Planning a trip to Tulum but don’t know where to stay in Tulum? Keep reading to find the best areas to stay in Tulum and book that perfect trip.
Known for being one of the best beach destinations in the world, Tulum is a destination you simply have to visit at least once in your life. It’s a destination that beautifully combines beach vacation with wellness, and relaxation, culture and even partying, if that’s your jam.
If you’re here because you’re already planning your trip then congrats- you’re going to have an amazing time, but you’re also going to need to decide on the best areas to stay in Tulum, and that’s not easy.
Keep reading as I dive. a little deeper into the different parts of Tulum and explain the pros and cons of each so you can decide for yourself where to stay in Tulum.
*This ‘ best places to stay in tulum ‘ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you.
How to Get to Tulum?
Tulum is a town located in central Quintana Roo State, on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.
There is currently no airport in Tulum so you’ll first have to fly into Cancun International Airport. From the airport, it’s about a 2-hour ride south, along the coastal highway to Tulum.
One of the best (and cheapest) ways to get to Tulum is by bus. The best bus to take is the ADO and it’s available right outside the arrivals terminal which takes you straight to the centre of Tulum town.
Shared or private taxis and transfers to Tulum are also available at the airport. To grab a great deal make sure to book before you arrive, I highly recommend using eTransfers for your trip as they are reputable and offer competitive rates. Find out more and book here.
Another option is to rent a car right at Cancun airport, especially if you already know you’re going to be exploring the surrounding area such as Chichen Itza, Valladolid or Holbox.
There are many local car rental agencies at the airport which rent cars and it’s pretty easy to do. Try to stay away from deals that are too good to be true as they normally don’t include mandatory insurance, giving you quite the surprise when it’s time to actually pay.
Before You Book
Before you decide on an area or book any Tulum hotels, there are a few things you should know if you’re visiting Tulum for the first time.
Tulum is very spread out and it’s split up into a few distinct areas. After looking at a map you’ll soon realise that Tulum town (or Pueblo) is not near the beach. In fact, it takes a good 10-minute car ride (traffic dependent) to get from Av Coba- the main Tulum town thoroughfare to Tulum Beach.
Most of the pictures you would have seen online already are taken on the Tulum beach strip and in the lavish private properties that line it. From the end of the beach strip, it can sometimes take 45 minutes in a car to get to Tulum Town.
This is why picking the right area to stay in Tulum is crucial, otherwise, you might end up spending your entire vacation just moving between Tulum town and the beach.
It’s also worth noting that there are two distinct beach zones. there’s Tulum Private Beach where all the luxurious, rustic-chic properties are located and the Tulum Public Beach area which also has a few very good boutique hotel options.
In this post, I’ll outline all the best places to stay in Tulum, the pros and cons of the best areas in Tulum so you can make the best decision for you.
Best Areas to Stay in Tulum
Tulum isn’t big but it is very spread out. In fact, the town is growing fast- like really fast and it’s constantly changing and evolving. The best area for you will ultimately depend on factors such as your budget, what you look for in accommodation and how close you’d like to be to the beach.
The best places to stay in Tulum for couples for example might be in Tulum’s private beach strip. The best places to stay in Tulum for families might be either in town or on the beach depending on your budget.
In Tulum, there are five areas where most travellers stay. In Tulum town, they are La Veleta, Aldea Zama and Tulum Centro and by the beach, there’s the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone or Tulum Beach Strip) and the area by Playa Paraiso, Tulum’s public beach area.
Areas to Stay in Tulum: Tulum Town
Tulum Town or Tulum Pueblo is a great place to stay for a more local experience. Here you’ll find many restaurants, taco stands, souvenir stalls, and supermarkets all within easy reach. It makes a great place to stay in Tulum for those who want to use Tulum as a base to explore the local area and perhaps have a few beach days.
If soaking up the sun and spending your days on the beach are your thing, don’t stay in Tulum town. It’s a good 30-minute cycle or 15-minute scooter ride from town to the beach.
