The Best Hotels in Tulum

Updated: August 4, 2016

“The Yucatan is statistically as safe as Finland.” – The Economist

Tips and Recommendations

  • November to April are the best months of the year to visit Tulum – but Tulum is a year round destination and you can have a great visit any month of the year. I wouldn’t let the time of year dictate if you should come.
  • My favorite website for finding hotel deals in Tulum is Hotelscombined.com. It searches 100s of different sites for the best prices and really seems to work. Contacting hotels directly by phone is also worth the effort if you have a large group or unusual requirements.
  • The best luxury hotels on the Tulum Beach: MezzanineCoral TulumAhau TulumAlaya
  • The best budget hotel on the Tulum Beach is Playa Mambo Eco Cabanas – great location right on the beach and several good restaurants within an easy walk.
  • Tulum has the best beach along the Yucatan coast. Great sand and swimmable surf.
  • Book far in advance for the best hotels on the Tulum beach. 3 months in advance is good, 6 months better.
  • High season is December, January, February, July, and August when it’s even more important to find hotels early.
  • Tulum does not have any mega-resorts or all-inclusives. The places listed below are small boutique-style hotels with lots of character.
  • My top tips for visiting Tulum are to eat some tacos al pastor and swim in a cenote.
  • The food in and around Tulum is amazing and one of the highlights of the town. These are my favorite restaurants.
  • If you’re worried about the seaweed on the Yucatan coast (which has improved markedly over the last year) then Tulum is a better choice than Cancun because there’s so much more to do here (swim in cenotes, boat tours of Sian Ka’an Biosphere, swim with turtles in nearby Akumal, great Mexican food in Tulum Pueblo). And the adventure parks Xplor, Xcaret, and Xel-Ha are much closer to Tulum than Cancun.
  • Tulum is great for families. These are the best hotels for kids in Tulum.

A Guide to the Best Luxury and Boutique Hotels in Tulum, Mexico.

The 20 Best Hotels in Tulum

The hotels below are ordered by location starting from the north end of the beach road (closest to Tulum town and the ruins) and moving south. All of these hotels are walking distance to several restaurants and biking distance to town – except Mezzanine which doesn’t have a lot nearby although it is closer to town than the other hotels.

535 Questions and Comments

  1. Jennifer DeMarinis

    Hi Dave! I hope you are still answering questions- because this site has been the most helpful I have found!

    My husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary. We are a young couple, so we do like some night life/bar/good food options. We also want to stay in the best of the best and are willing to splurge on the room. Of course, traveling to Tulum, we would like beach access even if a short walk. My husband is set on having some type of pool on the grounds just in case seaweed is an issue. We also like to relax; we do like our own space we don’t want to have to struggle to get a lounge chair on the beach. Help!

    We are thinking of splitting our time between 2 hotels: either Mi Amor or Mezzanine
    And then either : Le Zebra, BE Tulum, Cabanas, Jose y Ana, Vieto de Mar, or Alma

    Jennifer DeMarinis

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      If you are looking to splurge for total luxury Tulum style – Mi Amor and BeTulum are about as good as it gets. They are both totally luxurious and you will feel very very pampered. Mi Amor is on a rockier stretch of beach but soft sand is a short walk away and their pool is situated up near the rooms (and right next to the bar). Be Tulum’s beach is beautiful and their pool is right there along the sand. Be Tulum cleans their beach so seaweed shouldn’t be an issue there. (The seaweed is also significantly better this year than it has been in the past. It is still there but much more manageable even on the un-manicured beaches.) There’s plenty of beach chairs and having plenty of space along the beach shouldn’t be a problem at all. Be Tulum is so meticulously well maintained, they continually rake the sand along the walk along the rooms to/from the beach. They are on different ends of the beach so you will get to experience so much more that way. To really relax, BeTulum’s spa is across the street and the most decadent of any in Tulum. Mi Amor’s bar is perfect for a night cap after dinner in town and close to Mezzanine with a more lively bar/nightlife.

      Reply
  2. Hotel in Tulum with 3 Kids

    Thanks for all the advice etc.

    We’re taking our 3 kids (7,4,3) to Tulum and working out where to stay. We’re vegetarians and looked at Sanara, but the prices seem prohibitive. If we stayed at Nomade would it be easy to walk along the beach at night to eat at The Real Coconut restaurant?

    As a bit of a side topic, what would you say combines the most luxurious and rustic feel. Basically we want to be able to walk directly out on to the beach with a hammock, lazy chairs and not feel like we’re in a regular hotel, but at same time need aircon good food etc.

    Thanks so much!

    Ilan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Coral Tulum or it’s sister property Ana y Jose both provide a nice combination of rustic and luxurious and you can further make that distinction based on the type of room that you book at either hotel. Many of the luxury hotels in Tulum have an age minimum of 12 to 14 years but this is not the case with these hotels which is great. Both offer AC and nice restaurants and are walking distance to other great hotels and restaurants along the beach to try out during your stay in Tulum. Even though they both have AC, the atmosphere/style of Coral is a little more luxurious and modern while Ana y Jose provides more of the casual atmosphere Tulum is so well known for.

      Walking between Nomade and Sanara is short and easy.

      Reply
  3. Hotel in Tulum for Large Group

    Hi Dave! I’m planning a rather large destination wedding (expecting 150 guests). I’m realizing all the boutique hotels are quite small. Do you have any recommendations on the best resorts in Tulum that can hold large groups, but still feels natural and representative of the culture (meaning not too cookie cutter)? Thanks in advance for any advice! Meagan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Papaya Playa Project combines the best of both worlds and has a new, large palapa perfect for weddings. The hotel is one of the largest along the beach with rooms for just about everyone (new, fancy guesthouse with AC to palapa roof cabanas along the beach without AC). They have a long stretch of very well maintained beach and a great beach club (bar, restaurant, bar service to the beach chairs, etc) so your guests will be able to enjoy some of the nicest stretch of beach Tulum has to offer, right outside their doorstep. The newest guesthouse, the Casa Palapa (aptly named after the huge palapa that serves as a great wedding venue) is beautifully done and offers multiple guest suites for the wedding party or family. When considering a venue in Tulum, most of the beach ceremonies are done right in the middle of the beach with beach go-ers walking by as your ceremony proceeds. Casa Palapa offers a beautiful and natural yet private location to share your vows.

      Reply
  4. Where To Go near Tulum

    Hi David!

    Thanks for your extraordinary website!

    My husband and I are preparing for a trip to Tulum over Christmas this year. In- and outbound will be through Cancun. We have 7 nights already booked in a small hotel in Tulum. That leaves us 1 night before and 2 nights after for free planning. 2 questions:

    1. We were thinking about spending the first night in PDC, then 7 nights in Tulum and the final two days in Valladolid. Any thoughts on that plan and would you say we are missing the real thing in this area?

    2. Would you recommend to use bus / cab for traveling between these locations? Or would you advise to rent a car and enjoy day trips around Tulum?

    We appreciate any input or tip!

    Very best wishes,
    Janina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      First night in PDC is a great choice. Closer to the airport than Tulum and makes for an easy first night if you stay somewhere right downtown (lots of good restaurant will be just out your door which isn’t always the case in Tulum). And Valladolid is perfect for seeing the “real Mexico”. Good local food and many great cenotes within a bike ride of downtown. I prefer using a combination of bus and taxi but some people do prefer the convenience of a rental car (I’m more inclined to think it’s a hassle).

      Reply
  5. Luxury and Romance

    Hi Dave,

    My boyfriend and I are going to Tulum in the middle of August for 6 nights. We are looking for luxury and romance and are thinking of splitting our time between 2 hotels. How do you feel about the Coral and Ayala? Will we be disappointed with one in comparison? Should we consider the Ahua instead of Ayala? Any suggestions? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Alaya is very nice. But Ahau is nicer. Splitting your time between two hotels will give you the chance to see different perspectives and elements of Tulum. Especially if you chose one hotel that is the more organic style such as Ahau or Alaya and another that is more luxurious. Ahau is still very much a luxurious hotel, it is simply the palapa / cabana style while Coral is more of a familiar styled hotel, with many of the amenities you would be used to (but set on the beautiful Tulum beach). Ahau is incredibly romantic with stunning cabanas set along the beach and incredible service. Likewise, the rooms at Coral are very well done and will give you niceties such as AC. In August, although the ocean breeze can help quite a bit, AC will be very nice. Start at Ahua first and then move to Coral to begin the stay with the ocean breeze and end it with AC. Six days split between Ahau and Coral is a great combination.

      Reply
  6. Girl's Weekend in Tulum

    Dave – your blog is amazing, thank you so much for sharing all your expert travel advice. I have a question… I’m planning my sister’s bachelorette weekend with about 4 to 6 girls (in our early 30s) and was wondering if you have a place you’d recommend we stay. The cabanas and casistas look to be a fun option for us. Obviously we are coming to Tulum for more of an authentic, relaxing experience (not Cancun), but looking to be at a fun, cool, hip places as well. Do you recommend any particular hotels? Our budget can’t be too luxurious but would enjoy a good bang for the buck. This would be eveyone’s first trip to Tulum.

    Thanks for your help!
    Audra

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Papaya Playa Project is the way to go. They have a number of options for room styles and prices, including cabanas along the beach. But… they are also a very hip, fun hotel with a great atmosphere of mixed, Tulum beach bum vibes and nicer bar, restaurants, beach club. They have incredible parties every weekend with great music, dancing, etc. – perfect for a bachelorette weekend. You can organize different excursions through the hotel or spend your days relaxing at the beach. They have a very large, very well maintained stretch of white sandy beach and a great beach club with seating tucked into a small hillside of sand.

      Reply
  7. Tulum with Large Family

    Great website!
    I’m trying to start early planning for a 2017 February trip to Tulum. I will be traveling with two teens and an 8 year old and a grandparent – I prefer beach swimming (love the Manual Antonio beach in CR for comparison) but because I’ll have a younger kid, a decent pool is important. So many on this list look great but is there one or more you think best fits what I’m looking for?

    Thanks!
    Stephanie M

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose is a great one if you are traveling with family. The beach is great, along a nice stretch and well maintained by the hotel. The beach is even more beautiful than Manuel Antonio – the white sand and long stretches of beach make it much better. If you love Manual Antonio, you will be in heaven in Tulum. Along with the great beach for you, Ana y Jose is one of a small number of hotels along the beach zone that have more than small plunge pools for each room. (Still not huge, the pools are much more kid friendly and allow for plenty of play time in the water.) The pool is next to the restaurant which makes it very convenient and easy for you to trade off with the grandparent spending time at the pool vs. taking a break and spending time at the restaurant enjoying a cocktail or two. The back garden rooms are actually very nice for families as they back into a smaller, private pool. It is not as large as the other pool but also larger than a plunge pool. It is also a little cooler as it is protected a bit from the sun by building (only two stories though) and lush vegetation. The rooms are also set up almost like a condo (while not attached, they share the back pool and open into the same area which is nice when traveling with a larger party.

      Reply
  8. Great Hotel in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    I will be traveling to Tulum with my boyfriend after 5 days in Cuba, and 3 nights at an all inclusive resort south of Cancun for his brothers wedding. We will be ending our trip with 3 nights in Tulum. I have gotten so many recommendations from friends that I am even more confused then when I started looking. We currently have a refundable room booked at Ana Y Jose as a backup plan but there seem to be so many great options. We definitely want AC, something luxurious but also with that Tulum vibe. We originally were looking at Nomade but not sure if we are completely sold, they also don’t have a pool and I hear the seaweed can be a problem on the beach. Our ultimate dream would be to stay at the BE or Casa Malca but prices don’t seem to be dropping below $500 night and Im more comfortable paying $300 or less. We love to have fun, drink, eat everything, explore and also may do some yoga if we aren’t too hungover 😉 . I thought about El Pez, Ana Y Jose, Nomade, My Way, Ahau, etc etc etc (there are just so many). I am an avid researcher when traveling so you can imagine how hard this decision is for me seeing there are never ending options in Tulum. Thought you may be able to help me make the best decision so we can end our trip with an unforgettable bang 🙂

    Amanda Fraige

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Rates will vary a lot based on the time of year you will be traveling but BeTulum and Casa Malca are definitely on the expensive side of things in Tulum. You have come up with a list of great hotels but with how you are describing you want your trip to be – go with Papaya Playa Project. They are a great blend of luxury and the low-key Tulum vibe. Rooms have AC, are nicely done and on a great stretch of beach. They are also great for how you want to spend your time. Their food is delicious, they have a great bar with a cool, intimate tables set up nestled into the beach. They also have very popular parties quite often which bring all of that together – great beach, great drinks, great music. They also offer different excursions and partnerships with activity based companies in town if you want to do some yoga, stand up paddle boarding, etc.

      Reply
      1. Lauren

        My advice would be stay put at BE Tulum. I’m currently in Tulum and the sea weed problem is worse at the PPP end. The problem of the sea weed does vary day to day, yesterday for example was perfect, little or no sea weed. Just from experience from being here for 8 weeks it’s better from Ahau heading south!

        Still beautiful even with some seaweed.

        A great local beach spot for beers and tacos (cheaper than the hotels and jungle side restaurants) is la Eufemia, it’s a small little day beach club/restaurant, it’s got cool vibes!!

        Reply
  9. Tulum in June 2017

    Two of my best friends and I are planning a trip to Tulum the third week of June 2017 to celebrate our 40th birthdays. We’re looking for accommodations directly on the beach – I want to open my door and walk right into the sand then water. Would love a cabana. A quiet place, no scene, no parties or late nights, not tons of kids. Looking for about $200/night or less (I’m hoping this is realistic, but I know we’d like more luxury than the budget allows). I really liked the look of Zama’s, but read in the comments above that the beach is rocky which isn’t ideal. Thanks for any direction you can provide!

    Claire

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Zamas is great but it’s true, the beach isn’t ideal. It sounds like Villa Pescadores would be great for you. It is set right on the beach with the cabana/palapa rooms right on the water and one of the best sections of beach Tulum has to offer. It is pretty quiet with most of the focus on relaxing by the beach, eating good, fresh food and disconnecting. It is a great, low-key place to celebrate your milestone birthdays. June is the low season so rates should be around your $200/night budget. It is a great time to go if you want to avoid crowds, parties and late nights. There are significantly less people in town, restaurants, the beach, etc and hotel rates are much better than the rest of the year. If you’re willing to stretch the budget a little, Ahau takes cabanas to a whole other level and again, off season rates are much better.

      Reply
  10. Viento de Mar or Alma Hotel?

    Hello David, me and my bofriend will go in Tulum for 1 week in August. We are looking for a place on the beach with sea vew and a/c and we are considering both Viento de Mar and Alma Hotel. Which has the best playa and sea? Which one would you recommend?
    Thank you so much,
    Marco

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Viento de Mar is on a great section of the beach and the beach service/cabanas are totally luxurious. It is along a long stretch of beach that gives you the opportunity to take great, long walks. (If you’re morning people, the sunrises are awesome.) The staff there make you feel like royalty and take incredible care of you to have a great time and totally relax while you are there. For really great playa and sea – spend some time at the beach at the ruins down the road. You’ll want to take a short taxi or bike ride but then not only are the ruins spectacular, the beach is totally unique with such a great backdrop. Just get there early because it gets hot.

      Reply
  11. Where To Stay in Tulum

    Hi There,

    My boyfriend and I are stopping in Tulum for three days at the end of August after spending two weeks in Cuba. It will be my boyfriend’s first time and my second time in Tulum, although I only spent one night there last time. We are looking to spend about no more than $600 for the three days, all taxes and fees included. That is the very high end of our price range.

    We ended up getting what I consider a good deal at Azulik for $593.76 for an upper level oceanfront Aztec Villa. I love the looks of the room/resort, but I’m not sure it’s in the most desirable location or if it’s the type of resort we will enjoy the most. We’re basically looking to relax and unwind after our longer trip to Cuba where we can stumble out of a cabana to the beach, watch the sunrise, and enjoy each other, the beauty of our surroundings, explore the outdoors, snorkel, eat all the good food, drinks, do some yoga, etc. for the few days that we are there. We will most likely also go see some music, electronic and/or live, and are OK with hotels that are “hip” though a hotel where we can get to know the staff, locals, practice our Spanish, and be around good people is more important to us.

    Based on the above, what places can you recommend us to stay? I am over the moon for Ahau and they actually have a great deal on pricing while we’re there because there will be renovations going on. I’m not sure I want to wake up to construction every day though…

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    Janine

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ahau is great and their beach is very nice. It is centrally located so if you want to walk up and down the beach to check out different hotel restaurants or bars you don’t even have to leave the beach. They offer yoga every morning and have a very laid back atmosphere. It’s too bad that they will be doing renovations while you will be in town but… there is a lot of construction happening in Tulum these days so hearing construction noise no matter what hotel you are staying at is fairly common. Azulik just finished construction on a large yoga studio and are fairly isolated from the neighbors so you should be safe on the construction noise. They will offer a nice refuge to relax but the beach isn’t great. It is a little rocky and not connected to the other hotels like Ahau. (You have reserved one of the best rooms at Azulik though.) Hip Hotel is another one with a great beach, low key and good location. If you are there over a weekend, Papaya Playa Project always has great parties/DJs on the weekends as does Mezzanine. If you luck out and happen to be there on a full moon, Papaya Playa really does it up for their full moon parties. Both of those are along the beach zone. Batey’s is an awesome mojito bar in town that has live music every night of the week but is more laid back.

      Reply
  12. Tulum for Single Female

    Hi Dave, I’m a woman traveling solo to Tulum in early August and was planning to stay at Azulik. They looked beautiful and unique, and I was able to get a Sky Villa, looking out over the ocean. Do you think I will be okay there by myself? Is it close enough to get to town, for the most part? Also, it doesn’t have AC. I’m pretty used to humidity and think the ocean breezes will feel great, but wondered if staying there might be challenging. Thanks for your thoughts, and recommendations on other places I should try. I am looking for rest, relaxation but also a few nights out in town just enjoying the atmosphere. Also, I’ve been following the hotel evictions in Tulum and a little worried about that, as well. Appreciate your insights. Be careful

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Tulum is a very safe place and, as an extension, so is Azulik. Azulik is also incredibly unique and offers a great getaway experience. Being used to the humidity is half the battle with the heat in Tulum so you should be just fine. Sky Villas at Azulik offer great ocean breezes and that combined with your current tolerance for humidity, you should be just fine with the heat. If you are into yoga, Azulik has just built an incredible, huge yoga studio structure that is not to be missed.
      Generally speaking, if you are staying on the hotel zone along the beach but interested in going into town, you will want to either have a bike (though not great at night), rented a car, or get a taxi. Taxis are cheap and pretty easy to find along both the beach and town. There are lots of other hotels along the beach that are great but, a Sky Villa at Azulik is going to offer some of the best breezes and, the hotel is awesome. If you have booked that, I would stick with it. The hotel evictions is a very complicated situation that as outsiders, I think it is almost impossible for us to totally understand. Unfortunately, the hotel owners along the beach zone are aware of the risk that they run operating businesses on that land. It has been sensationalized in the media and a number of incorrect reports are now out there. While the affected hotels are dealing with it, life in Tulum is back to normal for everyone else.

      Reply
  13. Tulum in Early July

    Hi Dave,
    We are planning a trip to Tulum next weekend. At this point deciding between an ocean front room at Coco, Hip Hotel, Papaya or Alma (although its a bit too pricey) Much prefer Hip, but I’m afraid lack of AC in July might be a problem. We are looking forward to a very relaxed place with the best beach, nice breakfast and not too far from restaurants:)
    What would you recommend?
    Many thanks,
    Dorota

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It is going to be toasty next week so if you don’t have a room with AC, definitely upgrade to an ocean front room to capitalize on the ocean breeze to help cool you off at night. Hip is nice, pretty central for restaurants, other hotel bars, etc. There are a couple of rooms at Coco that have AC if you’re okay with splurging. I’d say those two are the most laid back, both have great beaches and are centrally located along the hotel zone so you can’t go wrong with either. Papaya Playa Project has big parties every weekend – fun to go check out if you are staying at another hotel but not great to be staying there if you are trying to have a quiet vacation and get away from that stuff.

      Reply
  14. Esencia or Blue Diamond?

    Awesome post, Dave!

    My fiance and I are planning a 5 day honeymoon to Riviera Maya. We’re currently torn between Hotel Esencia and Blue Diamond. Do you have any suggestions/thoughts on which resort will be better? We’re looking to be pampered and have an overall relaxing trip with great food and drinks. We’re also looking to plan one or two half-day excursions outside the resort. Blue Diamond is definitely more budget-friendly for us but my fiance can’t get over how beautiful Esencia is. Thanks! David

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both Hotel Esencia & Blue Diamond are beautiful, you have narrowed it down to two great hotels to honeymoon in. The biggest difference is just in the style of the hotel with Blue Diamond being more modern, otherwise quality wise, they are similar. Overall, I suggest Blue Diamond – it is very beautiful, the food is fantastic, service is great and you will definitely feel pampered on your special vacation. I recommend doing a little planning for your off-site excursions before you go. The concierge is notorious for up-selling timeshares before being as helpful as you would like them to be (the biggest downfall to this hotel). Cenotes and ruins are a must-see while you are in the Riviera Maya but also plan for plenty of down time at the resort to enjoy the beautiful beaches of the area. Dos Ojos cenote is a great one nearby with nice amenities and the pools themselves are very neat. T

      Reply
  15. Hotel Similar to Be Tulum

    Hi dave! We love Tulum … We stayed there last year at Las Ranitas but now they are closed for construction. We loved the location and decided to book Be Tulum but a week prior they told us they will be having some loud noises during our stay 🙁 We want something luxurious, hip, trendy, sophisticated with ac if we decide to forego our Be Tulum stay. What place do you suggest looking into that will mirror Be Tulum? Money is no object. thanks!

    Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Go with Mi Amor. It is on par with Be Tulum, maybe even a little more modern and sophisticated. It is beautiful. There are two elements that some people dislike while others don’t mind. One – it is on a rocky portion of the coast so you won’t be laying out on the sandy but rather cabanas on the coastline (beautiful views). It is very close to Playa Paraiso so one of the best beaches is walking distance but… it’s not right out your door. Two – it is further away from the other hotels and restaurants along the beach. For most, those aren’t deal breakers but, something to know ahead of time. Coral Tulum is a very close second and if you wanted something right on the beach and more central, that’s the way to go.

      Reply
  16. Hotel with Good Swimming and Beach

    Hi Dave,
    I traveled to Akumal with my husband and 10-yr-old daughter in February and stayed at Hotel Akumal Caribe (but didn’t make it down to Tulum). It was perfect for a mellow family stay. Now, My sister and I are planning a trip for the end of November. I liked the relaxed feel of Akumal, but she’s a New Yorker and needs a bit more to do… so we’re Tulum bound! We’re looking to relax, shop, swim, eat/drink, catch some music, and retire early. Unfortunately, many of the hotels you’ve mentioned are either booked already or don’t have rooms with 2 beds.
    We’re looking for a hotel on the beach with good swimming (not much coral or rock underfoot). Also, My sister likes to run on the beach, so ideally would like a good solid stretch. We loved the look of Zamas, but some recent reviews mentioned needing to wear water shoes because of coral.
    Any insights into whether that’s an accurate assessment at Zamas? What are some other places you’d recommend?
    Many Thanks!
    Kasie Nolan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Zamas is great but you’re right, the location does make it less than ideal for beach swimming.
      Ahau is great and their beach will definitely allow for good swimming. There is a kitesurfing school right there and they have plenty of depth for them to do their thing which would mean you won’t run into the coral like Zamas or some other locations along the beach.
      Nomade is also in a good spot to spend time in the water and is very unique.
      Both Ahau and Nomade are along a long strip of beach for your sister to run.
      Even if you stay at a hotel without the coral problem, it is still worthwhile to bring water shoes on your trip to Tulum as you will need them if you decide to swim in a cenote (which I highly recommend you do).

      Reply
  17. Which Airport for Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    I am not sure if you answered this yet or not, but what airline and airport is best to travel through to get to Tulum? Is Cancun real far away? Because my husband and I like to fly with Southwest, and the closest airport they fly to is the one in Cancun.

    Sami

    Reply
  18. Single Traveler to Tulum

    Hi Dave

    I am a single gal in my 30s traveling to Tulum. My travel companion had to cancel and now I’m nervously solo. Can you recommend town vs beach to stay and perhaps a couple of your reasonably priced favorites? I am so torn between the amazing beach Eco lodging vs the more authentic feel of the town. Also, is driving from the airport to Tulum and around a safe endeavor? Thanks in advance for any help to calm my nerves.

    Carrie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both the beach and town have their charms but most people prefer staying on the beach. You can still have an authentic feel along the beach zone and it’s so great being right on the water yet town is a 5 minute taxi ride away. La Posada del Sol is very low key, the staff is really great and gives a very nice authentic feel. The rooms are basic (saltwater showers, no AC, etc) but very clean and well maintained. A home cooked breakfast is offered in their small community dining area every morning and it is the type of place where you will get to know your fellow guests.

      Renting a car will give you a lot of freedom and most people find the process safe and simple. Many of the rental companies are the same ones that you will be familiar with from the states (Hertz, Enterprise, etc). Renting a car is cheap but, be sure to do your homework on the mandatory insurance coverages before you get to the counter as it can get overwhelming going through things right then. Some coverage will be required through them while others are often provided by your credit card but make sure you have verified all of those things ahead of time. It is a straight shot driving on the freeway from the airport to Tulum. The speed limit changes frequently and people drive very fast but… just stay in the right lane, stick to the speed limit and you’ll be fine. In town, people (especially all of the taxis) drive erratically and fast but with a little defensive driving, you won’t have a problem. Having a car is nice because it gives you the freedom to split your time between the beach and town. Spending your downtime on the beach but going into town for some meals is a great way to experience Tulum and having a car makes it easier. That said, my preferred way of getting around Tulum is by bike.

      Reply
  19. Hotels with AC in Tulum

    Having a hard time finding rooms with AC. Recs for best options for AC hotels for a group of 4 of us (not above $300)? We would like to be on the beach.

    Thank you!
    Amanda

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There aren’t a lot of hotels in Tulum with AC and prices vary greatly by the season. Visiting during the low season will help find a much better deal. Mezzanine is a hip, nice hotel with AC and very good on site restaurant. Coral Tulum is a little pricier but very nice and has AC. Both of those have a more modern style. Ana y Jose is nice and a little more of the rustic Tulum vibe… but with AC. It isn’t quite as expensive as Mezzanine or Coral Tulum. All three of those are on the beach and, under $300 depending on the dates.

      Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Hip Hotel is a favorite, I always enjoy the small intimate feel of the property, friendly staff and great restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. They have garden rooms and beach front rooms but the property is small. Even with a garden room you can hear the ocean while relaxing in your room. The rooms are clean and roomy. Some have great views of the beach while others have a small deck allowing you to enjoy a morning cup of coffee as you enjoy the views. As with many of the eco-friendly hotels on the beach, this hotel does not have A/C. However, the orientation of the rooms, and mosquito netting are ideal to sleep with the windows open, allowing the cool breeze and sound of the ocean.

      If you are looking for a quiet oasis, Hip Hotel is the perfect place…imagine stepping outside your bungalow in the morning to the beautiful turquoise beach just yards away form your room. While the rooms are great, the best part of this hotel is the friendly staff!

      Reply
  20. Tulum with Friends

    Hi Dave, first off… you are such an awesome guy to be writing everyone back and helping. Thank you in advance.

    I’m looking to come to Tulum with my friends, and don’t know when is the best time. Will October still be warm and beautiful (which is when I’m thinking we can all make it out there). And what hotel has the most beautiful beach?

    Also, I am planning to come again with my husband and 3 year old. Where would you recommend us to stay?

    Thank you again and I’m terribly sorry if you are repeating some of this information again.

    Makeez

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      October is one of my favorite times in Tulum. The weather will definitely be warm and beautiful. It is right after hurricane season ends in September so you might still catch a few rain showers but overall it should be really pleasant. It is also low season so you’ll avoid a lot of the crowds and you can get a good deal on your hotel.

      Most of the hotels are along the same stretch of beach. The biggest differentiator is the beach service/amenities (lounge chairs, bar service, etc.). There area few hotels that are perched up on a more rocky section of the beach but still have access to the sand but I won’t suggest any of those. If you are looking for rooms with air-conditioning (might be better option when traveling with the 3 year old), Coral Tulum has a great beach and amenities. Ana y Jose is also a great option when traveling with kids as they have rooms with AC and a nice pool and beach area as well. (They are sister properties.) For a great beach but with cabanas without air conditioning, Ahau Tulum and Papaya Playa Project are great options.

      Reply
  21. Tours to Chichen Itza

    I’m arriving with a friend next week and wanted to spend a day visiting Chichen Itza but having a hard time finding tours or info on round trip transportation there from Tulum. We will be staying at Mezzanine. Any advice? Thanks in advance and awesome site with so much info! I have to print out all of the food recommendations !! Just in case something happens to my phone!

    Jolie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It is tricky to find transportation from Tulum town itself because the concentration of tourists is so much smaller than in the Cancun/Playa Del Carmen Resorts. What I have found works best is to pick up a tour group at Dreams Tulum. It is about a 20 minute ride away from your hotel so you will have to take a taxi to and from the pick up at Dreams. Amstar is the tour group that picks up at Dreams around 8:30/9:00.

      Reply
  22. Villa Las Estrellas or Posada Puntra Piedra

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the great tips! My husband and I will be traveling to Tulum this Christmas with our 9mo old daughter. We are looking for a charming room on the ocean with a great on-site restaurant and ideally other non-“resort” food options to eat within walking distance (since we have a baby we won’t be able to bike into town for better meals which is what we would do otherwise). We found rooms at both Villa Las Estrellas and Posada Puntra Piedra and we are torn as to what would be the better experience (prices are comparable at around $400/night but we really don’t mind spending extra, up to $600/night). Do you have advice between those two options or an opinion as to whether either would be a bad option with an infant? Thanks so much!

    Mel

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Posada Punta Piedra will provide the most restaurant options within a short walking distance. And, the great news is none of the restaurants in Tulum are very “resort”-y so no matter where you go, you’ll have great, fresh, unique options. Both Puro Corazon & Mateo’s Mexican Grill are on the jungle side of the beach road, a short walk South from the hotel. Puro Corazon has a great jungle setting and really tasty, upscale take on Mexican food. Mateo’s Mexican Grill – Their fish tacos are awesome! They are also a good option if you need a little break from Mexican food as their menu includes some American “bar food” (burgers, fries, kabobs, etc). Papaya Playa Project is a little further away (still not far) and it has great food and an fantastic setting. The tables are all set into a small hill on the beach and booth style to give everyone at the table great views of the beach. It has a very nice beach and you can also use their beach chairs and order from the restaurant and bar throughout the day if you’d like a change of beach scenery throughout your trip. The temperatures are great in December, it’s a great time of year to visit if you are traveling with the baby.

      Reply
  23. Villa Pescadores and Good Vegetarian Restaurants

    Dave-

    My girlfriend and I will be traveling to Tulum next month and are looking for a laid back vacation away from New York. We’d like something very relaxing (and gay friendly). We were looking at Villa Pescadores. Any thoughts? Also, besides for Restaurare would you have any recommendations for vegetarian food? Thanks!

    Kate

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Generally speaking, the area is gay friendly and welcoming. Villa Pescadores has a very low-key, relaxing atmosphere. It is closer to the ruins and on a great stretch of beach. A couple other options to consider are: Azulik, a very unique hotel, adults only, specifically advertises as gay friendly and is private. (Particularly compared to some of the other hotels with cabanas on the beach.) BeTulum is also adult only & gay friendly but more modern and fancy than Villa Pescadores.

      There are a number of great vegetarian restaurants in Tulum. Some of the best are Shiva (awesome Indian food) and Raw Love along the beach zone and El Vegetariano in town.

      Reply
  24. Tulum Resort Similar to an All Inclusive

    Hi Dave!

    My husband and I are considering Tulum for an anniversary trip. In the past we’ve only stayed at all-inclusive resorts in MX. We are in our 30’s and really just like to lay on the beach all day so having food right by is a must. We also do not like to have children around. We are open to not going to an all-inclusive, but would need a hotel where we could stay on property the whole time if we wanted. Do you have any recommendations?

    Jen

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      While many of the hotels in Tulum have limited restaurants and on site-amenities which would make staying on the property the entire time challenging, there are a few full service hotels that are also adult only. There is always Dreams Tulum, the nearest all inclusive to Tulum and they have an adults only section. If you are looking for something different or want to be right in Tulum (which I recommend), there are a few adults-only hotels along the beach zone.
      Mezzanine is a hip place to be and has a Thai restaurant on site. They also have frequent parties in the bar/pool area. No beach right there but it’s a short walk away. Azulik is a unique, adults only hotel but has limited on-site amenities. They are however, just a short walk from other hotels and restaurants along the beach zone. Be Tulum sounds the closest to what you have described. They are adults only, have a great restaurant and bar on-site, a nice beachside pool and the beach is beautiful and well maintained. On the weekends they often have live music at the bar and the service is top notch. The Ocean room is really extraordinary with the private rooftop patio and pool but you can’t go wrong with the Arena or Jungle rooms too. Even the rooms closest to the road are quiet (as there is very little traffic this far south on the beach road) and, besides being a little farther from the beach, these rooms are the same as the others. The BeTulum spa is amazing – I highly recommend splurging on a couple’s massage to celebrate your anniversary.

      Reply
  25. Last Minute Hotels for Tulum

    Hi Dave
    Thank you for your website- very helpful! I am making a last minute trip alone to Tulum next week and am looking at what is still available. I am thinking of splitting my time between two parts of the beach. Do you know anything about Blue Sky hotel? At the eco resorts in the hotel strip it seems all that’s left are “garden view” at Amansala, Playa Mambo, and Coco Tulum. What would you recommend? Would garden view be too uncomfortable/mosquito-y this time of year? Coco Tulum looks like the nicest but I wonder about the shared bathrooms and the location of the room is right by reception and butts up against the road.

    Thank you for you help, I appreciate it!

    Andrea

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Blue Sky Hotel is nice. It is very close to Casa Cenote – a beautiful open air cenote with mangroves and deep aqua blue water. It is a little removed from the town but the location so close to Casa Cenote might be worth it if you plan on doing any snorkeling. Between Amansala, Playa Mambo, & Coco Tulum, go with Coco Tulum if the bathroom situation won’t bother you. Their garden rooms are the nicest of the three and although the bathrooms are shared, they are nice. Coco Tulum also has a great atmosphere and beach vibe and the community feel (including the shared bathroom space) is part of the experience. (Great for a solo traveler.) Without an ocean breeze, it will be very warm in a garden room this time of year but most hotels provide fans and mosquito netting for the beds. The location by reception isn’t a bother and while you may hear some road noise, there isn’t much traffic activity on the beach zone at night.

      Reply
  26. Coco Tulum or Rosa del Viento

    Hi Dave!
    I’ve red a lot, thank you so much for your kindness!
    I also have questions though 😉
    I hesitate between Coco Tulum and Rosa del Viento, do you know anything that could help in my decision?
    What’s the best beach or place to do snorkeling?
    Also, as I travel alone, I would like to go to the hotel from the airport with ADO, but it seems like when I try to select “Cancun airport” it doesn’t work, how is that? Do I have to make a reservation or are the buses usually pretty full? Once I get in Tulum at 11PM, will there be a taxi to take me to the hotel or is it too late? Thanks for your help.

    Emilie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Hotels: Both have a nice beach. Rosa del Viento is more low key and peaceful while Coco Tulum is busier and has more of a “scene”.

      Snorkeling: The beaches of Tulum are beautiful and you can snorkel anywhere along the coastline. But, for truly unique snorkeling experiences, go to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere (if you have the time) or one of the local cenotes to snorkel while you are in Tulum. Sian Ka’an is home to the MesoAmerican Reef (second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef) with over 500 species of fish, marine turtles, dolphins, etc. If you are looking for something closer to town, go to Gran Cenote. It is a short drive or bike ride from town on the way to the Coba Ruins and if you only make it to one cenote, this is the one to see.

      Buses: Take the ADO bus from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. From PDC you will transfer to another bus to Tulum. There is usually room on the buses and even though it will be late, you shouldn’t have a problem with a taxi in Tulum. There are always taxis waiting in front of the bus terminal.

      Reply
  27. Grand Oasis

    Hi Dave,
    We are coming to Tulum the end of May for a family wedding that is going to be at Ana-Jose Resort, but we are staying at the Grand Oasis Tulum. Can you tell me 1) What you know about the Grand Oasis Tulum? 2) The resort offers smart cars for rental but we don’t want to drive the 30 minutes because there WILL be drinking, so what can you tell me about taxi services. Are they readily available and how much do they cost on average? 3) Is it a good idea to convert some US dollars to Peso’s or can we pay for taxi, food, gifts etc in US currency? Any help in these matters would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Michele

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1) When the Grand Oasis Tulum is full it can feel a little crowded but in May that shouldn’t be a problem for you. The rooms are a little basic but, fit just about right for the price you’ll pay. They are known for having a relaxing atmosphere, especially compared to the other more party-centric hotels you will pass on your way to the Grand Oasis. So this is the perfect place to enjoy some rest & relaxation but if you are the type that needs to stay more active – they also give you lots of entertainment options as well.

      2) The Grand Oasis Tulum is about a 30 minute ride from Tulum. Taxis are abundant in the area and both of the hotels can call one for you. Anytime you use a taxi in Mexico ask them for the price before beginning the trip. I’d estimate that the trip will be somewhere around $20 – $25USD each way. Later in the night on the beach zone in Tulum where Ana y Jose is located, it can take a little longer to get a taxi so have a little patience when you are getting ready to leave the wedding.

      3) You can pay for most things in USD however you’ll get a better price if you pay in pesos. Convert some money to make things a little simpler and get the most for your money. Larger restaurants, hotel bars, etc will take credit cards (just remember to call your credit card company to let them know you will be traveling internationally) and use pesos whenever you need to pay in cash. (Taxis, smaller restaurants, and boutique shops, etc.)

      Reply
  28. Tulum – Food Safety

    Hi Dave

    Thanks so much for all the information. I am going solo to Tulum and staying at Villas las Estrellas and Posada Punta Piedra, I can’t wait! I see you recommend a lot of food places in town. I’m concerned on how vegetables and such are cleaned and if while in town I should stay away from cocktails with ice. I haven’t seen any comments regarding these issues. I’ve read that most of the places on the beach use filtered water but I really wanted to check out tacos, etc… in town. I also was thinking of booking a bike ahead of time but it may be too hot. (Going the middle-end of June) and also if you feel there’s any safety issues I should concentrate on. (First solo vakay out of the country.)
    Thanks again,
    Karen

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Purified water is standard for life in Tulum so you shouldn’t have a problem. All of the restaurants in town serve bottled water and also use it to make ice, so ice in cocktails is okay. Some of the smaller restaurants may use tap water to wash their vegetables so keep it in mind as you are making decisions on where or what to eat (personally I eat everywhere and never think twice). There are lots of places around town to rent bikes so if you are worried about the heat, wait to decide until you are in Tulum. You don’t need to make the reservations ahead of time if you are not sure. Tulum is very safe, however, as with everywhere you may travel, you have to be smart and use your common sense. Be aware of your surroundings and discerning on where you go after dark. (Again, just like anywhere else.) Scams do happen from time to time so just pay attention to the little things. Most common is to be given incorrect change or getting overcharged for an item. Be smart about traveling alone and you will have a great vacation.

      Reply
  29. Nomade or Papaya Playa Project

    Hi SantoriniDave,
    I am planning on going to Tulum in June, travelling solo. I am looking to relax on the beach, would like yoga and spa, and be close by to things. I have been looking at Nomade, or Papaya Playa Project, which would you recommend? I’m 45, so I don’t need a scene, or do have other recommendations?
    Thanks,
    Diane Lyons

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I would recommend Nomade if you are looking for a calming vacation and not concerned about “a scene”. Both have great beaches and offer yoga and spa services but Papaya Playa has a lot of nighttime parties. Nomade uses the Yaan Wellness Energy Spa across the street and it is amazing. Great treatments and a beautiful yoga shala in the trees. It is a little farther from town but still close to restaurants on the beach zone and a quick taxi ride into town.

      Reply
  30. Alaya, Suenos, or Coral Tulum

    We are a couple in our early 30s. We have been to Playa and Cancun many times but want to stay in the Tulum beach area. We are trying to choose between Alaya, Suenos, Coral Tulum, or do you have another recommendation for a hotel between 200-400 per night? Mezzanine and Ana y Jose are sold out on dates we want to go.

    Jaime

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      For a luxurious stay – go with Coral Tulum. For the cabana, low key experience, go with Alaya. Suenos is a little gimmicky.

      Reply
  31. Mezzanine or La Zebra

    Hi Dave!
    My husband and I are looking for a hotel where there is some action and fun. Not an all inclusive, but something centrally located where we can get to the ruins, a fun bar in town, go biking. I’m looking at the Mezzanine or La Zebra. Seems as though Zebra is far from things. What do you think is best? We are going in the end of August.
    Thanks for any of your help!
    Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      You can’t go wrong with either but La Zebra wins for convenience. While it is a little further from town, La Zebra is located right in the middle of a number of other hotels and great restaurants and bars. Both La Zebra & Mezannine have dancing on the weekends. Mezannine is more nightclub-ish and La Zebra is known for it’s Sunday night Salsa Lessons and dancing.

      Reply
      1. Lauren

        Great! Thank you so much for your response! And both hotels have great beach areas/are located right on the beach?
        Thanks again!

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          Both are right on the water however Mezzanine is perched on a rock formation and the beach is a short walk away. (Down some stairs and off to the side of the hotel.) La Zebra is level with the beach which allows you to step right out your door to the sand. It is also along one of the longer stretches of beach which allows you to take nice walks on the beach, explore other hotels along the way, etc.

          Reply
          1. El Pez

            Thanks again Dave! How is El Pez in comparison to La Zebra and Mezzanine ? Which would you recommend? Good beach, close to restaurants, fun time?
            Thanks!

            Lauren

          2. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

            El Pez is a beautiful hotel, owned by the same group as La Zebra, Mezzanine, & Mi Amor. Great service and a frequent gathering spot for the local ex-pats. The beach area is nice however, similar to Mezzanine, it is rocky and if you want to spend time in the water you will need to take a little walk down the beach zone. Unlike Mezzanine, it is close to other hotels so it won’t be as challenging to spend time on the beach with the amenities that come with the other hotels. You can walk up and down the beach with no problem and if you want to stop, relax and use the lounge chars/facilities from another hotel you can certainly do that. Just be willing to buy some food or a cocktail from the bar. Otherwise they may charge you a small fee to use their facilities. (Either way you go it is still worth it.) I would recommend La Zebra or El Pez for their proximity to other restaurants and of those, La Zebra offers the best beach.

  32. Hostels in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    Any thoughts on hostels in Tulum? I’ll have 5 days in Tulum and will be basing myself there. I just need a hammock to be happy!
    The hotels you’ve recommended are amazing but want to go cheaper with hostels? Any recommendations? Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Staying in a hostel in Tulum is a great way to experience the town from a different point of view and get to know people from all around the world. There are some nice hostels in town, I’d recommend Hostel Sheck, Mama’s House, or Tubo Tulum.

      Hostel Sheck – the accommodations are basic but well maintained and the price is great. There is only one bathroom so you have to be a little patient from time to time. It is close to the main street in town and a good option if you plan to enjoy the nightlife in town. Mama’s House is right in town too and a little more charming and vibrantly decorated. The manager Jose takes great care of his guests and there are fun nightly activities. For a really unique experience though, check out Tubo Tulum. Each bed/room is it’s own private cement tube. This option is pricier but might be worth it for the unusual accommodations and experience.

      Reply
  33. Last Minute Hotels for Tulum

    It’s our first time to Tulum. We are looking into Memorial weekend. Two couples and our sons and daughters. Ages 22-26 yrs old.

    We are looking for a beautiful beach and ambiance for the family to have a fun time. Air conditioning room, great beach, nice rooms are important. I tried Be Tulum and it’s sold out. Any suggestions for the long weekend that might have availability? How do you feel about Dreams? I know they have rooms but have read some negative comments. Not crazy about all inclusive food.

    Aida

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose is a great option for families. It is in the middle of the hotel zone and has a great beach and air conditioned, comfortable rooms. Their garden view suites back to a shared swimming pool and garden area that is great to have the kids splash around in and the adults relax when not at the beach. There are lounge chairs, grass and great lush plants and trees that make it feel like you are in your own private oasis. Since there are a couple of separate buildings, just be sure to ask for rooms in the same area when you make your reservation. BeTulum is adult only so don’t worry about them. Dreams is a little outside of town and will offer a very different Tulum experience. Unlike any other hotel in Tulum, they are all-inclusive which makes travel with a family much more convenient but a lot less authentic and interesting. The food is good but not amazing (like most all-inclusives) but the grounds and rooms are very well maintained. It is a nice hotel. The decision really comes down to the type of experience you are looking for while in Tulum. For a more luxurious, convenient stay, Dreams is a great option. For a more authentic, casual stay, I would suggest Ana y Jose.

      Reply
  34. Suenos, Alma, or Hip Hotel in Tulum?

    Hi, thanks for the amazing website! We’re coming for our honeymoon, so we’re willing to splurge somewhat on comfort and beautiful ocean views with private balcony (but can’t afford the top-end hotel rooms). Would you recommend a Master Suite at Suenos or a Junior Suite at Alma (has jacuzzi)? (Or an Ocean View room at Hip Hotel?)

    Thanks!
    Joanna

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      All 3 are nice hotels. Suenos is the safest choice but Alma is brand new (with all new furnishings) which is appealing. They’re all very close to each other. Beach is great down here at the south end.

      Reply
      1. Joanna

        We’re here at Suenos now, and we LOVE it! Friendly, quiet, private, beautiful, and great location. Thanks. =)

        Reply
  35. Good Hotel in Tulum Town

    Hi Dave,

    Can you recommend any of these in-town hotels over the other, or is there something comparable that you prefer for staying in town 3 or 4 nights in early May? We’re looking for something nice, quiet, but near restaurants and walking or biking distance to the beach.

    Palms Tulum Luxury Hotel
    Posada Luna del Sur
    Live Tulum

    Many thanks!
    Cynthia Scott

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Palms is the nicest hotel of the three (and probably the most luxurious hotel in town). Palms and Live Tulum are very close to each other. Good restaurants are a short walk away and since it’s in the north part of town it makes getting to the beach just a little quicker and easier (when you’re on a bike). Posada Luna del Sur is in the south section of town and a little out of the way. It also means if you’re biking from the beach that you have to go all the way through town and thus makes the ride a little bit longer.

      Reply
  36. Mexican Hotel / Good Mexican Breakfast

    Hello Dave,

    First off, I want to thank you for answering ALL the requests for information from the many curious readers below. You are very gracious and generous with your time! So I will add to the hoard…

    I am looking for a quiet, beachfront, intimate (absolute opposite of an all-inclusive) and authentically Mexican hotel. I deeply appreciate all of the yoga/spa/healthy lifestyle options. But that is not our motivation. We want to visit Mexico and be surrounded, dare I say swallowed by Mexico. We would prefer something that has onsite breakfast. We are foodies. I don’t need TV or wifi or hip-trendiness ( I would actually like to not be at a trendy place). But we do want excellent Mexican food onsite. And close to Hartwood. We speak spanish.

    Thank you again for your input and time.

    Aylish and Serge Fugère de Canada

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The hotels along the beach road are trendy, boutiquish, and cater almost entirely to Americans, Canadians, and Europeans. So you’re not going to find a hotel where you feel “swallowed by Mexico”. That’s slightly more likely if you stay in Tulum Town. You’re best bet is to stay at a small family owned hotel (like Playa Mambo) where you can sit around and chat with the owners and workers. For breakfast, the best Mexican breakfast (tacos, tortas) is Taqueria Honorio in town (1 block east of the Scotia bank). Very few tourists here.

      Reply
  37. Seaweed in Tulum

    Hey Dave, any sense of the current seaweed situation in Tulum? I know the area got hit hard last year but I’ve had a hard time finding up-to-date seaweed reports.

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It’s definitely been better the last 6 months or so. I think that’s probably why you’re not hearing up to date info: it only gets talked about when it’s bad.

      Reply
  38. Mi Amor Hotel in Tulum

    Hi Dave! Great site. What are your thoughts on Mi Amor Hotel? Is it super far from everything?
    Christina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Very nice boutique hotel. Not right on the beach (the coast here is rocky) but a nice public beach is a 5 minute walk away (you can access it through Mi Amor’s sister hotel Mezzanine). It’s in a quiet location without a lot around it but town and the beach community can both be reached in a 15 minute bike ride or quick taxi ride (too far to walk though).

      Reply
  39. Best Luxury (and Hip) Hotel in Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks so much for the amazing info. I have a friend visiting Tulum in April and they are looking the the best of the best as far as luxury but are also looking for a hip hotel, do you have any recommendations?
    Thank you
    Diane

    Reply
  40. Taxis, Beaches, and Cenotes in Tulum

    First of all, a brilliant website. Has been very helpful in planning our trip to Tulum – only 1 week away!
    Quick questions:
    1. How much is a taxi from south end of Tulum (Calle 6) to Tulum Beach? Just wondering if its worth the bike rental and 30 minute bike ride or just hop in a taxi?
    2. Is it hard to find shade at the public beaches (from Canada so haven’t seen the sun in a few months 🙂
    3. Your advice on best, close cenote? Most websites seem to suggest Gran or Dos Ojos.
    Thanks!!!
    Ryan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1. It depends what section of beach. About 60p to 70p to get to the beach south of the Tulum Ruins (near Mezzanine hotel). Up to 120p to get to La Zebra beach club in the south end of the beach strip.
      2. Not hard to find shade if you get a spot at a restaurant or beach club (you’ll need to buy a drink or two). But if you’re just throwing down a towel then not usually a lot of shade.
      3. Gran Cenote is wonderful. Go late afternoon to get the smallest crowds. If you only want to swim then Casa Cenote is great (also called Manatee Cenote). The Gran Cenote is easier to find on your own and closer to bike to from town.

