selling high-quality clothing and accessories from designers from all around the world. 

You don’t have to wander far to visit some of the best shops in Tulum either. In fact, there are too many to mention them all in this blog. However, a few of my personal favorites include:

  • La Pulga Boutique Tulum – If you’re not feeling “hip” enough in Tulum, then pick up some beautiful pieces from here. The items are very beachy but with a hip twist. 
  • Pura Vida Tulum – This is one of the most popular in Tulum and a great place to shop. You can find both women’s and men’s clothing here, ranging from dresses to jewelry to hats and accessories. 
  • Kaahal Home Tulum – This boutique shop is a mix of some clothing items and home decor. You can find lots of great items here, and all are unique (unlike many other decor stores in Tulum.)

8. Rent a bike and explore

Riding a bike in Tulum
Riding a bike in Tulum.

Renting a bike is one of the best ways to explore the small streets of Tulum and even take a trip out to the beach. Not only can you get around with ease, but you’ll get to explore a lot more than on foot.

Bike rental in Tulum is relatively cheap at around $10 to $12 USD per day. Ola Bike Tulum is one of the best bike rental companies in Tulum and their rentals are not only good quality but also cheap. Their rentals are only $12 USD a day, and you can rent for multiple days without returning the bike.

If you’re thinking of getting a scooter too, IBike Tulum is a good company to choose. They have bikes and scooters for great prices in the center of Tulum.

If you’d prefer to do a bike tour and let a guide lead the way, this 5-hour bike tour around Tulum is perfect. On the tour, you’ll visit 3 cenotes as well as learn all about the area. You’ll also get lunch and a fun local guide. It’s a great way to spend the better part of the day and still have time to go out and enjoy dinner in the evening!

9. Visit the Tulum Ruins

Bailey looks out at the ocean at the Tulum Ruins in Mexico
The views are amazing!
Bailey at the Tulum Ruins
So cool!

Tulum was once a huge trading hub for the Mayan people and its steep limestone cliffs provided the perfect fortress to protect its port. The Tulum Ruins are what’s left of this old and impressive fortress – they’re a must-visit if you’ve never been before.

For one, these ruins are located right on the coast some 12 meters high (30 feet) above the pearly white sand beach below – where you can swim! And two, it’s a very interesting archaeological site in the region.

There’s lots to learn about the Tulum Ruins including how they used a pyramid as a lighthouse, but you’re sure to find out more about this on your visit.

It only costs 90 pesos ($5 USD) to visit the ruins and another 45 pesos ($2.50 USD) if you want to use your camera there (professional cameras only, cell phones are free to use.) It’s important to pay with local currency, and make sure you have the exact change with you, as there’s no change offered here!

The ruins are open from 8 am to 5 pm daily, with the last entrance to the park at 4 pm. If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, you can easily visit the ruins on your own, simply grab one of the Collectivo buses from Tulum heading towards Playa del Carmen and get off at the ruins. This bus costs around 20 MXN, making it a really affordable way to reach the ruins!

If you’re driving, there’s parking available which costs about 150 pesos ($9 USD) for the entire day, however this only includes just one entry and exit, so don’t get caught out. From the parking lot, it’s a short 15-minute walk to the ticket booth and entrance to the ruins, or you can grab the shuttle that runs between both locations for 20 MXN ($1 USD) per person.

My top tip is to get here as early as you can, as this is a pretty popular tourist attraction after all. Ideally around 8 am or shortly after opening time if possible. Most big tour buses tend to arrive around 10 am, so if you can get in and explore early, you’re onto a winner!

If you want to know more about the ruins, you can join this early-access private tour with an archeologist. It’s a great tour of the Tulum Ruins for those wanting to know more about the history of the Mayan culture and the ruins. Plus, it is early access, meaning you get to visit before the place gets VERY busy!

10. Swim with whale sharks 

persons hand with whale shark in Tulum, Mexico
Swimming with Whale sharks is nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Don’t let the word “shark” conjure up images of Jaws and scare you away from this amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience in Tulum! Whale sharks are absolutely gorgeous and are known as the “gentle giants” of the Mexican Rivera. They aren’t actually “sharks” at all, and are classified as a fish.

Whale sharks are large at 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet) in length but are slow-moving and very docile. For many, swimming with whale sharks is an experience on their bucket list that you can, luckily, do right in Tulum!

This particular tour will pick you up from the hotel and take you on a day-long snorkeling tour to see the whale sharks from Tulum. They provide all the snorkeling equipment in addition to lunch, snacks, and drinks. It’s one of the top-rated tours in Tulum and the company is certified to do these types of tours.

You’ll not only see Whale Sharks, but tons of wildlife and fish along the way – your expert guide will help point out some of the interesting creatures that live in the ocean.

One thing to note is that swimming with whale sharks is a seasonal activity, with the best chances of seeing them from mid-May to mid-September. During this time, people travel from all over the world just to swim with whale sharks! So, be sure to book your tour online here well in advance so that you don’t miss out.

Related Read: You can also swim with whale sharks near Playa del Carmen! These gentle giants are incredible to see.

11. Take a yoga class  

Nomade Tulum Yoga
Photo credit: Nomade Tulum Yoga

Tulum is a popular area for wellness retreats and yoga. I mean, with gorgeous beaches and a laid-back atmosphere, it’s no surprise people come here for a bit of R&R! If you’re looking to get some movement in and find your inner Shanti (peace), make sure to check out a yoga studio in Tulum.

Yoga classes in Tulum are not like the ones at your community center back home. Many are in gorgeous bamboo villas right on the water, often with a nearby spa to visit after your class. You can choose drop-in classes at studios or hotels, or stay for a night or multi-day retreat.

Some great places for yoga in Tulum include:

  • Azulik Maya Spa – This is one of the most beautiful yoga studios in Tulum. They offer lots of yoga sessions for 600 MXN and even sound healing sessions. They are also a hotel and this is one of the coolest places to stay in Tulum.
  • Nomade Tulum – These guys offer lots of yoga classes throughout the week as well as other wellness classes.
  • Jungle Yoga Tulum – The last studio I’ll mention offers plenty of yoga experiences including SUP Yoga. They also do yoga on the beach and focus on taking your yoga out into the wild!

12. Visit Botanica for brunch

Bailey with her meal at Botanica Garden Cafe in Tulum, Mexico
It’s such a relaxing place!
Avo on toast with eggs from Botanica Garden Cafe in Tulum, Mexico
Yum!

Botanica Garden Cafe is an absolutely beautiful downtown spot in Tulum that serves delicious food for a super affordable price. In fact, Dan and I were so blown away by this café on our last trip that we came back here to eat three times during our four-day trip!

The friendly folks running the café serve the most incredible breakfasts, brunches, and lunches, so if you’re like us, you’ll find yourself stopping by here often. The pastries here were fresh and sooo tasty, and my absolute favorite dish for brunch was their famous Omelette Botanica… You can view their menu online here.

They also offer free Wi-Fi and have some live music that takes place regularly, as well as special events like salsa dancing, art therapy, and more. Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, this is such a great spot for families, couples, and solo travelers looking to get fueled up before the start of another day of adventure.

13. Do a Temazcal ceremony

A Temazcal in Mexico
You do rituals outside before entering the Temazcal

Visiting Mayan ruins will certainly give you an idea of how the Mayan people lived; however, another fun and unique way to understand the culture is to join a Temazcl ceremony. This ancient tradition is kind of like a sauna that rejuvenates the body with ancient rituals under the close eye of a shaman.

On this specific Temazcal experience, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Tulum and taken out to the Temazcal ceremony site – a beautiful area in the forests. You’ll first meet your shaman or ‘temazcalero’ before beginning the ceremony in the Temazcal. The ritual works by changing the heat levels up and down and by using mud, honey, aloe vera, and teas. This is supposed to cleanse the body. 

The ceremony finishes with a refreshing dip in a plunge pool that makes you really feel alive (and cools you down). It’s super fun, and I guarantee you won’t regret trying this tour out. 

I did a temazcal ceremony in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and loved it!

14. Go Ziplining 

Ziplining at Selva Adventure Park in Tulum
The forest is so green around Tulum!

Ziplining is one of the best tours you can do in Mexico. This fun activity is popular all over the country, and the lush jungle provides the ideal conditions to enjoy it. 

There are lots of different ziplining tours you can do from Tulum; however, none compare to the experience at Selva Maya Eco Adventure Park. The 4-hour tour in the park includes a thrilling ride down nine ziplines and also across five hanging bridges. Afterward, you get to do a little rock climbing and even repel down into a cenote that very few get to visit. Cool off here with a swim.

The tour does not include transport; however, you can get a taxi out to the park for under $15 USD. This makes this ziplining tour much cheaper than others, and for $80 USD, it includes lunch, water, entrance fees, all activities, and even the use of snorkeling equipment. Book your spot online here!

15. Enjoy the nightlife of Tulum

Live music at Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar in Tulum, Mexico
I love the live music!
Bailey drinks a mojito at Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar in Tulum, Mexico
Mojitos? Say no more!

Cancun might be the king of nightlife here in the Yucatán, but Tulum is no slouch either! Yup, the nightlife here is fantastic, with plenty of really fun spots where you can get out and let your hair down. That’s what a holiday’s all about, am I right?

Our all-time favorite place to party here in Tulum is Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar that’s right in the heart of town. It’s a dedicated live music joint that has some seriously talented local musicians come to show their stuff, and the bartenders definitely don’t lack talent either. I highly recommend their mojitos, which are made from raw sugar cane right in front of you – seriously cool!

Open from 7 am to 1 am, entrance here is completely free, so if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a night out in Tulum, this is it.

Of course, there are plenty of other bars and clubs in Tulum, from beachside venues to rooftop hot-spots. No matter where you are in Tulum, chances are that you’re not far from a good party.

There is also a pub crawl that takes place every week which is perfect for getting to know other travelers and discovering new fun venues in town. For only $32 USD you’ll get plenty of free drinks, shots, and even get to play games. This is the perfect experience for young partiers who want to let their hair down!

