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Where to stay in Tulum: best areas and hotels [2023]

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There are plenty of choices for where to stay in Tulum despite its relatively small size. The two main options are Tulum Pueblos (aka Downtown Tulum) or the beach area. Staying in these areas has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know them before booking your place.

Want to take day trips from Tulum? Check my guide to renting a car in Tulum for the ultimate adventure!

For example, hotels in Downtown Tulum tend to be more on the budget side, but this part of town also tends to be more loud and busy than the beach area. Downtown attracts a younger crowd with many backpackers and solo travelers due to some of the best budget hotels in Tulum. 

Bardo is one of the most beautiful hotels in downtown Tulum that caters to luxury travelers.

✔️ Looking where to stay in Tulum near the beach? Book one of Tulum beachfront hotels like Be Tulum Beach and Spa Resort 🏖️

Tulum Beach Zone boasts upscale hotels, fancy dining options, and direct access to some of the best Tulum beaches. The area is divided into North, Middle, and South. Some hotels in this part of Tulum have bike 🚲 rentals or offer them for free to their guests.

This guide provides a complete overview of where to stay in Tulum, and how to choose the best Tulum hotels for your budget and travel plans. 

Check my complete guide to the best things to do in Tulum

Downtown Tulum is home to some of the most popular budget hotels and hostels in Tulum. Here you can also find great street food and  access to cenotes.

Where to stay in Tulum on a budget: Tulum Pueblo

Tulum Pueblo (aka downtown Tulum) is the center of the action. Here you can find grocery stores, small artisan shops, markets, and some of the best restaurants in Tulum 😋 Downtown Tulum is popular with budget travelers thanks to a good variety of hostels and budget stays.

If you are looking for the best budget hotels in Tulum, this is the best part of town. Here you will find plenty of inexpensive hotels, but there are also more expensive options like Bardo, or Holistika, a gorgeous hotel known for its yoga 🧘‍♀️ sessions and lush garden 🪴 with stunning murals and sculptures.

Downtown Tulum has a good variety of hotels catering to budget travelers and backpackers but it also has some amazing luxury hotels like Bardo

While you don’t have direct access to the beach if you stay in Downtown Tulum, you will be close to some of the best restaurants in Tulum, the ADO bus station 🚌 and many stores. The downside of Downtown Tulum is that it can be busy and noisy, but you can walk to many places, which will make your stay more convenient and save you money 💵

👉 Rent a scooter to get to the beach from downtown Tulum. Depending on which part of the Tulum beach zone you want to visit, it can take from 15 to 30 minutes to get there from Downtown Tulum.

Bardo is one of the most beautiful hotels in downtown Tulum

Best hotels in downtown Tulum

  • Luxury: Bardo and Una Vida – these two sister properties are some of the most beautiful hotels just outside of downtown Tulum that feel like a slice of paradise surrounded by the jungle and located away from all the noise. Free parking and airport shuttle upon request.
  • Mid-budget: Maka Boutique Hotel – One of the best boutique hotels in Tulum, Maka has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop bar. It’s located right in the heart of town and boasts a quick access to cenotes and some of the best restaurants in downtown Tulum.
  • Budget: Kaab Tulum – A popular budget hotel in downtown Tulum, Kaab has a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a garden. The property has a pool family rooms and a nice spacious terrace.
  • Hostel: Botanica – One of the best hostels in Tulum, Botanica has several private rooms, a common kitchen and bathrooms. This property is in the middle of downtown Tulum close to restaurants, stores and within a quick bike ride to Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.
Tulum beach zone is one of the best places to stay in Tulum if you are looking for the best restaurants, yoga studios and amazing nightlife.

Where to stay in Tulum on a beach: Tulum Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera)

Tulum’s Zona Hotelera, which is the heart of Tulum’s beach area is a mix of hotels, restaurants, and yoga and wellness studios. If you are looking to be close to the beach, it’s one of the best places to stay in Tulum. The area is divided into North, Middle, and South areas. Read on to discover more about different parts of the Tulum beach zone. 