La Veleta is one of Tulum’s newest neighbourhoods and it’s also one of the most affordable making it one of the best areas to stay in Tulum.
It’s popular with younger travellers and digital nomads and you’ll find so many amazing accommodation options here and boutique hotels, Airbnbs as well as cute cafes and places to get breakfast every morning.
It’s a great place to be if you’re looking to connect with other travellers, discover the trendiest places in Tulum town and eat all the delicious food. La Veleta also might be one of the best places to stay in Tulum for singles or solo travelers.
The Pros of Staying in Tulum Town in La Veleta
- Stylish and affordable accommodation options
- Close to great bars, cafes and restaurants
- Easily walkable
- Opportunities to connect with other travellers
Cons of Staying in La Veleta
- Far from the beach (about 45 minutes by bike)
- A little far from Centro (20 minutes walk)
- Noise from nearby construction
Where to Stay in La Veleta:
ERA Hotel and Spa Tulum – A beautifully designed, boutique hotel in the heart of La Veleta with open plan, king rooms, a large pool and an on-site cafe and restaurant. They also have a great spa on the second floor.
Hotel Tiki Tiki – If you’re a fan of really stylish hotels, you won’t be able to pass up a stay at the fabulous Hotel Tiki Tiki. This amazing hotel features a grand pool and beautifully designed common areas, large rooms with balconies and hammocks. Everything is clean, modern and very unique.
Read more: The Best Luxury & Boutique Hotels in Tulum
Tulum Pueblo Centro
Near La Veleta, you’ll find Tulum Centro, the older, central part of town that was the original town before Tulum started growing at such an alarming rate.
Much like in La Veleta, in Tulum Centro you’re close to everything you might need during your stay such as bike rentals, cafes, bars, bus stations, pharmacies, supermarkets and restaurants – perfect for when you need to pop out for something you need quickly.
Many locals also live and work in Tulum Centro so if you’re looking for a more local experience this is a good option for you. You’ll find a lot of street food here and locals hanging out in the main square.
Pros of Staying in Tulum Centro
- More of a local experience
- Easily walkable
- All services within reach
- Lots of street food options
Cons of Staying in Tulum Centro
- Noise from nearby bars and clubs and the occasional drunk people
- Traffic noise if you’re right on the main road
- Far from the beach
Best Hotels in Tulum Pueblo
Casa Agape Boutique Hotel – For one of the best options in the heart of the centre of Tulum, look no further than Casa Agape. With spacious rooms with large bed and sofa, these beautifully designed rooms also come with a balcony or front garden to relax in after a long day at the beach.
There’s also a lovely rooftop and pool to watch the sunset from.
Best Area to Stay in Tulum: Aldea Zama
Aldea Zama is Tulum’s newest neighbourhood- much of which is still under construction. Here you’ll find a wide range of exclusive accommodation and small apartment buildings as well as unique, boutique hotels and cute neighbourhood cafes.
Zama is full of nice little cafes and local boutiques and it is a very short cycle or drive from Tulum Centro or La Valeta. If you’re looking for somewhere peaceful, safe and quiet at night Aldea Zama is a great area to stay in.
Pros of Staying in Aldea Zama
- Closer to the beach than any other area in Tulum town
- Little traffic noise and noise at night
- Luxury, boutique feel
Cons of Staying in Aldea Zama
- Noise from nearby construction during the day
- Further away from restaurants, bars and other services
- Not a lot going on as most of the area is still under construction
- Need a bike or a car to get around comfortably
Where to Stay in Aldea Zama
Copal Hotel, Tulum – For one of the most extraordinary hotels in Aldea Zama make sure not to miss Copal. This small, boutique hotel has a courtyard layout and is surrounded by jungle vegetation.
Rooms range from simple double rooms with patios and plunge pools to large self-catering apartments for longer stays. They also have two pools and one of the most beautiful hotel spas in Tulum.
Best Area to Stay in Tulum: Tulum Private Beach (Zona Hotelera)
If you’re in Tulum for nothing more than to relax and enjoy one of the world’s best beaches, then staying on the beach strip might be the best area to stay in Tulum for you. Along Tulum’s beach strip, you’ll find many of the best beachfront hotels in Tulum.
