If you are planning a trip to Tulum, Mexico, there are a lot of things you need to figure out. After all, for many tourists, it is in a different country. How will you get around? How will you pay for stuff? How will you contact people? These are all things we are going to take a look at. (Plus a whole lot of other really useful information).
So, if you are looking for the main things you need to know about Tulum before visiting, you have come to the right place. We are going to give you straightforward answers to the most asked questions about Tulum.
Let’s get into it!
Will my phone work in Tulum?
The answer is no. Unless you have arranged international calling or roaming on your phone plan (and this can be extremely expensive). A better solution to the connectivity predicament is to buy a prepaid chip in Mexico that uses one of the providers in Mexico or buy an eSIM – a digital SIM installed utilising a QR code. These are both much cheaper and more convenient options.
Can you use credit cards in Tulum?
You can, but many places only accept cash, and the ATMs frequently run out of money. The more upscale hotels often accept credit cards, but most bars, stand-alone restaurants and other shops and stalls do not.
The problem with using your credit card is that even if the establishment does accept it, they often charge a higher exchange rate/ conversion rate than if you paid cash, or they charge you a flat fee for using a credit card.
So now you know you need cash, but you are probably thinking, okay, I’ll just draw money when I get there. Be very wary of this, especially for important things like your accommodation and transport, because the ATMs often run out of cash in Tulum.
The best thing to do would be to bring the cash you need with you, keep the bulk of it in the safe at your accommodation, and only carry the money you need for one day at a time. You can even bring dollars and exchange your cash at the HSBC bank downtown once you are there.
Can I use my debit card in Tulum?
Yes, you can use your debit card to draw money at an ATM and pay at a POS in Tulum (your card may need a chip for this). But remember that many stores in Tulum do not accept cards, and the fees can be astronomical.
Also, let your bank know that you will be travelling internationally so that they don’t think that your card has been stolen or that there is fraud going on.
Better yet, get a debit card that is designed for international use so that you can avoid those huge fees that often come with using your usual debit card internationally.
How many pesos should I bring to Tulum?
A ballpark figure would be about M$3060- M$6115 ($150-$300), but it depends on what kind of vacation you want; budget, mid-range, or luxury.
The total cost of your vacation, depending on what budget you set yourself, will be:
For one person: M$4,227 per week ($USD 207)
For two people: M$8,454 per week ($USD 415)
For one person: M$11,347 per week ($USD 555)
For two people: M$22,694 per week ($USD 1115)
For one person: M$32,861 per week ($USD 1610)
For two people: M$65,722 per week ($USD 3225)
These prices are often much lower when travelling as a family or a group.
Though, if you are really asking how much cash you need without accommodation and prepaid for costs, here are some examples of what things usually cost per day:
Based on other travellers’ costs, the average daily cost per person per day is about $80. Here are some practical ballpark costs to know:
- M$448 ($22) food per day
- M$366 ($18) transport per day
- M$20 ($0.98) per litre of gasoline
- M$583 ($28.60) car rental per day
How much do drinks cost in Tulum?
The cost of drinks in Tulum will vary depending on what you are buying and where you are buying it from. It can even be higher or lower depending on whether you pay cash or use a card.
Here are the price ranges for alcohol and a few common drinks in Tulum:
- Bottle of wine (mid-range)- M$100-250 (USD$ 4.90-12.25)
- Domestic beer (500ml)- M$20-75 (USD$ 1.00-3.70)
- Imported beer (330ml)- M$45-90 (USD$ 2.20-4.40)
- Coke/Pepsi (330ml)- M$11-40 (USD$ 0.54-2.00)
- Whisky- M$300 (USD$ 15.00)
- Rum- M$160 (USD% 7.90)
- Vodka- M$160 (USD$ 7.90)
- Bottled Water (330ml)- M$10-40 (USD$ 0.49-2.00)
- Cappuccino (regular)- M$35-100 (USD$ 1.70-4.90)
If you are buying from a higher-end hotel or purchasing with your credit or debit card, the price is often on the higher end of the spectrum. If you stick to cash and buy from the grocery store or mid-range places (like a regular bar, for example), then the prices are cheaper/closer to the lower-mid side of the price range.
How safe is it to drive from Cancun to Tulum?
In terms of physical safety, it is safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum. The roads are well maintained, the busses are well serviced, clean and comfortable. However, it may be best to catch a bus, taxi or other means of public transport if you are going to travel between the two places by road because there are a few downsides to driving yourself.
If you decide to rent a car, make sure you abide by the speed limits and be cautious of being stopped and asked for a bribe. There have also been some reports of auto robberies at night, so take that into consideration when weighing your options.
As in any place, you must also use your common sense and be cautious of petty theft, so keep your handbag or backpack zipped and your cell phone and wallet in a closed pocket.
Related article: Tulum vs Cancun [Where should you stay?]
Can you jet ski in Tulum?
No, there is no jet skiing in Tulum. If you are looking for jet skiing somewhat nearby, you can find it as part of some activities offered by tour guide operators in Cancun.
Do you need a car in Tulum?
No, you don’t necessarily need a car in Tulum. You can get around using a bicycle, taxi, or on foot. Tulum is very walkable. You may need to catch a cab to the beach from town or vice versa, but within each part of Tulum, you can get around on foot or by bicycle.
There are no buses that transport people within Tulum. Only to and from Tulum and the surrounding areas like Playa del Carmen and the rest of the Riviera Maya. If you need a high level of flexibility, then you might want a car, but you definitely don’t need one to get around. Lots of people find that it is more hassle than what it is worth.
If you do want to rent a car, you can hire one from Cancun Airport. Here are some options you can use instead of hiring a car:
- Private transfer to your hotel using the hotel’s services
- Ado bus from the airport to your destination and back
- Rent a taxi
- Hire a private driver from the airport to your destination and back
- Book your activities using a tour operator or travel website that includes transport
- Rent a bicycle
When is Day Zero Tulum?
Day Zero Festival in Tulum typically takes place after the new year in January. The venue is top secret and only announced shortly before the beginning of the festivities. You can usually expect a Mayan Jungle setting for this event hosted by Damian Lazarus.
When is Art With Me Tulum?
Art With Me festival typically takes place in April after Easter. In the past, it used to be in November until the pandemic changed the scheduling somewhat, and as a result, the AWM Miami offshoot now runs in November.
Does Tulum have Uber?
No, Tulum does not have Uber. However, Tulum does have private taxis, collectivos and buses that go to and from Tulum. You can, however, find Uber in Cancun.
I hope that answered most or all of your questions surrounding Tulum.
Not sure where in Tulum you want to stay? Or maybe you are still deciding between Tulum and Cancun? If your hunger for Tulum knowledge is not yet satiated or if you still have things you need to find out for your trip to Tulum, take a look at these other articles: