Our guide will provide you with our insights, advice, and recommendations for your future travel to Tulum! We’re excited that you’ll be visiting our favorite destination and second home.
Before you travel to the United States by air
All air passengers returning to the United States from Mexico, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are no longer required to have a negative COVID-19 test result before flight departure before they board a flight to the United States.
It is totally feasible to not rent a car, but you have to plan somewhat ahead. On weekends, it took us an hour to drive half a mile on the beach road because of potholes. So consider all of this before traveling up and down the beachside. We highly recommend booking your airport transfers and rides ahead of time (you can book in advance here). Alternatively, you can rent bikes, which is great if you’re staying in certain neighborhoods like Aldea Zama or La Veleta. Due to inflation costs and lack of ride-sharing, taxis are usually the go-to mode of transportation, but expect to pay high. Most of the taxis will not negotiate, as there are many tourists who will pay their fees. Our best advice is to ask for the price before you get into the vehicle and not after. We also recommend building your own Tulum adventure with our private Tulum transportation, see our prices here, and reserve a van for the day with unlimited stops.
WHERE TO STAY
Tulum is divided into these neighborhoods:
- Playa Paraiso (just south of the archaelogical zone);
- Tulum Beach (upscale boutique hotels, happening dinner experiences, and beach day clubs);
- Tulum Pueblo (Tulum Town for casual dining and accommodations);
- Aldea Zama (tucked between the beach and downtown, community neighborhood with villas and cafés); and
- La Veleta (bordering the edge of downtown, equivalent of Santa Monica’s Montana Street, dotted with upscale yoga studios, boutiques, cafés, and hotels, not the greatest roads and not exactly walking distance to the beach)
There is a neighborhood for everyone, but larger groups stay in Aldea Zama or La Veleta due to the bigger space. If your party is 6 persons or fewer, we recommend our below certified hotel partners.
Jashita Tulum. We love the aesthetics and vibe of Jashita. Beautifully designed and away from the public crowds. Feels like a 5-star boutique resort on its own island. Ideal for romantic couples or those who don’t want to deal with the loud party scenes or nightlife.
Jashita Villa (also known as Virginia Villa) in Aldea Zama, a sister property to Jashita Tulum, it is an ideal stay for larger groups of 8-10 persons. The aesthetics are clean and minimal. Best of all, it’s gated, private, and super spacious. There is a rooftop pool, large dining room, and outdoor concrete baths. We ordered in, and it was the best idea ever.
Ahau – located on the beach hotel zone, it’s one of our favorite Tulum Beach properties). Ahau could best be described as eco-chic. A 26-room property combines handcrafted artwork and boho decorations with rustic architecture that used 100 percent locally sourced materials. All rooms have outdoor balcony space and most have great ocean views. There are daily wellness classes, bike rentals, and two attached restaurants, plus pets can roam freely.
Villa Pescadores – located on the quieter side of the beach, is near Tulum’s Mayan ruins, with several restaurants within an easy walk. The rustic-chic bungalows have thatched roofs, wood floors, and private bathrooms. They recently updated several bungalows, which has modern amenities. All have outdoor spaces, and while there are no TVs, Wi-Fi is free and air-conditioning is available at night. Their onsite restaurant is known for their fish tacos (it’s the best in Tulum because of the local fishermen), and the beach bar is popular with our team.
Aldea Canzul – located on the party beach zone, this villa is ideal for bachelorette or bougie party goers. The property is designed for privacy, within a quick walk to the very best daytime and nighttime destinations in the area. Curated aesthetic, it celebrates Mexican architecture, craftsmanship, and design through unique, modern interiors, which we find very appealing for design lovers.
For accommodations, please contact us for recommendations and reservations. Our team will assist you with date availability and take care of your other bookings as well, such as transportation and tours.
WHERE TO EAT
We love eating in Tulum! There are plenty of dining options. From street tacos to high-end cuisine, Tulum has it all. Here are our personal favorites.
Botanica Garden Café – This is our favorite café in Tulum. Everything’s fresh and the service is friendly. Get their green juice and the quiche.
Burrito Amor – We ate here twice because we’re all about clean, healthy burritos with quality ingredients. My go-to is their rib eye burrito, marinated in epazote with whole black beans, purple onion, pico de gallo, and avocado.
ilios – This is our favorite new hot spot in Tulum to celebrate any special occasion for dinner. Delicious Mediterranean food, beautiful looking patrons, and a spectacular show, what more can you ask for. Be sure to contact our team to get the best tables here.
Tamales Don Taco (no website, street food) – This is the place for homemade fresh tamales on the cheap, less than a US dollar. I love the spongey kind – colados. It’s a good snack before dinner or maybe post drunk dinner.
Fonda Huauzontle (no website), near Scotia Bank – The discovery of this hole-in-the-wall tiny restaurant made my day. For $6 USD per person, you get a drink, soup, and a main entrée. And their daily dishes are so good. Try their chilaquiles or chicken mole.
Cetli – Also cash only. It’s my favorite restaurant ambiance in Tulum. So darn pretty here! From vintage wedding photos on the walls to pretty floor tiles, the interior decor reminds me of a spacious and welcoming home in Puebla. I had the Ahuiac main dish — chicken breast with red peanut mole sauce which was very good.
WHAT TO DO
Tulum Ruins – If you haven’t been to the Tulum Ruins, do go! It’s a serene setting — the ruins overlooking the blue Caribbean waters below is a quite picturesque. It’s $5 USD to park your car and walk 10 minutes to the Ruins. I would also recommend hiring a private guide if you’re into history and culture. It’s simply fascinating. We also offer a Tulum Ruins and Cenote tour here, in case you wanted to book an experience without the hassle.
Cenotes (our private tours)- Of course, when in Tulum, it’s mandatory to visit a cenote or two. Cenotes are water-filled sinkholes created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. The Mayans believed cenotes to be a gateway to Xibalba, the underworld, and the god of rain, Chaac, was believed to live at the bottom of these sacred open water pools. Tip: don’t wear sunscreen and respect nature when you’re in the cenote. Be sure to browse our cenote tours or read why you should book a cenote tour with us here.
We still have so many Tulum recommendations and photos to share. Stay tuned for other posts! And follow us on Instagram at gotulumtravel! ❤️
For other Tulum-related posts:
If you need help with planning your trip to Tulum, contact us! We have a team that can help you with your Tulum transportation and tours!