The ancient Maya ruin of Tulum is a 2 hour drive from Cancun ( 130 km ). There is easy access via Federal Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum. It’s unofficially the southern end to the Riviera Maya.
Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.
If you prefer to go on your own with no guide, the cost of entrance is just 80 pesos = $3-4 USD. Because the ruins are a little removed from the parking lot, a folkloric train is available to take you to the entrance and is another 20 pesos = $1 USD per person.
Whilst generally safer than other parts of Mexico , and far from the gang activity that plagues a lot of the country, Tulum still has a few issues: petty crime, sketchy areas (and people) and even hurricanes.
Tulum site is one of the very few walled cities build by the Maya. Tulum was a major crossroads of trade from both land and sea managing trade from Central and South America into the Yucatan. Tulum honored the “diving god” or “descending god” and “the god of the bee”, an important insect for the Maya even today.
Tulum is definitely touristy , make nony mistake, but it still maintains more of a small town feel than neighboring tourist resorts like Playa del Carmen and Cancún.
By virtue of being a UNESCO site and a World Wonder, Chichen Itza is pretty crowded throughout the year. Especially more so during the equinoxes. If you wish to explore Mayan ruins in some peace, then Tulum is a better option. Even better , go to Ek Balam or Coba.
Finally, the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Tulum is via Mexico’s incredibly reliable bus system. The ADO bus network is safe, clean, comfortable, reliable, and, most importantly, cheap . There are daily buses between both the Cancun airport and Tulum , as well as between downtown Cancun and Tulum .
But among the exempt is Ahau Tulum, owned by Roberto Palazuelos , president of the Tulum Hotel Association.
When to Visit the Riviera Maya The dry season begins in late November and ends in February, making this season the best time to visit the Riviera Maya. Avoid Riviera Maya travel from March through May , however – the heat and humidity are oppressive.
There is not any protection from rain while walking around. It is usually hot walking around, so comfortable clothes , shoes, sunscreen, hat, glasses and water are all good things to keep in mind. If you drive to the ruins , there are many gift shops by the entrance.
Tulum is more the destination of choice for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path, back-to-nature adventure where everything is much more rustic, small-scale, and low-key than in Playa del Carmen . Playa del Carmen is the better choice for those looking for a little more action and modern accommodation than in Tulum .
Though quite difficult to officially determine whether Tulum is safer than Cancun or vice versa, after spending time in both areas, I do find Tulum to be a bit safer given its relaxed and easygoing beach vibes.
At the end of the day, the choice boils down to what you really want to get out of your Mexican experience. For those looking for more of a tranquil and relaxing getaway, Tulum is lovely. While larger travel groups, families and those itching to let loose would probably find Cancun to be more to their liking.
So, a trip to Tulum for two people costs around M$7,837 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs M$15,673 in Tulum . If you’re traveling as a family of three or four people, the price person often goes down because kid’s tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared.