Tulum Solo Travel: A Female Solo Travel Guide to Tulum Mexico

If you’re planning to visit Tulum solo, you’ll find everything you need here!  Tulum is a special place.  Far less touristy, and much cheaper, than Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Tulum has become THE place to visit on the Mexican Riviera Maya, especially for solo travellers in Mexico. The first time I visited Tulum was with a friend and then came back to spend a couple of weeks here alone, so I’m sharing all my tips for Tulum solo travel.   

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Know Before You Go to Tulum

Before travelling to Tulum, make sure you book accommodation and popular attractions in advance as hotels and tickets can sell out.


$$$ Sueños Tulum one of the best-rated beachfront hotels in Tulum

$$ Maison Tulum great value family-run hotel close to the bus station

$ Hostel Che Tulum the best hostel in Tulum, with a hot tub & pool


1. Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid Tour from Tulum

2. Akumal Bay: Cenotes And Snorkeling with Turtles

3. Mayan Ruins & Sian Kaan Reserve Tour

Why Visit Tulum?

Tulum used to be a chilled-out little fishing town, now as it grows in size and popularity, it still manages to maintain that hippy vibe.  With picturesque Mayan ruins next to a turquoise ocean, fantastic snorkelling and diving, gorgeous beaches and plenty of excellent restaurants, it’s not hard to see why Tulum is so popular with everyone from backpackers to honeymooners and female solo travellers. 

It is less touristy than Cancun and Playa del Carmen but there is plenty going on here and you can make the most of your Mexico solo trip whether you prefer beach resorts or small town vibes with lots of delicious food!

Is Tulum Safe?

I feel like I need to address this first, as most people who I talk to about Mexico solo travel immediately freak out and assume that you will be assaulted, robbed or kidnapped the second you land at the airport. 

YES, Tulum is safe.  The Riviera Maya and Cancun have come under scrutiny in the press recently for some safety issues regarding gun violence, but these are isolated incidents, which don’t usually affect tourists.

Tulum is not Cancun and is a lot more laid back, there are no issues here with violent crime.  Likewise, the horror stories about tainted drinks in all-inclusive resorts won’t don’t affect Tulum either – Tulum is blissfully free of mega-hotels and resorts, instead you will find small boutique hotels and eco-lodges.

Tulum was ranked as the 2nd best place to visit in Mexico by US News, ahead of other top destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Mexico City, and is known as a safe haven for locals and visitors alike.

Follow That Dream street sign in Tulum - Tulum is Hard to Beat as a Solo Travel Destination in Mexico
Tulum is Hard to Beat as a Solo Travel Destination in Mexico

There are some basic safety tips for solo travellers in Tulum though, like avoid walking on isolated beaches or roads at night, don’t flash expensive jewellery or cash, and don’t end up drunk in a pool of vomit with no one to look after you.  Follow the same basic safety tips you would anywhere, and you will be absolutely fine.

What to Wear in Tulum

Tulum is a chilled-out beach destination, so unlike big cities like Mexico City, you can wear pretty much what you like.  Comfy sandals are useful for walking around the ruins and cycling to and from the beach, but you’ll probably spend most of your time in flip-flops. 

The sun is strong here, so a hat is very useful, as well as something to cover your shoulders to protect yourself from sunburn.  Don’t forget to bring some reef-safe sunscreen, and a soothing after-sun bar in case you do get burned.

Comfortable, light dresses, shorts and tops are standard here, and of course you’ll want a bikini or swimsuit for the beach.  When you go to eat or go inside, a coverup or top to pull on over your swimsuit is a good idea – I’m no prude but I don’t want to see anyone’s baps out while I’m having lunch!

In the evening, or around cenotes, mosquitos can be a problem, so remember to bring eco-friendly insect repellant and cover your skin at dusk.  Some cool linen trousers for the evenings can help to stop the little blighters feasting on you.

Getting to Tulum Safely

Tulum is on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, part of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Most visitors to Tulum will fly into Cancun Airport and travel down the coast to Tulum, although the new Tulum Airport opened on 1st December 2023 so you may be able to find direct flights from the US to Tulum or change in Mexico City to fly to Tulum from there.

Street Art in Tulum - Tulum Solo Travel Guide
Street Art in Tulum – Tulum Solo Travel Guide

How to Get to Tulum from Cancun by Bus

It is safe and easy to take a bus from Cancun to Tulum, as there are ADO buses that run directly from Cancun Airport to Tulum, or you may have to change buses at the ADO bus station in Cancun.  ADO is the most reliable bus company, and has clean, comfortable buses.

