Tulum, a coastal town located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and culinary delights. Spend your days exploring lush jungle landscapes and jumping in the turquoise waters of the many nearby cenotes before enjoying the city's nightlife in the beach zone. Tulum also a highly sought-after group trip destination - I went as part of a bachelorette trip for one of my friends! We went in January, when the weather was hot, but not unbearable. It really is an unforgettable destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and a touch of history.

5 DAY ITINERARY 

DAY 1
  • Arrive in Cancun and drive to Tulum. Depending on traffic, the drive will take 1.5-2 hours. Many Airbnbs and hotels offer private transportation, but you can also use E-Transfers to arrange a shuttle - several people in our group used this service and found it to be convenient and reliable.
  • In the evening, head to Casa Jaguar for dinner and drinks (reservations recommended). You can check out the nightlife nearby.
DAY 2
  • Start your day with some yoga, meditation, and a sound bath with Om Collective. You can either visit their studio or arrange a class at your Airbnb.
  • After yoga, spend the day exploring the town of Tulum. Some highly rate breakfast and lunch options are Burrito Amor, Don Cafeto, Babel, Raw Love Tulum, Matcha Mama, Taqueria Honorio. If you have a bike, feel free to also check out the Tulum archaeological zone.
  • If you want to visit the beach area, head over to Azulik for sunset drinks. They offer this experience on a first come, first serve basis starting at 5PM every day. Note that Azulik is located inthe beach zone, so if you are spending most of the day in the town, you may want to save this for another day. I will also give you the heads up that it feels a bit smaller than what one might expect (i.e. if you are coming here because of what you have seen on Instagram).
  • Our Airbnb arranged a private chef to prepare a 3 course dinner for us. This was a great experience and we were able to try out the local cuisine without it feeling too commercial.
DAY 3
  • After breakfast, spend the day exploring some of the nearby cenotes. We hired a driver for 6 hours (10:30AM - 4:30PM) who took us to Casa Tortuga and Cenote Calavera. Casa Tortuga is fairly developed, with 4 cenotes, 1 zipline, and restaurant/bars on site. While the entrance fee is a bit pricier than other cenotes, we thought it was worth it. You can easily spend a few hours here.
  • After a day of cenote hopping, head back to the Airbnb for a poolside hangout before getting ready for dinner.
  • Head to Rosa Negra for dinner. I recommend making a reservation for 8:30PM or 8:45PM (if you make a reservation for after this time, you may not get a table as people stay for many hours - the restaurant turns into a party!)
  • If you are looking for even more nightlife, walk across the street to Gitano. On Friday nights, they host a gypsy disco jungle party!
DAY 4
  • This day (Saturday) is the beach day! If you are looking for more of a party vibe, I suggest checking out Taboo Beach Club or Tantra Beach Club. If you are looking for a more chill option, I suggest visiting Ziggy's Beach Club.
  • For dinner, depending on your mood and energy levels you can grab dinner at Casa Banana or Ilios, or you can order in some burritos. Use this downtime to prepare for the nightlife. before heading to Papaya Playa Project.
  • Papaya Playa Project is the place to be on Saturday nights. The beachfront haven transforms into a pulsating nightlife destination, offering guests  electrifying entertainment with live music performances, face paint, and fire shows. Many people suggest getting a table, but we found that it wasn't really needed.
DAY 5
  • Grab brunch (or one final açai bowl from Matcha Mama) before heading back to the airport to fly home. Budget 2 hours for the drive as there may be traffic.

WHERE TO STAY

Airbnb - If traveling with a large group, I suggest renting a house for your stay. Aldea Zama is a cute neighborhood located between the beach zone and Tulum town with villas for rent. This is what we did and it was a great option. Many homes come with kitchens, a large living area, and a pool.

Hotel - If you want to stay in the beach zone, the best options are probably hotels. Some hotels with great reviews include Nomade, Azulik, Ahau, Copal, and Papaya Playa Project. Do note that this will be a pricier option, but it is the best place to stay if you want to spend most of your time checking out the beach clubs, most popular restaurants, and the nightlife scene.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Tulum is expensive!!! Ever since the pandemic, prices in Tulum have gone up 3X. To give you a sense of costs, here are a few data points:

  • Dinner at Rosa Negra ended up costing $100 USD per person
  • A taxi from Aldea Zama to the Beach Zone can cost $35-$50 USD for 4-5 people
  • A pre-arranged taxi from Aldea Zama to the Beach Zone costs $75 each way (split amongst 9 people, but they were willing to take up to 14)
  • Cover charge to enter the beach club area of Taboo and Tantra on weekends is $75. Renting a beach chair is $125. To reserve a lounge or cabana is more expensive (I'll add the layouts and price menu shortly). Note that making a reservation (via OpenTable) only gets you into the restaurant area of both venues. You will not be allowed into the beach club area without either paying the cover charge or reserving one of the beach chairs, lounges, or cabanas. It is more expensive to reserve on the day of and is subject to availability.
  • Tickets to Papaya Playa Project were $92 USD - half of this went to drink credits. Tables cost more. I'll post the layout soon.

Be sure to take out pesos at the airport upon landing in Cancun or bring US Dollars with you. Many vendors only accepted cash. Taxi drivers all took US Dollars.

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