4 Days in Tulum, Mexico
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To help overcome the winter blues, I spent 4 days in Tulum, Mexico, with some friends during Martin Luther King weekend. At the time, I hadn’t traveled internationally since going to Aruba last summer, and I desperately needed a trip. 

Tulum, Mexico, Tulum is a popular tourist destination known for its archaeological sites, beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, bohemian vibes, sustainability, natural cenotes, arts scene, and wellness offerings, making it a great place for all types of travelers.

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum, Mexico, in this guide, I’ll share how we spent four days there, including where to stay, places to eat, and the best places to visit in the surrounding areas.

How to Spend 4 Days in Tulum, Mexico
Visiting the Tulum Ruins on our girl’s trip to Tulum, Mexico

Things to Know Before Traveling to Mexico

Visa Requirements

As a US Citizen, no visa is required when traveling to Mexico if you’re visiting for less than 180 days. You need to have a valid passport at the time of entry and one page available for your entry stamp.

Currency

The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. Areas and tours in Tulum accept USD and Visa. There are few tours and restaurants that accept Master Card and American Express. If you’re taking taxis, having Mexican Pesos on hand is best.

Traveling to Cancun from NYC

Traveling from NYC, I booked a four-day direct flight to Cancun for $185 on JetBlue. American Airlines, Delta (Aeromexico), United, Frontier, and Spirit Airlines fly directly to Cancun from New York. The average flight time is 4 hours and 16 minutes.

Wearing a Mask in Tulum Mexico
Heading to Dinner on our First Night in Tulum

Best Way to Get to Tulum from Cancun

Tulum is located on the Yucatán Peninsula’s eastern coast in Quintana Roo, Mexico. If you’re visiting Tulum, you can travel to Cancun International Airport, the largest airport in the area, which is 90 minutes away, or the newly opened Tulum Airport, the closest airport (20 minutes) from Tulum proper.

Here are the best ways to get to Tulum from Cancun, depending on your preference or budget.

Get an Airport Transfer from Cancun to Tulum

After much research, we booked a Cancun Airport transfer through USA Transfers for $135 round trip. The drivers were on time and polite, our luggage was sanitized before going in the van, and we even made a quick stop to get food and extra money before arriving at our hotel. If you’re staying at an Airbnb or guest house, USA Transfers also provides services to stop at the supermarket for an extra cost.

Rent a Car

Taking a taxi to each destination adds up, so if you’re comfortable, getting a rental car is a great way to explore Tulum at your own pace and save some money. Driving is on the right side of the road in Mexico, and renting a car is affordable. Traffic signs are in Spanish, so if you decide to drive, familiarize yourself with traffic signs and use Google Maps for navigation.

Take a bus from Cancun to Tulum

Taking the bus is the most affordable (and longest) option for traveling to Tulum from Cancun. The ride from Cancun to Tulum on the ADO bus is 2 hours and 5 minutes, costing around $15. You can visit their website for accurate arrival and departure times.

Best Time to Visit Tulum

Tulum is located in a tropical climate, which typically have rainy and dry seasons. The best time to visit Tulum for most travelers is during the dry season (November to April) also known as high season. If you prefer a quieter experience and don’t mind the occasional rain, the shoulder seasons of May to June and September to October can offer a more laid-back atmosphere.

Buying travel insurance to cover emergencies like cancellation of flights, trip delays, medical evacuation, or other unexpected occurrences is a good idea.

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum, here is information on what to expect regarding weather and crowds based on the season. Regardless of when you choose to visit, staying informed about weather conditions is essential for a smooth and enjoyable trip.

  1. Dry Season (November to April):
    • Weather: This season is considered the peak tourist season in the area as there are sunny days, warm temperatures, and low humidity.
    • Crowds: Tulum can be crowded around the winter holidays and spring break. Book accommodations and excursions in advance.
  2. Rainy Season (May to October):
    • Weather: Higher temperatures and increased humidity. Expect short, heavy afternoon showers followed by sunshine.
    • Crowds: Less crowded compared to the dry season.
  3. Hurricane Season (June to November):
    • Weather: The peak of the hurricane season is from August to October. While hurricanes are relatively rare in Tulum, increased rainfall and storms can occur during this time.
    • Crowds: Similar to the rainy season, with fewer tourists.