If you are on a tight budget then there are other cheaper 2nd class buses such as Mayab that also run the route from Cancun bus station, but these take longer as they stop along the way to pick up passengers and aren’t as comfy.

Aim to arrive in Cancun by mid-afternoon at the latest, so you will arrive in Tulum while it is still daylight.  I hate arriving in a new place alone in the dark, no matter how safe it is!

The journey takes about 2 hours, so if your flight lands late at night a taxi ride will be expensive, but you can arrange a semi-private transfer at reasonable rates if you prefer.

How to Get to Tulum from Cancun by Train

Although that section of the route isn’t operational yet, the Tren Maya train will run from Cancun Airport directly to Cancun.  I can’t find official information about opening times or expected schedules for that section of the route yet, but will update this page as soon as I do.  The official Maya Train website is just in Spanish at the moment and isn’t much use.

Where to Stay in Tulum for Solo Female Travellers

Tulum is split into two distinct areas or zones. The cheapest places to eat and stay are in the town centre, which is divided by the main road which runs from Cancun to Belize.  Along the beachfront, the Zona Hotelera hotel zone has sprung up, where more expensive restaurants and hotels in Tulum have been built.

I have a whole post about where to stay in Tulum on a budget so check that out for some cheap accommodation that is still gorgeous, and these are some of my favourite places to stay in Tulum:

Hotels in Tulum

The best value hostels and hotels in Tulum are in the ‘town’ centre, but on the beach, you will find plenty of amazing hotels and cabanas with beachfront views if you fancy a splurge, although you might end up spending +$300 USD a night for the privilege. 

I stayed at the lovely Joy Tulum which was a fabulous place with cabins and an outdoor pool, but it has sadly closed.  These other Tulum hotels are on my list for my next visit!

Sueños Tulum is one of the best-rated beachfront hotels in Tulum, and guests love the beach access and delicious food. 

Glamp Ikal Tulum is a cheaper option but still with great reviews, and away from the beachfront, Teetotum Hotel also gets good reviews for the location on the edge of Tulum town yet for a much lower price.

Maison Tulum is a lovely family-run hotel just 2 blocks from the bus station and walking distance to lots of restaurants and bars.  It’s great value too!


The Cabins at Joy Tulum
Cabins at a Joy Tulum (which has since closed)

Hostels in Tulum

Hostels can be fantastic places for solo travellers as it is easy to meet people and make friends – even if you book a private room instead of a dorm bed.  If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before then make sure you pack everything you need for a hostel stay!

Che Tulum

One of the best hostels in Tulum is Hostel Che Tulum, which gets excellent reviews, and is the only hostel in Tulum with a hot tub!  You can also choose between private rooms and dorm rooms here, take a dip in the pool or join one of the group activities like yoga classes, free tours and BBQ nights.

Mama’s Hostel

Mama’s Hostel also gets fabulous reviews, and is conveniently located close to the bus station. 

Selina Tulum

Both of those hostels are in the town of Tulum, closer to restaurants and transport to other places in Mexico.  However, if you prefer to be right by the beach then Selina Tulum is the only beachfront hostel in Tulum.  It’s more expensive than most of the other hostels but that’s what you pay for being on the beach!


Apartments & Airbnb in Tulum

There are also plenty of options for Airbnb in Tulum which you can browse here.  You can also find some great deals on apartments and rooms in Tulum on Booking, which often have better cancellation terms than Airbnb, and no extra service fees or cleaning fees!


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What to Do in Tulum Solo

Tulum Mayan Ruins

The Mayan ruins at Tulum are certainly in a spectacular location.  Perched on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, these are probably the most picturesque ruins you will ever see.  They are very popular of course and get incredibly busy and overcrowded so arrive as early as you can, for a much quieter, cooler visit! 

The ruins open at 8am, so aim to be there at opening time.

To get to the ruins, most hotels and hostels in Tulum will offer bike hire so you can cycle to the ruins along the bike paths, and then explore for the rest of the day on your bike.  Make sure your bike has a lock, you don’t want it wandering off while you’re in the ruins!  Also, be sure to check the brakes and the seat height carefully before you set off.

Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and your swimsuit, as you can go to the beach for a swim right beneath the ruins.

There isn’t much signage to explain what you are looking at, so brush up first with a guidebook, or consider joining a guided tour to learn more about the site.

