Deciding where to stay in Tulum is crucial to getting the experience that you want, as each beach zone has its distinctive character. Here is your guide to the best places to stay in Tulum for partying, family getaways, and more.
Why You Should Visit Tulum in 2023
Tulum is a gorgeous town on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. While Cancun gets most of the attention, especially from hard-partying spring breakers, you should never overlook Tulum.
The main reason why most people come to Tulum is to enjoy the beach. The town has a pristine stretch of sandy beach along the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
It’s one of the jewels in the crown of the Riviera Maya, offering a welcome alternative to the often hard-partying crowds of Cancun. However, Tulum is not just about beaches.
One of the attractions that sets Tulum apart is the incredibly preserved Mayan port city that perches above the coast. If you are interested in history, a visit to the ruins is a must, and strong swimmers can even swim there from the North Beach.
The beaches and ruins are part of why people come to Tulum, but the reason why people stay (and return over and over again) is the town’s culture.
For a small town, Tulum has a vibrant nightlife scene and is a center for artists. The laid-back lifestyle has also made Tulum one of the epicenters of Mexico’s growing yoga scene.
Tulum has something to offer families, adventurous backpackers, couples looking for a romantic getaway, and anyone in between. For a small town, it also has a very wide selection of accommodations.
The 5 Best Parts of Tulum
Here are our recommendations for the best areas to stay in Tulum:
- Pueblo: Best for budget travelers
- North Beach: Best for visiting the ruins
- Middle Beach: Best for first-time visitors
- South Beach: Best for couples
- Aldea Zama: Best for families and eco-conscious visitors
Where to Stay in Tulum: Best Areas & Hotels
There are two main parts of Tulum: the beach and the town itself, which is a few kilometers inland. Both areas are divided further into neighborhoods, each with their own distinctive character.
1. Best Area for Budgets: Pueblo
Pueblo is the name for the neighborhood located at the center of Tulum, right around Highway 307. People also use this name as a shorthand to refer to the entire town.
The town of Tulum is small compared to other beach destinations such as Cancun, but it is very lively. Young travelers love staying in this area because there are many bars, clubs, restaurants, and cafes to explore.
The center is compact, with walkable and bikeable streets, so getting anywhere is easy. The food scene is much better in town than on the beach, where restaurants often dull down the flavors to cater to tourists (and raise their prices accordingly).
Staying in Pueblo gives you easy access to the beautiful nature surrounding Tulum. This vibrant town is surrounded on most sides by a jungle.
Besides visiting the ruins, you should visit at least one cenote (a natural limestone sinkhole) during your stay. Most are easily accessible by car or even by bike.
Younger travelers prefer staying in Pueblo compared to the beach because the price of accommodation is far more reasonable compared to hotels on the beach. Tulum’s Pueblo is full of low-budget hostels and nice yet affordable mid-range hotels.
Even the few luxury options are much more affordable than beach-side properties. However, if you’re hoping for a relaxing vacation on the beach, you’re better off staying in one of the beachfront neighborhoods.
Tulum’s Pueblo can get a little loud, especially as people pour in and out of the raucous clubs.
While the beach is only a short drive away, finding parking or hailing a taxi during peak hours can be a logistical nightmare. Many of the hotels are adults-only, so finding family accommodation can be hard.
Things to Do
- Check out the art galleries, such as MiNiAtUrE Art Gallery
- Do yoga with puppies at Yoga Dicha
- Rent bikes and explore some of the cenotes, like Cenote Casa Tortuga Tulum, and swim in the turquoise underground waters
- Party at Batey Mojito Bar or any of the bars nearby
- Take a day trip to other places on the Mayan Riviera, like Chichen Itza
Where to Eat
- Have excellent burritos at Burrito Amor
- Get in line with the locals for seafood at El Camello Jr.
- Have al pastor at Taqueria El Carboncito
- Take your tastebuds further south at Latin American restaurant El Sudaca
Pueblo Budget Hotels
- Casa Abanico Tulum. For a welcoming, homey atmosphere, stay at the Casa Abanico. Amenities at this guest house include tropical gardens, a communal kitchen to meet other guests, and fans and mosquito netting in the rooms.
- Casa Almendro. Gorgeous Casa Almendro offers air-conditioning, fully equipped rooms, and a garden to enjoy Tulum’s gorgeous weather.
