Things to do in Tulum

by Kelly

Tulum is a place you have to visit to experience for yourself. Everyone has a different opinion but as with everywhere it is what you make of it. My opinion? Do it your own way! Let me explain…

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Is Tulum worth visiting in 2025?

I dreamed of going to Tulum for years. I’d heard so much about it, it sounded like my dream boho destination. Mike had actually visited before in 2005 when really was just a tiny town. He slept on the beach with no electricity for $10 a night, those days are long gone and now it is more expensive. Not everyone will be able to live the highlife. Here are our thoughts on visiting Tulum in 2025.

Where is Tulum?

Tulum is located 130km (2 hours) from Cancun Airport on the Caribbean Sea coastline of the Quintana Roo region of Mexico.

How to get to Tulum?

You’ll most likely arrive by air. The Cancun Airport is the most commonly used and only about 2 hours from Tulum. A new Tulum Airport has opened and offers direct flights from many destinations, including lots from the USA. From the airport you can take one of the following:


Once you’re at the airport you can either hire a car and drive yourself around the Yucatan which would be a very cool way to see it all at your own pace.


Shuttles and taxis will be lined up to take you directly to Tulum from the airport, this can be expensive but if you have a group to share it with it could be ok.


The buses are the usual way to get around Mexico. The ADO buses are honestly excellent. Big comfortable seats and good leg room they are how we got almost everywhere in Mexico. Prices are pretty good compared to other options. You can book ADO buses in advance. A word of warning though. Buses sell out. Unless you’re really not sure when you’re travelling I would book your bus a day or two in advance to make sure you get it, you will select your seat as well and this can make or break a trip! Some buses are small mini vans. The best seats are 1 & 2 the two upfront always have the most legroom.

Is Tulum expensive?

Yes. Tulum is more expensive than other Mexican towns but it is possible to visit it on a budget. Read my dedicated Tulum on a budget blog here to help plan your trip. If you want to do all the ‘Tulum’ things then it will add up. It’s worth it if you can afford it, if not it’s still worth a visit just choose one thing you’d splurge on! As you can see from my accommodation section above there are varying prices but it is possible to stay on the beach at Tulum and stay under $150, which is good for Tulum! Check out our blog on Is Tulum Expensive?

Where to stay in Tulum?

This is a really important decision! You’ve got 2 main options, downtown Tulum town or the beach. They are going to cost different prices and offer a different experience.

The cheaper option will be Tulum town. We stayed here at a great apartment with a pool and easy walking access to downtown, a huge supermarket and the road to the ruins and the beach. The apartment is Tulum Nah and we stayed in room A2. This was ground floor so we could walk out to the pool anytime and have our breakfast here as well. It has a full kitchenette and is really spacious! The price was affordable, we always recommend booking with as early as possible as it reduces the cost. 

Tulum Town Accommodation:

Cheap Tulum Hotels:

Castillo Tulum – great pricing, big rooms, nicely decorated.

Howlita Tulum – Adult Only friendly staff, comfortable rooms, great decor and pool. Breakfast included.

Midrange Tulum Town accommodation:

BAU Tulum – Great breakfast included, great location, lovely staff

Botånica Tulum – cool vibes, great decor, pool and breakfast included.

Luxury Tulum Town accommodation:

Zenses Wellness and Yoga Resort – Adults Only – superb stays, hidden gem. Beautiful rooms and different package options.

Hotel Milam – impeccable. The perfect Tulum expereince.

Tulum Beach Accommodation:

Staying at the beach will be more expensive but you’re in the thick of it all! The beach is stunning and if you can afford it I would spend a few nights to soak it up. The best deals we found were:

Budget Tulum Beach accommodation:

GlampIKAL – stunning location, glamping style with cool decor.

Chancabañita Tulum – great breakfast included, beachfront location, lovely stay

Hidden Treehouse Tulum Eco-Hotel – beautiful location, pretty hotel

Midrange Tulum Beach accommodation:

La Conchita Tulum – Really lovely hotel, right on beach but at a more midrange price (for Tulum!)

Los Arrecifes – excellent staff, great rooms with lovely ambiance and breakfast included.

