Exploring the Best Things to Do in Tulum from Cancun Airport

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum, Mexico, then chances are, you’ll be flying into Cancun Airport. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, you’ll want to know what to expect upon arrival. From transportation options to currency exchange, this guide will cover everything you need to know to make your journey to Tulum seamless and stress-free.

Arriving at Cancun Airport: What to Expect

Cancun Aireal view of the hotel zone

As you make your way to Cancun, you’ll be greeted with stunning aerial views of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Once you land at the Cancun International Airport, you’ll be welcomed by the warm Mexican hospitality that the country is known for.

The airport is the second-largest in Mexico, with four terminals that serve both domestic and international flights. As you disembark from your plane, you’ll be directed to the immigration and customs area. It’s important to note that the lines can get quite long, especially during peak travel season. However, the airport staff works hard to ensure that the process is as smooth and efficient as possible.

After you’ve cleared customs, you can collect your luggage and head out of the terminal to explore your transportation options. The airport is well-equipped with a range of transportation services that cater to different budgets and preferences.

Transportation Options to Tulum

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum, there are several ways to get there from Cancun Airport. The most convenient option for most travelers is a private transfer, which can be booked in advance and will take you directly from the airport to your hotel in Tulum. This option is perfect if you’re traveling with a group or if you’re looking for a hassle-free and comfortable journey. You can check out our rates for Private Transportation from Cancun Airport to Tulum here.

Alternatively, you can take a shuttle bus, which tends to be the most budget-friendly option. The shuttle buses operate on a fixed schedule and can take longer than a private transfer, as they make stops at multiple hotels along the way. However, this can be a great option if you’re traveling solo and looking to save some money.

If you prefer to have more flexibility and independence during your trip, you can also rent a car from one of the car rental companies located at the airport. This option allows you to explore the surrounding areas at your own pace and convenience. However, keep in mind that driving in Mexico can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the local roads and traffic rules.

Travel Time and Distance

The distance between Cancun Airport and Tulum is approximately 120 km (75 miles), and the journey can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on your mode of transportation and traffic conditions. The good news is that the drive from Cancun to Tulum is relatively straightforward, and you’ll get to enjoy some stunning views of the Caribbean Sea along the way.

If you’re traveling during peak season or on a weekend, it’s important to factor in potential traffic delays, as the roads can get congested. However, the journey is generally smooth and comfortable, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the beautiful scenery.

Currency Exchange and ATM Services

Before you set off to explore the best things to do in Tulum, you’ll want to make sure you have some cash on hand. There are several currency exchange booths and ATMs located throughout the airport, which offer a range of currencies, including US dollars and Mexican pesos. The exchange rates at the airport may not be the most favorable, so it’s a good idea to exchange only a small amount of money to cover your immediate expenses.

Keep in mind that some businesses in Tulum may only accept cash, so it’s a good idea to have some pesos on hand. You can withdraw cash from one of the many ATMs located throughout the city, but be aware of any transaction fees that may apply.

As you embark on your journey to Tulum, take a moment to soak in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Mexico. From the vibrant culture to the delicious cuisine, there’s so much to discover and enjoy in this beautiful country.

A Brief Introduction to Tulum

Tulum Ruins at the beach

Tulum is a small town located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It’s known for its stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and rich history. Tulum was once an ancient Maya city, and many of the ruins still remain today. It’s also home to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected areas in Mexico.

Tulum’s Rich History

Tulum was once an important trading hub for the ancient Maya civilization, thanks to its strategic location on the Caribbean Sea. The city was a center for the production of obsidian, a valuable volcanic glass used for making tools and weapons. The Tulum Ruins, which date back to the 13th century, are a testament to the city’s former glory. The ruins offer breathtaking views of the coastline and are situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Visitors can explore the ruins and marvel at the impressive architecture and intricate carvings that have stood the test of time.

In addition to the Tulum Ruins, visitors can also explore other nearby ancient Maya sites, such as Coba and Chichen Itza. These sites offer a glimpse into the fascinating history and culture of the ancient Maya civilization.

The Unique Ecosystem of Tulum

Tulum is located within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The reserve consists of wetlands, tropical forests, and coral reefs and is a haven for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and snorkelers. The reserve is home to over 300 species of birds, including the colorful toucan and the majestic osprey. Visitors can also spot a variety of animals, such as jaguars, pumas, and crocodiles.

The coral reefs surrounding Tulum are also a major attraction for visitors. The reefs are home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. Visitors can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the vibrant underwater world.

The Best Time to Visit Tulum

The best time to visit Tulum is between December and April when the weather is dry and sunny. During this time, temperatures are in the mid-20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit), and the water is warm and clear. This is the perfect time to soak up the sun on the beach, explore the Tulum Ruins, and go snorkeling or scuba diving.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, then the shoulder season (May-June, September-November) can be a good option. During these months, the weather is still warm, and there are fewer tourists.

No matter when you visit Tulum, you’re sure to be captivated by its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique ecosystem.

Must-Visit Attractions in Tulum

There are plenty of things to do in Tulum, from exploring ancient ruins to soaking up the sun on a pristine beach. Here are some of the top must-visit attractions in Tulum:

The Tulum Ruins

The Tulum Ruins are a must-see attraction for any history buff or traveler interested in ancient civilizations. The site is located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and is home to several well-preserved buildings, including the Temple of the Frescoes and the Castillo. The ruins are open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM, and admission costs around 70 pesos per person.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve


The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve covers over 1.3 million acres of land and is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including jaguars, pumas, and monkeys. Visitors can take a boat tour through the reserve, which offers stunning views of the mangroves, lagoons, and coral reefs. The reserve is open year-round, and admission varies depending on the tour operator.

The Gran Cenote


The Gran Cenote is a natural swimming hole located just outside of Tulum. The cenote is crystal clear and surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Entrance fees vary, but typically cost around 200 pesos per person.

Tulum’s Pristine Beaches

Tulum is famous for its pristine white sand beaches, which are some of the most beautiful in Mexico. Some of the most popular beaches in Tulum include Playa Paraiso, Playa Akumal, and Playa Las Palmas. Visitors can lounge on the beach, go for a swim, or rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the coastline.

Experiencing Tulum’s Culinary Scene

No trip to Tulum is complete without indulging in some of the local culinary delights. Tulum is home to a diverse range of dining options, from traditional Mexican cuisine to vegan and vegetarian fare. Here are some of the top spots to check out:

Traditional Mexican Cuisine

For an authentic taste of Mexico, head to El Camello Jr., a seafood restaurant that’s been serving up fresh catches since 1988. Or try Hartwood, an open-air restaurant that uses local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to create some of the best dishes in Tulum.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

Tulum is home to several vegan and vegetarian restaurants, including Raw Love, which serves up delicious and healthy smoothie bowls and salads. Or try Charly’s Vegan Tacos, which offers a range of plant-based tacos and other Mexican dishes.

Beachfront Dining Experiences

For a romantic dining experience, head to Arca, an elegant restaurant that overlooks the ocean and features a menu of locally sourced seafood and products. Or try Rosa Negra, an oceanfront restaurant that serves up creative cocktails and delicious Mexican dishes.

Overall, Tulum offers something for everyone, from ancient ruins and natural wonders to delicious food and stunning beaches. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, this charming Mexican town is the perfect destination for your next vacation.