Summer is officially here and we kicked it off with a trip to Tulum, Mexico! We found some cheap flights from Scotts Cheap Flights and convinced our good friends Austen and Ashley to join us for a week in Tulum. Seth and I will be doing a lot of traveling this year so I’m starting a series of travel blogs to share with everyone what we did, how much it costs, and tips on how to travel on a budget!
When we travel we always stay at an Airbnb! For one, its always the most affordable option. It also gives us options to stay somewhere unique and more local than a resort and we usually get to meet some really cool people! For this trip we stayed at this Airbnb. We had a GREAT experience with our host and the apartment manager Abi. They were so responsive and made sure we had everything we needed. Also, the penthouse apartment was centrally located, affordable, and a great place to stay overall! It had 3 rooms, good wifi, netflix, a kitchen, and an amazing patio that we ate breakfast on every morning! It cost about $50/night for each couple.
The reason we decided to book this trip in the first place was because of a great flight deal we found through the Scott’s Cheap Flights emails! I signed up for the premium subscription which I definitely think is worth the small fee because it includes flights to Hawaii! You can save some serious money if you travel frequently. Our flights were direct from DFW to Cancun and cost about $270 each. Once we got to Cancun we took a private shuttle to our airbnb in Tulum. The shuttle was through Happy Shuttle and was $175 round trip (split between two couples!).
While we were staying in Tulum we used a few different methods to get around. The first night we used a taxi, but we quickly realized we needed something more flexible. Also, taxi drivers don’t have listed rates so you have to barter for the price and if you don’t speak great spanish they will definitely charge you more. Our airbnb had mopeds that we could rent and so the first full day in Tulum we rented the mopeds and never looked back! They make it so easy to get around town, get great gas mileage (and the gas is super cheap anyways), and just give you so much more flexibility. You can pretty much park a moped anywhere! Each couple shared a moped and they cost $25/day to rent. For the most part, the guys drove the mopeds around and Ashley and I just sat in the back, but one night we learned how to drive them as well!
We stretched the mopeds to their limit taking them all the way to the Dos Ojos cenotes about 30 minutes from our penthouse, but we decided not to try to take them all the way to Coba when we visited the Mayan ruins. Instead we used the public transportation and took a bus! This only cost about $7.50/person round trip and was so much cheaper than getting a taxi or private car. We were the only Americans on the bus and definitely looked out of place but it was the easiest and cheapest way to get where we needed to go!
There are a ton of things to do in Tulum! For one, even if you aren’t staying at one of the fancy beach clubs, you can still have access to their amenities! We found this out one day while walking around the fancier area of town. Our airbnb has a relationship with one of the beach clubs so we spent some time there one day. It was called Los Amigos and it was beautiful with great food and drinks! The only downside is that there wasn’t a pool. The beach is nice, but many of the beaches in Tulum have sargasm is May which make them less fun to swim in. Los Amigos clears most of the sargasm though so we still did some swimming! They also have a minimum spend of $500 pesos/person, or about $25 usd. Since we spent the whole day here we definitely hit our minimum, but we found out later that many of the clubs don’t even have minimums. So we started just walking up to them, checking about a minimum, and then ordering a drink and using their pools whenever we needed a break from walking around! There are some really cool resorts with amazing pools and other amenities!
The pictures above were all taken at Los Amigos!
The two pictures above were taken at Ana y Jose – the pool was so refreshing!!
These pictures were taken at Kanan! They also had an amazing pool and a rooftop bar that overlooked the ocean!
Another favorite activity of ours was visiting the Cenotes! Tulum has many Cenotes in the surrounding area and we spent a few days exploring them. Cenotes are cold freshwater pools with the most beautiful clear water! They also make great places to snorkel. My favorite Cenote was the first one we did which we couldn’t have our cameras at because we were snorkling through a cave the whole time. It was a bit intense (because of the cold and the low ceilings) but it was my favorite thing we did on the trip! It’s the Los Monos cenote which is located in the Dos Ojos cenote park. There are many options but we chose the 2 cenote option that included Los Monos and an open air cenote. It cost about $35 USD for this option.
Another day we visited 3 cenotes. The first one was the skull cenote which has 3 holes you can jump in! I’m not much for heights but even I decided to jump into the big one. The water, once again, was super cold! But it was also beautiful and clear and fun to swim around in for a bit. The cost to get into this one was $100 pesos, or about $5.25 usd. The next two cenotes we visited were another 2 pack that included Escondido and the Crystal and was $160 pesos or about $8.50 usd. These cenotes were also beautiful!!
Another fun activity we did was visit Mayan ruins! This is so fun, but you HAVE to stay hydrated and wear tons of sunscreen. We visited our first ruins on the first day in Tulum and we were not prepared. We were there in the middle of the day and forgot to put on sunscreen. This meant we had horrible sunburns for the rest of our trip. This first set of ruins were in Tulum and we walked all over looking at the ruins for a few hours. The other set of ruins we visited were in Coba and these are unique because you can actually walk up some of the ruins. You can go to the very top of the largest ruin which Seth and Austen went up, but Ashley and I stayed at the bottom because it was SO hot and we were very tired from walking at that point!
Mexican food is my second favorite type of food (after Italian) so I was so excited to try all the food in Tulum!! We ate at some amazing places and I loved everything we ate. One of the places we really loved was El Capitan – it was so good we went there 2 nights in a row! El Capitan has great seafood and our favorite dish was the coconut shrimp. We made most of our breakfasts at home with eggs, tortillas, and cheese we bought at the supermarket! This is a great way to save some money and start the day with a healthy breakfast. One night we needed a break from the mexican food so we went to Manglar Pizza and the pizza was awesome! Of course, we also had some amazing drinks! We got a lot of drinks at beach clubs to get access to their pools and never had a bad experience with those. One night we also went to the I Scream Bar to get happy hour margaritas!
My biggest tip for visiting Tulum is to overdo it with the sunscreen!! We made this mistake the first day and paid for it the rest of the trip. We all had horrible sunburns and it was hard to move at some points and we had to go crazy with the sunscreen after that. If you can remember this the first day it will help you enjoy your time so much better! I would also recommend not going out into the sun between 1-4pm. We all got a bit of heat exhaustion one day because we hiked around Mayan ruins in the middle of the day and the best way to avoid this is to do some fun activity in the morning and then take a break and go back out later in the afternoon. Going off of that, you need to drink tons of water! You can’t drink tap water in Mexico so you need to buy bottled water. We bought a few huge jugs of water for our apartment so we could drink tons and fill up our bottles before we left for the day.
The good thing about visiting Tulum in May is that there aren’t a ton of tourists! This means the traffic is not bad and you have most restaurants and beaches to yourself. The problem is that the reason for the lack of tourists is the sargasm on the beaches. I’m not a huge beach person anyways so I didn’t mind, but if you want to swim in the ocean all week then I would not recommend Tulum in May!
Well there it is! My Tulum travel update. I hope this is helpful to anyone planning a trip to Tulum and if you have any questions, just leave a comment below!
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