Tulum is known around the world for its picturesque tropical beaches, endless sunshine, and luxurious hotels. It’s a popular summer holiday destination that mixes culture and comfort; a place where you can dine on the best local dishes and savour Mexican culture along with the finer things in life.
Apart from the beach, Tulum also has an array of archaeological sites and old ruins to explore and deep cenote pools you can spend the day lounging around before diving in for a refreshing dip when the Mexican sun gets too hot. What’s more, just outside of town, there are Mayan ruins like the Archeological Zone of Muyil and Chichen Itza waiting to be discovered.
Once a sleepy beachside haven, Tulum has been transformed into a destination with nightlife that rivals the big cities across the country, wellness centres with every holistic treatment under the sun, and dreamy ocean waters.
If you’re seeking adventure, kayak along the picturesque shores of Quintana Roo, scuba dive between the shoals of tropical fish, or trek through the jungle. In short, Tulum has it all - lazy days on the beach, great food, cultural sites, and adrenaline rushes for the thrill seekers… and it's a must for any Mexico itinerary. Here are best areas to stay when you visit.
Starting at the Castillo of Tulum and stretching along the beach until the Arco Maya National Park, the Tulum Hotel Zone is riddled with beachside hotels, cocktail bars, and excited holidaymakers.
The great thing about this area is that there are different accommodation options for every taste, from fun family resorts to party hostels, and there are always other travelers around that you can go out for dinner and beers with. Sit by the ocean and sip on a tequila sunrise as the sun goes down - welcome to Mexico!
If you’re in Tulum for a short visit, this is the place to be. It’s a little more on the expensive side, but it really is a case of you get what you pay for with the Tulum Hotel Zone.
The best thing to do in this neighborhood truly is nothing at all, spend the day lounging on a white sand beach with a book in one hand and the evening sampling local seafood dishes and trying all the cocktails on the menu. Browse the boutique shops looking for the best souvenirs to take home and dedicate a day or two to getting that golden holiday glow.
Playa Paraiso is a particularly spectacular beach spot within the Hotel Zone of Tulum. The beach is quiet and quintessentially tropical, so it’s the perfect spot if you want to be close to all the action but stay away from the crowds.
This beachside neighbourhood is on the outskirts of Tulum’s National Park and the Tulum ruins, so you’re close to Tulum’s best sightseeing spots too. If it’s sleepy days on the beach and romantic sunsets that you’re dreaming of, you’re going to be delighted by Playa Paraiso!
Those seeking tranquility and holiday accommodation that feels welcoming and secluded should look into the adults-only hotels in the area, like the Mezzanine a Colibri or the incredible Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel where you can pick between rooms with ocean or jungle views.
Budget friendly and close to all the most popular neighborhoods, Aldea Zama is the place to be if you want to save some money. The neighborhood is nestled between Pueblo and the Hotel Zone, giving you a choice between nearby beaches and visits to Tulum’s archeological sites (the Tulum Ruins and Archeological Zone are both nearby!).
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area where you can try delicious seafood dishes, like fish tacos, and lounge about. Another perk of Aldea Zama is that there are lots of eco-hotels. So if you're looking for environmentally friendly, guilt-free holiday accommodation there are plenty of hotel options suited to an eco-escape.
Quiet and stunning, this beachside destination within a little bay is less crowded and busy than some of the other neighbourhoods we’ve looked at so far. With a more rustic feel, the area has various eco-lodges and laidback beach resorts that are designed for relaxation.
The setting is rather idyllic, the bay boasts picture-perfect beaches with white sand and turquoise waters where you can sit under a palm tree, read your book, and sip on a tasty cocktail.
Tulum Pueblo translates simply to Tulum Town. It’s one of the more local and authentically Mexican neighbourhoods of Tulum. That said, it’s still very safe and frequented by plenty of tourists.
The neighbourhood is a particularly attractive destination for young travellers and those on a tighter budget as the prices of accommodation (and pretty much everything else) is lower than in the fancier areas like the Hotel Zone. If you're a young backpacker, this is definitely the neighbourhood for you.
Tulum Pueblo has a great night life, so if clubbing and bar hopping are some of your favourite holiday activities, you can't go wrong. Tulum Pueblo is a great destination for history lovers too, as it's right next to different archaeological sites.
There are great transport links between Tulum Pueblo and other areas of Quintana Roo, as well as nearby airports. The only drawback of this neighbourhood is that you don’t have direct access to the beach, and because of the surrounding archeological sites and nature reserves that separate the neighbourhood from the beach you’ll have to bike, taxi, or walk there.
La Veleta is an up-and-coming residential area that sits between the Centro and the Aldea Zama. It's one of the newer neighbourhoods in Tulum, which means there's no lack of luxury hotels and fancy villas to rent. It's a great place to stay if you're on a long-term trip in Tulum.
There's direct access from La Veleta to Tulum Beach via the Avenida Kukulkan. You will need to take a taxi or hire a car to get there, though the beach is just 10-minute drive away and thanks to the long avenue that connects La Veleta to the beach you won't have to go through the traffic in the centre of town! It'd be handy to hire a car anyway so you can get to the main attractions like the old ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula.
There are restaurants, shops, and even wellness centres in La Veleta, but other than that and a few bars where you can enjoy some cold beers and music, it’s a quiet, peaceful neighbourhood. Overall, if you’re just looking for somewhere quiet to retreat to at the end of a day sightseeing or lounging on the beach, La Veleta is bound to suit you.
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Last Updated 27 January 2024