Pueblo Mid-Range Hotels
- Maka Hotel Boutique. The surprisingly affordable Maka Hotel has all the amenities of a five-star resort, including an outdoor pool, concierge service, and garden, in an intimate boutique hotel setting.
- Mimosa Tulum. The Mimosa Tulum is one of the few hotels in the center that has family rooms. Other amenities include a bar, garden, terrace, pool, and free parking.
Pueblo Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Bardo. The adults-only Hotel Bardo is the perfect romantic luxury retreat in town. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, garden, and excellent service.
- Layla Tulum. Another adults-only option, the Layla Tulum offers a luxurious romantic getaway with an outdoor swimming pool styled like a hammam, concierge service, and five-star rooms.
2. Best Area for Ruins: North Beach
Besides staying in Tulum Pueblo, you can also stay directly on the beach. The beach zone near Tulum stretches out a pristine 10 kilometers, covering several distinct “neighborhoods” and separate beaches.
One of these areas of the beach is the North Beach, which stretches from the ruins to the tourist police station at the intersection of Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila and Avenida Coba.
The North Beach is the closest to the ruins, so if you came to Tulum with the goal of checking out some history, staying here is your best bet. Strong swimmers can even swim to the ruins to visit them from Santa Fe beach, or swim right under them at Ruins Beach.
The proximity to the ruins is why this neighborhood is sometimes called Las Ruinas. Tulum’s famous Maya ruins are smaller than massive sites such as Chichen Itza but still well worth a visit.
The site consists of several structures that show the evolution of Maya architecture over the centuries, including one of the few walls that the Maya ever built.
In its heyday, the city was a center for trade from all over Central America and the site of a few rumored pirate battles. Today, you can visit it for the cost of 35 to 40 pesos and admire its stunning location on the cliffs overlooking the beach.
Besides the ruins, the North Beach is one of the best places to stay if you’re coming to enjoy Tulum’s natural beauty. Staying on the northern end gives you access to some of Tulum’s cenotes, which are not only a great photo op but also a great place to swim.
The beaches on the northern end are also diverse, including some rocky areas breaking up the sandy coastline. The North Beach is the most affordable area of Tulum’s beach, in part because there isn’t much here in terms of culture and nightlife.
If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway, then North Beach is the place for you. However, if you came to Tulum to let loose and be in the center of the action, stay in Beach Town instead.
Things to Do
- Spend a day exploring the ruins
- Go snorkeling in Cenote Dos Ojos and enjoy the wonder of swimming underground
- Swim at Playas Ruinas, right below the ruins
- Take a snorkeling trip from Playa Maya
- Visit Playa Paraiso, often voted the best sandy beach in the world
Where to Eat
- Have breakfast at Maia Restaurant (then come back at dinner for seafood)
- Enjoy a cocktail by the beach at Common Ground Playa Tulum
- Fuel up while swimming at Santa Fe Beach Club, which serves great sandwiches
North Beach Budget Hotels
- Cinco Tulum. If you want to stay on the beach in Tulum and save money, sometimes that means getting a little creative. At Cinco Tulum, you can stay in luxury tents with outdoor seating areas, access to a shared bathroom, and a private beach.
- Tulum Nueve. Tulum Nueve is a little north of Tulum proper but still a gorgeous place to stay. Expect gorgeous huts, a garden, swimming pool, and free breakfast.
North Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- El Paraiso Hotel Tulum. Find a touch of paradise at the chic El Paraiso, located right on Playa Paraiso. Amenities include air conditioning, TVs, easy access to activities, and great design that blends ecological principles with style.
- O’Tulum. The chic, adults-only O’Tulum has an outdoor pool, sun terrace, in-house bar, and free bicycles, all with gorgeous views of the beach.
North Beach Luxury Hotels
- Mi Amor a Colibri. The luxury boutique hotel Mi Amor a Colibri is located right on world-famous Paraiso Beach. Amenities include private plunge pools, DJ nights, and gorgeous décor. This is a great place for couples.
- Villa Pescadores Tulum. Tucked right near the ruins, the Villa Pescadores is one of the few luxury resorts on the north end of town. Amenities include a private beach, water sports facilities, and balconies in every room.