Tulum Ruins and the Beautiful Beach below - Tulum Solo Travel Guide
Tulum Ruins and the Beautiful Beach below – Tulum Solo Travel Guide

Mystika Immersive & Tulum Tower Experience

While you are in the area of the Tulum Ruins there are two relatively new experiences that you can check out if you are interested.  I haven’t tried either of these myself but they both get good reviews:

According to their website, Mystika Immersive is “a one-of-a-kind sensory experience” where you explore halls filled with images, videos and sounds, designed to take you “on a journey to connect with Mayan cosmology, with Mexico’s most impressive nature sanctuaries, and with the spiritual power of horses: healing, wisdom and evolution totems.”  >>>LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS

The Tulum Tower, on the other hand, is a different kind of experience 35 meters (118 feet) up in the air where you can enjoy amazing bird’s eye views of the Tulum ruins, the rainforest and the town.  Drinks and food are additional, but it sounds like great fun – as long as you’re not afraid of heights!  >>>LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS

Check out the Street Art in Tulum

While you are wandering around the town of Tulum, keep an eye out for lots of street art adorning the walls.  There are colourful murals all over the downtown area, so just take a walk and enjoy. 

A popular stop for Instagrammers is the sculpture Ven a La Luz, at the Ahau Hotel in the beach zone.  The sculpture was originally part of an art festival but now has a permanent home here – with a cost of 60 pesos to come and take a photo of it. 

A lot of Tulum is certainly Insta-worthy, but I prefer exploring the town area over the beach as its cheaper and is much less touristy, but it’s hard to beat those pretty scenes around the zona hotelera and beaches.

Ven a La Luz Sculpture in Tulum
Ven a La Luz Sculpture in Tulum

Tulum Solo Travel Activities: Hit the Beach

The beaches in Tulum are gorgeous, assuming that the sargassum seaweed isn’t covering the sand.  The seaweed in Tulum tends to be worse in the summer months, from April to August so try to avoid this period if you can.

The Best Tulum Beaches

Arguably, the best beach in Tulum is Playa Ruinas which is inside the Tulum Archaeological complex at the ruins, for that picture-perfect dip in the water next to ancient Mayan temples.

Other popular spots are Playa Paraíso, and the secluded Las Palmas beach. 

If you have snorkelling gear then bring it with you, or hire it from one of the dive shops – the sea is crystal clear and you might spot turtles swimming off the shore if you’re lucky!

If you’re alone in Tulum, avoid bringing expensive kit you’ll have to leave on the beach while you’re in the water.  Alternatively, try one of these dry bags to keep your phone safe and dry with you in the water.

Enjoy the Beaches in Tulum - A Beach with a bike parked against a palm tree
Enjoy the Beaches in Tulum

Solo Travel Activities in Tulum

Tulum isn’t just about beaches, so if you want more to do than just relaxing, there are plenty of fun things to do for solo travellers in Tulum.  You could take a bike tour, kiteboarding lessons or zipline through the jungleA horseback ride through the jungle is another unique way to explore.

Swim, Snorkel or Dive in a Cenote

Cenotes are natural freshwater swimming holes that are dotted all around the Yucatan Peninsula, and taking a dip in a cenote is one of my favourite things to do in Tulum! 

I visited Dos Ojos cenote for swimming and snorkelling (which is easy to get to by collectivo), then La Calavera (Temple of Doom) and Casa Cenote for a day of diving in cenotes in Tulum

Diving in a cenote was incredible, although there weren’t as many fish and sealife to see, the water was beautifully clear, and it felt like another world in the caverns with mangrove roots reaching down into the water.

There are various cenote tours you can join if you’d rather not go alone, or there are several cenotes that are easy to visit alone if you are happy taking public transport or a taxi.

Cenote Diving in Tulum Mexico
Cenote Diving in Tulum Mexico

What to do in Tulum Alone: Dive with Crocodiles

Not your average beach holiday activity, I admit!  If you are an adrenaline-seeking solo traveller, this is definitely worth the cash to stretch your budget, mainly just to say you’ve been diving with crocodiles and to see the reaction on everyone’s faces! 

It wasn’t as scary as it sounds, although if you’re afraid of the dark I wouldn’t recommend it, and you’ll need to be an experienced diver to give it a go.  You can read about my personal experience night diving with crocodiles in Tulum to see if it is up your alley!

Snorkel with Turtles at Akumal

Sadly, Akumal isn’t the paradise for turtles as it once was, with hotel developments and tourists taking their toll on the fragile habitat of the turtles. 

If you do snorkel here, make sure you have reef-safe sunscreen, take all your rubbish home with you and do not get too close to the turtles. 

You can take an official ‘turtle tour’ where you will be led through a cordoned-off area close to the beach.  Life jackets are mandatory, which you can hire from the many touts on the beach.

However, if you already have snorkel gear, I advise walking straight past all of this and turn right on the beach to pick a spot to sunbathe.  I snorkelled right off the beach and spotted a turtle just hanging out and eating seagrass.

