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The Best Area to Stay in Tulum: Weighing the Best Locations

where to stay in tulum

Tulum is legit one of the coolest spots for a vacay—whether you’re on a honeymoon, a family getaway, or just vibing with your inner Mayan. You’ve got the jaw-dropping Mayan ruins, epic beaches along the Caribbean sea, stunning cenotes, and a food scene that’s basically a flavor explosion. But, hold up before you hit that book flight button; you gotta suss out the best area to stay in Tulum.

So, if you’re scratching your head, wondering, ‘Where’s the best area to stay in Tulum?’ Don’t sweat it; this guide’s got your back. We’ll dish on the top hotels and break down the sickest areas to shack up in Tulum, depending on your budget and crew. Tulum’s kind of a beast, but picking the right hood can seriously level up your trip. Let’s dive in, shall we?

 Weighing the Best Locations to stay in Tulum

Check out our Mexico travel guides too, from Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and many more. Enjoy your trip!

The Best Cenotes in Cancun You Should Experience
22 Awesome, Fun Things to Do in Quintana Roo
Soak up the Sun on These Amazing 18 Beaches in Cancun
Experience the 20 Awesome and the Best Cenotes in Tulum
Experience Scuba Diving in Tulum: 20 Awesome Cenotes and Reefs
Downtown Tulum Guide: How to Get the Most of Your Stay
The Best Hotels to Stay in Tulum
The Best Hotels to Stay in Cancun

What Area in Tulum Should You Stay in?

The vibe you get during your vacation depends on where you stay in Tulum. Our guide covers the best area to stay in Tulum, whether in the Pueblo, the downtown area, or the beach.

Tulum Pueblo offers budget hotels, fun bars and nightlife, and modern restaurants, while the peach is known for its stylish party scene, sophisticated hotels, and boutique shopping. The beach is divided into four main areas: the Beach Town and the North, Middle, and South Zones.

Although every part of Tulum is excellent to stay in, you should consider the best part of Tulum to stay in based on what you want to enjoy during your vacation. 

The Beach Town: Best for Partying 

Beach Town comprises hotels, shops, and restaurants between the North and Middle Zones. This is the best part of Tulum to stay for partying and exciting nightlife, especially since dining and drinking here are cheaper than in the rest of the beach area. The beach is sandy and swimmable, and the restaurants and shops are either in the jungle or by the beach.

the best area in tulum to stay

Aside from restaurants, you can look out for the Papaya Playa Project for amazing beach parties, boutiques for clothing, gifts, and crafts, and the Kin Toh, a treetop lounge offering a unique experience. 

Best Hotels 

If you’ve decided to stay in the Beach Town, Tulum, here are some top hotels to check out:


  • Affordable nightlife.
  • No post-sunset traffic jams.
  • Amazing beach views.
  • Hotels offer private beach access.  


  • Hotels are a bit costly.

North Beach Zone: Best for Couples

The North Beach Zone is the best location to stay in Tulum for couples and honeymooners. The beach strip goes along Tulum National Park, which takes you close to the Mayan ruins for easy exploration. It extends to Tankah, a quiet spot in Tulum with beach clubs, hotels, and restaurants. 

Tulum National Park

Most of the North Beach Zone hotels are on white sandy beaches. North of this beach zone, you can visit Casa Cenote, Dos Ojos Cenote, and several others for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. You can also go snorkeling on a budget at Playa Maya or swim at the Santa Fe beach. The Ruins Beach is right under the Tulum ruins, while Playa Pescadores and Playa Maya offer picturesque views and soft beaches for your Instagram page.

Best Hotels 

These top hotels in the North Beach Zone will make your stay much better:


  • Walking distance to the Mayan ruins in Tulum.
  • Fantastic sandy beaches to explore.
  • Includes a public parking lot.
  • Hotels are relatively less expensive.
  • Best for honeymooners and couples who can’t get enough of each other. Yet. 😉


  • Few options for nightlife.
  • Only a few restaurants are available.
what a

Middle Beach Zone: Best for Convenience and Quiet

A group of friends, couples, and older travelers looking for a place in Tulum that is quiet and convenient should consider staying in the Middle Beach Zone. Located in the heart of the Tulum beach area, this area is the best part of Tulum to stay for all ages. It features a vibrant party scene, with upscale dining and open-air nightclubs.

The restaurants offer creative menus, with options like Arca and Safari, and there are different casual beach clubs along the strip. The Middle Beach Zone also features yoga studios and sandy beaches. It is a walkable area, with options for cycling or taking a taxi. 

Best Hotels 

Some of the best hotels to check out in the Middle Beach Zone include:


  • Great location at the center of the Tulum beach zone.
  • Easy to get to the beach or town.
  • A great mix of beach clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops.
  • Amazing beachside nightlife. 


  • Hotels are expensive.
  • Difficult to access the beaches if you aren’t a guest.

South Beach Zone: Best for Luxury Travelers

The South Beach Zone is a fantastic option if you don’t mind spending a bit more than usual when looking for where to stay in Tulum. It appeals to luxury travelers, families, and honeymooners in Tulum, as it offers a long stretch of sandy beaches with no rocky parts.

south beach zone, tulum mexico is one of the best area to stay in Tulum

This area is close to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, so most hotels are eco-conscious. You can also get a lot of wellness and yoga studios in this area. Although this is a quiet part of the beach zone, you can quickly cycle or walk to exciting nightlife spots and restaurants. The South Beach Zone is close to many of the natural wonders in Tulum.

