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Tulum, Mexico: Beach vs. Pueblo Life

Like many travelers headed to Tulum, Mexico you might be wondering what the differences are between staying on the beach vs. staying in the little village/pueblo of Tulum that is set 5km inland. After traveling to Tulum a few times and staying extensively in both places, I feel like I can help and properly break it down for you!

You can’t go wrong staying anywhere on the beach in Tulum. We like to wake up every morning and go for a long walk/jog along the electric cerulean shores of the Caribbean, soak in the early morning sunlight bouncing off the sparkling sand and search for the perfect spot to have a fruit plate or smoothie for breakfast. If “the life” exists, this is it.

Once we have breakfast and make our way back to our eco-chic digs, we’re just in time for one of the many daily dips in the sea to cool off. The water hovers around 80 degrees and is perfectly refreshing yet not at all cold and so clear that it doesn’t even seem real!

Tulum Beach is teeming with fine dining establishments and you’ll probably need a reservation to get into most of them, though a lot of them only accept day-of and in-person reservations, so be sure to make a point of going to the restaurant in advance to stake your spot. They also often only take cash, so hit the ATM on the way.


  • You’re right on the beach!
  • Don’t need a car
  • Easy access to restaurants
  • Lots of boutique hotels to choose from


  • Lodging is more expensive
  • Food is more expensive
  • Busier – need reservations
  • Not very authentic Mexico experience

Where We've Stayed

Hip Hotel, Tulum, Mexico

Hip Hotel Tulum


Casa Violeta Tulum


Ana y Jose Tulum

If you’re up for more of an authentic Mexico experience with an added jungle adventure, book a house on Airbnb in Tulum Pueblo. I did this on the most recent trip and it unexpectedly changed the whole trip for the better! We had our own pool, everybody got their own room and we were able to cook breakfasts and the occasional snack at home to save a little money.

Since the town of Tulum is set away from the beach, we found it convenient to have a car but you can also rent bikes or get around by taxis fairly easily. You can stock up on groceries at the local Chedraui, but for some reason the lines there were always crazy long and slow. At least it was cheap!

We loved being able to bike into town for dinner, being mixed in among locals living in the area, shopping with the locals, local prices, and the thrill of being in the jungle!

Colorful Shopping in Tulum

Where to Eat


Don Cafeto

Near Tulum Ruins so a little touristy but really good local food!

Burrito Amor, Tulum, Mexico
Burrito Amor, Tulum, Mexico
Burrito Amor, Tulum, Mexico

Burrito Amor

Amazing drinks & burritos!


Flor de Michoacan

Everything fresh! Smoothies, popsicles, fruit bowls, etc.

Where We've Stayed


Villa Marusya

Things to Do


Tulum Ruins

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