Where to Stay in Tulum

Tulum has 2 main areas: Tulum Playa and Tulum Pueblo. Tulum Playa, Tulum Beach, La Zona Hotelera, or the Hotel Zone is where you can find popular beach resorts and restaurants. I wanted to relax and keep a low profile, so we stayed near Tulum Pueblo.

We booked a room at Alea Tulum, a boutique hotel about a 15-minute drive from Tulum Pueblo, Downtown Tulum, or Tulum Town. Alea Tulum has a full restaurant and bar and offers free breakfast, and water, juices, and soft drinks in the room fridge were complimentary. We also received 10% off dining at their sister hotel.

Our room was clean, had beautiful views of the beach and pool area, and the staff was extremely helpful. We loved spending our mornings eating breakfast by the pool and laying on the hammocks over the Caribbean Sea.

Alea Tulum Lobby
Alea Tulum Lobby
Pool and Beach view from our room at Alea Tulum
Pool and Beach view from our room
Room at Alea Tulum
Room at Alea Tulum

If you want to stay closer to the beach strip and Hotel Zone area, Hip Hotel Tulum is a good option that is within walking distance of popular sites. Below is a map of Tulum hotels from budget to luxury options.

4 Day Tulum Itinerary

For our 4 days in Tulum, I researched some of the best things to do there and received suggestions from friends. Although we received many recommendations, I played it by ear and kept my options open to what the others in my group wanted to do. Here’s our four day itinerary and other suggestions for spending 3, 4, or 5 days in Tulum.

Day 1 – Hotel Check-in and Dinner at Pandano

We spent our first day relaxing and planning our weekend in Tulum at the hotel. Alea Tulum offered contactless check-in, and we arrived at the hotel at 3 PM. After showering, we had welcome tequila shots and went straight to the pool and beach areas to soak up the sun. We had dinner at Pandano Restaurant Grill and Cocktail Bar inside the Jashita Hotel, about 15 minutes away by taxi.

Tequila Shots from Alea Tulum
Tequila Shots from Alea Tulum

Day 2 – Visit Zona Hotelera

Our second day in Tulum was spent in the beautiful Zona Hotelera region. This beach area has boho-chic hotels, cafes, restaurants, and beach clubs. If you’re looking to take photos and videos for social media, this is the area to visit in Tulum.

We had dinner at Taboo Tulum, a beach club with a Mediterranean restaurant and bar. Other popular restaurants and photo hotspots in the Zona Hotelera region are

  • Matcha Mama
  • Rosa Negra
  • Raw Love Cafe
  • La Zebra Beach Restaurant & Bar
  • Burrito Amor
  • Antojitos La Chiapaneca
  • Campanella Cremerie
  • Tulum Jungle Gym
  • Ven a la Luz
Best Places to visit in Tulum - Ven a la Luz Raw Love Cafe + 4 days in tulum + Things to do in Tulum
Ven a la Luz

Day 3 – Tulum Mayan Ruins, Gran Cenote and Coba Ruins

I visited the Mayan Ruins in Tulum my first time in Cancun, but my friends have never been. Tulum Ruins is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. Wanting some culture and fun, we booked a full-day tour that included the Tulum and Coba Ruins, a swim at Grand Cenote, and a buffet lunch. We paid $75, including an entrance fee to the sites and an English-speaking guided tour, but if you’re driving or doing a self-guided Tulum itinerary, it is much cheaper.

I loved that this included the Mayan Ruins of Coba, another former Mayan settlement and archeological site. If you don’t have much time on your trip, visit Coba instead of taking the 2-3 hour drive to Yucatan to visit Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid in Coba for panoramic jungle views.

In addition to wearing comfortable shoes, I highly recommend bringing water shoes for swimming in the cenotes and a towel to dry off.

