One Day in Tulum Itinerary – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, an hour and a half away from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico. It was a walled city built by the Mayans in the 13th century. In fact, Tulum is the Yucatan Mayan word for “fence” or “wall”. Today, it is known for its Mayan ruins, gorgeous beaches and clear ocean views. Because of all that, one day in Tulum will be a spectacular experience.

One day in Tulum Itinerary

Guest post by Lola
Blog: La Vida Lola

A few facts about Tulum

Since Tulum is a beach town, it’s a popular year-round destination. The place sees the biggest number of visitors in spring and summer, with fall and winter being much more quiet, so depending on what type of experience you are seeking, keep that in mind when booking your trip.

Tulum, Author: Christian Córdova, Source: Flickr

One day in Tulum itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Tulum.

Walk among ancient Mayan ruins

To enter the archaeological site to see the Mayan ruins, it is 35-40 pesos per person. The ruins sit atop cliffs, so hiking up to them offers a nice vantage point to see the beach and  the ocean. There are also other places where you can see Mayan ruins in Tulum, such as the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve.

Tulum Beach
Tulum Beach, Author: Christian Córdova, Source: Flickr
Mayan ruins, Tulum
Mayan ruins, Tulum, Author: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Source: Flickr

Visit the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve

After viewing the Mayan ruins, you can tour the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Sian Ka’an was formed in 1986 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site the following year. The biosphere reserve is 780,000 acres big and thus has many access points. One of the most common entrances into Sian Ka’an is Muyil, also known as Chunyaxche.

Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, Tulum 2
Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, Tulum, Author: leopoldo de castro, Source: Flickr

The cost of a one-way bus ticket from Tulum to Muyil is 24 pesos. When you arrive at Sian Ka’an, you can relax on the beach, look at more Mayan ruins, swim in a lagoon, or see animals such as dolphins and turtles in their natural habitat.

Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, Tulum
Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, Tulum, Author: leopoldo de castro, Source: Flickr

Swim in a cenote

Cenotes are underground sinkholes that were held sacred by ancient Mayans and are now used as swimming pools and popular tourist attractions. There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico, however only about half of them have been explored. Some of the cenotes specifically in Tulum are Dos Ojos, Tortuga, Vacaha, Abejas, Calavera and Grand Cenote.

Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum
Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum, Author: Niek van Son, Source: Flickr

To preserve the delicate pH balance in the underground water, all visitors who are planning to swim in cenotes are required to not have any lotions, creams or oils on their body, otherwise it will pollute the water in the cenote.

Cenote, Tulum
Cenote, Tulum, Author: dronepicr, Source: Flickr

Experience nightlife at beach bars

There are quite a few bars by the beach where you can dance the night away on the sand or dip your toes in the ocean. One of the top picks is Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar where fruit drinks are made with real sugar cane. The bar can easily be identified by a yellow classic VW Bug parked by the entrance. Some other bars worth checking out are Curandero, Bar Iguana, and Kiki.

Where to Stay in Tulum?

There are many beachside hotels in Tulum which makes the decision of choosing one difficult. By reading reviews and checking out people’s opinions on social media, travelers interested in Tulum can find the right hotel for them.

Villas H2O Hotel

Villas H2O Hotel is a gorgeous resort around $120 per night that offers a great view of the ocean and Mayan ruins along with providing its guests yoga classes by the beach and various breakfast options.
Book here
Villas H2O Rooms
Villas H2O Rooms
Villas H2O
Villas H2O

Best budget hostels in Tulum

If you’re a budget-conscious traveler or backpacker, you might want to search sites like AirBnB or HostelWorld. Tulum is a beach resort town so most hotels are expensive however there are still available deals.
When researching hostels, I found some for as cheap as $12 per night for a bed! Some popular hostels in Tulum are Hostel Sheck, Quintana Roots Hostel, and Casa del Sol.


How to spend a perfect day in Tulum, MexicoBest of Tulum, Mexico - What to do and where to stayA complete one day itinerary for Tulum, Mexico

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Tulum Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Lola La Vida Lola
Travel Blogger at La Vida Lola

Lola is a journalist who lives in NYC and enjoys traveling in her free time. She shares her travel experiences on her Instagram and travel blog, La Vida Lola.

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