• Katrina Julia

One Day in Tulum, Mexico: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

How Tulum has transformed and evolved may surprise you. Likely, you found Tulum, its jungle and eco-chic vibes, and Cenotes on a blog or on Instagram.


What is interesting to know is in 1960, the population of Tulum, Mexico included less than a 100 people! The city grew to about 2,000 people by 2,000. Between the usually breathtaking beaches, best Cenotes, and Instagram worthy photos, the population grew to over 45,000 people by 2020 in Tulum, Mexico.


Paradise, and the adventures that you will find in and near Tulum, Mexico attract many from all

7 Continents. In 2019, over 2 million people visited the Tulum Ruins alone.


That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in Tulum, Mexico but about three months! If you are curious about my creating and adventuring, check out my second month in Tulum, Mexico.


If you don't know where to start with your time at and near Tulum, Mexico, I am here to help you #createit! Traveling helps you transform in more ways than one when you travel globally.


While there is plenty to experience one day all around Tulum to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will definitely want to consider staying longer.


Follow this One Day in Tulum, Mexico: Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip. These are my recommendations for the top experiences for your one day in and around Tulum, Mexico.


I enjoyed spending the day biking and experiencing Cenotes, Ven a La Luz, Azulik, Rooftop Pool, and foodie experiences in and near Tulum, Mexico. Not to mention, amazing Day Trips nearby!



Azulik in Tulum, Mexico


Getting to Tulum, Mexico

You may find flights to Cancun Airport, the closest airport to Tulum, from most Southern states in the USA directly. I flew to Tulum from Guatemala via Volaris Airlines in May 2021.


Tulum, Mexico is about 2 hours south of Cancun, Mexico making it easy to get to from the airport.

For a short trip, you may decide to rent a car. It is easy to take an Ado Bus to either Playa Del Carmen and transferring via another bus to Tulum and/or Collectivo.


In 2019, I visited Mexico with a hosted Airbnb Adventure visiting Cancun, Holbox, and Valladolid. At the time, Uber operated fully from Cancun Airport.


As of July 2021, there is no Uber at Cancun Airport. You may get one from within Cancun. I found the Taxi being 3 to 4x more than Ubers.






My Experiences with Tulum, Mexico

This is my first time in and near Tulum, Mexico. While I have visited Mexico over 4 times before, this is my first time in Tulum, Mexico. Thanks to my Mayan Jungle Cabana Airbnb, Tulum, and adventures like the best Cenotes in Tulum, it will likely not be my last.


There is so much to experience in and near Tulum in Mexico including the nature, adventures, and food! Tulum is divided into three parts, Tulum Center, Pueblo and Tulum Beach. The beach is divided by North and South Beach (Playa Norte and Playa Sur). In Playa Norte, you will find Tulum Ruins. In Playa Sur, you will find the Hotel Zone, Ven a La Luz, Azulik, and Tulum Jungle Gym.


Although I am staying in Tulum for about three months, I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term and want to create adventure days too. That's why I created One Day Travel guides.




Ven a La Luz

My travels and experiences in and near Tulum, Mexico included nature, adventures, community, and food! Travel fills me up. New people, adventures, and experiences are something I love.


My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.).


I am in awe of the transformation from the inside out of my life in every area including health, wealth, business and travel.



Tulum, Mexico Airbnb

For my first visit to Tulum, Mexico, I stayed at a Mayan Jungle Cabana in the Jungle via Airbnb.

The peaceful stay in the middle of the jungle and the owner, Diana are amazing in every way!


I not only got to connect with Diana via Airbnb and during my stay via WhatsApp, but in real life too!






Diana came to visit Tulum during my 3 month stay. We visited Casa Cenote during her visit and an incredible Mexican restaurant in Tulum Center.




Casa Cenote

Diana and I at Casa Cenote

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini or Airbnb photos.




Fun Facts About Tulum, Mexico

The original people in Tulum named their city Zamá, meaning “Place of the Dawning Sun”.

The name Tulum means wall in Mayan. Tulum originally was a fortress, port and trading hub.


After Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan, Tulum Ruins are the third most visited Archeological site in Mexico. Tulum has an amazing variety of animals from monkeys and iguanas to sea turtles and jaguars.


