As we mentioned in Getting Here, the name “Tulum” actually refers to three places:
- Zona Arqueológica – The site of the Mayan ruins, just north of town. The place is unique in that it is the only Mayan city built on the coast, built late in the thirteenth century, and it remains among the best preserved Mayan ruins there are.
- Tulum Pueblo – The main town of Tulum. It is slightly inland, and has shopping, plenty of new restaurants, and reportedly has some good deals on authentic Mexican food when compared to the beach hotels.
- Tulum Playa or Zona Hotelera – This is where you’ll be staying. It’s south of Tulum Pueblo, along the beach.
Once you’re in Tulum, there are no colectivos (combi vans) out to the beach from town. Instead you can either:
- Use your rental car – We assume a few of our guests, namely those of you who are here to explore, not just relax, will likely grab a rental car to come down from Cancun or Tulum. For those of you who opt to go carless, we recommend you make friends with your fellow guests if you plan to do some venturing further afield, for example to Chichen Itzá or Cobá.
- Take a taxi – Taxi fares are fixed and pretty cheap; and can be caught on the road from the hotel or returning from either of the two taxi stands in Tulum Pueblo (one south of the bus terminal, which has fares posted; the other four blocks north on the opposite side of the street). The fare from in Tulum Pueblo to the ruins is M$35 (~$2.86 US), and the fare from Playa Azul to or from Tulum Pueblo is M$50 (~ $4 US).
- Rent a bike – Bicycles are recommended as a good way to get around and usually cost 150 pesos (~$12.25 US) a day.
- Walk – It’s 8.3km or 5 miles into town, so take some water!
- Hitch – It’s free and generally fine if you pick your ride judiciously, but for common sense’s sake, if you do this, don’t go flashing any bling or cash. Jason and I have done and still do it all over the world, and we figure if the travel guidebooks say it’s ok (and the ones about Tulum do), then it’s probably ok.
You can also take a tour or catch a taxi to Sian Ka’an Reserve, which we highly recommend you do one of the days you are here.
If you’re looking for more info, US News has a pretty good transportation guide to Tulum.