Tulum is located on the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, a region that’s extremely rich in culture, history, and teeming with marine life. Unforgettable ruins, adrenaline-pumping activities, amazing gastronomy, and biodiversity that you have to see with your own two eyes are all a hop and a skip away.
Explore ancient ruins, swim in a cenote, go on a yoga retreat, go zip lining— take your pick! The list of things to do in Tulum is never-ending!
But when exactly is the best time to visit Tulum?
If you’re looking into taking a trip to Tulum in the future, you’ll want to consider a few things. You’ll want a good understanding of the weather, hotel/flight deals, crowds and more to find the very best time to visit.
To learn more about when you should visit Tulum, determine which factor below is most important to you. We hope this post helps you make more sense of when you should visit Tulum, Mexico!
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Table of Contents
Where Is Tulum Located?
Tulum is known for its beaches and Mayan ruins. Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Maya, and it was inhabited until the early 16th century. The site is now a popular tourist destination.
Given its proximity to the Caribbean Sea and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest coral reef system in the world), it’s no wonder travelers flock to this region of Mexico to get a taste of island living, warm waters, marine life, and sunny tropical paradise.
What is Tulum Known For?
Travelers visit Tulum for all sorts of reasons, but most commonly, they come for the gorgeous white sand beaches, warm turquoise blue waters, beachfront resorts, a more laid-back vacation compared to Cancun, and cenotes teeming with life.
And of course, there’s the ruins. The Mayan ruins at Tulum are some of the best-preserved in the world. The site includes a number of structures, including a ceremonial center, residential buildings, and defensive walls. The ruins are accessible to tourists, and there is also a museum on the site.
There are tons of things to do in Tulum, including shopping, swimming in iconic cenotes nearby, visiting Mayan ruins, enjoying the many beach clubs, and feasting on delicious Mexican food.
Over the last few years, social media has really accelerated Tulum’s growth and popularity. Almost overnight, Tulum has developed into an eco-chic, boho destination, and with that comes things like sustainability culture, yoga retreats, and… gentrification (yup, I said it).
While it’s no longer the hidden gem it used to be, it’s still a place that can be enjoyed.
What Are Tulum’s Travel Seasons?
There are three distinct travel seasons for Tulum: high season, low season, and shoulder season. Before we dive into Tulum’s travel seasons, here’s a quick breakdown of how the weather fluctuates throughout the year in Tulum.
- WET SEASON: The wet season runs from May to October and tends to be actually hotter than the dry season.
- HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane season spans June to November, with a higher likelihood of storms from August to October. Actual hurricanes are rare though, so it’s still a decent time to visit if you don’t mind periodic rain showers here and there throughout the day. (The area has seen only two hurricanes in the past 30 years.)
- DRY SEASON: The dry season is from December to April. Travelers will find cooler, more pleasant temperatures.
High Season In Tulum
Tulum’s high season typically stretches from late December to April.
This is peak season across the world’s sunbelt—especially in Mexico! From Christmas onward, expect Tulum and the rest of Mexico to be very busy. Tulum’s beaches will be covered with flocks of tourists ranging from kids on their winter break, party-goers flocking in for Cancun’s infamous Spring Break events, and more.
Because of the increase in tourism during the high season, you can expect a similar spike in airfares, hotel rates, and all-inclusive resort costs as well. Especially around Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Spring Break!
Pro Tip: To get around this, visit Mexico in early December, before all the mayhem begins!
Low Season In Tulum
Tulum’s low season runs from May through October because this time period coincides with Mexico’s main rainy season. You can expect super hot, sticky, and sweltering days with frequent downpours and unpredictable weather. Tulum’s hurricane season also falls within the low season.
While it is the rainy season, rest assured you likely won’t be rained in during your entire vacation. The rain typically comes in short bursts–a downpour for a few days followed by sunny skies the next.
Also during the summer months, the shorelines of Mexico tend to draw in a lot of seaweed (sargassum). It’s especially noticeable in Tulum. Hotels and resorts do their best to clean up the seaweed but do expect to see more seaweed than normal during the low season.
Since tourists tend to avoid Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum during this time, you can often find the best hotel deals in the low season. You’ll get crowd-free beaches, cheaper airfare and hotel rates, and better hospitality.
The is often considered the best time to visit Tulum if you’re traveling on a budget.