Related Read: Partying is also one of the best things to do in Cancun!

16. Visit Chichen Itza

Bailey poses for a photo in front of El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico
What a temple!
Bailey stands at the Group of the Thousand Columns which is part of the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza
Bailey stands at the Group of the Thousand Columns

Chichen Itza is the most famous Mayan ruin in the world. The archeological site is most well known as the home of El Castillo – the main temple at the site. It’s a true show of the Mayan peoples’ knowledge of the earth and planets.

However, Chichen Itza is also home to The Great Ball Court. This is the largest in Mesoamerica and is 168 by 70 meters (551 by 230 feet). The game played here was called Pitz. Overall, it’s one of the coolest sites I have visited and a must-do activity while in Tulum.

You can either rent a car and drive yourself to Chichen Itza, or join one of the many Chichen Itza tours that leave from Tulum.

On this Chichen Itza tour from Tulum, you’ll get a well-informed English-speaking guide, entrance to Chichen Itza, and a guided visit to Ik-Kil Cenote – one of the best cenotes in the area. Afterward, you’ll also enjoy lunch in Valladolid – a beautiful city in Mexico. It also includes transport, which is essential since Chichen Itza is about a 2-hour drive from Tulum.

17. Take a photo with the Tulum sign 

The Tulum sign in Tulum, Mexico
Don’t leave without a photo!

One of the top things to do in Tulum is to take a picture of the large letters that spell out “TULUM.” The letters can be found in Tulum’s Centro, on the corner of Avenida Tulum and Calle Osiris Sur. If you enter “Letras de Tulum” into Google Maps, you can easily find them.

Depending on the time of day, you might have to wait a bit to get the picture you want. There may be others taking pictures, or there may be locals just sitting on it. When we visited, there were kids playing on it. Luckily, we weren’t pressed for time and waited until the kids left.

The letters are also in the same location as Parque Museo de la Cultura Maya. This park has beautiful sculptures reflecting the Mayan history of the area. So it’s a fun place to wander and take more photos after you’ve taken pictures of the Tulum letters.

The Tulum letters (and the park) are open 24 hours a day, and there is no fee, so you can visit at any time of the day.

Note: They changed the letters in September 2021 to celebrate the anniversary of Tulum becoming a Pueblo Magico (Magical Town). It is still in the same location, though.

18. Visit the Coba Ruins

Huge temple at the Coba Ruins in Mexico
The Coba Ruins!
Cobe ruins ball court near Tulum, Mexico
Cobe ruins ball court near Tulum, Mexico

Those wanting to explore more Mayan ruins, or who maybe weren’t impressed by the smaller Tulum ruins, should make the trip to the Coba Ruins.

I visited the Coba Ruins on one of my first trips to Tulum and I really enjoyed how big the site was. In fact, to get to the ruins, you get to hike through the jungle! It’s a beautiful walk and learning about the ancient cultures that lived in Mexico is mind-blowing.

The largest temple at Coba (pictured above) is no longer allowed to be climbed. The picture above was taken before the ban came into place.

The Coba Ruins are about 40 minutes away from Tulum by car or bus (ADO or collectivos go there regularly.) The entry fee is only 80 pesos ($4 USD) making it a cheap activity in Tulum. If you like to avoid crowds, go early in the morning and during the week. Especially avoid Sunday because it is free for Mexican locals and gets very busy.

If you prefer to go on a guided tour and avoid the headache of organizing transport, consider booking this highly rated tour from Tulum. Not only will you go to Coba, but it also takes you to Chichen Itza and Ik Kil cenote, so three epic attractions all in one day!

It’s a long day at about 11 hours total, but breakfast and lunch is included. The entire day costs $149 USD per person and includes pick up from your hotel in Tulum. You can book it easily online here.

19. Visit Xplor Adventure Park 

Ziplining through Xplor Adventure Park Zip lining into waterfall
The entire park is just a giant playground and is so much fun!

After your next adventure? Then look no further than the Xplor Adventure Park, a part of the famous Xcaret Brand. It’s open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday, conveniently located just off the Tulum/Cancun highway, about 40 minutes north of Tulum.

Entrance into the park starts from roughly $143 USD, which includes ziplining through the forests and waterfalls, driving amphibious vehicles, swimming through magical cenotes, and lunch. The easiest way to get there is driving yourself, but hotel pickup and transportation are available through organized tours.

A single day here is going to be one to remember, soaring the trees on 14 different zip lines covering a massive 2.4 miles on two different circuits. Additionally, with swimming/rafting through caves with stalactites and driving a four-wheel buggy through flooded caves and jungle scenes, it’s a day full of excitement!

Take the worry out of capturing the moments and purchase a photo pass on the day for $60 USD. This is what we did, and they are triggered through your helmet and strategically placed cameras surrounding the park. Take the adventure even further and visit at night for the Xplor Fuego experience. On this experience, Xplor Adventure Park is lit up by fire-driven Tiki burners – it’s a stunning sight to see.