3. Best Area for First-Timers: Middle Beach
Middle Beach, also known as Beach Town or the Hotel Zone, is the most famous area of Tulum and where all the action happens! The main draw of staying in the Hotel Zone is obviously the pristine sand beach.
Unlike North Beach, which has several rocky beaches interspersed along the coastline, the middle section of Tulum’s beach is mostly sandy (although it also has a few meters of pebbles).
Nothing beats swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and staying in this area ensures that you can spend all day at the beach. However, Middle Beach really shines when it comes to life on shore.
Staying here gives you great access to Beach Town, a lively collection of restaurants, boutiques, and bars. There are even several yoga studios towards the southern end of the beach, and everyone knows that yoga with the soothing sound of waves in the background is the best way to relax.
Although Tulum is nowhere near as wild as its hard-partying cousin, Cancun, there is still a lively nightlife in town. The best beach clubs are in this zone.
Whether you’re looking for an elegant cocktail over the water or want to dance the night away with fellow backpackers at one of the thumping locales in Beach Town, staying in Middle Beach means that you will have a short trip back to your room at the end of the night.
The lively nightlife that draws adventure-seekers to Middle Beach will probably repel people looking for a quieter beach vacation, who might prefer staying at the North or South ends of the beach area instead.
If the noise won’t drive you away, the prices might — budget travelers are better off staying in town than paying for often-obscene resort rooms.
Things to Do
- Stretch the post-travel soreness out at one of the beachfront yoga studios
- Enjoy a night out at elegant Casa Jaguar or lively Papaya Playa Project
- Go swimming in the pristine waters
- Go shopping in Beach Town’s many boutiques
Where to Eat
- Have dinner in a hammock at Mateo’s
- Grab brunch at Tunich
- Enjoy a romantic dinner with a view at the jungle house Kin Toh
- Grab an affordable bite to eat at Boccanera Pizzeria y Cerveceria
Middle Beach Budget Hotels
- Co.Banitas. The cabanas on Tulum’s beach, such as Co.Banitas, are surprisingly affordable and luxurious. Amenities include a patio, sun terrace, garden, and free breakfast.
- Coco Tulum Zen Zone Hotel. Located right on the beach, the relatively affordable Coco Tulum has a private beach, spa, and in-house restaurant.
Middle Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Nativus Glamping & Cenote Tulum. Glamping is a favorite option for accommodation in Tulum, and Nativus is one of the best places in town to go. Enjoy a sun terrace, private dock, and access to plenty of activities.
- Punta Piedra Beach Posada. At the gorgeous Punta Piedra, you can stay in pretty thatched cabins while enjoying a private beach and bright décor on a property that cares about the environment.
Middle Beach Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Ma’xanab. Even in an area packed with amazing resorts, the Hotel Ma’xanab stands out because of its gorgeous rooms and excellent shared amenities, including a pool.
- The Beach. The adults-only The Beach offers a beach club, on-site spa, several restaurants, and luxurious rooms that open right onto the beach.
4. Best Area for Couples: South Beach
If you want to put a little distance between yourself and the craziness that takes over Beach Town and the Hotel Zone, going south along the coastline is a great idea.
Beautiful, romantic South Beach is a great getaway for those looking for a quieter beachfront vacation, such as honeymooners. The South Beach Zone is also where Tulum’s boho and environmentally friendly culture is the strongest.
While the eco-conscious vibe is strong throughout the beach town, it’s particularly concentrated around the southern part, which has many yoga studios, vegan restaurants, and eco lodges.
Easily the best part of staying on South Beach is the natural beauty. This is the only part of Tulum that has exclusively sandy beaches, making it a great choice for families.
You can also get out of town easily to the surrounding jungle and cenotes. Many of the accommodation choices around here are resorts and boutique hotels that offer quiet romantic getaways for couples, particularly honeymooners.
However, the southern zone is probably the most expensive part of all of Tulum. It’s also hard to find accommodation for families as many of the hotels are adults-only.