Shoulder Season In Tulum
A ‘shoulder season’ is a travel term, defined by the time between the high season and the low seasons of traveling to a specific destination.
In our opinion, the best time to go to Tulum is during the shoulder season, during the months of April, May, November, and December.
During these months, you’ll experience lesser crowds and more mild weather conditions, and pretty reasonable rates.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Tulum?
In our opinion, the best time to go to Tulum is during the shoulder months of April, May, November, and December. During these months, you’ll experience lesser crowds and more mild weather conditions.
We especially love going towards the end of November/first week of December right after Thanksgiving. Not only are flights and accommodations cheaper, but the weather is near-perfect during this time period!
Overall, you can visit Tulum at nearly any time and expect to have a great time. But some times of the year are better than others.
If you’re planning on visiting Tulum in the future, be sure to review the details below first to figure out the best time for you to visit based on what you’d like to do when you get there, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Best Time To Visit Tulum For Perfect Weather
Tulum has great weather for much of the year, but for the best weather, you should visit between the months of December and April. The average temperature stays around the mid-80’s, with little to no rain on most days.
It’s important to keep in mind around March and April the spring breakers will start to visit the Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum areas, which can lead to larger crowds and busier areas across the entire peninsula.
So while the weather might be amazing, if you’re looking to avoid these groups of rowdy travelers, you’ll want to travel closer to the December, January or February months.
This time is great as the temperature is extremely comfortable, without having to worry about hurricanes or too much rain in general. It’s ideal weather for spending time on the beach, while not feeling too hot or too cool.
Best Time To Visit Tulum For The Best Deals
The Yucatan Peninsula definitely has a peak tourist season, as well as a low tourist season during the year. Due to the great weather during the drier seasons, December through April are typically the busiest months in Tulum.
Beyond the weather, though, these months are most popular due to the holidays. Lots of people go on vacations to Cancun, Tulum, and Playa Del Carmen in December and January for holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
On top of that, it is also particularly common for people who live in cooler areas to visit and escape the cold winter weather.
The popularity of these times of the year generally leads to a more expensive trip overall, with higher flight prices, hotel rates, and resort costs.
So, if you’re looking to snag a deal on your Tulum vacation, you’ll want to look into visiting between May and November.
This time of year brings fewer tourists due to the higher likelihood of rain and inclement weather. Because of this, hotels, resorts, and airlines will usually lower their prices to attract tourists.
The downside? The weather is quite hot and humid, and the rainy season is in full swing. (June, September, and October are the rainiest months in Tulum.)
However, if you wait until the sweet spot between October and November, you can enjoy some of the more comfortable temperatures with a lower likelihood of bad weather (and still take advantage of those great deals).
Here are some of the most gorgeous budget hotels in Tulum:
Best Time To Visit Tulum For Avoiding Crowds
If you’re looking to avoid crowds, you’ll want to keep a few details in mind while planning your visit to Tulum.
As we discussed before, the holidays are a popular time for people to visit Tulum–specifically in December and January, and March and April for spring break. If you’re looking to avoid massive crowds, you’ll want to make sure you visit outside these months at the very least.
The best months during the low season are May and July. There is a sizable amount of people who will flock to Cancun, Tulum, and Cozumel for their summer vacations throughout June, July and August, but still there are lower crowds than the holidays.
For the least amount of tourists visiting while you’re on your trip, you’ll want to look into visiting sometime in September or October. Having said that, the weather may be more unpredictable during these months.
Best Time To Visit Tulum For Sightseeing
Tulum and the rest of the Yucatan is probably one of the best places in Mexico to visit if you’re looking to spend some time seeing historical ruins and exploring the jungles.
If you want to do any of these things while in the Tulum area, you’ll want to visit during a month where the weather is beautiful and warm, but not too warm.
November to April are the best months to explore Tulum’s historical/cultural attractions. Why? Because these months tend to be dry and warm, but best of all, not too hot during the day.
Sightseeing at more inland attractions such as Coba, Chichen Itza, and Sian Ka’an can be overwhelmingly hot and sticky in the summer months. If you do plan on visiting during the summer months, be sure to anticipate heat, drink plenty of water, and plan to cool off in one of Tulum’s gorgeous cenotes in the afternoons!
Best Time To Visit Tulum For Nightlife
Beyond visiting Tulum to enjoy the historical ruins, beautiful beaches, and boho eco-hotels, did you know Tulum has a nightlife scene of its own? Sure, Cancun is infamous for its party life and lively nighttime entertainment, but you can get down in Tulum too!
