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Mexico now has
a seat-belt law.
Tulum Mexico is the combination of beach [coastline], archeological zone, and town [pueblo]. You could say that there are three distinct zones making up what people commonly refer to as Tulum.
Tulum Pueblo grew from being a small junction stop into a thriving town supporting an ever growing number of residence and visitors.
Staying somewhere on the Tulum Beach Road puts you in close proximity to a number of exciting outdoor activities, especially if you are interested in Mayan culture and history.
The further away from Cancun you get, the more laid back things become. Tulum is a perfect example of this.
Tulum ruins are located 130 km south of Cancun. The "Tulum Archeological Zone" is the first distinct zone. You can't miss the ruins driving along Hwy 307 either in a rental vehicle or in a bus/colectivo. There are numerous signs and there is a big pink hotel on the corner.
Tulum ruins are approximately 1 km East of Highway 307 towards the coast. There is a large craft market there as well as a few fast food restaurants and assorted stores. Along the road towards the ruins on your immediate right is where the Mayan Pole Flyers do their pole flying. They perform throughout the day and you can sit and watch.
Tulum ruins has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. You can jump in the water at Tulum ruins and swim north to Boca Paila [we have done this]. Even if you are just going to visit the ruins it is still quite an experience to swim out on the ruins beach and see the ruins from the water. On a hot summer day it is a great way to cool off.
Even if you are just going to visit the ruins it is still quite an experience to swim out from the ruins beach and look back at the ruins. On a hot summer day it is a great way to cool off.
You can spend a couple hours visiting Tulum ruins or you can spend the day. The following is a break-down of what is available to you:
Explore the Mayan ruins.
In recent years they have built a large parking lot for Tulum ruins, which you access off Highway 307 [parking fee was $4 USD last time we were there].
This is where the craft market and restaurants are. The walk to the ruins is approximately 1 km. There is a little train that transports people back and forth to the ruins all day. Last time we took the train it was $1 USD one way. [On a hot day you can save time and energy by taking the train.]
Boca Paila has yet to be invaded by the all-inclusive resorts and remains one of the last popular bastions of hedonistic culture in the Riviera. Along the beach you find inexpensive cabana's for rent [no reservation needed] and the odd drink stand/BBQ joint.
Snorkeling along the coast here is not that good. Lots of sand and weeds.
Tulum Beach can be accessed through a number of points. You can walk in via the road that takes you to the ruins. Just keep following the road south when it hits the ruins. This same road takes you to the Sian Kaan Biosphere and Punta Allen. You can access the beach by walking through an opening or access point from the road.
There is also access at Tulum Pueblo. When driving South on Highway 307 you will hit an intersection with traffic signs pointing to the road to Coba - Chemax - Chichen Itza. You want to go left here [east] towards the coast. Going right takes you to Coba ruins in the jungle. Going straight takes you into Tulum Pueblo.
Follow the road until it turns right. After the turn you are on the beach road that runs along the coast for miles, all the way through Sian Ka'an to Punta Allen.
All beaches are "public". There are no "private" beaches, although getting access to the beaches in most cases can only be achieved by access through private land or Beach Clubs.
It is not a good idea to just park your rental car on the road and walk through the jungle to a hidden beach.
There are a number of Beach Clubs operating along the Tulum Beach Road. Here you can find change-rooms, bathrooms, lockers, beach gear for rent, beach chairs and restaurants/bars.
For information and listing of beach clubs see: Tulum Beach Clubs
You can also drive into Sian Ka'an which has some lovely beaches although some are natural beaches and not maintained.
Tulum Pueblo is either a small city or a large town; it is hard to say. This is where many of the locals live who work in the nearby resorts and hotels. Many support workers such as bus drivers and construction workers live here as well. It is a diverse population with everything from computer programmers to dive instructors.
You enter Tulum Pueblo on Hwy 307, which turn into Avenue Tulum. Avenue Tulum runs right through Tulum Pueblo then turns into Highway 307 as it exits town. Along both sides of Avenue Tulum as it runs through town, are side roads paved in cobblestones. These side boulevards are one-way traffic. The west side runs South and the East side runs North.
There is parking along the Avenue Tulum side boulevards and parking along some of the side streets. Do not park in a no-parking zone.
Along each boulevard are shops of every description servicing the local community and visiting tourists.
There are dive shops, tour companies, car rental agencies and finally now banks.
Off of the highway are residential streets with houses, schools, parks and businesses.
RESTAURANTS & FOOD
There are a number of restaurants along the Tulum main tourist strip. They are situated in close proximity, just a little North of the center of town on the main strip. There are more restaurants further South, as well as BBQ Chicken stores, Taco and Tortillaria joints.
We can't say where the best place is to eat. If you stay in Tulum Pueblo for two days you can check out every restaurant in town. You can also look at the menus before sitting down. Personally our favorite is the BBQ Chicken from Dona Rosas.
You can also take a drive up Tulum Beach road and stop at restaurants there. There is entertainment at night and seafood is standard.
Tulum has a San Francisco supermarket located at the North end of town at the intersection to Coba [see photo below in TULUM PHOTOS]. There are also fruit-stores and mini-supers that sell meats, produce and household goods in general [these mini-supers are bigger than the convenience store style mini-supers]. These stores are all located on the main boulevards driving through Tulum.
The main ADO bus terminal is located on Tulum Avenue on the west side towards the South end of town.
Busses also stop at a small bus station near the Pemex gas station. This bus station is open to the public from 9: 00 to 18: 00 hrs.
The colectivo also stops in town on Hwy 307. You can take the colectivo from Tulum to Playa del Carmen.
There are 2 main taxi stands. Just look for the line up of taxis. Usually you do not have to look for a taxi as they are always driving around looking for fares.
HSBC - ATM Located on the east side of Avenue Tulum in the tourist zone [approximately half way through town]. HSBC has recently stopped exchanging US dollars and travelers checks.
Bancomer - ATM Located in the San Francisco shopping plaza at the North end of town [on the right as you enter going South at the intersection to Coba].
Scotiabank - ATM Located on East side of Highway 307 heading south past the 1st stoplight [Coba/beach intersection]. It is at the new round about next to ROCA before you get to the main part of town.
Tulum ruins has the most interesting ATM we have ever seen.
There are Internet Cafes in Tulum Pueblo with high-speed access. They are located on both sides of Avenue Tulum in the main tourist area of town. You can't miss them. The main tourist area of Tulum Pueblo is not that big and you will find the cafes easily.
There are also Internet Cafes off of the main strip out in the "suburbs". These are the cafes for the locals. If you have a car and drive around town you will see them. These cafes are less expensive than the tourist ones on the main boulevards but some times connection time is slow at the cafes and you might have to wait for the kids to get off the computers.
TOURIST INFORMATION / POLICE
The Police station and Mayor's Office are located next to the HSBC bank [on the East side of Tulum Avenue]. In this area [Southwest of the town center] there is a huge sports park with baseball, soccer fields, basket ball and tennis courts.
Click on Image to Enlarge
TULUM MEXICO HOTELSFor current Tulum Mexico hotel and resort information including rates, availability and secure on-line reservations please see:
Tulum Mexico Hotels & Resorts
Cancun Airport to Hotel Shuttle see:
Answers for many of your questions may possibly be found here: