daniel popper tulum man sculpture

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper: How to See it in 2023


Traveling to Tulum Mexico and want to see the famous statue?

This bohemian beach town on the Caribbean Sea is one of the top travel destinations in Mexico — and one of the most Instagram worthy places in Mexico.

While there are plenty of Tulum Instagram spots, there’s none more popular than the Daniel Popper Tulum statue.

Once the entrance to the Ahau Tulum Resort and Raw Love Cafe, this famous Tulum sculpture was relocated in late-2021, leading many to wonder, Where is the Tulum statue located now?

Don’t worry, you can still see it and snap some photos there, it just has a new home now.

This article is going to tell you everything you need to know about Ven a la Luz (Come Into the Light), so you can get Instagrammable photos of the famous Tulum wooden sculpture you’ve seen on YouTube, TikTok and IG.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

What is the Ven a la Luz sculpture in Tulum?

Ven a la Luz once served as the entrance to Ahau Tulum Hotel and Raw Love Cafe, but is now located in the Ahau Tulum Sculpture Park, on the beach in Tulum outside Ahau Hotel.

Ven a la Luz, is Spanish for “come into the light,” or “come to the light.” It is a giant sculpture of a wooden woman that stands 33-feet-tall (10 m).

It is one of the Tulum must see sites, where people would line up for hours to take a photo. It is also called the Ahau Tulum sculpture because it’s at the Ahau Tulum Hotel.

It was made by South African artist, Daniel Popper, and first installed for the Art With Me Tulum Festival in 2018. This is one of the biggest and best festivals in Tulum, and takes place at Ahau Tulum.

The Ven a la Luz statue served as the festival’s entrance, and remained there after.

It is a multimedia art installation made from wood, rope, steel and plants. This famous Tulum statue depicts a woman with eyes closed, holding her chest apart, as if to welcome people inside.

Artist Daniel Popper said the sculpture represents man’s delicate relationship with nature.

You’re likely wondering, Is the Daniel Popper sculpture still in Tulum?, so let’s get to that right now.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Where is the wooden sculpture in Tulum now?

Ven a La Luz Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper, located in Tulum Sculpture Garden at Ahau Tulum Hotel
Ven a la Luz in her new home — a giant Sculpture Park located in an outdoor garden at Ahau Tulum Hotel, and no longer at the hotel’s entrance.

Ven a la Luz is still located at Ahau Tulum, but it’s no longer right on Tulum Beach Road, and now lives in the Tulum Sculpture Park.

▶︎ Head here more info on the Tulum Sculpture Park, and how to see the Ven a la Luz Tulum sculpture.

Note: This is sometimes called the Tulum Mother Earth statue, or the Raw Love Tulum sculpture because Ven a la Luz was the entrance to both the Ahau Tulum Resort and Raw Love Cafe.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Why was Ven a la Luz moved?

ven a la luz wooden tulum sculpture by daniel popper
The Ven a la Luz statue is one of the most Instagram worthy places in Tulum Mexico. (Photo: Marvin Castelino via Unsplash)

You wouldn’t assume this by how many people visit each year, but Tulum is a small town.

The road that goes up and down Tulum Beach is just one lane, and Ahau Tulum is located right on this road, in the Tulum Hotel Zone.

🏝 Looking for the best hotels in Tulum?

All the iconic Tulum hotels on the beach are in the Hotel Zone, including Azulik Tulum, Be Tulum, Casa Malca, the Tulum mansion once owned by Pablo Escobar, and Kore Tulum, the best Tulum all inclusive resort.

After Ven a la Luz got incredibly popular, people would line up for an hour (sometimes more) to take photos under it.

This became problematic on a one-lane road, and a safety hazard for Tulum visitors and drivers, so a location change was inevitable.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

When was Ven a la Luz moved?

On August 19, 2021, Hurricane Grace hit the shores of the Mexican Caribbean, and caused some damage in Tulum.

After storm passed, Ven a la Luz needed repairs, so this was the perfect time to move it and also repair the damages.

September 17, 2021, was the last day Ven a la Luz sat at the entrance to Ahau Tulum. It was temporarily relocated elsewhere on the property, and artist Daniel Popper came to make the repairs.

The Tulum Sculpture Park, where Ven a la Luz is now, opened in late-October, 2021.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Where is the Tulum Sculpture Park located?

ahau tulum hotel on the beach
Tulum Sculpture Park is located in an outdoor garden near the Ahau Tulum Beach Club, at Ahau Tulum Hotel. (Photo: Expedia)

It is located on the beach at the Ahau Tulum Resort, near the Ahau Tulum Beach Club. This is both one of the best resorts in Tulum Mexico, and one of the best beach clubs in Tulum.

