Last Updated on April 14, 2023
Tulum is one of those alluring destinations that has seen an epic boom in travel and tourism over the course of recent years. There are a number of things to see and do in Tulum and its surrounding, a huge number of Tulum tours to try out, and an vibe that is unparalleled in all of Mexico. We’ve created an ultimate Tulum Itinerary with different options for different lengths of stay. Enjoy these 3, 5, and 7 day itinerary variations for the next time you’re visiting this magical seaside town!
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Tulum is a dreamy coastal town nestled on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Quite expeditiously, it has transformed from quiet fishing village to a boho haven for tourists, celebrities, influencers, and digital nomads. With brilliant blue waters that beautifully contrast the sparkling white sand beaches, Tulum is truly a taste of paradise.
It’s particularly popular with those looking for a wholesome alternative to the party scene in Cancun (though, when it comes to Cancun vs Tulum in terms of nightlife, Tulum certainly holds its own) and the tourist traps that are scattered throughout Playa del Carmen. Due in part to the natural beauty of the surrounding sea and jungle, and in part to the wide array of yoga and surf classes, retreats, luxe resorts, and barefoot lifestyle, it’s no wonder Tulum has exploded in popularity among travelers of all kinds.
The closest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport (CUN). The airport offers a number of options to reach Tulum depending on your budget and desired comfort level.
Taxis will be most convenient, but at the same time the most expensive option, except for using a private driver. The cab ride to Tulum from Cancun International Airport takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The taxi ride costs approximately 1,700 MXN (about $81 USD). Unlike the buses or shuttles that bring you to Tulum from the airport, taxis don’t have any restrictions based on time of day. You can get them any time, day or night.
A slightly less expensive option than a taxi ride would be to take a shared shuttle. Shared shuttles bring you to either downtown Tulum or to the hotel zone along the beach in Tulum. If cost is not an option, a private transfer is the most straight-forward and efficient way to get you to your final destination in Tulum. The official Cancun Airport Transportation company has plenty of shuttle options available.
There are also buses that go from CUN to Tulum. This will be the cheapest option, however, slightly intimidating for first-timers. Tickets are approximately $20 USD per person. The ride takes about 2 hours. Thankfully, the buses are air conditioned in case you’re arriving in the afternoon heat!
Buses have restricted hours of operation, which means that if you arrive very early in the morning or very late at night, they may not be an option. Hours of operation for the bus to Tulum from the airport are between 10:55 AM and 9:45 PM.
This entirely depends on what you’re looking to do in Tulum! In order to fully experience the magic of this coastal town, you should expect to spend at least 3 days. If you want to relax a little and take a few day trips, staying for longer periods of time won’t hurt! There are so many things to see and do in and around Tulum that you won’t have to worry about boredom striking. We’ve created a Tulum 3 day itinerary with additional days to satisfy a Tulum 5 day itinerary or a Tulum 7 day itinerary.
You can feel free to adjust these Tulum itineraries according to your personal preference! We feel that these options give a full experience of Tulum while providing time for much-needed rest and relaxation.
Some visitors to Tulum, particularly those who have the ability to work online, love the town so much that they stay for weeks or even months at a time. With the copious amount of day trip options, cenotes to explore, Mayan ruins to discover, and incredible food to indulge in, you can easily stay here as long as you’d like without getting tired of it.
Our Tulum 3 day itinerary gives you a little taste of everything Tulum is known for – beaches, ruins, cenotes, and relaxation. Spend some time at Tulum’s beach clubs, experience the most popular Tulum cenotes, and get a healthy dose of Mayan culture and history during this short, yet efficient, Tulum itinerary.
Start your trip to Tulum off on the right foot with a visit to the amazing Tulum beach strip!
Undoubtedly, one of the top reasons for your trip to Tulum is to hit the amazing beaches and trendy beach clubs! With crystalline, turquoise waters that sparkle under the hot Mexican sun, the perfect amalgam of parties and relaxation, delicious bars and restaurants, Tulum’s Zona Hotelera is the place to be for beach bums of all kinds. With so many different beach clubs to choose from depending on your personal preferences, you’re sure to find one to suit your needs. Find your favorite from the top Tulum beach clubs!
Most of Tulum’s Beach Clubs have a minimum consumption cost, which is the minimum amount of money you’ll have to spend on food and drink to reserve your spot. The minimum consumption varies greatly from one beach club to another, but you can be sure to find something to suit your budget.
Once the sun goes down, many of the beach clubs and restaurants in Tulum transform into a wild, boho club scene. If you’re looking for a party, you won’t be disappointed. On the other hand, if you prefer to have a relaxing dinner with your feet in the sand and a drink in your hand, you’ll be just fine too.
Location on Google Maps: Tulum Beach Strip
What to Bring: Bring a towel, sunglasses, sunhat, change of clothes, biodegradable sunscreen, and cash. You should also bring a credit or debit card as some of the hotels and restaurants in the area are cashless.
Helpful Tips: If you have a specific beach club in mind, you may want to call or email in advance to secure a reservation. Some of them do get quite crowded or book private events, so it’s best to secure your spot in advance if you know for sure which you’d like to visit.
If you’re hoping to see some of the most Instagrammable places in Tulum, we recommend going early in order to beat the crowds.
After an exhilarating day spent on the Tulum beach strip, head into the jungle to see more of what Tulum has to offer!
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush to jumpstart your day, look no further than a dip into Cenote Calavera. Calavera means ‘skull’ in Spanish, but you won’t find any human remains down here (though, inside the cenote there is a tiny in-built rock shelf with some animal bones!). Cenote Calavera is named as such as it resembles a skull, with two small openings that form the ‘eyes’ and one larger opening for the ‘mouth’. In the mouth of the skull, there is a beautiful rope swing that’s perfect for photo opps, as well as a ladder to enter or exit the cenote.
Location on Google Maps: Cenote Calavera
Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: 100 MXN ($5 USD)
Facilities: There is no restaurant on-site, so bring some snacks if you think you’ll get hungry. There are a few picnic tables and hammocks scattered around. There are outdoor bathrooms and showers, which you must use prior to swimming in the cenote.
Helpful Tips: This is among the closest cenotes to Tulum Pueblo, so it can get crowded, particularly with its picture-perfect rope swing. We advise going early in the morning or on weekdays if you want to avoid the crowds.
Gran Cenote is among the most famous and most-visited cenotes in the entire Yucatan Peninsula. Situated in a beautiful cave setting nestled in the jungle, it’s a great place for wildlife enthusiasts. The snorkeling and diving are otherworldly, and during the winter months, it’s not uncommon to see the colorful toucans poking through the lush, green jungle.
Location on Google Maps: Gran Cenote
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM
Cost: 200 MXN ($10 USD)
Facilities: There are bathrooms, changing rooms, and lockers at Gran Cenote. There are a handful of restaurants nearby, but nothing available on-site. You can rent snorkel and dive gear, but the quality isn’t great so consider bringing your own.
Helpful Tips: Inside the cave, you’ll find gorgeous stalagmite and stalactite formations. Bring a camera or GoPro to take some incredible photos while you’re here!
Optional: Cenote Zacil-Ha
If you fancy the idea of being able to lounge in a sunbed in between cenote dips, check out Cenote Zacil-Ha. If you’re a diver, you’ll love the opportunity to explore the interconnected underwater caves.
Location on Google Maps: Cenote Zacil-Ha
Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: 50 MXN ($2.50 USD)
Facilities: There are restrooms, changing rooms, and a bar-restaurant all available on-site.
Helpful Tips: Bring your own snorkel or diving equipment if you plan to use it. Avoid visiting on weekends when it can get quite crowded.
Interested in more cenotes? Check out all of the top Tulum cenotes!
After your cenote hopping, head into Tulum Pueblo to check out some of the boho boutiques and try some of the most delicious food in the area. Popular boutiques in and around Tulum include Mixik, Mexicarte Tulum, Confucion’s Shop, and Kaahal Home Tulum. Tulum Bazaar is also pretty fun, though some of the items sold there can be somewhat kitschy. But they make for perfect souvenirs!
For seriously good eats, be sure to check out Burrito Amor – it’s a favorite among tourists and locals alike, and for good reason! Actually, most of the restaurants and street food stands in Tulum are nothing short of mouthwatering. But Burrito Amor is hands-down the best!
Location on Google Maps: Tulum Pueblo
Helpful Tips: Be sure to have pesos on you. In general, if a boutique or restaurant accepts credit cards or USD, you will overpay. And don’t be afraid to haggle, particularly at Tulum Bazaar. In general, after hearing the price of an item, offer a price 40% lower. Generally, you and the vendor will come to a price somewhere in the middle.
This day offers up different attractions and activities to the first day to keep things interesting!
