Tulum, located in the south of the Quintana Roo region on the Yucatán Peninsula, is a town that attracts a variety of tourists throughout the year.
With awe-inspiring Mayan ruins, a gorgeous beach and an interesting blend of cultures, there truly is something for everyone in this coastal gem! Though often taken as a day trip from Cancun, spending a night or two here is the best way to discover what makes it such a great destination.
Though fairly small, the town is split into three major areas. For visitors, this makes it important that you know what to expect from each area before you arrive. Whether you’re interested in culture, history or beaches will influence your choice.
That’s where we come in! We’ve consulted locals, tourism experts and bloggers – as well as customer reviews – to bring you the best things to do and the best places to stay in the three main parts of the city.
So let’s just get started!
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Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Tulum.
At A Glance: Best Neighborhoods In TULUM
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AirBnB Plus is an excellent option for travellers that want to experience a bit of an upgrade without breaking the bank! This gorgeous loft right in the heart of Pueblo is a great way to experience the bustling atmosphere of central Tulum. It also has a terrace with a private jacuzzi.
Located right on the waterfront, this three star hotel is how you do budget in style! Surrounded by palm trees and golden sands, you will struggle to believe this hotel was so inexpensive. They also have a private sun terrace on the roof where you can bask in the rays and mingle with other guests.
This adults only hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway in Tulum! Located close to the ruins, it also has its own private expanse of beach – giving you the best of two of the main attractions in the area. The hotel is somewhat secluded, making it a perfect choice if you just want to get away from it all.
Tulum might be a relatively small town, but it is packed with great hotels and attractions to keep tourists entertained! The city is split into three areas, each with their own unique offerings for visitors. This is a fascinating destination for learning about how old and new cultures blend in Mexico.
Pueblo is the main centre of Tulum, and where many of the tourists opt to stay! This is a great choice for budget travellers as the abundance of backpacker hostels makes it the most affordable neighborhood by far.
It is also where you can experience the culture of the area, and enjoy some of the best dining options in Tulum. Col Huracanes, which is technically part of Pueblo, also has the main nightlife venues.
If you want something a little more relaxing, Playa is another great choice! This area runs along the coast of Tulum, and contains the main hotel zone in the city. It is a little bit pricier, but for first time visitors, there are great travel links with elsewhere in the town as well as some easy-going attractions for when you just need to relax.
Finally, there is the Ruinas neighborhood. This part of the city is roughly located between Pueblo and Playa – and whilst it doesn’t have many accommodation options it is definitely the best place in the town if you really just want to see the ruins!
It is popular with visitors wanting to discover the unique Mayan history of the Yucatán peninsula – and if you want to visit the ruins before the crowds, staying nearby is your best bet.
Still undecided? Check out our more extensive guides below!
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the three best neighbourhoods in Tulum. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
As the name suggests, Playa is the part of Tulum along the coast! This is where you will find a wide expanse of beach, as well as most of the larger resorts. For first time visitors, Playa is a relaxing destination that provides easy access to both the ruins and the town centre. If you only have a day or so in Tulum, this is the place to be.
Aside from the beach itself, Playa is lined with great beach clubs where you can sit back with a cocktail and admire the gorgeous ocean views! The nightlife options in this area tend to be more laid-back, if somewhat more touristy.
AirBnB Luxe is the most exclusive range of apartments and villas on the website – and is perfect for those that want to splash out on the most luxurious accommodation options! Sleeping up to four guests, this apartment is great for families and small groups, and guests can walk straight onto the beach from the garden.
This hotel is located right on the beach – amongst the towering palm trees – giving you an unbeatable location for less! Rooms are basic, but surprisingly spacious – with a few suites on offer that come with sea views. They offer a buffet breakfast, as well as free parking for guests with a car.
This four star hotel is a great pick for those that are happy to compromise on price for a better quality of hotel. It comes with a pool that is opened year round – and even has its own private expanse of beach! A continental breakfast is included with the rate.
The Pueblo area of Tulum is also known as the town centre, and is a great place for those that want to stick to a tight budget! Despite being right in the heart of Tulum, it has more budget friendly hotels on offer, allowing you to save some cash whilst staying within easy travelling distance of all the main attractions.
The Col Huracanes area of the town centre is particularly popular with backpackers – especially those looking for great nightlife! Whilst the area definitely caters to tourists, the nightlife has a good mix of visitors and locals – and the drinks come at a reasonable price.
This gorgeous loft comes with unbeatable views across central Tulum! The interiors are well designed to accommodate for modern tastes whilst still incorporating the traditional style of the Quintana Roo region. Sleeping up to two guests, with a four poster bed, this is a great pick for couples.
This three star hotel is perfect for those on a tight budget that want the added privacy of your own room. With art on every wall, Huitzical has a creative atmosphere that will enthral anyone with an artistic soul! The complimentary breakfast changes daily, incorporating a typical Mexican dish with excellent views.
Whilst Pueblo is generally considered the budget friendly area, there are still a few excellent five star hotels – including the Hotel Bardo on the outskirts of the town! Its calm location ensures you can enjoy a peaceful stay whilst still being walking distance from the main attractions. They also organise their own tours.
The Mayan Ruins form one of the main attractions in Tulum – with the Ruinas neighborhood being the best place to stay for those that want to visit them! Located between Pueblo and Playa, Ruinas is a great pick for those that want to get up early to see the ruins before the swarms of tourists arrive.
Outside of the ruins, Ruinas is a great neighborhood in its own right with some excellent historic attractions! This makes it one of the coolest places to stay in the city, with some unique cultural and culinary attractions.
Perched on top of a building that towers over the Mexican forest, this penthouse comes with unbeatable views not just of the city – but also of the ruins and coastline! Guests at this apartment are giving access to the gym in the building, as well as a pool and an outdoor cinema.
This hotel gives you the best of both worlds – though it is located right on the beach, it is also close to the ruins. Despite being a three star hotel, it has a luxurious atmosphere – and is great for budget travellers that want to stay outside of the main town! Rooms come with sea or garden views.
This gorgeous hotel is located right on the coast – though is still within walking distance of the ruins! It only has a few rooms, so has a cosy and intimate atmosphere. There are some sun chairs on the decked area, which leads out onto the private beach. They also have a Thai restaurant.
Tulum might be a small destination, but it is packed with enough history and culture to entertain tourists of all stripes! Whether you want a relaxing beach holiday, an insight into Mayan culture or the chance to experience contemporary Quintana Roo life up close, Tulum has something for you.
In terms of the best area, we are going to go with Pueblo! This area perfectly blends modern culture with the region’s history, and has some excellent budget friendly options to suit all kinds of visitors.
That being said, every area mentioned in this guide has its benefits – and where you stay will largely depend on your own desires! As it is quite a small town, all three areas are well connected.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.