Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Tips, Tricks & Travel Hacks.
I booked a three week trip to Tulum that slowly turned into three months. I now have a house, a motorbike, and 100 new friends with no intention of leaving anytime soon. This is somehow the same story as 80% of the expats in Tulum. The energy of Tulum is magnetic, almost as if there is a current drawing people in. They call it the Land of Manifestation and it is said to hold some of the world's most profound secrets. The Mayans were onto something when they settled here. Tulum slowly became the #1 travel destination in the world during Covid and after hundreds of texts asking about Tulum, I have decided to put everything into one article so that it is easily accessible.
The Yukatan Peninsula is home to the Mayan Pyramids; Mayan influence is interwoven throughout the culture of Tulum. The locals live with a certain understanding of ancient wisdom and are very connected to the land. It was historically a place for yogis and spiritual teachers and over the past few years, the party scene has started rising. There are thousands of American expats living in Tulum. It's a Bali meets LA type-town, and slowly becoming one of the largest spiritual hubs in the world. It's quite easy turning into a "Tuluminati" overnight with a culture like this. The people are friendly, inviting, and open minded and it's likely you will leave with a handful of new friends. It's worth checking out, if not just for a weekend.
The Best Time To Go
September, October, November and December are the best months to visit Tulum weather wise. Hurricane season is during September but the weather is warm but not scorching hot. It also means the prices for accommodation double as the demand increases. Tulum's famous Art With Me festival happens every November and this year, even with Covid, the beach will be quite busy during that time. The next population spike is between January and March. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation, January through March is NOT the time to go. If you are looking for a party, this may be the best time for you to go.
Flights are fairly inexpensive from the United States to Cancun. It will most likely cost you less to get to Cancun than to fly to another city in America. There is a local bus that runs from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen to Tulum for less than $15. Taxis run about $100 for the 1.5 hour ride. Taxis are everywhere in Tulum and they are just about the only transportation available. There are no Ubers or Shuttles inside of Tulum. Taxis are about $10 per ride within the town. It's best to pay with Pesos. If you choose to stay on the beach you really only need a bike to get across the 2 mile stretch of the beach town. There is only 1 road and everything happens on that road. If you choose to stay in town, you will be about 20 minutes from the beach road and will need to take taxis to get around.
Tulum Beach is very expensive. It's about the price of Los Angeles, but there are always ways to make it more affordable. Tulum town is much cheaper to live than Tulum Beach, but if it's worth the extra if your trip is short. There are a few great hotels on the beach worth looking at. La Luna is great for families and it is where I stayed for a couple months. Selina is great for community seekers. Nomade is great for upscale vibes. Sanara is great for spiritual yogis. Dos Ceibas is great for groups of friends. Habitas is great for "Glamping" in a beautiful unique setting. There are plenty more, depending on what you want. These are not "hotels" like you might see in the Outer Banks. There aren't any hotels more than 3 stories high. They are mostly cabanas and bungalow style hotels. In the town area, Aldea Zama is the more modern place to live and much less expensive. It is being built up completely so there is construction on every corner, which is something to consider. La Valeta is where the expats live, near Holistika - the yoga studio. When determining which area to stay in, consider length of time and the type of experience you are looking for.
Hotels on the beach run from $150-500+ per night. In town you can find AirBnbs for $50-100 per night. An average dinner in town is about $7-15 whereas on the beach it is about $10-20 on the lower end and $20-50 for places like Nomade. Taxis will be $10 to and from town to the beach and $2-5 if you are going from one side of town to the other. Many places in town are cash only and on the beach most places take credit card. The Pesos to USD exchange rate is about 20 Pesos per Dollar. The grocery store is the best place to take out money. The ATMs are safer and their rates are much better. Most ATMs on the beach are broken.
Things To Do
Most of the city is run by generators and the pot holes in the streets sometimes take up an entire lane, so it is still a developing city. If you decide to come to Tulum, GIVE back just as much as it gives to you. You will receive the magic of the energy, but come with an open heart and mind to give back to the land. Whether its respecting the turtles that are laying their eggs on the beach, picking up trash, or tipping your waiter, arrive with the mindset to give and be respectful.
The locals are some of the wisest people you may ever meet and many of the people selling things on the beach have really cool life stories if you don't just push them away. This could be the trip of a lifetime for you if you come with the right mindset.
Attend a Temezcal (their sweat lodge), sip the Mezcal, jump in a Cenote (Dos Ojos or Cavalera), experience a Shamanic ceremony, attend an Ecstatic Dance at Papaya Playa, take a yoga class at Nomade & dive into the magic.
How Long To Stay
You could visit in a weekend or an entire month. 3 weeks is the perfect amount of time if you live the digitally nomadic life and have the space for it. If you come for a weekend, spend time at the beach, go to a cenote, try a few restaurants, and get to know the vibe. It's worth it no matter how long you visit.
Safety is certainly something to think about. Be careful who you get a ride from at the airport. Trust your instincts. The culture is generally very trustworthy but keep your senses at night. Don't bike alone at night. Use the buddy system and all should be fine. The local Mayans are actually incredibly amazing and shamanic, its just the taxi drivers who aren't the most mindful and the cartels run the major party bars. As a tourist, you are their source of income so you are more protected in Tulum. Overall, it's a very safe place and very small.
The Best Part
For those of you looking for a spiritual awakening journey, the best thing you could do for yourself is invest in attending a retreat. Wildly Woven is a 7 day retreat for women interested in expanding into the most aligned, impactful versions of themselves. We have found that awakening moments have been more profound and able to be integrated in spiritually activated places like Bali and Tulum. This is specifically for women exploring consciousness and seeking spiritual community. There will be workshops on breathwork, guided meditation, chakra opening, and various yoga practices such as Kundalini, Hatha and Ashtanga. Tulum is going to be the activation point for the spiritual awakening globally, as predicted by the Mayans and it is happening in 2020. Join & be apart of the magic.