"Tulum" Top 5 Page for this destination Tulum by Kaspian

Tulum Travel Guide: 466 reviews and 1,380 photos

Travel Dates: August 18-25 2002, February 2003, July 13 2004, March 15-16 2005, March 6 2007, February 20-21 2008, December 5 2011.

Tulum isn't just Mayan ruins with a small beach! It's 7 kilometres of fine white sand, beautifully quiet oceanside cabanas and restaurants, and a charming little downtown. It's a place to completely get away from the rat race and chill out. Time stands still in Tulum.

Doing the "Survivor" Thing

That was my cabana in the background, #10, where I stayed for a few days in 2002 after watching too many episodes of "Survivor" on the tube. I lasted 3 days and 2 nights before voting myself out of the tribe and into an air-conditioned room in Playa Del Carmen.

I stayed overnight at Papaya Playa again in 2005 and found the same calm laid-back atmosphere but with many improvements to the facilities.
See my Tulum Travelogues for more photos of Papaya Playa.

Tulum Ruins

I've visited the ruins at Tulum twice. Visiting Mayan ruins is hard to get bored of, there's always something you missed on previous visits. Or something new they've uncovered, archaeologists are always working on these sites and yet somehow they remain highly invisible.
See my Tulum Travelogues for more photos of the Tulum Ruins.

My Suggested Internerary to Really 'Get' Tulum:

Length of Stay Required: 1½ Days, 1 Night
Cost: $120 USD (approx.)
Difficulty Level: Easy
8:00 AM: Pack all the stuff you'll need for an overnight stay.
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM: Take a coach or collectivo van to the entrance to the Tulum Ruins. Plan to arrive early in the morning so you can tour the ruins while it’s cool and miss the large crowds that come later. Tulum gets too hot and humid to do much of anything ambitious in the afternoons. ($15 USD)
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Tour the Ruins. The tour will only take you a few hours, so you should be finished by noon. ($5 USD)
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Walk down the coastal road beside the ruins to El Mirador. Have a swim and lunch overlooking the beach. ($15 USD)
2:00 - 2:30 PM: Find yourself a cabana to stay in overnight. There are lots around the area of El Mirador, or you can take a cab to the more secluded and quiet area further down the road. Cabanas further away such as Cabanas Copal or Papaya Playa are very quiet and relaxing. You won't need advance reservations unless it is Christmas or New Years. Don't try to walk because the sun will literally kill you. ($50 USD)
2:30 PM - 5:00 PM: Check into your cabana and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Have a late siesta nap.
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM: Get up and have a shower under the open stars. The cabanas all have restaurants and most play some music during the evening. Have dinner and enjoy the atmosphere.
11:00 PM: Go to bed early because there's really nothing else to do. Enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing at your doorstep.
9:00 AM: Sleep in, slowly get up, and walk out to the beach right in front of you.
11:00 AM: Usual checkout time at the cabanas. Have them call a taxi and head downtown. ($10 USD)
11:15 AM - 12:30 PM: Spend some time shopping downtown.
12:30 PM: Have lunch at one of the many restaurants downtown. Go for traditional Mexican cuisine at a place such as Don Cafeto. ($15 USD)
1:00 PM: Walk to the bus station and depart. ($15 USD)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Come for the ruins, stay for the beach. Quiet, quiet, quiet...
  • Cons:Too quiet maybe? Not much nightlife.
  • In a nutshell:A fascinating place to stay a few days. You'll think about it often afterwards and wonder why it's stuck in your heart.
  • Last visit to Tulum: Feb 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (32)

  • Maria81's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    That beach looks really nice - must go one day, preferably in winter :)

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2009 at 12:51 AM

    The cenote diving sounds great! your tips offer a lot of adventure pssiblties and common sense. gracias, joe

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2009 at 8:17 AM

    We brought our kids here to Tulum and it was great! I hope this part of Mexico is not affected by the druglord violence...Norman :)

  • Travmad's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2008 at 11:36 AM

    Thanks for the thought Ed. Well you know I have sent postcards from Mexico that got to it's destination three months after being sent. I kind of think their postal workers read them laugh at them then burn them. HAHA!

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2008 at 8:45 PM

    Ha ha my last comment was about the dinner bet for Portsmouth, you still owe me dinner ;-) Like your Tulum FAQ, I may think about heading south of PDC for the next trip...

  • speer's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    Nice Tulum Cabanas FAQ!

  • wilocrek's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    Im glad to hear you had a good time despite being sick. Even though I have been in Europe this past month Im still jealous that you were in Tulum. Cant wait to get back there in July!

  • Jan 24, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    The Monday is a stat holiday?? They passed the Family Day in Ontario?!?

  • Sep 12, 2007 at 8:44 AM

    I took the St. John's Wort and drank two cups of herbal tea and got my butt to bed by 10:30. I also went jogging right before dinner, so maybe that's better than in the morning. :)

  • zahirah's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2007 at 8:01 AM

    If you're on the beach and heading to town in a taxi, I would definitely just say "voy al pueblo," then tell him exactly where in the pueblo you want to go.


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