Tulum, Mexico Travel Guide on a Budget


Tulum Mexico Travel Guide on a Budget

Tulum, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and budget-friendly experience. With its stunning white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, ancient Mayan ruins, and eco-friendly accommodations, Tulum offers an ideal escape for those looking to explore Mexico on a budget. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about visiting Tulum without breaking the bank.

Getting There and Around

Flights: The nearest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) away. To find the best flight deals, consider booking your tickets during the low season (May to November), or use budget airlines and comparison websites to find the most affordable options.

Transportation: From Cancun Airport, you can take a shared shuttle, ADO bus, or a taxi to Tulum. The ADO bus is the most budget-friendly option, with tickets costing around 200-300 MXN ($10-15 USD) per person. The journey takes about 2 hours. Alternatively, shared shuttles are also affordable and convenient, with prices ranging from 350-600 MXN ($18-30 USD) per person.

Getting around Tulum: Bicycles are the most popular and affordable means of transportation in Tulum. Many accommodations offer free bikes for guests, or you can rent one for around 100-200 MXN ($5-10 USD) per day. Taxis are also available, but they can be more expensive than bikes.


Hostels: Tulum has a variety of budget-friendly hostels offering dorm rooms and private rooms. Prices for dorm beds range from 150-300 MXN ($8-15 USD) per night, while private rooms start at around 600 MXN ($30 USD). Some popular hostels in Tulum include Selina Tulum, Mama’s Home, and Lum Hostel.

Budget hotels and guesthouses: If you prefer more privacy, Tulum offers a range of budget hotels and guesthouses. Prices for private rooms start at around 500 MXN ($25 USD) per night. Some recommended budget hotels are Hotel Latino, Hotel Palma Real, and Hotel Tulum Inn.

Eco-friendly accommodations: Tulum is known for its eco-friendly accommodations, which often use solar power and sustainable materials. These options can be more expensive, but they provide a unique experience and help support local sustainable initiatives. Some eco-friendly accommodations include Papaya Playa Project, Zamas Hotel, and Nueva Vida de Ramiro.

Food and Drinks

Local markets and street food: Eating at local markets and street food stands is the most affordable way to enjoy Tulum’s culinary scene. Tacos, empanadas, and tamales are just some of the delicious and inexpensive options available. A meal at a local market or street food stand can cost as little as 30-50 MXN ($1.50-2.50 USD).

Budget restaurants: Tulum has several budget-friendly restaurants offering a mix of Mexican and international cuisine. Meals at these restaurants typically cost between 60-150 MXN ($3-7.50 USD). Some popular budget restaurants include Antojitos La Chiapaneca, Sale e Pepe, and El Camello Jr.

Cooking your own meals: If you’re staying at a hostel or guesthouse with a communal kitchen, consider cooking your own meals to save even more money. You can buy fresh produce and groceries from local markets or supermarkets, such as Chedraui or San Francisco de Asis.


Tulum Ruins: The ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum are a must-visit when in the area. The entrance fee is 80 MXN ($4 USD) per person, making it an affordable and fascinating activity. The ruins are located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, providing stunning views and photo opportunities.

Beaches: Tulum’s beautiful beaches are free to visit and perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or simply relaxing. Some popular public beaches include Playa Paraiso, Playa Pescadores, and Las Palmas. Please note that some beach clubs have an entrance fee or require a minimum spend on food and drinks to use their facilities.

Cenotes: The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its natural sinkholes, called cenotes, which offer unique swimming and snorkeling experiences. Entrance fees for cenotes near Tulum range from 100-200 MXN ($5-10 USD) per person. Some recommended cenotes to visit include Gran Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Calavera.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a vast nature reserve that offers visitors the opportunity to explore mangroves, lagoons, and wildlife. You can join a guided tour or rent a car and explore the reserve independently. The entrance fee for Sian Ka’an is 50 MXN ($2.50 USD) per person, with guided tours costing around 600-1,000 MXN ($30-50 USD).

Biking and walking tours: Tulum is a bike-friendly destination, and many visitors choose to explore the town and surrounding areas on two wheels. Bike rentals are affordable, and there are several self-guided and guided biking and walking tours available. Prices for guided tours start at around 200 MXN ($10 USD) per person.

Art and culture: Tulum has a growing arts scene, with several galleries and street art murals throughout the town. Visiting these galleries and admiring the street art is an affordable way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Some notable art spaces in Tulum include IK Lab, Tulum Art Club, and Galeria La Llorona.

Yoga and wellness: Many visitors come to Tulum for its wellness and spiritual offerings. While some yoga studios and retreat centers can be pricey, there are more affordable options available. Look for donation-based classes or community events at places like Holistika, Yoga Dicha, or Tribal Yoga.

Money-saving Tips

Travel during the low season: Traveling to Tulum during the low season (May to November) can help you save on flights and accommodations. While there may be more rain during this time, there are still plenty of sunny days to enjoy.

Use local currency: While many places in Tulum accept US dollars, you will often get a better exchange rate by using Mexican pesos. Withdraw cash from ATMs or exchange money at a casa de cambio for the best rates.

Bargain at markets: When shopping at local markets, don’t be afraid to haggle. It’s a common practice in Mexico, and you may be able to get better prices on souvenirs and handicrafts.

Free and low-cost activities: Take advantage of Tulum’s free and low-cost activities, such as visiting beaches, exploring street art, and attending community events.

Drink tap water: While it’s not recommended to drink tap water in Tulum, you can save money by refilling your water bottle at your accommodation or purchasing large water jugs instead of single-use plastic bottles.


Tulum is a stunning destination that offers a unique and affordable travel experience. By following this budget-friendly travel guide, you can make the most of your time in this idyllic coastal town without breaking the bank. From exploring ancient Mayan ruins and relaxing on pristine beaches to discovering the local culinary scene and connecting with the vibrant arts and wellness culture, Tulum offers a diverse range of activities for every type of traveler. With a little planning and an adventurous spirit, you can create unforgettable memories in this beautiful Mexican paradise while keeping your budget in check.