I’m getting the impression that most of the locals here think Tulum Mexico is far away. And consider getting around Tulum, Mexico to be complicated.
Drivers apologize for the forthcoming long drive. Hotel attendants give me extra water for the journey. But it’s really not that far. The road is good and it’s only about 1 hour from Playa del Carmen.
Getting to Tulum is a quick and easy jaunt.
But it wasn’t always this way. I remember about ten years ago when the journey took much longer thanks to a road in total disrepair. I suppose that’s what led to the charm – the undiscovered allure — of Tulum, Mexico. But these days, to my surprise, Tulum has maintained that rustic charm even though access is easy and there are over 90 hotels currently dotting the main Hotel Zone.
So once you’ve made it to Tulum, how are you going to get around? Here are your options.
Bicycle: Biking is perhaps the most efficient way to get around Tulum. With a nice paved path from Tulum town down to the beach, only a few kilometers, the area is becoming increasingly biker-friendly. When coming from town, you’ll reach a “T” intersection. Head right to stay on the paved path, but that ends only a few km later. Head left and you’ll be biking right on the road.
Mostly you’ll be competing for space between taxis, cars and delivery trucks, but be cautious, don’t bike at night and you should be fine.
Foot: You’ll blend right in strolling along the road in Tulum. If you’re traveling solo, it’s efficient, safe and easy to walk around either on the road or on the beach. There are stretches of beach where you’ll have to walk on the road as the rocky outcroppings are too large to walk around on foot and too dangerous to swim around. Be sure to carry plenty of water, or stop in at one of the many hotels with beach clubs that dot the beach. All beaches are public in Tulum, and many of the hotels have restaurants, which are open to the public. While walking be prepared to get hot and sweaty. Tulum is, after all, where the jungle meets the sea!
Taxi: There are plenty of taxis around Tulum, especially up and down the main beach strip. Get a good recommendation for dinner and hop in a taxi for the night. Follow the live music, which moves from place to place depending on the night of the week.
I stopped into reception at Ana y Jose (a lovely hotel my family stayed at a while ago) and asked them to hail a taxi for me. This allowed me to have them ask the price, and ensure I wasn’t being over quoted a Gringo price. It’s between $4 and $8 per ride depending on where you’re going and how far. If you call a taxi and it comes in from town, expect to pay twice that much.
Rental car: Driving in Tulum Mexico is easy and a great way to get around Tulum, Mexico. Rental cars are inexpensive from the International airport in Cancun, and the roads are quite good. However, be very careful to watch the speed signs, which change rapidly and often. Mexican cops love to stop rental cars full of tourists and issue a ticket, which most often result in either immediate jail time or a paying bribe. Nearly every hotel on the Tulum strip has safe, off street parking.
If you want to go to the ruins, into the Si’an Kaan biosphere or into town to stock up on beer and snacks, you’ll definitely want a rental car.
Getting to Tulum Mexico from Riviera Maya: Happy Shuttle Cancun I can’t say enough wonderful things about Happy Shuttle Cancun. I organized three transfers with the company during my stay and all were handled perfectly. Henry, my driver, is an absolute gem (and it looks like Trip Advisor agrees!)
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