👉 Read my complete guide to the best beachfront hotels in Tulum.

Best hotels in Tulum Hotel Zone:

  • Luxury: Azulik – One of the most beautiful beachfront hotels in Tulum, Azulik is a private, adults-only beach resort and Mayan Wellness Center. While Azulik is famous for its stunning boho-chic decors, it’s an overall magical experience with Mayan therapies, medicinal herbal baths and temazcal treatment.
  • Mid-budget: Cinco Tulum – A great option for glamping in Tulum, Cinco boasts restaurant, a bar, a garden, a private beach area and a terrace. The luxury tent offers a continental or à la carte breakfast. All guests enjoy a bicycle rental service and free Wi-Fi.
  • Budget: Selina Tulum – One of the most popular hostels in Tulum, Selina is well known for its social atmosphere with daily events and yoga sessions. If you are a backpacker or budget traveler looking to make new friends, this is one of the best places to stay in Tulum.

Want the ultimate experience? Check the best Tulum private tours that will allow you to enjoy some of the best places in Riviera Maya with a personal tour guide!

Aldea Zama is a new area of Tulum that has a great variety of AirBnb's and apart hotels.

Where to stay in Tulum for convenience: Aldea Zama 

Aldea Zama is a new area of Tulum slightly south of downtown that you pass on the way to Tulum beach. Aldea Zama has a mix of apartment-style rentals, Airbnb, and luxury hotels like the Naay Tulum Curamoria Collection. Here you can also find some stores and restaurants like Rossina Tulum, a popular breakfast and brunch spot.

Check my guide to tipping in Mexico to know how much you need to tip when dining in Tulum.

Check the best bike rentals in Tulum

While the area is pretty quiet, it offers quick access to Tulum beaches and downtown Tulum, making it a perfect place to stay between two major parts of this popular town. A downside of Aldea Zama is that it doesn’t offer much to do and has a slow residential feel.

Best hotels in Aldea Zama:

  • Luxury: Orchid House Tulum – A real tropical oasis, Orchid House is offers a peaceful and calming experience with a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool. Guests love the delicious food and friendly staff.
  • Mid-Budget: Zenses Wellness and Yoga Resort – If you want a combination of comfort, attentive staff and great yoga sessions, Zenses is one of the best places to stay In Tulum.
  • Budget: Hotel Ko Ox Wenne – A new hotel in Aldea Zama, Ko Ox is a convenient stay with basic amenities, free water and coffee and an amazing rooftop bar that’s perfect for watching sunsets.

Where to stay in Tulum near the Mayan ruins: North Tulum Beach 

The North Beach Zone runs parallel to Tulum National Park from the intersection of Avenida Kukulkan with Carretera Tulum – Boca Paila, to the Tulum Archaeological Area.

The North Beach is one of the best places to stay in Tulum if you are looking for a quiet atmosphere and quick access to some of the best beaches in Tulum like Playa Pescadores, Playa Maya, and Playa Paraiso. You can also find Playa Santa Fe and Cenote Manati in the area. It’s a perfect spot if you want to be close to Tulum Ruins and beat the crowds here in the morning.

I also find it the best area in Tulum if you want to have a nice sandy beach to yourself while watching a sunrise 🌅 to start your day.

Most hotels in this area tend to be either beach clubs like Playa Maya or smaller boutique hotels like Mi Amor, or Ikal Tulum Hotel

Tulum Hotel Zone is home to some of the best beachfront hotels like Ahau and La Zebra

Best hotels in North Tulum Beach 

  • Luxury: Jashita Hotel – If you want to get a celebrity treatment, book your stay in Jashita, a stunning hotel that sits on white sand beach just 6.2 miles from Tulum. Staff at the Jashita can also arrange beachfront yoga sessions, snorkeling or scuba diving with a personal instructor.
  • Mid-budget: Mi Amor – Perched along a rocky hill overlooking the Caribbean, Mi Amor is a popular hotel thanks to its quiet atmosphere, amazing jacuzzis, delicious food and attentive staff. Couples in particular love this beautiful hotel.
  • Budget: El Paraiso Hotel Tulum – Located along the beach, El Paraiso is a sustainable property that has a pool, bike rentals, and clean and comfy accommodations. Great value for your money 💰
Zone Hotelera is one of the best places to stay in Tulum is you are looking for some of the best beachfront hotels in Tulum.