A Turtle in Akumal - The Best Things to do in Tulum
A Turtle in Akumal – The Best Things to do in Tulum

To get here, take a taxi, or any collectivo or 2nd class bus from Tulum to Playa del Carmen will drop you off on the main road by Akumal, and you then walk to the beach about 800m away.  On the way back, flag down a collectivo to head back to Tulum.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

This large natural reserve of jungle, marsh and mangroves is filled with animals and bird species.  If you’re lucky you can spot turtles, crocodiles and manatees!   I didn’t personally go here, but someone at my hostel took a kayak tour to Sian Ka’an and said it was incredible.  If you choose to explore, it is best to go with a guide, either arranged from Tulum or Punta Allen.

Looking for tours in Tulum?  Check out these options from GetYourGuide:



Tulum Solo Travel: Visiting Mayan Ruins Outside Tulum

If you are visiting Tulum, I highly recommend you spend some more time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting colonial towns like Merida or Valladolid, and seeing some of the other Mayan ruins here, which are all different and have their own charms. 

The easiest ones to reach from Tulum are Coba and the world-famous Chichen Itza, UNESCO site and one of the new Wonders of the World.

READ MORE: The Best 2 Week Yucatan Itinerary

Chichen Itza

If you have enough time in Mexico, I’d definitely recommend spending the night somewhere closer to Chichen Itza, in Valladolid or Pisté (the closest village to Chichen Itza), or even staying at the hotel which is inside the ruins.  That way, you can visit the ruins in the early morning so it is much quieter and cooler!  If you are only in Mexico for short time, then a day trip to Chichen Itza from Tulum is a great way to see this incredible archaeological site from Tulum.

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Claire at Chichen Itza Mexico Alone
Claire at Chichen Itza Mexico Alone

Cobá Archaeological Site

Cobá is a large Maya site about 45 minutes’ drive or bus ride from Tulum, and is definitely off the beaten track!  You can hire bikes inside the site to ride around and explore, which is a lot quicker than walking, or you can hire pedi-cabs if you’re not up to walking or cycling. 

It is possible to climb one of the pyramids here, but the steps are uneven and getting down is a lot harder than climbing up, so watch your step!

I spent the night at Cobá in order to visit the Mayan ruins early next morning, then hired a bike to visit several cenotes in the afternoon. 

I stayed at the basic but reasonable Hotel Sacbe in Cobá, or you can join a day tour to Coba from Tulum which usually also includes visits to the cenotes as well.

Foodie Experiences for Solo Travellers in Tulum

I love food, and a great way to meet people when you’re travelling alone is to bond over a shared love of food!  Learning to cook authentic Mexican food in a cooking class is educational, fun and delicious! Riviera Kitchen is one of the popular cooking classes in Tulum and it gets great reviews.

If you prefer to just eat the food, why not try a food tour in Tulum?  Reviews of the tour suggest it’s better if you are new to Mexican cuisine, so it’s a good introduction if this is your first Mexico trip.

Delicious Tacos in Tulum Pueblo
Delicious Tacos in Tulum Pueblo

Where to Eat in Tulum

Places to Eat in Tulum Centre

My favourite place to eat in Tulum on a budget is a proper locals place called Antojitos a la Chiapaneca.  It’s on Avenida Tulum, not far from the bus station.  Here you can choose from cheap and delicious tacos, sopes and other tasty delights, to which you then add your own salad and salsas.  No frills but quick and super cheap!

For seafood, head to El Camello Jr for huge plates of ceviche, freshly grilled fish and delicious seafood.  This is a popular place so get here early or prepare to wait.

For dessert, it has to be the Cremeria La Campanella, a delicious ice cream parlour a few doors down from La Chiapaneca.  Treat yourself!

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Places to Eat by the Beach

Eating anywhere on the beachfront expect to pay a premium for the views, but there are a few gems here which won’t break the bank and are a laid-back option for any solo traveller.

Villa Pescadores (a restaurant at the hotel of the same name) serves up a delicious ceviche and won’t charge you extra to chill out on the lounge chairs either, so you can enjoy the beach after you’ve eaten. Both of these restaurants are inside hotels. 

If you’re feeling flash, wash down your tacos with a cocktail or two before you take a dip in the ocean – there really is nothing like a colourful cocktail on the beach!

Enjoying a Drink at the Beach in Tulum
Enjoying a Drink at the Beach in Tulum

Have you been to Tulum alone?  Do you have any other tips to share for solo travel in Tulum?  I’d love to hear your experiences, share them in the comments below.


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