Luxury Tulum Beach accommodation:

Papaya Playa Project – stunning property and rooms, beachfront location. Great breakfast included.

Our Habitas Tulum – really beautiful location, breakfast included and activities available

Azulik – incredible location, very cool beautiful decor, ultimate Tulum vibes

All Inclusive Tulum Accommodation

This is hard to beat, you have everything you need included and will properly never experience Tulum better than at these destination Tulum All Inclusive hotels:

Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club – Adults Only – All Inclusive – cool design, excellent rooms and meals, great beach club.

Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort – great rooms, good food and pools

Is Tulum worth visiting in 2025?

Short answer, yes Tulum is absolutely worth visiting….Ok let’s get stuck into it, it’s a huge question and I want to answer it as fully as possible.

Tulum is great if you’re ready to spend! There’s loads of beach clubs, bars, restaurants and shopping. If you’re on a short vacation from work save up and go enjoy it! Stay by the beach for a few nights then stay in town to get a mix of both worlds.

If you’re travelling longer term and budgeting either plan on splurging or stick to your budget and do a little less. Read about how we did Tulum on a budget. Either way Tulum  it’s absolutely worth visiting, 

Things to do in Tulum

There’s a lot to do in and around Tulum this is the best of it.

Tulum Ruins

A must! The ruins are so close to town that you’ve got to visit them. Set on the coastline there is great history to absorb but also beautiful views to soak up. It gets busy, we were there first thing in the morning and it got full pretty quickly. It’s not a huge space so it does feel a little crowed at times. The fee to get out there depends on how you do it either taxi(most expensive), collectivo 45MXN, hire a bike $10US/24hours or walk for free!

The ticket costs 95MXN and you’ve also got to pay a national park tax of 60MXN to enter. They’re upgrading the pathways and public space area here and doing a beautiful job. The first image below is where you pay the national park fees- armed guards will search your bags and direct you here. The second is after walking down a long path, if you miss this box for the ruins tickets you will be directed back here.

You can take a tour of the Tulum Ruins which will really help to understand what you are seeing, otherwise it is just a nice park for a walk. There are a few sign boards but not enough to really get a good understanding of the Mayans.

Walk and go shopping along the main street of Tulum Town

Ok it’s not the most exciting street but there’s lots of shops to stop in at and be tempted by. Buy your full of dream catchers, bags, boho clothing and get your ‘Tulum’ on!

Tequila and Mezcal tasting at Encanto Cantina

There are some great places to eat in Tulum town, our favourite was Encanto Cantina. We actually did an incredible tequila and mezcal tasting here. It was a 7 degustation tasting with each liquor paired with traditional food. My favourite was the Mexican whiskey and 1900 Tequila while Mike loved the Mezcal.

It was so interesting learning about these drinks and how they are best experienced. We also tasted some lesser known local liquors such as Pox. The flavour was so unique and once paired with the right ingredients completely changed. The food here is exceptional and of the highest quality. We really recommend this experience!

Swim at Tulum beach | Things to do in Tulum

I don’t know what I was expecting but Tulum beach blew me away. It’s actually called Paradise Beach (Playa Paraiso) and it’s the most beautiful public beach in Tulum.

It was the most perfect water I’ve seen in a while. Crystal clear blue water, perfect temperature and white sand beach. We spent hours here enjoying the water. Bring snacks and drinks as the food is expensive and can be a long walk away. There is now a fee to go to Tulum beach, it’s 60MXN per person per day, regardless of how you arrive. You’ll pay your fee and then be given a wristband. It’s labelled so no you can’t reuse it the next day.

What about the Sargassum?

Yep there was some sargassum seaweed, sadly you just can’t pick when it’ll turn up. However they are now collecting it up and carting it away so the beach is much nicer and cleaner. I think this is where some of the beach fee money is going and I think it’s worth it! There are Facebook groups and websites that track the sargassum as well if you want to try and plan.

The other lovely Tulum beaches:

Playa Ruinas Beach

This tiny Tulum Ruins Beach is situated right below the Tulum Ruins. It is a small beach cove, and stunningly beautiful. Sadly it was inaccessible while we were there due to reconstruction of the stairs to access it. When you can get there it does get busy quickly, visit really early in the morning. When the staircase is back in action you can get there via these but don’t go at high tide as the water covers the beach.

Playa Las Palmas

This is one of the best swimming beaches in Tulum. It is a small beach with a nice rocky cove at one end. As there aren’t any beach clubs at Playa Las Palmas it is quieter. It is a more natural simple beach and just lovely.

Playa Pescadores and Playa Santa Fe

Playa Pescadores and Playa Santa Fe are both nice stretches of sand but I would rather throw my towel at one of the beaches above. It is nice to watch the Fishermans boats but otherwise the others are more picturesque.

Find your favourite street art & murals in town

There’s loads of street art and murals painted all over Tulum town. Wander around in the early morning or late evening to find your favourites (it’s too hot during midday)

Do the Tulum Art Walk at Holistika

The Art Walk at Holistika Tulum Resort is an awesome experience. There’s murals and sculptures in the jungle around the hotel. It’s free and open to the public but it is a little way out of Tulum Town so you’ll need a bike, taxi or keen for a long walk.

Art classes Tulum

Tulum Art Studio offers unique art classes to help you further understand the Tulum and Mexican culture. There’s pottery, weaving, cloth dying amongst others. Sadly we had to leave right before the next one but they are run regularly with rave reviews. This is very high on my list for my next visit.

Bike around Tulum and the beaches. 

Hiring a bike is a must in Tulum, it’s much easier to get around in the heat and to cover more ground. Best bikes are hired from Tulum Bike Rentals. They use excellent quality bikes and only charge 10USD per 24hour rental. They also offer great Tulum bike tours to cenotes and the highlights of Tulum and the jungle.

Cenotes | Things to do in Tulum

Cenotes are a great place to visit and they are free from sargassum. The natural freshwater pools are the most beautiful places to go swimming found all around the Yucatan. A few main cenotes such as Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos not too far from Tulum where you can swim, snorkel, and even dive. There are dive store in Tulum that can take you to lesser known cenotes  so you can discover a new world! An easy way to visit them is with a tour, this 4 cenote tour is through a dive centre so you know you are going to be getting the best experience!

Cenote Aldea Zama

This is the only free cenote I’ve heard of. It’s located in the back of Tulum, we walked through some very local streets to get here. We went super early, it says it opens at 9am but it doesn’t really close. You’ll want to come early as it gets really packed with locals. It is tiny! We walked to the FREE Cenote Aldea Zama from our accommodation and it was really easy, when turned up there was some rubbish left from the night before. I think people head there to drink in the afternoons. If you bring anything make sure to take the rubbish with you as it is sad to see such a beautiful area with trash around. Follow the directions on Google Maps and take any of the bush paths through the little patch of forest you will see and they will take you to the cenote. It is really pretty, like a little uncovered hidden gem.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos (Two Eyes Cenote) is one of the most popular cenotes in the Tulum area. It is really beautiful and easy to visit, the cost is 350MXP to enter and more if you want to take in your GoPro or cameras. You can dive and snorkel here as well as swim. This is an excellent tour which takes you diving through two cenotes including Dos Ojos!

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is one of the biggest cenotes in the area and also one of the busiest, especially on weekends. It is really lovely though, you will see turtles and the water is really clear. It costs 500MXP to enter which is on the pricier end. You can do Cenote Triple Adventure Tour in Tulum which includes visits to three cenotes with Gran Cenote included!

Cenote Escondido (Mayan Blue)

Cenote Escondido is a popular cenote and a little more out of town, the entrance fee is 200MXP. The best way to see it is on the Sian Ka’an Lagoons and Cenote Escondido Tour. This will show you the best of the area and the incredible Sian Ka’an park which is really worth the visit!

Beach clubs

Starting off strong with the most expensive thing to do in Tulum. This will add up depending on which you go to and how often. Some people will go and live large, drinking in to the night or through the day and eating at the clubs. They are beautiful and I can see why you’d do it!

Best Tulum beach clubs are:

Ziggy’s Beach Club is an institution in Tulum. It doesn’t have a cover charge but there is a minimum consumption. Sit right on the beach and prices are more reasonable than other clubs.