      Reply
  41. Rosa del Viento vs Punta Piedra (location)

    Hi Dave

    This website is so helpful, thank you so much! I’m still a bit overwhelmed though!

    We’re heading to Tulum for part of our honeymoon in June. We really want a more laid back beach front cabin type thing (rather than swish hotel) & are looking between Rosa del Viento & Punta Piedra (both have availability on the beach front) – please could you tell me which is in a better location for walking to restaurants/bars in the evening? (Or which is better overall in your opinion?). Also, do you think air conditioning is needed in late June?! (We’re from the UK but will have been in Belize for a couple of weeks before we get there so hopefully will have acclimatised…)

    We liked the look of Playa Mambo but it’s a little more expensive for beach view than the others. If there are others with similar beach front cabins in this kind of price range that are close to bars/restaurants please let me know!

    Thank you 🙂

    Sally

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The rooms are a little nicer and larger at Rosa del Viento but the location (in terms of restaurants and bars) is far better at Punta Piedra. Rosa del Viento is one of the last hotels on the beach road and pretty isolated with not much within walking distance. Fine if you’re looking for quiet and seclusion. If you rent bikes then it’s an easy ride from Rosa to more choices but bikes aren’t a great option at night. The beach is nice at both hotels but very different. You’re on a long stretch of beach which is great for morning walks at Rosa del Viento. At Punta Piedra you’re at a small beach cove. I never feel A/C is necessary when in a beach cabana as there is usually a nice breeze off the ocean.

      Reply
      1. Sally

        Thanks so much for your very rapid response & helpful information! Happy to be on a small Cove. Will get Punta Piedra booked now 🙂

        Reply
  42. Tulum in the Rain – What To Do

    Looks like it will be raining several days while we are in Tulum. Any recommendations for fun things to do in the rain?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Cenotes are great in the rain. Gran Cenote is nearby and partially covered. Dos Ojos is 20 minutes north of Tulum and even more covered. Or watch movies in a private mini-theater (you pick from a selection) and eat dinner at Zine (in Tulum Town).

      Reply
  43. Renting Bikes in Tulum

    Dave

    You seem so knowledgeable about the area, finally I have found knowledge. One quick question we are looking to rent bikes for a few days while in Tulum (staying at Tulum Bay) is there somewhere near we can rent?

    Thank you so very much
    Stacey

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, there are a few places to rent bikes within steps of Tulum Bay. It shouldn’t be a problem at all.

      Reply
  44. Seaweed on Beach

    Hi Dave: How is the seaweed situation in Tulum now? We will be staying there starting March 16th.

    Thanks,

    Gail Mitton

    Reply
  45. Fishing Tours in Tulum

    My husband and 20 year old son want to fish while in Tulum. Do you have any recommendations? Also where would you recommend for snorkeling? Thank you!
    Lisa and John

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      You want to go the beach in the north section of Tulum. South of the ruins and Zazil Kin Cabanas. There’ll be boats and fisherman there and some take tourists out for tours. There is also a kiosk on the beach (Servicios Turisticos) that arranges fishing and snorkeling tours.

      Reply
  46. Alma Hotel in Tulum

    Hello Dave,
    Thank you for all the suggestions 🙂
    You are mentioning Alma Tulum in your list. We made a reservation however I just read a bad review regarding the water which had a bad smell in the shower. Did you had some feedback about this hotel? What do you think? It is so hard to get an opinion without many reviews. We are also travelling with a baby. I usually spent a lot of time reading feedback of customers to have an idea. I am so worry to be disappointing. Plus they won’t accept any refund. Thank you so much in advance for your feedback. Best.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Alma is brand new, has large comfortable rooms, and a great beach. Good location close to many restaurants on the beach road. Like all Tulum hotels the water can smell a little off at times but it’s never a health issue. I can’t vouch for every hotel but most will switch to backup water when the main source is unpleasant.

      Reply
  47. PavoReal Beach Resort in Tulum

    PavoReal beach resort… what are your honest thoughts? I don’t want to spend a ton of money.
    I’m escaping for a last minute vacation and want nice beach, safe area, not too far off beaten path.

    A lot of your hotels recommended are not avail in next 2 weeks.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Nice place with great beach and pool. The caveat is that there is little within walking distance. There are buses and collectivos that run along the main highway but in reality most tourists end up taking lots of taxis or renting a car. The resort attracts lots of Italians (which is sort of fun) and the food has an Italian bent.

      Reply
  48. Playa Mambo and What's Nearby

    Hi Dave. We’re going to Tulum April 14-24th. We are staying at Playa Mambo Eco Cabanas. By the time we booked we were only able to get a garden room. Are there garden rooms ok? What are some of the best restaurants close to here? Thanks for your great info!
    Tracy Flanigan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Garden rooms are nice (but not as nice as the beach front ones) – they’re still surrounded by beach sand but just back behind the beachfront cabanas. Perhaps a little darker inside, as well. Good nearby restaurants are Onda (pizza) and Casa Banana (steak, entrees, etc). On the beach, OM (to the south) and La Zebra (to the north) are both great.

      Reply
  49. Alaya or Playa Mambo

    Alaya and Playa Mambo. Which one is better (closer to town, cleaner, better service)? Playa mambo has a beachfront cabana available for our dates and Alaya has a family suite which is further back than beachfront … Love this site btw and all your recommendations. Thank you, Marilyn

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Alaya and Playa Mambo are almost directly beside each other (two narrow hotels with beach fronts separate them but you could easily throw a frisbee from Alaya to Playa Mambo). Alaya will have better service but being right on the beach front like the Playa Mambo cabana is nice.

      Reply
  50. Good Hotel Beach

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for all the great insights and advice. A quick question regarding the Calaluna Tulum hotel, how is the beach water in front of this hotel? In comparsion to Mezzanine or La Zebra? You mentioned in the previous posts that beach in the South is very good. I checked the Calaluna hotel’s location on the map, and am not sure if it is in the same zone as Mezzanine and La Zebra. Wanted to check with you before I make final decision.

    Appreciate your help.

    Stacey

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Calaluna (formerly La Conchita) is located on a very nice beach cove. Nice sand but it’s not a long stretch of beach like at La Zebra and Mezzanine. It shares the cove with Posada del Sol and Punta Piedra. A half-dozen restaurants (Zamas and Mateos) are just out the door.

      Reply
      1. Stacey

        Hi Dave,

        Thanks so much for your quick response. What do you think about Hip Hotel Tulum? Online reviews are great, with many thumbs up for the excellent beach location. Is it in the central location where you can bike / walk to outside restaurants / bars ? I checked Calaluna again based on your advice, I think I would prefer a nice stretch of beach instead of cove.

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          Hip Hotel is very nice but I wouldn’t call it central. Everything is an easy bike ride along the beach road – it’s flat and a shady relaxing ride. Walking (especially at night as there are no sidewalks along the beach road) is a little more of a hassle. There are several places to eat walking distance from Hip but the main areas (there are 2 little mini-hubs of activity along the beach road: around Hartwood and around Zamas) are not within an easy walk.

          Reply
  51. Tulum Beach or Town with Kids

    Hi Dave. Great site. We are traveling to Tulum with our two boys, 7 and 8 years old. When you’ve traveled with your family, which have you preferred?: Staying in town and visiting beaches by taxi, or staying on the beach?

    Lailee

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are great. I just asked my son what he preferred and got a long answer about how much better it is staying at the beach. I might have a slight preference for staying in town. You come back from the beach in the afternoon and sort-of leave the beach and sand behind. Shower up, feel properly clean, and go for a nice dinner. After dinner wander around the town when it has a fun busy vibe. Staying in town you’ll almost certainly spend less money. Meals are much cheaper in town and you’ll end up eating the majority of your meals near your hotel regardless of your intentions. Small kitchens and/or a fridge are more common in town so you can save a little on breakfast at the very least. That said, the atmosphere at the beach is great too. If you have more than 6 nights I would consider splitting your time between town and beach.

      Reply
  52. Diamante K and Mezzanine

    Hi Dave! I’m interested in taking my 18 year old daughter to Tulum as her high school graduation gift and was planning to stay about 2 weeks. Early July is the time frame I’m looking at. I have some questions and you seem to be the expert!
    Weather – looks like it will be humid, but less rainfall than other months. So July is good?
    Hotels – I’m looking into staying roughly 10 nights in a moderately priced hotel near the beach, and restaurants. I saw one called Diamante K online and found a beachfront room for 140 a night with private bathroom, 2 beds. What are your thoughts on that hotel? Do you have any other moderately priced beach front recommendations?
    For another 4 nights we’d like to do a more luxurious stay – mezzanine is my number one choice. Do you have any other recommendations?
    I’ve never been to Mexico, so any tips on safety, etc for two women traveling together?
    This site is awesome – thanks so much!
    Monique

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, weather in July should be fine as long as you’re prepared for some humidity and occasional rain. Diamante K is nice hotel and close to a very good beach. But it is in a quieter section of Tulum and not walking distance to very much. I wonder if you and your daughter might be happier in a more central location where there are a good range of restaurants (and a few bars) within a short walk. Places like Posada del Sol or Punta Piedra (though there are many good choices)>. Also, Diamante K is very close to Mezzanine so even when you switch hotels you’ll pretty much have the same sights and restaurants just out your door – when you do switch hotels I’d recommend moving to a new area of Tulum so you get some different experiences.

      Reply
      1. monique

        Thanks so much for the advice! Yes, we would like to be walking distance to good bars and food, so maybe we’ll do the majority of our stay in one of the hotels you list and then move over to Diamante K or Mezzanine for the remainder of the stay. Are Posada del Sol and Punta Piedra both close to good beach locations? I found good rooms at both for around 150 a night. Are those your top recommendations for moderate hotels? Thanks again, so helpful!

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          Posada del Sol and Punta Piedra are on a little beach cove with nice sand and a friendly vibe. Several restaurants are within a 3 minute walk. It’s the area for live music at Mateos and Puro Carazon (though it never gets crazy, so no need to worry there).

          Reply
  53. Best Moderate Hotel in Tulum

    What is your favorite moderate Hotel Dave? We are looking to host our wedding in Tulum and have 40 people to bring. Any suggestions? 🙂

    Alyssa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Playa Mambo – great location on the beach. The only caveat is that the ownership has adopted an extremely “relaxed” management style. If you don’t have a lot of patience for booking, checking in, getting your breakfast, this is probably not the place for you.

      Reply
  54. Bikes and Beaches in Tulum

    Thank you for your excellent work here, Dave. I will spend a week in Tulum and am debating between staying in town or on the beach. Regardless of where I stay, if I rent a bike, where could I leave/lock it? Are there places in town and on the beach to do so? Is there a place at the ruins to leave a bike?

    Also, do you have a favourite hotel in town and on the beach (a beach hotel whose cost won’t break the bank)? What’s the best stretch of beach? That would help me to narrow my hotel search.

    David

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Locking a bike is no problem in town or at the ruins or beach. Bikes are everywhere and locked to anything and everything that won’t blow away. All rentals come with a lock. The best beach is north of Mezzanine hotel and south of La Zebra.

      Reply
  55. Ana y Jose or Villa Estrella

    Hey Dave!
    Thank you for putting this list together it has been very helpful! We are a young couple and we are trying to choose between Ana y Jose (garden suite) and Villa Las Estrella’s (Ocean view) and the prices are the same. Which do you recommend??? Thank You!!!

    George

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose has more of resort feel and service that is a little more polished and “professional”. Las Estrella is more rustic and laid back.

      Reply
  56. Rachel

    Hi,

    My boyfriend unfortunately might have to do some work during our vacation. So I’m looking for a place that has decent enough wifi to get that done, while having beach access to give me something to do if he does get sucked into some amount of work.
    We’re not AI type people. We can go more or less rustic, as long as he can get done what he needs and I have something to keep me occupied.
    It would be nice if we could be a short walk or bike ride to restaurants / town. I love the beach or snorkeling opportunities while he’s busy.
    Honestly, we feel like $450 per day is too much. So we’d love if we could find something good in the $150 – $300 / night range.
    From your experience, is there a place you recommend in these circumstances?
    Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
    Rachel

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Be Tulum and Ana y Jose have the best wifi in Tulum. But be prepared for anything. The internet can go down for a day at a time for seemingly no reason at all. Even though it’s pretty good at Ana y Jose sometimes you need to go to the restaurant to get a strong signal. Ana y Jose is about a 20/30 minute bike ride to town (and closer than Be Tulum).

      Reply
  57. Cabanas Los Lirios and Punta Piedra Beach Posada

    Hi Dave!

    I need a recommendation for a family with two adults and two small kids coming to Tulum in December.
    We would like to stay on the beach and have access to a pool.
    So far, I think Cabanas Los Lirios and Punta Piedra Beach Posada are our favourites.
    Which one would you go for? And do you recommend any other hotel?

    Also, any recommendation on a good place to get married and have the dinner & party for a smaller group of people!? 🙂

    Thanks!

    Emelie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are nice hotels with good beach locations. I’d probably lean towards Punta Piedra for it’s location (a handful of restaurants just out the door and closer to town). Swimming pools at both are small. Good for a dip but don’t be expecting the pool at a Hilton. Zamas is a good spot for a group dinner. Fun atmosphere, they have lots of room and will let you reserve a set of tables. Food is good (not outstanding but the really good places are hard to reserve and not as fitting for a little party).

      Reply
  58. Nomade or Coqui Coqui

    Hi Dave- Awesome site! SO helpful. My husband and I are between Nomade and Coqui Coqui. I was wondering if you could provide pros/cons and tips on location. Nomade seems a bit far from town. True? Thank you!
    Nadene

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Not a huge difference in distance from town (about 5 more minutes on bike to get to Nomade). Coqui Coqui has more restaurants nearby including Hartwood, one of the best in Tulum. But Nomade is the nicer newer hotel.

      Reply
  59. Coco Tulum or Nomade

    Hi Dave!

    My fiancee and I will be traveling to Tulum for our honeymoon the first week of June and are considering staying at either Coco Tulum or Nomade. We plan on biking quite a bit, so which of the two hotels is closer to town and the ruins? Also, they are about the same price so in your opinion, which is the better hotel overall and why?

    Thanks!
    Jerod Theobald

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Coco Tulum is definitely closer to town but the beach road is so flat and pleasant that I wouldn’t say it’s a big deal. Nomade is maybe 10 minutes farther from town.

      Nomade is brand new and little trendier. Coco has more restaurants that are within a short walk. Both are nice so can’t go wrong.

      Reply
  60. Music at Mezzanine Hotel

    I saw that mezzanine have parties every friday. Do they still exist as the videos that are up are from back in 2013?
    If not where would you recommend that is lively? I am interested in both live music and house/dance music.

    Katie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      They stopped the Friday night parties a few years ago. Now there is live music during happy hour on Saturday (1pm-4pm) and there’s house/techno/lounge music playing pretty much all the time from 9am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

      Reply
  61. Cash and Credit Cards in Tulum

    Hi Dave!

    Any advice on cash vs credit? Bring US? Where to convert dollars to pesos? Just general overall advice on how to handle money in Tulum.

    Thank you!

    Tom

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Nicer places will take credit cards (e.g. La Zebra) but have plenty of cash. Most places will take US$ but you’ll pay less if you pay in pesos. Not all cash machines give money in pesos (many give US$) – the machines at Scotia Bank in town do give money in pesos.

      Reply
  62. Mezzanine or Ana y Jose

    Hi Dave!

    What a fantastic website! My husband and I are planning to come in August. I’m deciding between Ana y Jose and Mezzanine. My two biggest concerns are the seaweed and the proximity to town (ideally, I’d like to be able to walk to some restaurants, if possible). Does one of these hotels do a better job at keeping the beach as free (as possible) from the seaweed? How about the walking distance to town? With these two concerns, overall, is there a better pick?

    Thanks so much for your insights!
    Kris

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There is much more within walking distance of Ana y Jose than Mezzanine. But the beach is wider and nicer at Mezzanine than at Ana y Jose. Neither are walking distance to town – Mezzanine is closer but not a huge difference.

      Reply
  63. Cabanas La Luna in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the very useful info. Are you familiar with Cabanas La Luna? Planning a trip with my wife for our 10 year anniversary for late April. We’re a little late on booking and many of the places you recommended are booked up. Definitely want the beach front for the views/breeze and access to bikes and water sports (kayaks, paddle boarding?) from/near our hotel would be great. Again, thanks for the useful site.

    Jon

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Very nice small rustic/boutique hotel with 9 units. Great location for walking to a wide range of restaurants along the beach road (a few on the beach too).

      Reply
  64. Julie

    Hey Dave!
    Looking for a suggestion on a moderately priced hotel that is close to restaurants and bars with great beach access. For people in their 20’s – 30’s

    Thanks!
    Julie

    Reply
  65. Beach at Coral Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    We are currently planning a trip to Tulum this spring and have reservations at Coral Tulum. We still have time to change them and just wanted to know your opinion on a few things about this hotel. We noticed that there are very few picture of the the beach in front of the hotel, do you have any knowledge on what it looks like? Rocky, wide, narrow, clean, clear of seaweed? In your opinion what stretch of beach is the best in Tulum?
    Also do you know how close Coral Tulum is to the beach road? Just wondering about traffic noise.

    Thanks so much,
    Louise

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Beach is pretty wide (certainly not narrow). Sandy and not rocky. Seaweed can sometimes be a problem but has been better the last several months. The hotel has loungers and umbrellas on the beach for guests. Most suites have easy access to the beach and are not near the main road (I’d be surprised if road noise was an issue). There are several restaurants within a short walk (both on the beach and on the beach road). My favorite stretch of beach is in front of Be Tulum, with the beach in front of Playa Mambo, Alaya, and La Zebra also very good.

      Reply
      1. El Pez

        Hi Dave,

        We were planning on booking at La Zebra for this July, but the fire has become an issue and I am not sure they can accommodate us. Do you also recommend El Pez? The photos I have seen online look like there is just SO much seaweed on that part of the beach. What do you think?

        Shannon

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          El Pez is a great place with a nice central location for walking to a variety of restaurants. The beach here is not great however. It gets nicer the farther you walk south. From La Zebra south to Be Tulum is my favorite stretch of beach.

          Reply
  66. Good Hotel close to Bars and Restaurants

    Dave,

    Thanks so much for the site! Very helpful as I am planning a mid- March trip to Tulum. Right now my girlfriend and I are staying 3 nights at Alaya but we do not have a hotel to stay in for the first two nights we arrive. We would prefer something similar to Alaya (on the beach, relaxing, but close enough to restaurants / bars). Do you have any recommendations? We are looking at Coco but after looking at its instagram account, it looks like they have a lot of parties during the day and night which would not be very relaxing. Is this true?

    Adam Kessler

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Since you’re already staying in the south beach area I would look in the northern section for your other 2 nights. The hotels La Posada del Sol, Piedra Escondida, and Punta Piedra are near bars and restaurants, closer to town, and have a nice quiet beach cove. I doubt if Coco has parties all the time. Probably just talking it up on their Instagram page to look cool.

      Reply
  67. Tulum Hotels in May

    HI Dave

    We are planning a trip beginning of May, and the available hotels you suggest here are:
    La Zebra
    Nomade
    Sanara
    Playa Mambo

    If you had to rank them based on location, best best and best overall how would you do this?

    I love the look of Nomade and Sanara but it seems they are further from everything, if so, how long of bike ride and is it safe?

    Thaks for help, your website is by far the most helpful out there 🙂

    best
    Lesley

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Sanara, La Zebra, and Playa Mambo are all very close to each other. Of those, I’d do Playa Mambo if you got one of the beach front cabanas. Otherwise go with La Zebra. Nomade is a bit farther down the beach road (away from town). It’s an easy bike from there to restaurants. Also walkable but could be too far for some. At night the beach road is not well lit so the walk becomes more of a hassle and I would not bike on the beach road in the dark. Taxis are easy to grab though expenses do add up.

      Reply
  68. Inexpensive Hotel with Pool and Kitchen in Town

    Hello Dave. Thanks for all the info. Will be making first trip to Tulum this month and wondering if you can suggest simple hotel downtown with pool and kitchenette (we have a child in tow). Don’t mind biking to the beach and hanging out in the pool downtown and close to all the great eateries. Thanks, Pablo

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      These hotels have good central locations in Tulum Town: LiveTulum has a nice pool and most rooms have kitchens. Hotel Posada 06 is less expensive has a small pool and no kitchens. Hotel Casa Sofia is a budget hotel but nice – very small pool and no kitchen. Las Tres Palmas is also budget – it has some nice family rooms with separate sleeping areas, small kitchens, no pool.

      Reply
  69. Hotel with Room for Family

    Hello Dave.
    We Are a family of six (four kids) planning a trip to Yucatan and Belize (maybe Tikal). Of course we need to spend some days in lovely Tulum (me and my wife stayed there at a cool place called Cabanas Don Armando 20 years ago, I doubt it’s still there…). The problem is, we would like to stay in one room and not have to divide the family in two units. Do you have any recommendations on hotels/bungalows that would suit us without breaking the bank? Should we look for a place in Tulum Pueblo instead of the beach?
    And by the way: do you have any experience with Belize?
    Brilliant page you got:-)
    Regards Torgeir Baadsvik

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, you will definitely get better value staying in Tulum town rather than at the beach. Las Tres Palmas in town has good inexpensive rooms for families. Nice location and a small kitchen. Separate bedroom for adults.

      I have not been to Belize but it’s a popular co-destination for many going to Tulum.

      Reply
  70. Rentals in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    We loved Tulum (last visit two years ago). Want to come back in June with 2 kids (6 &2) and stay for a month. Besides looking at AirBnb, do you have any good suggestions to look at rentals locally?

    Thanks
    Alex Girshin

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, try AirBnb and Flipkey. Most rentals are in town rather than at the beach. The best locations along the beach are pretty much all hotels. If you don’t find anything you could book a hotel for the first few days and then ask around in town about rentals (Ki’bok cafe has a bunch of young friendly staff that seem to know what’s going on in town). Some risk involved with this but it’s how you’ll find the best deals.

      Reply
  71. Be Tulum vs Coral Hotel

    Hi Dave. Do you have any thoughts on Be Tulum v. Coral? I am 32 and going with my mom (in her 50s) at the end of February. We are from NYC and want as nice a place as possible. While it would be nice to have some restaurants / bars in walking distance, the accommodations themselves are more important. My mom is usually more of the luxury travel type, but is happy just to have a nice beach, a clean (and air-conditioned) room and nice people working at the hotel. Both hotels look really nice and are around the same cost, with the main difference that Be only has jungle rooms available, while Coral has both oceanview and oceanfront rooms free. Thanks!

    Ariel

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are great hotels without a large difference in quality … but I would not recommend a jungle room (at any hotel). They get a lot more mosquitoes. The breeze from the beach is effective at keeping most of the mosquitoes away but when you’re on the jungle side of the road there is a lot less breeze. The beach at Be Tulum, however, is nicer than at Coral.

      Reply
      1. Ariel

        Thanks! I was under the impression that the jungle rooms at Be were really garden rooms and were still on the beach side of the road. Though I’m sure being on the beach is nicer in any event. In what way is the beach nicer? Bigger? Cleaner? Less crowds? In a significant way? Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          You are right. I was mistaken. The Jungle rooms are on the beach side of the road just back a bit. The beach at Be is nicer, cleaner, and wider. The hotel does a good job of cleaning it when there’s seaweed around.

          Reply
  72. Is Tulum Safe for Americans?

    Hi Dave, thanks for what you do to help people out! We are heading there tomorrow with our 4 year old (staying at Zebra and then on to Hard Rock) and my parents are worried about recent travel warnings to Mexico for Americans, but I looked up their info and Maya Riviera is low risk. I was just thinking maybe we need to stay close to the hotel while we are there and not venture out so much…thoughts?

    Melissa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      In my years of traveling the world I’ve found that grandparents are the single worst source of travel safety information. If there’s a safer place than Tulum I don’t know what it is. (Like anywhere the biggest risk you’ll face is travel by car. Look for taxis that have working seat belts – which is not always a certainty.)

      Reply
  73. Ahau with Kids

    Hey Dave!

    Awesome site.

    I’m having a bit of buyer’s regret right now and wondering if you think I’m overthinking things…

    My wife and Stayed at Be Tulum two years ago and had a great time and thought Tulum would be a great place for a family vacation. So, several months back, I booked a vacation for us (my wife and four kids–two teenage boys, 11 year old daughter and 6 year old daughter) at Ahau Tulum.

    I chose Ahau because we needed two rooms and their “stacked” configuration meant we could stay close to our teenagers who will have their own room (for the life of me, I couldn’t find another place that had larger rooms or suites to accommodate 6 people). Plus, it has a kitesurfing school on the beach which I know our kids will love and it just seemed really nice based on what I read.

    Anyway, now I’ve got a bit of buyer’s remorse for two reasons:

    1) Some of the reviews I’ve read on sites like Trip Advisor say that this isn’t a place for kids. Our kids are well behaved…but I am not looking to stick out like a sore thumb or be self conscious about ruining somebody else’s romantic getaway. Do you think Ahau is ok for a family or would you advise we look elsewhere? We’re going in late March so I think pickings will be slim if we choose to rebook someplace else.

    2) Should we be concerned about all of this Zika Virus news? Nobody is pregnant or planning to become pregnant in our party…that’s not really the issue…it’s more that I’m now concerned that day trips to the biosphere or cenotes will be ill-advised given the greater likelihood of getting bitten there.

