17 Best FREE Things to Do in Tulum Mexico in 2024

blue tulum letters sign, one of the best free things to do in tulum

SEARCHING FOR TULUM THINGS TO DO FOR FREE?

You’re at the right article because I have lived in Mexico since 2018, including several months living between Tulum and nearby Playa del Carmen. With this article, I’ve created the most complete list of cheap and free things to do in Tulum Mexico available anywhere online.

Whether you’re visiting Tulum for two days or 20 days, this list the best options for what to do in Tulum Mexico for free (or almost free). It will keep you busy, and help you plan an unforgettable Tulum itinerary that won’t break the bank.

From lounging and playing on Tulum’s white-sand beaches, to biking around town to polishing your photography skills at Tulum’s top Instagram spots, you’re going to love these free things to do in Tulum.

Ready to get to this list of the top 17 free things to do in Tulum?! Let’s get to it, so you’ll be all set to have an amazing Tulum trip on a budget.

The 17 Best Free Things to Do in Tulum Mexico (and Some Cheap Things to Do in Tulum)

1. Laze on One of the Many Tulum Beaches

playa ruinas tulum ruins beach | free things to do in Tulum
Located beneath Tulum’s Ruins, this is one of the best tourist attractions in Tulum Mexico, and is the perfect place to cool off after exploring the ruins.

🏖️ Playa Ruinas (Tulum Ruins Beach)

This so-called Tulum Ruins Beach is located just below the Tulum Ruins. It is a small beach cove, and tends to fill up quickly, so the best time to visit is early in the day.

To access the beach, you can take the staircase down from the ruins — but know that at high tide, you can’t go down to this beach because the water envelopes the sand.

Beach Amenities: There are sometimes vendors selling cold water and snacks, but that’s about it. If you’re coming from the Tulum Ruins, you can use their bathrooms.

🏖️ Playa Las Palmas

One of the best swimming beaches in Tulum, Playa Las Palmas (meaning the Palms Beach), is a very chill spot. If you want to relax and unwind away from the crowds but still within the main area of Tulum — this is the place.

The beach itself here is small, but has a nice rocky cove at one end, which makes for a great photo op. Since there aren’t any beach clubs at Playa Las Palmas, it is mostly occupied by locals.

Beach Amenities: There really aren’t any besides public bathrooms, as this is one of the more natural beaches in Tulum.

🏖️ Playa Pescadores

fishing boat at playa pescadores tulum beach
Playa Pescadores is one of the best public beaches in Tulum and one of its most pristine beaches.

Thanks to its convenient location near Tulum Ruins, Playa Pescadores (Spanish for Fisherman’s Beach) is another one of the most popular Tulum beaches.

As the name says, this is where the fisherman come ashore to bring their fresh catch into town for sale. If you get there in the early morning, you’ll even see them and their picturesque wooden boats.

Beach Amenities: Restaurants and bars, public restrooms, and showers with limited public parking available. Kiosks selling excursions like snorkeling tours, bike tours, boat tours, are also available.

Is Tulum beach free? Yes, all the public beaches in Tulum are free! Just pick the one that suits your vibe, and go enjoy it!

free things to do in Tulum

2. Swim in the Only FREE Cenote in Tulum

If you’re looking for free cenotes in Tulum, look no further than Cenote Aldea Zama. It is the only free cenote Tulum has that is both free and open to the public. If you’re backpacking in Tulum, this excursion is for you!

It’s a very small but beautiful cenote with crystalline water and a place where you can jump 3-5 feet from a cliff. Although there are no set hours here, it’s best to arrive by 9am. at the latest. It gets crowded from 10 a.m. until sunset.

📍Location: Cenote Aldea Zama is near Kokoro Tulum on Avenida Balam Dzakab Copal, Aldea Zama, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

free things to do in Tulum

3. Go Biking Around Town

woman on a bike in tulum mexico
One of the unique things to do in Tulum is to rent a bike. You can check out the street art murals and enjoy the colors, sounds, and culture.

One of the best free things to do in Tulum Mexico is bike around downtown. It’s a fun way to zip around the Tulum Pueblo (AKA downtown), stopping at the main Tulum tourist attractions along the way.

🚲 Tulum Travel Tip: Some hotels and hostels in Tulum offer free bikes, and other rent them at discounted rates, but still, there are plenty of places in downtown offering reasonable bike rentals for about $10 USD per day.

Explore side streets, discover massive colorful murals, stop for ice cream, shop for handicrafts, and enjoy local life. If you’re backpacking Tulum, this is a great budget-friendly way to spend your time!

