Soak Up All the Sun on the Best Tulum Beaches, Mexico
Desperate for a beach holiday? Whisk yourself away to Tulum beaches, Mexico and forget real life exists. Find out more here.
When was the last time you really forgot your worries? Shutting out the stress of day-to-day life is challenging, but you’ll forget your troubles on Tulum beaches, Mexico. These postcard-perfect beaches are the antidote for life’s stressors!
This area is a popular spot for travelers, and once you’re acquainted with the town’s beaches, it’s easy to see why. The Yucatan Peninsula location offers pristine white sand beaches as far as the eye can see, plus the water is always turquoise blue!
If you’ve been dreaming of outstretched coastlines and azure waves, this destination is for you. But make sure you’ve done your research before you book! You don’t want to miss all the hidden gems.
Scroll down to find out about each beach in Tulum, Mexico and this popular travel stop’s hidden treasures.
Welcome to the Tulum Mexico beaches
You’ve likely heard of Mexico’s Tulum Beach, but how much do you really know about this dreamy destination?
Situated along the Caribbean coastline, this stretch is a premier holiday spot with its crystal-clear beach views and powdery sands. You can spend days lounging in the sun, beach hopping, exploring the vibrant arts scene, and enjoying fun-filled evenings in bars and restaurants.
It’s a top vacation for sunseekers. You don’t have just two or three beaches to choose from. No, no. Here, you can beach-hop between fifteen different beaches.
If that’s not enough to book your tickets, you’ll be rummaging for your passport soon.
Best Tulum Beaches
Need some holiday inspiration? These are the top Tulum beaches you need to explore.
The main beaches are split into two: The North beaches and the South beach.
There is one lone South Beach, aptly named Playa Tulum.
The North beaches are three strung together: Playa Ruinas, Playa Las Palmas and Playa Paraiso.
Additionally, there are a handful more exquisite beaches to visit while you’re there.
Let’s dive in…
Playa Tulum, Mexico (South Beach)
Best beach if you want to be in the center of the action.
We’re kicking off the list with the main beach in the area—Tulum Beach, also known as South Beach. While there are many beaches in this area to explore, this option is a favorite.
This famous coastal area is farther away from Tulum town than expected. If you’re looking for closer beaches, check out Playa Las Palmas and Playa Paraiso (more on them in a minute).
While this beach may be a ten-minute drive down the coast, it’s worth a visit. Here you’ll find unique hotels with thatched roofs, food from around the world, classic Mexican eateries, and a gorgeous coastal view. A popular way to get to this beach is via taxi, as walking can take up to 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for sunbathing opportunities, this beach might not be the one for you. It can get busy due to the many beach clubs and hotels around. However, if you like to be in the center of the action, you’ll love this busy hub.
Playa Ruinas (North Beach)
Best beach for culture cravers.
Are you visiting playa Tulum in Mexico for unique views, a taste of culture, and Instagram-worthy snapshots?
Then pack your bags and head to Playa Ruinas, or Ruin Beach, just next to the Ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum.
This beach is perfect for beach bums and budding historians. You can spend the day lounging by the surf and exploring the rare ruins on the nearby cliff-top.
However, if you want stunning pictures without the crowds, we recommend visiting this beach early in the morning. Alternatively, exploring the ruins in the late afternoon will also ensure fewer crowds.
Playa Ruinas doesn’t boast many amenities, so you should pack extra water and snacks to keep you satisfied. Restaurants and bars are a short walk away if needed.
This is approximately an 18-minute drive from downtown Tulum.
Playa Las Palmas (North Beach)
Perfect if you want a quiet beach close to town.
If you have a list full of Tulum, Mexico beaches and need help figuring out where to start, we recommend making Playa Las Palmas your first stop.
Only a 14-minute drive from town, this beach offers everything you need to create everlasting memories.
Though this beach is closer to town, it’s not the busiest on the strip. In fact, many find that this playa feels calm, even during the high season. You will find fewer vendors here than in Playa Paraiso. However, there are still beach restaurants and shops for refreshments and souvenirs.
Other amenities available on this beach include umbrellas, sun loungers, changing rooms, public toilets, and showers. Lifeguards are present in the high season—safety first!
A key appeal to Playa Las Palmas is the fine sand and warm turquoise waters. You won’t find any uncomfortable rocky outcrops here!
Comfort and picture-perfect snaps? Count us in.
Playa Paraiso (North Beach)
Best beach if you don’t want to get to know your neighbors.
Playa Paraiso is one of the most popular Tulum beaches, but its fame doesn’t stop there. Many holidaymakers consider this wonderful strip of land the best beach in the country.
Due to its reputation, you might assume the beach is crowded.
However, Playa Paraiso stretches so far that it rarely feels packed. When you’re lounging on the white sands here, you’ve always got ample space. You might need to arrive earlier in the day to claim a chair and parasol, though. These amenities are found with local vendors on the beach, and you’ll have to pay in cash.
If you feel a little peckish on your visit, you’ll find beachside coffee shops, bars, and palm-fringed beach restaurants. There’s nothing like a tipple by the ocean!
This beach is approximately a 12-minute car journey from the town center.
Best beaches near Tulum
Playa Santa Fe
Best if you want a beach with all the amenities.
This popular beach is next door to the Tulum ruins and is only a 17-minute drive from the town center. No long journeys here!
Like the other central beaches, Playa Santa Fe offers handy amenities, including showers and bathrooms. If you prefer your beach days with a side of convenience, this is the sunbathing spot for you.
The amenities don’t stop at toilets, though. Santa Fe also has food stalls, beachfront bars, and restaurants. It’s easy to spend a whole day here without leaving! All you need to do is get comfortable and enjoy the vibes.
Best beach for seafood lovers.
Just north of Playa Tulum, you’ll find Playa Pescadores—only 20 minutes away by car.
If you fancy a spot of exercise, this beach is approximately an hour’s walk from the town center. Just remember to bring plenty of water when the sun is blaring!
Technically part of Playa Paraiso, Playa Pescadores is a stretch of sand that’s home to clear waters, a relaxed vibe, and great food! In particular, this strip is known for its ceviche, so add this to your diary if you’re a seafood lover.
Though Playa Pescadores borders some of the busiest beaches in the area, it’s a relaxed spot that remains quieter throughout the year. Ideal for some downtime with your family, friends, and loved ones.
Best for swimming with turtles.
Heading further up the coast from Playa Tulum to Akumal Beach.
This small expanse of sand and sea sits halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. By car, this is approximately a 30-minute drive.
Akumal Beach is popular for families and travelers who want to swim with sea turtles just off the shore.
You’ll find a few restaurants serving regional dishes, international food, laidback beach bars, and a shop or two for toiletries and other necessities.
You won’t be bored here. Playa Akumal also offers paddleboard classes, dive tours, and a wellness resort. Options for everybody!
Best beach for snorkelers.
Traveling around the Akumal Beach area? Consider making a stop at Soliman Bay on your journey.
This low-key beach is situated south of Akumal, and it’s often overlooked by travelers. However, it’s also only 20 minutes away from Tulum’s center.
However, this bay is a secret treasure hidden by private villas, so you might mistake it for a private area. But anyone can visit this pristine seafront, so take advantage of the clean sands and calm waters.
Alongside a quiet space to swim and lounge, Soliman Bay is an outstanding snorkeling spot. This is thanks to the many rockpools and undisturbed ocean biodiversity.
Don’t forget your goggles and fins!
You can also hire kayaks here, which are ideal for seeing the bay via water.
Best for secret beach lovers
Since you’re beach hopping, you might want to spend some time on Playa Xpu-Ha. Located north of Tulum and 30 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen, this is a local beach that most visitors don’t know about.
You’ll enjoy the serenity of this spot, but you’re not entirely remote. Xpu-Ha Beach still offers beach huts, cocktails, and seafront restaurants. The perfect balance of a secret space and good infrastructure.
Best beach to get away from it all.
Are you considering a day trip on your Playa Tulum trip?
Paamul Beach is situated 20 minutes north of Akumal by car. It’s a popular destination for travelers who want a quieter, more authentic beach day.