    Anyway, would love your take on these two things. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time but I’ve now got some doubts creeping into my head.

    Best,

    Matt

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1) Ahau is great for families. I think it’s admirable that you’re empathetic of other travelers but this ultimately isn’t your call. The hotel has decided to allow kids. People that don’t want to be around kids should book at a hotel that doesn’t allow kids. If someone thinks this market is underserved they should start an adults-only hotel. To me, it’s that simple. Go. Have fun.

      2) I’m not an expert but pretty sure Zika Virus is only a concern for pregnant women (and not others). So, trips to the biosphere would be ill-advised for women that could possibly be pregnant (even if that chance is small) but not for anyone else. Good FAQ here.

      Reply
  74. Where to Stay in Tulum

    Hello Dave,

    Your replies are great, thank you!

    We are two friends going to Tulum interested in yoga, nutrition and exercising, eg early morning walks, bicycling. We are leaving the kids in London with their fathers. Have read that a beach front room is a must, eg the more expensive rooms as if you are on the jungle side there is noise from the road and mosquitos. Living in London, like NY and LA we are used to good food.

    Our dates: 30 Mach to 7 April, school break which means that prices are inflated.

    We were actually thinking of Nomade’s tent accommodation but after seeing the pic you posted and the info we don’t think these tents are great… Or? And if they are still building it might be noisy.

    What do you think about Aqua Viva in Tulum village? It looks really nice but 8km from the beach. My friend in NY says we need to be on the beach. Aqua Viva has given us a good rate. Is my friend right? Should we not stay in the village and pay more to stay at the beach?

    What do you think of Casa Violeta and Luv Tulum (think Luv Tulum is the most expensive out of these four)?

    Sorry for bothering you, but we are a bit lost and really want our 8 nights in Tulum to be perfect. You seem to know Tulum very well!

    Many thanks 🙂

    Isabel

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Staying in town is fun, so yeah, I wouldn’t shy away from Aqua Viva. I’d recommend staying 3 nights in town and 5 nights at the beach – either Casa Violeta or Luv Tulum. They’re right beside each other and the beach is great here. Good restaurants are within a short walk. Luv Tulum is the nicer of the two but no huge difference.

      Reply
  75. Coco Tulum or Nomade

    Hi Dave
    Awesome site! Which one do you think is better:
    Coco Tulum or Nomade? Me and my fiance are looking for lots of relaxation and some fun. Which is closer to Hartwood, Gitano etc?
    Thankssssss
    Christina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Nomade is more chic, trendy, and new. They are almost exactly equal distance to the Hartwood/Gitano strip but in opposite directions. Coco has far more nearby it than Nomade which is a little isolated (or pleasantly secluded, depending on your outlook).

      Reply
  76. Nomade Hotel Tent Suite

    Hi Dave,

    This page is a mine of information – thank you so much! My wife and I are heading to Tulum for 4 nights in early March – it’s our first trip to Mexico. I’m considering staying at Nomade but the only rooms I can find are listed as Habitas Tent Suite but I can’t see these online and I’m also a bit concerned about whether we’ll be staying at a building site. I’d also welcome any comments on it’s location in terms of the beach, proximity to restaurants and ease of getting around as we won’t have a hire car.

    Any perspectives much appreciated.

    Richard

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The tent suites are on the jungle side of the road (not the beach side). The tents are on a raised platform, have 2 double beds or 1 king bed, and have access to hot showers just back from the tents.

      Here’s a pic:
      Tent Rooms at Nomade Hotel in Tulum

      Reply
  77. Ahau or Nomade

    Hi Dave. Do you have any insight about Ahua and Nomade? My wife and I are torn between the two? We do see that Nomade is pretty new.

    Robert

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ahau is more luxurious and comfortable. Nomade is more trendy and boutique. Ahau has more restaurants nearby. Nomade is in a quieter section of beach (and is farther from town).

      Reply
  78. Mezzanine Hotel

    Love all the great info and insight!
    My husband and I will be staying at Mezzanine for 7 days. I have read that Mezzanine is not close to town. What are the best way to go to town? What is there to do and see close to the hotel?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Mezzanine is not walking distance from town but it is an easy bike ride. It’s actually closer to town than most of the Tulum beach hotels. It’s also a short bike ride from the Tulum Ruins which are worth a visit. There are also some lovely beach coves within walking distance of the hotel – just ask at the front desk for directions.

      Reply
  79. Ana Y Jose to Tulum Town

    Hi Dave – My wife and I are headed your way the 2nd weekend in April. Ana y Jose Hotel seems to be your top pick hotel and looks fine for us, but we would like to walk/bike to town, is that do-able from Ana y Jose Hotel? – Thanks, Brad & Ann

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose is in the middle of the pack for distance from Tulum, so yes, it’s a comfortable bike ride from town. Say, 20 to 40 minutes depending on your pace.

      Reply
  80. Best Booking Websites for Tulum

    Wonderful and informative site, Dave – thank you!

    You state you recommend booking hotel rooms on booking.com. Beyond that website and the actual site of the hotel do you have any other websites you recommend as reliable for booking our stay?

    Also, My husband and I (early 30s) are deciding between The Beach and Nomade. We are excited to relax, enjoy great food and drinks for 4 nights and do one outing to see the cenotes. Any thoughts between the two hotels?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Booking.com is my favorite in many ways (I love the calendar that it sets up after you make reservations) … but … Hotelscombined.com is so good at finding the best rates. It searches dozens of different websites looking for the best deal and it usually finds the best prices. So, for convenience: Booking.com. For the best hotel rates: Hotelscombined. As for going to the website of the hotel, good luck. Hotel websites often leave a lot to be desired but for Tulum hotels they are just awful.

      Both The Beach and Nomade are very nice. The Beach is more central and walking distance from more restaurants. Nomade is brand new. Has a boutique hippy feel. And the beach is wonderful.

      Reply
  81. Sanara Hotel in Tulum

    Dave,
    I’m planning on Tulum toward end of May. I understand I may come across some rain and humidity. I’ll deal with it. I’m looking for a luxury wellness “hotel” and wanted you opinion on Sanara or if you have other suggestions. I’ve already booked Mezzanine for the “fun party” portion of the holiday so definitely looking forward to that ! Thanks in advance for your help and input!

    Best,
    Jolie

    Reply
  82. Hemingway, Hip, or Amansala

    Hi Dave,

    What are your thoughts on Hemingway Romantic Eco Resort? And Hip Hotel? And Amansala? Out of the three which one would you go for?

    Many thanks in advance !

    Mal

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      All are about the same level of quality – with perhaps Amansala the nicest. Hemingway and Amansala are right beside each other and are more central than Hip (and much closer to town). Amansala is very focused on yoga and if you’re not in that scene it can be a bit of a turn off.

      Reply
  83. Nightlife in Tulum

    Dave,

    Looking to possibly stay in Tulum for a bachelor party. Any recommendations on a hotel near or with night life? Also, aside from Gitano is there any other night life in Tulum?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Tulum is not the place for a bachelor party. For both your sake and the people who love Tulum, I recommend finding someplace else. Good luck.

      Reply
  84. Inexpensive Beachfront Hotel

    Hello Dave,

    I came across your blog while researching hotels in Tulum and I love it 🙂 My boyfriend and I are looking for a hotel by the beach that is almost like the more budget version of Be Tulum. That is when I came across Nomad Tulum and there are no reviews about the hotel. I read some comments in your blog but still I am not sure…

    Would you recommend it now that is had been open for a while? Or is there a better option for us? Our budget is around 300 USD a night for the first week of May which should be a bit cheaper…

    Would love to hear from you!

    Thanks,
    Yasemin

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I love Playa Mambo. It has 3 beachfront cabanas which should meet your budget – and a few cheaper places back behind those. It has new owners (whom are great) and friendly staff.

      Reply
  85. Casa Sol Y Luna Tulum

    Hi, Dave,

    We are longtime Tulum lovers. This year we’re staying at Casa Sol Y Luna near the Sian Ka’an boundary”the quiet end of the beach.” Have heard there is a new guest house next door that blasts music through outdoor speakers until 3am. Yikes! Say it ain’t so. Have you heard anything like this? Thanks so much for being the guy with his finger on Tulum’s pulse!!
    Bonita Kolb

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I have not heard anything about this. There are some private/semi-private houses down at the end of the beach there so maybe it’s one of those. Can’t see it being one of the hotels as they’re all pretty low key.

      Reply
  86. Ana Y Jose or The Beach Tulum

    Dave,
    Great info! I read that you think Ana y Jose is the best hotel in Tulum. I am considering that hotel and also The Beach Tulum. I am curious as to why you prefer Ana y Jose. They are very similar price points with similar amenities, so I am having a hard time deciding. Both look great. The Beach Tulum has large private outdoor spaces, which does look appealing.
    Are the beaches outside these hotels typically swimmable in late March?
    Jill

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are very nice and water will be swimmable in March. The beach space in front of each hotel is really similar as far as width – both have great sand.

      Reply
  87. Luxury and Moderate Hotel beside Each Other

    Amazing site Dave!

    My fiance and I are getting married in Cancun in June and want to spend a couple days after in Tulum (kinda our honeymoon but not really). Some friends from the wedding will join us but they want something moderately priced. We would like something nicer. Is there a combinations of a luxury hotel next door to a moderately priced one that you would recommend. Beach side for sure.

    Michael Robleto

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I’d look at Alaya (very nice) and Playa Mambo (the cabanas back from the beach are pretty cheap for Tulum). The two hotels are about 100 fee from each other. Great beach at both.

      Reply
  88. Book Hotels Ahead or Wing It

    Hi Dave,

    We are going to Tulum in the first week of march (very excited!!) and have already booked out flights but not a hotel. Our preference would be to stay in a cabana on the beach or across the street on the beach road (staying in the town would be our last option). We are both 22 and on a budget so we would like to spend less than $70/night for accommodation but it seems there is nothing in that price range on the beach for online bookings. I have heard that if you just walk around once you get there you can possibly get a cheaper deal for a room but I am not sure how busy it is during the first week of march. What is your opinion (keeping our budget in mind) on whether or not to book a hotel/cabana/room for 2 ahead of time or just walk along the beach road once we arrive?

    Any other suggestions for non-luxury accommodation on the beach?

    Also your site is great. Definitely going to check out a lot of those restaurants!

    thanks,
    Alex

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      For anything on the beach you would want to book (far) ahead. But in town you could probably get away with showing up and walking from hotel to hotel. There aren’t a lot of hotels in town – which can be both good (not that many to check) and bad (if it’s busy, they’ll be full).

      Reply
  89. Best Luxury Hotel with Great Beach and Quiet

    Hi Dave,

    This site is great, most useful site on Tulum. What’s your recommendation on the best luxury hotel, that’s quiet, with good beach? I’m looking for a relaxing getaway, to enjoy good food and drinks, so I don’t want there to be a DJ/party going on in my hotel where I can’t relax. But I still want to be able to bike to town and/or walk to nearby hotels for lunch/dinner and drinks.

    Thank you!
    Viki

    Reply
  90. Kira’s Beach House and Tunich Jungle Cabanas

    Hey Dave,

    Thank you so much for all of this information. It’s been so helpful! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip for March, and we’re a little late to booking our hotel. Where would you suggest we stay between Kira’s Beach House and Tunich Jungle Cabanas? We mostly just want to relax and eat the delicious food!

    Thank you,

    Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Tunich has a good restaurant attached to the hotel (Kira’s does not have a restaurant) but otherwise Kira’s is superior in every way. Tunich is not on the beach but across the road. Kira’s is on a great stretch of beach. Some of the rooms at Kira’s have kitchens which is nice.

      Reply
      1. lauren

        Thanks for the information, Dave. We actually ended up moving our trip to the next week and just booked a room at Posada Punta Piedra!

        Reply
  91. Playa Selva Hotel in Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    Love your site! Going to Tulum for the first time, and we’re looking at staying at a bungalow at Playa Selva — any thoughts? From your advice, I don’t think we’re going to rent a car, but my one concern is having easy access to all these great food spots (especially the tacos and other local foods)! Thanks so much — your site is a real help!

    Jenn

    Reply
    1. DaveDave Post author

      Playa Selva has a very good location on the beach road. Walking distance to Hartwood restaurant and other good places to eat. It’s easy to get a taxi from there to downtown for the best local food (the ride takes about 12 minutes). Playa Selva is on the rustic end of the scale of hotels but still definitely nice. The houses have their own kitchens, the bungalows have access to a shared kitchen.

      Reply
  92. Should We Rent a Car in Tulum

    Dave, Do you recommend renting a car? A friend recommended this to us while in Tulum.
    Ann

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I recommend against renting a car unless you have a very active itinerary with lots of driving and day trips. But for just getting around the Tulum area and maybe a few cenotes then taxis are cheap and easy to find. Biking is great too.

      Reply
  93. Zebra or El Pez Hotel

    Hi Dave – we are thinking about traveling to tulum in March of this year. Do you prefer the Zebra hotel or El Pez? I noticed neither were on your top 12 hotel list. Why is that? We have a four year old, so want a place that is family friendly, with a good, clean beach, with good food and close to other restaurants. I prefer a luxury hotel, so the nicer the better. Also, I see you recommend Ana y Jose, but I keep reading bad reviews. Any ideas on that? So, not only would I love your preference on the zebra vs el pez, I’d also like to know your most recommended luxury hotels that are good for young kids. Thanks!
    Emily

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are very nice hotels but not quite luxury. Be prepared for some rough edges. The beach at La Zebra is better by typical standards. But the beach at El Pez (while not great for swimming) is fun to explore with kids – and good swimming is a short walk along the beach to the south. Both have many restaurants nearby, El Pez probably more within a short distance. Ana Y Jose will be more luxurious. I think service there has slipped a little over the years but the property is still beautiful.

      Reply
  94. Moderate Cabana on the Tulum Beach

    Hi! I’d love some hotel advice. We are planning a trip to Tulum for next December. I’d love to find a place where we can stay in a little cabana right on the beach. We’re not looking for the most luxurious place, but also don’t want anything too rustic. Can you offer any suggestions? There are so many options it’s hard to pick without recommendations. Thank you!

    Claire McKenna

    Reply
  95. Nomade Hotel Distance to Town

    Great site Dave! I will be staying at Nomade mid April. It’s location is not listed on google maps so I was wondering it’s proximity to town? Is it close enough to bike? How would you suggest getting around to cenotes and other attractions? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It’s at the far south end of the Tulum beach but it’s still a comfortable ride for most people (say, about 30 minutes). I would taxi to the cenotes.

      Reply
  96. El Pez or Mi Amor

    Hey dave! love the site, most helpful tulum spot on the whole internet.

    We are doing a last minute trip for feb 14-15 weekend & quite a lot of things are booked up.

    Both El Pez & Mi Amor have availability. The reviews are good, but wanted to get your take. What do you think?

    Luther

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Mi Amor is the nicer hotel. El Pez has a better location for restaurants, bars, and live music. Mi Amor is more hip and chic. El Pez more like a beach cabin (but still very nice). Mi Amor is a little closer to town but it’s not a big difference – it’s too far to walk but an easy bike ride from both. Neither have a great beach (actually, Mi Amor doesn’t have any beach) but there’s good sand nearby. From Mi Amor you walk 5 minutes to it’s sister hotel Mezzanine. From El Pez walk south and the beach opens up.

      Reply
  97. Maison Tulum

    Hey Dave.. love the name.. and the site… Any thoughts on Maison Tulum? It looks very funky and fun. How is the location?
    Dave Smith

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Friendly little place in downtown Tulum. A 5 minute walk from lots of great restaurants and tacos. Bus station is close too.

      Reply
  98. Airport Taxi and Good Hotel with Nice Beach

    Hi Dave – do you have any recommendations for a reliable and decent airport taxi service? We are staying for 5 nights at El Pez and then would like our final 6 nights somewhere that has a nicer beach and one which is livelier for the final leg of our stay. Any suggestions would be good – don’t really want to spend more than £200 per night… Thanks!
    Jane Heard

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      When I book a taxi in advance I use Paradise Transfers – large vans with lots of room, good rates, and they meet you at the airport. El Pez has a pretty great location for checking out different areas of the Tulum beach. There are several places with good food and/or live music within a short walk (so not sure you’re going to get much better than that). But if I did move it would be somewhere south and close to Hartwood and Gitano. The beach is nicer here. Ahau Tulum is probably the best hotel in that area. My Tulum Cabanas is a less expensive option but it closes January 15th for an upgrade.

      Reply
  99. Hip Hotel or Suenos

    Hi Dave!

    We are a family of 4 looking to stay at Hip Hotel. I noticed its a sister property of Ana y Jose. We were also looking at Suenos. Any thoughts?

    Thank you.
    Tom

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      They are located almost directly beside each other at the farther end of the hotel strip – so it’s a little longer to ride into town – but there are still a few restaurants within walking distance. Suenos is slightly more upscale and has a pool. Hip Hotel is more rustic but I do like their restaurant layout a little better – the way it sits on the beach.

      Reply
  100. Best Hotel for Family with 2 Kids

    Dave, planning a trip to Tulum and your site has been immensely helpful – now I need to beg for some specific, straight-forward advice! Our flights are booked (4 of us – me, wife, son, age 9, daughter, age 12). We are going March 20 – March 26, 2016. We may risk no AC (if hotter than usual, could be a nightmare for some of us), but may be better off with AC and more than purely rustic comfort. Looking for decent size room/villa (more spacious), with character, as close to ocean on beach as possible in “best section(s)” of beach (pristine sand, water, and waves/rough surf is welcome). Do not want to be totally isolated, meaning we would like to have at least some restaurants/bars/life in walking distance. We like physical adventures and biking. Assume that price is irrelevant. These are our finalists based on what may be available or what we have reserved on a refundable basis:
    1. Punta Piedra Beach Posada (need to risk no AC) – Royal Double Room Oceanfront
    2. La Zebra – Beach Front Ground Level Suite
    3. Alma (just opened, it seems) – Suite Arena Beachfront
    4. PavoReal – Interconnected Standard and Superior Rooms
    5. Cabanas Los Lirios – Oceanview Suite
    6. Villa Pescadores

    Any guidance would be very appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Marc Stone

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      All good choices but I would go with Punta Piedra or La Zebra. Punta Piedra is on a little cove of beach that is great (but you’re not taking walks along the beach from here as it’s not part of the long stretch of beach to the south). There are 4 or 5 good restaurants (though none of my absolute favorites) within a short walk of the hotel – 3 of these places have live music on rotating nights throughout the week. La Zebra is on the main stretch of beach and has several great restaurants nearby (though not just out the door like Punta Piedra) and these include some very good ones. The restaurant at La Zebra is also very good (especially the soups) and has a nice wide berth on the beach which is great for families that want to sit around and eat and drink all day. There’s a small play structure for kids at La Zebra. From Punta Piedra it’s a much shorter bike ride into Tulum Town (for some cheap outstanding food) and it’s bike path almost all the way, which is nice. It’s an additional 15 or 20 minute bike ride (along the beach road) into town from La Zebra.

      Reply
  101. Cabanas Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    I am planning my first trip to Tulum and am looking at staying at the Cabanas Tulum. Any thoughts or input on that place?

    Thanks,
    Stacey

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Cabanas Tulum is very nice. Great beach. Easy walk or bike to several good restaurants. Free breakfast at Ziggy’s (which is right next door). There’s a small pool but you probably won’t use it much.

      Reply
  102. Tulum Hotels for January

    Love this blog! Thanks for all the great insight. I’m traveling to Tulum at the end of January with my boyfriend (we are in our late 20s) and I’m having trouble picking a hotel … I’m surprised that most still have availability but some only have their most expensive rooms available … Are some of the hotels worth it? How would you rank the ones below? Important for us is a pretty pretty beach, cool atmosphere and a bit of luxury (this will be our first vacation in a while!) … How much should I be considering the hotels proximity to town? We’re city people so we’re used to walking or riding bikes. And if not taxis are a good option? And lastly are there any other great hotels I should look into? Thanks so much!

    Mezzanine Hotel – only their master suites are available
    Ahau – only their most expensive rooms are available
    Alaya – range of availability
    Coqui Coqui – only their most expensive room is available
    The Beach Tulum – waiting to hear back
    La Zebra – range of availability
    Jashita – range of availability but is this far out of town?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Of those I like Ahau and Alaya the best. I like the beach at Alaya a little better but it’s more suited to people with a yoga interest. Bike is the best way to get into town through the day. Taxis are better at night when it’s dark (the beach road is not well lit).

      Reply
  103. Viento De Mar in Tulum

    What are your thoughts on the Viento De Mar as a place to stay for myself and husband? Seems that the northern end of the beach is convenient to town and maybe more things within walking/biking distance. Thanks for your input!
    Susan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There is not a lot immediately around Viento De Mar, but yes, you’re right – the northern section of the beach road has more restaurants and there’s good stuff within a 5 minute bike ride north and south from Viento.

      Reply
  104. Tulum Hotel for Kids

    Hi Dave!
    Thanks for your site! So helpful! We are a family of 5 with kids ages 12, 10, and 8. We want a swim able beach at our hotel and the ability to bike for food and activity. We’re looking at Alma, Villa Pescadores, Villa Alquimia, Om, Retiro Maya Tulum (they have a very large room but it’s in the jungle and we prefer beach front) and El Pez. What’s your top 3 from this list? We’re coming in March. Thanks! Lisa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Top choices would be Om, Retiro, and El Pez – though it’s far from clear cut. Villa Pescadores is nice but the location is not great for restaurants (though it is walking distance from the ruins). El Pez has a nice location in between the south beach restaurants (e.g Tacolum) and the north beach restaurants (e.g. Zamas).

      Reply
  105. Beach at Posada Punta Piedra Hotel

    Hello Dave –

    The site is great and appreciate all the helpful information. My wife and I just booked at the Hotel Posada Punta Piedra in mid March. How is the beach and your experience/knowledge with seaweed on the beach? Thanks again for all the information and we’re looking forward to the cenotes, Rivera Kitchen, ruins, and relaxing on the beach.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The beach there is in a little cove with a rocky outcrop at each end. The sand is great. I looked in there a few weeks ago and the seaweed was not a problem at all. That’s no guarantee for the future, of course, but the seaweed problem has been improving so I’d feel semi-confident about your hopes for March.

      Reply
  106. Be Tulum or Nomade?

    Hey Dave,

    Great site! My girlfriend and I have had our eye on Be Tulum for some time but now see that their sister hotel Nomade is open and much cheaper. Any thoughts? We’re going in late March.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Often new hotels have great rates and are good value for what you pay. So, I’d probably role the dice and try Nomade.

      Reply
  107. Hotels Fully Booked

    Hi Dave
    Please help…….wanted to stay at Be Tulum but full on the dates we wanted to stay.
    The choice is between Nomade or Coral.
    Which would you recommend?
    We will have a car but would prefer to walk to restaurants etc.
    Looking for great service, quiet location, and comfort!
    Many thanks
    Judy

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Hotels book very early for Tulum – it gets more popular every year and you need to book as early as possible. Nomade is new (just opened) so can’t say much about it other than it looks nice and is located at the far southern end of the beach road without a whole lot nearby. Coral has much more within a short walk including Posada Margherita (the best Italian restaurant in Tulum).

      Reply
  108. Taxis near Rosa Del Viento

    Great site, thanks Dave. I’m leaning towards Rosa del Viento. Are taxis readily accessible around the area if I don’t feel like riding a bike?
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      They don’t always go down that far but there is often a line of them in front of Be Tulum which is a short walk from Rosa. You should be fine – just keep walking north until you see one.

      Reply
  109. Mezzanine or The Beach

    Hello Dave,
    Thank you so much for this helpful information and website – it’s great.

    My husband and I are planning a delayed honeymoon in Mid-May, 2016. We have been scoping out private, quiet, romantic hotels with sea views in the $300-350/night price range, and are really torn between The Beach – Tulum and Mezzanine. Do you have a preference for either? What we really enjoy about The Beach is the view of the ocean offered from all of their rooms, and its proximity (presumably walking distance) to other restaurant and activities in the hotel corridor. However, Mezzanine has a slightly more luxe feel and the privacy of the beach is appealing. Again, do you have any suggestions? We’re completely torn! Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Mezzanine has more privacy but can feel secluded as there aren’t many restaurants in the area (though getting into town is nice bike ride). The Beach has much more within walking distance. That’s the biggest difference.

      Reply
  110. Casa Violeta, Coqui Coqui, or Amansala

    Hi Dave,
    I’m looking to go to Tulum at the end of April and was considering Casa Violeta, Coqui Coqui (if it’s even available, they haven’t responded to me and i read bad reviews about service), and Amansala. It would be my husband and I with our 1 year old son. Ideally it would be great to be walking distance to restaurants, etc and town, but in a nice hotel that is quiet (doesn’t have to be too quiet, just not a party hotel) and a nice stretch of beach to play in. Any recommendations would be welcome!! Thank you!!
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Of those, I would go with Amansala. Nice restaurant/deck on the beach that is idyllic. There are good restaurants right across the street and just down the road is Posada Margherita (the best Italian restaurant in Tulum and lots of fun). None of these hotels (or any beach hotels, really) are walking distance to town so for that you’ll need to taxi or bike.