If you’re up for a longer 25-45 minute ride, take the beach road to explore the Tulum Hotel Zone on the beach. Just be sure to take lots of water with you so you don’t get dehydrated.

free things to do in Tulum

4. Enjoy the Boutique Shopping in Tulum (or Window Shopping)

colorful shops in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum or Tulum Pueblo)
You can shop till you drop in Downtown Tulum, with everything from souvenir shops to ice cream shops.

There are dozens of amazing stores in Tulum, like Pura Vida Tulum, Lolita Lolita Tulum, La Pulga Boutique Tulum, Kaahal Home Tulum, and more.

With everything from open-air style mercado (market) shops selling Tulum souvenirs, to hippie-inspired wear and macrame art to small boutiques selling high-end clothing and accessories made by designers worldwide, Tulum shops have it all.

Of course, most of these finds won’t always be cheap shopping in Tulum. So, if you’re visiting Tulum on a budget, you might need to exercise your window-shopping muscles.

Fortunately, Mexicarte, a local gift shop, offers multiple wares for more affordable prices. The large shop is downtown — which is one of the more affordable shopping in Tulum options — but there’s also a satellite shop on the Tulum Beach Road.

free things to do in Tulum

5. Explore the Tulum Ruins

woman on one of the best tulum ruins tours
Looking for stuff to do in Tulum? Why not visit the Tulum ruins? Although it’s technically not free, the entrance is only about $7 USD per person.

One of the best things to do in Tulum on a budget is to visit the Tulum Ruins.

The Mayan Ruins of Tulum Mexico are a must-visit and one of the most iconic Tulum landmarks. They are the only Mayan Ruins on a cliffside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, which many say makes them the most beautiful ruins in Mexico.

Fortunately, the Tulum Ruins entrance fee only costs about $7 USD per person (including the protected area fee). If you have extra room in your budget, hiring a guide to take you on a Tulum Mayan Ruins Tour will be well worth the expense.

If you can’t afford the entrance fee, you can glimpse this Riviera Maya attraction from the nearby free Playa Paraiso beach.

The Tulum Ruins Archeological Site is located on Tulum Beach, just two miles (3 km) from Downtown Tulum. They are accessible by scooter, bicycle, on foot, by taxi, or rental car, and it takes 10-15 minutes to drive there in normal traffic from downtown.

💡 Tulum Ruins Pro Tips: If there’s one great Tulum Ruins tip, you want to arrive early to beat the crowds and explore the whole site before the midday sun starts beating down.

free things to do in Tulum

6. Visit the Best Beaches Near Tulum

beach at punta allen in sian kaan reserve
Explore outside of the small town and head to beaches like Playa Punta Allen Beach, which is located about one hour from Tulum Pueblo (AKA Tulum downtown).

Let’s face it: Tulum is a small town, and there’’s a lot of people who visit. To escape the crowds, you’ll want to head farther north or farther south to the best beaches close to Tulum.

These include Playa Paamul, Playa Xpu-Ha, Playa Akumal Beach, and Playa Maroma Beach, which is home to the best Mexico overwater bungalows. Here are a few things to note:

  • Maroma Beach was named one of the Best Beaches in the World by The Travel Channel.
  • Playa Xpu-Ha does have an access fee of $50 MXN to enter, but you can get a refund if you spend more than $120 MXN per person on food and drinks (which is easy to do).

For a real treat, head south to Boca Paila or Playa Punta Allen Beach, famed for white sands and turquoise waters. 🚙 Note: These are best accessed in your Tulum rental car.

If you’re adventurous and want to check out hidden beaches in Mexico, head to Punta Allen. However, Boca Paila is much closer, and if you don’t have a lot of time in your itinerary, it makes more sense to go there.

Punta Allen is located in the Sian Ka’an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is sometimes called the Tulum Secret Beach. Though it’s only about 27 miles (45 km) from Tulum, the trip can take three hours by cat, and about four hours by bus.

free things to do in Tulum

7. Visit the Tallest Pyramid in Yucatan at Coba Ruins

woman climbing coba pyramid in mexico
Though you can’t climb the Coba Ruins anymore, it is still a magnificent Tulum Mexico attractions to visit.

If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Tulum, consider a day trip to the Coba Ruins. The entrance fee is only about $5 USD, and parking costs around $3 USD.

