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Tulum Town: An Insider’s Area Guide

Tulum Town: An Insider’s Area Guide

Looking to explore Tulum Town? Check out this handy insider’s guide to the best things to see and do.

With the sprawling Tulum Archeological Zone and the glittering Caribbean Ocean to the east and lush jungle to the west, Tulum Town is one of our favorite areas of Tulum. 

Is it any wonder really? It’s a hub for food and drink, with brilliant restaurants and bars lining the streets. 

Tulum itself was one of the last cities the Maya built and lived in, surviving for around 70 years following the Spanish occupation of Mexico. 

Though Tulum eventually fell and it was abandoned completely in the 16th century, leaving behind an abundance of gorgeous (and well-preserved) ruins that attract thousands of tourists each year. And Tulum Town is a popular hotspot with plenty of things to do nearby.

Ready to explore?

Things to do in Tulum Town 

Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera

The Temple of Doom, Skull Cave, Cenote Calavera… whatever you call this spot, it’s one of the best things to do in Tulum town. 

Well, technically it’s situated just outside Tulum Town, but we think you’ll forgive us when you see how cool it is. It’s one of Tulum’s top spots for snorkeling and one of the best cenotes to visit.

Where does it get its ominous nickname from, we hear you ask? Well, it’s called ‘Skull Sinkhole” because of its three swimming holes that look a little bit like two eyes and a mouth. Kinda creepy.

The ladder to the side of the cenote offers a 13-foot drop if you’re feeling brave, or you can swing on the iconic rope swing which you will have no doubt seen in many a photo on the ‘Gram.

Archeological Zone

Muyil Ruins

On the fringes of Tulum Town is the Archeological Zone, a green area dotted with impressive ruins – most famously The Temple of Frescoes and Playa Ruinas’ decorated beach (more on that in a moment). 

These ruins act as a time capsule into Tulum’s past with ancient Mayan hieroglyphs and old temples adorning the site. The Tulum ruins are a must-see in this area – we believe that no trip to Tulum is complete without exploring (as early as possible – snap some sunrise pics if you can).

Read More: Tulum Ruins You Need to Visit

Tulum Ruins Beach

Tulum Ruins

You might be wondering, how far is Tulum town from the beach? Don’t fret. Not only is Tulum Ruins Beach one of the prettiest in the region but it’s located just a ten-minute drive from Tulum Town.

Peer over the edge of the cliff of the Archeological Zone and you’ll spot a lovely beach below, with Caribbean waves lapping at it gently. You might even spot a sunbathing iguana or two hanging out nearby. Adorable.

Boutique Shopping

Tulum Shopping

Tulum often feels so far away from the slug of chain stores found in other tourist hot spots. In fact, you can read our complete guide to shopping in Tulum here. But, if in doubt, Tulum Town is a great place to start.

Our top recommendations include Mixik, a great place to pick up alternative souvenirs, and La Madre Tierra – a holistic beauty shop where you’ll find local, handcrafted soaps and perfumes.

Read More: The Ultimate Tulum Shopping Guide

Best Food & Restaurants in Tulum Town 

Mistico Garden

Mistico Tulum really is a tale of two halves: By day, this restaurant and bar is a popular brunch spot, but by night Mistico comes – alive along with the rest of downtown Tulum. 

Now don’t be fooled, Mistico has another location that is purely a bar vibe (and let us tell you, it is wild). But head to Mistico Garden for a light brunch or a chilled-out drink during the afternoon.

On the menu is the likes of tuna tostadas, an array of egg-based affairs, and a fluffy offering of pancakes. Add to this a selection of hot drinks and booze and you’ve found yourself a wonderful spot for brunch that you’ll definitely want to return to on your next trip.

La Barracuda

Boasting an impressive seafood menu, La Barracuda is one of the best restaurants in Tulum Town. Hearty portions of fresh ceviche, shrimp tacos, and seafood platters await, served in a relaxed restaurant atmosphere.

The best part? Prices are reasonable, so there’s no need to overspend on great-tasting food.

Taqueria Honorio 

Taqueria Honorio

For life-changing tacos in Tulum, you’ll want to head to Taqueria Honorio. No, we’re not being dramatic – they really are the best tacos in Tulum Town.

As with all restaurants worth your time, Taqueria Honorio is an unpretentious spot with lines around the corner. Come early if you want to be in with a chance of snagging their iconic Cochinita Pibil. Like 8am kind of early.

In fact, they only have four different types of tacos on the menu – they choose to keep it simple but have perfected their dishes.

Read More: Our Review of Taqueria Honorio

Campanella Cremerie

If it’s even possible to tire of tacos and seafood, head to Campanella Cremerie to satisfy your sweet tooth. Mexico meets Italy in this tiny cafe, and it’s here you’ll find some of the best coffee, gelato, and desserts in Tulum.

If you’re heading here for lunch, opt for a sandwich and juice. Followed by a slice of pie, of course. 

Best Bars in Tulum Town 

El Grifo

Craft beer and Mezcal. Need we say more? El Grifo offers both of those things in abundance… and then some. 

Beer-wise, expect plenty of local brews. We particularly love the colorful offerings from Cerveza Apolo (the packaging is to die for, but the beer is great, too), though Loba’s lager is equally quaffable.

And, if cocktails are more your jam, you won’t go too far wrong with one of the punchy Mezcal offerings.


Cuban bar Batey is one of Tulum’s best bars in town – and everybody knows it. Come for the fresh mojitos and stay for the excellent atmosphere.

 Speaking of mojitos, pick from a variety of off-the-cuff flavors, like strawberry, prickly pear, and watermelon, all mixed with sugarcane pressed in a VW Bug on site. 

Read More: The Best Bars in Tulum

Mezcaleria Amores

For a boozy evening in Tulum, make sure to visit Mezcaleria Amores. This lively joint serves up a wide selection of decently-priced cocktails (something that is surprisingly difficult to come by in Tulum’s tourist hotspots).

Head here in the evening when things ramp up a little bit with music and plenty of small plates to go around.

Naná Rooftop Bar

Naná Rooftop Bar is another one of our favorite places to drink in Tulum. Expect artisan cocktails and impressive views at this beautiful jungle-themed rooftop bar.

You’ll find DJs playing electronic music here often, while the drinks menu boasts an array of Mezcal-based drinks, as well as some more classic cocktails, and Asian small plates that pair perfectly.

Practical Tips for Exploring Tulum Town 

  • Tulum Town is one of the top spots for restaurants, bars, and clubs. Head here if you’re looking to party, Tulum-style.
  • Taqueria Honorio is non-negotiable in our eyes. It might not look like anything special but it serves us the best food in Tulum Town. Believe us.
  • While there aren’t too many things to do in Tulum Town (besides drink and eat, our favorite pastimes), plenty of tourist attractions and things to do are right on your doorstep.

Where to Stay in Tulum Town: Best Hotels 

Cielito Hotel

Cielito Hotel Boutique

Cielito Hotel is a dreamy little boutique offering in the center of Tulum Town. It’s decorated in a colonial style, as opposed to Tulum’s usual linen and wicker style, which adds to its charm. 

Rooms are spacious and fully equipped with everything you need for a comfy stay, while the breakfast offered on site is nothing short of spectacular.

Check Rates and Availability


Botånica Tulum

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum, Botånica offers an ultra-luxurious retreat at a very reasonable price. It’s one of the best hotels in Tulum Town.

Choose between small yet beautiful dormitories or opt for a private room – kitchen facilities are shared, either way. There’s a pool on-site, as well as a beautiful garden terrace that makes the perfect setting for a chilled-out evening. 

Check Rates and Availability