One of the most iconic and most-photographed sites in Tulum is the Tulum ruins. Travelers from all over the world flock to the seaside archaeological site in the hopes of experiencing some of the magic that has caused Tulum’s tourism boom in recent years. While you will have a difficult time competing with tour groups for personal space (and a gorgeous photo), the Tulum ruins are absolutely still worth a visit. Plus, the experience of swimming at the small beach beneath the ruins as you gaze up at the ancient Mayan structures is an absolute must!
Given the fact that over 2,000 visitors come to Tulum Ruins each day, it’s a good idea to make this the first stop of your Tulum itinerary. We suggest arriving 15 minutes before it opens, so 7:45 AM. The crowds begin to really come around 10:00 AM, though it seems to get earlier and earlier.
Location on Google Maps: Tulum Archaeological Zone
Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: 85 MXN (about $4 USD)
Facilities: There are no facilities within Tulum Archaeological Park, including a bathroom. However, at the entrance of the park, you’ll find restrooms and a restaurant. The restaurant is super-touristy, however, and we recommend heading back to Tulum Pueblo or to Zona Hotelera to grab a bite to eat.
Helpful Tips: Be sure to get there early! While there will still be tourists around, you can beat the crowds that come on day trips from Cancun or Playa del Carmen if you head there when it opens.
Also, definitely skip the souvenir stands that you’ll walk through as you enter the archaeological site. The prices are so inflated to capitalize on the site’s tourism, and they aren’t authentic whatsoever. You’ll have better luck shopping at Tulum Bazaar or a boutique in the Pueblo.
Finally, make sure you purchase your tickets at the entrance and not in the parking lot – these are not valid tickets, just scammers trying to make a quick buck.
The Tulum Beach Strip (route 15) is an uneven, narrow road that runs parallel to the beach, taking you all the way to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Accommodations line both sides of the road, both on the beach side and across. The road is absolutely perfect for a bike ride, where you can stop at any number of restaurants, a couple of shops, and of course, check out all of the amazing Tulum Instagram spots! If you’re looking for boho beach vibes, look no further.
Location on Google Maps: Tulum Beach Strip
Facilities: There are a number of restaurants that you can choose from if you want to stop for a bite to eat or a margarita (limit the number of margaritas if you don’t feel quite so confident on a bike!). This will also be your best option if you need to use the restroom, as there aren’t any public bathrooms on the strip.
Helpful Tips: Try Raw Love or Matcha Mama if you want something healthy, yet delicious!
Tulum in three days isn’t enough? We don’t blame you! This Tulum 5 day itinerary expands on what we’ve already covered in the Tulum 3 day itinerary in case you want to spend an additional two days exploring this magical town and its surroundings. It may not seem like much, but an extra two days actually adds quite a bit more to your itinerary!
With an extra couple of days, you’ll be able to more fully explore the Riviera Maya and even other locations in the Yucatan! Our Tulum 5 day itinerary gives you time to head to Valladolid and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza, as well as spend some time in the lush Tulum jungle.
For the first 3 days of the Tulum 5 day itinerary you can use the Tulum 3 day itinerary from above, then just add these days at the end!
With its vibrant authenticity and stunning colonial architecture, visiting Valladolid on a day trip from Tulum is a must on a Tulum 5 day itinerary. Truthfully, it’s worthy of a few days all on its own – but if a day trip is all you have to spare, it will suffice!
If you want to experience Mexico apart from the beaches, you’ll love the vibes of Valladolid. Particularly if you are looking for an authentic Mayan experience, you should visit the seriously underrated city – you just can’t get the same type of authenticity in the more touristic destinations such as Cancun or Playa del Carmen (or even Tulum, for that matter!).
Chichen Itza is set a little further afield than Valladolid from Tulum. But given their close proximity, it makes perfect sense to visit both destinations on a day trip. Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s an ancient Mayan city that’s a combination of beautifully preserved ancient pyramids with some archaeological ruins. Coming here is like stepping back into another world.
You can reach Valladolid from Tulum in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by ADO bus. If you’re taking your own vehicle, the ride is just 10 minutes shorter. From Valladolid, Chichen Itza is about an hour further West.
There are also a number of guided tours that will bring you to both Valladolid and Chichen Itza, which might be easier than the DIY approach if you’re using public transportation.
Location on Google Maps: Tulum to Valladolid & Chichen Itza
Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: 533 MXN (about $27 USD); Entrance is free for Mexican citizens and residents on Sunday, so it gets super-crowded!
Facilities: There are restrooms available at Chichen Itza and a restaurant at the entrance, with other food options not too far.