Best Hotels 


  • A great mix of beautiful beaches and beachside restaurants and bars.
  • Some of the best restaurants and shopping spots are here.
  • Boho chic accommodation options are available.
  • Offers the best beachside nightlife.


  • Traffic can back up to the beach road.
  • Prices are high.

Downtown Tulum: Best Budget Option

Anyone hoping to save cash while in Tulum can check out the Pueblo or Downtown area. This lively town area is one of the best areas to stay in Tulum regardless of age and appeals to budget travelers, large groups, backpackers, and party animals. The hotels are usually in the budget range, and even the luxury hotels are more affordable than the Tulum beach resorts. Downtown is walkable and bikeable.

Food in Downtown Tulum is also authentic, with many Mexican restaurants like La Gloria de Don Pepe and Taqueria El Carboncito. The Pueblo also offers amazing nightlife with bars and clubs in the same areas, yoga studios, and a lot of nature to explore. You can visit the cenotes like Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil-Ha, Cenote Calavera, and Cenote Santa Cruz, with a 25-minute bike ride.

Best Hotels 


  • Affordable accommodation and boutique hotels.
  • Close to the bus station and easily bikeable.
  • Convenient access to local stores, grocery stores, bars, and restaurants.
  • Has activities for all ages.


  • Getting to the beach puts you in traffic at peak times.
  • Security concerns in the town area.

Zama: Best for Families 

Zama is between the Beach Zone and Pueblo and is a new luxury development that appeals to families vacationing in Tulum. This area features high-end homes, Airbnbs, condos, a wide range of restaurants, boutique hotels, and a playground. There are convenient walking and cycling paths.

Although this new area does not have a vibe yet, it is quiet and peaceful, with seamless access to Pueblo and the beach. It’s also an excellent choice for long-term visitors to Tulum and has amazing restaurant options like The Pitted Date Vegan Restaurant and Bejuco Restaurant. Keep in mind that this area is still under construction. 

Best Hotels 


  • One of the safest places to stay in Tulum.
  • Modern apartments, luxury hotels, and playgrounds.
  • Easy access to the beach and Pueblo.
  • Bikeable and walkable area.


  • The area is still under construction.
  • It’s a bit expensive for a neighborhood that isn’t complete.

Tulum Beach vs Tulum Pueblo 

When considering where to stay in Tulum, your main decision is between the Pueblo and the beach area. Most travelers stay in one of these areas, so which one should you stay in? This depends on what you’re looking for, although both are unique spots and easy to access from each other.

Tulum Pueblo 

The Pueblo offers affordable hotels, a walkable and bikeable center, and fantastic nightlife in street parties, dance clubs, fun bars, and authentic Mexican restaurants. You get access to full air conditioning at the hotels. The Aldea Zama is just south of Downtown Tulum, offering a suburban feel and luxury restaurants. If you’re on a budget and won’t mind traffic when commuting to the beach, you should book a hotel in Pueblo.

Tulum Beach

The Tulum Beach area is where most of the excitement happens. It’s the best location to stay in Tulum for luxury hotels, outdoor nightlife like jungle and beach parties, upscale restaurants, and boutique shops. Although the hotels have limited air conditioning, you can feel the ocean breeze through open windows. The Tulum beach is wide and sandy, with a few rocky areas. It is divided into four zones depending on what you’re looking for.  

Tips on Staying in Tulum 

Is Downtown Tulum Safe? 

Tulum is relatively safe, and like any other tourist spot, several crimes target tourists. You can stay safe by being alert and avoiding strangers. 

Best Time to Visit Tulum 

Tulum’s peak months are between February and April, with high prices and crowded beaches. But, you should visit during November and January, just after hurricane season but before peak season.

Surfing in Tulum 

Most breaks in Tulum are only chest high, but the tourism town is terrific for wind and kitesurfing. 

Is There an Airport in Tulum? 

There is no airport in Tulum, although one is being constructed to be completed in 2023. You can get to Tulum from the Cancun International Airport.

Should I Stay in Tulum or Cancun? 

Cancun is better for those who stay in Mexico for a short time since it has an airport. But Tulum offers better beaches, and you can explore cenotes and Mayan ruins. 

Should I Stay in Tulum or Playa del Carmen? 

If you’re looking for a vacation spot near the beach, Tulum is always a better choice. The tourist town has loads of sandy white beaches and gorgeous cenotes. But remember that Playa del Carmen is a larger city with affordable options and vibrant nightlife.

What Should I Avoid in Tulum?

When in Tulum, avoid walking around at night, flashing valuable items, or carrying large amounts of cash. You should stay in popular areas and stay away from prohibited substances. Ensure you don’t drink too much regardless of how much fun you have, and do your best to stay in a group.

Enjoy Your Stay in Tulum

Whether you’re staying on the beach or in the downtown area, there’s no doubt that Tulum has a lot of excitement for its tourists and visitors. With our detailed guide, you can easily decide where you want to stay for a fantastic vacation. 

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 For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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