Coba Ruins has been an underrated tourist destination, as many opt for the more famous Chichen Itza Ruins. However, in the Chichen Itza vs Coba debate, I always pick Coba for two reasons:

  • First, the Coba Ruins are larger than Chichen Itza, and there’s more to explore. This is why you want a Tulum and Coba Ruins tour guide to show you around.
  • Second, there are fewer crowds at Coba, making it ideal for visitors seeking a quieter but equally insightful adventure.

Also, the beauty and culture of the ancient Mayan Ruins of Coba are undeniable. You’ll be taken aback by the jungle surroundings, the well-preserved history of the ruins, and all its structures, like Ixmoja Pyramid (AKA Nohoch Mul), the tallest pyramid in Yucatan, Mexico.

Standing at 137 feet tall (41 meters), the Nohoch Mul Pyramid at Coba is the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan. It’s definitely one of the best places to go in Tulum.

To visit Coba from Tulum, you can drive in your rental car or take the ADO bus from downtown Tulum. The trip is about 45 minutes to one hour each way, and tickets are usually about $5 USD round-trip.

free things to do in Tulum

8. Take Photos at the Best Tulum Instagram Spots

Snapping amazing photos is a breeze when you visit the top photogenic attractions in Tulum. Many of these spots have become Instagram-famous.

Taking pictures here is not only fun but is a wonderful way to capture memories of your trip. It’s one of those activities in Tulum you won’t want to miss.

Check out these top Tulum things to see spots where you can pose, twirl, and say cheese 🧀 for the camera.

1. Tulum Follow That Dream Sign

tulum follow that dream sign

This iconic turquoise street sign is just outside Lolita Lolita Tulum Gift Boutique on the Tulum Bach Road. It is a popular spot, so there will likely be a line of people waiting to take photos. 🤑 Cost: Free

2. Blue Tulum Sign at Cerveceria Tulum

This cool sign is made of sticks surrounding an ocean-scene mural. It’s located outside Cervecería Tulum.

🤑 Cost: You can visit the sign and pose on it for free, and if you want to afterwards, try one of the local brews at Cerveceria Tulum Beer Bar. While not free, they do have many inexpensive beers — and even beer ice cream.

3. Ven a la Luz Wooden Sculpture in Tulum

woman walking into ven a la luz Tulum sculpture of a wooden man
This is sometimes called the Ahau Tulum sculpture because it is located at the Ahau Tulum Hotel in the Tulum Sculpture Park.

Ven a la Luz, or Come into the Light, is 33-foot-high (11 m) wood, rope, and steel sculpture. Crafted by South African artist, Daniel Popper, it makes a gorgeous addition to your Tulum photoshoot itinerary.

Formerly located in a public space on the Tulum Beach Road, it has been moved to the Tulum Sculpture Park at Ahau Tulum Hotel. While it used to be free to take photos of the sculpture, you must now pay the Sculpture Park entry fee to see it. 🤑 Cost: $100 MXN (about $6 USD).

📸 Tulum Pro Tips: Get there either very early or during the late afternoon to avoid the long lines. Also, parking can get quite expensive on the Tulum Beach strip, so keep that in mind if you’re going to drive there.

4. Matcha Mama Tulum

couple at matcha mama tulum
My boyfriend and I at Matcha Mama Tulum Beach on our professional photoshoot.

This famous Tulum smoothie shop is a super cute spot for a photoshoot. It has some of the most famous swings in Tulum, as well as the I love Tulum so Matcha sign.

It’s also an amazing café in its own right, and a prime place to treat yourself to smoothie bowls, kombucha, and creamy matcha drinks. 🤑 Cost: Free; but as a courtesy for using the premises, you might want to order at least one drink.

5. Looking for more Instagrammable Tulum Sites?

There are also multiple Tulum places to visit with photogenic entrances, including Vagalume Tulum Beach Club, Roc Luxe Tulum, Selina Tulum Beach and Villa Alquimia.

The outside of Santo Mercado Mexican Kitchen features an enormous woman sculpted from natural materials. 

free things to do in Tulum

9. Stroll Parque Dos Aguas

woman selling elotes
On your walk, don’t forget to try one of the best Mexican street foods, elote.

Parque Dos Aguas Tulum on Calle Alfa Sur is a favorite spot to enjoy local vibes, street food, and people-watching.

Snacks and dessert trucks set up in the park proper around 6 p.m., but you can also find heftier fare in the food stalls that set up a block or so around the park.

Take a seat on a bench, treat yourself to some elotes (corn on the cob with toppings) or marquesitas (Mexican crepes), and enjoy the family-friendly ambiance. This could be one of the most relaxing things to do in Tulum.

free things to do in Tulum

10. Enjoy Some Free Tequila Samples

Tequila tasting is another of the best free things to do in Tulum Mexico. Tequila and Mexico are practically synonyms, after all.

This famous liquor is made from fermented blue agave. Almost any shop that sells tequila will offer you a free tequila tasting. Some of the places to check out include El Museo del Tequila and Pancho Villa tequila & Mezcal Store, both located in downtown.

free things to do in Tulum

11. Visit Akumal & See the Turtles

swimming with turtles in akumal mexico
Wondering where to go in Tulum? Head to Akumal Mexico, as seeing turtles up close is an unforgettable experience.

If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with sea turtles, day trips to Akumal should be on your Mexico bucket list. This destination is only 30 minutes north of Tulum, and accessible by colectivo and a bit of walking (or a $5 cab ride).

Gain free access to Akumal Beach by renting snorkel gear from the Akumal Dive Shop, or take your own stuff and use the entrance to the side of the shop for your own free snorkeling Tulum excursion.

Although some areas are restricted for turtle tours only, you can snorkel for free in some parts of Akumal Beach — or you can book this top-rated Akumal turtle tour, which is usually $40 USD per person. I took this tour, and it was well worth the cost.

However, it’s still possible to spot sea turtles swimming in the free areas, so don’t worry if you opt not to take the tour.

🐢 It’s still worth the gamble, as there aren’t nearly as many turtles on Tulum Mexico beaches as there are in Akumal Mexico.

free things to do in Tulum

12.  Lounge at Laguna Kaan Luum Lagoon

man on the swings of laguna kaan luum
Tulum what to see? The Instagram worthy Tulum swings at Laguna de Kaan Luum Lagoon.

Although not free, Kaan Luum is one of the most gorgeous cheap cenotes Tulum has. Most of the lagoon is shallow and strung with hammocks. It’s perfect for wading and swimming.

The standard entrance fee is about $300 MXN pesos ($15 USD). You can save money by taking your own food and drinks in a cooler, and you’ll be all set. 🍺 Note: You can’t bring in your own alcohol.

With nice amenities at Kaan Luum Lagoon, like snack shops, restrooms, showers, and a large wooden deck with umbrellas for shade and benches to relax on, you can enjoy the whole day here. If you only want to visit for an hour or two, you can do that as well.

Kaam Luum Lagoon is near Downtown Tulum, and you can get there with an inexpensive colectivo ride. For those traveling to Tulum on a budget, the colectivos (small, shared vans) are the cheapest way to get around in Tulum.

free things to do in Tulum

13. Explore Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve & Muyil Ruins

dolphin spotting on one of the best sian kaan tours in tulum mexico
Sian Ka’an is one of the largest ecological reserves in Mexico and is home to stunning crystal-clear waters.

Are you wondering what to do in Tulum for a day? How about going on a trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere, or Muyil Ruins, or both!? Here’s the rundown on the top Tulum sites:

🐬 Sian Kaan Tulum nature Reserve

Sian Kaan, meaning the origin of the sky in Maya, is a 1.3 million-acre natural reserve (5,260 km²), and one of Mexico’s most ecologically-diverse regions.

A true natural landmark and one of the largest ecological reserves in Mexico, Sian Kaan is home to stunning crystal clear waters ideal for swimming and seeing diverse animal life. On your visit, get ready to spot everything from dolphins and manatees to sea turtles and endemic birds.

To visit Sian Ka’an, you’ll need a 4-wheel-drive rental car. Follow State Highway 15 past Tulum to the reserve’s entrance. The entrance fee is about $90 MXN (about $6 USD). Once inside, you can opt for a boat tour, if it’s within your budget.

🗿Muyil Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Muyil Ruins
Don’t miss one of the coolest pyramids in Mexico, El Castillo at Muyil Mayan Ruins inside Sian Ka’an Tulum.

You have easy access to Muyil Mayan Ruins once you’re inside the Sian Kaan Reserve, which is one of the best Mayan Ruins near Tulum.

Muyil Ruins are one of the longest-inhabited ancient Mayan sites on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was occupied between 350 BC and 1500 AD, and was a major maritime trading port.

Today, you can check out three main structural groups, and the impressive El Castillo Mayan Pyramid. It stands is 57-feet-tall (17 m), and is the tallest pyramid on the Riviera Maya Coast.

