How to Plan The Perfect Tulum Vacation

Tulum Ruins

Are you excited to laze around on the golden beaches and soak up the salty Tulum air? Well, there are a few things you should plan before booking your dream Tulum vacation: read our step by step guide. 

So you’ve started thinking about your trip to Tulum but you have questions. 

Want to know how much your Tulum vacation will cost? Where to find some Tulum vacation deals? The best places to stay? How about where to find the best Tulum beaches or where to grab an authentic Tulum meal?

This handy Tulum vacation guide has all the tips and tricks you need to save time and money on your tropical break. 

How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Tulum

Here are a few things you need to know before booking your flight tickets to the Mayan jungle on the Caribbean coast. 

Decide When You Want to Take Your Tulum Vacation

Tulum is pleasantly warm all year round, although some months are warmer than others. 

Playa del Carmen

Peak Season 

The most pleasant weather for the tourist town is between December and April. 

Expect lots of sun and little rainfall during this time. The weather makes it an excellent time for festivals and sightseeing.

Low Season 

December through April is also peak season, so expect big crowds. For a more relaxed visit, consider going in the off-season. 

During these times, from May to November, expect less sun and more rain. Typically, this also means fewer crowds and lower accommodation prices. 

Shoulder Season 

Another good time to visit for a low-cost trip is the shoulder season. 

This is the period between the peak and low season, which falls during July and August for Tulum. 

Expect average temperatures of 90°F (32°C) and regular rain during these two months.

What Type of Tulum Vacation? 

The cost of a Tulum vacation depends on what type of trip you’re planning. Do you want to make Tulum a cheap vacation, or do you want to splurge?

Should You Book an All-Inclusive Tulum Vacation Package?

An all-inclusive Tulum vacation package is the ideal choice for many vacationers. The prices include food and drinks and sometimes flights as well. If you’d like a no-stress vacation and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, an all-inclusive package may be for you.

Recommended Tulum Vacation Packages 

Expedia has some great deals for Tulum, Mexico vacation packages. While not every package is all-inclusive, they are all beautiful and highly rated.

Kore Tulum Retreat & Spa Resort 
Kore Tulum

Kore Tulum Retreat and Spa Resort offers excellent value for money and is all-inclusive. This includes all food and beverages in the on-site restaurants and bars.

This luxury boutique hotel is the epitome of comfort and style by the sea. Suites have amazing jetted bathtubs and coffee makers. The spa is open daily and provides wonderfully relaxing services for an even more tranquil stay beside the ocean.

Livetulum
Livetulum

Livetulum sits in the center of town and is near many landmarks. If you consider yourself a party animal, then you’ll love this 4-star hotel that’s close to plenty of bars and restaurants.

Besides the numerous activities around the hotel, the inside is just as enticing. This modern hotel lets you feel like you’re in a jungle in the city. Relax in the turquoise water pool surrounded by plants or enjoy the spa. 

The air-conditioned rooms are spacious and feature everything you need on vacation, including excellent views from your patio or balcony.

Xscape Tulum
Xscape Tulum

Xscape Tulum is in the town center and is only two blocks from the town square. The hotel has a relaxed atmosphere that so many people crave on holiday.

Rooms are air-conditioned and have seating areas. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi, in-room massages, and a room with a bath or shower.

There is an outdoor pool to cool off during your busy day, as well as an on-site spa, restaurant, and bar. 

Sunscape Akumal 
Sunscape

Apple Vacations has a few great deals for all-inclusive trips to Tulum, Mexico. Their packages are at Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort and Spa, just a 20-minute drive from Tulum. Choose between a three to seven-day all-inclusive Tulum package. They also have one option without flights included.

Overlook this resort’s stunning beachfront with the ancient Mayan Jungle in the back. The luxurious rooms are spacious and have everything you need for your stay. It has a minibar, coffee machine, television, and a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Kick back and relax at the on-site spa or one of the 11 pools. There are multiple restaurants and bars on-site to satisfy every craving you have. There’s also plenty of opportunities to keep you entertained with kayaking, snorkeling the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, or swimming with sea turtles.

What About Tulum Vacation Rentals?

There are many good reasons you might want to choose a vacation rental over a hotel or resort. For one, vacation rentals are more private, with fewer strangers in and around your rooms. However, this also means that there is no housekeeping. 

Besides the added privacy, you also save about a third of the costs you usually spend at a hotel or all-inclusive resort. Generally, rental homes come stocked with everything you need without the additional expenses most hotels add.

Recommended Tulum Vacation Rentals 

A couple of great rentals are available for travelers who prefer privacy or who are visiting Tulum long-term. Often Airbnbs are the best option. Here are a few of the best Airbnbs in Tulum:

Trece Lunas 
Trece Lunas

Trece Lunas is in the up-and-coming La Veleta neighborhood near Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido. Enjoy the venue’s jungle atmosphere as you sit in the garden or swim in the outdoor pool.

This 4-star accommodation is great for couples who want a quiet break from the crowds. Rooms have ample space to move with amazing views from your balcony or terrace.

Amaka Calma Riviera 
Amaka Calma

The Amaka Calma Riviera is a contemporary accommodation for the whole family. There is a fantastic outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace where you can catch some rays. It also has a fitness center and games room.

Choose between rooms with a garden, pool, or ocean view. Some rooms also have private pools.

