It’s been a little over a month since our trip to Tulum, Mexico and I am finally getting around to sharing the good, the bad, & the ugly in my Tulum Travel Guide. I was so excited to go over the 4th of July because of all of the pictures I had seen on Instagram and everything I had heard about the place. What I didn’t realize was that July is the worst time of the year to travel to Tulum because of the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. The ‘high season’ or ideal time to travel there is actually November-April. So here is my tip #1 for anyone planning a trip to Tulum – GO DURING THE HIGH SEASON!
We chose to stay in an Airbnb condo in Aldea Zama, which is a community made up of condos and apartments. It was halfway between Tulum town and the beach. The Airbnb was OK but there were a lot of mosquitoes, the water didn’t work for the first day and a half we were there (lots of sweating and NO showering…). Of course, you can’t use the water to brush your teeth, etc. so we had to stock up on gallons of water to last us the entire trip.
The drive to the beach (where all of the restaurants and bars are located) was 15 minutes. Parking was hard to find. We had 5 people so taxis weren’t the best options either. We ended up renting a Toyota RAV4 from the Europcar in town. That was a great deal, much cheaper than rental cars in the US – only $240 for 4 days. Tip #2 – STAY AT THE BEACH! It is 100% worth it to stay at one of the hotels on the beach. You would have access to the beach club. You could also walk to other hotels and restaurants easily. And you could go back to your room if you need a break from the heat.
All of the restaurants in Tulum are outside or open air with NO A/C. In the 95-100 degree weather with 90% humidity, we were sweltering and drenched in sweat during every meal. On top of that, the mosquitoes will eat you alive, despite applying bug spray and using bug repellent wipes constantly. Tip #3 – BRING A LOT OF BUG SPRAY & BUG REPELLENT WIPES!
Lastly, be prepared to get scammed left and right for EVERYTHING. Parking, taxis, food, cabanas, drinks, access to certain things or areas, the list goes on. Tip #4 – Do your research before. You should have an idea of the pesos exchange rate, as well as how much certain things SHOULD cost.
Now that I’ve listed all of the major issues we had, I’ll highlight my favorite parts about the trip:
- The Cenotes – They are beautiful and the water is sooo refreshing when it’s that hot and humid. I would recommend skipping Grand Cenote (packed with tourists and not very big) and heading straight to Dos Ojos Cenote. It is MASSIVE, with two “eyes,” aka swimming holes. We went about an hour before they closed (4:45pm) and had the place practically to ourselves. It was so peaceful and relaxing.
- Matcha Mama – The cutest roadside stand for acai bowls, smoothies, fresh juice. We stopped in and grabbed delicious smoothies before heading to the beach.
- Nômade La Popular Beach Restaurant – We went for lunch and sat right on the beach (it’s very shaded). It was one of the best meals we had. Definitely make a reservation beforehand!!
- Ahau Tulum/Raw Love – The entrance is a beautiful towering wooden sculpture. Raw Love has an outdoor seating area within the resort and also a small stand on the beach. We ate at the location within the resort and the acai bowls were delicious.
- Chichén Itzá – One of the new 7 world wonders. It’s 2 hours from Tulum but totally worth it. I would recommend getting there as early as possible before the crowds and heat get crazy.
Places to skip:
- Tulum Ruins – The walk is very far from where you park or get dropped off in the taxi. It’s extremely crowded and hot.
- Gran Cenote – For the reasons listed above!
- Azulik Kin Toh – I would either skip it altogether, or just go for a drink at the bar. If you have a large group that is willing to meet the minimum that is required to sit in a private nest, go! It’s extremely unique but they don’t have A/C and the food is VERY pricey for tiny portions.
That’s it!! Hope you enjoyed my Tulum Travel Guide. Please comment if you have any Tulum-related questions!