We’ll admit, it definitely does not get as crazy as it does in Cancun. Which can be a good thing!
With tons of restaurants, bars, and clubs in Tulum, you’re guaranteed a fantastic time.
If partying is one of your vacation priorities, you will want to visit Tulum either during the peak season (December and January) or in March and April.
March and April are when many young people flock to Mexico during spring break–you can find lots of beach parties during the day, and energetic lounges/clubs later on in the evenings.
If you’re looking for a lively crowd to party with, but don’t exactly want to deal with the increased crowds of the spring break season, December and January are great months for nightlife.
Best Time To Visit Tulum: Month by Month Guide
Each month offers different pros and cons when it comes to planning your vacation to Tulum. To figure out which month is the best time for you to make your visit, consider these details:
January in Tulum
Annual Events: New Year’s Day, El Día de Los Reyes (Kings’ Day), Zamna Tulum, Arena Festival Internacional
You can kick off the new year in Tulum with warm weather and a lively atmosphere! During this month, you can expect warm days reaching the mid-80’s, with a dip to the low 60’s during the nighttime.
Tulum is really fun during January as there are a ton of events going on all over town. Every year, there’s at least one multi-day music festival in Tulum that draws international travelers from all over.
This is a great time to visit if you’re looking for a lively vacation where you can spend some time on the beach, swimming in cenotes, relaxing at the resort day clubs, and enjoy Tulum’s iconic music festivals!
Because it’s such a popular time to visit, you should consider booking your accommodations as early as possible–prices are typically near their highest due to the increase in demand.
And if you’re aiming to dine at popular restaurants like Hartwood or Casa Jaguar, be sure to make reservations well in advance.
February in Tulum
Annual Events: Carnaval
The heat starts to kick up slightly in February, getting just a bit warmer than in January.
This is still a pretty popular time to visit Tulum, as you’ll find lots of beach club events, yoga retreats, networking events, and more during the month of February.
While Tulum won’t be as crowded as it was in January, you should still expect hotels to be fully booked and prices to remain high.
February’s most notable event is Carnaval! While celebrations take place throughout the Riviera Maya on varying dates, Tulum typically hosts the closing party.
March in Tulum
Annual Events: Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, Food & Wine Festival , Spring Break events
Tulum continues to get warmer into March, where the daytime and nighttime temperature begin to match each other around the mid to high-80’s. It’s a great time to visit for comfortable beach weather and little to no rain!
March is also when spring break begins for some colleges, and students start to flood into the Cancun/Playa/Tulum area for beach parties and club hopping. You can expect to find lots of parties and events around the Yucatan region.
If this energy is what you’re looking for, consider visiting in March to enjoy the company of other tourists.
Aside from the obvious Spring Break partiers, many other tourists are looking to escape their cold homes, so expect more crowds and higher hotel rates. March is also the last month of the year when you’ll get near-perfect weather.
Pro Tip: Want to visit during a time with less crowds? Avoid March/April.
April in Tulum
Annual Events: Children’s Day (Dìa del Niño), Spring Break events
April is the driest month of the year for Tulum–you can expect rain maybe one to two days out of the month. It’s humid but still comfortable, and you can enjoy various outdoor activities as well as swimming and diving on the beach.
It’s important to call out that April is one of Tulum’s shoulder season months, which means now is your chance to visit before the hot, humid, and rainy months begin!
While there will still be some spring breakers and party-goers in this part of Mexico in April, the crowds do start thinning throughout the month. It’s nothing as crazy as what you’d encounter in March.
Around April is when the hotels and resorts start offering their deals, so be on the lookout for those if you’re more of a budget-conscious traveler.
Children’s Day (Dìa del Niño), a holiday just for kids, also takes place in April. What this means is that a lot of parks/attractions tend to offer special discounts to families on April 30. This is a great time for families to enjoy Tulum.
May in Tulum
Annual Events: Festival de Cultura del Caribe
Once May hits, the days start to heat up and it gets hot during the afternoon. May is a great time to visit if you’re looking to spend your days in the water, and your mornings and nights engaging in other activities.
By this time you could spend nights outdoors and be fine without a jacket! You can expect the high daytime temperatures to reach the 90’s and above.
Aside from the weather, the main benefit of visiting Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula in May is your increased chances of encountering wildlife!