Helpful Tips: Get there 15 minutes prior to opening to avoid crowds! Expect to spend around 3 hours at Chichen Itza if you walk at a brisk place and want to cover it in its entirety. Finally, bring a sun hat if you want to avoid direct sunlight, as there is very little shade at Chichen Itza.
Adventure in the Jungle
There are a vast number of guided tours that give you the opportunity to embark on some type of jungle adventure. Whether you’re in the mood for ziplining, an ATV ride, horseback riding, bungee, or canoeing, you’ll definitely find an option to suit the needs of your group.
If you’re not up for a guided tour, or you prefer to do something a little less adrenaline-filled, use day 5 of your Tulum itinerary to check out Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Sian Ka’an is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to thousands of species of local flora and fauna. It’s a great option to escape the tourism that can sometimes overwhelm Tulum. You can hike jungle trails, take a boat ride through a lagoon, visit Mayan ruins, snorkel, kayak, or paddleboard at Sian Ka’an.
Location on Google Maps: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Cost: 100 MXN ($5 USD)
Facilities: There are limited facilities in the Biosphere.
Helpful Tips: If you are driving here on your own be warned that the road is very rough and bumpy. It is best to have an SUV and take your time on the drive.
Some Of Our Favorite Jungle Tulum Tours:
Since we already covered the beach clubs and beach strip in the Tulum 3 day itinerary, take the evening of your fifth day to enjoy the more laid back vibes that the bar scene Tulum Pueblo has to offer. Though both are technically Tulum, you’ll find a much different experience here!
Some of our favorite places to enjoy nightlife in Tulum Pueblo are Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar, Pasito Tun Tun, and Nana Rooftop Bar.
After drinks (or before!), sample some local street food. Be sure you try the cochinita pibil at Taquería Honorio.
Five days still isn’t enough!? Again, we don’t blame you! They don’t call it Tulum Pueblo Magico for no reason! Our Tulum 7 day itinerary builds upon what we’ve already covered in the 3- and 5 day itineraries. You’ll get the opportunity to check out some more worthy destinations in the surrounding area as well as wrap it all up with a return to some of your favorites.
Explore more of the stunning nature around Tulum that makes this area so special.
In case you haven’t quite had your fill of ancient Mayan culture, a trip to the Coba archaeological site is a great option for day 6 of your Tulum itinerary. Coba is an ancient Mayan city that was once a hub of activity in the region. Its extensive stone fortifications and ruins today serve as a (somewhat underrated) tourist site. It’s not near as packed as Tulum ruins or Chichen Itza, which makes it perfect for people looking to escape the crowds of these other, better-known Mayan cities.
Location on Google Maps: Coba Ruins
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (except Saturdays, when it is open until 6:00 PM)
Cost: 80 MXN ($4 USD)
Facilities: At the entrance to Coba ruins there are restrooms and a restaurant. Inside the archaeological site, you’ll find a small kiosk from which you can purchase a drink if you get thirsty. There are no bathrooms inside.
Helpful Tips: Avoid visiting Coba ruins (any of the ruins, actually, as this is the same for Tulum and Chichen Itza as well) on Sundays since Mexican nationals and local residents have free admission. It gets very crowded on these days!
There are a number of cenotes conveniently located near Coba ruins to cool off after a day of exploring. Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tamcach-Ha, and Cenote Multum-Ha are all within reasonable distance from Coba ruins. Cenote Multum-Ha is the most secluded with the fewest crowds. It’s also the deepest, which makes it perfect for snorkeling. Cenote Choo-Ha is shallow and the closest in proximity. Cenote Tamcach-Ha is probably the nicest, with two jumping platforms and crystal clear water.
You can spend a day visiting Coba ruins and have time to experience two nearby cenotes if you want – they are all very close to one another, so even if you’re reliant upon public transportation, you could get a bus back to Tulum by 3:00 PM if you get an early start to the day.
Hours: Cenote Choo-Ha is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM; the other two are open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: All three cenotes are 100 MXN ($5 USD)
Facilities: All three cenotes have basic facilities such as changing rooms, restrooms, life jacket rentals, and parking lots. Bring your own snorkel or dive equipment if you wish.
Helpful Tips: For a more relaxing experience with less tourists, head to Multum-Ha Cenote, as it is the most secluded. Cenote Choo-Ha is probably the most crowded with families given its shallow water.
Tulum 7 Day Itinerary (Day 7 of 7)
Have time for another tour? We’ve got all of the best Tulum tours in one place!