They are all beautiful, unique, boutique-style resorts that offer accommodation, restaurants, and beach clubs and some even have their own open-air yoga studios.
You’ll find accommodation suiting a range of budgets, but in general, things are on the pricey side- even the mini-markets and pharmacies on the beach strip are more expensive than in Tulum town.
Staying in the Zona Hotelera is a great option for anyone looking to just relax on the beach, do yoga and enjoy their time at the various beach clubs.
It’s important to note that in Tulum’s high season (December-March) these hotels book up fast. Like real fast. Make sure to book way in advance or you might have to end up staying somewhere you’re not that keen on.
Pros of Staying at Tulum Private Beach
- Best spot for Tulum accommodations on the beach
- Amazing sunrises
- Beautiful choice of luxury, unique accommodation options
- Best places to stay in Tulum for all inclusives
Cons of Staying on Tulum Private Beach
- Not as many restaurant/bar options as in town
- Further from cenotes/ Tulum attractions in the area
- Might not be the best place in Tulum for you if you’re against partying
Where to Stay in the Zona Hotelera
Sanará – Sanará is definitely one of the best Tulum resorts on the beach for wellness-focused travellers as they focus on nourishing and healing throughout your stay.
They offer boho-minimal styled rooms which face the sea or a beautiful inner garden, an oceanfront yoga studio allowing you to flow to the sound of the ocean and one of the best plant-based restaurants around- The Real Coconut. Check rates and availability here.
Nômade Tulum – For a chance to stay in a room, tent or even treehouse, head straight to the end of the beach strip to Nômade.
Surround yourself with nothing but nature and fill up on holistic cuisine, practise yoga, meditation and even join a Temazcal ceremony- for those wanting to take wellness and experience to the next level don’t miss Nômade. It’s one of the best places to stay in Tulum Beach. Check rates and availability here.
Tulum Public Beach
If you’d like to stay on the beach but don’t quite have the budget to stay at one of the hotels on the Tulum Private Beach Strip, then it’s also a great idea to check out Playa Paraiso and the surrounding beaches. They are just a few kilometres further north from the main beach strip, towards the Tulum ruins.
At Playa Paraiso or Tulum Public Beach, you’ll find a few great accommodation options right on the beach, yet they are much more affordable than the famous resorts.
Of course, staying at Tulum’s Public Beach isn’t as exclusive, but you’ll still be able to wake up to a beautiful sunrise overlooking the beach.
Note however as this is the public beach area, the beaches on this side of town are much busier than at Tulum’s Private Beach.
Pros of Staying at Tulum Public Beach
- You are right on the beach
- Amazing sunrises
- More wallet-friendly accommodation options
- Closer to the Tulum Maya Ruins
Cons of Staying on Tulum Public Beach
- Can still be a little expensive
- Not as many restaurant/bar options as in other areas
- Further from cenotes/ Tulum attractions in the area (except Tulum Ruins)
Where to Stay in Tulum Public Beach
Diamante K – great, more budget option on the beach when it comes to where to stay in Tulum, Diamante K offers super affordable garden villas with shared bathrooms to beautiful luxury, ocean-view suites. It’s one of the best places to stay in Tulum beach. Check availability and book here.
As you can see each one of Tulum’s areas has its own pros and cons and the best areas to stay in Tulum will also depend on your own needs.
If you want to be on the beach then make sure to choose the Zona Hotelera if you have the budget or Playa Paraiso for budget-friendly options.
Perhaps, if you’d prefer to save money further and don’t mind renting a bike to get to the beach then you may want to choose Tulum Centro or La Veleta. If you’re someone who fancies quiet nights in, beautiful accommodation then perhaps look into Aldea Zama.
I hope this post has shed some light on Tulum’s different areas and given you more of an idea of where to stay and base yourself.
If you have any comments or questions about the best areas to stay in Tulum then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
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