10 Helpful Tips for Visiting Tulum, Mexico

Ever dreamed of visiting the Mayan ruins of Tulum? I’m sharing my top tips for visiting Tulum, Mexico to save you time and money! This gorgeous town of Tulum and archeological site has so much to offer and is close to Playa del Carmen and the Cancun hotel zone. I’m sharing 10 Helpful Tips for Visiting Tulum for first-timers.

10 Tips for visiting the Tulum Mayan Ruins and Archaeological Site - nataliastyleblog.com

10. Take the ADO Bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum or Collectivo to save time and money

If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen or Cancun, don’t get a trip to Tulum from a tour operator. A few years ago, my sister and I visited Tulum, and while it was only a $60 USD tour, we spent most of the time in the van picking up other guests, and had too short a stay at the archeological site.

The ADO bus system is akin to North America’s Greyhound or the GTA’s GO bus system. You can buy a ticket in person at the ticket booth using pesos or visa, and it was only $398 MXN pesos for two adults, round trip from Playa del Carmen. The bus takes about an hour to get to the Tulum Archeological site, however, it makes stops in Xcaret and Xel-Ha (also a great way to get there too).

Many cab drivers and our hotel concierge also recommended to take a Collectivo – essentially a white van – that is public transportion and only costs $45 MXN pesos per direction. This option will get you to Tulum from Playa Del Carmen in under 45 minutes! Next time we will brush up on our Spanish and take this transportation option. The white vans wait beside the bus stop in Tulum and say “Dirreccion: Playa del Carmen – Tulum” so you won’t get lost. The Collectivo drivers also spoke English well, so I feel more confident to test this out this option next time!

9. Bring Pesos and USD to Tulum

In Tulum, most of the beach bars, shops and hotels accept both pesos and USD. However, to enter the Tulum Archeological site, you need to pay in pesos. This year, there are many improvements to the entrance of the site, and you can purchase tickets to the Tulum ruins using a Visa card. It costs $75 MXN pesos (about $4 USD) per person to enter the site. The cost is very low, and there are no gift shops, so I really enjoy the serenity and historical value of the Tulum Mayan ruins.

The Palace building at the Tulum Archeological Site - I'm sharing 10 Tips for visiting Tulum, Mexico. 10 Helpful Tips for visiting Tulum - dress light and bring sunscreen, water and a towel. I wore this light two-piece set from Forever 21 and leather sandals to stay cool. Details of a Mayan building in Tulum, Mexico

8. Bring your own water bottle to the Tulum ruins

There are no water fountains or booths selling water at the Tulum archeological site, so I highly recommend bringing your own water bottle or buying one before you go visit the ruins.

7. Dress lightly and pack sunscreen, bug spray and a hat

It is VERY hot in Tulum. Maybe it’s because you’re on a cliffside, but it was easily five degrees hotter near the ruins on site. With blazing sun and humidity, definitely dress for the heat. I’d also recommend bringing a sunhat, as I got a bit of a burn. Halfway through our visit to the Tulum ruins, we stopped to reapply sunscreen, as the sun was beating down on us.

After leaving the archeological site, we walked towards the beach bars and public beach in Tulum. I got a massive bug bite on my wrist (that’s still going strong, four days later), so I highly recommend applying bug spray. If you’re staying at a hotel in Tulum, I recommend you bring bug spray and after bite with you, or some citronella oil or candles to thwart bugs! Remember, it’s a natural jungle, and because Tulum is less developed, there are a lot more bugs!

What I wore to visit the Tulum archeological site. This crop top and shorts set from Forever 21 is so light and easy to wear! I paired it with a bamboo bag and white sunglasses.Gorgeous views at the Mayan ruins of Tulum What I wore to visit the Tulum Ruins - a two piece set: crop top and shorts from Forever 21, leather sandals and white cat eye sunglasses.

During our visit to Tulum, I wore a light two-piece coordinating embroidered crop top and shorts set from Forever 21, white cat eye sunglasses from Mango, leather Greek sandals from Iris Sandals (similar leather sandals here), an Olivia Burton Daisy watch and a green bamboo handle bag from Forever 21.

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6. Visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins on a self-guided tour

Probably one of my most important tips for visiting Tulum, is to skip a tour guide and go on a self-guided tour of the archaeological site. While I had a tour guide on my first visit to Tulum three years ago, the last two times I’ve visited the ruins without a guide. The park has numerous signs in English and Spanish (why not Mayan… I would love to see the Indigenous language represented more here on site!), complete with diagrams and QR codes you can scan for more information. I also like to read up before or after an archeological visit to compliment my experience. A self-guided tour in Tulum allows you to go at your own pace, take all the pictures you want, and take in the majesty of such an important spiritual and economical hub for the Mayan people.

Take the steps down from the Tulum archeological site to a stunning public beach.

5. Take the steps down to the Tulum Beach

Once you are in the Tulum Archeological site, you can take a series of steps down to the water to enjoy a beautiful, pristine beach. It’s definitely worth the cost of entry!

4. Relax at Playa Paraiso beach in Tulum & Go Snorkelling

After you visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum, exit the park and head left towards a long road with jungle on both sides. After walking ten minutes, you will see an opening, with a sign for “Playa Pescadores,” which also offers a public entrance to the Playa Paraiso beach. Take a walk along Playa Paraiso and enjoy the pristine sand, turquoise water and boats float by. If you have time, I also highly recommend taking a snorkelling tour. We did this last year, and it cost only $20 USD per person and we saw dozens of sea turtles! It was a magical experience and definitely a good value. No need to book ahead, there are so many kiosks that offer inexpensive, one-hour long tours, which is plenty of time to meet a sea turtle!