Where to stay in Tulum to relax: South Tulum Beach

South Tulum is one of the most tranquil areas near the entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere on the far end of the Tulum Hotel Zone. The area boasts many eco-friendly hotels like Manglex Eco Hotel, which features a private cenote, and Nomade Tulum that has a spectacular aesthetic and gorgeous beachfront views.

Tulum South Beach a perfect place to relax and recharge, and you can also visit Sian Ka’an – one of the best day trips from Tulum.

Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

👉 Check my guide to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve – home to dolphins 🐬 manatees and tropical birds.

If you stay in South Tulum, you will be a distance from downtown Tulum, but the upside is that you will be able to relax and take a break from the crowds. You also will be within a walking distance of several places to eat like Loco Tulum, Rosa Del Viento, and Saikuk, a highly-rated Moroccan restaurant. 

RENT A SCOOTER IN TULUM TO GET AROUND WITH NO HASSLE

Also nearby, are popular staples like Matcha Mama where you can try smoothie bowls and ice cream, and Tulum Munchies, a cute eatery with an amazing bar and a casual vibe. 

Cenote Yaxchen is a hidden gem of Tulum located in the Hotel Zone

One of the most amazing places in this part of Tulum is Cenote Yaxchen, within Yaxchen Tulum and Cenote Hotel. I highly recommend booking a stay at this gorgeous hotel, and if you do, you will get free access to a cenote with all the fun activities like kayaking and paddle boarding 😃

✅ Book your stay at Yaxchen here

If you decide to visit, an entrance to cenote Yaxchen costs 100 Pesos per person. 

The best yoga studios in the area are Yäan Wellness, Oko Spa Mayan Healing Portal, and Ana y Jose Yoga Studio

Best hotels along South Tulum Beach:

  • Luxury: Nomade Tulum – One of my favorite beachfront hotels in Tulum, Nomade has amazing designs, two on-site restaurants, amazing live music and fun treetop houses. Guests love the jungle setting and daily activities like yoga and wellness services.
  • Mid-budget: La Zebra – One of the best boutique hotels with beachfront views in Tulum, La Zebra offers a phenomenal dining experience, customized drinks and amazing music. It has a bar, restaurant, free parking and airport shuttle.
  • Budget: Cormoran Tulum – If you are looking for a quiet getaway in Tulum, look no further than Cormoran. This hotel has a continental breakfast, free private parking and a paid airport shuttle service. It’s also not far from the entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
Tulum Middle Beach Zone is a great place to stay that's home to some of the best hotels in Tulum

Where to stay for best restaurants and nightlife: Middle beach 

The heart of Tulum’s Hotel Zone, the middle beach is home to upscale restaurants like Hartwood, Jaguar, and Gitano that serve elaborate dishes in a gorgeous jungle setting. Here you will also find many boutiques, convenience stores, small cafes, and bars.

Middle beach is also home to the best party scene in Tulum. 🎉

The Middle Beach Zone stretches from Sunset Beach toward the Arca restaurant between kilometers 5.5 and 8 along the Carretera Tulum-Boca Palia. The best way to get around the area is by renting a bicycle or scooter like in the rest of Tulum Hotel Zone, but you can also flag down a taxi to get to downtown Tulum. 

It’s the busiest area of Tulum’s Hotel Zone, and while it has the most traffic, it’s a happening place, so you never get bored here. 