Recommended by Chris Fry, The Aquarius Traveller

20. Catamaran cruise to Isla Mujeres

Bailey sits ont he side rail of the Catamaran soaking up the views and sun on a tour from Tulum, Mexico
Just paradise!
Daniel and Bailey pose for a photo on the end of the catamaran in Tulum, Mexico
Living our best life!

Isla Mujeres is a small island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. This island is a destination in it’s own right, but one of the best parts about visiting it is getting there – espeically if you join one of the fun catamaran cruises from Tulum!

This particular catamaran cruise is a full day adventure that departs from Tulum. You’ll board a catamaran before stopping at a couple snorkeling spots on your way to Isla Mujeres. Once there, you can relax at the beach club and enjoy a buffet lunch before having some free time to explore the island on your own.

The tour includes an ope-bar, lunch, snorkeling equipment, guides, and transport to and from Tulum. All of this for only $110 USD is a great deal, if you ask me! You can book it easily online here, too.

For something even more special, or for those traveling with a group, this private catamaran cruise is the way to go. You’ll sail on a 10-meter (32-foot) catamaran with your private captain and crew, so you actually can set your own itinerary. They can take you to secluded islands, amazing snorkeling spots, or simply cruise in the Caribbean the whole time.

The best part is that the boat is equipped with an open bar (of course) and comfy lounge chairs, so you’ll really settle into this relaxing experience!

This private tour offers transportation from Tulum by request, so make sure to specify that when booking. It doesn’t include lunch, but you can add it for an additional cost, or pack some snacks! The boat allows up to 9 passengers and the 4-hour option is the cheapest at $570 USD. Be sure to reserve this tour in advance, as a private catamaran tour is certainly a high-demand experience!

21. Rio Secreto Underground River

Rio Secreto Underground River, Mexico

Rio Secreto is one of the most breathtaking underground rivers in Mexico. This cenote can only be visited on a guided tour in which you swim and climb your way through the cenote exploring the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites while enjoying the crystal clear water.

To experience this underground wonderland for yourself, you’ll first have to make your way to Rio Secreto, which is located about a 45 minute drive from Tulum (towards Playa del Carmen.) You also must book your visit in advance online here too, as spaces are limited and there are only so many entry times you can choose from per day.

Once you’re in the cave, you’ll be amazed of all of the limestone formations and gorgeous color of the water. Trust me, you’re going to love it! In fact, Rio Secreto has over 200 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, so if that doesn’t tell you it’s an incredible place, then I don’t know what will!

You must book in for your guided tour of Rio Secreto and choose a time slot. A tour costs $92 USD and includes all safety gear. You’ll have to pay extra for photos as you are not allowed to bring your own camera into the cave system.

22. Laguna Kaan Luum

Bailey overlooks Laguna Kaan Luum in Tulum, Mexico
So beautiful!
Bailey sits on the dock at Laguna Kaan Luum, Mexico
The perfect place for a relaxing day!

If you are tired of the salt on your hair after an ocean swim, why not switch it up to one of the best freshwater gems in Tulum – the Laguna Kaan Luum? Though called Laguna Kaan Luum (Lake Kaan Luum), this “lake” is technically a cenote since the water source comes from an underground river. By definition, it is an open cenote.

Laguna Kaan Luum is situated in the midst of the mythical Mayan jungle, so the expansive lake is completely surrounded by lush vegetation. There are two sections to the lake, the deep center where it is fenced off, and the shallow exterior that is perfect for swimming. Because of the varying depths, the color of the water changes gradually as you get closer to the center of the lake. There are literally like 50 shades of blue!

Recently, they have added an iconic swing that hovers just above the water, ideal for the perfect Instagram shot. For those wanting a little bit of a rush, they can jump from the central pier into the water. But if you are someone who would rather relax, then there are plenty of seating areas and palapas on the perimeter.

If you would like, you can also do tours to Laguna Kaan Luum. This specific tour visits the lagoon as well as 3 other cenotes. Or, join this simple SUP tour on the lagoon, which includes lunch, transport, equipment, and entrance fees. 

Laguna Kaan Luum is situated a little more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Tulum. It is not quite feasible to walk there from town, but it’s easily possible to get there on a bicycle. Otherwise, getting a taxi would be the other option. There is an entrance fee of 300 MXN ($17.50 USD) per person. Its opening hours are 9 am to 4 pm daily.

Recommended by Lau from LivingOutLau

23. Visit Instagrammable spots in Tulum

A statue in Tulum, Mexico
Some of the artwork is so creative!

Tulum is one of the most Insta-famous places in the world, so searching for the most Instagrammable places around town has to be one of the best things to do when visiting Tulum!

You’ll find most of the Instagrammable hotspots at the beachside of Tulum, not the downtown area which is more inland. The road along the beach is sometimes referred to as “Instagram street” and it’s full of pretty hotspots.

One of the most famous places in Tulum for photos is the Raw Love Gate – called Escultura Ven a la Luz– which is an impressive wooden work of art in the shape of a person (pictured above). We loved shooting a couple of photos here, but beware that it has become so popular you now need to wait in line and pay a fee.

Escultura Ven a la Luz is located close to Sfer Ik, another Instagrammable place that you should check out. This art gallery has no other art on display, as the main artwork is the special building itself. It is a wood-and-cement structure that was custom-made in the region and has an organic form. To experience the wooden floor and become one with SFER Ik, you must remove your shoes.

If you walk further down the beach road, you’ll find the ‘Follow That Dream’ sign at Lolita Lolita store, which has become one of the most photographed spots in Tulum.

Keep on walking along this street, and you’ll come across all sorts of other Instagrammable places like restaurants, hotels, and shops – perfect for filling up your feed with beautiful photos! So, make sure to add visiting some of these Instagram hotspots to your Tulum to-do list.

However, if you really want to make sure you get the best shots, then you simply must be accompanied by a professional photographer! This particular “Instagram” tour will take you to the absolute best photo locations in and around Tulum with a professiona photographer to take photos of you along the way.

The tour includes a air-conditioned vehicle, and your first stop is actually a cenote! You’ll also visit a couple other iconic spots, and you’ll have a ton of photos to show off at the end. The price for the tour $199 USD, which is pretty good since you get a professional photographer with you for the day! You can book it easily online here.

Recommended by The Orange Backpack

24. Day trip to Playa del Carmen  

Bailey wears a sombrero while shopping in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
You can make a fun day of shopping!
Bailey poses for a photo on 5th avenue in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
5th Avenue is the famous walking street!

Playa Del Carmen is the perfect day trip from Tulum. It’s about a one-hour drive north of Tulum and is larger and more developed. There is a lot to see and do in Playa del Carmen, so allow a full day to explore!  

Whenever we visit Playa del Carmen, the first place we visit is Quinta Avenida or Firth Ave. This is a busy pedestrian-friendly street that’s lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. If you ever wanted a souvenir, this is exactly where you’ll find it including a huge selection of things like  jewelry, textiles, hats, traditional handicrafts, and more. Just make sure you are ready to bargain to get some good deals!

Besides shopping, popular spots to visit are Parque Los Fundadores (waterfront park with unique sculptures), the Frida Kahlo Museum, and the 3D Museum of Wonders. There are many tours that also leave from Playa Del Carmen to close by cenotes , Xcaret Waterpark, or to the island of Cozumel.  

There are tons of restaurants and bars in Playa del Carmen as well. You’ll find more commercialized places then you would in Tulum, think of the likes of Senor Frogs. There are also a few beach clubs that are significantly cheaper than most of the ones you’ll find in in Tulum. If you join a food tour, you can discover a few local taco stands that are going to be a serious treat to your tastebuds!

25. Muyil Ruins

The Muyil Ruins in Mexico
The Muyil Ruins in Mexico!

Located just 15 minutes away from Tulum, Muyil is a small, less visited archaeological area that provides a perfect alternative to other more popular Mayan ruins like Chichén Itzá.

Muyil is a relatively small site with several pyramids and a tall observation deck from where you can see the surrounding jungle. 

It also offers entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a 528,000-hectare biosphere in Mexico (more on that below). When visiting Muyil, it’s a great idea to combine your stop with Sian Ka’an, as you can purchase a tour on the spot or ahead of your visit. 

The entrance to Muyil Costa is 50 pesos ($3 USD) and has to be paid in cash. The observation deck costs an additional 50 pesos ($3 USD) per person.

While you can easily catch a collectivo to Muyil from Tulum, it’s best to visit with a rental car because you will be able to travel at your own pace and also visit other places in the area like Bacalar, Laguna Ka’an Luum, and Coba. 

There are also tours to Muyil such as this specific tour. It includes a visit to Sian Ka’an, a float down a beautiful river, a tour through Muyil, and a picnic lunch. It is actually one of the best rated tours in Tulum with over 500 5-star reviews!

Recommended by The Discovery Nut

26. Sian Ka’an Biosphere 

The Sian Ka'an Biosphere from above
Sian Ka’an Biosphere!

Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest protected habitats in Mexico’s Rivera Maya. 

Translated as “Entrance to the Sky” from the Mayan language, Sian Ka’an is home to an incredible array of biodiversity where you can see monkeys, dolphins, all sorts of birds, and fish. And, if you get lucky, you can even spot a manatee! 

You can check out this amazing place with this tour, which will pick you up from your hotel in Tulum. You will take a peaceful boat ride through a mangrove forest, cenotes, and lagoons, ending out at a coral reef in the ocean! Your guide will point out all kinds of wildlife and provide you with snorkeling equipment to check out the coral reef.

The tour includes transportation, water and snacks, and entrance fees to the reserve for the flat rate of $189 USD. You can book it online and read all about it here.

Another way to enjoy Sian Ka’an is for bird lovers. This bird-watching tour is combined with a visit to the nearby Muyil Archaeological Site. You will really have optimal opportunities to see various types of birds that call this reserve home.

The tour starts at $139 USD, but you can update this tour if you please to include a boat ride across two lagoons and a lazy river float if you want for a fee. You can check all tour option and book your own birdwatching tour online here.

27. Visit Xel-Ha

Xel-HA Tulum
Xel-HA Tulum!

Xel-Ha (pronounced shell-ha) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Tulum area, and is a great excursion for a day! 