3. Best Beach Bars in Tulum

I asked numerous people for recommendations for an inexpensive, beautiful beach bar and came up with a few options. At Playa Paraiso, Playa Pescadores will offer you a beach bed for $300 MXN per person, which can be spent on food. That was the cheapest option we found. Pancho Villa was another beach club recommended to me, however, they did not have chairs out on the beach. As we walked down Playa Paraiso, another beach club wanted $500 MXN pesos per person for a beach chair. Azulik, the infamous treehouse hotel reportedly charges $40USD minimum spend to visit their hotel, however, they are located on the cliffs. Coco Beach Tulum expects a $50 USD minimum spend to stay at their beautiful, white beach club, however they were an $18 cab from the archeological site, so you’d have to drive or bike.

Tulum Playa Paraiso BeachTulum Playa Paraiso Beach - I wore a white off the shoulder one piece swimsuit from La Vie en Rose to relax on the white sandy beach of Tulum, Mexico.

2. Bring your own towel or blanket to the Tulum beach

We opted to bring our own towels and sit in front of a beach bar that was playing an amazing playlist of 80s, rock, pop and alternative music. They served beer for about $50 MXN pesos per Corona and we had a few drinks as we took turns swimming. It was fun people watching as the hippies, hipsters and yoga goddesses made their way up and down Playa Paraiso. It was the perfect afternoon, and was also very affordable.

1. Take in the Tulum Vibes and come back next year

Most of all, take in the relaxed atmosphere and discover Tulum. Get lost in a jungle, marvel at the Mayan ruins and take a stroll past chic beach clubs and hotels. Tulum has a very different vibe than Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and staying for the day completely rejuvenated my soul. We had the most perfect day at the beach, and like the turtles that come back every year, I can’t wait to plan next year’s visit to Tulum.

Tulum Playa Paraiso Beach

I hope these tips for visiting Tulum will inspire you to come soon. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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10 Helpful Tips for visiting Tulum, Mexico: Use this travel guide to plan your day trip to Tulum from Playa del Carmen. 10 Helpful Tips for visiting Tulum, Mexico: Use this travel guide to plan your day trip to Tulum from Playa del Carmen. Tips on finding the best beach clubs in Tulum, snorkelling and visiting the Mayan ruins.

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17 Comments

  1. January 22, 2019 / 11:45 am

    What an absolutely stunning looking place to visit and these seem like some great tips to make sure people make the most of their time in this area! Thank you.

  2. AiringMyLaundry
    January 22, 2019 / 2:08 pm

    I MUST get here one day. These photos are incredible. I would love to explore this area.

  3. January 22, 2019 / 2:21 pm

    Such beautiful beaches, can’t wait for my vacation, its not in Mexico but on a beach and bug spray will be my best friend.

  4. tara pittman
    January 22, 2019 / 4:20 pm

    This place has amazing beaches. I like that they have chairs to rent.

  5. Alexandra Cook
    January 22, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    Tulum has been high on my travel bucket list for so long – and it is now even higher after reading this post. What a beautiful place!

  6. Jasmine Wyrick
    January 22, 2019 / 8:34 pm

    Tulum is defiantly on my list of places to visit and your blog makes me want to go right now! Loving your outfit too!

  7. Heather Castillo
    January 22, 2019 / 10:41 pm

    I’ve been to Mexico a couple of times, but never to Tulum. It looks and sounds like a beautiful place.

  8. DelhiFunDos
    January 23, 2019 / 1:58 am

    Such great writing is going to help many of us. You don’t know that you are unknowingly spreading out a lot of knowledge.

  9. January 23, 2019 / 3:32 am

    I was in Playa Del Carmen for a month last year and I visited Tulum a few times. The Tulum Ruins is a must and its only $7 USD (but please pay in pesos) for the tour. There is a beach there too (its not the prettiest beach but its still relaxing in the hot weather).

  10. Cece
    January 23, 2019 / 5:21 am

    Tulum is my dream since I played Assassin’s Creed III! There will not be Edward Kenway but it is rich in history. I treasure your advice!

  11. Monidipa Dutta
    January 23, 2019 / 1:47 pm

    Tulum is beautiful I have heard. The ruins and beaches there is extremely beautiful.

  12. January 24, 2019 / 2:43 am

    Oh I just love Tulum and visiting the ruins. It’s been years since I last visited so im up for another visit soon.

  13. January 24, 2019 / 12:12 pm

    This place is so beautiful, I’ve heard so much about it that i feel like i’ve been there. It’s a must visit for me. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips. definitely helpful.

  14. Nandyz Soulshine
    January 24, 2019 / 2:03 pm

    The beach looks awesome…love the different shades of blue of the sea. Very helpful advice to bring own water & carry bug spray.
    – Nandita

  15. Kati
    January 24, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    such a cute outfit! and these photos are stunning.

  16. Swathi Iyer
    January 24, 2019 / 11:41 pm

    Tulum looks beautiful place. Your pictures tell its story. I hope I can visit some day.

  17. David E
    January 25, 2019 / 11:07 am

    This looks pretty amazing out there. I had never heard about Tulum but the sand and beaches look amazing out there. And you look stunning as well.

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