Sanah Villa 
Sanah Villa

Sanah Villa is a beautiful venue that looks like a modern hut in the jungle. The villa is cozy with a private outdoor shower. They focus on wellness and have a solarium steam bath with a volcanic stone where you can enjoy a soak.

Additionally, they also offer massages. Relax by the garden campfire or walk through the jungle area to reach the two nearby cenotes.

Where to Stay on Your Tulum Vacation?

Tulum has become popular over the last few years, and as a result, it has many new resorts, hotels, and guesthouses. The town is growing fast and is getting new additions every year. These are the best places and neighborhoods to stay in Tulum right now. 

Cenote Kaan Luum

Downtown

If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in this beach town, the pueblo (town) is your best bet. It is especially great for solo travelers or long-term visitors. Not only do you spend less on hotel costs, but you’ll also save money on transport and food.

Tulum’s town is very compact, and most locals also live here. This means the area is well-maintained and has plenty of restaurants selling authentic cuisine.

Aldea Zama

Aldea Zama is another low-cost alternative. It is a newly developed neighborhood and has many beautiful and modern properties. It lies right between Tulum Town & Tulum Beach, or the Hotel Zone. 

The area is very eco-conscious, with most hotels using energy-saving methods, like solar panels. It’s not all about a Tulum and Quintana Roo vacation for some here. This neighborhood is also brimming with remote workers who want a home base in town.

Hotel Zone

The hotel and beach zone has some of the best resorts in Tulum. They’re often on the beachfront and have private beaches and pools.

If you don’t mind a splurge, this is where you’ll find most luxury hotels. The 6-mile (10 kilometer) coastal stretch has a north, middle and south zone. Compared to the north, the middle and south zone has more restaurants and shops.

Sian Ka’an

Just south of the hotel zone is Sian Ka’an. This is a great area to stay in if you’d prefer a more quiet beach spot. 

This neighborhood is still a bit off the beaten track and away from the busy town and beach zone. There are plenty of places to explore and dive into (literally). 

Punta Allen is the largest village in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and is where you’ll find most shops and eateries in the area.


Note: Punta Allen switches off their electricity at midnight. Unless your hotel has a generator, you might be without power for a few hours.

Must-Do on Your Trip to Tulum 

Tulum has many sights to see from the beach, jungle, and downtown. While you’re in Tulum, you cannot miss these five places.

Spend a Day at a Beach Club

Tulum Beach

The Caribbean Coast has many beaches, some public and some private. The best way to experience them is through the various beach clubs in Tulum.

Beach clubs are great for a luxurious afternoon at the beach. Many hotels and resorts have private beach clubs, but you don’t have to stay at them to enjoy their beach clubs. Some beach clubs become very lively and ready for late-night parties.

Visit a Cenote

Tulum has many cenotes or natural sinkholes in town or just a few minutes outside it. These waterholes are great to cool off in or see underwater caves and fish. 

The best cenotes in Tulum are actually the ones off the beaten path. So many tourists line up for a chance to visit the popular cenotes like Dos Ojos and Cenote Calavera that even if you arrive early, it will still be cramped.

The best cenotes to avoid heavy crowds are Laguna Kaan Luum, Zacil-Ha, and Cenote Cristal.

Explore Ancient Ruins

Tulum has many ancient Mayan Ruins and is the reason many people visit. 

Coba Ruins

The best Tulum Ruins to discover are El Castillo, and the House of Columns. You can also make a quick day trip to see even more ruins – like the Muyil Ruins – in the Yucatan region.

This Full-Day Archaeological Tour explores Mayan ruins in Tulum and Coba.

Try Traditional Food

All over the world, people adore Mexican cuisine. But did you know that not all Mexican food is the same? 

While here, try some traditional Yucatan dishes like Cochinita Pibil, Panuchos, and Dzotobichay. Only the best restaurants in Tulum’s downtown area serve these traditional foods authentically.

 However, if you’re looking for a more elevated or contemporary spin on these cuisines, then the restaurants in the hotel zone are worth a stop.

Travel to Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Heritage Site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Naturally, it is a must-see.

The area is complex and has a variety of protected fauna and flora. Besides the protected marine life, many birds make it a great place for bird watchers and animal lovers. It also has many eco-friendly water activities, including snorkeling, boat rides, diving, and kayaking.

Take this Sian Ka’an Half-Day Tour from Tulum to make your trip easier.

Practical Tips for Planning Your Trip to Tulum

  • Work out a Tulum vacation itinerary before you go. This travel plan will help you prepare your budget better and allow you to see as much as possible. Leave time open for some unexpected trips or lazy beach days too.
  • Decide how you’re going to move in and around Tulum. It is more convenient to rent a car, but parking is often a hassle, and there are some rising auto crimes in the area. If you plan on taking taxis everywhere, don’t forget to add that to your budget.
  • It’s more cost-effective to stay in Tulum’s downtown. There are a few hotels, but you’re also more likely to find hostels there.
  • Tulum is very diverse, and many people speak English here. However, it is still a predominantly Spanish town. It won’t hurt to learn a few Spanish phrases beforehand when planning a vacation to Tulum in Mexico, especially if you’re going to spend a lot of time in Tulum’s downtown area.
  • When it comes to finding a vacation rental, we also love using Plum Guide – each of the properties are hand-picked by staff so that only the very best make it onto the site.
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