The sea turtles begin to nest on the beaches and the whale sharks begin arriving in the ocean areas of Cancun (mostly around Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres). There’s a lot of on-land wildlife activity that you really must experience for yourself.
For ideal hiking/inland sightseeing conditions, May is not recommended due to the fact that it’s just so much more humid compared to previous months. Instead, you should go earlier in the year if you want a little cooler weather during the afternoon.
While it’s not the best for land sightseeing, it’s great for activities like snorkeling, diving, and cooling off in cenotes!
June in Tulum
June is the start of some of the warmest months of the year in Tulum, with high temperatures reaching into the high 90’s during the daytime.
It’s a great time to visit if you’re looking to relax during your vacation, get a good tan, and spend some time out in the water!
June does mark the start of hurricane season in Tulum and the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula, however, it is relatively unlikely you will experience hurricanes during this month. You can expect some rain throughout the month, so at worst, you should anticipate a few days spent partially indoors.
Because June is considered part of the wet season, this means accommodation rates and flight prices are usually very affordable during this month.
While the warmer weather may be good for swimming, diving, and snorkeling, it does make more inland activities (exploring ruins, jungle excursions) a bit harder to bare. We recommend prioritizing beach/water activities closer to the coast during the month of June.
Pro Tip: Sargassum in Tulum usually becomes an issue around this time. In more recent years, there has been a greater abundance of seaweed on Tulum’s public beaches during the summer months. This can make it hard for people to walk on the seashore or enjoy the beaches.
July in Tulum
Let’s not sugarcoat it–July is one of the hottest months in Tulum. July brings even hotter and more humid weather than June, however, there are less rainy days on average.
Even when there are heavy downpour storms in July, they tend to pass relatively quickly so you can continue to enjoy your day outdoors. Just be prepared by packing a wind-proof umbrella and/or a light rain jacket.
July is a great time to visit if you’re looking to see a lot of marine life while swimming and snorkeling, as the visibility underwater at the dive sites is consistently better during these months!
Again, we recommend sticking with water activities near the coast, but if you do venture out into the jungle or to the ruins, be sure to bring plenty of water with you to combat the semi-stifling heat!
During the quiet month of July, there is a slight uptick of tourists (compared to June) as this usually marks the start of summer vacation. However, there is still a general lack of crowds which is totally awesome for those looking for a quieter, more peaceful trip.
Accommodation rates and flight prices are still very affordable during this month.
Pro Tip: Should the seaweed be an issue during your visit, you can still snorkel and enjoy water activities at Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. With 780,000 acres of mangroves, it provides a habitat for incredibly rich biodiversity. You’ll get to experience it all–jungle, beaches, lagoons, canals, archaeological sites, and even a coral reef!
August in Tulum
Annual Events: ZoukMX
The last official month of summer brings lots of humidity and high heat, and even though it does tend to cool down throughout the month, you won’t feel much of a difference due to the constant mugginess.
There’s a bit of rain that often takes place in August, but it really starts up towards the latter half of the month (the closer it gets to September).
While the weather may not be the most pleasant, August is a good month to visit to enjoy the last bits of the summertime and to see marine life. The turtle hatchlings that started in late July continue on in early August, and usually, the pods of whale sharks (up north) are still in the area to enjoy.
If you’re looking to primarily enjoy outdoor water activities, August is a great month to visit. Swimming, snorkeling, other beach activities, as well as spending a night out on the town are ideal activities!
If you’re looking to get your party on, visit Playa Del Carmen for ZoukMX, its iconic 10-day music and dance festival that takes place both in the jungle and on the beach!
September in Tulum
Annual Events: Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza, Independence Day
Though Tulum and the entire Yucatan Peninsula generally do not experience many hurricanes in practice, September marks the peak of hurricane season for Tulum. What you’re more likely to experience a decent amount of rain because September is Tulum’s wettest month.
When it’s not raining, though, you can expect warmer water temperatures compared to August, and plenty of opportunities to spend time on the beach.
Tw0 huge perks of visiting in September? The summer crowds have usually gone as the kids are back in school by then. It is also the rainiest month, meaning fewer people are visiting overall. Additionally, you can still witness many of the sea turtle babies hatching at this time!
There will be very light crowds wherever you go, so if you’re looking to travel on a budget and want to score the best travel deals Tulum has to offer, September is a great time to visit.