      Reply
      1. Hotel Nomade or Ana y Jose?

        Hi Dave,
        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. After reading more reviews, I’m worried Amansala will be full of too many groups and people on yoga retreats. What do you think about Hotel Nomade vs. Ana y Jose? It is a pretty big price difference ($350 vs $550). Or do you have an alternate recommendation?

        1. Is it worth being on the beach? or is it always full of seaweed?
        2. We don’t want a party hotel, since we are a couple with a 1-yo.
        3. Will probably do day trips to tulum ruins, cenotes and maybe chichen itza.
        4. Would like to be walking dist (or short 5-10min taxi) to some good restaurants.

        Thanks again!! I am overwhelmed with so many good options.
        Lisa

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          Ana y Jose is great. Good location with several restaurants within walking distance. Hotel Nomade is a new hotel down by Be Tulum and close to the biosphere (and has far less nearby) and farther from town and the hot spots along the beach. It’s great to be on the beach and the seaweed problem has improved a lot in the last few months (though there are still bad spots that can come and go).

          Reply
        2. Tulum Hotels for Kids

          I can tell anyone reading this that I have brought my baby and then young child to Ana Y Jose many times with great success. They have great service and luxury accommodations that are helpful with small children. A small pool for example – which is really helpful with a child, especially if the sea happens to be rough. Small mini fridges, excellent restaurant options, and AC should it get muggy when there. I’ve stayed in many different places as well – Maya Tulum, Amansala (which I do not advise with small children – it’s often full of traveling yoga groups who can’t get into kids … and would rather enjoy their breakfast in total silence … as a ‘thing’…which would be fine if they had the whole place to themselves but when it’s you and a small group of them – it can be annoying). I also recommend Maya Tulum if you have kids … any age really – but especially if they are responsible preteens – you can feel confident leaving them on the beach or in your room, or they can go to the restaurant and get themselves food or smoothies on your tab – while you get a massage or take a yoga class … it’s quite safe and well staffed.

          Wendy

          Reply
  111. Alma Tulum?

    So glad I found your site! I’m looking for a hotel for 2 adults and 1 kid (11) in March 2016 and Alma Tulum has shown up in a few searches. I see that they are just opening this month and photos look promising. Do you have a sense of the place? Is the area still under construction? Any other recommendations?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Alma Hotel opens on December 22. I think they’re still doing some final things but should be all done by March for sure. It’s pretty far south on the beach (between Hip Hotel and Suenos) but still walking distance to a few restaurants and an easy bike ride to the whole beach strip (and town).

      Reply
  112. Fully Booked between Christmas and New Years

    Hi Dave, I just received some money from my school to travel and see the cenotes, but the time I can do it is between Christmas and New Years and there doesn’t seem to be any hostels available. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Amy

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Not really. Have a look at staying in Vallodilid – great town with lots of cenotes within a short bike ride – but it’s inland and no beach.

      Reply
  113. Palms Tulum or Cabanas Los Lirios

    Hey Dave, great information here. I’m booking last minute, it’s Sunday and I will be leaving Tuesday. My choices have come down to Palms Tulum in town or Cabanas Los Lirios to the south. Any ideas for me? Town is good because I could bike to most places, the beach is always good. Going solo…
    Thank you, Rob.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are nice places. Palms has a central location that’s an easy walk to grocery store and lots of restaurants (many of them cheap and delicious). They also have a small pool, kitchenettes in all rooms, and free bikes that you can use to ride to the beach (20 to 30 minutes). Los Lirios has a great beach and small pool (which is rare for the beach hotels). As you say, it really comes down to beach vs town.

      Reply
  114. La Posada del Sol in Tulum / Yoga in Tulum

    Hello! I am coming with a friend to visit Tulum in mid January. We are in our late 20s, and we would like something hopefully under $200. We want an area centrally located as we plan on visiting ruins, cenotes, and doing lots of yoga. We also love good, authentic food and drinking! Have you heard anything about La Posada del Sol? If not, I think we are leaning towards Kin Ha.

    We also plan on renting a car. Is that a good idea? Any yoga spots you recommend?

    Nicole Campbell

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      This is the beach at La Posada del Sol:

      (drag the image to left and right to see the whole beach)

      It’s the one to the left with the hammock on the top floor. You can see it has a very narrow purchase on the beach front (that’s hotel Posada Punta Piedra to the right – which has a larger presence on the beach). It’s on a beautiful cove not on a long stretch of beach like Kin Ha. If you book on Booking.com (recommended) the “Jungle View” rooms are across the street (not on the beach). There are several good restaurants within steps of the La Posada. With La Posada you are closer to town. With Kin Ha you’re on the main stretch of beach. It’s hard to say which one is “more central”. I get around Tulum by bike and taxi – easier and cheaper than renting a car for most people.

      The best Yoga in Tulum is probably at Yoga Shala (schedule here).

      The best hotel with yoga is Amansala.

      Reply
      1. Last Minute Hotel for Tulum

        Hi Dave – Great site!

        Help! We are completely last minute – a family with three kids, 21, 19, 15 – trying to find a place December 27 to January 2. Hotel PavoReal seems to have the only rooms, and they seem iffy – some reviews great, some terrible. Do you have any advice – do you know that hotel? Yes, it’s crazy that it’s so late, but we thought worth a try.

        All best, Christina

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          It is a fine hotel (good but not great, nice pool, great beach) but it’s not on the main Tulum beach area or in town, so it’s fairly isolated and nothing much within walking distance. There is a good cenote nearby (Casa Cenote) which is great for swimming. To get into town you need to walk out to the main highway to get the bus or take a taxi which is about $20 one-way. The large family-rooms and the pool (rare for Tulum) do make it good for families.

          Reply
  115. Hotels Fully Booked / Azulik or Kore Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    We didn’t realize how tough it is to find a hotel during the holidays…wish I discovered your site earlier! The options we have left are Kore Tulum Retreat & Spa Resort or Azulik. Any suggestions? They only have a few rooms left so trying to book.

    Thank you in advance for any advice!

    Heidi

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I would go with Azulik as I like the location better (though there has been construction in that area lately – it might be completed by the time you visit). Kore Tulum has a very nice pool but no beach (there is one a 5 minute walk towards the ruins). Both hotels are across from the bike path which makes it easy to get into town. Azulik has several restaurants (and live music) nearby. Kore Tulum very little. All that said, Azulik has a very rustic feel that does not appeal to all.

      Reply
      1. Heidi

        Thank you, Dave. As we went with your suggestion to stay at Azukil, you mentioned there are several restaurants nearby. Any in particular that you recommend? Thank you!

        Next time, we will book far in advance!

        Warmly,
        Heidi

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          There are 3 good restaurants as you walk away from Town. The best is Puro Corazon, which has live music on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Mateo’s is a bit more pub grub food but still good and live music Monday and Friday. Zamas is also good. The service staff is very friendly but almost totally incompetent.

          Reply
  116. Good Restaurants near Kin Ha Hotel in Tulum

    Awesome site, very informative and fun! We’re lucky enough to plan a last minute trip to Tulum, able to book an ocean view room at Hotel Kin Ha Playa…and very relived to see it listed above! Favorite restaurants within walking distance? Have a pretty good idea about your favorites in town, will try several 🙂

    Thanks!
    Fred

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Kin Ha is right beside Posada Margherita which is one of the funnest funkiest places on the beach road. Great Italian food and good wine list. Very interesting decor. About a 5 minute walk along the road (towards town) is El Tabano – excellent mix of Mexican and seafood dishes. In the same area, but on the beach, Amansala Grande has a nice beach restaurant.

      Reply
      1. Fred

        Hey Dave!

        Thanks for the restaurant recommendations and the prompt reply! We’re VERY looking forward to this coming February, literally just booked the trip. First time we visited Tulum (from Akumal) we only stayed one night and just had to come back. Not a whole lot of choices that matched our preferences on short notice but Kin Ha Playa really seems almost perfect…we’re all about the beach and local flavor, do not need the all-inclusive ‘stuff’. Did we make a pretty good choice??? 🙂

        Thanks again-
        Fred

        Reply
  117. CoCo Tulum Hotel

    I am coming in late February and considering staying at CoCo Tulum. What do you think of that hotel?

    Will

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The big thing to know with CoCo Tulum is that most rooms have shared bathroom and showers – they’re clean but not a lot of privacy. The hotel has a very good pizzeria (Juanita Diavola) out on the main road and there are bikes for rent too. This is more towards the north of the beach road and thus easier to bike into Tulum Town for good local food.

      Reply
  118. Tulum Cenotes, Ruins, and Taxis

    Hi Dave!
    Glad I found your site. I am planning on traveling to Azulik in Tulum Dec 03-07 and just realized there are thundestorms the 5-7th. Can I still go in the cenotes? Would those be closed off, or is it dangerous? Is it dangerous to visit the ruins? Any information would help. We will also need to get to Cancun airport Monday morning. How easy is it to get on shuttle or taxi? I read above it is around $100 each way. Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The open cenotes like Zacil Ha will probably close during a thunderstorm. The covered cave-like cenoteos like Dos Ojos will not close. The ruins will remain open but if there is lightning and rain I’m sure you’ll want to run for cover. Taxis are not hard to find at the airport though lately I recommend booking in advance. It will cost $120 from Cancun to Tulum with Paradise Transfers. I just used them again last week and they’re good.

      Reply
  119. Azura Hotel in Tulum

    My wife and I are traveling to Tulum in two weeks! We are looking to book at the Azura Hotel. What do you think about that place? Or should we really look for a location along the beach? Also we will be renting a car from Cancun and driving to Tulum, do you see anything wrong with that?

    Matthew Williams

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Good location and nice hotel if you want to be in town. The main strip with restaurants and shops is a 3 minute walk away. The beach is a 10 minute taxi ride or 20/30 minute bike ride.

      Reply
  120. Papaya Playa Project in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    I love all your helpful responses and all the work and attention you put in to them. We will be staying in Tulum, but was wondering about Papaya Playa Project in Tulum? … I liked the vibe a lot but I know it has some mixed reviews so became a little concerned- it’s for a big birthday of mine so was hoping not to be disappointed. Also concerned about the overcast going in a few days and it seems to be very overcast and I love lounging by the beach so was a bit concerned … wish I found this site sooner!! 🙂

    Nicole

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Papaya Playa is great if you’re looking for a party but I’d recommend staying somewhere farther south.

      Reply
  121. November in Tulum

    Hi Dave —

    Love this article, very informative. Thank you. We are arriving in Tulum on the 15th of November for a week and I noticed that it is going to be cloudy and raining. Do you know how long the rain usually lasts and if it is going to effect relaxing on the beach, seeing the ruins, swimming in the cenotes? Thank you in advanced. – Anya

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      November usually has good weather. That’s over a week away so the forecast could easily change. Rains are usually short lived and the sun pops out again in a few hours. The ruins are actually better on an overcast day (though rain makes them hard to enjoy). A cenote like the Gran Cenote is great in the rain as it’s largely covered and protected.

      Reply
  122. Taxi with Lap and Shoulder Belt

    Hi Dave,
    Great site! I will be traveling to Tulum with two small children (ages 2 & 4). I’m looking into car seat alternatives and found a safety vest that requires a lap and shoulder belt. Do most taxis have seat belts with both lap and shoulder belts?
    Thanks,
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I haven’t paid close attention to this but I would say yes, most do have both. If you get a newer taxi and nice driver that you like ask for their card and phone them whenever you need a ride. It’s easy and you know you’ve got something/someone reliable.

      Reply
  123. Dreams Tulum to Ruins

    We are staying at Dreams Tulum for 6 days. What would be the best way to get to the ruins on the beach? Also, what would be the best way to go to Tulum Pueblo?
    Helen

    Reply
  124. Cancun to Tulum by Taxi

    Hi Dave,
    Great blog! We’ll be arriving to Tulum Pueblo end of November
    Regarding transfer from airport to Tulum town you mentioned you can just grab a taxi from the airport. Do you know how much it would cost and do you just accept any price they give you or do you need to bargain.
    Thanks,
    Chloe

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It costs about $100 from the Cancun airport to Tulum. No bargaining, you just except what they offer but it’s legit. They will give you the offer of buying a return ticket which does come out cheaper but I never think it’s worth the inconvenience of arranging it.

      Reply
  125. Beach Club in Tulum

    Hi Dave -great info here thanks for sharing your time & expertise! We are staying near akumal but hope to spend an afternoon at a Tulum beach/beach club. Which beach/beach restaurant hotel would you recommend for a couple of 40 somethings (not party hearty types) looking for a relaxing beach day, good food & rental loungers available?

    Thanks for any insight you can share.
    Deb

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I love La Zebra and that’s what I’d recommend for you. Nice beach, great food, fun but relaxed atmosphere. You shouldn’t have to pay for chairs as long as you buy food or drinks.

      Reply
  126. Good Restaurant between Cancun and Tulum

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for your guide! It’s been incredibly useful as I’ve planned a trip to Tulum for late October.

    My girlfriend and I arrive in Cancun around 9:30 p.m. Is there a place you’d recommend for dinner either before or during the drive to Tulum?

    Thanks!
    JL

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There are some good restaurants in Cancun but I would not bother going back into town to eat. Instead I would try to make it to Playa del Carmen and eat El Fogon. It’s easy to find from the highway and has great food.

      Reply
  127. MangleX in Tulum

    hello I am going to stay in Tulum for my honeymoon in the middle of October but I can’t decide in which hotel. What’s your opinion for MangleX? We believe for instance that Rosa del Viento is too far from pueblo (we are going to rent a car). Please enlighten us………
    Konstantina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both MangleX and Rosa del Viento are at the far end of the beach road (almost at the Biosphere). They are as far away from the Pueblo as you can get. Rosa del Viento is on the beach and MangleX is across the road on a cenote (no beach).

      Reply
  128. Stay in Town or the Beach?

    Dave,

    Love the site, very informative!! I’m spending 4 days in Tulum with 2 other couples. We’ve found some pretty spectacular rentals around town on vrbo.com with private pools, views, etc.
    Is it worth passing those up to be on the beach? We’d be looking to do a blend of everything (some beach, some town, some ruin).
    If we do stay around town, what’s the best beach area to go to and bars for 30’somethings?

    Thanks!
    Andrew

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I love staying in town but most people do prefer the beach. It’s easy to get back and forth on a bike regardless of where you stay but I feel it’s slightly a better fit to bike to the beach in the morning, back in the evening, and then you’re in town to eat dinner at a local place. But it’s a coin toss. There’s not really a bar scene along the beach but I like hanging out and having drinks at La Zebra. At night Zamas is great (but the beach here is not quite as nice for lounging through the day).

      Reply
  129. 5-Bedroom House in Tulum

    HI there,
    We are 6 adults with 5 kids (age range from 2 – 16 yrs) looking for a 5 bedroom house in Tulum on the beach. We can stay a week or 10 days over Christmas this year. Any suggestions re accommodation. Thank you for your site as you have made some outstanding suggestions that will help make our trip incredible !!!

    Best,
    Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      You will not find many houses for groups on the Tulum Beach. You’ll need to look north of there to find much in the way of large houses. Some are quite nice. A friend stayed at this house for a week and quite liked it. It’s close to a couple cenotes. You would need a car though as there isn’t much within walking distance but Tulum is a short drive away.

      Reply
  130. Scooter Rentals for Tulum and Area

    Great info ..thanks. We are first time visitors and wondering if hiring a moped is ok. We have always hired one on our trips to India so thought it would be ok in Mexico.
    We are at Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Akumel – 3 weeks total.

    Thanks for any input.

    Sarah

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Scooters are fine for getting around within town (e.g. going from Tulum beach to Tulum town) but I wouldn’t definitely not recommend scooters for getting from town to town – or really any driving on highway 307. Scooter and motorbike accidents are always at the top of the list for deaths and serious injury for travelers in pretty much any country. I doubt Mexico is an exception.

      Reply
  131. Viento de Mar Hotel in Tulum

    Hi Dave

    This is very informative and I greatly appreciate it.
    We are traveling to Tulum in November and made a reservation at the Viento de Mar hotel. There’s little or no info about it on the web. Do you think this is a good hotel? The price per night is not cheap 220 but I guess average for the area. One more thing, Do you have any recommendations for car rentals in Tulum? There seems to be all kinds of conflicting reviews about all companies.
    Thank you!
    Claudia

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Viento de Mar has a new name, new owners, and has been renovated. I don’t know much beyond that. I recommend using taxis and buses over a rental car – but if you have to, there’s an Avis in Tulum Town that is probably the best way to go.

      Reply
  132. Hotels Fully Booked for January 2016 / Scuba Diving in Tulum

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for such a wonderful site – super detailed and really the most local information available – nice one!

    We are booking late and the hotels you recommended around January 16 are booked. We are toying with 2 hotels which are very similar in cost which I haven’t seen mentioned on your site – Viento de Mar and Rosa del Viento. Any thoughts, feedback?

    Also last question. We are interested in going scuba diving but are complete beginners. Any recommendations on good dive shops to go with and dive locations?

    Thank you very much!
    Erin.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Rosa del Viento is very nice and at the far end of the Tulum road, almost at the biosphere, so very quiet and a little remote. Take a flashlight as the walk back from restaurants and bars is very dark at night. The beach is great here. Viento de Mar is a new hotel and I don’t know anything about it.

      For snorkeling in Tulum there’s Mexidivers at the Zamas Hotel but Akumal Dive Shop in Akumal is worth the drive – and better for beginners.

      Reply
  133. Hotel Close to Restaurants

    So informative on the eateries!!

    Looking for a luxury hotel in Tulum on the beach and walking distance from restaurants while still being close to town if I want to eat at El Capitan etc

    Basically, a perfect 3 night getaway… 🙂

    Melanie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose would be my choice for centrally located and close to beach restaurants. But pretty much all the hotels I’ve listed above are well positioned for walking to some restaurants. They are not, however, close to town (or within walking distance, anyways). All would require a taxi or a bike ride.

      Reply
  134. Good Restaurant (Besides Hartwood)

    Your website has been super helpful! thank you!

    I am going to be staying at the Mezzanine for my girlfriend’s 30th birthday and really want to make it special. Hartwood is unfortunately closed while we are there – October 4th weekend. What’s another really nice restaurant which has great food that we can go the night of her birthday?

    Also, how is the Mezzanine? You didn’t mention it but it was well rated on trip advisor.
    Thanks!!
    Lauren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Try Casa Banana – also very good with a fun vibe. Mezzanine is great. The only downside is that it’s not on the main strip of hotels and bars and thus there’s not a whole lot around it. On the other hand, it’s very close to the ruins.

      Reply
  135. My Way vs The Beach Resort

    Hi Dave,

    We’ve booked to come to Tulum for 7 days as part of our honeymoon but have just found out that our hotel (the Encantada) has been double booked for some of our stay. We’ve been offered to move to The Beach or My Way for either part or all of the stay. I know you’ve recommended both of these hotels but does one have a slight edge for a honeymoon stay in November?
    Love your blog by the way – the photos have been so helpful for us to imagine our holiday.
    Rebecca Pickering

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are wonderful places with great beaches and in a similar location – many good places to eat within walking distance. The Beach is perhaps slightly more luxurious and does have a pool. My Way a little more rustic and smaller – about a third the number of rooms. Can’t go wrong with either.

      Reply
  136. Hotels Fully Booked for Late December/ Early January

    Hi ,
    This is the most comprehensible and helpful guide I have found.

    My problem is that all the hotels on the beach in Tulum you have recommended are booked! I noticed there is free cancellation policies for most and so maybe there will be cancellations. Do you have any recommendations how to get on a cancellation list or maybe know of a hotel that is available. It is for me and my two sons 19 and 21 First fly away holiday for us!. We are limited with time so the dates are roughly December 23 to January 2. Looking for 7 days.
    Your feedback would be very welcome.

    Lori

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      You’re right, hotels fill up very early. You have to book the very first chance you get. One thing you can do is look at 2 of the newer hotels Alaya and Coral because they don’t have a full docket of returning guests thus they’ll usually have more openings. There are very few suits for families in Tulum. We, as a family of 4, have the same problem and have started looking at getting 2 rooms as the kids are now older and can stay on there own. You’re just 3 but it might be something you have to consider as it will open up more rooms. If you want to do this open two windows for booking.com and search on one for a room for 1 and search on the other for a room for 2 and see whether there are some rooms available at the same place. You’re right that most places on Booking have free cancellation but that rarely means that things actually become available. It’s always a case of hotels getting more booked not less booked as time moves on. I suppose you could email individual hotels asking to be on a cancelation list but with rooms so sparse and easy to fill (especially at Christmas) they have little incentive to keep a running list of backup guests. They could much more easily just throw the room back on Booking.com and have it taken in a few minutes or hours – so need to go to all the effort of contacting potential guests. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  137. Best Cenotes near Akumal

    Hi Dave, some great info here. May I ask few qtn’s please. We are travelling to Bahia Principe Akumal from 30 Sept-14 Oct this year. I have been looking at many cenotes to visit ourselves rather than through a scheduled tour. Which would you recomend for snorkling and swimming (no diving) which are close and easy to get to using colectivo/taxi from Bahia Principe?
    Also, we are planning the famous Tulum beach bar crawl from Trip Advisor, would it be easy to walk into Tulum town from beach as I really fancy some street food rather than restaraunts (we will have enough of those on resort!)
    Thank You very much in advance for any help you can offer.
    Darren

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Azul and Cristolino are two great ones and close to the highway making them easy to get to by collectivo. If you take a taxi then Dos Ojos is another good one.

      I’m a walker but I would generally not say town is walking distance from the beach. Doable for sure, but it’s a long walk. Hotel Posada is right at the northern end of the beach (you’ll see it as you start the beach crawl). They have bike rentals. Grab one and you’re into town in 15 minutes.

      Reply
  138. Seaweed Problem in Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you again for all of your info.
    My husband and are booked at Hotel CalaLuna in October. I asked you several questions when I booked our trip, and your replies were very helpful. Recently I have been reading quite a bit on the seaweed problem in the Tulum area. Some reviewers say it’s not bad, others say it’s terrible. What are your thoughts? I understand the hotels are trying to keep the beaches free of seaweed, but it looks like it’s a struggle for them. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you, Becci Schutte

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The seaweed in Tulum comes and goes with no warning. It can be there one day and gone the next.

      On our last trip it was like this day the we arrived:
      Tulum Beach with a seaweed problem.

      And then the next day the seaweed was gone and the beach looked like this:
      Tulum beach with not much seaweed.

      I think the seaweed problem is worse in Cancun. Another good thing about Tulum is that there is much more to do around Tulum (including swimming in the cenotes) than around Cancun so if you do get bad luck with the seaweed you don’t feel like your vacation is ruined.

      Reply
  139. Suenos in Tulum

    Hi, and thanks for the great information. It is very helpful . My wife and I will be traveling to Tulum and staying at Suenos . Can you give your opinion on this hotel and the beach there as we are hoping for good water and a quiet experience. Also what are your thoughts on transportation from Cancun to Suenos safety , time and cost ? Bus vs taxi etc. One last question , would you recommend going into town to eat for a much better price and experience or is eating at the beach better? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Suenos is very nice with a great beach. Good choice. If you’re arriving on a flight then taking a taxi to your Tulum hotel is so much easier than the bus I recommend that. But if you’re already in Cancun and aren’t getting off a long flight then taking the bus is sort of fun. Grab some snacks, sit back, watch a bad American movie on the tv screens, and enjoy. There are decent toilets on the buses too. You sometimes have to change buses in Playa del Carmen but there are a few direct to Tulum if you can pre-plan your departure time.

      Reply
  140. Bikes, Buses, and Where To Eat

    Why hello there David!

    Great sight and super informative.

    My partner and I are all booked up to stay at Le Pez 5th-12th September (fingers crossed the weather will be decent!)

    Noted down your ‘go-to’ restaurants, thanks a bunch, and a few others I’ve researched! (Le Zebra, Hartwood, Cenzontle & Kitchen Table). The rest we’ll wing when we arrive, street food etc.

    One question; we keep toying with renting a car, but I worry that once we’re there we’ll just be on bikes and it’ll just be a waste. We’re in our late 20s so like being around nightlife and in the thick of it, but will also want to hit the cenotes and Mayan Ruins. We’re pretty fit, so:
    A. checking that we can get around everywhere on bikes?
    B. How easy is it to get buses to and from the airport from Tulum, and/or what is the cab situation (happy to spend $200 as this is the rough car rental costs it would seen!)

    Ok, so one more question – it’s our anniversary, so any stand out experiences, culinary or other that you would recommend – we love outdoor adventure and tastebud adventure! Would love to organise a day of epic proportions!

    Thanks.

    Soph 🙂

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1) Getting around by bikes is easy. Between town and the beach is no problem. Getting to the cenotes is a little farther (and involves riding on a busier section of road) but still very doable. I wouldn’t rent a car. Taxi and bike are the way to go.
      2) Yes, take a taxi from the airport directly to your hotel. Bus is also an option but can involve switching buses in Playa del Carmen and even when you get to Tulum you have to get a taxi out to the beach. No need to book in advance, just walk out the doors of the Cancun airport and wait in line for a taxi.
      3) Eat at Hartwood and go to Zamas for some late night fun.