Swimming in Gran Cenote Tulum + best Things to do in Tulum
Swimming in Gran Cenote Tulum

Day 4 – Tulum City

Our last day in Tulum was spent exploring Tulum Pueblo. We walked around the city center, roaming the shops to purchase goods for friends and family, and ate yummy tacos at Taqueria Honorio. After 2 for 1 drinks, we had dinner at Don Cafeto.

Mole Dinner at Don Cafeto Tulum + where to eat in Tulum
Dinner at Don Cafeto

Best Things to do in Tulum

Tulum offers diverse activities for travelers seeking a mix of culture, nature, relaxation, and adventure. If you’re making a day trip from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, or Playa del Carmen or want to spend more than 4 days in Tulum, here are some of the top things to do in Tulum, Mexico.

These activities showcase the diverse offerings of Tulum, including history, art, architecture, nature, relaxation, and adventure to your Tulum itinerary. You can also search for more things to do via activity sites like Viator.

  1. Explore the Tulum Archaeological Site:
    • Visit the ancient Mayan ruins situated on the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Explore El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and other well-preserved structures.
  2. Relax on Tulum’s Beaches:
    • Spend time on Tulum’s white sand beaches, known for their turquoise waters. Popular spots include Playa Paraíso, Playa Ruinas, and Playa Pescadores.
  3. Swim in Cenotes:
    • Experience the unique beauty of cenotes, natural sinkholes with crystal-clear water. Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote, and Cenote Calavera are popular for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
  4. Discover Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve:
    • Tour the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore diverse ecosystems, spot wildlife, and enjoy bird-watching and boat tours.
  5. Visit Tulum Pueblo:
    • Explore Tulum Pueblo’s town center for its vibrant atmosphere, local markets, and authentic Mexican cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try street food and browse the boutiques.
  6. Attend a Beachfront Yoga Class:
    • Embrace Tulum’s wellness culture by participating in a beachfront yoga or meditation session. Many resorts and beach clubs offer classes with stunning ocean views.
  7. Dine in Beachside Restaurants:
    • Indulge in Tulum’s renowned culinary scene with beachfront dining at their best restaurants. Try fresh seafood, traditional Mexican dishes, and international cuisine at Hartwood, Arca, and Posada Margherita.
  8. Experience the Tulum Art Scene:
    • Explore Tulum’s artistic scene by visiting the Tulum Art Club, SFER IK, and Azulik Uh May. Experience live music, cultural events, and the bohemian vibe that permeates the town.
  9. Wellness Retreats and Spas:
    • Pamper yourself with wellness treatments at one of Tulum’s holistic spas or wellness retreats. Sanara Tulum and Yaan Wellness Energy Spa are known for their rejuvenating offerings.
  10. Participate in Water Activities:
    • Engage in water activities such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Many beach clubs and tour operators offer equipment rental and guided excursions.
  11. Sunset Viewing:
    • Witness breathtaking sunsets over the Caribbean Sea, capturing the essence of Tulum’s natural beauty.
  12. Shopping in Tulum:
    • Purchase unique souvenirs and local crafts in Tulum’s boutique shops. Tulum’s shopping scene features bohemian clothing, handmade jewelry, and traditional Mexican crafts.
  13. Diving and Snorkeling in the Coral Reefs:
    • Explore the underwater wonders of the Great Maya Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Dive or snorkel to discover vibrant marine life and coral formations.
  14. Visit Casa Malca
    • Once a mansion owned by the Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, Casa Malca is now a chic luxury hotel. Purchase a day pass in exchange for food and drinks, pool access, and taking photos on the property and Caribbean Coast.
  15. Zip Line Adventure at Xcaret Park
    • Xcaret Park is a theme park, resort, and ecotourism development. It is a popular destination for families, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking entertainment, education, and environmental awareness.

As you can see, Tulum is worth visiting and the perfect place to escape if you want a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Our extended weekend was great for exploring and relaxing at our own pace. If you found this Tulum 4 day itinerary helpful, share it with your social community and pin it for future reference.

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How to spend 4 days in Tulum including accommodations, activities, and day trips. + 4 days in tulum
How to spend 4 days in Tulum including accommodations, activities, and day trips.

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