Tulum is a small beach town in the Mayan Riviera along Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Tulum’s main attraction is the beautiful ancient Mayan ruins that are set high up on the cliff, towering against a backdrop of turquoise Caribbean Sea and palm leaves.
These are the only Mayan ruins in Mexico that boast a spectacular ocean view and considering they are so well preserved the Tulum ruins are an absolute must-visit on your trip to eastern Mexico.
Tulum’s Mayan Ruins – Hours & Costs
For the best experience, and to beat both the heat and the crowds, plan on going early in the morning when the Tulum ruins first open. Not only will there be less people throughout the ruins but as the site is east-facing you can catch a beautiful sunrise. For photography buffs, make note that the site is very strict about collecting the tripod/monopod fee and will not allow them in without the supplementary ticket.
- 6:30am to 8:00am Early Access – $220 pesos
- 8:00am to 5:00pm Regular Hours – $64 pesos
- 4:30pm to 6:30pm Late Access – $220 pesos
- Tripod or Video Camera permit – $30 pesos
- Parking – $120 pesos average.
- Guide – $600 pesos average.
Hours and prices listed may change. These were accurate as of January 2017.
How to Get There
To get to the ruins you can drive, take a bus, join a tour, or even stay the night in Tulum. Driving was our preference, and GPS directions made it very easy to get to the entrance of the Tulum Ruins and find a parking space.
- Driving from Cancun – 1 hour & 40 min drive
- Driving from Playa Del Carmen – 50 min
When you arrive there are several parking areas (some are out front of industrious businesses that cordon them off and collect a small fee), along with lots of souvenir stores and a few restaurants. Through the gate it is a 1-mile / 1.6km walk along a jungle-lined street to get to the entrance and ticket booth for the Tulum Mayan Ruins. There an option to ride a small train from the parking area to the gate if you don’t feel like walking, but its hours of operation vary and it likely won’t be running in time for an early-bird arrival.
To capture Tulum’s picture-perfect postcard shot for yourself, the 3 best photo opportunities are along the cliff path, overlooking the water around the Castillo watchtower. Head there first if you are trying to catch the view without the crowds!
See the map at the end of the post to find the best Tulum photo locations & more recommendations for your visit.
- Wear your bathing suit so you can go for a swim at the beautiful beach
- Bring lots of water & sunscreen or a hat to prevent dehydration in the hot sun.
- There are limited/no food facilities on site. If you intend to stay a while, pack-in and pack-out your snacks.
Tulum Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly Food
Once you have finished exploring Tulum’s Mayan ruins, it’s time for lunch! Here are some Tulum vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants near the ruins for you to enjoy.
- Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-10pm.
- Healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes & fresh juices in a casual atmosphere.
- Open Thursday to Tuesday, 8am-3pm & 5pm-11pm.
- Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. Organic brunch menu, fresh juices and Thai dinners.
- Open Monday to Saturday, 12pm-12am
- Vegan and Vegetarian Pizzas
- Open Tuesday – Sunday, 1pm-10pm.
- Vegan, organic tacos with outdoor seating under the palm trees.
Nearby Swimming Cenotes
Famous for a reason, there are some great cenotes located around Tulum. If you are in the area, make a visit to these unique underground fresh-water pools! There is usually a small access fee to get in, masks and fins available to rent, and a locker to place your things.
Some of the most popular cenotes near Tulum are:
- El Gran Cenote | One of the most popular cenotes with very clear water.
- Doz Ojos Cenote | Two cenotes linked together by underground caverns, popular with divers
- The Cenote Azul & Cenote Cristalino | Above-water cenotes, located close together, with clear waters great for swimming.
Tulum’s beautiful views and incredible Mayan ruins are a must-visit day trip for anyone visiting Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. Did you just visit and have a great tip to share? Let us know in the comments below!