Mistakes tourists make when visiting Tulum

Tulum has emerged in recent years as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.

Simply, it makes sense. This vibrant city on the Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula is filled with natural beauty with its beaches and rocks – as well as great archaeological sites, delicious food and plenty of opportunities to relax.

But the masses of tourists who flock to Tulum year after year tend to get some things wrong. We asked locals and hospitality experts to share their biggest mistakes and errors. From sticking to the beach to not respecting the environment, here are 13 mistakes tourists often make while visiting Tulum—and some tips to avoid these mistakes on your travels.

Assuming all hotels are close to the beach

Tulum has one beach area – it’s a narrow strip actually. This is where the popular beach clubs and restaurants are. Most hotels and Airbnbs are located in Centro or other growing neighborhoods like Aldea Zama or La Veleta. It can take from Centro to Tulum Beach is up to 45 minutes, as the only two roads to the beach get jammed during peak hours. Our tip: Know your hotel’s location and plan to go to the beach and other places in and around Tulum.” – Betty Nguyen, founder of Go Tulum Travel

“Take a look at Google Maps, so you can see where your hotel is, and you’ll have a better idea of ​​distances and places to visit nearby. In Tulum, locals don’t work with street names and numbers, and to find your way around you’ll need to know the name of hotels or shops. local”. – Paola Vazquez, Tulum Tourism Professional with Mexico Kan Tours

Appearing without pesos

“In Mexico, there are few ATMs and high commission rates. Many tourists think they can pay for everything with credit cards, however, our advice is to come in US dollars or pesos to save money.” – Océane Soupey, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Mexico Kan Tours

“Pay for everything in the local currency. Restaurants, hotels, and clubs often do not exchange dollars for market value. So, even if you pay with a credit card, pay in pesos and you’ll see the rate difference in your bank exchange rate versus the institution.” — John Robert, co-founder of Yacht Club Company

disrespect for the environment

Many tourists forget that they are stepping on the sacred and protected lands of the Mayan Biosphere. We encourage guests to avoid single-use plastic, use reef-friendly beauty products and recycle. Keeping Tulum intact and protected is a key component of coming here in the first place. We are also one of the few places in the world for turtle nesting (from May to October) and it is critical to keep our beaches clean, safe and ready to make a home for cagua turtles.” Angelica Bokovba, narrator with Nimron Hospitality

“Respect the signs not to climb, not to feed the wildlife, and not to touch them. If the place has rules, please respect and follow them. Do not participate in activities that affect you, affect others or may be illegal, such as taking pictures with the cubs on Fifth Avenue in Playa Del Carmen…”- Vasquez

“Use rash guard and long-sleeved T-shirts instead of sunscreen when going to water/lakes/cracks—or use sunscreen after swimming—to protect the environment, coral reefs and natural water wells.” – Susanna von Arks, Tulum Tourism Professional with Mexico Kan Tours

Produced by M Swiet via Getty Images

It is important for tourists to keep sustainability in mind when visiting Tulum.

Don’t leave your hotel

“Tulum is a vibrant destination that has countless mind-expanding activities. While Tulum has become a digital hotspot for backpackers, we encourage people to step away from their computer screens and immerse themselves in the destination, opening their hearts and minds to new cultures and experiences. Two activities that we highly recommend to guests are: Visit the historic archaeological area of ​​Tulum and swim in the picturesque edifices.” – Sergio Barra, Managing Director of Aloft Tulum

Overpaying for taxis

“Taxis in Tulum are notoriously pricey and unpredictable. Even agreeing prices up front doesn’t protect you from having to pay extra if your taxi gets stuck in traffic. Plus, with new hotel developments and Airbnb emerging almost daily, your driver may get lost Above increase your fare. Our advice, especially for groups: book private transportation before your arrival (including to and from the airport), so you are protected from shady practices.” – Nguyen

“Always ask a taxi how much the fare is, before you get in, so you don’t overcharge.” – Ray Kanfsky, CEO of Two Travel

“[R]Taxis in Tulum used to charge $50 for one trip to the hotel area of ​​town. When I first moved to Tulum, that trip was $10. Taxis were way above what they charged, and because people were paying, it created a huge price scale. The average price for travel from Cancun to Tulum is about $60 one way, per person. The average price for renting a car is $15 per day, so even if you only use the car to drive from city to city, renting a car is a saving.” — Robert

Excessive planning

Perhaps the biggest mistake we’ve seen was over-planning. Tulum is the kind of place to let go and flow with local energy. [An] Our expert concierge is happy to craft personalized experiences in the Yucatan – exploring edifices, watching dolphins in the wild and getting to know the intrinsic part of this land. On the other hand, you might just want to stroll on the beach and enjoy a massage instead. It’s about listening to your body and mind and enjoying Tulum for you road.” – Bukovba

stick to the beach

“Right, beach clubs and popular restaurants are on the beach. However, let’s show some love for the local neighborhoods nearby as well. Try jungle yoga, street tacos, and tamales for under $1, an actual cenote day club serving craft cocktails, or craft boutiques. The offshore areas have a lot to offer, embodying the cultural spirit of Tulum.” — Nguyen

“Everyone thinks the beach hotel area is Tulum’s only area, but we have a thriving pueblo where locals live and things are affordable and traditional.” – Andrew Nichols, co-founder of Tulumio and Tulum Inside Out

“We think a key element of Tulum is its community. Skipping Pueblo could be a mistake as it offers so much color and insight into the lives of the locals. Here you can discover artisanal goods, eat cheap street tacos, and enjoy salsa dancing on a particular evening. The city is the place In which the heart of our little corner of heaven beats. – Bukovba

Drinking tap water

“Tap water is not drinkable in Mexico. To avoid food poisoning, tourists should not use tap water to wash fruits and vegetables. It is also best to brush your teeth with bottled water, and even if you are boiling water to make coffee, it is important to use only pure water. Advice to avoid Buy small bottled water: Buy a 20-liter “garafon” that you can take back to the store. – iPhone Arx

You try to get everywhere on foot or by car

“One of the biggest mistakes when visiting Tulum is exploring on foot – we suggest using bikes or scooters instead to get around more quickly, but pay close attention to the footpaths!” – Para

“In high season, the traffic can be ridiculous…Get a bike, as the beach is very far from the city! You will get fit.” – Nichols

Unprepared to fight insects

“Tulum is located within tropical forests and vegetation. Bugs and bugs are everywhere and it’s not a problem unless you weren’t expecting it. Homes and hotels are treated and fumigated to help control them, but it is impossible to eradicate the insects.” — Cedric Callebaut from Tulum Private Tours

wear heels

“One for the ladies – don’t bring high heels! Roads and places aren’t cut for heels.” – Karen Young, owner of Wild

Visit during high season

“Aside from mentioning not to miss all the must-sees like the Mayan ruins, the rocky boulders and Tulum beach and a must eat, I would say, visit Tulum during the summer season for the best deals, availability of restaurants and pure fun! Lots of people come in season Peak and it’s very crowded and expensive and hard to get reservations, so I say go in low season!” – guy

Setting unrealistic expectations

“One of the biggest mistakes people make regarding Tulum is assuming that what they saw on Instagram is what they are going to get. When it comes to Tulum, you have to manage your expectations – think Instagram versus reality. To truly enjoy Tulum, you have to accept that it is not a fairy tale or a photo IG heavily modified. Instead, Tulum is a small, rural town, with lots of people and above-average prices in Mexico. It’s pretty and bohemian, yes, but it’s also crowded and expensive, and you have to take the good with the bad.” – Shelly Marmore, owner of Travel Mexico Solo

“Find out what kind of vacation you want, and set your budget, before you arrive in Tulum. Riviera Maya is a popular place to visit and there are options for all budgets, but it’s easy to overspend if you don’t plan ahead. Work with a local concierge, he can get you the best deals on Grounding and recommending places you might not have otherwise found because the big brand names are always front and center.” – Kanevsky

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