Paamul Beach isn’t a tourist hotspot. But it is popular with Quintana Roo residents. Instead of touristy businesses, this beach offers locally-owned beach restaurants with regional specialties and delicious Mexican staples. Plus, the margaritas here are remarkable!
Eating and drinking aren’t the only appeals of this beach. The spot also offers excellent swimming spots and a peaceful space to relax. However, it’s recommended that you bring your own towels, as there aren’t as many umbrellas and loungers available.
Snorkeling is another popular activity on this beach, with colorful reefs and tropical fish hiding beneath the waves. So grab your goggles, and get going!
Playa Del Carmen
Best if you like your beaches with a side of nightlife.
It’s not a Tulum Beaches, Mexico guide if Playa Del Carmen doesn’t show up!
Playa Del Carmen is 65 km/40 miles north, but both spots are still in the Quintana Roo state. This iconic location is a little further than other beaches on the list, but this one-hour drive is absolutely worth the effort.
Known for palm-lined beaches and spectacular reefs, Playa Del Carmen attracts victors from all over the world. Here you can lay back and relax, splash about in the sea, or explore the area’s beach clubs and restaurants.
Some of the quieter beaches on this list provide softer sands and clearer waters, but Playa Del Carmen is a must-visit due to its vibrant atmosphere and buzzing city. Plus, this spot offers excellent nightlife opportunities, so book a hotel and enjoy the area for a weekend—or two!
Best because it’s a secret.
Forget Playa Tulum, Secret Beach is here to show you the true meaning of natural bliss.
How often have you had a beach to yourself? If the answer is never, start your journey to this isolated spot now.
Secret Beach is uniquely located off a natural wonder called Boca Paila. It’s a strip of land that runs alongside the sea, and if you follow the road, you’ll head out into the ocean, giving you unmissable mainland views.
Guests can rest under palm trees, take in the views, or lay back and enjoy a great book without disturbance. Annnnd relax.
It’s only an hour’s drive south in Sian Ka’an.
Best for wildlife lovers.
There is no doubt that Playa Tulum in Mexico is beautiful, but have you heard of Punta Allen?
Situated approximately 2-hours south of Tulum, Punta Allen is technically part of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and this quiet beach sits right at the end of the Boca Paila Peninsula. Due to its further away location, the sand and water are pristine, and you’ll never run into thick crowds.
This is also a hotspot for wildlife watching, and many visitors spot turtles, crocodiles, and dolphins on their visit.
Best for a remote beach day full of turtles.
Ready for a day trip away from Tulum Beach?
X’Cacel Beach is a 1-hour and 40-minute drive from the beach town, so hire a car or order a taxi and get going asap.
Situated north of Tulum, X’Cacel Beach takes slightly more effort to get to, but when you arrive, you’ll see why the journey is necessary. This remote beach offers white sands, surf, and turtle sightings.
Yup, every spring, hundreds of turtles arrive to lay their eggs on the beach! This is the place to come if you haven’t met a turtle before. Preservation is essential here, and a local sanctuary organizes donations from beach users to protect the sea creatures.
Relaxing beach views and one-of-a-kind wildlife all in one place.
Best beach if you love the all-inclusive vibe.
If you’re ready to switch up Playa Tulum views for a nearby alternative, Playa Kantenah is a great option. Only a 30-minute drive north of the town, Kantenah is at the doorstep of one of the most popular all-inclusive resorts in the area—Unico 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Playa Kantenah is for hotel guests only!
This space is open to the public and is often quieter than the packed main beach. However, only guests can access the lounge chairs and drinks services.
While this isn’t the largest beach in the area, it’s long and curves across the bay, giving superb views. Here the sand is golden, and the palm trees are tall. It’s like you’re living in a picture-perfect postcard.
Other things to do in Playa Tulum, Mexico
Beach clubbin’ time!
Playa Tulum might be known for its sun, sea, and sand, but this area is also famous for its luxury beach clubs.
What is a beach club?
These fabulous clubs provide cocktails, music, food, and relaxation all in one place. From party nights to daytime cabanas, a beach club is your one-stop shop for relaxed vibes. There’s nothing like enjoying a sweet cocktail via a beach hut on the beach!
Beach clubs offer a luxury experience with everything you want at your fingertips—and you’re on the beach. Of course, some beach clubs will blow the budget, but many clubs are affordable and worth the expense.
Who doesn’t want to kick back and enjoy the scenery from an exclusive space? Count us in!
Gym on the beach
Are you a fitness lover? You don’t have to sacrifice your gym routine while on vacation. Tulum Beach has amenities for health-conscious visitors.
The Tulum Jungle Gym has become famous throughout the fitness communities, and this social media hit is worth a visit.
Forget your standard gym membership! Instead, this beach variation provides equipment made from stone, wood, rope, and even bamboo! Uh-huh, this is fitness stripped back to basics—and we love it.
Does it look familiar? This gym has been featured on MTV, in Men’s Health, and in countless travel publications.
Explore the lively nightlife scene
After exploring the Tulum Beaches all day, it’s time to dust the sand off and head out for the evening.
Uh-huh, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. This beach town is also known for its foodie dining experience and non-stop nightlife.
As you meander through the town, you’ll find high-end restaurants, hippy eateries, vibrant bars, and low-key cocktail stops. With an abundance of choices, nights here look different every time. Dance parties? Check. Beach bonfires? Check. Traditional margaritas? Also, check.
Whatever your partying style is, Tulum can accommodate! Any hangovers can be slept off on the beach tomorrow—but don’t forget the sunscreen! No one wants to wake up to a painful surprise.
Day trips from Tulum, Mexico:
Tulum cenote tours
If you’re planning a Tulum Beach vacation, you can’t miss a cenote tour.
Cenotes are natural pits created when limestone bedrock collapses and reveals fresh groundwater. Found across the Yucatan Peninsula, these breathtaking rock formations provide hours of entertainment, fun, and awesome pictures.
The best way to explore these geological wonders is via a local tour, which tourist information assistants or online vendors can arrange. Tours include travel, swimming stops, and local commentary from experts.
Have you always dreamed of breathing underwater? Tulum is here to bring your dreams to life. This beachy location isn’t only home to amazing overground views; you’ll also find a whole new world under the sea!
Tulum is home to the Mesoamerican Reef System, a biodiversity strip extending over 1000 km/621 miles. This is the largest reef in the western hemisphere and the second largest in the world.
Take a day away from sunning yourself on the beach. It’s time to snatch those diving fins and find a local guide ASAP!
Punta Laguna Nature Reserve
Attention nature lovers—Tulum Beach holidays aren’t just for lounging around!
Visitors can embrace the delights of the natural world at the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve. This is a popular pick for day trips, and we can see why!
Located 40 miles (64 km) northwest of town, Punta Laguna Nature Reserve is a hidden gem on the Yucatan Peninsula. While this is further away than other activities, the 50-minute drive is worth the effort.
This nature reserve boasts 500 hectares of undisturbed nature, exotic plants, and spider monkeys!
The best way to see this natural wonder is via one of the park’s local community guides, as these dedicated experts know everything about the rich flora and fauna. Guides are available in English, Spanish, Italian, and French.
Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
Sprinkle some culture into your visit with the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins. You don’t need to be a history buff to feel the awe of these ancient structures. They’re even part of the New 7 Wonders of The World—don’t miss them!
Chichen Itza to Tulum takes approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, but don’t let this trip put you off. This spot is home to one of the most prominent Mayan cities, and you’ll find multiple pyramids and temples where Mayans tracked spiritual and celestial occurrences.
The Temple of Kukulkan is the main focal point of Chichen Itza, and we guarantee this will make your jaw drop. You’ll want to make sure your cameras are charged for this excursion.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
If the Secret Beach appeals to you, consider spending a day in the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This protected area is located south of Secret Beach and Boca Paila. We recommend taking a whole day (or two) to explore its rich natural beauty.
As a preserved area, you won’t just find perfect beaches here. You’ll also stumble into mangroves, hiking trails, and thick patches of jungle. The most popular beaches in this reserve are the ones by the parking lots, but if you dare to hike, you can find some isolated bays.
The Biosphere Reserve is also home to ocelots, jaguars, turtles, dolphins, birds, and many more exotic beings. You never know what you’ll meet on your adventure through this space!
Weather guide for Tulum Beaches, Mexico
When booking Playa Tulum, make sure you consider the approximate weather conditions of your stay.
A popular period to visit is from December to April, as these months see lots of sun and little precipitation. Temperatures in this period reach approximate highs of 29°C (84°F) and lows of 22°C (71°F).
The weather from May to November is also very hot, but there’s more rain, and it’s very humid.
During these months, the temperature often reaches 30°C (86°F) and above, with June to August being the hottest period. However, don’t let the rain and humidity put you off— the jungle is at its greenest during this period. Lush wildlife for miles.
Packing list essentials for Playa Tulum, Mexico
Raring to go? Don’t forget to double-check your bags. A trip to the Tulum Beaches isn’t complete without these items:
- Waterproof bag
- Beach towels
- Bathing suits
- Snorkeling goggles and fins
- Smartphone portable charger
- Protective sun hat
- Comfortable shoes
- Flip flops/water shoes
- Spare cash for beach drinks—cheers!
Where to stay in Tulum Beach, Mexico?
Accommodation is vast and varied. No matter your budget or preference, there are multiple choices for all needs.
Villas, hotels, and hostels
In Tulum, you can choose from many world-class designer rooms and resorts in the downtown area and across the beachfront in the Hotel Zone.
If hotels aren’t your thing, consider the many apartments and villa options. These give you more freedom than hotels, and there are multiple price and size options on the market. It’s easier to book apartments online, so don’t wait until you arrive to secure your booking.
Are you planning your travels on a shoestring budget?
Numerous hostels provide affordable accommodation for backpackers! Don’t write these off as low-quality. Tulum’s hostel market is modern, and many luxury hostels are available. Yup, expect Wi-Fi, bars, and free breakfast options.
When you think of Playa Tulum, what comes to mind?
Surf, cocktails, a bronzed tan.
But what about glamping? That’s right! Hotels aren’t the only hip accommodation in this neck of the woods. Glamping is a must-try trend here.
Glamping huts around the main town and coastal areas allow travelers to book in and enjoy luxury camping. No tent pegs are needed here—glamping is all about rejecting the stress of traditional camping. Instead, you can rock up to a pre-made tent with a king-size bed and premium amenities. What a dream!
Many glamping sites offer tropical vibes, great food, and palm-lined settings. Whether you glamp for your whole vacation or only stay for a night, this is a worthwhile experience.
Map of Tulum beaches in Mexico
If you are planning a proper beach-hopping getaway, you’re going to need a map of all the best beaches in the area. So, here you go. You’re welcome!
How to get to Tulum
Jetting into Mexico is exciting. But don’t leave your travel arrangements until the last minute…
Once you’ve landed at Cancun International Airport (the closest to Tulum), it’s time to make the last leg of your journey. Cancun is approximately 120 km (75 miles) from Tulum.
Traveling from Cancun to Tulum via public transport is a popular option, too. Save the effort of hiring a car by taking one of the many options, including first-class buses, standard buses, and shuttle minivans.
A standard bus will take 2 hours and 25 minutes, which is longer than a hire car. But these buses are frequent and cost a fraction of the price of a car.
Knowledge is power—start researching all the places Bookaway goes in Mexico.
Tulum Beaches, Mexico: The takeaway
Rest and rejuvenate on the spectacular Tulum Beaches in Mexico. With powdery white sands, warm seas, and a never-ending list of beach-hopping routes, this vacation will be one to remember. And the fun doesn’t stop in the day—the town is also alive in the nighttime.
Cancun International Airport (CUN) is 120 km (75 miles) from Tulum—a 1.5-hour drive.
Tulum Town is the closest.
Yes, it’s safe to visit. But always be aware of your belongings and take general travel precautions while there.
Yes, the beaches are swimming-friendly! Just take note of the weather, as waves can be more challenging in windy weather.