Xel-Ha is best for those who are obsessed with snorkeling and swimming. It’s a deluxe all-inclusive natural aquatic park with a huge snorkeling area (over 90 species live there!) – it’s been described as snorkeling in an aquarium! But besides that, you’ll find plenty of other activities on offering including a lazy river to tube down, zip lines, cliff-jumping, and a rope bridge. They also have hammocks and relaxed areas to chill or sip on a margarita.  

If you’re looking for a super fun day out everyone will enjoy, I highly suggest visiting Xel-Ha while in Tulum. It’s a playground both kids and adults will love – definitely one of the best family-friendly things to do in Tulum!

The price for a day is about $118 USD, and you’ll reach Xel-Ha within a 30-minute drive. You can buy your all-inclusive tickets to Xel-Ha online in advance here.

28. Akumal Beach  

A Turtle swims in Akumal Beach, Mexico
There are so many turtles!
A large turtle at Akumal Beach
So cool!

Akumal Beach is easily one of the best beaches in Mexico, it’s pretty famous here in the Yucatan Peninsula! The beach is located just 30 minutes from Tulum and is home to many, many large and majestic sea turtles. And you know what that means… It’s time to go snorkeling!

You can either bring your own snorkeling gear or rent some in the area. However, laws have changed recently, as you now have to go with a guide if you want to snorkel with the turtles at Akumal Beach. While this has made the experience a little more expensive, this goes a long way to making sure the turtles are protected and can do what turtles do best.

There are several organized tours to see turtles in Tulum, many of which will take you to Akumal Beach. Alternatively, snorkel tours arranged here in person typically cost around 600 MXN ($34 USD) per person, which also includes gear if you haven’t brought your own, plus a lifejacket (which is mandatory), as well as all-day entrance to the beach. Parking is included in the cost too.

If you’re not looking to snorkel, you can still pay the small fee of 100 MXN (under $6 USD) for all-day entrance to the beach, which itself is gorgeous and such a great place to pass the time. There are also some great bars and restaurants here, so don’t feel shy if you’re feeling hungry or thirsty!

Akumal Bay can be reached by taxi or collectivo (shared minivan) from Tulum, or you can hop on a tour that includes transport like this particular tour. This is often the best option as it includes your transport, equipment, and a guide who knows where to find the turtles.

Since we already had a rental car to get to the beach, we joined this private tour at Akumal Beach for only $45 USD and our guide was awesome. We saw a ton of turtles and learned a lot about them too. Since it was just us on the tour, we could take our time and really enjoy the experience.

29. Yal-Ku Lagoon

A bird in Yal-Ku Lagoon, Mexico

Yal-Ku Lagoon, located near Akumal, is a fabulous outdoor adventure trip from Tulum. You can either take a tour or self-design your own visit to this beautiful snorkeling spot.

The lagoon is a cenote that is open to the Caribbean Sea, so the swimming is in a mix of salt and fresh water. It’s shielded from ocean waves, so you get a calm snorkeling experience near Tulum, while you also get to view the ocean’s sea life.  

The lagoon is wonderful for beginning snorkelers due to the convenient stairs to enter the lagoon and calm waters. Not only are there beautiful fish to see, but visitors will also enjoy the birdlife around the natural areas of the cenote. 

The grounds of Yal-Ku are beautifully manicured, so you can relax between swims. There is an open-air snack bar on site. If you fancy taking things slow, one nice idea is to take a picnic and spend the whole day enjoying the cenote and surroundings! 

Yal-Ku Lagoon is located a mile from Akumal, so you need to drive, take a taxi, or bicycle to the attraction. They are open from 9 am to 5 pm throughout the year. Adult admission when purchasing your ticket ahead of time costs $23 USD, while children’s tickets cost $17 USD. You can bring your own snorkeling gear or rent it there. There are also lockers where you can leave your personal belongings.  

You can grab your tickets for Yal-Ku Lagoon online here.

By Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler 

30. Visit Cozumel  

Bailey poses for a photo with the I love Cozumel sign on Cozumel, mexico
I love Cozumel!
Bailey stands at the top of Faro de Punta Celarayn Lighthouse on Cozumel, Mexico
Faro de Punta Celarayn Lighthouse on Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is a small island just off the coast of and makes a perfect day trip from Tulum! You can get there by heading north to Playa del Carmen and then taking the ferry across to the island, which costs 580 MXN ($34 USD) per person for a round trip and can take up to 45 minutes each way. 

Once on Cozumel, you can either rent a car, use taxis, rent bikes, or join a tour to get around the island! You’ll love exploring this island, checking out new beaches and places to snorkel or paddleboard. I loved visiting Punta Sur Eco Park where I saw some crocodiles and lagoons as well as some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen!

Cozumel is famous for it’s incredible scuba diving and snorkeling. If you are scuba-certified, you can’t miss this epic two-tank dive. If snorkeling is more your thing, then this snorkeling tour to the isolated beach of El Cielo is a must-do!

The truth is that there are plenty of fun things to do on Cozumel island.

When you’re ready to refuel, there are a ton of good restaurants and bars, including our favorite little taco place called Guisados – the tacos here are authentic, tasty, and cheap!

