5 Things to Know Before Visiting Tulum

Woman relaxing in the outdoor patio of an Airbnb in Tulum.
Design Casa Nautilus, Fósil Apartments.

I had the most amazing time during my vacation in Tulum this past September. It was a much needed trip that provided plenty of relaxation, beautiful views, and unforgettable food. After not taking a vacation since 2019 (pre-Covid) Tulum was the perfect place for me to rest and relax. I would most definitely return to Tulum, however, there are a few things I’d do again, and some things were lessons learned. Here are 5 things to know before visiting Tulum regarding transportation, where to stay, and the best time to travel.

Best Time to Travel

I vacationed in Tulum this past September. Yes, right in the middle of hurricane season! All of the weather apps and websites reported daily rain, which made me literally hold my breath until I got off the plane. Ironically, the apps were wrong.

Beach view of Tulum with a clear blue sky.
Tulum, Mexico.

The weather was perfect; high 80’s with a nice breeze and very few clouds in the sky. The nights were cool. Luckily, it only rained twice during my 7 day visit and the rain only lasted 5 mins. 

September – October is considered to be their off-season. If you’re looking to relax, I highly recommend visiting during the off-season. It wasn’t overcrowded and was very peaceful. If you’re looking to party and enjoy lots of energy you’ll definitely want to travel from December – April.

Car Rental

I recommend using Expedia or Priceline when reserving a rental car. They are reliable and if anything goes wrong you can always call customer service to help resolve your issue.

All in all, our rental car experience was seamless. We rented a 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross from Alamo in Cancun through Expedia (insurance included) about a week in advance for a total of $350.00 for seven days. 

White Volkswagon T-Cross.
Volkswagon T-Cross. Alamo Rental, Tulum, Mexico.

Here’s what to expect – we approached the Alamo kiosk at the airport, the rep checked our reservation number and walked us to the pick up area for Alamo’s shuttle. The shuttle then took us to their car rental location to complete paperwork and get the keys to the car. 

Most US insurance companies don’t cover accidents and incidentals in Mexico so all car rental companies require non-citizens to purchase car additional insurance during the rental term. We paid for car insurance through Expedia when reserving the car rental, however, the rep at Alamo heavily tried to pressure us into getting additional car insurance, so be on the lookout. They also offered to fill the tank and would allow us to return empty. They told us it would be cheaper to purchase there vs in the city. They charged us $5.79 USD per gallon and in the city of Tulum gas was $1.06 USD, so be on the lookout for that as well!

Before you get on the road and head to Tulum from the Cancun Airport, be sure to stop at El Galeon del Caribe for some deep-fried fish tacos, fresh salsa, and cold beer. It was so delicious!

Taxi Service

If you don’t want to rent a car you can arrange for a town car to pick you up from the airport and drop you off in Tulum. The city of Tulum is quite small so renting a bike may be a great option. Another option is getting around by taxi. There were plenty of Taxis and they’re pretty much stationed all throughout the city so getting a taxi shouldn’t be a problem.

Where to Stay

La Veleta is an up-and-coming neighborhood located in the center of Tulum where our modern and chic Airbnb was located.

The exterior view of the fosil apartments located in Tulum, Mexico.
The Most Chic & Modern Airbnb in Tulum

It’s a small town surrounded by greenery, luxury condos, modern villas and apartments, quaint coffee shops, and fresh juice. Due to the influx of construction, the roads are very bumpy so I recommend renting a truck versus a sedan. If you are staying at an Airbnb and plan on utilizing the kitchen, I recommend visiting the local health food store, Gypsy Market,  which is comparable to Erewhon.

The product display at the Gypsea Market in Tulum, Mexico.
Gypsea Market. Tulum, Mexico.

It had fresh fruit, nuts, grains, milk, liquor, local wine, and beer. Don’t forget to grab a few packs of copal incense while at the Gypsy Market! If you’re looking for a large grocery store I recommend going to Chedraui.

Pesos vs. US Dollar

The Mexican dollar is called a Peso. $1.00 US Dollar = $18.73 Pesos. $100.00 US Dollars = $1,872.66 Pesos. Currency often fluctuates so check the most recent rates before traveling.

US dollar and Mexican Pesos.
US dollar and Mexican Pesos.

Use this currency calculator to determine the currency exchange rate. If you bank with Bank of America, you can order currency free of charge. The other option is exchanging currency at the Cancun airport.

Pricing in Tulum is very similar to pricing in the US. At a high-end restaurant, you can expect to pay $150.00 – $300.00 USD for two. A lunch ranged from $30.00 – $50.00 USD for two. Street tacos range from $1.50 – $4.00 each USD. Cocktails are $12.00  – $16.00 USD. The prices of groceries were very comparable to those at grocery stores in the US. However, as I mentioned earlier, gas is significantly less expensive than prices in the US.

I hope this helps when planning your visit to Tulum, Mexico. Wishing you a relaxing and pleasurable stay in!

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