Language: Spanish is the main language spoken, although most working in the tourism industry also speak English.
Currency: The Mexican Peso is the currency in Tulum. $1 USD = 19.77 Mexican Peso (amount is subject to change)
Credit Cards and Banks: Upmarket restaurants and hotels will take Visa and Mastercard payments etc, but your best bet is to always carry cash. While US Dollars are accepted at some restaurants and shops, you’ll typically end up paying more than if you pay with Pesos, so take advantage of any of the local ATMs in town not the beach road. The ATMs in town charge you a low exchange rate.
Safety: Tulum is extremely safe, but like any destination, don’t leave your belongings unattended, don’t carry money in your hand, and please be respectful of the locals and the flora and fauna. You are fine to walk around at night, just use your street smarts and be aware of your surroundings.
Climate: The average temperature for Tulum remains at about 80 °F (30°C) throughout the year. It’s hot and tropical. The rainiest time of the year is between June and October, while the busiest season for tourism is in the dry period between November and April. However, the rain in Tulum always fluctuates. The rain comes and goes, it never rains for a full day. Our weather apps would always tell us that it would rain all day and it would always come and go.Other things to note:
– There is a seaweed problem:
There’s an overabundance of Sargassum seaweed scattered throughout the Tulum shore. I say this only because I don’t want to trick anyone into expecting the typical Caribbean turquoise, see-through waters to swim in that you would see in others parts of Mexico. However, it all depends on the day. Sometimes the beach would be crystal clear and seaweed-free for a day or two but then they would come right back.
– Mosquitos in Tulum:
Tulum Town: The main town area is located right by Highway 307, while the beach is a little further away, and is home to several markets, spas and hotels. This is where the banks, shops, cafes and the small nightlife district is located, and is the first part of Tulum you will see when you arrive.
Aldea Zama: Aldea Zama is a newly built, eco-friendly and luxury residential area, located between Tulum and the Caribbean beaches, directly in the jungle. Theres a huge variety of extremely affordable luxury Airbnbs and hotels in this area. All the Airbnbs we stayed at were there. Aldea Zama is about 20 minutes from the main hotel road in Tulum so again, renting a car is your best bet! Taxis tend to charge a very high price for transportation between Aldea Zama and the main hotel road.
Tulum Beach Road: This road is where you begin to see the beautiful Caribbean beach, so if you’re looking to relax and unwind this is the place to go. It has a beautiful white sand beach, great restaurants, a few boutiques, spas, and several hotels. The great thing about this road is that you can take a whole day to walk around and check out all the different bars, cafes, and boutiques it has to offer. You can even stop by the hotel resorts and lay by the beach, eat lunch and have drinks too. However, keep in mind that most hotels require you to spend a minimum of 250-1,000 pesos ($30-50 USD) if you want to spend the day there. (I will be posting a second Tulum Blogpost with all the hotels we visited and our reviews on them!)
Tulum Ruins: The ruins are a short distance away from Tulum Town. If you didn’t rent a car, there are plenty of taxis that can be found in all three areas of Tulum that can take you to the ruins. This is where you can explore the Mayan ruins that date from the 13th and 15th centuries.
Tourism is destroying the local ecosystem. I only recently learned about this in the documentary on Tulum called The Dark Side of Tulum. The intention of this documentary is to not only create awareness, but to establish real environmental change, present real solutions, and feature the stakeholders who are making a difference. I highly recommend we all do our part so we can protect magical Tulum!