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Cancun to Tulum Ruins Day Trip

Well-known for its pristine beaches and cenotes, Tulum is one of the most secluded and relaxing places for a holiday in Mexico. Its proximity to Cancun makes this magical town the perfect one-day getaway. Tulum ruins such as El Castilo and the Temple of The Descending God make for a fascinating exploration. The beautiful drive from Cancun to Tulum through the picturesque Mexican countryside, which takes as little as two hours, is also something to look out for.

Why take a day trip from Cancun to Tulum Ruins?

At a distance of fewer than 85 miles from Cancun, Tulum is the ideal location for a quick one-day or half-day visit. Once you reach Tulum, you will be greeted by blue lagoons and palm trees that rise from exquisite white sand. You will also find hidden coves, underwater caverns, and some of the Yucatan Peninsula’s famous cenotes. 

Once you have soaked in the sights of the beaches and blue waters, you can head to the many archeological sites in Tulum. It is home to The Temple of Frescoes, El Castilo, and The Temple of the Descending God. Tulum combines the quaint beauty of a beach town with several of the most awe-inspiring historical ruins in the country, making it a unique destination that you should definitely visit.

Tulum Tour Options

Cancun to Tulum Ruins

Guided Tours

Since historical sites such as the Temple of Frescoes, El Castilo, and the Temple of the Descending God, and architectural marvels such as the Templo Dios del Viento are amongst the primary attractions in Tulum, it is advisable to visit the town with a guide, who can give you insight into their intriguing secrets. Many guided tours also offer pick-up and drop-off at hotels in Cancun, making the entire experience hassle-free. These tours will also include visits to the Tulum beach and a few gorgeous cenotes near the town.

cancun to tulum day trips

Combo Tours

These tours generally span an entire day, and cover several attractions in and around Tulum. Besides the services of a local guide, and taking in the beauty of several natural wonders around Tulum and Coba such as the Cenote Dzonot Wayak, combo tours also allow you to relish some of the best dishes that this location has to offer. Visit a couple of local Mayan settlements such as Tres Reyes and learn about their rich culture and history. Meeting and interacting with a Shaman from one of these settlements is also a fascinating experience.

Cancun to Tulum Ruins discount tours & tickets

Depending on the tickets, visitors between the age of 3-12 or 6-12 years enjoy reduced pricing, while those under the age of 3 get free entry upon presentation of a valid ID. All visitors aged 13 years and above will pay the full price.

Which Cancun to Tulum Ruins Tour Should You Opt For?

When it comes to a tour of Tulum, there are options aplenty. If you are unsure about which one to pick, here are a few suggestions:

1. For those on a budget

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, the Tulum Mayan Ruins & Dos Cenotes Tour offers a bang for your buck. You will explore the Tulum ruins, visit the famous Dos Ojos cenote, and interact with an expert local guide to learn about the culture of Tulum. The package is a great bargain for all the experiences it offers.

2. For those who want a guided tour

If you want to learn more about the Tulum ruins, opt for a guided tour. A guide proficient in two languages (Spanish and English) will help you understand the Mayan way of life that persisted for centuries. The fascinating tales of bygone eras told by your guide are a fitting accompaniment to the incredible historical sites that you will see.

3. For those looking to go beyond Tulum

The benefit of the combo tours is that your day will be spent discovering both Tulum and its surroundings. While Tulum itself is a great place to explore, you might want to venture to other nearby places such as Coba. A few miles away from Tulum, many Mayan communities, ruins, and cenotes are worth a visit.

While not an exhaustive list, here are the top ruins to see in Tulum.

temple of frescoes tulum
  • Temple of the Descending God: Consisting of a single room, this temple features a carving of an upside-down figure with wings and a headdress.
  • The Temple of the Frescoes: This temple was once used as an observatory to track the movements of the sun. Apart from using serpents as a motif, the temple also features mural paintings, stucco figures, and sculptures like that of the Descending God.
el castillo tulum
  • El Castillo: Considered to be a landmark for sailors, El Castillo is perhaps the most famous of all Tulum ruins. It is believed to have been constructed in stages and has a small shrine that is believed to have been used as a beacon for incoming canoes.
  • Templo Dios del Viento: Templo Dios del Viento (God of Winds Temple) guards the sea entrance bay of Tulum. It is dedicated to Huracán, the one-legged Mayan god of the wind, storms, and fire.

