The Best One Day Guide of Tulum For 2021
Tulum is capturing the hearts of all its visitors and it has quickly become one of Mexico’s most popular destinations in 2021. You may be thinking, what’s the fuss? In this guide, we take you on the perfect day in Tulum, covering some of the best places to eat, drink and stay in Tulum. Not to mention the top things to do from this bohemian, beachside town all in one day.
Firstly, what is the best way to get to Tulum from the US? You’ll be pleased to hear that there are hundreds of direct flights that land into Cancún daily from destinations such as New York, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. The direct flight from Dallas to Cancún is under three hours! What are you waiting for? From Cancún you can take a private taxi, hire a car or travel by ADO bus to reach Tulum. The journey is approximately one and a half hours.
Secondly, one of the best places to stay in Tulum is Aldea Zama. Our Casai Getaways in Tulum are located in this up and coming jungle sanctuary. All of our penthouses and villas come with access to a private beach club, feature unique interior design with open plan layouts, and many have their own private pool or jacuzzi. Our vacation rentals also come with free parking if you decide to rent a car. As an extra treat for Casai guests, you can receive up to 50% discount with Hertz Car Rental. Having a car is one of the best ways to explore Tulum and it means you can go beyond the popular tourist highlights.
A morning in Tulum
Let’s begin our day in Tulum waking up naturally with the cheery chirps of the native birds nesting in the surrounding tropical jungle. Slowly get ready for the day ahead and when you’re ready, let’s go for breakfast. A benefit of staying in Aldea Zama is that you are between the Tulum Town and Tulum Beach, so you can take your pick of places to eat.
However, as this trendy village develops, more and more eateries are popping up. For instance, Mistiko — a new restaurant with a rooftop pool serving the freshest of breakfasts. Alternatively, everyone’s favorite Matcha bar has arrived in Aldea Zama — Matcha Mama. Offering super smoothie bowls, healthy shakes and elixir shots, it’s a fantastic way to start the day.
After breakfast, take a taxi or drive a short way to the Tulum Ruins. It is best to get here before 10am when tour buses arrive. These ruins are arguably one of the main cultural attractions Tulum has to offer and you will see why. The former name of this Maya site is Zama, meaning the City of Dawn due to its location facing the Caribbean sunrise. Take a dip in the warm sea to witness the ruins from a different perspective.
Location: From Aldea Zama, drive towards Tulum Town on Avenida Coba and then follow the 307 Highway towards Playa del Carmen. You will see a sign for Tulum Ruins parking on the right side. It’s a 10 minute drive.
Entrance fee: MX$80. On Sundays it’s free for residents and nationals. You can take a guided tour for MX$500-700. Guides are usually nearby the ticket office.
Opening hours: 8AM to 5PM. Last entrance is at 3:30PM.
Parking: MX$160. There is an option to take a ‘train’ for MX$25 extra or you can walk to the entrance of the ruins. The parking space is open from 8AM to 4PM.
Taxi: It should cost around MX$100 from Tulum Town and Aldea Zama. They drop you off at the entrance at the end of the public beach road, a little closer to the ruins than the parking facilities.
An Afternoon in Tulum
What better way to cool off from the sticky afternoon heat than dipping into the sacred, fresh waters of a cenote. The Yucatán Peninsula has the world’s largest number of underwater sinkholes, once worshipped by ancient Mayans. They are caused by limestone caves collapsing and consequently exposing natural pools. These pools then fill with rain water and water that flows through underground rivers, which these sinkholes are connected to.
A day in Tulum is not complete without swimming in a cenote
Gran Cenote is one of the most popular cenotes to visit due to its proximity to Tulum. The intricate tunnel system that connects to open-air cenotes is a huge draw for scuba divers, as it provides access to the world’s second-largest cave system. The crystal-clear waters are also ideal conditions for snorkelling as you can admire the rock formations below and spot small turtles.
Location: Go straight along Avenida Coba towards Tulum Town until it becomes Highway 109. Gran Cenote will be up on the right hand side. It’s 5 km from Tulum.
Entrance fee: MX$180. You can rent a snorkelling kit for MX$80. A locker is MX$30 and a life jacket is MX$50.
Opening hours: 8AM to 4:45PM. Last entrance is at 4:15PM.
Taxi: Around MX$100.
If you are hiring a car for your day in Tulum, you can venture further afield and discover some lesser-known cenotes. Such as: Labnaha, Jardín del Edén, Dzitnup, San Lorenzo Oxman, and Suytun. As these natural pools are filled with fresh water, it’s important and responsible to keep them clean and toxin free. Therefore, we recommend you to apply natural and biodegradable sunscreen and to not leave any trash behind.
A night in Tulum
Head back to Tulum in time for sunset and enjoy some tropical cocktails at one of the vibing beach clubs. Mezzanine has one of the best views of the beach at dusk, as the sky turns baby pink and the sea shimmers under the suns’ glow. Other beach clubs for sunset drinks we recommend checking out include: Ikal, Posada Margherita, Azulik, and Papaya Project. Parking is available at most beach clubs and a tip is appreciated when you leave. Alternatively taxis from Tulum Town or Aldea Zama shouldn’t be any more than MX$100.
As night falls, Tulum awakens and both locals and tourists come out to play. Take a walk around the vibrant streets of Tulum Town and feel the electric vibe oozing from the bars and restaurants. Some top places to eat include: La Negra Tomasa, famous for its seafood tower and El Asadero — featuring some of the best cuts of meat in Tulum. It’s easy to find a taxi in Tulum and on average a 5 km journey should cost around MX$100. Parking in the centre is free, if you can find a spot!
Alternatively, hang out in La Velata, a small village only five minutes away from Tulum centre in a taxi. This neighborhood is lively yet relaxed, with lots of fairy lights and palm thatched-roof bars. Verdant is open for dinner only and what makes this restaurant stand out is that they grow a large portion of their ingredients in house from over 30 raised vegetable beds.
After dinner, why not see what’s on at Palma Central — a colorful space with lots of food trucks and bars, featuring stand-up comedy and live music most evenings. In Tulum Town, Batey Bar always attracts a crowd with some of the best bands and performers of Tulum playing live. Their mojitos are particularly easy to drink and get you on your feet!
Come and join us in Tulum where every day is the perfect day. Check our available villas and penthouses in Aldea Zama.