Where to Stay in Tulum – Neighborhoods & Area Guide

The gorgeous town of Tulum is one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. While holidaymakers head to Cancun in their thousands, little old Tulum slopes quietly down to the picturesque Caribbean coastline – ever humble and ever beautiful.

For travelers seeking to explore a more authentic side of Mexico – while still having the amenities in place that make a foreign holiday as simple as can be – Tulum is a great idea. There are dozens of different places to stay in and around the Tulum area. Although the town itself is quite small, it is well geared up for visitors; the high street is lined with bars and restaurants all catering to tourists.

One of the main draws to Tulum – aside from the Caribbean Sea – is the history. Beach-bound travelers, as a stereotype, are seldom fussed by the history of an area. However, in Tulum, it is hard not to be intrigued by the ruins and castle grounds that sit atop the rugged cliffs.

Tulum is also home to the Parque Nacional de Tulum, within which visitors will discover ancient Mayan ruins in addition to incredible wildlife.

There is genuinely something for every kind of traveler here. Let’s explore where to stay in Tulum.

Tulum Town

Elements Tulum BoutiqueSource: booking.com
Elements Tulum Boutique

When visiting Tulum, it makes sense to stay in the heart of the action. Tulum Town is the perfect place to stay for first time travelers keen to have an easy stay and get the lay of the land. Within the town itself, there are dozens of boutique hotels, family-run B&Bs, and a few big resorts for good measure.

Tulum Town is the most popular place to stay in Tulum and is the gateway to the region. Within a short drive – or even walk – of the town center, visitors can explore beaches, Mayan ruins and the simply breathtaking Gran Cenote. Travelers are spoiled for choice as to where to eat in Tulum. There are many authentic Mexican diners serving the most amazing food, all lovingly prepared using local recipes.

Along the Yucatán Peninsula, there are dozens of limestone sinkholes. Gran Cenote is perhaps the most famous of them all. Travelers can snorkel within the cenote and cave. The water is crystal clear and never too cold. It is a must-do activity when in Tulum.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Beach Bums, Budding Historians, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Outdoorsy Travelers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Tulum Town Ruins, El Castillo, Tulum National Park, Gran Cenote, Paradise Beach, Temple of the Frescoes, Cenote Naharon, Parque Dos Aguas, Cenote Tankah, Casa del Cenote

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Elements Tulum Boutique – Elements Tulum Boutique is a great hotel in the heart of Tulum Town. Guests are invited to explore the town using the free bicycles or relax by the hotel pool. All rooms have air conditioning, ensuite bathroom and views of the courtyard. The rooms are modern and trendy, featuring very stylish furniture.
  • Casa Mama Maria – Casa Mama Maria is a beautiful boutique apartment in Tulum Town. There is an outdoor swimming pool and sun-trapped garden complete with hammocks. Inside the apartment there is a fully equipped kitchen, ensuite bathroom and lounge area. Bicycle rental can be arranged on request, as can an airport shuttle service.
  • Mestizo Gallery Boutique Hotel – Mestizo Gallery Boutique Hotel is a wonderful place to stay in Tulum Town. There is an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub. The rooms are beautifully decorated, featuring homely tones and modern furnishings. All rooms have a flat-screen TV, seating area and an ensuite bathroom. Free WiFi is available.

Tulum Beach

Tulum BeachSource: javarman / shutterstock
Tulum Beach

Tulum Beach lies just a matter of steps from Tulum Town center and is the perfect place to stay for travelers who want to watch the sun come up each morning.

There is very little to differentiate between Tulum Town and Tulum Beach in terms of things to do and neighborhood highlights. There is something a little more relaxed and laid back about staying right by the beach though.

At Tulum Beach there are bigger, resort-style hotels catering to all-inclusive holidaymakers wanting to take it easy. There are a number of beach clubs that line the sandy shores of Tulum Beach. Playa Paraiso Beach Club is a wonderfully chilled out place to spend the day and drink long into the night.

Snorkeling and swimming off Tulum Beach is a great pastime during a holiday to the Yucatán Peninsula. The crystal clear waters are warm yet refreshing almost all year round. There are tour companies who run day trips from Tulum Beach to some of the best snorkeling spots further from the shoreline.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Beach Bums, Budding Historians, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Outdoorsy Travelers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Tulum Beach, Tulum Town Ruins, El Castillo, Tulum National Park, Gran Cenote, Paradise Beach, Temple of the Frescoes, Cenote Naharon, Parque Dos Aguas, Cenote Tankah, Casa del Cenote

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Villa Pescadores – Villa Pescadores is a series of authentic, yet luxurious beach huts on Tulum Beach. There is an in-house bar and guests get to sleep just steps from the ocean. Each hut has its own ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, and all beds have plenty of pillows. Tulum Archaeological Site is a five-minute walk away.
  • Eco Lodge Hotel Villa – Eco Lodge Hotel Villa is a humble and affordable hotel on Tulum Beach. Featuring earthy tones and plenty of natural materials, Eco Lodge Hotel Villa is a gorgeous place to stay. The rooms are bright and feature modern furnishings. Each has air conditioning and a small seating area.
  • Diamante K – Diamante K is a four-minute walk from Tulum Beach, set on its own private cove. A peaceful night’s sleep is a certainty. There is free WiFi and a beach bar too. Diamante K Hotel is both luxurious and affordable – the staff are always happy, helpful and welcoming.

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’anSource: Inspired By Maps / shutterstock
Reserva De La Biosfera Sian Ka’an

Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an is one of Mexico’s most beautiful landscapes. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an will be preserved forever more. That’s not to say that travelers can rest on their laurels. Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an is only going to become more and more popular. To experience this incredible ecosystem before the crowds descend in full, it is best to get there as soon as possible.

