With a stunning coastline of soft white sand, the delightful waters of the Caribbean sea and an impressive set of ancient ruins to ponder, it's easy to see why this part of Mexico has been incredibly popular with visitors for thousands of years, right back to the days of the Mayan Kings themselves. Despite being referred to as a single location, Tulum actually consists of three distinct areas, each a short taxi ride from the others that combine into the kind of resort that has something to offer every visitor. The first is known locally as El Pueblo and is the main place to find hotels, restaurants, shops and some nightlife. The second area, known as Tulum Playa, is the refereshingly underdeveloped beach resort. Environmentally conscious cabana and beach hut operators are doing their best to preserve the natural beauty for future generations, meaning visitors may have to do without the sort of creature comforts they might find in Cancun. The final area is home to the spectacular Maya ruins that are, for many visitors, the principal attraction of the area. Busy all year round and surrounded by tourist-orientated restaurants and bars, the ruins themselves are, thanks in part to their seaside setting, quite stunning and well worth seeing.
When to fly to Tulum
The best time to visit Tulum depends on what you want to get out of your trip. The most popular time of year is between December and March: temperatures are high, rainfall is low and the hurricane season, which runs from July to September, is finished. However, this is also the busiest time of year and prices are also high. Visiting Tulum in late November or early December, or from April to May - the shoulder seasons - means you will pay far less but still more than likely have great weather. Prices for both airfare and hotel accommodation drop considerably between July and September but bad storms are common and the weather can get uncomfortably hot.
Getting around Tulum
El Pueblo is small enough to walk around without having to make use of any other form of transport. If you want to get to the other parts of Tulum, taxis are plentiful and inexpensive and take the heat and hassle out of making your way to and from the beach. Bicycles can be rented cheaply and there are also public bus services and shared minibuses, known as collectivos, that make the journey between the centre and the beach several times each day. Collectivos are cheap but very busy so be prepared for very limited personal space.