Where to Stay in Tulum (2019 • COOLEST Areas!)

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Plan to visit Tulum, Mexico? This WHERE TO STAY in Tulum guide covers the best places to stay on this amazing island!

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Tulum is a charming town on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

Known for its Mayan ruins, white and sandy beaches, nearby cenotes and natural wonders, alternative arts and yoga scene, and vibrant nightlife, there is literally something for everyone in Tulum.

But the area of Tulum is quite spread out between the neighborhoods in Tulum town and different areas along the coast.

You’ll want to base yourself in the perfect area of Tulum for your interests and budget, especially considering some parts of Tulum cost quite a bit more than others.

In this guide, we’ll cover where to stay in Tulum for every travel style and budget, whether you’re a backpacker, family, or somewhere in between!

Read on to learn more about our picks for the best places to stay in Tulum.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Tulum

  • Where to stay in Tulum first time – Playa
  • Where to stay in Tulum on a budget –Pueblo
  • Best area to stay in Tulum for nightlife – Col Huracanes
  • Coolest place to stay in Tulum – Ruinas
  • Best neighbourhood in Tulum for families –Aldea Zama

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Playa
The Playa area of Tulum is the perfect base for first-time visitors and anyone wanting to stay on the beach.
Places to Visit:
  • Strap on a mask and snorkel in the clear blue waters off Tulum beach
  • Enjoy delicious food and a casual and cosy atmosphere at Mateos restaurant
  • Take a stroll along Playa Paraiso, a stunning stretch of golden sand

 

Where to Stay in Tulum

Looking for the best hostel and hotels? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Tulum.

 

Best Hostel in Tulum: Rancho Tranquilo

Rancho Tranquilo is the best hostel in Tulum. Located in the Pueblo neighborhood in Tulum town, this hostel is close to restaurants, bars, and just a short walk or bike ride to the beach.

It has dorm-style accommodations, a communal kitchen, and a relaxing and beautiful garden hideaway.

Perfect for solo travelers, couples or groups of friends, this hostel will appeal to all types of explorers.

View on HostelWorld

 

Affordable Hotel in Tulum: Hotel Casa Sofia Tulum

This colourful and charming hotel is nestled in the heart of Tulum’s Col Huracanes neighbourhood. It is a short walk to Tulum’s most vibrant bars and trendiest restaurants and within walking distance of the town’s top attractions.

Comprised of 11 rooms, each is decorated in a traditional Mexican style and filled with all the essentials for an enjoyable stay.

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Best Beach Hotel in Tulum: Zamas Hotel

Located on an unspoiled beach within Tulum National Park, the colorful, rustic cabins offer a tranquil paradise away from home. The hotel features an open-air restaurant, massages and beauty treatments, and more!

This property is one of the best values in Tulum.

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Tulum Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Tulum

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Playa

  • The Playa area of Tulum is the perfect base for first-time visitors and anyone wanting to stay on the beach.
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Pueblo

  • The Pueblo neighbourhood is located at the heart of Tulum. Sitting on both sides of highway 307, this neighbourhood is ideally situated for exploring all that the region as to offer.
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Col Huracanes

  • East of the Pueblo neighbourhood is Col Huracanes. A relatively small neighbourhood, Col Huracanes is also where you’ll find the best and liveliest nightspots in Tulum. From clubs and bars to pubs and cafes, this is where to stay in Tulum for nightly fun.
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Ruinas

  • The Tulum Ruinas neighbourhood is located outside of the city and northeast of the beach. It is an archaeological site where you’ll find the top tourist attraction in Tulum, the Mayan Ruins.
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Aldea Zama

  • Aldea Zama is a small neighbourhood located to the south of Tulum city centre. On the border of the national park, this neighbourhood is a short distance to the Mayan Ruins and a quick walk to the beach.
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Tulum is a smaller town on the Yucatan peninsula in eastern Mexico. Located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Tulum is a perfect picture of paradise with its white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, and vibrant green palm trees.

Tulum is most famous for the impressive Mayan Ruins that sit high atop a cliff overlooking the sea. As a former port city, Tulum was one of the last walled cities to be built by the Mayans and is incredibly well preserved.

Each year, thousands visit Tulum to wander around these relics of bygone times, lounge on the white sand beaches, and explore the nearby cenotes.

Whether you’re interested in history and culture or natural scenery, there’s plenty to keep visitors occupied in this charming, alternative town.

To help you plan your time in Tulum, this guide will break down the town’s “must-sees” and top attractions by interest.

