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The Best Things to Do in Downtown Tulum

downtown tulum art

If you’re planning to have a vacation in Mexico, Tulum is always a top choice. The town is divided into two: the downtown and beach sections. Both are a couple of miles apart with entirely different experiences, depending on what you’re looking for. Also called Tulum Pueblo, Downtown Tulum is the cheaper part of the city, offering more hotels and upmarket establishments. This is where you’ll find many shopping opportunities, bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Tulum Pueblo also organizes exciting annual festivals. Tulum Pueblo is also easy to access when traveling on intercity transport. Many buses will stop at Pueblo, making it easier to stay here. This guide will cover all you need to know about having a good time in Downtown Tulum, from the different activities to the best places to eat. 

Highly Recommended Hotels in Downtown Tulum

Teetotum Hotel
Watal Tulum Hotel
Villas Geminis Condo Hotel
La Posada del Sol

Highly Recommended Guided Tours in and from Tulum

Hidden Cenote Swim, Snorkeling With Sea Turtles and Beachside Lunch
Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour
Chichen Itza, Cenote, Valladolid, Tequila & Lunch
Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling and Beachside Lunch
Jungle Buggy Tour from Playa del Carmen Including Cenote Swim

Fun Things to Do in Downtown Tulum 

Downtown Tulum offers a lot of fun activities for all those who visit. With the vibrant nightlife and the cenotes in the area, you can fill your trip with different activities. Also, it’s only a couple of miles away from the beach.

Meet @xamanha_ A very cool and unique space with great food trucks a bar and a great lineup of events including live music and salsa nights. Photo from IG: @downtowntulum
Meet @xamanha_ A very cool and unique space with great food trucks a bar and a great lineup of events including live music and salsa nights. Photo from IG: @downtowntulum

Go Biking Around Tulum 

One of the best ways to explore downtown Tulum is by renting a bike. This is the best and cheapest way to look around the city, and you can easily find bike rentals everywhere, even in your hotel. Via bike, you can roam around the city center, visit cafes and restaurants, and even get to the beach.

cycling in downtown tulum

If you decide to explore the downtown area while biking, you should protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Also, always take a water bottle with you due to the heat. One of the best parts of biking around Tulum is feeling the wind through your hair.

Drive to the Cenotes

Your stay in downtown Tulum won’t be complete without a drive to the Tulum cenotes. These are natural limestone sinkholes for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Some of these cenotes also have underwater archaeological relics and sites and offer the best things to do in downtown Tulum.

A couple of cenotes are located less than an hour from downtown. You can easily reach some cenotes using your bicycle in under 30 minutes. Some of the top cenotes near downtown Tulum include:

Gran Cenote is just a short drive from Tulum downtown

Gran Cenote

This is the most popular cenote in Tulum, and locals think the waters are sacred. It is at the entrance of the Sistema Sac Actun. 

Dos Ojos Cenote

Named after the two swimming holes, this is one of the top places for cave diving and snorkeling.

Cenote Carwash

This famous cenote was initially used by taxi drivers for washing cars, but now it’s a top option for cave diving and swimming.

Casa Cenote

This is a gorgeous cenote surrounded by mangroves, with a tunnel that leads to the sea. 

Cenote Calavera

Also called Temple of Doom, this is a top spot for divers, with a ladder and rope swing for diving in. 

Cenote Taak Bi Ha: This giant cave with crystal clear blue water offers excellent visibility for cave divers. 

Visit the Tulum Art Club and Botanica Garden 

One of the best places to hang out in downtown Tulum is the artsy cafes and restaurants; it’s not all about beaches and archaeological ruins. The Tulum Art Club is a unique spot to check out downtown Tulum, where you can enjoy coffee while viewing artwork from local artists.

You can also check out Botanica Garden in the downtown area. This gorgeous garden will appeal to nature lovers, offering a tranquil courtyard. On Sundays, the park organizes art classes, which you can join for a low price. It’s a unique space to eat and connect with nature.

Go Bar Hopping 

There’s no doubt that downtown Tulum offers a vibrant nightlife that will appeal to anyone. Night owls and party animals can enjoy the options for live music, Caribbean salsa rhythms, and beachside DJ parties. Diving into the nightlife is one of downtown Tulum’s best things to do.

Typical bar scene at downtown Tulum. Photo from Labrasa Tulum
Typical bar scene at downtown Tulum. Photo from Labrasa Tulum

Head to the clubs in the downtown areas, as these are some of the most popular places to have fun. From the Tulum Social Pubcrawl to Xibalba, there are different clubs and intimate venues for having fun. The Papaya Playa Project is only a few miles away if you want to party on the beach.

See the Tulum Sign 

Your trip to Tulum won’t be complete without some pictures to show for it. One of the best places to take photographs is in front of the Tulum sign. In the downtown Tulum area, you can take some of the best pictures in front of the massive TULUM sign.

The sign is located in the main square and will make a perfect background for the ideal Instagram picture. But be prepared to wait a while because there’s always a line of people waiting to take a picture.

Check Out Daniel Popper’s Sculpture 

Art lovers can also visit sculptures by the famous multidisciplinary artist Daniel Popper. The Ven a La Luz was first commissioned for the first Art With Me event in 2018 and is now permanently installed at the Ahau Tulum hotel.

downtown tulum art

The sculpture is made with wood, rope, steel, and greenery, symbolizing our deep connection with nature. If you’re traveling with kids, you should point out that the sculpture looks like the Te Fiti, the goddess from the Disney animation Moana. While checking out the statue, have a drink or lunch at Ahau. 

Visit Xel-Ha Eco-Adventure Park

The eco-park is located about 20 minutes north of downtown Tulum and is one of the most fantastic things to do in Tulum. The Xel-Ha eco-adventure park is part of the Grupo Xcaret family, which includes the cenotes Xplor, Xoximilco, Xavage, Xcaret, Xenotes, and Xenses. 

Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the most significant natural aquarium in the world. The cenotes and caves are filled with marine life, and you can ride bikes, zip lines, fly kites, jump off the Cliff of Courage, hike through the jungle, cross the floating bridge, or just relax in a hammock. Kids can check out the Children’s World, a 30m high water slide.

Shopping Guide in Tulum : Shopping in Downtown Tulum

Tulum is a fantastic place for water sports and exploring the great outdoors. It is also a shopping mecca for a wide range of items and souvenirs, from colorful Mexican folk art to unique items in the fair trade. Here are the top places for shopping in downtown Tulum. 

Kaahal Home is one of the top picks for shopping destination in downtown Tulum

Kaahal Home 

You can check out Kaahal Home, a lifestyle concept store when shopping in downtown Tulum. The store is located on the main road and sells handmade, unique home decor like glasses, table runners, bedding, cushions, ceramics, napkins, blankets, carpets, and furniture. 

You can also buy dresses, handbags, bikinis, and sandals from the store. The concept of Kaahal Home is to combine ancient with modern styles. It was founded by Giuli Cordara, an Italian from New York who fell in love with Tulum. Although the store is a bit expensive, the items are made by locals and are worth the purchase.


Art lovers prefer to shop at Mexic-Arte, a store that sells a wide range of authentic Mexican souvenirs made by Mexican artisans. You can purchase a wide range of affordable souvenirs, like tiny wood carvings and larger artwork and paintings.

All the art sold at MexicArte was made and painted by hand. If you can’t carry it with you immediately, you can have it delivered by mail instead. Mexic-Arte can be found on the central strip downtown, and other branches are on Akumal and Tulum beach road.

Organic Beauty Shop La Madre Tierra 

You can shop at Le Madre Tierra instead if you want to buy some skincare products when shopping in downtown Tulum. The store offers 100% organic body, hair, and skin products, including natural sunscreen, organic mosquito repellant, natural honey shampoo, creams made from medicinal plants, bamboo toothbrushes, natural conditioners, and facial rollers made with stones and crystals.

Everything sold at Le Madre Tierra is natural and environmentally friendly. They are also environmentally friendly, down to the packaging. You can also enjoy waxing, facials, and other beauty treatments at the store located on the main street. 

Tulum Bazaar 

Tulum Bazaar is a Mexican tourist market with a cheerful vibe, making you feel like you’re attending a fiesta with the vendors. You can purchase simple souvenirs, traditional Mexican crafts, and items to remember your stay in downtown Tulum. 

The prices at Tulum Bazaar are not fixed, so you can negotiate the prices. While shopping, you can also take fun vacation pictures with iguanas or people wearing traditional Mayan clothing. The bazaar has different bars and cafes for having lunch or enjoying the nightlife. 

Casa Hernandez Gallery 

Art lovers can check out the Casa Hernandez Gallery when shopping in downtown Tulum. This family business has a wide range of hand-painted Mexican pottery, including crafts and folk art. The pottery sold here is authentic Talavera, Mexican hand-painted ceramics only produced in the downtown area due to the special clays.

The pottery sold at the Casa Hernandez Gallery can only be painted with particular colors, so beware of sensory overload! Aside from Talavera, you can also purchase Huichol art, Alebrijes, Otomi, and other folk art.


If you want to go home from your trip with some fantastic outfits, Auras is the ideal place to shop at. The downtown store is the go-to store for eco-conscious clothes made by Mexican designers and artisans. From jewelry and utensils to bags and clothing lines, you can get many attractive outfits at Auras.

The outfits are made with natural and responsibly sourced fabrics, including linen, cotton, bamboo, and hemp. Aside from clothes, you can also purchase clean beauty serums, scrubs, home fragrances, soaps, and petal-infused candles. 

Josa Tulum

Another great place for shopping in downtown Tulum for women’s clothes and accessories is Josa Tulum. The Mexican brand is designed in Tulum and made in Playa del Carmen, and it offers all kinds of clothes, from casual wear to fancy dinner clothes.

Best Restaurants in Downtown Tulum 

When planning your visit, you should also consider where to eat in Downtown Tulum. The downtown area has affordable and authentic restaurants, where you can eat alone, with friends and family, or have takeout. Here are some of the best places to eat in Tulum.

El Camello Jr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RestauranteElCamelloJr/
Phone Number: +52 984 871 2036

If you’re wondering where to eat downtown Tulum, you can’t go wrong with El Camello Jr. It’s a top seafood restaurant downtown. If you’re unsure what to eat, you can always go for the fresh and flavorful ceviche. Locals stop by this store regularly, and they accept dollars and pesos.  

downtown tulum food guide


FB: https://www.facebook.com/bateytulum/
Address: C. Centauro Sur, Tulum Centro, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., 

For a mojito and guarapo bar, Batey is a top option. The restaurant sells some of the best mojitos in the town, with freshly made crushed sugar cane juice. You can also enjoy food, drinks, live music, and arts at the restaurant. If you want to enjoy authentic Mexican culture in a bar, this is the ideal spot. 

Panna e Cioccolato 

Address: Av. Tulum 72, Tulum Centro, Centro

There’s nothing like delicious ice cream and gelato from Panna e Cioccolato in Tulum. Located downtown on Avenida Tulum, the gelato store always has a long line because of its delicious flavors. 


If you’re wondering where to eat in downtown Tulum for contemporary Mexican food, Humo is the ideal choice. It combines a restaurant with a Mayan garden and bioarchitecture, ideal for hanging out with families and friends. You can also organize private events and weddings at Humo.

Tulum Art Club Coffee Shop 

The Tulum Art Club is the ideal choice for your coffee in Tulum. The coffee shop offers delicious breakfast and coffees, combined with a growing catalog of emerging Mexican and international art. 

Pasha Tulum Downtown 

You can also check out Pasha Tulum when you’re wondering where to eat Turkish food in Tulum. The town offers delicious lunch and dinner, with a wide range of Mediterranean Middle East foods on the menu. It also has excellent ratings from customers in Tulum.

Canova Tulum

Another top place to eat in Tulum is Canova Tulum. The Italian restaurant offers gourmet cuisine and specializes in seafood and pizzas. There is also fantastic mixology on the drinks menu. You can also ask for delivery if you don’t feel like eating in the restaurant. 

Where to Stay in Downtown Tulum: The Top Downtown Tulum Hotels

While in downtown Tulum, you also need a comfortable place to stay during your trip. Here are some of the top options if you’re wondering where to stay in downtown Tulum. We selected them based on the guest reviews.

Teetotum Hotel 

A top-rated downtown Tulum hotel offering breakfast and comfort, Teetotum Hotel is one of the best places to stay. The hotel is conveniently located, so you can easily walk to the downtown restaurants, bars, and shops, and it’s not far from the beach. 

Watal Tulum Hotel 

Another top place to stay in downtown Tulum is the Watal Tulum Hotel. The spacious hotel is in a central location, only a few blocks from the main downtown area. The hotel is also close to the beachside clubs and restaurants. Watal Tulum is known for its green spaces and artisanal traditions.


Next on our list is LiveTulum, a condo hotel that offers an authentic Tulum experience. The hotel offers an outdoor pool with hydro-massage jets, free WiFi, a wellness center, and balconies showing you amazing views. It is also near the theme parks and the boardwalk.

Villas Geminis Boutique Condo Hotel 

The Villas Geminis Condo Hotel is a small gem located in the heart of the downtown area, offering ten luxury condominiums. The condo hotel has an outdoor pool and air-conditioned apartments with terraces and tropical gardens.

Posada Luna del Sur

Another delightful hotel in downtown Tulum is the La Posada del Sol, which offers 12 private suits and a fantastic experience. The hotel is only half a mile from the town center and is known for providing great views of the landscape and ocean. 

Authentic Experience in Downtown Tulum

Downtown Tulum is a fun and budget-friendly place to stay in Quintana Roo due to its delicious restaurants, fun activities, vibrant art scene, bikeable area, comfortable hotels, and exciting shopping opportunities. Plus, it’s pretty close to the beach, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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