      Reply
  141. Brandi

    Your blog is a goldmine! So grateful you are doing this and that I stumbled on it 🙂

    So I’m struggling with vacation planning analysis paralysis in terms of where to stay for my trip in late Sept/early Oct. I’m 40, traveling solo, looking for a retreat that both allows some chill and also access to socializing when I want it. Love the boho vibe, prefer that rather than super hip trendsetting clubby hotel. I’m not budget constrained.

    Here’s what I’m looking for:

    Must haves:
    A/C
    a cozy comfy bed (every place I’ve ever stayed in Mexico has beds that are hard as rocks)
    room service
    beach access and beach views
    a place with a bar and restaurant
    has or is within walking proximity to yoga and spa (even if at another hotel)
    want warm gracious service (over pretentious aloofness)

    Nice to have:
    smaller boutique over larger
    hammock
    private pool or hot tub
    sn’t chalk full of honeymooners and maybe even has a bar where folks congragate
    access to kayaks and SUPs for use by guests

    I’ve been looking at Be Tulum, The Beach, Coral (referred by Mr. Mrs. Smith), are there others I should consider or narrow to that would have what I’m looking for? Is there a place that jumps out at you?

    Thanks for your time. Appreciate it 🙂

    Reply
    1. Brandi

      Hi Dave,

      I broke thru the indecision and thought I might save you from needing to reply.

      6 nights at La Zebra Penthouse
      4 nights at the Viceroy in Playa Del Carmen

      Best of both worlds I hope )

      Cheers!

      Reply
  142. El Pez vs La Zebra

    Hi Dave,

    Love your blog – it is so helpful! My fiance and I are going to Tulum in September for our honeymoon and are staying Monday to Wednesday. We’re trying to decide between staying at El Pez or La Zebra. We want a nice beach that’s walking distance to bars and restaurants. Any preference between those or other suggestions we should look at? I’d love an authentic style with ac and pool if possible. Thank you!!

    Steph T

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      El Pez is closer to the night spots. La Zebra has a nicer beach. Both have many restaurants within walking distance.

      Reply
  143. Renting Small Car in Tulum

    Hi Dave! Thanks for all the great information!
    We will be staying at the Coral Tulum. Hey, we usually rent the cheapest smallest car avail, but my husband is
    worried that the roads might require something bigger. What do you think?
    Mark Hayman-Martinez

    Reply
  144. Om, Alaya, or Ana Y Jose Hotels

    Hi Dave, thanks for this great list – and your diligence with responding to people! You are wonderful! I’m traveling w/my husband and 14 year old and we’ve decided to stay in Tulum as opposed to Cancun this time but are having trouble on choosing a hotel. How do you feel about the AnayJose trio of hotels vs Om or Alaya? THANKS in advance!
    Sadie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      All are quite nice. Om the least luxurious but still great (and has a very good restaurant). You can’t go wrong with any of those.

      Reply
  145. Kids at Be Tulum

    Hi!

    I am getting married in Tulum this March. We are looking to rent a house for a week and were going to stay at Be Tulum, booked the room, the best room and everything, only to find out kids are not welcome. My son is seven and quiet as a mouse. Do you think we could ask to have him with us for the three nights?

    Also, do you know of any chefs?

    Thank you!!
    Melissa Torpie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It doesn’t hurt to ask but I doubt they’ll change their policies that easily. Sorry, I don’t know any chefs in Tulum.

      Reply
  146. Is A/C Necessary in Tulum?

    Hi Dave,
    How necessary is AC at the beach hotels in August? Do you think it’s worth it to stay in Tulum pueblo for a different experience (and save some $)? Thanks!
    Saehee

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There’s usually a nice breeze at the beach so not as vital as when you stay in town. Tulum Pueblo is great. I love staying in town and riding to the beach on bikes.

      Reply
  147. Playa Mambo in Tulum in July

    Hi Dave –
    My husband and I are taking our 18 months old with us. Looking at staying at Playa Mambo for a week – would you recommend the place to stay with the baby or does it get busy and noisy at weekends? Many thanks for your suggestions. How are the beaches in July? Much seaweed? Thank you!!!

    Silvia

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Playa Mambo is a great place and very quiet. Beaches are great in front of Playa Mambo but always hard to predict with the seaweed.

      Reply
  148. Coral vs Alaya

    Hello Dave,

    Thank you for writing such a informative blog. My family will be visiting Tulum in August to celebrate a milestone. We are considering Coral Tulum or Alaya for our 6 day visit. However, there seems to be a significant difference in price. Aside from the fact that Coral Tulum includes breakfast would you say there is enough reason to choose Coral over Alaya?

    Thanks for your opinion!

    Carmela Coyle

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      If the price difference is large then definitely go with Alaya as there is not a huge difference in quality.

      Reply
  149. ATMs in Tulum

    Hi Dave,
    First off, your site is amazing. Sooo helpful and has answered many of our questions. My boyfriend and I are actually flying into Cancun tomorrow and will be in Tulum for 7 days 🙂 Yay!! – I just wanted some advice regarding the ATM’s in town. I’m aware that they give the best exchange rate and are the safest (the one’s in town). Is there any preference to what ATM to use? Do the ATM’s show you what the daily exchange rate is for what you are withdrawing? if not, how do you know how much it’s exchanging your dollars for? – I noticed you pictured two ATM’s in the ADO bus station, which is great since we will be arriving there, so we will most likely use those there when we arrive. Do you know what the daily limit on those are?
    Thank you for all you help and input.
    Solanch Almeida

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There are several ATMs in Tulum town and are not hard to find (should the ones at the bus station not be working – which can happen). There are also a few ATMs along the beach road. They will not show the exchange rate and you won’t know what you were charged until you return home – not much you can do about that. Not sure on the daily limit but it’s fairly large (and probably depends somewhat on your account).

      Reply
  150. Coral or Alaya in Tulum?

    Marvelous blog!!
    We are planning our first trip to Tulum in August. And I’m really stuck between Alaya and Coral Tulum. Both seem smallish. Coral offers breakfast each day and looks lovely, perhaps hip and modern while Alaya seems gorgeous with thatchy wonderfulness for a tropical experience. I like that Alaya has yoga. We’re traveling with our 22 yr old daughter. It might come down to what you think is the prettiest beach and water? Best food? Does either have palm tree shade? I was under impression that Coral Tulum was the newest on Tulum, but from Trip Advisor reviews sounds like Alaya might be?
    So torn!!!
    Thank you for your insight…
    Carmela LaVigna Coyle

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I think you might be overthinking this 🙂

      Both hotels are nice and new – with a great beach. You’ll be happy at either. Book what has the best fit room wise and don’t look back. It’ll be great.

      Reply
  151. Is Water Safe to Drink in Tulum?

    Great website! We are traveling to Tulum later this month and am curious as to food/drinking water safety as I am pregnant. We are seasoned travelers and have never had food related issues while traveling in other countries but everyone talks about the risks of water in Mexico…. is the water at most restaurants purified and is it safe to eat fruit at restaurants in Tulum? I’m a huge fan of street food but my doctor has made me nervous….Thanks so much!
    Rachel

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I don’t drink the water in Tulum or Mexico but I do eat all fruit (washed or not) and brush my teeth with tap water. I’ve never had a problem. But not sure how that applies to being pregnant. I’m tempted to recommend being extra careful but that isn’t based on any hard evidence. (Restaurants don’t serve water that’s not in a bottle.)

      Reply
  152. Coral, Ana y Jose, and The Beach

    Dave-

    We are doing a last min trip next week. The hotels we are considering are Coral, Ana y Jose, and The Beach. I know the beach is the farthest from town and coral is the closest. How far apart are they. My gf is fine just sitting on the beach, but I go stir crazy so going into town if something we will do. Which has the best beach? Daybeds etc. The beach has ziggy’s, does that mean its overrun etc. Any other hotels I have not mentioned. Betulum is full. Playa Project? Your site has been very helpful, the best site for tulum

    Thanks
    Adam P

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The 3 hotels are less than 5 minutes apart on bike. Ana Y Jose and The Beach are very close to each other. The beach is slightly nicer in front of these 2 than at Coral – but not a huge difference. All are great places to stay.

      Reply
  153. Ahau, Alaya, Coral, and Zebra

    Hi Dave!

    I’m looking at hotels and having a bit of analysis paralysis. I’ll be joining a yoga retreat in Tulum in mid-July, but am adding a couple days onto the front end of the trip to spend in Tulum solo. I’m looking for a nice (luxurious, but not sterile) with a beach front room, good food, and welcoming people for a solo, female traveler. Coqui Coqui is booked (and seems a bit sterile). Sanara has some bad reviews that scare me a bit. Between Ahau, Alaya, Coral, and Zebra, what would be your pick? Thanks so much, and I really love your site! Samantha

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I personally just booked Alaya for my next visit so I guess I have to recommend it over the others but all are very nice places to stay. The Coral is the newest of the 4 so if you want a new everything in your room go with it.

      Reply
  154. Bike Rentals in Tulum

    Dave,
    Thanks for this great content, and answering everyone’s questions!

    You talk a lot about bikes, but it seems you’re mostly talking about riding around town/beach. Do you know if any of the rental places have racks so that I can put panniers on it and go for a multi-day journey?

    Cheers,
    Karen

    Reply
  155. Coral Hotel in Tulum

    Hello Dave,

    We are coming to Tulum for our honeymoon and are splitting our time between a few hotels since we can’t just pick one. Esencia for a few days, then we are thinking Jashita for a few days, and finally we were going to stay at Ana Y Jose for a few days but I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews online and instead we’re considering staying at The Coral, the owner’s new hotel. Have you been there or heard anything significantly more positive or negative than the Ana Y Jose?

    Thank you!

    Melissa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      This used to be the AYJ Beach Club but has recently been converted into a hotel. Everything is very new and boutiquish. It’s a little closer to town and the ruins than Ana Y Jose. The beach is a little wider at Ana Y Jose than at the Coral.

      Reply
  156. Cancun to Vallodolid to Tulum to Cancun

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome site!

    Week long Family vacation with a 10 year & 5 year old.

    I am thinking of doing a “triangle” trip/adventure!

    Cancun, Tulum, Valladolid, Cancun! 7 days.

    I do not think I want to stay in cancun other than maybe the first and last day of the trip. Thoughts on that?

    I thought maybe there is an option to hire a guide to take us out one day from tulum and one day from vallaolid? Are there any guides you would recommend?

    Any thoughts on areas to stay in vallaolid? We would like to rent a house via airbnb. Like the idea of being able to ride bikes or walk to food from our rental. I heard there are great ruins near vallaolid? Cenotes for sure! Anything else?

    Would heading down to belize from tulum be crazy???

    Thanks,

    Eric

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Sounds great and easy to do. Buses between the 3 run often. Vallodolid has some great nearby cenotes and Chichen Itza is 20 minutes outside of town. I have no idea what’s available on Airbnb or there locations but you would want to be close to the town square – though nothing’s too far away. It’s easy to ride bikes to some of the cenotes. Sorry, I don’t know of any guides but should be easy to find.

      Reply
  157. Coral Tulum Hotel

    Hi Dave! Thanks for the great information, greatly appreciated. Taking my wife somewhere for her 40th bday and am leaning towards tulum. We are going the week of October 12. Too rainy this time of year? Also, looking at coral tulum. We don’t want a mere hut on the beach But do NOT want TV, golf, glitzy, Busy And all that. We DO want clean, quiet, and nice long stretch of clean quiet beach. Any recs?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Coral Tulum is great and sounds like what you’re looking for. The beach is wonderful.

      Reply
  158. Special Restaurant in Tulum

    Hi Dave, will be there in a couple of weeks to celebrate my husband’s 50th bday. Can you recommend a place with great food and a special setting to have dinner on his bday. I know there are a few must hit spots, but is there one or two that are really special? thanks, Amanda

    Reply
  159. Alaya Hotel in Tulum

    So far your site is my Tulum Bible!
    I would greatly appreciate your insight on a few things.
    My girlfriend and I are only staying 4 nights in early July at Alaya Tulum (sister to Ahau).

    1) Any thoughts on Alaya?
    2) They state AC is only to be used 8pm – 8am, will this be a problem? I don’t know if I can take the heat and humidity without periodic AC breaks…
    3) My girlfriend doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle… but I ride bikes and motorcycles. What is your recommendation based on our location? tandem bike? scooter?
    * I ask because we’d like to take your advice to see the town as well as head over to a couple cenotes and definitely the ruins.
    4) Airport shuttles from Cancun to Tulum seem to have horror stories… would you go with a private shuttle or a taxi?

    Lastly, you mentioned Mateo’s and Zamas earlier when referencing Ahau, but do you other “must do/see/go/eat” recommendations nearby?

    Dave, I truly appreciate any help and guidance. You rock!
    Many thanks,
    -JC

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1) Alaya is brand new and one of the nicest places on Tulum beach.
      2) Maybe, but I doubt it. There’s a nice breeze off the ocean most of the time. AC to get a nice sleep makes a difference.
      3) Tandems are hard to find, so probably a scooter. Lots of places to eat within walking distance. La Zebra and Hartwood are both very good.
      4) I prefer taxis from the airport. The shuttles can make lots of stops (at different hotels) and aren’t a lot less many either.

      Reply
  160. Where to Watch Sports in Tulum

    Hi Dave – loving my stay in Tulum thus far and thank you for this incredibly informative site.

    Quick question: where can I watch the Warriors in the NBA Finals tonight? I truly love that there are seemingly no TV’s anywhere on the beach, but I would love to catch my home team in the Finals for the first time in 40 years tonight. I dropped by Mateo’s Sports Bar and there is a private party in the area where they have their one TV 🙁

    Any other suggestions? Happy to go into town if you know the right spot to go to.

    Thank you!
    Miles Suter

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      El Pequeno Buenos Aires on the main road in Tulum Town has a large TV and usually shows big games. If that fails, walk north and you should find 1 or 2 more places that have TVs playing sports. Very few restaurants or bars along the beach show sports. (Cavs in 6.)

      Reply
  161. How Much to Tip Driver

    Mornin’ Sunshine,

    My daughter and I wii be heading to Tulum in a couple of days. We have made arrangements with a transport company from the airport to Tulum. What should I expect to tip our driver and should this be in pesos or dollars?

    Thank You and Great Job on this site!
    Rebecca Hampton

    Reply
  162. Suenos vs My Way Resorts

    Dave,

    Great blog. I am planning to visit Tulum in three weeks. Traveling solo. Obviously I’m a little rushed, and the only vacancies really are Suenos and My Way. I’m really just looking to relax, and enjoy the tranquility I always enjoy when I’m there. The A/C might be nice, since it’s June, but maybe not totally necessary. WiFi/electricity might be nice. However, it maybe rejuvenating just to unplug and do Yoga. My question is: What is your impression of these two very different hotels?

    Thanks
    Ty

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both are great. My Way is more central and closer to town. Suenos a little quieter and beach a little wider.

      Reply
  163. Zamas Hotel

    DAVE!

    Incredible blog. We’re trying to plan on coming for December 12th – 16th. I looked at Ana y Jose but I think it’s out of our price range. We’d read elsewhere that Zamas was the place to go but your blog makes it sound possibly too noisy. Not a deal breaker, but what would you recommend for a twenty something couple looking to be in the middle of it all, great beach, at a moderate price range?

    Thanks!
    Bob

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It can get a little noisy at Zamas – both from the bars in the area and the road. Nothing crazy though but if you’re looking for tranquil seclusion this isn’t it. It does have a great location (restaurants, easy bike ride to town and ruins) and a nice semi-private beach cove – not a wide beach like farther south.

      Reply
  164. Which Cenote for a Non-swimmer

    Hi, Dave. Love your site! We have been to Cancun and Tulum several times and can’t wait to get back in August. I (Gilberto) don’t know how to swim but I do pretty well snorkeling either from the shore or getting dropped from a boat. I’ve always wanted to snorkel in one of the cenotes. How competent a swimmer do you need to be? Are there any that would be good for a non-swimmer like me? Thanks for your site and your help, Gil

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The Gran Cenote is pretty small so that would be the best place to start. Go in the late afternoon when it’s least busy.

      Reply
  165. Great Hotel in Tulum

    Great advice. I want the best of both worlds – I want to be close to Tulum town in the very best hotel on the beach. great swimming, bike to ruins, taxi to cenotes. Help! Thanks, Becky
    Rebecca Johnson

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana Y Jose is the best hotel in Tulum and the location is good for biking to town and the ruins. The beach is wonderful.

      Reply
  166. Hotel for Family of 4 (2 Adults, 2 Teens)

    Hi there! Can you recommend a great hotel on the beach for a family of 4, 2 adults, 2 teens. Because
    it’s June we’ll probably go for air conditioning. We’re happy to splurge this trip as well. Is June
    the quietest because of mosquitos? Thanks!

    Theresa Rodgerton

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There are not a lot of rooms/suites in Tulum that are good for families. Some but not a lot – so book ASAP. My favorites include Amansala (large family room with 2 double beds and 1 king); Playa Mambo Hotel (the deluxe bungalow is great but no A/C here); Suenos and OM have good sized rooms with 2 queen beds; El Pez (luxury room has 2 twins and a king bed).

      June is quiet because of weather and season (good weather in the US but still not summer vacation time).

      Reply
  167. Jashita Hotel

    Hello,

    We have booked a stay at the Jashita – any thoughts on this? Also what precautions (if any) do we need to take regarding drinking water? We are renting a car and driving from Cancun airport to Tulum. Anything we need to be aware of? Is it safe to drive?

    Thanks so much for your advice!

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Great hotel but a good distance from Tulum and a little isolated (depends what you’re looking for, I guess). I always think renting and driving a car in Mexico is a hassle. I much prefer using a combination of taxi and bus.

      Reply
  168. Ashton

    Thanks for this awesome website. We just got back from a week in Tulum and tried many of your restaurant recommendations, and everything you said was spot on! I’m not sure we would have known to go into town if we hadn’t come across your blog so thank you for putting this together. Now I feel bad for people that go to Tulum and don’t leave the hotel zone. We ended up only eating a few dinners in the hotel zone (which each topped $100 USD for two!!!) and none of the meals were better than the tacos at Antojitos 🙂

    We want to go back to the area next year and try Cozumel and Vallodolid also. Any chance you’ve been to Cozumel and have any advice on where to stay/what to do there?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I’m not very familiar with Cozumel but Vallodolid is great for a night or two.

      Reply
  169. July or October/November in Tulum?

    Hey Dave.. stumbled upon your site- it’s great, thanks for all the helpful tips! We’ve been researching Tulum as a honeymoon spot and were originally thinking of heading there early July for a week or two. By the looks of things- temperatures seem to peak around 35-40 degrees (yikes!) and the rainy season is at it’s peak- is it still worth braving the rain and humidity (We’re from South Africa originally so we know all about high temperatures and humidity) or should we look into postponing the trip and heading out there late October- November instead. If you had to visit for the best general weather which month would you say is best to visit? (that being said, December – March isn’t really an option)
    Thanks so much!
    Candice

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The summer is a fine time to visit – especially if you’re fine with the heat and humidity. But if I had to choose between summer and fall I’d visit in October and November. It’s a little cooler, not as much rain, and less humidity.

      Reply
    2. Mr. Tulum

      WOW, Great site, I have lived in Tulum for 15 years and do not let the weather bother you. It mainly rains at night during rainy season, Tulum is very romantic in the rain, and us locals love it. Just come and enjoy,

      Mr. Tulum

      Reply
      1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

        Agreed. You never regret the trips you take – only the ones you don’t.

        Reply
  170. Car Rental and Parking in Tulum

    We are thinking of staying at Casa Amor Del Sol up in the Tankah Bay area, so we will be likely need a car to visit town for food. What advice can you give for car rental agencies and parking around Tulum. Also, websites are full of stories of police stops and getting cheated at the gas station, is this much of a problem around Tulum?

    Thanks,
    Marcus

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There’s an AVIS rental car in Tulum which I recommend using. Parking is easy – just go a block off the main strip there should be lots. You will have to deal with police stops along the highway and if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing you will get cheated occasionally at the gas station. Renting a car is generally a pain. I recommend using taxis in the Yucatan unless you’re moving around a lot. So much easier and not that much more expensive.

      Reply
  171. Chetumal to Tulum

    Hey Dave, After looking throughout the internet for info on Tulum you hands down have the best, most relevant information. Thanks for all the info so far. We have had a problem trying to find out what to expect for a cost for a taxi from Chetumal to Tulum. We have limited time and arrive in Chetumal via water taxi from San Pedro at 11am. The bus schedule for ADO doesn’t seem to have any buses scheduled during the day until 6:30pm so it looks like a taxi or private transfer is the only option. Any info would be appreciated.
    Allarosa

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There will be buses from Chetumal to Tulum through the day but they will be 2nd class buses. Still nice but they make a few more stops along the way, take about 1 hour longer, cost less, and don’t have toilets (like the 1st class buses). There should be a bus every 1 to 2 hours running from Chetumal to Cancun (and stopping in Tulum). I don’t know exactly what a taxi from Chetumal to Tulum would cost but I’m guessing about $100US.

      Reply
  172. Seaweed Problem in Tulum

    Hi Dave- Coming to Tulum next week and I read that there had been a big seaweed problem lately, even causing some of the hotel beaches to close. Is this true? Do you know if some hotels are affected and others are not? THANKS! Annie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I have not heard about any hotels closing down (I can’t see how that’s possible, actually) but it has been a bad year for it. That said, most hotels do a pretty good job of clearing it away and I still enjoy hanging out at the beach even when there’s lots of seaweed about. I still swim but there’s no doubt it’s a bit of an eyesore.

      Reply
  173. Car Rental in Tulum

    Hi Dave-My husband and I want to rent a car for just a couple of days while in Tulum to visit Coba, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, cenotes, etc. Can you recommend any good car rental places? I was looking at Tulum Car Rental, have you heard anything about them? Thanks Tara Roberts

    Reply
      1. Tara Roberts

        Thank you!

        AVIS was recommended by the gentleman that is renting us an apartment in town as well.

        Reply
  174. Snorkeling off Beach in Tulum

    Hi Dave, I stumbled upon your website and it is wonderful!! My husband and I are looking to visit in early September and we really want to stay at a hotel that has great snorkeling right off the beach. Any suggestions? Also, we are worried about the seaweed. Has it been a real problem? Thanks for your help! – Emily

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There is very little snorkeling off the beach in Tulum. There is a reef about 500 meters out but you’ll need a boat to access it (ask at your hotel for the best nearby place to find someone to take you out). Akumal is better than Tulum for snorkeling. Also visit one of the nearby cenotes for some great and very unique snorkeling (Gran Cenote is good, Dos Ojos is better).

      Seaweed can be bad at times but it comes and goes and is hard to predict. Sometimes you’re there for 2 weeks and don’t see any at all.

      Reply
  175. Tulum in June

    Hi Dave,

    We will be on our honeymoon here in June. A few night sat Casa De Olas and a few at La Selva Mariposa and can’t wait.

    Do you know how busy the area is in June as it is not peak season. Also how long do place stay open an night for some casual drinking? Any late night spots you would recommend?

    Cheers
    Ross Keen

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      June is one of the quieter months but it will be far from dead. Try Zamas or Mateo’s for some late night fun, live music, and drinks.

      Reply
  176. Beach Clubs in Tulum

    Hi Dave – I’ll be visiting Tulum this weekend and was wondering if you could recommend a few nice beach clubs to visit. Ideally, we’d like a beautiful stretch of beach with calm water, not crowded with lounges and great affordable food/drinks. Would prefer an adults only vibe rather than a family beach as we’re 30 years old. We will have a car. I’ve read about El Paraiso (which apparently isn’t as nice as it used to be..?), Ziggy’s, OM, La Zebra, etc. What about beach clubs like La Luna, Zulúm, Mestizos, and Rosa del Viento. These seem to be less popular than the previous clubs I mentioned. Thanks for your help in advance!
    Kimberly

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      OM (good pizza, but can feel busy), La Zebra (great food), and Ziggy’s (most club like, good drink deals) are my favorites.

      Reply
  177. Rosa Del Viento Hotel

    Hi Dave – hoping you can help.I’m trying to book a holiday with my boyrfriend for November. We’re early 30’s looking for chilled out hotel, great beach, relaxed beach bar whilst also being able to get to some more lively restuarants etc. Happy to pay a little extra for good service, nice room but dont want a big resort feel. What do you think of rosa del viento – what hotels would you recommend?
    Thanks Kat

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Rosa Del Viento is at the far southern end of the Tulum beach. There’s not a lot around it but you can get to many restaurant with their bikes or about a 20 minute walk along the beach road. The beach is great here. I’d also recommend having a look at Be Tulum which is a little closer the restaurants along the beach road.

      Reply
  178. Location of Villa Morena

    Hello, glad I found this site…wondering if you heard of B&B Villa Morena in Akumal? We are looking at staying there, they have great reviews but is the area ok to get to ruins, restaurants, etc? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Rina Lindenbaum

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      A good location for Tulum? No. The ruins? No. Restaurants? Not really. But since it’s in Akumal and not in Tulum this isn’t surprising so I’m not exactly sure what you’re expecting. It’s a nice, rustic place on the jungle side of the road half-way between Tulum and Playa del Carmen and a short drive from Akumal Bay.

      Reply
      1. Rina Lindenbaum

        It says it’s 17 miles from the Tulum ruins? That’s about a 20 min drive? Correct?

