Best hotels in Tulum: overview of areas, prices + expert tips

Tulum is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico that doesn’t need an introduction.

Once a quiet sleepy village, this Caribbean paradise now attracts visitors from all over the world, and if you too want to come here, you are probably trying to figure out where to stay in Tulum.

Whether you want to stay in one of the beach hotels in Tulum, or would rather save some cash and find a hotel in downtown Tulum, this article will help you to make the right decision.

I’ve traveled to Tulum several times and can give you my first-hand expertise on where to stay in Tulum and what to expect.

Looking for cool things to do in Tulum? Check this article! 

What to know before looking for hotels in Tulum

While Tulum has become one of the most expensive places in Mexico’s Caribbean, it doesn’t mean that you have to break your bank to afford a stay here. Tulum has several areas, and while some of them offer more luxury hotels, others are geared toward budget travelers.

From simple hostels to mid-range stays to luxury hotels in Tulum, there’s something for everyone!

Where is Tulum located?

Tulum is located in Mexico’s Quintana Roo State along the Caribbean Coast. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Tulum from Cancun by car via 307 Highway.

Cancun to Tulum: How to get there?

To get from Cancun to Tulum, you need to drive south on the 307 Highway. To do that, you can rent a car in Cancun, get a taxi or take a bus. 

ADO is the main bus company that serves the Cancun Airport. There are a few buses a day from Cancun Airport to Tulum, however, check the schedule ahead of your visit, as it can change sometimes.

One of the best car rental companies in Mexico is City Car Rental that offers a good variety of vehicles at competitive prices in Cancun. Oh, they also communicate pick you up at the airport when you arrive, so you don’t have to spend money on taxi.

I booked my car rentals with City Car Rentals on numerous occasions and had a great experience every time. 

PRO TIP: If you need help with renting your car in Mexico, read my article that will help you to avoid most common mistakes and stay safe on the road.

Where to stay in Tulum

Tulum is divided into a few areas. The beach in Tulum is 3 km away from downtown Tulum and can be reached via Avenida Coba, so you are never too far from the center of the action.

Staying near Tulum town offers closer access to bars and restaurants, but on the other hand, you are further away from the beach. Meanwhile, Tulum hotels near the beach often come with private beach access and allow you to disconnect and relax.

Tulum Beach area is a 10 km strip along Mexico’s Caribbean that’s divided into northern, central, and southern parts.

Hostels in Tulum

I want to start by saying a few words about hostels in Tulum. Since many people who come to Tulum are looking to save some cash, hostels in Tulum remain a popular option among all travelers.

Hostels in Tulum are mostly near downtown, and sometimes, you can snag a deal for under $20 USD per night! Plus, hostels in Tulum  offer a great social atmosphere with events and excursions to nearby ruins and cenotes; as well as free bikes, which comes super handy for getting around Tulum and riding to the beach.

Mimosa Tulum – free breakfast, beautiful property, and more luxurious feel as opposed to your typical hostel atmosphere. Great location in the center of Tulum that’s hard to beat. 

Maka Hotel Boutique – another awesome hostel, Maka Hotel Boutique offers private and shared rooms, a great breakfast for a small fee, and overall fantastic value for your money.

Mama’s Home – One of the best hostels in Tulum has shared and private rooms with modern design. It also offers free parking, a la carte breakfast and superb location in the heart of Tulum. 

Tulum hotels near North Beach

The North Beach area is home to the best beaches in Tulum in my humble opinion, and it stretches north from the intersection of Avenida Coba and the road that runs parallel to the coast.

If you decide to stay here, you will be within walking distance to Tulum ruins and will not have to fight for the limited parking near the beach. On the other hand, the area has very few restaurants and stores, so you will need a bicycle or scooter to get around.

El Paraiso Hotel Tulum – Located along El Paraiso Beach, this hotel is a good mid-range option within 15 minutes from Tulum ruins. Bike rentals are available on property.

Villa Pescadores – Villa Pescadores is a beautiful, rustic-style with access to the rocky area of the beach. It has a bar on property and free parking.

Mezzanine Hotel – A few minutes away from Tulum ruins, this property is considered one of the best hotels in Tulum thanks to its private location, and delicious food at the restaurant on property. In addition to waterfront rooms, it also has more economical “non-view rooms” as well as several master suites.