To reach Muyil, drive south on Highway 307 to the entrance. The entrance fee is approximately $50 MXN ($3 USD).

free things to do in Tulum

14. Explore the Tulum Street Art & Murals in Tulum Pueblo

street art tulum mural | free things to do in Tulum
Admiring street art is one of the best things to do in Tulum Town for free.

Looking for the top things to do for free in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown)? How about making your own free walking tour Tulum to admire the street art and murals?

While there are a lot of great art installations on Tulum Beach at the famous Instagrammable Tulum spots, the best place to see street art is Tulum Pueblo (AKA Downtown Tulum or Tulum Town).

That’s right: For my money, one of the best things to see in Tulum Town is the street art.

free things to do in Tulum

15. Do the Tulum Art Walk at Holistika

woman posing near tulum mural
Check out this mural in Holistika Tulum Resort, which you can do for free. (Photo: Airbnb)

The Art Walk at Holistika Tulum Resort is a magical experience, with stunning murals and structures located in the jungle on the grounds of the hotel. Open to the public, this is one of the best free Tulum things to do in town. 

Beyond just the Art Walk, Holistika is one of the best places to visit in Tulum Mexico for yoga classes, holistic treatments and spiritual ceremonies (like the famous cacao ceremony). 🧘‍♀️ While Holistika doesn’t offer free yoga Tulum, their classes are really good.

They also have a yummy onsite vegan restaurant called Tierra, perfect for those looking for vegan restaurants in Tulum Mexico.

free things to do in Tulum

16. Eat all the Tulum Tacos (Especially Street Food Tacos)

Looking for the best tacos in Tulum (and the best cheap eats in Tulum)? I’m here to help! From late-night tacos al pastor at a street stand to fancy octopus tacos drizzled with garlic aioli, Tulum has it all.

To really get the most out of this taco lover’s paradise, make sure to sample a variety — from the cute bohemian restaurants right on the beach to upscale eateries offering creative Mexican taco fusions (if your budget permits) to Tulum street tacos.

Speaking of street tacos in Tulum, below are the two places you must add to your Tulum itinerary. These are the highest-rated and best tacos in Tulum:

🌮 Taquería Honorio Tulum (Open during the day)

plate of four tacos at Taqueria Honorio Tulum Mexico
Taqueria Honorio is one of the best places to go in Tulum for tacos.

Taqueria Honorio Tulum is a small taquería on Calle Satélite Sur in downtown. It’s one of the best taquerias in town for traditional Yucatecan foods like relleno negro tacos, poc chuc tacos, lechon tacos and cochinita pibil tacos.

This delicious taco consists of a fresh tortilla topped in their signature pulled pork. It is marinated in local naranja agria (sour orange) and achiote (annatto powder), and then slow-roasted in an underground oven for up to 12 hours.

🌮 Antojitos la Chiapaneca Tulum (Open At night)

street taco shop called Antojitos la Chiapaneca in Tulum Mexico
Don’t let the look of this little hole-in-the-wall fool you — the al pastor tacos at Antojitos la Chiapaneca are amazing.

Antojitos la Chiapaneca is another one of the best restaurants in Tulum Town. A favorite for late-night dining, this legendary taco stand is known for its piping-hot and perfectly seasoned tacos al pastor.

If you want to try something else, they also have a few different types of tacos. Most of the tacos at Antojitos la Chiapaneca Tulum cost just $1 USD, so go nuts trying the best cheap tacos Tulum has to offer.

free things to do in Tulum

17. Enjoy the Atmosphere and Cheap Mojitos at Batey Bar Tulum

mojito at batey bar tulum
Whenever I visit Tulum, I always get a passion fruit mojito at Batey Bar in Tulum Pueblo.

Unwind at Batey Tulum Mojito & Garapo Bar after a long day exploring. This rustic yet cozy bar features signature mojitos, delectable appetizers, and top-notch ceviche.

Listening to live music here is one of the best things to do in Tulum at night, so kick back, relax, and enjoy jazz, reggae, salsa, or whatever happens to be playing during your visit. It’s always a fun time at Batey Bar.

The cocktails typically cost about $8 USD each, but you can also hang out in the courtyard without purchasing anything. 🍹 Note: While $8 might not be “cheap” for everyone, it is cheap for a craft cocktail in Tulum.

Best Free Things to Do in Tulum: FAQS

Are cenotes free in Tulum?

There are very few free cenotes near Tulum. Most are commercialized and require an entrance fee, while others are located on hotel grounds and are only accessible by guests.

That said, Cenote Aldea Zama is both free and public. This small cenote is gorgeous, with clear turquoise water and a small cliff-jumping spot.