Bagatelle – one of the most beautiful locations on the beach, the French brand is elite and delivers the ultimate in Tulum boho chic. Very high end and reservation required.

Gitano Beach Club – one of the best and original. They have moved to south Tulum Beach and the position is spectacular.

Kanan – there is a beach club a Sky Nest and restaurant, reservations required and it is the most incredible experience. The Sky Nest is a Tulum institution.

Distrito Panamera – stylish beach club, really cool vibes here.

Day trips from Tulum | Things to do in Tulum

Tulum makes a great base as there are loads of great day trips you can do from Tulum! If you are looking for a great tour provider in the area then we loved MexicoKan Tours! They are located centrally and really helpful offering lots of really quality tours.

Take a tour to Sian Ka’an

This UNESCO World Heritage Site located south of Tulum Town is easiest seen by on a tour. There’s loads of wildlife as well as archeological sites and Mayan Ruins, the most well-known being Muyil. The entrance fee is broken up in to parts, paid separately if visiting on your own. Once out there you have to take a boat which also depends if you are arriving from Punta Allen or Muyil.

Federal entrance fee to the Sian Ka’an reserve (Punta Allen side): 104 MXN Pesos. Boat: 3,500 MXN Pesos for a 6-person boat (to be divided among the number of participants).

Muyil: Entrance ticket to Muyil ruins: 65 MXN Pesos per person. Boat: 1000 MXN Pesos per person.

If you want to make it easy to visit this is the most popular tour that really shows you the area properly and the boat fees are usually included.

 Kaan Luum Lagoon

Just north of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is the lagoon which is a really nice swimming hole. It is cash only for the entrance fee, rentals, and any snacks. You can get to Kaan Luum by tour, car, scooter, bike, or colectivo (shared van). The collectivo does involve walking 2 km in the heat, so it’s not the best option. Riding a bike will be about 5km from Downtown Tulum. There are some great tours that make seeing this area much easier, this one takes you to the Tulum ruins, cenotes, lagoons and included lunch and transport. Alternatively this tour is really lovely and takes you out on the water. It is one of the best ways to experience the area!

Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid Tour

This Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid Tour is excellent, Chichen Itza is really worth visiting and Valladolid is such a sweet town and one of our favourite places in Mexico! This really does give you an excellent chance to see lots of must do things!


Take a day trip to Coba which isn’t too far from Tulum, less tourists visit and it’s in the middle of the jungle so has a really lovely quiet feeling to it. You can climb on the pyramids in Coba which isn’t allowed on most sites. A tour here is a great idea as it will lend more to understanding the ruins, check out Coba, Punta Laguna and Cenote Day Trip.

Another really fun activity to do in Tulum is to head out to the Yellow Next and have a floating breakfast in the jungle! This is such a cool experience. Or you can take a package that includes the floating breakfast, cenote and temazcal ceremony! Both are really cool.

Private Snorkel and Sailing Experience

Heading out on the water is always a great idea, so doing a sailing and snorkelling trip right on Tulum beach is a no brainer! This Snorkel and Sailing Experience is a must in Tulum and really well priced for a small group trip!

Where to take pictures in Tulum? | Things to do in Tulum

“Follow that dream” sign:-The most famous sign ever! We were told it now costs 5USD for a pic although I don’t think everyone pays this.

Palm trees on Playa Paradiso! There are loads of pretty palm trees along the Tulum beaches, find the one you like best!

Nomade Tulum-Arrive early to take pictures without disturbing guests, usually you can get in for free if you are quiet.

Cenotes- They are all beautiful and really are picturesque, photos at centoes are a must!

Tulum ruins-go on opening for the quietest time, or just before closing. The ruins are gorgeous and so are the views!

Matcha Mama Swings:-These are super popular and they are really cute. It does get busy and you should purchase something in return for taking that photos!

Hanging Hearts -Instillation located just near Matcha Mama. It is right on the street so be careful, you will need to take the shot from across the road.

Coco tulum-Beach swings at the beach club here are really cute. There is a charge to enter but you can try to say you are going to the beach club then take a photo and leave. I suggest to do this earlier rather than later.

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