Tulum is a true jungle paradise; we ourselves called it a Mexican Las Vegas, because I am sure pre COVID, it was (sometimes still is) a place to let loose and party! Does not mean that there is nothing else to do outside of partying and drinking; THERE IS! There are tons of cenotes, lagoons, and beaches that are not filled with tourists. You can make your trip to Tulum, whatever you want it to be, and that is what is so amazing about it.
One thing to note, is that Tulum downtown is not located on the beach. It is a touristy town, with lots of local restaurants, and shops and is about 20 min. car ride from "Zona Hotelara Tulum" which is where all the hotels and beaches are.
Getting Tested for COVID 19 in Tulum
Many countries, including USA, now require a negative test in order to board a plane to come back home. At first we were hesitant and second guessed this whole trip, since this new regulation came in after we booked our flights and hotels. All we can say, is do not be afraid of not finding a place to get tested. There are clinics, RV buses (yes RV buses!), and even hotels offering antigen and PCR tests for reasonable price. We, ourselves paid $70, but we had a doctor come to our room and got it done in the comfort of our bed pretty much. Cancun airport also offers them!
Quick note: USA accepts Antigen results and that test is usually quicker and cheaper, so keep that in mind when scheduling your appointment.
Pesos vs Dollars
Be smart, and bring a good amount of pesos with you. Ideally if you have time, request them from your bank (takes few days so plan early for it). Exchange rate can be on a steeper end, and in lots of cases it comes out way cheaper to pay in pesos than American Dollars.
Renting a car
Depending on how comfortable you are driving in a foreign country, you should rent a car and explore at your own speed. That does not mean go to sketchy places or travel at night, but we are strong advocates of renting a car and exploring on your own. Car ride from Cancun to Tulum takes about 1.5 hrs. and the shuttle roundtrip may cost you close to what you would pay for a car rental. We tanked up for $50 and it lasted us the whole trip!
A lot of the popular spots such as Grand Cenote or the famous sculpture at Raw Love café, get packed quick; wake up early and go right when it opens to be able to enjoy it and snap a pic without anyone in the background. For the Raw Love sculpture, there were lines everyday of like 40 people at prime time, that is no fun for nobody! We got there at 8am on a Wednesday, and had it to ourselves for good 10 minutes. As they say, early bird gets the worm :)
Stay in Tulum downtown is much cheaper than on the beach, that's a given. However, if you stay on the beach, you have full access to it. It is quite difficult to find a public beach in Tulum. Most of the time the hotel will require you to spend good amount of money on food and drinks, in exchange for beach access, so keep that in mind. If you are like us, we rather spend extra on a hotel and go downtown and eat Tacos for $5 haha. When you have bland taste buds like me, you can understand that train of thought.
Those guys are everywhere!!! I mean in their defense, you are in their habitat which is a jungle. There are tons of small shops all around, so if you forgot to bring bug spray, you can easily find one locally.
Do not get too fixated on the weather app. Before we came here, I would check the weather everyday and all it showed was rain, you can imagine my disappointment. Of course the second we arrived, we had sun so I decided to tan without any SPF to ensure I got some proof that I was in fact in Mexico, well my skin is now peeling. Mexico is tropical; if it rains it will go away in an hour, and the sun will come right out. Because of this moody weather changes, Mexico gets some of the best sunsets which are hard to miss.
- Ladies do not bring heels, gravel and dust everywhere!
- Bring snacks from home, it will save you unnecessary trips and some money too.
- Watch out for speed bumps, (lots of speed bumps on the road to Chichen Itza).
- Most gas stations have attendants, make sure to have some $ to tip them :)
- Most beaches do not have lifeguards, so be smart about where you swim, water tends to be rough around the edges.
Most importantly, have fun and leave it the way you found it <3