Since it’s free, it gets very busy between 10 a.m. and sunset. Go early to avoid the crowds. Visiting at midday is certainly what not to do in Tulum Mexico 🤣 Need more cenote suggestions? Check out these 25 Best Tulum Cenotes You Won’t Want to Miss.

free things to do in Tulum

Can you go to Tulum Beach for free?

Yes — Technically, all beaches in Tulum are free. However, beach clubs in Tulum are not, so while you can hang out at the beaches outside the beach clubs, you can’t use their amenities for free.

slanted palm tree in tulum at playa paraiso beach
The famous Tulum leaning palm tree at Playa Paraiso Beach Club.

In fact, all Mexican beaches are free to the public and open to everyone! It’s true. Unfortunately, local businesses can make getting to the beach really difficult, and this has become a problem in tourist hubs like Tulum.

Still, you are 100% allowed to be on the beaches in Tulum for free. To get to the best and most accessible free beaches in Tulum, head to the northern side of the Tulum Beach street.

Playa Paraiso is arguably the most beautiful public beach Tulum has to offer. However, Playa Ruinas near Tulum Ruins, Playa Santa Fe, and Playa Pescadores are three other great options if you’re looking for a free beach in Tulum.

🤔 Wondering about the seaweed on Tulum beaches? Check out this comprehensive guide: How to AVOID the Tulum Seaweed & Sargassum.

free things to do in Tulum

Is it free to visit the Tulum Ruins?

No — The Tulum Ruins are not free. However, the entrance fee (plus the protected area fee) is only about $6 USD.

tulum ruins mayan temple
The Mayan Ruins of Tulum Mexico are a must-visit and one of the most iconic Tulum landmarks.

If you prefer not to pay the entrance fee, you can see some of the ruins from the adjacent Playa Paraiso free beach Tulum.

📸 Note: If you have a GoPro or a professional camera, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a photography fee of about $45 MXN ($3 USD). Cell phone cameras are perfectly fine though.

free things to do in Tulum

Is Tulum expensive to visit?

Tulum can be quite expensive, especially during the high season between November and April. However, it is possible to find more affordable accommodations and food if you stay in downtown Tulum (Tulum Pueblo).

There are plenty of great free things to do Tulum offers, from visiting the best free cenotes Tulum has available to taking a Tulum free walking tour.

Biking, spending time on the beaches, and strolling local parks are additional options.

free things to do in Tulum

How much money will I need in Tulum?

It depends — I usually recommend taking at least $300 USD worth of local currency (MXN pesos) per person for a three days in Tulum trip.

Keep in mind that you won’t need cash everywhere you go. It is usually only necessary at local eateries, street food stands, artisan markets, and some cenotes.

While it’s impossible to ever calculate costs, assume an average cost of a week in Tulum (eating street food, booking budget accommodations, and taking 1-2 cheap tours) is about $800 for a solo traveler, about $1,500 for a couple, and $2,200 for a family of four.

Tulum Travel Guide

Where is Tulum located?

Tulum is a Mexico pueblo magico (magic town) in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Yucatan is located in southeastern Mexico, with the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

🗺️ Tulum Map

Tulum is about 1.5 to 2 hours south of Cancun (don’t worry; the Tulum Cancun trip is an easy one), and 45 minutes to 1 hour south of Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya.

All three cities, as well as Tulum, are located in Quintana Roo state.

free things to do in Tulum

Is there an airport in Tulum?

Yes — The Tulum International Airport (code: TQO) opened to domestic flights in 2023, and international flights in 2024. Still, some travelers elect to use Cancun International Airport (code: CUN) instead of Tulum Airport.

How do I get to Tulum from Cancun?

When you search for flights to Tulum, make sure to select Cancun Airport if that’s where you want to fly. From Cancun Airport to Tulum you have a few options: rental car, private transportation, or the ADO bus to Tulum.

🚌 Private Shuttle: Cancun to Tulum Transfer service

Cancun to Tulum private transfer service
Cancun Airport Transportation is the best airport transfer from Cancun to Tulum, with a 4.7 out of 5 Star rating and 4,500+ reviews on Tripadvisor.

I recommend Cancun Airport Transportation Services, which has an impressive 4.7 out of 5 Star rating on TripAdvisor. It is the highest-rated and best Cancun to Tulum private shuttle service available.

This Cancun to Tulum shuttle is also the easiest, fastest, most stress-free and hassle-free way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum with door to door service! It is also the fastest way to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport.