One major event to look out for in the Yucatan Peninsula is the celebration of the Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza! This happens just once a year so if you’re around, don’t miss a visit to Chichen Itza.
October in Tulum
Annual Events: Sea Turtle Festival
October tends to bring more rain, but less overall rain compared to September. At this time, the hot/humid weather will start to drop down a little, bringing more comfortable temperatures along with less overall humidity.
October is the lull between the busy seasons of the summer and the holiday months. This is one of the lower tourist months and is a great time to visit for a more relaxed vacation.
You’ll likely find some of the best travel deals during this time!
November in Tulum
Annual Events: Day of the Dead; Tulum Food, Spirits, and Wine Festival; Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
November brings even cooler weather than October. Having said that, remember that Tulum weather is pretty much “summer” all year round!
Come November, Tulum experiences the tail end of hurricane season. The weather in November is usually warm, sunny, yet still somewhat unpredictable.
During the day you can expect the temperature to remain around the mid-80’s range. This is excellent weather for lounging on the beach, enjoying the beach clubs, as well as other activities including hiking, sightseeing and more.
There could very well be rain, especially towards the beginning of the month. Having said that, it’s rare that you will be rained in for a full day as Tulum usually experiences passing showers that last for a few hours.
As you reach the end of November, you can expect more people starting to flock in to spend their holidays in Mexico (and to escape the cold where they live).
You can expect the general nightlife to liven up as you approach December, but with slightly older crowds than the spring break months.
December in Tulum
Annual Events: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Dos Equis Winter Beach, Christmas, New Year’s Eve
Arguably the best month to visit Tulum, December offers a bit of everything for vacationers–there are cultural events, party events, and a whole lot of holiday festiveness!
The weather continues to stay in that comfortable mid-80’s range during the day, with slightly cooler temperatures at night.
You can still enjoy wonderful beaching conditions during the day, but won’t break too much of a sweat when you’re out exploring! Very rarely will you need a long sleeve at night.
At night, you can expect more tourists at the various bars and restaurants, with many people visiting for the holiday season.
Because of the near-perfect weather that December brings, demand for flights and accommodations tends to go up in December. Hotel prices usually increase, so your best bet would be to book in advance so that you can lock in a good price early on.
Again, if your goal is to dine at popular higher-end restaurants, be sure to make reservations well in advance.
Annual Events In Tulum, Mexico
- Zamna Festival (December to January) – EDM festival held across multiple nights; expect a different lineup and venue each night.
- El Día de Los Reyes / Kings’ Day (January)
- Arena Festival Internacional (January) – Weeklong LGBT dance music festival held across various locations in Playa del Carmen and Tulum, including the cenote Dos Ojos!
- Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival (Early February) – 6 day event featuring wolrd-renowned chefs, food and wine.
- Carnaval (February) – weeklong celebrations just before Ash Wednesday, with the biggest parties the night before.
- Alborada Maya (March) – A fusion of Maya and Catholic celebrations unique to Tulum.
- Dance With Me Tulum (April) – music, wellness, culture, interactive art experiences, and communal activities
- Festival de Cultura del Caribe (May) – a celebration of Maya, Mexican, and Caribbean culture through food, music, dance, literature, film, and more.
- La Fete de la Musique (June) – music festival in Playa Del Carmen
- ZoukMX (August) – a ten-day music and dance festival to celebrate summer.
- Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza (September)
- El Grito and Independence Day (September)
- Turtle Festival (October) – a 3-day event celebrating the sea turtle, with events taking place in Tulum, Akumal, and Xcacel.
- Day of the Dead (November)
- Riviera Maya Jazz Fest (Late November) – annual 3-day jazz festival that takes place in Playa Del Carmen
- Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (December)
- Dos Equis Winter Beach (December) – three-day music, fashion, and entertainment festival at Papaya Playa
- Sound Tulum (December) – EDM festival
When Is The Sargassum Season in Tulum?
Sargassum season in Tulum typically runs from June through October.
However, the timing and intensity of the season can vary from year to year. Depending on the year, Sargassum can begin washing up on Tulum’s beaches in early April until mid-November. While the amount of Sargassum does vary year over year, you can expect the beaches will generally be covered with a thick layer of seaweed.
Some years, you’ll barely even notice it, especially during the early months of April and May. In other years, it can be a huge problem.
The Sargassum season in Tulum has caused some inconvenience for beachgoers, as the seaweed can make swimming and sunbathing uncomfortable.
Having said that, the town’s businesses have also been working hard to clean up the beaches, and many of the beachfront resorts will do their best to clean up the seaweed on their private beaches.
If you are planning to stay in one of the beachfront hotels, you can call/email them before booking to make sure the beaches are maintained.
When Is Tulum’s Wet Season?
The wet season runs from May to October. This is when tropical storms usually hit the Yucatan Peninsula. While you may think a wet season will be cold, it actually tends to be hotter than the dry season.
Hurricane season in Tulum spans June to November, with a higher likelihood of storms from August to October. Actual hurricanes are rare though, so it’s still a decent time to visit if you don’t mind periodic rain showers here and there throughout the day.
(The area has seen only two hurricanes in the past 30 years.)
When Is Tulum’s Dry Season?
The dry season is from December to April. Travelers will find cooler, more pleasant temperatures.
If you don’t do well with rain or wind, we would recommend visiting during the dry season.
When Is Tulum Most Humid?
There is always a moderate level of humidity in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, if you’re looking to avoid high humidity weather, try to avoid the months of June through September.
June, July and August are the hottest and most sweltering months with high humidity, high rainfall and high temperatures. September is the wettest month, and increased rains usually means increased humidity.
In terms of humidity, this season is the most unwelcoming.
Is Tulum Cold in December?
While it might be cold in December for many other cities/destinations in the world, Tulum is not one of those places. In fact, December is arguably the best time to visit Playa!
Days are warm, nights are cool and comfortable, and skies are almost always sunny and clear. Average highs are around 82°F (27°C). Average temperatures rarely fall below 76°F.
Get ready for some near-perfect weather in December!
Essential Travel Tips For Tulum, Mexico
- There’s been a seaweed problem in the Tulum/Playa Del Carmen area. Check the latest seaweed conditions report before heading to the beaches in/nearby Tulum. If you’re keen to avoid sargassum seaweed on your Mexico visit, make sure to stay in a hotel that has staff constantly monitoring the issue.
- The most popular times to visit Tulum range from November to April (high season). If you’re looking for a quieter experience, plan your trip for May to October.
- Hurricane season runs from June through November. While hurricanes are unlikely, most weather experts recommend purchasing travel insurance if you plan on visiting during hurricane season.
- Bring pesos with you just in case you need to pay with cash. Pick up pesos from an ATM wherever you depart from before heading to Tulum. Not all places accept credit cards on the island (small shopfronts, food vendors, etc.), and ATMs are few and far between.
- When using a credit card, choose to pay in the local currency instead of your home currency. You’ll get a better exchange rate and will be paying less than the home currency option. (In my case, I would pay in $MXN instead of in $USD.)
- The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. Instead of spending your money on plastic water bottles, bring a water bottle with a built-in UV water purifier (like the CrazyCap 2 Pro). This is way more environmentally friendly compared to buying a ton of plastic water bottles.
- Tulum is extremely tourist-friendly. If you can’t speak a lick of Spanish, you’ll be okay. This region (Yucatan Peninsula) largely caters to English-speaking visitors, and you’ll find that English is spoken by most locals, hotel/restaurant staff, and tour guides.
- Tulum is safe, but always practice self-awareness and caution. Certain areas of Mexico have long held a reputation for being unsafe due to cartel violence, but resort areas and tourists are not targeted. Just exercise increased caution as you would anywhere–avoid being flashy, don’t walk around alone at night, be wary of your surroundings, and you should be just fine.
- No matter what you’re budget is, you’ll find tons of accommodation options in Tulum. Most budget accommodations and hostels are located in Tulum Centro, which means you’ll be close to most of the amenities/facilities you’ll need for your stay. Most of the beachfront accommodation options can cost hundreds of dollars per night, whereas downtown hostels, apartment rentals, and hotels are much less expensive.
- Taxis in Tulum are more expensive than buses and collectivos. Many savvy travelers opt for local bus transportation, which is reliable, frequent, and inexpensive (under $1/ride).
- Rent a bike to get around town. While you’re here, you’ll see lots of bike riders. Tulum town is just a few kilometers from the beach, making it an easy cycle ride to the coast.
- Dining out in Tulum can be expensive, so head downtown for the most affordable and authentic places to eat (taquerias with long lines are a great sign).
Essential Packing List For Tulum, Mexico
- Lightweight Packable Day Bag | Inside my larger travel backpack, I always bring a lightweight, packable backpack to use for day-to-day exploration. The Fjallraven Kanken Mini is perfect for carrying a few snacks, a lightweight jacket, cameras, phones, a water bottle, and whatever else I need for the day.
- Packing Cubes | Start packing smarter. The key to smart packing is going to be compartmentalization, aka packing cubes. This set comes with a bunch of different sizes, so you can create a separate compartment for undies and socks, for clothing, for toiletries, and for anything else you may want to organize. By using packing cubes, it’s so much easier to pull out only what you need, rather than dig through all of your luggage to find that one thing you’re looking for.
- Laundry Bag | Tropical weather = lots of sweaty, smelly worn clothes. Don’t soil your entire bag by mixing worn clothes with your unworn clothes! Definitely bring a laundry bag to separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes to maintain the utmost freshness.
- Clothing | Pack your usual summer clothes for your Mexico vacation, as well as a few layers for unexpected cooler temperatures. This includes tanks, shorts, swimsuits, and swim coverups!
- Light Rain Jacket | Traveling to tropical areas does not necessarily mean there won’t be rain or wind. Packing a light rain jacket will definitely come in handy in unpredictable tropical climates. This one for men and this one for women are some of the best jackets for any kind of travel. They’re ultralight, wind and water-repellent, and take up virtually no space so they’re easy to carry wherever you go.
- Adventure Sandals | Tevas and Chacos are my go-to brands for multipurpose summer sandals. If you’re planning on having an adventurous day or two, you should definitely consider getting adventure sandals — comfortable for long-distance walking, safe for submerging in water, and super durable.
- Walking Shoes | One pair of closed-toed shoes (walking shoes or running shoes) is always crucial for any trip. These ones that I’ve been traveling around with are super light and breathable. I can even walk 15+ miles in them before getting sore feet.
- Cooling Facial Mist | When you’re faced with mid-day humidity, it can be very hard to deal with. Keeping a small bottle of facial mist in your purse or backpack on a hot day will save your life. This mist takes all the cooling, soothing ingredients you can think of—aloe, cucumber, and green tea—and combines them into one refreshing spritzer for your face.
- Dry Shampoo | Bring some dry shampoo to use in between washes to instantly revitalize and freshen your semi-dirty hair.
- Leave-In Conditioner | I recommend bringing a leave-in conditioner to help nurture your hair after spending time in pools and the salty ocean. As someone with naturally frizzy hair, my hair tends to get tangled, coarse, and even more frizzy after it’s submerged in water. This leave-in conditioner is a cult favorite – just put it in your damp hair after your shower and comb it through.
- Sunscreen | Applying sunscreen is absolutely necessary for tropical destinations. Even if it’s overcast and cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors.
- NOTE: If you plan on snorkeling near the reefs, choose a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreen contains chemicals that damage and even kill the precious reefs. In fact, you may even encounter tour companies and eco-parks asking you to only use sunscreen and sunblock that are biodegradable, containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide only. Here are a few travel-sized biodegradable sunscreens you can easily buy on Amazon:
- Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen – SPF 40 Kids Clear Sport
- Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
- Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- All Good Sport Face & Body Sunscreen Lotion
- After Sun Cooling Spray | Let’s be real– you’re probably going to be spending the majority of your vacation outdoors under the sun. Chances are, you’re going to get a nice tan, and maybe even a sunburn or two! Even if you don’t get sunburned, you should still treat your exposed skin to some much-needed hydration with an after-sun cooling spray or after-sun lotion.
- Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets | These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
- Hand Sanitizer | Hand sanitizer gel or wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched. Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
- Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag.
- Insect Repellent Lotion | Mosquitos love hot climates, so I would definitely recommend packing insect repellent with a high DEET percentage, no matter the season you’re traveling. Sawyer makes some really great bug repellent products, and they’re travel-friendly too!
- Permethrin Insect Repellent Spray for Clothing | This clothing insect repellent spray is a game-changer. If you’re going to be outdoors in areas where mosquitos are prevalent, I’d highly recommend preparing your clothes with this fabric spray!
- How does it work? This is a treatment spray for clothes that adheres only to fabrics, leaving no smell or residue on clothes and doesn’t harm human skin. Permethrin spray lasts for up to 6 machine washes, which is more than enough for most tropical trips. Real life story– I hiked Machu Picchu after treating my hiking clothes with this, and I only got a total of 2 mosquito bites after the 4-day trip, whereas some of my friends got 20+ bites. Worth it.
- Pro Tip: Buy and use before you leave for your trip. A few days before departure, spray all of your clothes, plus anything else made of fabric that you’d like treated.
- Insect Repelling Lightweight Pullover | Too lazy to treat your clothes with insect repellent? I know, it’s a process. The ExOfficio BugsAway pullover is the next best thing– it’s super lightweight too.
- Cooling Towel | Perfect for working out, a day at the beach, or simply sitting there baking in the sun—you’ll feel Chill Pal‘s cooling effect as soon as you take it out of the package. To activate the cooling towel, just soak it in water and wring it out, then wear it as a bandana or use it as a towel. Another hot weather game-changing travel essential.
- Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying, which is exactly what you need in hot, humid climates. Super useful if you plan on having beach days or staying in hostels. This one is a great option.
- Travel Clothesline | This is a small and portable clothesline that allows you to hang up your wet clothes almost anywhere. I’ve found that it’s really handy whenever I have wet bathing suits or towels that need to be air-dried. I love it for its multi-purpose functionality!
- Dry Bag | Another multi-purpose item on the list! Dry bags are completely necessary for keeping your dry belongings (clothes, electronics, money, etc)… dry. Don’t set foot on a kayak, boat or canoe without putting your stuff in a dry bag. Trust me, it’s better than ending up with a phone or camera submerged in water in the case where the boat tips or something. It’s also super handy for carrying around wet bathing suits and towels. Or even doubling as your laundry bag!
- Underwater Smartphone Housing | Don’t want to invest in an underwater camera? That’s fine, just stick your phone in the AxisGo’s underwater housing! It’s designed to protect your phone from the harshest weather conditions while offering the freedom to safely capture those special moments underwater.
- Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures, GPSing to all the great food spots… the last thing you want is to be stranded with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
- Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated in the warm weather with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!
- Snorkel Set | If you plan on snorkeling a lot, bring your own set to save on rental costs.
- Medicine | If you get motion sickness, consider bringing a motion sickness reliever like Dramamine for various watercraft adventures or even the ferry ride over to Isla Mujeres or Cozumel. If you need other meds, don’t forget your pain killers, antacids, etc.
My Favorite International Travel Planning Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when planning out a trip abroad. The sites/companies listed here typically have the best overall value, offer deals, beat out other competitors, and offer great customer service when needed.
- WayAway | This site compares flight ticket fares from hundreds of agencies. You’re going to get the best prices on the market, at least $10 lower than those on Skyscanner, Kayak, and Priceline.com. The best part is? The WayAway Plus membership. With the membership, you’ll get up to 10% cash back on airline tickets, hotel bookings, car rentals, and other travel services.
- DEAL ALERT! Use code ‘travelswithelle’ for 10% off WayAway Plus.
- Booking.com | Honestly, this is my go-to accommodation booking site. This site has free cancellation and no prepayment required on reservations which is huge for me. It also has amazing abilities to filter accommodation options by rating and price. Honestly, it’s shaved off so many hours of endless research for me and has made booking hotels and other accommodations a breeze.
- Trusted Housesitters | Traveling on a budget? Don’t want to spend a dime on lodging and accommodation while traveling? Trusted Housesitters is such a great way to exchange your services for a place to stay while traveling. You’ll care for someone’s pets and property while they’re away, and in exchange, be able to stay at someone’s home completely free of charge! Limited time offer: Get $10 off a TrustedHousesitter Membership with code THS10
- Viator | Viator is a huge online marketplace for all things tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, ATV tours, sailing trips, walking tours, hot air ballooning, and more.
- Go City | Go City offers great value-for-the-money attraction passes in various destinations around the world. Whenever I want to play tourist in a city, I always check to see if Go City operates in that city. The money you can save with this pass is unreal (as opposed to buying admission tickets for various attractions separately).
- Airalo | Need internet access while abroad? Airalo e-SIM card allows you to download a digital data pack and get connected anywhere in the world as soon as you land.
- SafetyWing | SafetyWing is by far one of the best travel medical insurance for travelers as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those heading abroad.
We hope you found this post useful and now have a better idea of when to visit Tulum. Happy vacationing!