Things to Do
- Try some beachfront yoga at Sanara or another amazing yoga studio
- Take a trip out of town to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
- Lounge on the beach and fall asleep to the sound of the soft waves
Where to Eat
- Have great vegan takes on Mexican favorites at Charly’s Vegan Tacos
- Dine al fresco in the jungle at Itzik
- Enjoy upscale Mexican cuisine in the jungle at Nu
South Beach Budget Hotels
- Selina Tulum. If you want to get the best of hostel living while staying on the beach, Selina Tulum is your best bet. Amenities include a shared kitchen and evening entertainment to meet other guests.
- Casa Violeta. While Casa Violeta wouldn’t be budget accommodation anywhere else, getting these luxury bungalows for such a low price is a steal on Tulum’s South Beach. Guests also get to enjoy a spa, restaurant, and arranged activities.
South Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Suenos. The dreamy hotel Suenos includes tropical suites with balconies, a guests-only restaurant, and great beach access.
- Alaya Tulum. Alaya Tulum is a great space to let go of your worries thanks to its designated yoga area, private beach, and gorgeous décor that blends in with the environment.
South Beach Luxury Hotels
- Encantada Tulum. The enchanting Encantada resort has rooms with private terraces, spa treatments on the beach, and free bicycle rentals to explore town.
- La Valise Tulum. Guests at the stunning boutique hotel La Valise can enjoy stunning room features such as open-air showers and beds that show a nighttime star view, an infinity pool, and great beach access.
5. Best Area for Families: Aldea Zama
As more and more people come to Tulum, the city is growing to accommodate new residents and visitors. One of the newer developments is Aldea Zama, a luxurious neighborhood to the south of the city center.
Aldea Zama is conveniently located in relation to both the famous ruins and the beach, meaning that even if you aren’t staying directly on the beach, getting there is still pretty easy. The neighborhood is easily walkable and bikeable.
The quiet nature of Aldea Zama means that it’s a great place to take your family. If your kids get easily overstimulated, then having a quiet refuge with plenty of outdoor spaces is key to getting through vacation.
Aldea Zama also has plenty of apartment rentals in addition to boutique hotels if your family needs more space. Aldea Zama is also at the edge of the nature preserve, meaning that it’s a great place to stay if you’re looking to get into nature.
Aldea Zama is a new neighborhood that is still under construction, meaning that it lacks the authentic charm of the city center proper. If you are coming to Tulum because you want to be at the center of the action, you should probably stay in Middle Beach or Pueblo instead.
Things to Do
- Take a quick trip to the Tulum Ruins
- Visit Gran Cenote, the closest cenote to Tulum
- Make the short drive down to Tulum Beach
Where to Eat
- Have vegan brunch at The Pitted Date
- Grab a fancy dinner at Bejuco Restaurant
- Have the best seafood in town at Los Morros
Aldea Zama Budget Hotels
- Suites at TreeTops Tulum. The aparthotel Suites at TreeTops combines the best of both worlds with spacious, beautifully decorated suites and gorgeous shared amenities, including a pool.
- Mediterraneo Hotel. The cozy Mediterraneo has a lovely swimming pool, terrace, and some rooms even have balconies.
Aldea Zama Mid-Range Hotels
- Zereno. Conveniently located walking distance away from the beach, the hotel Zereno also has a swimming pool, terrace, and gorgeous air-conditioned rooms.
- Naay Tulum Curamoria Collection. The Naay Tulum hotel has everything you need for a memorable stay, including private parking, a tour desk, a jacuzzi, and a rooftop.
Aldea Zama Luxury Hotels
- Elle & Elena Luxury Condos. Have plenty of space to yourself with an entire apartment at Elle & Elena, plus access to the rooftop infinity pool.
- Kimpton-Aluna Tulum. The lovely Kimpton-Aluna is located in the jungle with rustic architecture, modern amenities, and a gorgeous pool. This hotel isn’t on the beach itself, but you can get beach access at their sister properties.
So, Where Should You Stay in Tulum?
|💰 Most Budget-Friendly||Pueblo|
|🏰 Best Area for Ruins||North Beach|
|🏆Best for First-Time Visitors||Middle Beach|
|👫🏽 Best for Couples||South Beach|
|👪 Best for Families||Aldea Zama|
Tulum is a great beach vacation destination thanks to its pristine sandy shores, but it offers so much more in terms of history, culture, and nature.
Take advantage of everything that Tulum has to offer by staying in town with fellow backpackers or along the beach, where you can find everything from luxury resorts to affordable cabanas.