If getting to Cozumel on your own sounds like a bit too much effort, consider booking this day tour instead. To me, it sounds like an ideal itinerary as you’ll get taken from Tulum to the Island where you’ll get to snorkel in three different places! After, when you’ve worked up an apetite, you’ll head to a reastaurant with a pool to unwine and relax. You’ll also have some free time to enjoy the downtown area of the island beofre making your way back to Tulum.

31. Explore Bacalar  

Bailey climbs into the boat on a Bacalar boat tour in Mexico
The water is so nice!
Daniel on the front of the boat soaking up the sun on a bot tour in Bacalar, Mexico
Paradise?

Lago Bacalar, or the lake of seven colors, is an absolutely stunning oasis located south of Tulum, near Mexico’s border with Belize. The water in Lake Bacalar is bright blue and honestly, this is a place where no filter is required – you’ll see exactly what I mean when you see it for yourself.

On the edge of the lake sits a small town with the same name. There are a few fun things to do in Bacalar, but most attractions are centered around getting out on the lake to swim, see wildlife, and enjoy this beautiful freshwater lagoon! You’ll need to join one of the many boat tours available in Bacalar to experience it all.

This tour is pretty affordable and will take you on a half-day excursion of the lake hitting up all the best attractions. You can swim, have a drink (or three!) on the boat, and spot some birds. It is the exact tour that we did the last time we were in Bacalar and we absolutely loved it – the surprise snacks at the end was super special too! The tour is also only $50 USD, which is great considering it includes an open bar.

Bacalar is located about a 2.5-hour drive from Tulum. You can hire a taxi for about $170 USD or take the budget-friendly bus for about $15 USD.

It does make for a long day to get to Bacalar and return to Tulum in the same day, which is why we recommend spending at least one night in Bacalar. There are lots of nice hotels and hostels to choose from in town, and with the extra time you can explore town a little more, too. Visit the Fort, or enjoy a meal at our favorite restaurant, Mango Y Chile.

32. Have a sensory experience at Mystika Immersive

Bailey in a display at the Mystika Immersive at the Tulum Ruins
It’s a full on sensory experience!

While Dan and I love our adventure activities, I do also love learning about the culture of the places we visit, and it’s even better when this is shown in new and fun ways.

Mystika Immersive is the place to go in Tulum to have a one-of-a-kind sensory experience that teaches you all about Mayan cosmology and Mexican natural sanctuaries. But before you raise an eyebrow and ask me how that could be tons of fun, hear me out!

Stepping inside for the first time, there are 7 different rooms which each holds a unique experience. For example, one room transports you to a 3D world with humpback whales, while another leads you into a space filled with gorgeous monarch butterflies. There is also a 360-degree dome where you can sit under Tulum’s star-filled night sky – how cool is that?!

Along with the fun immersive aspects, there is also tons of incredible artwork filling some of the rooms. The entire journey from start to finish is narrated, which helps you connect with the artists and learn the inspiration for their work. Honestly, I found the whole experience to be pretty emotional, so don’t be surprised if you feel a big range of emotions along the way!

Admission costs $27 USD per person and can be purchased online in advance. You can expect to spend between 1 and 2 hours here, and it’s also conveniently located right next to the Tulum Ruins parking lot. I’d recommend heading to the ruins first and then here after, so you can get a well-earned break from the sun and enjoy some much-needed AC!

33. Learn how to surf

If you have been wanting to learn how to surf but haven’t, yet maybe this is your sign to do it in Tulum?

This particular surf lesson takes place at the beachfront resort Ahau Tulum with a professional instructor.

You’ll go over all the surfing basics such as learning to paddle on the board, the correct position to catch a wave, how to turn, wave awareness, and more! After your lesson, there is an extra hour of time for you to practice on your own in the water. Before you know it, “rad”, “gnarly”, and “shred” will all be a part of your daily language.

A surfboard, leash, and rash guard are included in the cost of the lesson, which is $51 USD per person.

Where to Eat in Tulum, Mexico

One of the most important things to consider when visiting a new destination is the food! For me, visiting local restaurants when I travel is one of my favorite activities.

Luckily for you, there is no shortage of amazing places to eat in Tulum. Below are some of our personal favorites!

El Camello Jr.

El Camello Jr. restaurant in Tulum, Mexico
Photo credit: El Camello Jr. restaurant in Tulum, Mexico

One of my favorite types of tacos is seafood tacos and El Camello Jr. is a local favorite in Tulum. In fact, it was a friend of mine who grew up in Tulum who took me to this amazing place!

It’s within walking distance from almost anywhere in town, and they serve amazing tacos, ceviche, and whole fish. Basically, anything you order is amazing… and fresh!

Burrito Amor 

burritos from the restaurant Burrito Amor in Tulum, Meixoc
Those are some big burritos! Photo credit: Burrito Amor

You only need to head over to Burrito Amor’s TripAdvisor page to know that these are THE best burritos in town. Like, go back every day for another burrito kind of place! 