Back to Basics at a Tulum Beach Club
By now, you’ve probably made friends with everyone in Tulum and have heard of the best new beach club. On day 7 of your Tulum itinerary, bask in the entire experience by spending one last day relaxing at your favorite beach club or try a new one. Depending on how early your flight is the next day (provided you are flying out), you may or may not want to see which of Tulum’s beach clubs has the best party that night. Depending on the day of the week, Tulum’s beach clubs and hottest bars rotate their schedule to take turns hosting the biggest party.
If you’ve still got energy to burn, you could spend some of day 7 partaking in some water sports, such as parasailing, jet skiing, or surfing. If you’re looking for more relaxation, try a local yoga class. Many of Tulum’s more holistic beach clubs offer classes in the morning. Otherwise, you could get started at a local studio in Tulum Pueblo.
Regardless of how you end up spending it, take the time on your last day in Tulum to soak in the boho vibes and laidback lifestyle that the pueblo is so loved for.
Location on Google Maps: Zona Hotelera Tulum
Facilities: Depending on which beach club you head to; they may offer different facilities. Your best option would be to check specifically with the beach club you’re going to in order to see what they offer.
What to Bring: This can vary depending on which beach club you visit. We suggest bringing biodegradable sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, sandals, change of light clothes, pesos, credit or debit card, and swimwear.
Winter in Tulum – Best for Great Weather
Winter in Tulum is the high season. In addition to the best weather Tulum has to offer, between the months of December and February you can expect a high influx of fellow travelers. Along with that comes the inevitable hike in prices and fewer accommodation options.
Still, it may be worth it to visit Tulum in winter. Particularly if you’re not on a budget and don’t mind crowds. These months are full of sunshine, comfortable temperatures and low humidity, with only a couple of light rain showers.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Tulum, though early spring is still considered ‘peak season’. The temperatures remain comfortably mild. Between the months of March through May, there is a slight increase in the amount of precipitation, however the storms don’t last long and in general won’t hinder your vacation or beach plans. Humidity and overall muginess also begin to increase in spring, but they aren’t unbearable quite yet.
While the crowds dissolve some in the spring when compared with winter months, you should be aware of the spring break dates. Though this tends to affect Cancun more than Tulum, it is still something you should keep in the back of your mind! Prices are likely to be slightly higher during this time as well.
If you plan on taking some day trips north to Akumal for sea turtles or Isla Mujeres for whale sharks, May is a great option.
June, July, and August bring higher temperatures and lower numbers of tourists. Depending on what you’re looking for, it might be a great option for you, particularly if you’re looking to save a few bucks.
Though the temperatures and humidity are much higher, if you’re ok with spending your days on the beach or floating in an authentic cenote, we think you’ll be ok. If you want to venture into the jungles or into the high heat to explore the surrounding Mayan ruins, bring a LOT of water (and biodegradable sunscreen!).
With fewer crowds and higher temperatures come a greater number of accommodation options from which to choose, as well as lower prices overall. The fewer number of tourists allows you to get a more authentic experience from Tulum.
Late summer marks the onset of hurricane season. Although hurricanes rarely make landfall in Tulum, it may be something worth considering. It’d definitely be a wise idea to invest in travel insurance if you plan on traveling during hurricane season!
If you don’t mind the rain and are looking to save a bit of cash, you might consider visiting Tulum in the fall. There are far fewer tourists than any other season. This means prices are at an all-time low, as are the crowds. Although it’s the rainiest season of the four, and the rains can be quite heavy, the storms are usually short-lived.
In October, Mexico celebrates Dios de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), so you might expect an influx of tourism during this time.
For being a relatively small town, Tulum has a lot of accommodation options.
If you’re looking to stay in Zona Hotelera (aka on the beach), most of Tulum’s Beach Clubs are also hotels. Our personal favorites include Ahau Tulum, and Be Tulum. Casa Malca is a great option for art enthusiasts.
If your heart isn’t set on waking up to the sound of waves lapping at the shore, you might consider staying in Tulum Pueblo. You’ll find different vibes, which might be beneficial if you aren’t into beach clubs and are heading to Tulum more for its natural, boho environment. Try Una Vida Tulum, Kimpton Aluna Tulum, or Ajal Tulum Treehouses for a unique visit.
Ultimate Tulum Itinerary Summary
Do you plan to spend 3, 5, or 7 days in Tulum? Let us know how your trip goes and what you loved the most about Tulum in the comments!