Vacationing in Tulum, tips for a perfect vacation
Tulum is the crown jewel of the Riviera Maya. It started as a laid-back beach destination with few cabanas on the beach, two restaurants for backpackers, one taxi for the entire town and the hotel Acuario (which still exists by the Tulum archaeological site), the only place that sold ice cream in Tulum because they had electricity and a fridge to store it in.
Tulum is still paradise but so much different now. It has become one of the most desired vacation spots for many travelers from all over the world. It has an eco-chic vibe with miles of uncrowded beaches, boutique/ eco-friendly hotels, a preferred destination for yoga retreats, kite surfers, cavern divers, foodies and people that enjoy culture, nature, a healthy lifestyle, adventure and fun nightlife spots.
Are you ready to plan your vacation in Tulum? Here are some tips you should know in order to have the best of times.
Tulum has a tropical climate, it’s pretty much consistent all year round: pleasant, sunny and humid, around 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The best weather is from December to April when there is less humidity and lots of sun, this is also the high season so it will be more expensive and more crowded. The most humid and hot months go from May to October and you can also expect some rain, as well as lower rates on airfare and Tulum beach hotels. Bring a light sweater in case the temperature suddenly drops a night.
Don’t underestimate the sun, be kind to your skin and enjoy the rest of your vacation. Bring a biodegradable sunscreen as many attractions won’t allow other options. Also bring a long sleeve swim shirt you can use while visiting cenotes, water parks and other water activities where you will be exposed to the sun for some time. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses and a beautiful hat.
Many tours and attractions may have their prices in US dollars but will accept either dollars or pesos.
Some stores, restaurants and bars along the beach strip and downtown Tulum accept cash only. So make sure you always carry enough with you, preferably in pesos so you don’t loose money when paying with dollars in each establishment, as each one defines its own exchange rate. ATMs are easy to find in town and give you the best exchange rate of the day. An advice – stick to bank’s ATMs as they are safer.
Remember, once you set foot in Mexico, you are in one of the most hospitable countries in the world, and you’re also on Mexican time. So ask for a cold Mexican beer and a fresh guacamole while your food is being prepared. There is no rush now, you’re on vacation.
Tipping is customary in restaurants, usually 15% for good service and 20% or more if its outstanding.
We know you’re on vacation but when planning a visit to any of the amazing archaeological sites, get on a bike tour, cenote or water park, set your alarm clock in order to arrive early in the morning, get ahead of the crowds and enjoy your visit while the temperature is cooler. If you’re staying on the beach, make sure you witness at least one beautiful sunrise over the ocean.
How to get from Cancun to Tulum
There are several options:
- Pre-arranged private transfer from the airport, prices vary depending on number of people and type of car
- Renting a car, about 300 usd per week
- A taxi ride will cost around 100 usd per person (no Uber yet in the area)
- By bus. You catch it at the airport at their own ADO terminals. They’re comfortable and have A/A, around 11 usd per person. (It makes a few stops along the road)
- Colectivos, these are vans with A/A that go along the main highway making many stops along the way. You catch them across from the ADO bus station in downtown Cancun and they drop you off in downtown Tulum. By far the cheapest option, about $4 usd
Getting Around in Tulum:
Taxis are pretty easy to find almost anywhere. You can also explore Tulum on a bike, you can request one while staying at Cabanas Tulum Beach Hotel & Spa free of charge. You may ride on the main road that goes down the shoreline or follow the bike path to visit downtown and experiment the local life with your own eyes.
What to wear in Tulum
Tulum is unlike any other destination in the world, it’s a Mexican Caribbean town with a chic but laid back vibe. If you want to blend in with the bohemian Tulum style, it has to look effortless and also feel comfortable.
You can wear basic colors and combine them: black, lots of whites, light blues and sandy tones. Bring flowy dresses and skirts, crop tops, light cotton or linen clothing, linen shorts and shirts for men, sandals, your favorite bathing suits, caftans and a light sweater specially during winter months. There are many stylish boutiques along the beach road that can give you the perfect Tulum style.
Don’t forget your stunning sunglasses and a beach hat.
If you had to choose two things you must see while in Tulum they would be cenotes and archaeological sites.
Cenotes: Tulum has the largest underwater river system in the world. The cenotes are large natural sinkholes of fresh sweet and water, they can be open to the ground, semi open cenotes, cavern and deep open cenotes. They are unique to this area, you can swim, snorkel or cavern dive if certified. Immersed in the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife, the Mayans had them as sacred places for rituals and ceremonies as well as their only source of drinking water.
Archaeological sites: They are all different and stand heroic through time and weather conditions, remains of a wonderful and advanced culture.
From Tulum, built on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean, Muyil where you can also travel through its waterways and mangroves, Coba, the tallest pyramid in the area and Chichen Itza in the state of Yucatan, the most amazing and impressive site, named one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Enjoy your stay in Tulum, be kind with the environment, follow the rules, smile a lot and leave with unforgettable memories.