Where to Stay in Tulum first time: 6 Best areas

Where to stay in Tulum? for couples, singles, groups, and family? This blog post is going to help you decide the best areas to stay in Tulum (include map and video), the advantage and disadvantage of each area, the best hotels in Tulum for all budgets, and safest places.

Tulum is a great Mexican holiday destination on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, facing the Caribbean. Located in the state of Quintana Roo, Tulum is a 45 minutes drive from Playa del Carmen and 90 minutes from Cancun.

Tulum is overall safe for tourist, especially compared to the rest of Mexico. But as you travel to any city, you should use common sense and be aware of your surrounding. The whole Tulum is safe, Downtown, Zona Hotelera, and Aldea Zama, are the safest areas to stay in Tulum.

Where to stay in Tulum?

The best areas to stay in Tulum for tourists and first-timers are Downtown Tulum, North Beach, Middle Beach Zone, South Beach, Aldea Zama, and La Veleta.

Tulum Town is the best place for visitors seeking a more authentic and budget-friendly experience. Tulum Beach is the best base for travelers wanting to stay right on the beach.

Tulum Beach is divided into three distince parts including North Beach (next to Tulum ruins), Middle Beach (aka Beach Town/ Hotel Zone), South Beach (next to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve).

Tulum Town, also known as Tulum Pueblo, or downtown Tulum, is where you will find the most nightlife, bars, and restaurants. It offers easy access to ADO busses for day trips.

Tulum Pueblo is easily walkable. You can rent a bike or catch a taxi to get to the beach because it can be a far walk. Downtown is easily reachable from Cancun International airport.

Middle Beach Zone is the best place to stay in Tulum all inclusive. It is the most exclusive part of Tulum. The central zone is where most of the action in Tulum takes place. It has lots of hotels, beach clubs, restaurants, bars, as well as beautiful beaches.

In addition to Tulum Town and Tulum Beach, you can choose to stay in Aldea Zama, which is conveniently located between town and beach. Aldea Zama one of Tulum’s most upscale residential areas with lots of tourist amenities right at your doorsteps.

Tulum is famous for its boutique and eco-friendly hotels. These properties often offer a unique and sustainable lodging experience. Be sure to check reviews and amenities when booking.

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Tulum:

The Best areas to stay in Tulum for tourists are:

1. Downtown Tulum (Tulum Pueblo)

where to stay in tulum: downtown

Tulum town is the best area to stay in Tulum if you travel on a budget and you want more of a local vibe. It is cheaper than Tulum Beach about accommodation, food, and drinks. Located 10 km from the beach, Downtown, or Tulum Pueblo, one of the best spots on the Riviera Maya, is the lively part of Tulum with multiple bars, restaurants, and clubs.

It is easy to walk around Tulum Pueblo and renting a bike makes sense as well. If you rent a bike you can easily explore the jungle that surrounds Downtown. You are just a 5-minute bike ride from the first of several cenotes found locally. 

Cenotes are holes in the ground above subterranean water. You can swim in some depending on their particular structure but do not take any risks. Some cenotes can be found along Avenida Coba, such as Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote, Cenote Tortuga, Cenote Santa Cruz, and Cenote Zacil-Ha.

To the southwest of the center of Tulum on Calle de Chetumal-Cancun, you will find Cenote Corazon, Cenote Escondido, Cenote Cristal & Escondido and Laguna de Kaan Luum which is a shallow lake with a deep cenote (sinkhole), and Cenote XA’AY HA.

Pueblo is also home to Terminal Autobuses Tulum ADO where you can catch the bus to Coba, Valladolid, Chichen Itza, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Mérida, and San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Pueblo is real Mexico where traditional cuisine is readily available. You will have no problem finding the popular bars and clubs, taco stands, and local restaurants; you’ll hear them. They welcome tourists, and single travelers should probably look to Downtown as a base.

There are some must-try authentic restaurants like El Camello Jr where you can find tasty Mexican food like seafood, shrimp nachos, octopus ceviche, and fish tacos for a low price; La Chiapaneca for the best and most affordable tacos in Tulum; and La Gloria de Don Pepe for Spanish paella, Spanish tapas and fideuà;

For those who looking for nightlife, head to the area around Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar, and the main street area with Pasito Tun Tun, Kiki, Pasito Tun Tun, Ki’bok. Most bars in Tulum accept cash only, it’s best to pay in pesos the USD dollar to get the best rates.

Tulum is a heaven for yoga lovers, most yoga studios are set in the jungle or right on the beach, but there are several in the towns such as Holistika Tulum, Yoga Dicha, Tribal Tulum.

The downside of staying in Downtown is to get to the beach you have to ride for 30 minutes, catch a taxi, or Colectivo minivan.

There are some luxury hotels but it tends to be the place where the more affordable accommodation is available such as campsites, hostels, and budget boutique hotels. The beaches are not far away so you need not worry.

Best places to stay in Tulum Town:


2. North Beach (Mayan ruins area)

North Beach, near the Mayan ruins in Tulum National Park
Mayan ruins

North Beach Zone along with South Beach zone is the best place to stay in Tulum for couples and honeymooners because it is the quietest and the most romantic area of Tulum with beautiful sandy beaches, and gorgeous cenotes neabry.

North Beach is the area between Tulum Ruins and Km 4, at the intersects of Avenida Coba and the tourist police station. North Beach is home to some of the most beautiful beaches of Tulum such as Playa Paraiso, Paradise Beach, Playa Pescadores, Playa Las Palmas, Santa Fe Beach, and Playa Ruinas.

The beaches are lined with palm trees and they both have soft sands, and clear turquoise water. There are hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs located along the beach. There are also beach facilites such as lounge chairs, a parasol, and a table for rent

North Beach is located within walking distance to the Tulum National Park with its impressive Mayan ruins. North Beach hotel zone is around 2.5 miles from north to south. 

If you want to snorkel, the best place is Playa Maya beach for a cheap trip. If you are a good swimmer, there are Mayan ruins almost 600 yards out to sea. Just to the north, you may also like to explore the cenotes but take care and let others know where you are. 

You can find Soliman Bay in the North Beach area. This is a small bay in a quiet neighborhood Soliman Bay where several North Americans have decided to spend their retirement. In recent years, increased tourism has gone alongside increased development but Soliman Bay has still not lost any of its appeals. 

There is an offshore reef so swimming is safe and snorkeling is interesting. Xel-Ha Water Park is a huge aquarium so if you are on holiday with the family, take the kids there for a day.

Best places to stay in Tulum North Beach:

3. Middle Beach (Beach Town/ Hotel Zone)

Middle Beach Zone, heart of Tulum’s beach
Tulum Beach

Middle Beach zone is the best area to stay in Tulum all inclusive because it is the most exclusive part of Tulum. This Hotel Zone, or Zona Hotelera area is where you can find a world-class resorts with a private beach area, fine restaurants, outdoor nightclubs, beach clubs, yoga retreats, and best nightlife.

Middle Beach zone is the area along Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, or Beach Road, between km 4 to km 8. You will find hotels like Habitas, Zamas, Azulik, and the Papaya Playa Project. Most of hotels offers private a soft, sandy beachfront.

Many visitors are happy just to walk around Middle Beach, while others cycle. Taxis are easy to find for those that want them. The nightclubs are the definition of chic and stylish, open-air in general.

Middle Beach Zone is Tulum’s center of action, so it can get quite expensive for hotels. Middle Beach Zone is best place to stay in Tulum for singles, couples, groups of friends who want to stay right on the beach and in the middle of action.

Best places to stay in Middle Beach Zone:

4. South Beach (Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve area)

South Beach, near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

South Beach along with North Beach is the best area to stay in Tulum for family. South Beach zone is the beach area near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. There is plenty of sand and no rocks to contend with. 

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is indicative of eco-consciousness shown by everyone in the South. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its name means ‘’Gateway to Heaven.’’ There are over 20 ancient Mayan sites in the Reserve which also incorporates the coral reef offshore.

The jungle and its cenotes are close by so if you want more than a beach holiday, this is for you. Walk or cycle to get around and if you are keen on fitness, there are a number of health facilities to enjoy. 

There are good restaurants and nightlife but the South, like the North, is more for people seeking a quiet holiday. South Beach offers lots of luxury hotels and resorts.

Best places to stay in Tulum South Beach Zone:

See more:

5. Aldea Zama

Conveniently located between Pueblo and Tulum Beach, Aldea Zama offers easy access to both Tulum town and beach via the beach road, and is in line with Beach town. Aldea Zama is an upmarket and safe neighborhood in Tulum where you will find t luxury hotels, high-end condos, and boutique hotels.

Aldea Zama is a planned neighborhood with paths part of the development, allowing cyclists and walkers to get around it easily.  It is early days and Aldea Zama has yet to emerge with any characteristics to create a personality.

Aldea Zama has a quiet and relaxed feel, and also a convenient location, within a short distance to the Mayan Ruins and to the beach.

If you stay here with children, you will find a play area for them, and there are new bars and restaurants to enjoy.  The shopping is good with some excellent boutiques.

Best places to stay in Aldea Zama:


6. La Veleta

La Veleta is another of the newer areas in Tulum. It is just to the southwest of the city and its real estate is proving popular. As a result, there are rental properties available for tourists only wanting a holiday in Tulum.

It looks brand new, and it is. Luxury condos and boutique hotels have sprung up and there are a couple of all-inclusive resorts as well. If you are thinking about where to stay in Tulum, you will find prices in La Veleta cheaper than in the Town without any loss of quality.  However, there is not much to do here.

It does mean that you will need cabs to get to most places outside the neighborhood whether the beach, the ruins, or the town itself.

Best places to stay in La Veleta:


See more:

In conclusion, Downtown Tulum, North Beach, Middle Beach Zone, South Beach, Aldea Zama, La Veleta are the best places to stay in Tulum for tourists and first-time travelers.

Overall, Tulum town is the best area to stay in Tulum for budget travelers and who want local vibe. Tulum Beach is the area for traveler wanting to stay right on the beach in a tourist style area.

If you travel as a couples and familys, it’s best to stay in North Beach and South Beach Zone, meanwhile, middle beach zone is best for all inclusive and best nightlife.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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