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This guide will cover exactly where to stay in Tulum, Mexico, including the best area to stay in Tulum and the best hotels for your adventure.
It’s 2022 and everyone is talking about Tulum, Mexico. What was once a sleepy backpacker town, has quickly changed into a bustling beach town with it’s rise in popularity. Tulum is now a trendy hotspot for American tourists, but it still holds on to much of its original charm if you know where to look.
With the rise in tourism, there are now so many things to do in Tulum, from swimming in crystal blue cenotes and visiting Mayan Ruins, to dining on everything from street tacos to five star meals on the beach. And with it there are so many new places to stay! From boutiques hotel and hostel to all-inclusive hotels and luxury hotels, there is something for every budget in Tulum.
Picking an area to stay in Tulum, Mexico
When picking a place to stay in Tulum, you’ll first need to decide which area you want to stay in. Even better, first choose the top activities for your trip, as Tulum can have a lot of traffic, and where you stay can have a big impact on your time in Tulum. Tulum is really divided into two main areas: Tulum town (Tulum Pueblo) and Tulum Beach (Tulum playa).
The vast majority of photos that you see of Tulum are all taken along one main beach strip. It’s where you’ll find the most expensive hotels, trendiest restaurants, and many of the big parties. What this means, is that it is also where you will find most of the traffic.
To get to the beach strip, if you’re not already staying on it, you’ll need to drive or bike. Depending on where in town you’re coming from, biking can take up to an hour. Walking on the other hand is nearly impossible, or at least not recommended if you’re looking to do other things in your day.
Staying on Tulum’s beach strip, the hotel zone
The most popular, and definitely most expensive place to stay in Tulum, is on the beach. So why stay on Tulum beach?
Tulum beach is a good option if you are looking for luxurious accommodations, and have a decent budget. It is perfect for long days of relaxation on the beach, and long nights of fine dining.
You actually have two options for staying on the beach. You can choose a property closer to the main road heading into town on the public beach, or further along the road on a private beach.
On the public beach, you’re more likely to find more affordable accomodations, and getting to the town and out of Tulum with be faster/have less traffic. However, you will need to drive or bike to reach the main beach strip, with many of the popular restaurants and bars.
Some examples of great hotel options along the beach include Be Tulum, Nomade, and Azulik.
Everything about Nomade is perfect, from the decor to their various restaurants. Not to mention, your room will be only steps from one of the most beautiful portions of the beach!
Nomade is easily one of the best places to stay in Tulum on the beach. Rooms aren’t cheap though as they typically range between $300 USD – $700 USD per night. One of my favorite restaurants, Macondo, is located at Nomade. It is open to the public where you are a guest of the hotel or not.
Azulik is a luxury, eco-friendly haven. With no wifi or electricity, this hotel boasts some of the most interesting looking rooms.
Whether you stay here as a guest, or stop by for a meal, Azulik should definitely be added to your Tulum itinerary. There are options to visit for dinner, but you should expect a minimum.
Staying in Tulum town
The first thing to note is that hotels and hostels in the town versus on the beach are going to be much more affordable. I personally always stay in the town! I find it to not only be more affordable, but I enjoy the vibes of the town so much more. In the town you’ll also find a wider variety of budget options, including more Airbnbs and hostels. So why stay in Tulum town?
Tulum town is a good option if you are looking for a more local experience. You’ll find cheaper accommodation, cheaper, more authentic restaurants, and a great nightlife. It will provide you much easier (and quicker) access to the various cenotes, ruins and nearby towns, but it is a bit of trek to get to the beach. Staying in Tulum town is for the more adventurous traveler. But that is not to say that you can’t find some amazing luxury properties in town as well!
Budget: Amorcito Corazon Hotel y Hostel
Located in town, Amorcito is a great option for travelers on a budget. It is one of my favorite places to stay as a solo female traveler.