There is so much to see, do and experience in Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an. The best way to understand the history, the geography and the biology of the park is to take a guided tour. It is possible to explore the biosphere on foot or by water. Swimming and snorkeling in Sian Ka’an Biosphere is one of the most incredible experiences intrepid travelers could ever hope for. The mangrove ecosystem is rare and exceptionally beautiful.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Beach Bums, Couples, Culture Vultures, Eco-Warriors, Like a Local Travelers, Off-the-Beaten-Track Travelers, Outdoorsy Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an, Tulum Town Ruins, El Castillo, Tulum National Park, Paradise Beach, Cenote Naharon Temple of the Frescoes, Muyil, Tulum Jungle Gym, Laguna de Kaan Luum

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Mukan Resort South of Tulum – Mukan Resort South of Tulum is an ideal place to stay for travelers who want to combine a beach holiday with the excitement of Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an. Although the entrance to the biosphere is a short drive away, guests get to immerse themselves in nature and totally relax.
  • Sol Caribe – Sol Caribe is located within the Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an. Guests can wake each morning to the sound of the waves lapping against the sand. There is a beach bar at Sol Caribe as well as an in-house restaurant. The rooms are comfortable, cozy and all feature an ensuite bathroom.
  • Cabañas Costa del Sol – Cabañas Costa del Sol is a budget-friendly hotel close to Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an. Offering simple, authentic, rustic accommodation, Cabañas Costa del Sol allows guests to reconnect with nature. In an idyllic spot with very little light pollution, stargazing is amazing on the beach. The sunsets are impressive too.

Macario Gómez

Escarabajo RojoSource: booking.com
Escarabajo Rojo

For travelers seeking to get off the beaten track in Tulum, Macario Gómez is a great place to stay. Just a 20-minute drive from Tulum, Macario Gómez offers travelers the chance to experience this area in the most authentic way. A small, hippy town featuring a dozen affordable accommodation options, Macario Gómez is the kind of place where once you arrive you never want to leave.

Hiring a scooter in Macario Gómez is the best way to explore the area. Once travelers have exhausted the town center and Tulum Beach, they are free to explore what other gems Quintana Roo has to offer. There are so many hidden delights in the areas surrounding Macario Gómez. The locals are kind-hearted and helpful and are keen to share their local knowledge with travelers who are dying to explore.

Macario Gómez is in a great little spot – Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an is a scenic hour and a half drive away.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Budget Backpackers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Like a Local Travelers, Off-the-Beaten-Track Travelers, Outdoorsy Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Muyil, Coba, Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Chemax, Tulum Town, Tulum Beach, Playa Del Carmen, Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an, Dos Ojos Cenote, EcoRanchoMayamar

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Escarabajo Rojo – Escarabajo Rojo is a gorgeous hotel in Macario Gómez. The food at Escarabajo Rojo is one of the reasons it is one of the best places to stay in Tulum. There is free parking available on-site and free WiFi too. Rooms either come with their own terrace or a balcony.
  • La Selva Mariposa – Featuring authentic Mexican décor, La Selva Mariposa is a boutique hotel in Macario Gómez. With an earthy and natural feel, there is something refreshing about La Selva Mariposa. It is a very photogenic hotel that features an outdoor pool and there are a few hammocks dotted around the garden too.
  • Casa Selva Orquideas – Casa Selva Orquideas is an authentic hotel in Macario Gómez. The garden area is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring Tulum’s natural wonders. There is a welcoming feel to Casa Selva Orquideas and the staff are incredibly helpful. There is an outdoor swimming pool and sun deck.

Playa Del Carmen

Playa del CarmenSource: Andrew F. Kazmierski / shutterstock
Playa Del Carmen

Set equidistant from Tulum and Cancun, Playa Del Carmen is a great place to stay for travelers who want a little bit of everything. Staying at Playa Del Carmen allows travelers to get in flow with the Mexican vibes, to experience ancient Tulum, and have plenty more novelty fun too.

Playa Del Carmen is just under an hour’s drive from Tulum and is a resort town all of its own. There are countless accommodation options and something to suit every budget.

Playa Del Carmen is ideal for families who want some beach time, a few child-friendly activities and the opportunity to explore Quintana Roo’s cultural and historical gems. It is ideal for travelers who like the sound of Cancun but are unsure about the massive numbers of tourists throughout the year.

Xcaret Park is an eco-archaeological park that is much like Sian Ka’an Biosphere but with more man-made activities.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Beach Bums, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Outdoorsy Travelers, Whistle-Stop Travelers, Party People

Neighborhood Highlights: Playacar, Xcaret Park, Fundadores Park, 3D Museum of Wonders, Tulum Town, Tulum Beach, Cenote Azul, Akumal, Cenote and Yal-ku, Dos Ojos Park

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Magic Blue Boutique – Magic Blue Boutique is an excellent hotel in Playa Del Carmen. Located just four-minutes from the beach, Magic Blue Boutique offers guests easy access to the coast and to the vibrant nightlife scene. There is a luxuriousness to Magic Blue Boutique that is a real treat, considering the affordable prices.
  • Thompson Beach House – Thompson Beach House is just a one-minute walk from the beach. Offering nothing but luxury from start to finish, Thompson Beach House is a great place to stay for travelers who want to spoil themselves while exploring Quintana Roo. There is an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center.
  • El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condo Hotel – El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condo Hotel features tropical gardens, outdoor infinity pool and a hot tub. This is in addition to the in-house restaurant, spa and gym complex. Each suite offers guests a large terrace area complete with outdoor furniture. Many rooms and suites offer views of the ocean.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Tulum, Mexico
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Where to Stay in Tulum – Neighborhoods & Area Guide:

  • Tulum Town
  • Tulum Beach
  • Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an
  • Macario Gómez
  • Playa Del Carmen