Book your Tulum Shuttle now with Cancun Airport Transportation

This is a nice option because your private transportation service will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to Tulum. After a long day of travel, having someone waiting to take you from the airport straight to your hotel in Tulum is the best start to the trip.

free things to do in Tulum

Is Tulum expensive?

When comparing Tulum to other beach towns in Mexico, yes, Tulum is on the expensive side. However, doing Tulum on a budget is completely possible by making it a point to save money here and there.

For an unforgettable experience, there’s no Tulum hotel better than the Azulik Tulum Resort — though it doesn’t come cheap. (Photo: Expedia)

Another tip is to stay in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum) instead of staying on the beach. In fact, eating, drinking and shopping will all cost less in downtown than on Tulum Beach, as it’s less touristy.

If you’re a budget traveler, there are many other cheap Mexico beach towns you can visit instead of Tulum. These cheaper options include Sayulita, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Escondido, El Cuyo and Bacalar Lagoon, though it’s not technically a beach.

🏡 Need a Tulum place to stay that’s budget-friendly? Check out these 11 Best Cheap Hotels in Tulum Mexico.

free things to do in Tulum

What’s the best place to stay in Tulum?

people at a beach club in tulum mexico
The famous white swings at Coco Tulum Resort. (Photo: Expedia, Tulum what to do)

🏝️ Best Tulum Beachfront Hotels

While they certainly don’t always come cheap, Tulum hotels on the beach are the way to go for most travelers.

Staying on the beach in the Tulum Hotel Zone means you’re in the middle of all the action and within walking distance of everything you’d need — and you don’t have to spend money on cabs in Tulum from downtown to the beach, which can add up fast.

Here are some of the best hotels Tulum Beach has to offer, at several price points:

free things to do in Tulum

What are the best neighborhoods in Tulum?

This Tulum map will give you a better idea of the town’s layout, so you know what to expect when traveling to Tulum.

🏝️ Tulum Beach

If you discovered Tulum on social media or YouTube, you’ve likely seen Tulum Beach. You might even have seen some of these unique Tulum glamping options, these Tulum treehouses, or these best all-inclusive Tulum resorts.

This is where you’ll find all the beautiful large-scale art installations, beachfront eco-resorts like Alaya Tulum, high-end restaurants, cool bars, and all the Instagram-worthy places in Tulum.

🏩 Tulum Town (Downtown)

Tulum Town is also called Tulum Pueblo, and it’s the downtown area where many locals live. If you’re doing Tulum budget travel, you’ll want to stay here because it’s where all the best Tulum hostels are located.

It has a charm all its own, but this is not the Tulum you’ve seen on Instagram — that’s Tulum Beach. However, you can always stay in Tulum Town to save some money and still spend most of your time at the beach.

🏨 Aldea Zama Tulum

aldea zama tulum neighborhoods

The Aldea Zama neighborhood is located between Tulum Town and Tulum Beach. Besides a great central location, there’s a lot of restaurants, bars, etc. within walking distance, and it has newer construction apartment buildings with nice amenities, like fast WiFi.

When I visit Tulum, I usually stay here because you can often find great deals for VRBO and Airbnb Tulum Mexico options in Aldea Zama.

free things to do in Tulum

What’s the best time to visit Tulum?

The best time to go to Tulum is during the Tulum dry season from November to April. This is also the high season, so expect higher price tags and bigger crowds — but also nice weather and low humidity.

Use the links below for a rundown on what to expect in each month. These articles provide general weather information, travel tips, and information on activities to do in Tulum during each month.

🌡️ Tulum Weather & Temperatures

tulum mexico weather chart
Tulum average weather. (Photo © Holiday Weather)

Tulum has a tropical climate, so expect hot weather all year. Temperatures average about 83-87° Fahrenheit (28-30° Celsius) in the fall and winter and 93-97°F (33-36°C) in the spring and summer.

Keep in mind that summer in Tulum is very humid — and it will often feel 5-10°F (2-3°C) hotter than the number reads. Don’t forget to pack your reusable water bottle so you stay hydrated.

💧 I recommend and use this Water-To-Go bottle with a built-in, three-stage water filter. They will filter your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico. Use code SOLO15 for 15% OFF your purchase.

Located in the tropics, it will likely rain daily from about May to October, though storms tend to pass quickly. June 1-November 30 is Atlantic Hurricane Season and Tulum Hurricane Season, though direct hit hurricanes are rare.

free things to do in Tulum

What do I pack for Tulum?

As far as what to wear in Tulum, anything goes! For specifics, head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List: What to Wear in Tulum Mexico.