At the centre of town, you have the neighbourhoods of Pueblo and Col Huracanes. Sitting on both sides of the main highway, these neighbourhoods are where you’ll find a great selection of bars, restaurants and accommodation options.

South of the city is the quiet and residential neighbourhood of Aldea Zama. Perfect for families, Aldea Zama is nestled between the city and nature, and a short distance from all the town’s top attractions.

Lining the shore is the beautiful area of Playa. Combining relaxation and play, this neighbourhood is great for first-time visitors to Tulum as well as anyone looking to have a beachfront stay.

Travel northeast along the coast and you’ll reach the Ruinas neighbourhood. Home to Tulum’s top attraction, this neighbourhood is also where you’ll find good restaurants, great beaches and stunning views.

Still not sure where to stay in Tulum? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

 

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Tulum

Tulum is a small city that’s divided into three distinct areas: the beach, the ruins and the city. Within these districts are a number of neighbourhoods just waiting to be explored.

Are you looking to lounge on the beach and enjoy the sun, sand and surf? Perhaps you want to explore Tulum after dark? Or, maybe you’re interested in experience the historic, cultural and natural side of Tulum. All of these things are possible if you stay in the right area.

Here are the top five neighbourhoods in Tulum broken down by interest.

 

1. Playa – Where to Stay in Tulum for the Best Beaches

The Playa area of Tulum is the perfect base for first-time visitors and anyone wanting to stay on the beach.

Spanning the coastline, this is where you’ll find white sandy beaches, rustic bungalows and huts, luxurious villas, and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

A short drive from the town centre, this neighbourhood is home to a good selection of hotels, bars and restaurants.

There are many travel and rental agencies located in Playa offering tours of the area as well as water sports equipment hires. Enjoy paradise at your front door by staying in Tulum Playa.

Playa, Tulum

 

Things to See and Do in Playa

– Enjoy a relaxing and luxurious day at Papaya Playa Project, a stunning beach club that offers delicious food and drinks.

– Dine on authentic Italian fare, including pizza, pasta, salads and more, at Posada Margherita while enjoying an awesome view and ambience.

– Strap on a mask and snorkel in the clear blue waters off Tulum beach.

– Center yourself at Maya Tulum by indulging in a yoga, meditation and wellness afternoon.

– Enjoy delicious food and a casual and cosy atmosphere at Mateos restaurant.

– Learn to scuba dive in the calm turquoise waters of Tulum, where you’ll see fun, colourful and interesting sea creatures.

– Take a stroll along Playa Paraiso, a stunning stretch of golden sand.

– Great views and delicious food are on offer at Zamas, a charming and rustic seaside restaurant.

– Rent stand up paddleboards and glide across the water as you take in great views of the Tulum and sea.

 

Best Hostel in Playa: Coelum Tulum

Have the best of Tulum at your doorstep by staying at Coelum Tulum hostel. Located less than a 10-minute drive from the beach, this hostel is the perfect base to explore the town.

With both private and dorm room accommodations, it’s ideal for guests of all travel styles and budgets. It has hot showers, a relaxing common room, and each stay includes daily breakfast.

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Best Hotel in Playa: Diamante K

Enjoy rustic elegance at the Diamante K. Located on the beach this hotel is ideally situated for a holiday in paradise. It is close to the Tulum Ruins and is a short walk into town.

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, and each room has it’s own private terrace. Enjoy a variety of modern amenities at this charming seaside hotel.

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2. Pueblo Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Tulum on a Budget

The Pueblo neighbourhood is located at the heart of Tulum. Sitting on both sides of highway 307, this neighbourhood is ideally situated for exploring all that the region as to offer.

From the Ruins and beach to the Cenotes and beyond, all of Tulum’s top attractions are just a short drive away.

Tulum Pueblo is also where you’ll find the best value accommodations. Boasting a wide variety of styles and options, the Pueblo neighbourhood is the ideal destination for travellers on a budget. You’ll be within walking or biking distance from great restaurants, cafes and bars too.

Pueblo, Tulum

image source: Lou Stejskal (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Things to See and Do in Pueblo

– Rent bikes and explore the best of Tulum on two wheels, a convenient option for navigating the city.

– Take a short drive to the Cenote Calavera, an otherworldly underwater cave of turquoise water that you can swim in and explore.

– Dine on cheap, delicious and authentic Mexican fare at El Camello.

– Don’t miss this chance to try the best tacos al pastor in Tulum at La Chiapaneca, an authentic and inexpensive Pueblo restaurant.

– Dive into the azure waters of Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum and spend a day swimming and exploring this natural wonder.

– Eat delicious empanadas at El Sudaca, an authentic Latin American restaurant in the heart of Tulum.