Ven a la Luz is the centerpiece in this sculpture garden, but more art installations are said to be coming.

There is also a cafe in the Tulum Sculpture Park, so you can grab a bite after taking your photos.

💰 Tulum Sculpture Park Admission: $60 pesos, or about $3 USD. (Head here for more info why it now costs money to see Ven a la Luz.)

Tulum Sculpture Park Hours: The Tulum Sculpture Park is open daily, from 9am-6pm.

The best times to visit Tulum Sculpture Park to avoid the crowds are right when they open, from 9am-10am, and just before closing, from 5pm-6pm.

📍 Tulum Sculpture Park Address: Ahau Tulum Hotel, Carretera Tulum a Boca Paila, KM 7.5, Zona Costera, 77760 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Find it on Google Maps, or just across the street from Casa Jaguar Tulum.

🗿 Tulum Sculpture Park Reviews: Check out the reviews of Tulum Sculpture Park on TripAdrisor.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Can you visit Ven A La Luz Tulum?

Yes — In October 2021, Ven a la Luz re-opened in its new home at the Tulum Sculpture Park.

It “closed” for about two months after Hurricane Grace hit Tulum in July 2021 because it needed repairs from hurricane damage. During this time, it was also moved to the Sculpture Park.

The Sculpture Park in Tulum is open daily, from 9am-6pm.

The line to take a photos at Ven a la Luz Tulum can still get quite long, so the best time to visit Ven a la Luz is when they open, from about 9am-10am, and right before closing, from 5pm-6pm.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

How much does it cost to visit Ven A La Luz?

ven a la luz wooden tulum statue by daniel popper
Close-up of Ven a la Luz AKA Tulum Mother Nature sculpture, now located in the Tulum Sculpture Park. (Photo: Dennis Michel via Unsplash, Ven a la Luz at Ahau Tulum Resort)

$3 USD — The Tulum Sculpture Park entrance fee is $60 MXN pesos, or about $3 USD.

Below, you’ll find a statement from the Ahau Tulum Resort that explains why they are now charging a fee to see Ven a la Luz.

“In order to cover the extensive cost of maintaining her and to the support the artists who will be providing these unique pieces of art, we will be charging an admission fee of $3 per person…

…Ven a la Luz requires a complete ‘re-skinning’ of her wooden shell every year, which requires bringing in the artist Daniel Popper and his team from California, and using specialized equipment to complete this task…

None of the fee will be used by Ahau; whatever is left over will enable us to bring in more art and support more artists to create unique and beautiful pieces for everyone to enjoy.” —Quote from the Ahau Tulum Instagram page

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Where is Ahau Tulum Hotel?

Ahau Hotel is located in the Tulum Hotel Zone, or Zona Hotelera. This is also called the Tulum Beach Road, as there is only one road that goes up and down Tulum Beach.

On the northern end, there’s the Tulum Mayan Ruins, and to the south, there’s the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Ahau Hotel is located in an area called Mid-Beach, as it lies in the center of Tulum Beach Road. Most places in Tulum don’t use addresses, but rely on landmarks.

Using landmarks, Ahau Tulum is located between the Casa Jaguar Tulum restaurant and Macario Tulum restaurant.

📍 Ahau Tulum Address: Carretera Tulum a Boca Paila, KM 7.5, Zona Costera, 77760 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Find it on Google Maps | Book Ahau Tulum

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Stay at Ahau Tulum Resort

Want to stay at Ahau Tulum? It is one of the best Tulum hotels on the beach, and among the most eco-friendly in town.

There’s a restaurant on-site, beach club, yoga studio with holistic healing ceremonies, and they are also one of the only pet friendly Tulum hotels 🐾

Gorgeous beach… staff went above and beyond, tons of restaurants and shops in walking distance.

—Leah (read more Ahau Tulum reviews)
Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Who is Daniel Popper?

Daniel Popper is a multidisciplinary artist from Cape Town, South Africa. He is known for large-scale sculptures, most of which tackle topics pertaining to humans and our relationship with nature.

Popper’s work has been featured everywhere from Burning Man to Ahau Tulum.

Where are Daniel Popper sculptures located in the world?

asana tulum statue by daniel popper
Besides Ven a la Luz, there was another Tulum Daniel Popper statue on display called Asana. It was used at the entrance to the Art With Me festival at Hotel Ahau Tulum in 2019.

Ven a la Luz artist Daniel Popper has several sculptures on temporary display, and five sculptures on permanent display all over the world.

These include the four pieces listed below, and of course, Ven a la Luz in Tulum.

  • Thrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tree of Wisdom in Mvezo, South Africa
  • Transmission at Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree, California
  • Modem Swamp in Mjesto Primišlje, Croatia (on display at the MoDem Festival)

One of this biggest displays to date, Human+Nature, is on display at the Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago.

Human+Nature consists of five large sculptures spread throughout the 1,700 acre natural area. The exhibition is planned to run from May 2021 to March 2023.

Each sculpture has a story behind it, but I like to leave the questions about each piece a little bit open… I want people to come here and ask questions of themselves about their relationship with nature.

—South African Artist Daniel Popper

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide & FAQ

Is Tulum safe right now?

For the most part, Tulum is considered safe for the majority of visitors, with the biggest threats usually hurricanes, hangovers, sunburns and mosquitoes.

However, no place on Earth is 100% safe, and it would be untrue to paint Tulum among the safest places to travel in Mexico.

In Tulum, you’ll want to pay extra attention to your valuables and never leave anything unattended.

With such a big party scene, you’ll also want to watch your alcohol intake, never take a drink from a stranger (not even a cute one) and never leave your drink unattended with strangers.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Where is Tulum Mexico located?

Wondering, What state is Tulum in? Tulum is located in Quintana Roo State.

This is one of the three states in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, along with Yucatan State and Campeche State. Of the three, Quintana Roo is the most visited, and Campeche is the least.

Tulum Map

Tulum Quintana Roo Mexico

Quintana Roo is a long, thin state, stretching the entire length of coastline along the Caribbean Sea.

Because of this, you may also hear this part of the Yucatan Peninsula called the Mexican Caribbean, where so many popular Mexico beach towns are located.

Quintana Roo has some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, including Playa Maroma which has the best overwater bungalows in Mexico.

Also in the state, you’ll find Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Holbox Island, Puerto Morelos and Laguna Bacalar.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

What’s the closest Tulum Airport?

As mentioned, Tulum is in Quintana Roo, the same state as Cancun Mexico. In fact, Tulum is located about 1.5 hours south of Cancun by car or bus.

Since there is no airport in Tulum, you’ll have to fly into Cancun International Airport (code: CUN). ▶︎ Search for Cancun flights now ✈️

This is great because, as one of the busiest airports in Mexico, there are many direct flight options from most major cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

It’s very easy to get from Cancun to Tulum, and so many travelers make this journey each day.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

How do I get from Cancun to Tulum?

cancun to tulum
▶︎ Book your Cancun to Tulum private shuttle now, or check out this complete guide on how to get from Cancun to Tulum if you want to explore other options.

Cancun to Tulum Shuttle

The best way to get to Tulum from Cancun is via private shuttle with Cancun Airport Transportation. They’ll pick you up at the Cancun Airport door, and drive you right to your accommodation in Tulum.

▶︎ Book the round trip shuttle and save $10.

Cancun Car Rental

Cancun Airport car rentals range from $25 USD per day if you only take the basic insurance, to about $40 USD per day if you opt for full coverage.

Note: You are legally required to have Mexican car insurance, and your U.S. policy doesn’t work in Mexico.

Find Your Rental Car

I recommend and personally use Discover Cars whenever I’m renting a car in Mexico. They have the best rates, and also sell full coverage insurance for about $10 USD per day — the cheapest I have found.

▶︎ Book your Tulum rental car now

ADO Bus to Tulum

ADO is the largest Mexico bus company, with comfy buses that have reclining seats, AC and outlets to charge your phone.

You can take the ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum for about $20 USD each way, though it does take 3-4 hours versus 1.5 hours by car.

▶︎ Book your tickets now

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Is there Uber in Tulum?

You may have noticed Uber was not on that list of ways to get around in Tulum. Well, that’s because there’s no Tulum Uber service, nor Uber anywhere in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

This is also why you can’t take Uber from Cancun to Tulum, and why I recommend this private shuttle.

Should I rent a car in Tulum?

woman leaning on a red convertible sports car and holding her license and the key | renting a car in mexico
When renting a car in Mexico, I highly recommend Discover Cars, the company I always use.

If you’re just staying in Tulum itself, and not planning to go on any Tulum day trips, skip the car rental.

As Tulum gets more and more popular, the traffic has been getting worse and worse, which is another reason biking is so popular.

If you do want a car, Cancun Airport has many more options than Tulum itself. Since you have to drive from Cancun to Tulum anyway, Cancun is the best place to rent one for Tulum.

When I rent a car in Mexico, I always use Discover Cars, and highly recommend them.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

What are the best places to stay in Tulum?

The bungalows at Papaya Playa Project, one of the best beach hotels in Tulum. (Photo: Jônatas Tinoco via Unsplash)

Tulum Beach

Tulum Beach is the part of Tulum you’ve seen on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

This is where all the Tulum beach houses and bungalows, boho shops, large art sculptures, beach cafes, Tulum Mayan Ruins, eco-chic Tulum hotels, Tulum glamping options, and the beaches, are located.

If you want to stay on Tulum Beach, you’ll be in the middle of all the action, and within walking or biking distance of anything you need.

With this convenience comes higher price tags, and this is the most expensive area of town to stay in.

Tulum Town (Downtown Tulum)

The main road in the Tulum Town neighborhood, which has more of a locals’ feel to it than the beach.

For those who have a smaller budget, you’ll want to stay in Tulum Town as you’ll find the best cheap hotels in Tulum here.

Besides the hotels, everything costs less in downtown compared to the beach, including restaurants, bars, shops and even ATM fees.

Tulum Town, though it’s not as Instagrammable as Tulum Beach, shows a more authentic side of Tulum Mexico. This is where many Tulum locals live, as staying downtown often costs half as much as staying on the beach.

Note: Tulum Town is sometimes called Tulum Pueblo.

Aldea Zama Tulum

Aldea Zama is located between Tulum Town and Tulum Beach, about one mile from both.

The accommodations in Aldea Zama are quite nice, especially Hotel Holistika Tulum and Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum, so don’t be afraid to stay off-beach to save some money.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

What’s the best time to visit Tulum Mexico?

Weather-wise, the best time to travel to Tulum is from November to April, during the dry season when you get mild temperatures and low humidity.

As Tulum sits right on the Caribbean Sea, it is susceptible to hurricanes, and Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1 to November 1.

Average Tulum Weather

tulum weather in mexico | is tulum safe

You can use the chart above to get an idea of the annual temperatures in Tulum.

You should always check the Tulum forecast before your trip, but remember to add about 5-10°F (2-3°C) to all temperatures to account for the Tulum humidity.

  • Tulum busy season (high season): December to March
  • Tulum slow season (low season): May to October
  • Tulum shoulder season: October to November and April to May
  • Tulum dry season: November to April
  • Tulum rainy season: May to October
  • Tulum Hurricane Season: June 1 to November 1
Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Are there mosquitoes in Tulum?

Yes — Tulum is a tropical beach jungle, and the mosquitoes can be vicious year-round, so pack some eco-friendly bug spray and these anti-mosquito bracelets.

There’s also this great reef-safe sunscreen from Bullfrog that has SPF 50 and also repels mosquitoes.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Is Tulum expensive?

fishing boats in the blue water of the Caribbean Sea in Puerto Morelos, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns
With similar natural beauty, Puerto Morelos, located near Cancun, is one of the best cheap alternatives to Tulum.

Expensive is a relative term, so this answer depends. When compared to most of Mexico, it is, though budget travel in Tulum is totally possible.

If you’re comparing Tulum to other top destinations, like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Tulum is about average.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly Mexico beach towns, some great options include Sayulita, El Cuyo and Zihuatanejo.

There’s also Lake Bacalar, AKA the “Maldives of Mexico,” which is actually a lagoon but it looks like a beach. These are all places like Tulum, but with lower price tags.

Tulum Statue by Daniel Popper

Is Tulum worth visiting?

This depends on your travel style, as Tulum isn’t for everyone. If you love experiencing all the top destinations in a country, then Tulum is certainly one of those.

For travelers who want a chill and relaxing beach vacation, stay in nearby Akumal and just visit Tulum.

If you understand what you’re signing up for — higher price tags by Mexican standards, large crowds and a big party scene — you’ll enjoy Tulum.

If you want the Tulum vibes, but not the crowds, nearby Isla Holbox Island is a great alternative.

Final Thoughts: How to See Ven A La Luz, Tulum Statue

While the Ven a la Luz (Come to the Light) statue was much easier to see in the past, it’s now safer to see it because it’s located in the Tulum Sculpture Park, and not on the main road.

It also used to be free, but now costs $3 USD ($60 pesos) to enter the sculpture park.

In a statement on Instagram, Ahau said they aren’t profiting off this entrance fee.

You can read it here, but they say the $3 will go to maintaining the current art pieces, like Ven a la Luz, and bring in new ones in the future.

Tulum Travel Planning Guide

🚑 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)

💧Can you drink the water in Tulum?

No — You’ll want to buy a 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)

🚙💨 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)

📲 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 a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

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

For Tulum hotels, Booking 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.

🧳 What do I pack for Tulum?

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

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🎫 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 upon arrival.