You can expect to see everything from boho hippie style to decked out Instagram influencers. If you need a visual, head here for some Tulum outfit inspo — or just think flowy sundresses, cute sandals, a sunhat and sunglasses.

Tulum is hot, so don’t forget your Water-To-Go refillable water bottle. This not only keeps you hydrated, but filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico. 🤑 SAVE 15% on your order: Use my exslusive discount code SOLO15 to get your bottle at a discount.

You’ll also need one of these best sunscreens for Mexico, some Frizz Ease for your hair, and Liquid IV anti-hangover hydration powder if you plan to party hardy.

free things to do in Tulum

What’s the best way to get around in Tulum?

Since Tulum is on the smaller side, you’ll only want to rent a car if you’re doing a few Tulum day trips. If you’re not, it’s easier to rent a bike from one of the bike shops in Tulum Town, rent a moped, use taxis or walk.

Is there Uber in Tulum?

When planning a trip to Tulum, keep in mind there’s no Tulum Uber service, no Lyft in Tulum, and no Tulum ride share apps of any kind. There are plenty of taxis in Tulum, available day and night.

free things to do in Tulum

Are Tulum taxis safe?

For the vast majority of travelers, it’s perfectly safe to use taxis in Tulum. You can hail one on the street, and if there’s someone friendly you like, ask for their number so you can text them if you need more rides.

tulum taxi SUV

⚠️ Note: In Mexico, you need to agree on the price before entering the taxi, as there aren’t meters, and you’ll need to have pesos to pay the driver. Some drivers will be open to price negotiations, and some won’t.

free things to do in Tulum

Is it safe to swim at Tulum Beach?

Yes — Tulum beaches are known to be safe for swimmers because the Caribbean Sea is usually very calm, it has shallow waters near shore.

Of course, you’ll want to double check for any warnings before you visit, as the waves can get high from time to time.

free things to do in Tulum

Is Tulum safe for tourists?

For the vast majority of visitors, yes, Tulum is safe. If you want to do a deep dive into the complex topic of Tulum safety, check out this Tulum Travel Safety Guide and this Tulum Solo Travel Guide.

While the majority of travelers simply visit and have a nice time, always be aware that no place on Earth is 100% safe. You have to make safety a priority by staying aware of yourself, your belongings and your surroundings at all times.

While not everyone would rank Tulum among the safest places to travel in Mexico, plenty of statistics show that millions visit each year — and by comparison, the number of incidents of petty crime and violent crime is low.

free things to do in Tulum

Is Tulum worth visiting?

Tulum is worth visiting for those who love beaches, jungles and boho vibes — but also understand this is a popular place with large crowds and high price tags, even in the slower seasons.

Believe it or not, Tulum used to be a sleepy town. In the last decade or so, it’s become one of the top Mexico vacation destinations.

free things to do in Tulum

How many days in Tulum do I need?

This will depend on you, of course. However, as a small town, you can see all the best Tulum sites within 3-5 days. Of course, the more days you have, the more you can see, and even if you spend a week in Tulum, you’d never be bored.

Final Thoughts: Best Free Things To Do in Tulum

Despite being an expensive destination overall, Tulum has fun options for the budget traveler.

You can pedal around Tulum Pueblo (downtown), do some Tulum hiking in the jungle, discover street art murals, or visit some mouth-watering taco stands (🌱 Note: If you’re vegan and need some budget eats, head to Raw Love Tulum or Burrito Amor).

Don your mask and snorkel and seek out sea turtles at Akumal, or go swimming in Cenote Aldea Zama (the ONLY Tulum free cenote) — and that’s not even mentioning the Tulum beaches, with infinite opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, building sandcastles, and watching the sunset.

See, you can 100% do budget Tulum travel! The only questions left are: Which of these free things to do in Tulum sounds like the most fun to you? Which cheap things to do in Tulum have landed a spot on your Tulum itinerary?!

Additional Tulum Things to Do

woman in black dress visiting Tulum ruins
Me visiting the beautiful Tulum Ruins.

Looking for more activities and things to do in Tulum? Check out these additional Tulum guides to know all the fun things you can do in Tulum:

Tulum Travel Planning Guide

1. Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

2. Can you drink the water in Tulum?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

3. Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

4. Will my phone work in Tulum?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy this Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

5. What’s the best way to book my Tulum accommodations?

For Tulum hotels, Booking.com is the best site, but for hostels, use Hostel World. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

6. What do I pack for Tulum?

Head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

7. What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

8. Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa or passport stamp upon arrival.