– Take a relaxing stroll through Parque Tymben Ka, an oasis at the centre of Tulum.

– Browse original paintings, sculptures, and ceramics at the unique MiNiAtUrE art Gallery.

 

Best Hostel in Pueblo: Rancho Tranquilo

Rancho Tranquilo is the best hostel in Tulum. Located in the Pueblo neighbourhood, this hostel is close to restaurants, bars, and just a short walk to the beach. It has dorm-style accommodations, a communal kitchen and a relaxing and beautiful garden hideaway. Perfect for solo nomads, couples or groups of friends, this hostel will appeal to all types of travellers.

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Best Hotel in Pueblo: Howlita Hotel Tulum

This three-star hotel is located in the heart of Tulum Pueblo. It is close to restaurants and shops, and within walking distance of the beach and Mayan ruins.

Made up of nine rooms, this hotel has free wifi, an outdoor pool, and on-site bike rental. Enjoy comfort and convenience in Tulum city centre.

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3. Col Huracanes – Where to Stay in Tulum for Nightlife

East of the Pueblo neighbourhood is Col Huracanes. A relatively small neighbourhood, Col Huracanes is also where you’ll find the best and liveliest nightspots in Tulum. From clubs and bars to pubs and cafes, this is where to stay in Tulum for nightly fun.

As for nature, Col Huracanes is only a bike ride from the beach and ruins. You can drive to other beaches, cenotes, and more. It has a great selection of shops and home to some of the city’s best restaurants.

Col Huricanes, Tulum

image source: Pierre-Selim (Flickr)

 

Things to See and Do in Col Huracanes

– Spend a wild and fun night at Damajuana Mezcaleria, a vibrant nightclub that specializes in handcrafted Mezcal cocktails and hosts deep house DJs each week on the rooftop terrace.

– Live music, a great atmosphere and the best mojitos in town await you at Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar, a charming and eclectic downtown bar.

– Another hip and cool Mezcal bar is Pasito Tun Tun, where you can enjoy good cocktails, a friendly atmosphere, and great music nightly.

– Spend a day floating in the calm and beautiful blue waters at Cenote Zacil-Ha.

– Eat cheap and delicious tacos at Taqueria Honorio.

– Coffee, breakfast, art and more, the Tulum Art Club is the ideal hipster hangout for artists, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads in Tulum.

 

Best Hostel in Col Huracanes: Mama’s Home

Located in the center of Tulum town, Mama’s Home is a charming and cosy hostel. This hostel is close to restaurants, shops, and the best bars in the city.

It has air-conditioned rooms, a chill patio, and a relaxing common room. Enjoy delicious, daily breakfast and a comfortable stay in Col Huracanes.

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Best Hotel in Col Huracanes: Hotel Casa Sofia Tulum

This colourful and charming hotel is nestled in the heart of Tulum’s Col Huracanes neighbourhood. It is a short walk to Tulum’s most vibrant bars and trendiest restaurants.

Comprised of 11 rooms, each is decorated in a traditional Mexican style and filled with all the essentials for an enjoyable stay.

View on Booking.com     View on HotelsCombined

 

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4. Ruinas Neighborhood – Coolest Place to Stay in Tulum

The Tulum Ruinas neighbourhood is located outside of the city and northeast of the beach. It is an archaeological site where you’ll find the top tourist attraction in Tulum, the Mayan Ruins.

The site of a Maya walled city, these impressive ruins stand on a 12-meter tall cliff on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tulum Ruinas is also one of the coolest neighbourhoods in this small Mexican town. In addition to the ruins, Ruinas is conveniently located near the beach and the city; it’s a great base for taking day trips throughout Tulum and the Quintana Roo state.

Ruinas, Tulum

 

Things to See and Do in Ruinas

– Explore the Mayan Ruins, an impressive seaside clifftop site that dates back more than 500 years. Visit early in the morning to enjoy the site without the large crowds.

– Spend a relaxing day enjoying the sun, sand and surf a Playas Ruinas.

– Take a day trip to the nearby Cenotes Labnaha and swim through the beautiful system of caves.

– Discover the magic of Cenote Xel-Há, located in the heart of the jungle a short 20-minute drive from the city.

– Explore the lush natural scenery at Tulum National Park.

– Float downstream along the crystal clear waters of Casa Cenote, a river that flows through a lush green mangrove forest.

– Sit back, relax and enjoy the view at Mayan Beach, a stunning white sand beach a short walk from the Mayan Ruins.

– Go scuba diving, swimming or snorkelling through Cenote Dos Ojos, one of the most magnificent underwater cave systems in the region.

 

Best Hostel in Ruinas: Posada los Mapaches

Located across the street from the entrance, you won’t find a hostel closer to the Tulum Ruins. Situated between nature and the city, this hostel is a great base for exploring Tulum.

It has private rooms and mixed dorms and offers electricity and hot water 24/7. With free breakfast and a charming garden, you won’t find a nice hostel in the Ruinas area.

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Best Hotel in Ruinas: Hotel & Cabanas Zazil Kin Tulum

This charming resort is nestled between Tulum beach and the Mayan Ruins; the perfect location for a holiday in paradise. Made up of 40 rooms and private seaside bungalows, it also boasts an on-site bar, private beach and free wifi throughout.

Close to Tulum’s top attractions as well as restaurants, this hotel is a great base for your time in Tulum.

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5. Aldea Zama – Where to Stay in Tulum with Family

Aldea Zama is a small neighbourhood located to the south of Tulum city centre. On the border of the national park, this neighbourhood is a short distance to the Mayan Ruins and a quick walk to the beach.

Close to shops, restaurants and supermarkets, Aldea Zama is conveniently located. Quiet and relaxed, Aldea Zama is a one of the best neighbourhoods in Tulum for families on vacation. Here you’ll find a variety of family-friendly restaurants and accommodations as well as activities and rental agencies.

There’s a lot to see, do and explore for kids of all ages in Aldea Zama.

Aldea Zama, Tulum

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Tulum. image source: Tim Gage (Flickr)

 

Things to See and Do in Aldea Zama

– Take a day tour to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a lush nature park where you can see crocodiles, dolphins, turtles, birds and more.

– Dine on tacos, seafood, pasta and more at Chipi Wein, a friendly restaurant perfect for families, large groups, and couples.

– Head out into the nearby national park and keep your eyes peeled for iguanas sunning themselves and colourful birds flying throughout the trees.

– Cool down after a hot day with a refreshing and tasty helado (ice cream)

– Rent bikes and cruise throughout the city, taking in the colourful buildings and houses that line Tulum’s quaint streets.

– Rent snorkels and explore beneath the waves, spotting fish, turtles, and other sea creatures in the clear Caribbean Sea.

– Rent a beach hut and build sandcastles with the golden sand on one of Tulum’s many beaches.

– Head to La Zebra on a Sunday for a night of fun, great music, and salsa dancing.

 

Best Hostel in Aldea Zama: La Casona Hotel & Hostal

This hostel is conveniently located in the heart of Tulum. It is close to restaurants and shops and is a short bike ride to the beach and many of the town’s other main attractions.

It has both private rooms and dorm accommodations, and it’s a great choice for travelers wishing to explore the Aldea Zama neighbourhood.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Aldea Zama: The Highline Tulum

The Highline Tulum is a modern property nestled between Aldea Zama and Tulum centre. A short walk to the beach and the ruins, this hotel is close to restaurants, shops and other noteworthy attractions.

It features an outdoor swimming pool and charming garden. Each room features a balcony, coffee machine, air-conditioning, and comfortable beds.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Tulum

This alternative, touristy town on the Caribbean is packed with things to do for all ages. You, of course, have the Caribbean sea and powdery beaches, nearby diving, and cenote exploring, food for all styles and budgets, Mayan ruins, and so much more!

Choosing where to stay in Tulum will largely dictate your experience, as Tulum town will grant a very different experience than staying closer to the beach, and style and expense largely vary by area. That’s why we’ve broken down the 5 best places to stay in Tulum.

Still not sure which neighborhood is right for you?

Whether you’re a solo traveler, group of backpackers, or a vacationer on a budget, we recommend the hostel Rancho Tranquilo for its location, beautiful garden, and vibe.

Located in the Pueblo neighborhood – the neighborhood we chose for where to stay in Tulum on a budget – you’re situated near restaurants and bars for every budget, and the hostel has a communal kitchen to cook your own food. Moreover, the hostel is just a 10-minute bike ride to the beach.

Hotel Casa Sofia Tulum is the perfect stay if you want to choose a local and intimate accommodation. With only 11 rooms, the hosts pay attention to their guests at this colorful, Mexican style hotel. You’re a short walk from Tulum’s vibrant bar scene!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

Still concerned about safety in Mexico or safety in Tulum? Then read our in-depth guide where we present lots of useful tips and stories about security in Mexico.

 

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Plan to visit Tulum, Mexico? This WHERE TO STAY in Tulum guide covers the best places to stay on this amazing island!

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