Ultimate Travel Guide to Tulum, Mexico
If you don’t know much about Tulum, it’s a resort city about 80 miles south of Cancun, Mexico. In recent years, it’s become a popular destination for spa, yoga, and wellness enthusiasts, but Tulum also has a rich history with it’s Mayan ruins. From dining and shopping to long walks on the beach or snorkeling, Tulum has something for whatever type of vacation you are looking for.
The warm (but not too hot) climate makes Tulum a great place to escape the harsh winter weather in much of the northern United States, with average temperatures in January hovering in the low to mid-80s and rarely dropping below the mid-70s.
Ready to start planning? Here are some of our best tips to help you plan an amazing trip!
Where to Stay
If you want a boutique hotel with delicious food that’s just steps from the beach, Posada Margherita might be the place for you.
Amy recently stayed there with her family and said, “I don’t know if I would EVER stay anywhere else. It was beautiful and the staff and guests were so lovely. The hotel restaurant even had amazing wood-fired pizza and fresh-made pasta and gelato, so my kids adored the food.”
Hotel Bardo (Adults only)
Heading out without the kids? The private loft-style villas at Hotel Bardo might be just the place for you to rest and recharge. The property features a private jungle garden and pools. For those who don’t want to leave the comfort of the property, you can enjoy delicious culinary delights in the restaurant or at the pool. Yoga, sound healing, Temazcal (a traditional healing ceremony that takes place in a sweat lodge), and spa services are also available.
If you want to feel more like a local, consider Orchid House. The boutique hotel features just 10 rooms and villas for larger groups (up to 12 people). The property also features a restaurant and bar, so you’ll still have all of the comforts of a larger property.
Where to Eat
Chambao is a real experience! It’s a great spot if you are looking for a classic girls night. The cuisine is upscale and the waitstaff go above and beyond to create a party atmosphere (guests are encouraged to dance on the chairs).
Casa Jaguar offers rustic, seasonal food inspired by the culinary history of the region. Expect unpretentious, but delicious food and drink including dishes like ceviche, grilled fish, and steaks.
Hartwood is a great place to get a taste of some of the local flavors in a truly sustainable restaurant. They use solar energy for power and cook food over open flames. Ingredients are sourced throughout each week from local markets and farms.
Enjoy traditional Mexican food like tacos, nachos, and burritos at La Taqueria. There are options for both vegetarians and those who eat meat.
What to Do
For some fun in the water, tour Casa Tortuga’s Cenotes. Amy found this natural park consisting of different depths of cenotes (bodies of water) to be way more family-friendly than she expected. Expect to see interesting plants, animals and maybe even a guide dog!
Enjoy the unique architecture as you take in the latest art exhibition at Sfer Ik. Amy’s children have dubbed the space the ‘coolest museum ever’ so if you're traveling with children, we definitely recommend a visit (they may even pick up a little culture too)!
While it might be a bit of a splurge, the services are amazing and you get to spend an hour in their steam rooms and pools for hydrotherapy before your spa treatment. There are many treatment options (including massages, energy healing and soaking baths), so you may be tempted to try more than one!
Where to Shop
For the best bikinis in all the colors, styles, and a variety of sizes, head to Sandmade Swimwear. The pieces they offer are all made in the Mexican Caribbean using the highest quality materials.
If you want some new beachwear, shop at Kabe. They also offer a collection of home decor so you might also find the perfect souvenir to bring to your home.
For everything from jewelry to ceramics made by local artisans, you’ll find a great selection of gifts at Mr. Blackbird.
Pajara Pinta carries a selection of brightly colored clothes and accessories.
For some amazing woven textiles, gorgeous woven clothes, and interesting accessories visit La Tienda. All of their items are handmade in Mexico and curated by owners Francesca and Noelia.
What to Pack
Mexico has a warm and tropical climate, so you definitely want to avoid overpacking (you’ll want space in your suitcase for the wonderful things you might find in the local shops). Of course, there are a few things you’ll want to bring with you.
1. Lightweight dresses
Stay comfy and cool in lightweight cotton dresses. These are also easy to wash in the hotel room and hang dry overnight so you need less clothing overall.
Pack a swimsuit or two so you can enjoy the pools and beaches.
Not to sound like your mother, but avoid sunburn now and skin cancer later by slathering on the SPF.
Be sure to bring cash with you since many businesses and restaurants don’t accept credit cards. You’ll get a better rate if you have pesos instead of US dollars, so exchange some money when you arrive at the airport to make things easier. While there are ATMs in Tulum, some charge really high fees or aren’t always stocked, so it's best to prepare ahead of time.
Have you ever spent time in Tulum? Share your recommendations in the comments. We’d love to know what you liked best. Have an upcoming trip? Tag us in your photos so we can live vicariously through your adventures (especially if you’re sunning yourself in a Printfresh nightgown on the beach)!
Note on COVID travel protocols: At the time of this writing, you’ll need to get a covid test/antigen test three days before you plan to re-enter the US. These are easily found along the main street in Tulum and only take a few minutes to complete. You’ll get an email shortly after with your results. Remember to check for updated travel requirements prior to your departure so you know what to expect.