Know Before You Go: Tulum

Welcome to my Tulum travel guide! 

Tulum is one of the biggest travel destinations near Cancun. Located on the Mayan Riviera, I put together a video of tips, advice, and more things to know before you visit Tulum.

I’m Kim, the abundant traveler and welcome to the beautiful beach town of Tulum Mexico. Today, I’m going to be sharing with you a few things that you need to know before you come to this gorgeous city in the Riviera Maya.

First of all, let me just show you the beautiful beaches in Tulum. Tulum is known for its gorgeous beaches, it’s healing water, I don’t know what it is about swimming in the ocean here, it’s also known for being a very sustainable town and it’s also known for being a foodie town. So, a couple of things to note it is about an hour and 45-minute drive from the Cancun Airport and it’s best to go ahead and book your transportation from the airport before you arrive.

When you arrive in Cancun if you have not booked your transportation, you’re going to get accosted and you’re going to run the gauntlet with all of the timeshare people and people trying to sell you taxi rides and all of that, so go ahead and organize your transportation in advance.

I always use happy shuttle and I’ve left the link in the description below, they will do a private ride, they will do a luxury private ride, they will also do a shared ride, I always do the private ride in a van and it’s perfect for me.

So, before you leave the airport in Cancun, I recommend that you go ahead and go to an ATM and get some pesos in Cancun, that way you have pesos, I also recommend that if you use an ATM, do not get American dollars, you’re going to pay more, it’s going to cost more and it’s always good to have Mexican pesos.

You want to have Mexican pesos in small increments in 20s and 50s and 100s because not everybody has change if you get 500-pesos notes. So, Tulum is a very laid back a low key, everything is slower in Tulum, there is something magical about this area if you’re looking for senor frogs or a mandala club, I suggest that you go to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. If you’re looking for a laid-back low-key vacation, then Tulum is the one for you, definitely if you stay on the beach.

So, when you arrive in Tulum don’t be surprised, there are two very specific different areas of Tulum, you can either stay in Tulum Centro or the Puebla or the city or you can stay on the beach.

There is a big difference in style and lifestyle in Boho Chic or typical Mexican town and there is definitely a difference in price point. So, if you decide you want to stay in town, it is less expensive than staying on the beach. In town you have lots of shops for all your Mexican trinkets and gifts to take home to your friends, the hotels are relatively small and it is a little bit busier, it’s especially busy in the evening as well and I would suggest if you’re coming to Tulum and you want to stay in the city that you rent a car.

As far as renting a car, if you’re not comfortable with renting a car from Cancun and driving on the highway to Tulum, you can simply rent a car here through all of the main chains. I rented from alamo, they also have hertz budget, Europe car, all the main places and I actually spent twenty dollars a day including the extra insurance that they said they that it was required and I have had a car the entire time I was here.

Now, I am staying in the town this time would I recommend it the lifestyle is very different than staying on the beach, I’ve enjoyed having a car, I think every time I come to Tulum, I will have a car but I think I will come back to the beach always before when I’ve been in Tulum I’ve stayed on the beach.

Now the beach prices for hotels are two, three, four, five, six times as much as they are as staying in the city. If you’re going to stay at b Tulum which I’ve stayed before or nomad you’re going to be spending $600 plus a night.

There are a few hotels on the beach that are around $200 or 250 but the ones in town typically you can, I’m staying in town for 65 dollars and I actually have an apartment with a full-size kitchen, a beautiful pool and a gorgeous common area in the middle.

If you’re staying on the beach and you don’t want to rent a car, you can absolutely rent a bicycle, it’s one of the best things to do here in Tulum and it’s very boho chic to rent a bicycle, take your Instagram photos with your basket on the front of your bicycle, it’s a lot of fun but for me staying in town actually renting a bicycle was too far of a distance, it was about 15 plus kilometers each way and Tulum is always hot. So, I opted for a rental car that had air conditioning.

If you don’t want to ride a bicycle and you don’t want to rent a car, you can always walk or you can take taxis, just note that the taxis, make sure to take the real taxis that are the white cars with the red writing, the guys have an emblem and a uniform, just make sure before you get in the car and you shut that door that you ask what the price is before you go.

I think that the prices in Tulum are relatively fixed, you just want to know what you’re getting in for before you get in the taxi, you don’t want to be spending $50 when you only spent ten dollars for your tacos and your drinks.

So, what to bring when you’re coming to Tulum? if you’re going to be staying in the city it is hot and you don’t have the breeze off the ocean. So, I recommend bringing tank tops bring your bathing suit, bring a cover up, bring your flip-flops but you are going to be walking a lot so make sure to bring shoes that are comfortable to walk in for great distances as well.

Also, if you’re going to cenotes which are the sinkholes with the limestone sinkholes with the fresh water you want to bring maybe a snorkel and a mask, you also want to bring water shoes as well.

When you’re on the beach in Tulum, it is a beautiful white sand and the beaches are gorgeous you do not need swim shoes at all if you’re going to be on the beach in Tulum.

The other thing that all girls need to bring is the frizz spray, if you have a great frizz spray, please leave a comment below and let me know which one you use because there’s no way, don’t brush your hair, don’t need a hair dryer but this is what you end up with in Tulum in the tropics.

So, if you’re a shopper, there are two distinct ways of going shopping in Tulum up and down the beach road there are all these boho chic linens from Biodelete which is a town in the interior, gorgeous linens, beautiful macrame things and everything is quite expensive.

You can also go shopping for all of your typical Mexican artifacts and things your little bags from Chiapas your pottery from Puebla all of those things you can find in town. Also, if you decide you’re going to go to some place like Coba, you can check out the towns along the way they also have lots of trinkets that you can buy that are a little less expensive than in Tulum.

So, let’s talk a little bit more about staying on the beach. It is gorgeous over here and what is crazy is you are in the middle of the jungle. The jungle goes right up to the beach so most of the hotels have these beautiful tropical trees, the mangroves, they have coconut trees and all of that all surrounding these little tiny casitas and most of the hotels on the beach have casitas, most also have casitas facing the water as well as facing into the jungle.

So, be prepared when you’re in the jungle not only do you want to be bring sunscreen when you’re on the beach, you also want to bring bug spray because a lot of the restaurants on the beach are actually across the little road and they are in the middle of the jungle, it’s quite famous to go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a full menu, it simply has a chalkboard an open kitchen with an open fire and they are cooking whatever fish they have that day or whatever sustainable vegetables they have found.

A couple of recommendations that I have for you I was at Casa Jaguar the other night, it was delicious open-air kitchen and the food was phenomenal, I had a pork belly dish and salt cooked shrimp and it was so yummy.

Tonight, I’m going to go to kitchen table and that is one of those restaurants that the menu is simply the board as to what they have found today and what they pulled in from the sea. So, check out kitchen table and check out Casa Jaguar.

One of the restaurants I do recommend if you’re gluten free is to go to the real coconut where they make their pastries and their pancakes with plantain flour and coconut flour that’s where I had breakfast today and it was absolutely delicious.

Also, with a lot of the beach restaurants, they are typical prices that you would find in the United States, I would say it’s about $10 for a cocktail and dishes are 15 to $18, whereas in town, things are relatively inexpensive.

Another thing about the restaurants on the beach, they’re quite famous for adding their gratuity already 15 to 20 percent, so you want to ask them in advance if they have added gratuity already to the bill and the word for gratuity or tip is called ‘propina’.

Also, make sure in Mexico that you bring a Mastercard or a Visa. Usually, most restaurants and most places will take Mastercard or Visa but they don’t always take American express, I also think that the best exchange rate you’re going to find is when you pay with a credit card, usually they offer the best exchange rates when you get back home you see that you spend a couple of dollars less than you planned buying all of those gorgeous gifts.

So, Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit, I come to Mexico three to four times a year, I’m not always coming to the Riviera Maya the last couple of trips I have been here but I’ll go to Oaxaca, I’ll go to Mexico City, I’ll go to San Miguel De Allende. I just love Mexico; I swear I was Mexican in another life.

My suggestion is if you’re someone traveling on your own, just be aware be prepared, look around, don’t walk any down any dark streets by yourself and if you’re female and you rent a car, I don’t recommend driving too late at night by yourself. It’s just good to be safe no matter where you’re traveling in the world. I haven’t had any concerns or any issues with any time anywhere any city I’ve ever been to in Mexico and I continue to come back again and again and again.

So, Tulum is a great place to visit on your own, it’s a great place to visit for a romantic getaway in fact it’s very romantic. I definitely recommend that, it’s also a great place to come if you’re coming with a group of friends, I do not suggest coming with a family it’s kind of spread out and there’s not a lot to do for kids, so I really don’t recommend families.

So, that’s it for my tips on coming to Tulum for the first time, if you have any additional tips, I’d love to hear them, please leave them in the comments below, I hope that you have a great time in Tulum let me know your thoughts, I’m Kim the abundant traveler and I will see you on the next adventure, bye.

Of course, I start to film here and they’re cleaning the rooms, this is very sexy. Look the guy right there cleaning, it’s always the way they formed a table.

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