Although I didn’t spend a lot of time in Tulum, only one full day in fact, somehow I still remember it as one of my favorite places in the three months I spent abroad. I think my time in Tulum is a perfect example of how important the people you meet are. They have a huge influence on the impression you get from a place. They can make a shitty place seem great or a great place seem shitty. I’m very thankful for all the amazing people I met over there. ❤️
What To Do
While you could spend an entire day wandering around in the city of Mérida, you might not be able to do that in Tulum. The city is quite small and if I am completely honest, the city itself didn’t impress me too much. It’s mostly one road where all the touristy restaurants and shops are, besides that it’s mostly residential areas. My favorite place like in a lot of Mexican cities was the main square. They had a lot of sports going on at night and some amazing street food carts.
But these are also not the reasons people come to Tulum. One reason to go here is for the beaches. And it might just be the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. It has clear water, white sand and it pretty much looks like paradise.
Tulum is also known for its Mayan ruins. While not very impressive in size, these are all about the location. They are located on a cliff directly on the beach. You can even go for a swim while visiting these ruins.
The entrance fee is $70 MXN for foreigners and is worth it for the views in my opinion. The ruins themselves are not all too special.
There are also quite a few cenotes to visit around Tulum. There are some very close by but we assumed they would be very crowded so we wanted to go visit the cenote Dos Ojos. This cenote is 20km away from Tulum but we thought it was a good idea to go there by bike anyway. So we rode our bikes for 20km on a highway to go swim in a cenote. This turned out to be a very entertaining adventure and in hindsight, it was definitely worth although I’ve doubted that while riding the bike.
When we finally arrived at the cenote after riding the bike through the hot Mexican sun, we were told that the entrance fee would be $300 MXN. That was outrageous, especially on a backpacker’s budget. So we opted to visit the smaller cenote Nicte-Ha more or less next to it. This one “only” cost $100 MXN which seemed better in comparison.
We definitely didn’t regret it, it looked absolutely stunning!
Where To Stay
Someone in Mérida recommended me to stay at the Hostal Nativos (Affiliate Link) in Tulum and it was certainly a good choice. It had nice rooms with curtains on the beds for a little bit of privacy, a pool and breakfast included. It’s also close to the ADO bus station from there which is always a big plus for travelers. But you don’t need to worry, Tulum is a very backpacker friendly city with lots of choices for accommodation.
Some people (mostly not backpackers) also choose to do a day trip to Tulum from Cancun. If you are not traveling on a tight budget and maybe would rather stay at some resort in Cancun, this is obviously an option too.
It is certainly possible to spend more than one day in Tulum, in fact, I would probably recommend it. My Tulum itinerary was maybe a bit rushed but I enjoyed every second of it.