Ahau is one of the best beachfront hotels in Tulum

Best hotels in Middle Beach Tulum

  • Luxury: Ahau Tulum – Ahau Tulum is an eco-friendly and pet-friendly hotel with a famous Ven a La Luz sculpture. It offers yoga lessons, massage services and beautiful beachfront cabanas. Ahau also has a great on-site restaurant that serves international dishes.
  • Mid-budget: Kanan Tulum – A gorgeous eco-friendly spa hotel located along the beach amid the Mayan jungle. Here you can get pampered in a spa, enjoy dishes made from the local produce, take a yoga class, and have fun with water activities.
  • Budget: Cabanas La Luna – While most beachfront hotels in Tulum tend to be expensive, Cabanas La Luna provides a perfect budget option. The property has 10 Cabanas, 6 with sea view, 3 suites and 1 villa with pool. All rooms come with a terrace or balcony.

Where I stayed in Tulum:

I stayed in several hotels in Tulum during my visits, but my favorite one was Holistika. By far one of the most beautiful hotels outside of downtown Tulum, Holistika is a gorgeous hotel with a combination of private and shared dorm rooms in the middle of the jungle. 

Holistika has a yoga center, a stunning garden with art sculptures and murals, and a beautiful pool. You can enjoy healthy vegan and vegetarian options from the on-site restaurant and participate in daily events at Holistika

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOLISTIKA TULUM

You can also enjoy Temazcal, an ancient Mayan ceremony, cacao ceremony, spa, and wellness treatments. If you are looking for a tranquil experience where you can disconnect and spend time in nature, look no further than Holistika. 

Selina is one of the best beachfront hotels in Tulum where you can enjoy yoga classes and social atmosphere

Best overall places to stay in Tulum 

  • Be Tulum Beach and Spa Resort – One of the best places to stay in Tulum, Be Tulum boasts superb views, 3 on-site restaurants and suites with private pools or hot tubs.
  • Bardo – A great hotel just outside of downtown Tulum, Bardo boasts spectacular aesthetic, friendly staff and a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Era Hotel and Spa – one of my favorite hotels in downtown Tulum, Era offers a combination of chic accommodations with superb amenities and an unbeatable location in the heart of the city.
  • Ahau – If you are looking for one of the best hotels with beachfront views in Tulum, look no further than Ahau, a popular stay with a wonderful on-site restaurant, gorgeous cabanas and great ambiance.
  • Mi Amor – One of the most popular hotels in Tulum with couples, Mi Amor offers a quiet setting in the lush Mayan jungle.

✔️ CLICK HERE TO RENT E-BIKE FOR YOUR STAY IN TULUM

How to decide where to stay in Tulum?

How to decide where to stay in Tulum 

Trying to figure out where to stay in Tulum is not an easy task, thanks to the sheer number of options. If you plan a trip to Tulum and need to figure out a good place to stay, try to answer some of the following questions. 

Are you traveling on a budget?

If you are traveling on a budget, the best place to stay is downtown Tulum. Here you will find a variety of hostels like Botanica, Mayan Monkey, and Ariche and inexpensive places to stay in Tulum like Kaab Tulum. Eat street food from taco stands and budget restaurants like Antojitos A la Chiapaneca that serves tacos, quesadillas, and other staples from Mexican cuisine. 

How close do you want to be to the beach?

If you want to be near the beach, stay in the Tulum beach zone. You can choose from hotels in the North Beach Zone, like Mezzanine, or Middle Beach Zone like Ahau or South Beach Zone, where you can enjoy a quiet atmosphere in Nomade

Are you traveling to relax or party?

Downtown Tulum attracts a young crowd and is home to many fun bars and restaurants where you can mingle with locals and fellow travelers. Tulum Beach Zone is where you will find some of the most upscale restaurants and bars in Tulum that cater mostly to tourists. If you are looking for some of the best parties in Tulum, a great ambiance, and top-notch food, Tulum Middle Beach is the best place to stay. 

What kind of activities do you like? 