Plan Your Visit

Getting there
Best time to visit
Food & drink
cancun to tulum
  • Cab: This is the most efficient way to get to Tulum from Cancun, albeit at a steep price. Taxis are available directly from the Cancun airport, but these cabs tend to be more expensive than the ones you can find elsewhere in the city. Many of the cab drivers will only accept cash as payment.
  • Bus: The incredibly reliable ADO bus network will get you from Cancun to Tulum at the cheapest rates. You can choose to go to Tulum city or the archaeological site. Payments can be made by card or cash, and tickets can be purchased directly at the ADO counter even before you get on the bus.
  • Guided tour: Several guided tours also include express pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Cancun. Since the transportation cost will generally be a part of the tour package, it might be cheaper on the whole if you only intend to explore Tulum with a tour guide.
best time to visit tulum

There is a window between October and December, during which Tulum morphs into a true paradise. While the entire peninsula is quite warm throughout the year, during this time, the temperature never falls below 60oF. There are no torrential rains and hurricanes from October through December. Since Tulum rarely gets crowded in these months, it is a perfect getaway for those seeking a relaxing destination where social distancing is possible.

cancun to tulum ruins

Mexican food is regarded by many as some of the most flavor-intensive food on the planet. You will be able to relish delectable Mayan dishes if you pick one of the aforementioned combo tours. 

If you want to eat the best that the peninsula has to offer, head on to Loco Tulum, Chamicos, Taqueria Don Beto, or Taqueria Honorio. Here, you will get to eat some of the most authentic local cuisine made with the freshest local produce. Chilaquiles and corn tortillas are some of the dishes you can try out.

where to stay in tulum

If you're looking to stay in Tulum, you can pick from a number of accommodation options:

tulum shopping

Tulum is a tourist destination loved by tourists from across the world, and naturally, you can find a host of shops that thrive on the flock of tourists that come here every year. If you are looking for something emblematic of the region, you will find plenty of souvenir shops in and around the town’s famous ruins and beaches. 

Mexican chocolates, hammocks, huaraches, jewelry, and the famous Lucha Libre masks are available for purchase in several shops in almost all souvenir shops in and around Tulum.

things to do in tulum

Apart from the visit to the famous Mayan ruins, here are a few other things you absolutely should try in Tulum: 

  • Take a mud bath in the Laguna de Kaan Luum, a lagoon with a huge cenote in the middle. 
  • Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a park where you can find thousands of intriguing plant and animal species.
  • Discover the cave complex at Cenote Caracol, which is an underground spring with hanging stalactites.

Visitor Tips for Cancun to Tulum Tours

  • Choose a secluded cenote, as the more popular ones are crowded and may overcharge you.
  • Visit in the off-season, particularly between August to early December so you can avoid crowds and get hotels for cheaper rates. 
  • Rent a bike and ride around Tulum’s open roads. The beach is also very close to the town, so you can use the bike for leisurely rides along the beach. 
  • Use biodegradable supplies as the small town is overrun by tourists and faces problems with waste management. 
  • Shop in the boutiques for souvenirs and trinkets. 
  • Find a taqueria or a taco stand for a more affordable and authentic meal. 
  • Cross the roads carefully as pedestrians do not get preferential treatment.
  • Get travel insurance; the hospitals in Tulum are privatized and are quite expensive.
  • Carry plenty of sunscreen and beach towels.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cancun to Tulum Ruins Day Trips

Can I take a guided Tulum ruins tour?

Yes, you can take a guided tour of the Tulum ruins! It is recommended that you take a guided tour to learn more about Tulum’s rich culture and history.

What is the best Cancun to Tulum tour?

There are many available tours and the best ones would be the combo tours that allow you to explore Tulum as well as Coba.

What types of Cancun to Tulum tours are available?

There are many kinds of tours available, such as guided tours and combo tours.

Who can avail of a discount on their Cancun to Tulum ruins tours?

Based on the ticket, children under 11 or 12 years of age can typically get a discount on their Cancun to Tulum ruins day tours.

What happens if I need to cancel my Cancun to Tulum ruins tour tickets?

In most cases, you can get a full refund up to 24 hours before the commencement of the tour. Check the cancellation policy of your specific tour to know more.

Should I purchase my Tulum tickets in advance?

Yes! If you purchase tickets in advance, you avoid missing out on potential discounts.

What can I do in Tulum?

You can visit the Tulum ruins, enjoy authentic Mexican food, stroll through the sandy beaches, or take a dip in the cenotes.

What is the best time to visit the Tulum?

October, November, and December are the best months to visit Tulum.

How long does it take to get to the Tulum from Cancun?

It takes around 2 hours to go from Cancun to Tulum by road.

Is Tulum wheelchair-accessible?

While most hotels and resorts are wheelchair accessible; some of the ruins, however, are not.

How much time do I need to explore the Tulum ruins?

You can explore most of Tulum in less than a day.