The location is perfect, right in the middle of town, and the environment and décor of the restaurant are fun, open, and modern. But really, it’s all about the burritos! They’re so yummy, and they offer a lot of options for vegetarians or other diets.

Burrito Amor’s goal is to provide healthy, filling burritos that will keep you coming back every day! It is a great place to eat in Tulum.

Akuma Tiger Sushi

Bailey with her cocktails at Akuma Tiger in Tulum, Mexico
The cocktails are really good!
Sushi at Akuma Tiger in Tulum, Mexico
You won’t regret it!

If you’re a huge fan of sushi (like us, yum!), then Akuma Tiger Sushi in downtown Tulum is an absolute no-brainer. It’s easily one of the best sushi places we’ve ever been to, and we love trying out new sushi spots, so that’s saying something!

All it takes is one look over at their Google reviews, and you know you’re onto a winner. Every single piece of sushi I tried melted away in my mouth, and their maki rolls were simply the best. Honestly, my mouth is watering now just remembering it…

The prices here are also pretty reasonable too, considering how expensive good sushi restaurants can often be! They’re open from 6 pm to 11:30 pm, however this is a pretty popular spot, so I highly recommend giving them a call to make a reservation in advance.

Eat Street Food

man at a taco stand in mexico
A taco stand serving up cheap street food – yum!!!

Eating in Tulum on a budget is easy as there are so many affordable options when it comes to street food. Skip the fancy restaurants and give your wallet a break with street-side food trucks and taco stands.

We found lots of great-tasting, yet cheap, street food in Tulum. One of our favorites was also a local dish called Al Pastor, which is essentially pork-filled soft tacos.

Usually, you get about 5 small tacos for $3 USD, and it is more than enough for one person. Street food is one of my favorite ways to eat in Tulum on a budget.

Where to Stay in Tulum, Mexico

Che Tulum Hostel Pool
Che Tulum Hostel Pool

No matter what you’re looking for in a hotel, Tulum has it! Offering everything from hostels to 5-star luxury hotels to glamping, there is accommodation for any budget!

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

Hostels in Tulum – $

Hostel Che Tulum – This hostel prides itself on having a great social vibe. They have a beautiful pool and a central location. For only around $14-20 USD a night, you can get a dorm bed in an air-conditioned room with breakfast included! Easily book a stay on HostelWorld.com or Booking.com.

Oryx Hostel – Just a few steps from downtown Tulum, gardens surround the property so you’ll feel like you’re staying in a tropical jungle. There are hammocks, a nice pool area, and fun activities like salsa dancing! Stays here are as cheap as $29 USD a night in a dorm room or around $35 USD for private rooms and can be booked on HostelWorld.com or Booking.com.

Budget-friendly hotels in Tulum – $$

Aruma Boutique Hotel – For a hotel only a few minutes’ walk from Tulum’s center and close to restaurants and shops, this is it. The breakfasts here are exceptional (there’s also espresso!) and the staff is super friendly. Plus, the rooftop pool and bar are so nice to relax on after a day of exploring. Expect to pay around $50-100 USD per night depending on when you’re visiting.

Joy Tulum Adults Hotel – For those looking for some peace and quiet in Tulum this is the place. No kids are allowed and a location slightly out of town makes for a quiet getaway. The outdoor pool is located among the trees. For $40-70 USD, you’ll get an entire double bungalow with a fan and included breakfast.

Hotel Blanco Tulum – This hotel is luxurious without the ridiculous price tag. For around $60-80 USD per night, you can get a deluxe double room with air conditioning and a balcony. The hotel is centrally located and offers an outdoor pool as well as a hot tub!

Luxury Hotels in Tulum – $$$

Hotel Boutique TerraNova – This boutique hotel is one of the top-rated in all of Tulum. They haven’t cut any corners when it comes to comfort and the staff is wonderful. All rooms are spacious and have air conditioning and a garden patio. There is an outdoor pool and the hotel is located right in town.

Although this is a beautiful and luxurious hotel, I’ve seen rooms online go for as low as $130 USD per night, so you can definitely get some good deals here!

Kan Tulum – This hotel is actually built around its own private cenote! The rooms here are uniquely designed and feel almost like a jungle treehouse. Every room is huge with a private seating area and terraces to watch the sunset from. You’re close to beaches and nightlife and rooms here cost at least $400 USD per night.

Check out all accommodations available in Tulum!

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!

Relaxing in Tulum
Thanks for reading, and we hope this blog helps you enjoy Tulum!

Hopefully, this guide to Tulum on a budget is useful and inspires you to check out one of Mexico’s most beautiful regions! We had some really great times in and around Tulum.

We would encourage anyone to visit Tulum on a budget – and when you do, let us know if you have any other tips to add below!

For more info-packed blogs, check out our Mexico page, it has all our posts about Mexico laid out to make planning your trip easy!

Or maybe at a glance, you’ll find some of these related guides helpful too!

25 Amazing Things to do in Puebla, Mexico & Guide to Visiting

The Best Palenque Waterfalls & Guide to Visiting

12 Things to KNOW Before Going on a Cancun Catamaran Cruise to Isla Mujeres

Non-surfer’s guide to Puerto Escondido