Tulum hotels near main beach

The center of action in Tulum, its main beach area offers a combination of hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and boutique stores. It also boasts proximity to downtown Tulum without having to drive (or ride your bike) too far, however, hotels here tend to be pricey.

Azulik – one of the most famous hotels in Tulum, Azulik is a luxury adults-only resort with Mayan Wellness Center. Rooms at Azulik are free from TV’s and electricity, so you can relax and disconnect. Also available are Mayan massage and healing therapies, herbal baths and the traditional Mayan temazcal treatment.

Ahau Tulum – this eco-friendly, luxurious resort is all about healing, yoga and reconnecting with the nature. The onsite restaurant offers great menu with vegan and vegetarian dishes, gorgeous beach and walking distance to some of the best restaurants in Tulum.

Papaya Playa Project – one of the best day clubs in Tulum, Papaya Playa Project is a beautiful boutique hotel in a rustic setting with cabins and cottages that is worth stopping by (you can do it at the day club after purchasing food), even if you are not staying here.

Tulum hotels near South Beach

The most remote part of Tulum, that’s perfect if you are looking to unplug and get away from the busy downtown Tulum, South Beach stretches roughly between Avenida Kukulkan and the entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

It’s a great area to wind down and relax, however, many hotels here are oriented toward luxury travelers. The upside is that you will have access to some of the best private beaches in Tulum and will be within walking distance to top-notch restaurants and bars.

Be Tulum – with stylish suites, private pools and bath tubs, this hotel is perfect for relaxation. Guests can go swimming with dolphins, and snorkeling right near the hotel as you are close to Sian Ka’an. Also on property you can find several restaurants, yoga studio, spa and beach bar.

La Zebra – this boho chic hotel sits along a wide stretch of white sandy beach and offers rooftop pool, spa and delicious food and drinks. Popular among all types of travelers, La Zebra is the perfect place for the ultimate beach getaway.

Casa Malca – nestled on the edge of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Casa Malca boasts an unspoiled beach, and stylish accommodations surrounded by lush gardens. 

Hotels in Tulum town

Downtown Tulum (aka Pueblo Tulum) is where you can find plenty of budget-friendly hotels in Tulum.

And to be perfectly honest with you, unless you want to stay in one of those more expensive beachside hotels in Tulum famous for their aesthetic and more privacy, staying in pueblo is a great option if you are still not sure where to stay in Tulum.

Here you can find plenty of accommodations, from hostels to boutique hotels and family-friendly b&b-style properties.

First, you are never too far away from the beach, and can easily rent a bike or scooter to skip the traffic. Second, you are near some of the best restaurants in Tulum, and third, you will be saving quite a bit of money. Sounds like a great deal, right?

La Palmita – a budget, boutique hotel in the heart of town, La Palmita is one of the best hotels in Tulum, with a combination of good price and convenient location. The property offers free wi-fi, airport transfers and shared kitchen. Overall, it’s one of the best budget hotels in downtown Tulum.

Xscape Tulum is a stylish property near the main square Tulum with an outdoor pool and spacious garden. It also offers free parking and overall great value for your money. 

Kaab Tulum – a reasonably priced boutique hotel near downtown Tulum, Ka’ab Tulum offers a continental American breakfast, free parking, and outside pool.

Hotels in Aldea Zama Tulum

Aldea Zama is a new area of Tulum between the main part of town and the beach area. Mostly, it’s made up of high-end apartment buildings, and condominiums, but you can also find several hotels such as Kasa Hotel Parota, Copal Tulum Hotel and Naay Tulum

It’s a convenient area since you are halfway between the town and the beach, but there’s not much going on here, so you will have to get out if you are looking to go to bars and restaurants in Tulum.

Great for long-term stays, as there are many Airbnb-like accommodations and quiet hotels in the area with full-blown facilities.

Best Tulum hotels by categories

Best budget hotel in Tulum: Maison Tulum

Best luxury hotel in Tulum: Be Tulum, Hotelito Azul

Best mid-range hotel in Tulum: Hotel Tiki Tiki, Coco Village 

Best hostel in Tulum: Mama’s Home

Most beautiful hotels in Tulum: Hotel Bardo, Encantada Tulum

Best boutique hotel in Tulum: La Palmita 

Best budget Tulum hotel with great amenities: Kaab Tulum

Best glamping in Tulum: Nativus Glamping

Best restaurants in Tulum

After finding your perfect hotel in Tulum, you will probably want to know about places to eat. Tulum restaurant scene has grown a lot in recent years and now has everything from upscale dining options, to brunch cafes and vegan restaurants.

Here’s a quick overview of my favorite restaurants in Tulum.

La Hoja Verde

La Hoja Verde is one of my favorite restaurants in Tulum. The menu offers dishes ranging from traditional Mexican to Italian and Middle-Eastern food. I enjoyed their breakfast such as açaí bowls and omelet out of scrambled tofu. There are also plenty options for non-vegan eaters, so this place has something for everyone. 

Laylo

Another amazing restaurant in Tulum, Laylo is a small eatery that is tucked away around the corner from the main road of Tulum.

What I particularly like about Laylo is its selection of hearty vegan bowls made with fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. Also on the menu, you can find vegan burgers, nachos, and freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. 

If you have a sweet tooth, try their raw vegan brownie that is served with a cup of almond milk. 

Raw Love

One of the most popular vegan restaurants in Tulum, Raw Love has two locations: one in downtown Tulum and another one in the village near the beach.

The entrance to Raw Love is marked by the wooden sculpture of the lady by the name Ven a La Luz (Come to the Light), whose body is filled with greenery. While prices are slightly higher at Raw Love than at other plant-based restaurants in Tulum, you get to enjoy the yummy food and the one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Is Tulum safe?

Tulum is generally considered a safe destination, but unfortunately, there has been an uptick in crime in recent years, as the town has grown, and attracted people from all over the place.

Much of the crime has occurred around downtown Tulum, however, make sure to keep your guard up at all times whether you are going downtown Tulum for a night out or planning to spend your day at one of Tulum’s beaches.

Cancun vs Tulum

This is a fair question, and while I can’t answer it definitively, because these two places are too different, I will point out a couple of things that can help you plan your trip.

Cancun is the most famous destination in Mexico’s Caribbean known for its all-inclusive resorts, huge shopping malls, and all things touristy. Meanwhile, Tulum has started out as the opposite of Cancun with quiet rustic seaside stays and unpretentious eateries, but has grown considerably in recent years.

Still, Tulum offers a quieter atmosphere than Cancun, as it doesn’t have mega-resorts, loud nightclubs, and huge malls. 

Tulum has become popular with yogis, backpackers, and remote workers who flock to this town for its proximity to cenotes, Mayan ruins, and less explored areas of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula that allow you to disconnect and relax in nature.

Cancun vs Tulum

This is a fair question, and while I can’t answer it definitively, because these two places are too different, I will point out a couple of things that can help you plan your trip.

Cancun is the most famous destination in Mexico’s Caribbean known for its all-inclusive resorts, huge shopping malls, and all things touristy. Meanwhile, Tulum has started out as the opposite of Cancun with quiet rustic seaside stays and unpretentious eateries, but has grown considerably in recent years.

Still, Tulum offers a quieter atmosphere than Cancun, as it doesn’t have mega-resorts, loud nightclubs, and huge malls. 

Tulum has become popular with yogis, backpackers, and remote workers who flock to this town for its proximity to cenotes, Mayan ruins, and less explored areas of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula that allow you to disconnect and relax in nature.

Best time to visit Tulum

When you plan your Tulum itinerary, you should be aware of seasonal changes such as the hurricane season that lasts from September through early November in this region of Mexico.

During this time, you will see more rain and clouds than usual, so if you plan a classic beach getaway, it is definitely something to consider.

The winter season (January through early April) is the busiest time not only in Tulum but in most of Mexico’s Rivera Maya when many visitors from colder climates of North America come here to escape winter, and prices on accommodations around this time tend to be higher. 

The best time to visit Tulum is November through early January. The hurricane season is over, the weather is not extremely hot, and hotel prices in Tulum are great during this time!

How many days to spend in Tulum?

How many days to spend in Tulum depends on your plans. While some travelers spend weeks and months here, others stay less than a week. 

Overall, I would recommend no less than 5 days in Tulum, if you want to relax at the beach, visit Tulum ruins, take a trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and do a couple of road trips to nearby Coba ruins as well as cenotes in the area. Ideally, I recommend between 7 to 9 days for your trip to Tulum, if you want to get a good taste of it.

Final word on hotels Tulum and planning your visit

I hope this article was able to help you wrap your head around the many options when it comes to hotels in Tulum. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article. 

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