In and near Tulum, you may find the beach, art, Cenotes, and adventure abounding!


I love visiting Tulum, Mexico and enjoying the nature and adventure that surrounds the city. It is important to point out during my visit from May to July 2021, the Yucatan coastline in the state of Quintana Roo was inundated and surrounded with seaweed or sargasso.



Seaweed in Tulum from May to July 2021

I have visited Mexico over 4 times and have never seen seaweed like I did this visit. The smells and sight of the seaweed overwhelmed me. While some may choose to swim in it, I did not. I visited the beach 3 times to listen to the sound of ocean, visit the outdoor gyms, and walk along the beach.


Before visiting, I thought I would spend much more time at the beach. As a result of the smells and impact of the seaweed to the water color, I did other adventures like Cenotes, Art, and Day Trips in and near Tulum. Before booking your trip to Tulum, Mexico, you may want to Google sargasso in Tulum and plan your trip accordingly.


I enjoyed spending the day biking and experiencing Cenotes, Ven a La Luz, Azulik, Rooftop Pools, and foodie experiences in and near Tulum, Mexico.


Shot on my iPhone 12



Tulum in Under 60 Seconds




One Day in Tulum, Mexico

Let's explore the experiences I recommend for one day in and near Tulum, Mexico. Depending on when you arrive, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!


Things to keep in mind that may be different than other Tulum, Mexico guides.

Spoiler Alert: There are some things I don't like about Tulum, Mexico!


5 Things I Don't Like About Tulum, Mexico

While there are many things I loved about Tulum, I do want to be honest about things I don't like that you may or may not agree with.


The experiences in Tulum, Mexico could be greatly improved for everyone with adjustments to any or all of the following:



1 Taxis: Paying high rates for taxis in Tulum so I will be sharing biking, Collectivos, and walking.

2 Beach Clubs: Attending Beach Clubs with loud music with $50 minimums per day with bad reviews.

3 Beach: Swimming in the ocean with smelly, thick and toxic looking seaweed / sargasso.

4 Stays: Spending or Supporting over $200 to $1000 a night for a place to stay near the beach.

5 Cenotes: Visiting Cenotes that are >$20 for 1 Cenote when there are over 6,000 in Yucatan.



To give you further insight:

1 Taxis: I took a taxi one time from North Beach to my Mayan Jungle Cabana. With negotiating it down, it was $17 for four miles.


2 Beach Clubs: I researched and reviewed beach locations for free near Tulum Ruins. If there was no seaweed, I would have visited much more. I found Beach Clubs via blogs and Trip Advisor with minimums. of $30 to $50+ per day for food and alcohol. In addition, many of the reviews were very unfavorable. It seems many of the hotels and establishments have forgotten friendliness and service.


With that being said, I did visit Hotel Delek that had no minimum as long as you eat at the restaurant. However, for 2 small tacos and a green fruit juice, I spent $17. In comparison, in the center of town I would pay $5 to $10 for the same to give you insight.


3 Beach: I imagine without the seaweed North Beach in Tulum is beautiful. I would definitely visit more if there was no seaweed issue during my visit.


4 Stays In researching stays and collaborations prior to my Tulum visit, I found stays on average starting at $50 per night in Tulum Center, and about $200 per night at Tulum Beach. In comparison to my stays in both Costa Rica and Guatemala, and other locations in Mexico, I found this excessive.


I encourage you to read reviews of any stays with amount per night, and noise nearby. In addition, I did not want to stay in the center of town with car and traffic noises. I did not want to stay near the beach next to any beach clubs hearing any music to all hours of the night either.


It is possible to find a much better and affordable stay a few miles out of town. My Mayan Jungle Cabana includes peace and quiet, great WiFi most of the time, A/C, kitchen, patio, and an incredible owner for over half less of the lower prices in the center.


5 Cenotes You may find 6,000+ Cenotes all over the Yucatan. Even if you saw a Cenote every day, it would take you over 20 years to see them all!



While I understand that the beach and bohemian spirit, along with Instagram popularity has helped Tulum, Mexico get on the map, I don't agree with several of these changes nor do I think they are for the better. I will absolutely admit one of the reasons I am here is because of many of the things I saw on Instagram and on blogs before visiting Tulum.