        Reply
  179. Beach Chairs for Non-Hotel Guests

    Hello, Dave! You are the greatest!
    We will be renting villa In Akumal, June 25-July 5.We are planning to spend several days at the beach restaurants (Ziggy’s, Ahau Beach and etc.) My question is , how it is works with the “non hotel guests” ? You just walk in? I know, we have to buy food/drinks and this is what we are going to do, but lets say, we’ll start with drinks and then we’ll have lunch in couple of hours, then maybe some more drinks.Do we have to order everything in advance, for them to see, that we are spending money at their place or they just trust you? I mean for us , in order to spend several hours during the day and get the loungers/beach chairs , what should we do? Do they bring drinks to the loungers on the beach, or we should seat around the table all the time?
    I really appreciate your help! Lena

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      This is almost never a problem. As long as you order something when you sit down and get the occasional drink, entree, or appetizer you won’t have a problem. They know if you spend enough time there, then you’ll spend enough money there. Go, hang out, have fun, don’t worry.

      Reply
  180. Planning/Booking/Reservations

    Dave, This is such great and helpful information! My husband and I will be honeymooning in Tulum later this month. Are there any activities/restaurants/etc for which you would recommend making reservations before we get down there? Anna

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      You might want to pre-arrange a tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (see above for tour recommendations) and perhaps reserve a bike through iBikeTulum.com if you need a special bike (I’m 6’6″ and need to reserve large bikes as the typical rental won’t fit me) but that’s about it. As for restaurants Hartwood is the best restaurant in Tulum but they only take reservations the day-of and only between 3pm and 6pm so there’s nothing to do in advance.

      Reply
  181. Thank You

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful website. We fortunately found it just before our trip, and now that we are back we can say that this advice was invaluable and really enhanced our stay so much!

    THANKS for the photo of the ATMs in the bus station! Would never have thought to look there! And the restaurant recommendations, and all the reassuring advice. One thing that we found that I would like to share with this forum is to not be put off by the town of Tulum and how it looks by day (ie, pretty scruffy). Like many towns in hot climates it blossoms at night. All the restaurants are alight and you see unnoticed courts and gardens looking suddenly romantic with fairy lights etc, many of the shops are still open — you see families out strolling and the whole town takes on a quite a magical feel. We were so glad we tore ourselves away from the beach and spent one evening in the town. Anyway, THANKS again for taking the time to create and maintain this site!

    Amy

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, Tulum town is great at night and I highly recommend making an effort to get there for at least one evening dinner. Thanks for the great comment.

      Reply
  182. Papaya Playa Project Location

    Hi dave – great info on here, thanks!
    My hubby and I are looking to stay at the Papaya Playa Project but not sure if the location is good, near restaurants and the cool spots of Tulum. If we were to stay closer to the centre, walking distance to shops and restos, where would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Papaya Playa Project is a party hotel with DJ’s and beach parties on a regular basis. This IS the destination for many people. That said, it’s walking distance to Zamas, Mateo’s, and a handful of shops and restaurants. To get into town you will need to taxi or ride a bike (about a 20 minute ride).

      Reply
  183. Ahau or Coral Tulum

    How helpful this is thank you!
    I am trying to arrange a stay for a quick long weekend in July. Is Ahau Tulum worth the $$? What do you think of Coral Tulum? My most important “must have” is a beach view and comfy bed. Kate

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Both Ahau and Coral are great places but I would go with Coral seeing as it just opened and everything (beds, sheets, paint) is fresh and new. Both have great spots on the beach with other restaurants along the beach road within walking distance.

      Reply
  184. Mosquitoes and Heat in March

    Hi Dave! My husband and 3 children age 9, 13 and 15 are planning a trip to Tulum next March. We were thinking of staying at either Ana Y Jose or Casa Violeta. Ana y jose has air conditioning…do you think we will need it end of March? Is there a nice enough breeze to go without? Also, a lot of the rooms have mosquito netting around the beds. Are mosquitos really bad? And what time of the year are they at their worst?

    Thanks!
    Anne

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There is usually a good breeze off the ocean at night when you stay at the beach and it can actually be almost chilly – though by March it can be heating up a bit. Mosquitoes should be ok as March is still a dry month. Mosquitoes are bad during the rainy months and are at their worst in September. The nets work quite well for keeping them away. Spraying your nets directly with mosquito spray works well.

      Reply
  185. Spanish Classes in Tulum and Biking from Beach to Town

    Hi Dave! I am planning a trip to Tulum in the middle of June. I’m planning on taking a spanish class in town, but I would like to stay on the beach. Is it reasonable for me to ride my bike there every morning, or is it too far? The woman who runs the class said most people stay in town, but I really want to stay on the beach. On that note, do you have any recommendations for classes on or close to the beach?

    Thank you!
    G

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      It’s a nice, easy, and (mostly) flat ride from beach to town – I think it would be a great way to start the day before classes. The bike ride from beach to town would take 20 to 35 minutes depending on where you’re staying along the beach. I believe all Spanish classes are in town and none are at the beach (let me know if you find I’m wrong).

      Reply
    2. Barbara Escaler

      Hello,

      I am the director of Chac-mool Spanish School, full immersion program, we were the first school teaching our method here and we have over 18 years of experience.

      Our web page is http://www.chac-mool.com and we are located in the town of Tulum.

      Please write me (directora@chacmoolschools.com) so I can quote for you our spanish classes, I am sure we will love Chac-mool and our rates.

      Reply
  186. Dos Ojos vs Gran Cenote

    Hi is there one cenote better than the other between Dos Ojos and the Gran Cenote?

    Also, do you know where is the best place to exchange dollars to pesos to get the best rate?

    Elizabeth

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Dos Ojos is larger and has more to see. Gran Cenote is warmer and more relaxing. Both have lockers and snorkel gear for rent. Dos Ojos also has wet suites to rent if you don’t want to be cold. Gran Cenote is quicker to get to from Tulum. Both can be busy early in the day. The best time to visit is 1 or 2 hours before closing, or if you have to go early get there 10 minutes before opening.

      There’s not big difference on exchange rates (just don’t change at hotels or restaurants). I use ATM’s to get pesos.

      Reply
  187. Diamante K Location

    Hi
    This is a brilliant blog… so informative. We (a couple) are travelling to Tulum in a couple of weeks but are yet to book our accommodation. I am looking at Daimante K as it is on a private beach and looks quiet. Is it very far from other restaurants and is the beach nice? We are very active and happy to bike and walk. I really appreciate your help

    Thanks!
    Anya

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Diamante K is a little removed from the main strip of restaurants and hotels along the beach road – probably too far to comfortably walk but biking to the restaurants would be very easy. It’s a 10 minute ride at most, there’s a bike path for part of the way, and it’s mostly flat.

      Reply
      1. Anya

        Thanks so much. Is the beach nice there? Really appreciate your help. Can’t wait for my holiday after reading your blog!

        Reply
  188. Long Term Stay in Tulum

    Thanks for inspiration:-) i’m moving to tulum from August to November, and I’m looking for a safe and cheap place to stay. I prefer to live on the local part of town, rather than in the tourist area. Do you have advice? Maria

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      For long term stays I would wait until you arrive and ask around town (cafes, restaurants, shops) for a place to rent. The cheapest places are best to arrange in person.

      Reply
  189. Mezzanine Hotel in Tulum

    HI Dave, awesome guide!
    My fiance and I are going to Tulum for the first time in mid May to celebrate his birthday- very excited!
    We are staying at Mezzanine Hotel for 4 days – any thoughts on this property?
    Good quality food and drinks are very important to us, in addition to the recommendations listed where do you suggest we go for a celebratory dinner?
    Also, how far in walking distance is the hotel from the main town (restaurants, shops, etc..) Should we cab it?
    Should we buy alcohol at the airport or are nearby convenience stores available by the hotel?

    Many thanks!
    Liliana

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Mezzanine Hotel is on a quiet and beautiful stretch of beach north of the most popular area of beach. It is off on it’s own a bit and to get to a wide range of restaurants requires a 5 to 10 minute taxi or bike ride. To get into town is a little farther. For alcohol there is a huge Chedraui grocery store in between the beach and town that’s about a 10 minute taxi or bike ride from Mezzanine. They have beer, wine, liquor, everything. For a special meal go to Hartwood on the beach road. The only wrinkle is that they don’t accept reservations for less than 8 people in advance. The only way to get a reservation for less than 8 people is the on the day-of, between 3pm and 6pm, and in person – but that’s part of the fun. (Yes, there’s usually a line up for reservations.)

      Reply
  190. Zamas Hotel

    Hi Dave! My family of 5 (3 boys ages 10, 8, 6) is in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Tulum next February for my 40th birthday. Lots of hotels are already booked, but Zamas has an ocean front cabana that can accommodate us. I’ve read some iffy reviews about the beach (rocky) and location (loud, busy road) but also many excellent reviews. Would love to hear your thoughts. We’re also considering Nueva Vida de Ramiro but it feels a bit out of our price range. Would love to know whether you think it’s worth it, though, Many thanks!!
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Zamas, the hotel, is great. But yes, the beach is not the best immediately around Zamas. And the road is a little busy there. It also is a “lively” area (for Tulum) with Mateos across the street and good beach is a short walk away. The bike path to town starts just up the road from Zamas so you can ride into town with almost no riding on busy road. The beach around Nueva Vida de Ramiro is excellent. The area is quieter and there are still several restaurants within walking distance.

      Reply
  191. Tulum in Early July

    This blog post is everything that I needed! Thank you! I will be traveling to Tulum July 3-7, any tips? I was thinking about staying in town or Zamas village. How’s the weather at this time, I heard its rainy season, will I be okay? Will there be people there or is it a ghost town around that time. I love meeting other travelers!

    Thank you.
    Sheila

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Tulum is quiet in June but picks up for July and August even though it is rainy season. There will be plenty going on along the beach and in town.

      Reply
  192. Jackie

    Going to stay at a rental 10 minutes from Tulum in November. Is there any place you can go for the day that are all inclusive? Is it safe in this area? If you leave a tip when you leave a rental, what is proper etiquette for the maid, caretaker, etc.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There are no all-inclusives in Tulum. The closest is Dreams Tulum – not sure if they allow day guests. Tulum and the Yucatan are very safe. Tipping 10% to 20% in restaurants is good. For maid service, I’d go with $5 to $10 per day.

      Reply
    2. jackie

      Hey Dave,

      Just to say this is the most informative site I have ever seen. Great job and thanks for answering my questions so quickly.

      Jackie

      Reply
  193. Tulum and What Other Town?

    Great information thank you so much!
    I am really mixed up. We have a bungelo booked for 5 days in May at Nueva Vida Tulum. Then we have two more nights before our flight out of Cancun to book. I thought maybe different than a beach property. Some suggested Valladolid , but it is very expensive to get a transfer there. I was quoted $190 roundrtrip for our airport to Tulum and when I added the Valladolid leg (airport, Tulum, Valladolid, then ariport) it came to almost $800 (there are 4 of us). I know there is a bus, but I don’t want a stressful vacation and worry about that. They say it is easy, but is it really easy for someone who never takes buses back home? Also I don’t speak Spanish!
    Do you have any suggestions for where it would be good to go and visit for 2 nights from Tulum beach area. Someplace interesting that my two college age kids would enjoy that is FEASIBLE to get to without renting a car. I do not want the stress of a car rental.
    Thank you!
    Carol

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Vallodolid is great and I highly recommend it. The bus really is easy. Go to the bus station the day before to buy your tickets. You don’t need to speak Spanish. Wait in line and when you get to the front just say where you’re going and when. They’ll show you a list of available times on the computer screen. Pay and get your tickets. The next day show up at the bus station 10 minutes before your departure time. Buses are clean and modern and have a bathroom at the rear of the bus. The bus station in Tulum has a little mini mart where you can buy snacks for the 90 minute trip. It’s fun and very cheap. Do it.

      Reply
      1. Carol

        Such helpful information – thanks to the kindness of a stranger:)
        I’ve booked my stay in Valladolid and now plan to utilize the bus. I noted some eateries you suggest, as well as bike rentals!
        Thank you for your practical advice in planning.

        Reply
  194. Tulum Weather in June/ ATMs/ Happy Shuttle

    Hi Dave-

    Your blog is super helpful! I’m going to Tulum in the first week of June – is there a strong chance of rain? What is the weather like during that time of year (super hot/humid/buggy)? Should I exchange money before I get to Mexico or using the ATMs will be fine? Have you heard of Happy Shuttle / used it before?

    Thanks for your advice!

    Krista

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      June is the start of the rainy season and you can get some intense thunder storms. That said, they are usually short lived and you can often enjoy beautiful weather on most June visits (the rains often come at night). It is usually hot and humid in June. It’s also one of the quieter months and you can find great deals on hotels. Exchanging money before arriving is a good idea – there is little difference between exchange rates in the US and Mexico. ATMs are found in town and along the beach road – no problem finding them. I have not heard of Happy Shuttle.

      Reply
  195. Family Hotel in Tulum

    Awesome website! My husband, me & our kids (ages 9 & 4) are planning to visit Tulum in November. Any recommendations for family friendly hotel? We love nature & love to explore, we like some kind of privacy with calm waters, good for snorkeling. We are also thinking of renting a villa/house by the beach & curious what you think about vacation rentals versus hotels. A friend of mine suggested renting a car if we are renting a private property & using taxis if we are staying in a hotel. We are thinking of visiting Chichen Itza & the Sian Ka’an Reserve & go to Tulum Pueblo for the local cuisine plus the cenotes, so would your recommend car vs taxi? Appreciate your feedback.
    Olivia

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      OM has good sized rooms for a family of 4, a good onsite restaurant, beautiful beach, and good location. I prefer hotels to vacation rentals but many people love getting a rental. Hotels definitely have better locations along the beach. I also prefer taxis to rental cars but the more you have planned the more a rental car can make sense. Be prepared for lots of paper work when renting, though.

      Reply
  196. Moderately Priced Hotel with Pool

    Dave,

    Thank you for all the great information. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Tulum this summer and we are trying to decide on a hotel. We are looking for a small hotel on the beach, moderately priced with a pool. Is there anything like that in Tulum?

    Thank you

    Reply
  197. Renting Snorkel Gear in Tulum

    I just wanted to know where to hire snorkel for grand cenote, do they hire them there? thanks so much Dave.
    Jaimie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      There is a dive shop in Tulum that rents (and sells) snorkel gear. The Grand Cenote did used to rent snorkel and mask but not sure if they still do. I highly recommend buying a mask and snorkel before coming to Tulum as they’re cheap, it’s good to have one that fits, and if you have one you’ll use it more than you think. It’s also nice not using someone else’s snorkel.

      Reply
  198. Budget Hotel on Tulum Beach

    Hi Dave. The lady and I are going to Tulum in June for a week. We are in our mid 20’s and looking for something directly on the beach. Possible a cabana or bungalo with a bathroom. Our budget is around $150 a night. I would like to be able to get a drink on the beach. Are their bars on the beach to accomplish that? Any recommendations on where to stay would be appreciated.
    Ethan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I love (and highly recommend) Playa Mambo. It’s one of the cheaper hotels right on the Tulum beach. There are a couple of restaurants a short walk north and south of it. There’s also a small convenience store attached to the reception area (on the beach road) where you can get cheap beer, drinks, and snacks.

      Reply
  199. Cabanas La Luna's/ Rental Car for Cancun and Tulum

    Hi – we have booked a stay at Cabanas La Luna’s, in large part because they were the only hotel that could accommodate a family of four with two teenage boys – good choice? Also, we are planning on renting a car as we like the freedom of a car and are comfortable driving in Mexico – can you offer any advice on car rental companies? We will be in Tulum and The Cancun area for 10 days in August. Thanks!
    Kristi

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      La Luna is great. Good location with many restaurants within walking distance. Great beach. Like many places in Tulum, just be prepared that you’re not getting a 5 star resort, e.g. there is only salt water in the sink and shower taps at La Luna. There is a free parking lot across the street from La Luna for your rental car. I do have to say that taking taxis (for short trips) and buses (for longer trips) around Tulum and area is so much easier than a rental car. And be prepared for lots of paper work when renting a car. That said, there is Budget Rental Cars in Cancun and at the airport.

      Reply
  200. Best Beach for Visitors not Staying at a Beach Hotel

    Hi Dave, thanks for this very informative post! My sister and I will be traveling to Tulum for the first time in May. We will be staying in a condo on the south side of Tulum in the jungle (felt that staying in a location with AC was a priority for us). Do you have any recommendations for the best beach spots that we can visit without being hotel guests? Would love a few options that also serve good drinks and/or lunch. Thanks!
    Kristina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The beach around OM is my favorite. Zebra is another good area. But there are many good spots and pretty much everywhere along the beach you can cut down, through, or around any of the hotels and find a spot. All beaches in Mexico are public so you needn’t worry about getting kicked out.

      Reply
  201. Christina

    Hey Dave – awesome article! GREAT lists and suggestions. it pretty much sums up everything about Tulum. We are headed down in about 6 weeks. this will be our third visit in a year. We’ve stayed at Encantada twice, but, unfortunately were not able to book our length of stay this time so we are going to try Mi Amor. It’s a new place on the beach road but to the LEFT at the Y instead of a right. We’re super excited. since we have 10 days this time, we’re looking to do more than just “wake up, have fabulous coffee and wonderful tropical fruit, head to the beach, drink margaritas and eat dinner on the beach road somewhere” (although that’s been perfect for us the last two times!) – your lists of the puebla restaurants and other things to do is going to come in handy. We’d like to go to Coba, maybe Valladolid for a day (then i suspect we’d want to go to Chichen Itza?). I just wanted to reach out and say thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Thanks! Valladolid is an absolute treasure of a little city. Definitely worth a visit (as are Coba and Chichen Itza, of course).

      Reply
  202. Hotel for 30 Year Olds

    Hi Dave!
    My friends and I will be travelling to Talum in July. We are 3, thirty year old ladies who love the beach, enjoy eating great food and a few drinks. Where would you recommend that we stay that’s not too honeymooney or family orientated? Trina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose is great and not dominated by either honeymooners or families (though it being July both will be well represented all around Tulum).

      Reply
  203. Bike Rentals/Tipping/Safety in Tulum

    Wonderful article on Tulum! My husband and I will be staying at BE Tulum in May for our anniversary. Any information on the following questions would be greatly appreciated!

    1.) Do you have a link of a map of the town of Tulum that would include the beach and town with restaurants, bike shop rentals ect.? I would love to be able to plan day trips before arriving and have had no luck finding a map with distances between the hotels and restaurants. To be specific, I was wondering how far of a walk it is from BE Tulum to a bike rental shop that is close to the path that connects the beach to the town. I believe BE Tulum has bikes for rent, but I’m not sure if the bike ride from BE Tulum to town would be too much considering that it is on the south end of the area.

    2.) Is it safe to walk around the town of Tulum at night? Also, my husband and I are in our mid-twenties and would love any suggestions for fun night life!

    3.) Lastly, what is the general rule for tipping in Tulum?

    Thank You!!!
    Lindsey from Texas

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1. There are different places to rent bikes all the way along the beach road from BE to the first little collection of shops and restaurants at the start of the beach road/end of the bike path from Tulum. For a larger bike shop with more selection you’ll need to go into Tulum. From BE to the start of the bike path is a very good walk (like, an hour).
      2. Tulum is very safe, day or night.
      3. Tipping is all over the place and there isn’t a standard percentage like in America. 10% would be fine if you’re on a budget, 20% is nice if you can afford it. But look for an included service charge at nicer places.

      Reply
  204. Tour or Do It Yourself

    Great, quick and to the point info!
    We are visiting Tulum in 2 weeks and are very excited. We were planning on doing a private tour which would include Chichen Itza, Ik-kil, and Coba all in one day. Figured transportation and lunch would be easier and cheaper this way, and we want to take the rest of our stay easy. Too much? Or would doing it on our own be a better idea?

    Any recommendations for truly off the beaten path, amazing things to see or do……things that are not well known or just by locals?

    Cheers!
    Carmen

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I would hire a taxi for the day and visit the sites on your own. Hire tour guides at the individual sites – I’ve always found them to be good. Ask the taxi driver you hire for their favorite restaurants (usually out on the highway) and get him to take you to a cenote or two.

      Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Suenos is located at the far south end of the Tulum hotel zone – but still within walking distance of many restaurants. Nice place, beautiful beach.

      Reply
  205. Playa Mambo in Tulum

    This list is awesome Dave, thank you! Do you know anything about Playa Mambo? We are considering staying there, or Posada Lamar or at Maya Tulum.

    Thank you!!

    Kedist Tsadik

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Playa Mambo is a great place. The picture above labeled “Breakfast on the Beach” is from the beach front cabins at Playa Mambo. Love that place.

      Reply
  206. Chilaquiles/Scooters in Tulum

    Thank you, this is so helpful! May I ask, do you recall where you ate those Chilaquiles pictured above? Also, do you have any experience renting a scooter in Tulum?
    Haley

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The Chilaquiles were from Petit Paris in downtown Tulum (far from my favorite restaurant but their Chilaquiles are good). Scooters are the most efficient way to get yourself into a hospital. I’ve seen (and heard of) more scooter accidents by travelers than any other accident.

      Reply
  207. When To Book Hotels for Tulum?

    Hey was wondering about hotel availability, especially Papaya Playa Project, and how for I should book hotels in Tulum in advance? Joe

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Most hotels in Tulum are small and fill up quickly. Book as soon as possible. I know some of my favorite places are booked 6 months in advance (though to be fair, I’m usually looking for a large family room – which are limited).

      Reply
  208. Quiet Beach in Tulum

    Hiya – great info. We are heading to Tulum in a week. We rented a house that is not on the beach. I would like to take one day to just lie on the beach, yet be able to order cocktails. But I dislike crowded beaches. Suggestions? It can be outside of Tulum as we rented a car. Thanks a ton! Dana

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The farther south you go on the beach road the quieter the beach gets (generally). Within the main strip there’s Ziggy’s which isn’t always quiet but the beach is large enough to never feel busy. Farther south around Las Ranitas (currently closed for renovations) there’s a quiet stretch of beach with restaurants north and south. Going farther, you can drive right up to the edge of the biosphere, park your car, and then walk north along the beach until you find a restaurant. That will be the quietest stretch of beach there is. (Also, just south of the ruins around Zazil-kin is good beach that’s not too busy and easy to bike to from town.)

      Reply
  209. Airport to Tulum

    This is the best thing I read about Tulum! I am traveling there in end of May with 3 others. Was wondering if still taking a taxi is a good idea withings that many ppl. I priced Canada transfers and it was $160 roundtrip for a private shuttle. Also we have 7am returning flights (scary) what time should we leave our hotel to make it to the airport in time.

    We are staying at Ahau hotel. Are you familiar with this hotel? How is the beach here? Also do you know where that is located in comparison to biking to town and the ruins also are the cenotes close enough to bike to?

    What are some of the best bars to go to with live music in the beach and in town?

    Where is the best beach with the least amount of seaweed?

    How bad are the mosquitos in Tulum?

    Any affordable spa recommendations?

    Okay I think I’m done 🙂

    Courtney

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      $160 sounds pretty good for a shuttle from the airport to Tulum. I’d book it. For the return I’d leave about 4am.

      Ahau is a great place with a beautiful beach. Lots of good restaurants are within a short walk, say 3 to 15 minutes. You can definitely bike to town from Ahau – it’s about a 30 minute leisurely ride. Several cenotes are another 10 to 20 minute ride in different directions – some on the opposite side of town, some on the road to Coba, and some on the road to Playa del Carmen.

      The beach can have seaweed but it changes every day with the current and can come and go in very little time. If you show up on arrival and see seaweed on the beach don’t despair, you’ll likely wake up the next morning and have a beach without a spot of seaweed. Some hotels and restaurants dig holes in the beach and then bury the seaweed. For live music check out Mateo’s and Zamas. Mosquitoes are present in Tulum but not terrible, the breezes on the beach keep them away for the most part. They can be a little worse in town but still not awful. For spas in Tulum try Maya Tulum, Maya Spa, Coqui Coqui, or Ana Y Jose.

      Reply
  210. Location of Villa Pescadores

    Thanks for putting this together. Great list! I will be in Tulum 1st week of April… Looking forward to this trip. Tulum seems like an amazing place! Staying at Villa Pescadores. Would you happen to know how far this is from the main beach road? 🙂 Thanks!
    Patty

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Villa Pescadores is between Playa Maya and Zazil Kin and about 3km from the main beach road that leads from town out to the beach. But it is on (a different) beach road that leads from the ruins to the main stretch of beach in Tulum. (Does that make sense?) It’s about 1 km south of the ruins, if that helps.

      Reply
  211. Snorkeling near Tulum

    Hey man, awesome site. I’m gonna be in Tulum around October and I was wondering where the best places to snorkel are- so far it looks like people speak highly of the Mayan Reef tour on the VisitSianKaan site, and the Yal-Ku lagoon near Akumal. Do those seem like good picks? I’d like for it to be beginner-friendly, but still have really great varieties of fish and coral without toooooo long of a journey from Tulum itself.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Akumal is great for snorkeling. Also, Dos Ojos and the Gran Cenote are the best cenotes for snorkeling.

      Reply
      1. J

        Great, thanks. I hadn’t even really considered snorkeling in the cenotes, will definitely keep that in mind.

        Do you have any experience with the VisitSianKaan people?

        Reply
  212. Weather in Late September, Early October/ Xel-Ha

    This post has been extremely helpful!
    I plan on going in late September to Early October, do you think this would be a good time to go? I plan to spend a lot of time in the water……. 😮
    Would you recommend going to Xel-Ha? I want to swim in the cenotes, go zip lining, snorkel, and go cliff jumping.
    I’m not sure if xel-ha would be the best option though – what do you suggest?

    Thank you in advance!
    Ashley

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      September and October are hurricane and tropical storm seasons and technically part of rainy season (though less rain than July and August). Generally the weather is good unless a storm hits in which case there can be heavy rain. If you’re looking for hotel deals September, October, and November are great months. (The weather in November is ideal.) Xel-Ha is worth a trip and has lots to do. Snorkeling is the highlight but there is also tubing, rope swing, and zip lining, etc.

      Reply
      1. When To Go To Tulum?

        Would you say it’s a bad idea to go in late September then? I would be there from 09/30 – 10/04.. but if it’s going to be raining I’d rather go in November.

        Would you say Xel-ha is the best option then? Seems a bit pricey

        Ashley

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          If you have a choice then go in November. If you don’t, personally, I would still go – just be prepared for the potential of rain.

          Xel-Ha is pricey but you get a fair bit (and the price includes all meals). If you’re only looking for a cenote/snorkeling experience then the Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos are way cheaper and great. But Xel-Ha is a full day experience with lots to do.

          Weekends are less busy than weekdays at parks such as Xel-Ha, Xcaret, and Xplor and they sometimes have discounts for weekend visits if you purchase in advance.

          Reply
  213. Shopping in Tulum

    Thanks for all the great info. I will be in Tulum for a week and have rented a house. I was just wondering about shopping. Would you stick to Tulum or venture out to another city?

    Thanks,
    Javi

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The shopping in Tulum town is pretty good. The main strip has a number of funky shops. It’s pedestrian friendly and fun to walk up and down in the evening. If you’re looking for a grocery store the Chedraui, just outside of town on the way to the beach, is the best in the area.

      Reply
  214. Cozumel vs Tulum/Cenotes

    Good morning Dave,
    Thanks for the info! My wife and I are heading to the Yucatan for 5 days in June, time to take a well deserved break from the kiddo. We were thinking of either a couple days in Tulum and a few in Cozumel or just making Tulum our home base with a day trip to Cozumel. Can you think of a good reason to stay in Cozumel? Right now we’re leaning towards just getting a cool place and staying in Tulum. Also, what is your favorite cenote? Anywhere off the beaten path where we can possibly go cliff jumping?

    Also, rumor is renting a car is less expensive than taking taxis. True?
    Thanks!
    Aaron

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I would recommend staying in Tulum unless you have a big interest in snorkeling or scuba diving – that’s the main reason to go to Cozumel. The beaches in Tulum are much better than Cozumel and there’s lots to do within an hour’s drive of Tulum to keep you busy for 5 days (if you want to be busy). You can visit cozumel as a day trip, but once again, is it worth a 4 to 6 hour return trip (from Tulum) to drive around the island? I’d spend my time doing something else. The only cenote I’ve done cliff jumping from is Zaci in downtown Valladolid. It’s great. There are several different levels to jump from including one that has to be 30 or 40 feet. Samula (near Valladolid) and Gran Cenote (near Tulum) are my favorite cenotes but neither have cliff jumping. Other cenotes with cliff jumping: Jardin del Eden, Cristalino, and Azul. The Xel-Ha attraction also has jumping but that’s part of an adventure park.

      Renting a car vs taxi comes down to how much you’ll use it. A trip to Tulum town from the beach and back again will be cheaper by taxi. But if you set out in the morning with the goal of visiting 4 or 5 cenotes around the area then that would be cheaper to get a taxi. I prefer the ease of taking a taxi most places and never seem to do more than 1 or 2 things on any one day. But if you’re someone that packs more into a day then the math will change.

      Reply
      1. Aaron

        Awesome, thanks Dave! We decided to stay in Tulum, will be there 6/17-6/22. If we see you around, we’ll treat you to a drink!

        Reply
          1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

            One of the few places I’m not familiar with but just looked it up on AirBnb and it looks great. Have fun.

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          I leave for 6 weeks in Greece, Italy, and France on June 16th – but thanks. Next time!

          Reply
  215. Lynne

    My husband and I are in the middle of our stay at Villa las Estrellas – a wonderful place to stay and just relax! Have enjoyed reading your suggestions and recommendations – they are spot on!!!

    Reply
    1. Josh

      I’m looking into a honeymoon at Villa Las Estrellas in October! Glad to hear you are loving it? May I ask which room you chose, the Standard, deluxe, or Suite? Thanks for any info you can provide!

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        We stayed in a standard room on the first floor – felt very pampered by the staff!
        Food was excellent – some of the best we experienced during our stay! Bar and restaurant close at 10 pm and then it feels like you are on a private beach – amazing!!!
        Would return in a heartbeat!

        Reply
  216. Breakfast and Dinner on the Beach

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if you could tell me where your breakfast/dinner on the beach photos were taken? Looks like a great place to visit! We’ll be traveling down to Tulum for a week in April with our toddler!

    Thanks!
    Lydia M

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      In the pictures above, breakfast was at Playa Mambo, lunch/beer at La Zebra. Breakfast can be tricky to find along the beach (most people eat at their hotel). There are many places to eat lunch and dinner.

      Reply
  217. Bikes in Tulum

    My question about the bikes, how safe is it to leave your bike at places? Should we take our own locks? What is the protocol? Thank you! Carolina

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Every bike rental comes with a bike lock so you’re fine taking and leaving it anywhere. (They’re not high end bikes.)

      Reply
  218. Cost of Meals/Save Money

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for hosting this forum. This is some of the most practical travel information I’ve read about Tulum. My husband and I will be going down there in early May and are staying at the southern end of Tulum beach. Our hotel has bikes to rent and we were thinking this could be our means to get from the beach to the town. I’ve read that you estimate the ride to be pretty manageable (a 20 – 40 minute, flat ride). I’d really like to spend the evenings in town, to take advantage of the delicious (and more affordable) restaurants. Do you estimate the ride back to the hotel at night would be safe? (It’s our first time in Tulum so don’t know the town layout, if the roads have streetlights, etc…). Also, what is the average cost of a dinner at Tulum Beach versus in town? Thanks so much for any advice you could offer!
    Beth

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Meals are definitely cheaper in Tulum town (pueblo) than at the beach but in both places there is a wide range. Breakfast at the beach can cost 80 to 120 pesos (per person), lunch from 100 to 150 pesos, and dinner 200 to 300 (and up). In town lunch and dinner can be half the cost – or less if you only eat tacos (which I love). Though there are a few expensive places in town where costs can approach those on the beach. Biking back from town at night is doable but I don’t think I’d be comfortable with it. There’s a sidewalk/bike path for a good ways but seeing as you’re at the south end of the beach you’ll have to ride along the main road for several miles in the dark and there’s not much lighting. Traffic doesn’t move too fast along here so it’s not a crazy idea but still I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Reply
      1. Beth

        This is such great info, Dave! Thanks so much again for hosting this forum and providing your valuable advice!

        Happy Travels!

        All best,
        Beth

        Reply
  219. Bus to and from Cancun Airport

    I disagree about taxis to and from the airport; the ADO bus is very comfortable and affordable. You have to transfer at PDC on your way to tulum but there are direct buses back 4 or 5 times per day.

    Nicole

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I agree, taking the bus is cheap and easy in the Yucatan. We usually take it everywhere we go – except to and from the airport. To get from the airport to Tulum you usually need to switch buses in Playa del Carmen, then another bus to Tulum, then a taxi to your hotel (unless you’re staying in Tulum town). If you’re a couple this will still be cheaper than a taxi directly from the Cancun airport to a Tulum hotel but I don’t think it’s worth the extra 1 to 2 hours travel time. If you’re a family of 4 (like us) then the bus won’t be much cheaper, if at all. Here is an excellent post on taking the bus from Cancun airport to PDC. From there it’s pretty straight forward getting a bus to Tulum.

      Reply
  220. La Zebra with Kids

    Hi Dave,

    Any tips on travelling to Tulum with young kids (2 and 4 years old)?
    We’ve booked last minute room at La Zebra for end of March and wonder if our kids will find it pleasant. I guess biking the Beach road to town is out of question for us since our kids can’t ride bikes yet. We’re left with taxi. What about the collectivos, any experience with those? Thanks a lot!
    Dan

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      La Zebra is great. Really good food, good location that’s walking distance to some other good restaurants (La Onda for thin crust and nutella pizza). La Zebra has a kids play area with swings and climbing structure on the sand. Small but fun. There are also hammocks hanging in a couple different spots. Be sure to get to a cenote for swimming. Grand Cenote if your kids can wear snorkel and mask, Casa Cenote just for swimming. Taxis are easy to find.

      Reply
    2. Lara belle Schneider

      Thanks Dave for your wonderful information! We will be in Tulum (from snowy windy cold Maine, USA) in one week. Wohoo! I have been to Tulum 3 years ago (solo) and this time will be traveling with my partner and 5-year old son. We will be staying at Uno Astrolodge (next to Shambhala Petit) about mid-way down the beach. We are on a budget and plan to tent it, then stay in a cabana part-time. I stayed there the last time – and really appreciated the location and the beach. Someday we’ll do a fancier spot! But this way we’ll have more resources for even more yummy food, biking, some day trips, etc..

      Bikes! In 2012 I rented a beater beach cruiser (an old one they pulled from out back for me 🙂 from Amansala and had a complete blast. I didn’t need to step in a car after my arrival for 9 days – it was heaven! I biked up and down the beach road and would head into town for food and to catch music, etc..I have a few question.

      1. Do you know of a bike shop that rents a child’s seat or tag-along or bike trailer? I know you can pick up beach cruiser just about anywhere, but it’s the child’s seat/trailer I’m concerned about. My hope is to ride to the ruins, into town, and up and down the beach. Our son isn’t a rider yet, but we are so excited to be relatively car free (except for possible longer day trips).

      Unrelated but…
      2. In the bioreserve it sounds like the community tours are great! Do you have a suggestion for a good trip for a couple and 5-year old?

      Really thank you! Such relevant, clear, and helpful (and fun!) information and tips.

      Warmly, (well almost… 🙂
      Lara

      Reply
      1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

        I don’t know for sure but I’d be surprised if you could find a bike seat or kid trailer for your child. I’d consider taking a trailer along with you. You could probably find a used one (if you don’t already have one) for pretty cheap. It would be great for getting around and they’re wonderful for transporting a lot of stuff. For tours of Sian Kaan check out Community Tours.

        Reply
      2. Adam

        Hey Lara (or Dave if you have updated information),
        We are going to Tulum in February with our 17 month old and 2.5 year old. We were hoping to find a bike trailer there. Did you have any luck? Our trailer at home doesn’t fold and would be really challenging to bring along.

        Adam

        Reply
  221. Ana y Jose, Be, or The Beach Hotels

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Tulum in July for 7 nights. I want to make the correct hotel choice. I am torn between Ana Y Jose, Be and the Beach. What would be your choice and why.

    Thanks,
    Dave

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Ana y Jose and The Beach are in the central strip of Tulum and have more beach traffic and activity and more restaurants within a short walk along the beach road. Be is more isolated and not nearly as much within walking distance. The beach gets a little nicer as you move south so Be might have a slight advantage but all 3 have great beaches. I tend to think Ana y Jose has more of a resort feel (centered around the pool back from the beach) while The Beach is more focused around the beach area and has more beach front rooms.

      Reply
  222. Private/Public Beaches in Mexico

    My traveling companions have heard that beach access is restricted unless you stay at a beach hotel? Has anyone found this to be the case.

    Reply
    1. DaveDave Post author

      All beaches in Mexico are public and access can’t be restricted to non-guests. Resorts can, however, charge people to use their beach chairs, umbrellas, and pool – and this can have the effect of making non-guests feel unwelcome. But in theory you can walk, sit, or lay your towel on any free spot of sand you find.

      Reply
      1. April

        Have you personnally had any issues with this? Just bringing a cooler and a couple towels and finding a spot?

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          I have never had a problem finding a spot on the beach. I’d be shocked if you did.

          Reply
  223. Best Beach in Tulum/Taxis

    We stay 3 nights in Cancun before coming to Tulum to stay at Ana Y Jose. We would like to explore the full stretch of beach along Tulum’s coast. where is the best swimming and the best sand in Tulum? And how hard is it to get taxis into Tulum? I’ve been told you sometimes need to walk up to Zamas to get a taxi, is this true? How much is a taxi from Cancun beach to Tulum?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The beach south of the ruins is great (around El Paraiso) and then the stretch further south where most of the hotels are (starting just north of Ana y Jose and all the way south for several miles – all great beach). Ana y Jose has a great beach club on the sand but if you’re looking for a different destination ride a bike south to OM – good restaurant, great beach. Taxis are easy to find along the hotel strip but you can get caught in traffic and just sit there without moving for 5, 10, 15 minutes. Walking a bit north (towards town) isn’t a bad idea but I wouldn’t say you “have to” walk to Zamas. If you’re only going as far as Mateo’s or Zamas then just ride your bike – no taxi necessary.

      Reply
  224. Tulum Bikes/Rentals/Transfers

    Hello Dave…
    First of thank you for all your amazing info. My husband and I are traveling to Tulum October 23-29. Our first visit to this area. We have traveled several times to the PDC area, and always have sayed at an all- inclusive resort. This time we are booked at CalaLuna on the north end of the beach. Our first time to a Eco resort. I’m very excited. I really want this trip to be low key, and live like a local if that’s possible. When I booked our trip I included a car. The more I think about it, I’m not sure if I want to mess with having one. Especially reading on traffic issues. IF you can, please tell me what transfer you would recommend, and approximately how much that would cost us. The bike rentals sound great. If we want to go a bit further, we can call a cab. Also, how much money would you exchange at the airport to get us started. I really don’t want to running to the bank machine to much.
    Thanks, Becci Schutte

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The Cataluna is a cool hotel (formerly Cabanas la Conchita) with a great location. Check out Zamas and Matteos – a very short walk away, good food, live music most nights. Getting into town is a 15 minute bike ride and you can rent bikes either from your hotel or several others just out the door. There’s also a small market nearby where you can buy essentials. You’ll love your choice as long as you’re not expecting anything like a all inclusive resort – not sure the current policy but there likely will only be power for a few hours every day (probably from 5 to 10pm). No need to rent a car especially where you’re located. Beach is right there and Tulum ruins are easily reached by bike. I’d probably change $1000 before arriving in Tulum. You can do that at the airport or your bank at home (a little more expensive changing money in the US but not a huge difference in currency rates and fees). At the Cancun airport walk out the doors and get the taxi service to your left (no need to book in advance) – it will cost about $100 from the Cancun airport to Tulum hotels.

      Reply
      1. Where to Buy Alcohol/Airport Transfers

        Thank you Dave 🙂 I think we are going to be happy with our hotel choice. I think there will be pretty much everything we will need to grab very close to us. What about alcoholic drinks? Are they sold at the little convience stores? I understand the Calaluna provides coolers for drinks ect.

        I read somewhere that the cenots may close to the public soon, is this true? I hope not, we would really like to see the area.

        On transfers, I was checking the difference between a shared van v/s a cab. Big difference in price, my guess is we will get to our hotel faster in a cab. One review mentioned making sure we have a set price from the cab driver, so they won’t take advantage of us. Have you ever experienced this?

        Thank you again… Becci

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          Beer and alcohol are available at the couple of little stores along the beach. For cheaper prices and more selection go to the Chedraui grocery store – about 5 minutes by cab or 15 minute bike ride from your hotel. I have not heard about closing of cenotes – hope that doesn’t happen. There are thousands of them so I bet there will always be something accessible. The shared van would stop at a number of different hotels along the way, so yes this can take a lot longer. You pay for the taxi at the airport before you get in the cab. But yes, on any other trip you should agree on a price before you get in.

          Reply
  225. Grand Bahia Principe Tulum

    Hi Dave, great info. Prior to seeing your site we made reservations and have already paid for our stay at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum, any advise while we are there? Travelling in mid march. Never been to the area or even mexico before.

    Tim

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      The Grand Bahia Principe Tulum is not in Tulum. It’s about 15 miles north of Tulum (and the ruins) and 30 miles from Playa del Carmen. If you like resorts then you’ll be impressed by the GBP – but, you know, it’s a resort, so you’re not getting a lot of character or seeing Mexico. Try to get to Coba (the ancient Mayan city), Tulum town (to walk around, shop, eat dinner), Tulum beach (the best in the area – lots of restaurants along the beach will let you use their beach chairs when you eat and buy drinks – OM Tulum is a good one), and swim in a cenote or two (there are many close to the resort or head towards Tulum for more choice).

      Reply
  226. Rental in Tulum

    Hi Dave. This is the best info I have found on Tulum! Thanks. Hey we are coming there is Oct with 5 close friends and we are thiniking about renting and Air Bnb instead of hotels. Any advice on this? We love being part of local culture and not shut off in a tourist enclave/ resort.
    April

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I think it’s a great option. But it is different. It’s not a hotel which can be both good and bad. You usually don’t just show up and walk into reception. You have to organize when and where to meet – which is often very easy but it does have to be arranged. When something goes wrong you have to know how to contact the owner – not just walk downstairs. And rentals are typically not any cheaper than hotels for what you get. But that said, it is a great way to get outside the tourist bubble. I’ve had good experiences whenever I’ve used AirBnb. Most accommodations are in Tulum town but there are a few rentals out by the beach.

      Reply
      1. April

        Thanks so much for your response. We have rented vacation rental houses a lot in the states so we are familiar with the various aspects of them. I think we decided it would be best to have a hotel by the beach for 2 nights when we first arrive and then an AirBnB for the next 5 days in town so we have time to work out the logistics. Thanks again.

        Reply
  227. Renting Bikes vs Taking Taxis/ Getting to and from Biosphere

    Great info you have shared !! The wife and I have been staying in Akumal the last couple of years. We rent a villa there for 10 days or so. Last year we decided on taking the colectivo to Tulum beach for a day trip. Loved it so much we did it again and did the bar hopping along the beach. Any rate we are going back this May for 10 days and we are staying at “The Beach”. Of all the places we visited during the day we liked Ziggy’s and The Beach. We are pretty out going and I have worked internationally for many years. We like to do as “locals” do when it comes to eating etc.
    Would you suggest getting bicycles over just taking a cab to town from Ziggy’s? I can see us hanging out in town a day or two but 2 bikes will be around 20 bucks a day plus I have to pedal…do you know what the current cab rate is to town from Ziggy’s? Thinking it will be just as cheap without the worry of having to return before dark. What are you thoughts?
    Another question is how would we be able to go to the biosphere to hang out on beach? We do not want to rent a car and deal with that. Can a cab take you there? How the hell would you get back ???
    Any suggestions for this 10 day trip to Tulum would be greatly appreciated !!

    Kenny Barkley

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Yes, if you’re just comparing one return bike trip to one return taxi trip per day and basing expenses on that it’s pretty comparable. But you’ll likely use the bike many times throughout the day zipping here and there. It’s a lot of fun, especially when the traffic on the beach road backs up and you zoom by on your bike.

      If you did take a taxi to the biosphere then you’d need to hire it for the day/morning/afternoon. A tour would probably be your best bet. Check out Community Tours – they have an office in downtown Tulum. Tours are pretty small and not the huge bus tours you’d get from a resort.

      Reply
      1. Kenny Barkley

        Thanks for the info. I guess we will do both some. Cab if we are going to be after dark and bike during the day. On the Biosphere we were not looking at going with any group, just ourselves to explore the beach for the day.
        I know this has been asked a thousand times but…..where is the best exchange rate when changing money? I have done it at the airport ATM and bank at home in the states. Both comparable. I now have a American Express card that does not charge an extra fee for foreign exchange. We usually do the airport because of convenience.
        This is def the best site for info. Thanks for putting this up !

        Reply
        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

          We usually get a little at home before we arrive and then use an ATM to get more when we’re there. And I agree, there’s not much of a difference. Not sure how your AMEX will work in practice (I imagine there will still be bank fees related to the ATM) but that sounds like the best route. There are HSBC and Scotiabank ATMs in town and a bunch of independent ATMs scattered around the town and beach.

          The biggest difference money wise is be sure to pay in pesos whenever you can (and not simply not-exchange your money and pay in dollars – you nearly always get a terrible exchange rate when you pay in dollars).

          Reply
          1. Kenny Barkley

            We have been to mexico 6 times in the past 4 years and you are right. The most important thing to do is use Peso’s and not dollars. On small roadside places etc it is usually rounded to 10 Peso’s to the dollar. Easy to count that way. Use Peso’s for everything. Makes it easy on them also to use peso’s. Thanks again !!

  228. How To Save Money in Tulum?

    Best site I’ve seen for Tulum, thanks!

    My fiancé and I are leaving next week for our 2nd Tulum trip and want to be more conscious about spending $ this time. Last year we stayed at a great beachfront hotel with a great restaurant and basically never left that spot. It was fantastic but we spent way too much $. We used a credit card for everything. I recently read that if you use a credit card at these hotels you actually end up paying 20% more than if you use cash, a jacked up exchange rate. Do you know anything about this?

    Any advice on how to keep our costs down would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    Anikka

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      5 Ways to save money in Tulum:
      • Stay in town – hotels are much cheaper, food is much cheaper, still fun biking to the beach every day.
      • Even if you’re not staying in town, try to eat in town. The riddle is that most people will take a taxi into town which cuts into your savings, but if you can share a taxi or bike into town then you’ll find very inexpensive food. When in doubt, eat tacos.
      • Use booking.com to find the cheapest hotel rates.
      • Negotiate everything. Never get in a taxi without deciding on a price first.
      • Pay in pesos, not dollars (not just hotels, restaurants and shops too).

      Reply
  229. Derek

    Great list! Thanks for putting this together. We opted for an airbnb joint over a hotel… look forward to exploring this March and will provide feedback.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Look forward to hearing back from you. Just wish AirBnb had more listings for Tulum beach area – they’re mainly in town, I believe.

      Reply
  230. Tulum Town or Beach

    We have ten days in Tulum and are trying to decide whether to spend all of our time at beach hotel or split our time and spend 3 days in Tulum town. Any thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      I love both though they have a very different feel (as you’d expect). The beach area is spread along 5+ kms of beach road with hotels on one side (along the beach) and in some places there are restaurants and small shops on the other side, in other places there’s nothing but forest/jungle. Everything is very spread out. If you’re walking you might have only 4 or 5 restaurants within a 15 minute walk from your hotel.

      The town is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. Most hotels in town are budget or mid-range. On our most recent trip we stayed in town and rode bikes to the beach every day. It’s about a 20 to 40 minute ride depending on where you’re going and how fast you go. I did it with my boys (ages 8 and 11) and wife and we had no problems. It’s an easy, flat ride. (Obviously you can take taxis to and from the beach too. They’re cheap and plentiful.)

      So doing both would probably be great for you. I’m hesitant to say that with more certainty as I think some people would be disappointed staying in town. But if you love Mexican food, are into riding bikes to the beach, and don’t mind staying in a non-luxury hotel then you’ll probably love staying in town.

      Reply
  231. When Should I Book Hotels

    We will be visiting Tulum in early July. When should we book hotels? Do rates increase or decrease over time?

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      Book hotels as soon as possible. The best rooms get booked, the rooms with the best rates get booked. I recommend using booking.com and they won’t have hotels more than 10 or 11 months in advance (which doesn’t apply here) but other than that book as early as you can.

      Reply
  232. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum?

    We have 2 weeks and are flying from New York to Cancun. We are trying to decide where to stay, whether to move around or find a base, and where that base should be. We do not want an over active vacation but we do want to see some of the historical sights and those cenotes look great.

    1) What beach town would you recommend, Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum?
    2) What’s the best way to get from the Cancun airport to these beach towns?
    3) Which one of these 3 towns has the best beach?

    Thanks,
    Elsie

    Reply
    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Post author

      1) I far prefer Tulum to either PDC or Cancun. PDC has a spring-break party feel. I don’t dislike it but a few days there is as much as I can take. Cancun is largely mega-resorts and all inclusives. The beach is great but it lacks a town or center along the beach (where the hotels are located). Tulum has a very different feel than both. It’s got a very relaxed atmosphere, bike is one of the main forms of transport, and the hotels are small boutique or family-owned. The beach is also great.
      2) Taxi is the best way to get to and from the airport. There are shuttles that are cheaper for a single traveler. But for 2 or more people the shuttles aren’t much cheaper (and you likely will have to make stops at other hotels). Booking in advance isn’t necessary. Just walk out the Arrivals door after you pass customs and queue for a taxi. There is usually a wait but not terribly long.
      3) All have really good beaches. It’s more what’s behind the beach that is different. At Cancun you have giant hotels fronting the beach. In PDC the town is right on the beach and there are bars and a few hotels (and the beach area is quite active and busy). In Tulum there are low-rise hotels and restaurants spread along the length of the beach. It’s never too busy in any one spot but not deserted either. There are far fewer hawkers in Tulum too.

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