Heading to Tulum for an awesome vacation is so much fun! From history to beaches, there is something for everyone in the family. But before you jet set to Mexico here are a few Tulum travel tips you should keep in mind that will help you have a problem-free trip.
Tulum Travel Tips
How To Get To Tulum
Tulum does not have an airport so you’ll want to arrive via the Cancun International Airport (CUN), which happens to be the closest. Once at the airport, you have a 90-120 minute ride ahead of you if you are staying in Tulum proper. If you are staying in Playa del Carmen, which many people do, you have about a 60-minute ride. Make sure you keep this in mind when you are booking your flight’s arrival time.
You have a couple of options to get you to your hotel:
- Public Transportation
- Schedule a private transfer
- Rent a car
When Tim and I visited Tulum and Playa del Carmen, we relied heavily on public transportation. Since I speak Spanish fluently, we didn’t have the language barrier that most tourists worry about. But even Tim said that navigating was fairly easy, even with his limited Spanish vocabulary, since many locals are used to English speaking visitors frequenting the area.
Public transportation is going to be your most economical option. And the good news is that you don’t have to know a great deal of Spanish to get by! You can grab a bus or taxi at the airport for relatively cheaply. If you decide to do a private transfer like Travel Yucatan you can expect to pay about $115 from Cancun to Tulum and $65 from Cancun to Playa del Carmen.
Renting a Car in Mexico
Driving into Tulum and Playa del Carmen is all a straight shot on a main road, so renting a car isn’t too cumbersome. Personally though, I don’t think it is necessary to have a rental since there are so many taxis and buses in the area.
Taxi Rides in Tulum and Playa del Carmen
Up-charging for non-locals is something you might encounter on our trip. One of the best Tulum travel tips someone gave me was to ask your hotel what a ride generally costs. When the taxi picks you up, make sure you ask what the price is before you get in the car! If the price is significantly higher than what you were told, don’t be afraid to tell them that you were told a lower price. Most taxis will then price match, but in the off chance they stand their ground, thank them and tell them that you will wait for the next car.
Bike Rentals and Other Transportation
Everything in Tulum is pretty close together which is great if you don’t have a car and are looking to save money on taxis. So don’t forget to check with your hotel for bike rentals. Many in the area offer the service free for their guests and there are also a number of bike rental shops near by.
Speaking the language
Spanish is the leading language throughout the country (though there are a number of local indigenous languages). You’ll find that most locals speak some English but learn the basics before your trip!
Wi-Fi? Porque Fi!
Wifi in the area is limited in Tulum and parts of Playa del Carmen. Even the nicer more upscale hotels that offer wifi on property have mediocre connections. Take this time to unplug and put your phone down so you can enjoy all the great things Tulum has to offer!
Eat and Drink
We’ve all heard not to drink the water in Mexico, right? But often times there are things we don’t even think twice about consuming that can make you sick! Here are our water related Tulum travel tips to keep you in tip top shape!
- Only drink beverages that are bottles or carbonated.
- Brush your teeth with bottled water.
- Don’t open your mouth in the shower! #SexInTheCity
- Avoid uncooked vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, or lettuce.
- Skip the ice!
Plug it in!
If you are coming from the US, you can leave the power converter at home. Mexican power outlets are the same as the ones we have in the states, so no need to worry about the electronics this trip.
European visitors will need one! My favorite converter is this one you can find on Amazon.
Are You Conditioned?
A/C is a considered a luxury in Mexico and many area hotel rooms won’t have it. If this is something that is important to you and your comfort, make sure you check with any possible hotels before you book.
Remember you can always just enjoy the ocean breeze and take a dip in the ocean or pool if it gets too hot for you!
What About Spending Money?
Cash is king in this area of Riviera Maya. While in Cancun and Playa del Carmen you will find more places that take credit or debit cards, in Tulum cash only is the norm.
Money + Tulum travel tips
- Buy pesos from your bank before you travel.
- If you get pesos at the airport, use an ATM instead of an exchange booth so you get the official Forex rate of exchange.
- Keep cash on you at all times since taxi drivers only take cash!
- ATMs can be hard to find in town. Some of the larger hotels have them in the lobby or offer currency exchanges.
More Tulum Travel Tips
Even though the internet is full of resources and doing research ahead of time is great, we always recommend taking along a guidebook. Here are some of our favorites that make for awesome airplane and airport reading.