At the same time, there are many places around the world that are just as beautiful, compelling, and popular that have not sacrificed service to people while growing. In addition, the price gauging and/or greed is palpable in some locations or via some reviews.


I do hope that many of the owners, corporations, and establishments rethink their approach. Otherwise, many will elect to go to other beautiful places that treat them very well like a human and not a transaction.


At the same time, what I love about Tulum, Mexico and nearby sites is you may experience a ton budget friendly if you think outside the box and research a little! That is my hope with my One Day Guide that you look beyond and do not discount Tulum, Mexico as a whole!


I'm sharing here a full 24 hours for your one day in and around Tulum Mexico from morning to night! If you haven't yet, check out my other One Day and Top 10 Guides like One Day in Antigua, Guatemala and Top 10 in Antigua, Guatemala as well.


I enjoyed spending the day biking and experiencing Cenotes, Ven a La Luz, Azulik, Rooftop Pools, and foodie experiences in and near Tulum, Mexico. Not to mention, amazing Day Trips nearby!



Cenote Escondido Tulum Mexico
 

Cenotes in and near Tulum, Mexico

A great way to start your day in Tulum, Mexico is to immerse yourself in nature. If you didn't already know, biking is one of the best ways to get around Tulum, Mexico. It is healthier and cheaper!


A great way to start your day is by biking to a Cenote. With the location of my Mayan Jungle Cabana Airbnb, there are four Cenotes close by to choose from!


Even if you aren't staying at the Cabana(s) here, these four Cenotes are within

4 miles from Tulum Center!


You may choose from:

Cenote Cristal and Escondido

Cenote Corazon

Kaam Luum Lagoon


After you leave South Beach in Tulum, Mexico, you could end your day with Gran Cenote, it is on the other side of Tulum within about 10 minutes!


Here is more about Tulum, Mexico: Best Cenotes and All You Need to Know to Visit!



Tulum, Mexico: Cenote Corazon

Kaam Luum Lagoon

Gran Cenote





 

Ven a La Luz

Ven a La Luz, the statue created and designed at the entrance of Ahau Hotel by South African Artist, Daniel Hopper and his team, is one of those "Did You Even Go to Tulum" if you don't visit this spot.


It definitely is photo and Instagram worthy towering over the Ahau Hotel entrance at South Beach in Tulum in the middle of the beach and bohemian vibes.


A great way to visit is to bike from Tulum Center about 3 to 4 miles in the morning before the heat and crowds. In July 2021, I visited in the middle of a weekday, and waited about 10 minutes to take the picture and video to give you perspective.


Tulum, Mexico: Ven a La Luz





 

Raw Love

If you walk through Ven a La Luz or bike right past, you will come to the entrance of Ahau Tulum. This is where you may walk through Ahau Hotel to get to Raw Love!


They have yummy teas, coffees, smoothies and food! I came here after my workout at Tulum Jungle Gym nearby, and had the Chai with Cardemon and Chia Pudding.








 

Tulum Jungle Gym - World's Best Beach Gym

Move over Fred and Wilma Flinstone! Tulum Jungle Gym is a real life Fred Flintstone gym where nearly all gym equipment is made from wood, bamboo and stone. I saw this gym on Instagram the last few years, and knew I wanted to visit!


The World's Best Gym does not disappoint! It is amazing!! I loved being immersed in a natural habitat surrounded by the sound of the waves working out is a dream come true! Not to mention working out in your bathing suit in the open air! I would have loved to have worked out here much more during my three month stay in Tulum, Mexico.


As of July 2021, the gym is open 9am to 5pm. A day pass is $30 USD, and a weekly pass is $120 USD. I did ask about long term/resident pricing with my situation. Unfortunately, there are no options currently beyond these. Feel free to ask if you reach out via email and/or visit! My motto is the answer is always no if you don't ask!


The gym opened in Tulum, Mexico in the Hotel Zone in South Beach near Ahau Hotel in 2017. Tulum Jungle Gym is founded by Alastair and Katie Davies, two fitness professionals and entrepreneurs. Men's Health named then the Worlds Best Gym / Best Beach Gym.


The vision made reality with the beach side vibes, wooden plates, dumb bells, and bars is incredible to experience! I highly recommend you visit at least once during your Tulum, Mexico stay!



Tulum Jungle Gym