Downtown Tulum provides quick access to some of the best Tulum cenotes like Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera, and Cenote Escondido. You can easily reach them by bike ride from Downtown Tulum. Another option is to catch a bus ride to Coba Ruins or take a guided tour of Sian Ka’an or Chichen Itza – some of the most popular Tulum tours

👉 Whether you take a guided tour or visit on your own, you can easily book these tours online through Viator, the best online platform for booking guided tours in Mexico and beyond.

Need to get from Cancun to Tulum?

If you are traveling to Tulum from Cancun, there are a couple of options for your transportation. My complete guide on how to plan your trip between these two popular destinations will answer all of your questions.

👉 Click here to book your transfer to Tulum from Cancun

Where to stay in Tulum: FAQs

Gran cenote near Tulum

Where to stay in Tulum, beach or town?

Where to stay in Tulum depends on your plans, your budget, and your taste. The beach area is home to more expensive hotels and has a combination of yoga studios, upscale restaurants, and some of the best nightlife in Tulum. Downtown Tulum is great if you want to save money, try street food, and enjoy quick access to cenotes near Tulum. 

Aldea Zama is the newest area of Tulum that’s perfect if you are looking for comfort and convenience and are ready to ride your bike or scooter to go places. 

How many days in Tulum is enough?

Spend no less than 3 days in Tulum to experience the best of this gem of Riviera Maya. Ideally, plan between 5-7 days in Tulum to visit cenotes, explore ancient Mayan ruins, and take a couple of day trips from Tulum. 

What is a cenote? 

A cenote (pronounced seh-no-te) is a sinkhole filled with fresh groundwater formed when the bedrock collapsed exposing the groundwater underneath.

There are over 6,000 cenotes around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – the vast majority of them either too hard or impossible to access. Still, there are many cenotes where you can swim, snorkel and even dive. There are many cenotes around the Yucatan Peninsula, with some of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum.

How to get around Tulum?

The best way to get around Tulum is by renting a scooter. It’s inexpensive, and you can go to the beach and visit nearby Mayan ruins like Muyil by a quick ride. Although walking is an option, it will take you a lot more time, and if you want to make the most out of your vacation, rent a bike or scooter.

Do I need a car in Tulum?

Whether you need a car in Tulum, depends on your plans. If you want to tour Tulum ruins, visit a couple of nearby cenotes and enjoy the beach, you do not need a car. But if you want to get off the beaten path, take a couple of day trips and explore more of the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s a good idea to rent a car in Tulum. 

Prices could fluctuate, and since Tulum is a busy destination, you should rent your car ahead of time. 

One of my favorite car rental platforms is DiscoverCars. They offer great inventory at flexible rates, and unlike some other car rental platforms, they have no hidden fees.

Click here to check rates on car rentals in Tulum. 

Selina is one of the best places to stay in Tulum that offers a combination of shared and private rooms.

Where to stay in Tulum: the final word 

Although it’s not always easy to choose the best place to stay in Tulum, I hope that this guide was able to help you narrow down your choices and better understand where to book your stay. Tulum is a wonderful destination with some of the most beautiful hotels in Mexico, and I hope you have a great time exploring everything it has to offer from cenotes to Mayan ruins, local culture, and cuisine.

More resources for planning your trip to Tulum, Mexico

  • Agoda.com – a great website for budget hotels in Tulum and other parts of Mexico.
  • WorldNomads – Great service for insurance coverage that will keep you safe on the road.
  • Safety Wing – Excellent insurance plan for long-term travelers that offers competitive rates is you are planning to stay on the road several weeks in a row. 
  • iVisa – the best website for getting help with your Mexico visa.
  • DiscoverCars.com – There’s nothing like exploring Tulum and surrounding areas at your own pace. Rent a car at Discover Cars if you want more freedom exploring Rivera Maya. 
  • GetYourGuide.com – This is one of the best platforms for finding best tours in Tulum. Get Your Guide is my favorite platform that offers awesome tours and top-notch guides in many destinations in Mexico.
  • CheapoAir.com – One of the best platforms for saving money on flights within Mexico and beyond. 
  • Booking.com – a popular website with tons and tons of options for accommodations of all sorts.