There is a downstairs common area and a rooftop with a small swimming pool. Dorm beds start at $16 USD/night, while private rooms start at $50 USD/night. Breakfast is included in the price of the room.
Budget: Mama’s Home Hostel
Mama’s Home hostel is another great option if you’re traveling solo and looking for a more social atmosphere. Dorm beds start at $16 per night and private rooms start around $65/night.
Mama’s Home Hostel is great for solo traveler dorm beds, but I would recommend one of the mid-range options or an airbnb if you’re looking for a private room as you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Mid-Range: Turquoise Petit
I recently spent 5 nights at Turquoise Petit and couldn’t recommend it more! Seriously, I have zero complaints about this adorable boutique hotel. At about $75 per night, it is a great mid-range option in La Valeta in town.
The rooms are small but cute, two swimming pools, the best jungle vibes, and free breakfast. They also have free filtered water, complimentary bikes, and great security. Plus the staff is super sweet!
Mid-Range: Una Vida
Una Vida is a more luxury accommodation option in Tulum town. Located in the town center, Una Vida has a large, very Instagrammable pool, minimalist decor, and a great location for exploring the city.
Prices start around $200 USD/night, but can get much pricier during the busier season. I recommend booking in advance!
Luxury: Be Tulum
Be Tulum is one of the top hotels in the area, but with it comes a steep price tag. A night at Be Tulum averages close to $1,000 USD/night for one of their gorgeous suites, for what will definitely be an unforgettable experience.
Staying in Aldea Zama
Aldea Zama is a newer area to stay in Tulum. It is located right in the middle of the beach hotel zone and the town. This is an area where you’ll find a lot of longer-term travelers and expats living in Mexico.
It is super convenient as it offers the best of both worlds, the beach and the town! Prices also tend to be much more affordable than what you’ll find right on the beach.
One downside, however, is that there simply isn’t too much to do right around the hotels in Aldea Zama. However, that seems to be quickly changing as more and more hotels pop in the area! There is even a newer Matcha Mama location in Aldea Zama now.
Budget: Keej by NIIK Tulum
Keej by NIIK Tulum is a great option in Aldea Zama if you’re looking for a bit of luxury on a budget. You can find rooms starting at just $50 a night. Breakfast is not included, but can be added on for just $9 USD. Although, there is no shortage of amazing spots to eat in Tulum, Mexico.
Mid-Range: Orchid House
Although I haven’t stayed at Orchid House personally, I have only heard great things. Suites start under $200/night, which is much better than what you’ll typically find on the beach.
Tips for Visiting Tulum, Mexico
No matter where you decide to stay in Tulum, there are some basic tips that you should always follow:
- Currency: Mexican Pesos, cash is preferred at most places
- Official Language: Spanish, many people will speak English as well
- Visit during the low or shoulder seasons for cheaper prices on hotels and activities
- Do not drink the tap water in Tulum or anywhere else in Mexico. Ice is fine in most restaurants.
How to Get to Tulum from Cancun Airport
The closest airport is the Cancun International Airport, which is located approximately an hour and a half away. You have a number of options to get to here from Cancun Airport, including by bus, private car service, or taxi. The easiest and fastest is definitely by car, but the ADO bus is a super easy option if you’re traveling on a budget. A one-way ticket from the airport on the ADO bus costs just $14 USD (288 MXN pesos) and takes about two hours. I have put together a full guide on how to get to Tulum from Cancun airport.
You’ll find direct flights to Cancun from cities all over the US, as well as from Central America. I found that it is super easy to find affordable direct flights from New York, Miami, Chicago and more, on airlines such as JetBlue, Delta, and United. Direct flights from NYC to Cancun are just under four hours, while flights from Miami are under two hours.
Planning a trip? Here are some websites that I use to help my own trip planning:
- Booking.com for the best hotel deals
- World Nomads for trusty travel insurance
- Cheapoair for cheap, last-minute flights
- Rentalcars.com for affordable car rentals
Here are some other articles about Tulum to help with your trip planning: