Home to some of the best-preserved Mayan archeological sites in the region, Tulum is located along the Riviera Maya and takes a little less than two hours to reach from the Cancun International Airport. Buses leave directly from Cancun’s airport or Playa del Carmen if you plan on taking a day trip to experience the cenotes, lagoons, or the archeological sites.
Enjoy the Beaches
In addition to archeological beauty, Tulum is also popular for its beaches, with a coastline of powdery sand that stretches 10 miles to the UNESCO Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Tulum is divided into three “zonas” or zones each with their own distinct identity and vibe: the archaeological site, "El Pueblo" (Downtown Tulum) and the hotel zone, that is divided in North and South– and there’s a big difference between the two. If you’re looking for untouched stretches of sand, head to the lesser developed beaches on the north side. You’ll find more lively beaches on the southern side since they’re lined with hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs.
Stay in Style
While you’ll find places to stay in Downtown Tulum, most travelers tend to book a hotel on the beach. Options range from glamping to luxurious hotels located atop a lush treetop canopy and boutique hotels with private pools as a rooftop, making it an appealing spot for couples on a honeymoon or groups of friends. Unlike other parts of the Riviera Maya, Tulum doesn’t boast any sprawling all-inclusive resorts. Hotels are on the smaller side and tend to offer a more intimate experience with wellness-focused amenities like beachfront yoga and spas overlooking the sea.
Explore the City
No matter where you stay, you'll have plenty of attractions nearby, the city is walkable, but bikes are the preferred mode of transport. They're also a popular way to tour through the jungle and local communities to learn more about traditions like herbal medicine. Guided tours also take visitors through another one of Tulum's nearby natural wonders—the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a 652,193-acre preserve home to more than a thousand types of plants and animals (think everything from manatees to jaguars). Enter through the village of Muyil, which sit about 20 minutes south of the city, or embark on an adventure tour, exploring on hiking or kayaking trip through the canals and lagoons, ending with a refreshing dip in one of the region's infamous lagoon.
Tulum is home to quite a wide range of culinary styles, from street food and regional cuisine to elevated dishes from major chefs who hail from across the country. Travelers have a wide range of restaurants to choose from and can opt between a garden eatery downtown, a simple taco stand, or more upscale fine dining located in the middle of the jungle.