Being a small beach town with only around 45,000 permanent residents, finding deciding where to stay in Tulum isn’t a very difficult task as you only have a few spots to choose from. If you’re on a budget then you’ll most likely be staying in the town itself or “Pueblo.” If you want to stay right on the beach and spend a bit more money then you’ll have around 4 beach zones to choose from.
North Beach zone is quieter and closer to the ruins. Beach Town is between the North and Middle beach zone and the cheapest spot to stay on the beach. Middle Beach Zone is where to stay in Tulum if you’re looking to party with fancy restaurants and beach clubs. Southern Beach Zone is quieter, family-friendly, and health-focused, with more yoga retreats and gatherings.
Best Place to Stay for Partying: Middle Beach Zone or Downtown
Best Place to stay on a Budget: Pueblo (Downtown)
Best place to stay for relaxation and quiet: North Beach Zone
Best place to stay for families and eco-tourism: South Beach Zone
Where To Stay in Tulum
This will most likely be the first place you’ll see when arriving in Tulum, either by bus, taxi, or car. Its small town referred to as the “Pueblo” features a large variety of restaurants and more affordable hotels than the beach zone.
If you’re on a budget then this is where you’ll want to stay in Tulum. The downside is that the town may not be as safe at night as the beach zones, and crime is notoriously worse here.
Not only is there a wide array of affordable, authentic Mexican restaurants to enjoy, but you’ll also find some fantastic bars and fun nightlife and street parties. Even if you’re staying in the town, the beach is still accessible, only around 5km away.
In our opinion, the best way to access the beach is via bicycle which hotels may provide for free, or you can rent for around 150-250 pesos per day from your hotel, hostel, or a bike shop.
Aldea Zama is a new developing neighbourhood just south of the Pueblo that is an ideal place to stay in Tulum if you’re looking for luxury, convenience, and quiet. It’s halfway between the beach and Pueblo and is still partly under construction.
Another popular affluent neighbourhood and place to stay in Tulum is the emerging and modern La Veleta. if you’re looking to stay on a budget, then this is definitely not your area. This area offers premium apartments and luxury accomodation. Check out our full extensive guide on La Veleta here.
- Cheaper than beach zone
- More shopping, restaurants, and bars
- Closer to public transportation for day trips
- Beach is further away, traffic can make the journey slow.
- The town is not as safe as the beach zone
North Beach Zone
If you’re looking for a quiet area to stay in Tulum then the north beach zone might be for you. Located beside Parque Nacional Tulum just south of the Mayan Ruins, it’s a long stretch of white sandy beach that even extends past the Ruins north to the small quiet suburb of Tankah. There are also areas with more of a rocky coastline.
Even though it’s the quietest area of Tulum, you’ll still find many amazing restaurants, beach clubs, and hotels. You’ll find the popular Playa Paraiso, Playa Santa Fe, and Playa Pescadores, among some of the best beaches in Tulum.
- Close to the Mayan Ruins (walking distance)
- Quieter and more relaxed than other areas
- Beautiful white sand beaches
- Not many restaurants to choose from
- Crowded beach sometimes
- Not much nightlife
The “beach town” is a small group of bars, restaurants, hotels, and boutique shops around 5km between the north and middle beach zones, although you could technically say it’s in the middle beach zone. Most of the beach is perfect for swimming, with nice sandy shores but further south it can get rocky.
- A lot of shops and restaurants to choose from
- Cheaper than the other beach areas
- Beach rockier in areas, and not as nice as other beaches
- Can get busy and noisy
Middle Beach Zone
If you’re looking to be right in the middle of the action then this is where to stay in Tulum. This is where you’ll find the most upscale restaurants, beach clubs, bars, nightclubs, and shops. Casa Jaguar and Gitano are the two most popular beach clubs here, definitely a must-see.
If you’re not looking to party, don’t worry there are other things to do here. The beach is of course the most popular thing to do, a long and wide stretch of sandy beach where you can relax and enjoy the sun. There are a variety of excellent restaurants to enjoy including Safari, Arca, and Hartwood.
- Middle of the action and considered the best location in Tulum
- Great for nightlife
- Wide selection of restaurants, bars, and boutique shops
- It can be quite busy and noisy at night
- Everything is much more expensive than in other areas
- Difficulty accessing the beach if you aren’t a guest, beaches aren’t as public.
Southern Beach Zone
If you’re looking for a more healthy and eco-conscious oriented area then this is where to stay in Tulum. If you’re travelling with family and kids then this is also an ideal spot for you as it’s more family-oriented, with fewer parties, and not as noisy.
It’s a central location nearby natural sites such as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, multiple lagoons, cenotes, and stunning beaches. It’s also close enough to the Middle Beach Zone if you’re thinking of heading there for a night out. If you’re into yoga, check out some popular yoga studios such as Sanara, Alaya, Yäan Wellness, and SUP Yoga.
- Best for families, yoga and health-conscious enthusiasts
- Most eco-friendly and environmentally conscious area
- Quieter than the middle beach zone with fewer parties, but close enough for easy access
- Stunning beaches
- Quite expensive
- Not as many restaurants, shops, or bars as in other areas.