Last Updated on August 19, 2021
Tulum’s soft, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters are world famous. Whether you’re looking to dine with your toes in the sand, sip cocktails at a chic beachfront bar, or just bliss out on a beach bed lounger, Tulum has it all. Discover the best Tulum beaches and beach clubs to explore during your trip.
Tulum has become one of the world’s premier beach destinations thanks to its gorgeous beaches and “barefoot luxury” vibe. From the Mayan ruins down to the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, the white sandy beaches of Tulum stretch for about six miles of uninterrupted bliss. Tulum’s beaches are calm and perfect for swimming, beach walks, and just chilling out.
Travelers heading to Tulum can stay in affordable luxury Tulum town, or the chic and pricier Tulum beach zone — with so many boutique hotel and resort options. Read on for the best beach clubs and beaches in Tulum for your home base and for exploring everything Tulum has to offer!
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In this Guide to the Beaches of Tulum
Tulum Beaches Map | Getting to Tulum Beaches | Tulum Beach Clubs | Playa Ruinas | Playa Santa Fe | Playa Pescadores | Playa Paraiso | Playa Las Palmas | Playa Mirador | Tulum South Beaches | Sian Ka’an Beaches | Tulum Beach Visit Tips
Tulum Beaches Map + Best Beach Clubs
To help with planning your trip, get an idea of the locations of Tulum’s beaches and beach clubs with the map below.
Getting to Tulum & Visiting Tulum Beaches
Tulum is located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, on the Yucatan Peninsula on a stretch or coastline known as the Riviera Maya. This region in the state of Quintana Roo begins past Cancun around Puerto Morelos and stretches to Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum and down into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere to Punta Allen.
Getting to the Beaches of Tulum by Car
Along the coast, there is a highway that follows Federal Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum (Carretera Tulum – Cancún/México 307) and then continues inland. Once you reach Tulum Town, turn left onto Avenida Coba/QROO 15.
On Avenida Coba/QROO 15, travel only about 6 km (3.5 miles) to the coast where the road becomes “Carretera Tulum – Boca Paila.”
If you turn left, this section of the road is called the “North Beach Road,” which goes up to the ruins. This section of Tulum is actually within Tulum National Park, which includes the ruins.
If you turn right, the “South Beach Road” stretches to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. The Tulum Beach Road is a 2-lane road with jungle on one side (including hotels, restaurants, and shops) and the beach on the other side of the road. Tulum’s most upscale hotels and exclusive resorts are found on the South Beach Road. This road can get congested with traffic during high season.
The Haphazard Traveler Pro Tip
Along the beach road Carretera Tulum – Boca Paila, hotels and restaurants are usually designated by their mile marker starting from km 1 at the ruins down to around km 11 at the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.
Getting to Tulum by Taxi or Colectivo
It’s also easy to reach Tulum by taxi or colectivo (shared vans) from nearby beach towns like Playa del Carmen, Akumal, and Puerto Morelos.
Tours to the Beaches of Tulum
If you’ll be staying in the area and want an easy way to visit Tulum, check out these top rated tours with online booking and instant confirmation:
- From Playa del Carmen: Day Trip to Cobá, Multum Ha Cenote, Playa Paraiso, and Tulum
- From Cancun: Tulum Half Day Tour with Beach and Ruins
- From Cancun and Riviera Maya: VIP Private Day Tour to Tulum Ruins and Beach
Where To Stay in Tulum, Quintana Roo
Tulum has two main areas where you can stay: Tulum Pueblo (Town) and Tulum Playa (Beach).
In Tulum Pueblo, you’ll generally find more inexpensive hotels and rental options, many of which still offer an “affordable luxury” feel and amenities like pools and spa services. To get to the beach from town, you can take a taxi or bike to get to the beach. Bike paths follow a section of the road from town to the beach.
Tulum Playa also has tons of options of where to stay, from jungle side cabanas to inexpensive beach hotels and luxury resorts. Check out my posts on visiting Tulum on a budget and best Tulum beach hotels for a wealth of Tulum travel tips to help you decide where to stay, depending on your itinerary and budget.
Tulum Beach Clubs
When visiting Tulum, it’s cheaper to stay in town and either bike or take taxis to get to the beach. Once there, you can hang for the day at a beach club or a restaurant that offers beachfront service. Usually, you’ll pay a fee to use a beach lounger for the day, or agree to a daily minimum spend per person on food and drink.
Beachfront hotels can be more expensive, but paying daily beach club fees can add up too. Tulum is one place where being a beach bum can turn bring a luxury price tag!
Tulum beach clubs generally offer lounge beds, umbrellas, table seating and beach bars. Most offer beachside food and drink service at the lounge beds and table seating.
The Best Beaches in Tulum
Starting from the ruins, these are all of the “named” beaches along the Tulum Beach Road. I’ve listed info on each plus some of the most popular beach clubs that you can visit for the day.
Playa Ruinas | Tulum Ruins Beach
Playa Ruinas is, as you might have guessed from the name, the beach located at the Tulum Ruins within the Tulum National Park. To get here, you’ll descend a set of steps down from the ruins set on a rugged cliff. This sandy beach isn’t accessible by walking from the main beaches of Tulum. It get a little crowded with visitors that come on day trips from Cancun and other cities. If you want to visit the ruins, come early or late in the day to avoid the crowds.
- Best for: cooling off on a ruins visit, getting Instagram shots of the ruins overlooking the beach and aquamarine blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
- Beach clubs here: none. Just some enormous iguanas chillin’ in the shade.
Tulum Beaches on the North Beach Road
The beaches on the North Beach Road are less-developed than those along the South Beach Road and have a much chiller vibe. It’s easier to find parking here, and generally they are much less crowded. Be sure to bring cash (Mexican dollars) to pay, since some of the smaller beach clubs and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.
Playa Santa Fe | Santa Fe Beach
Located just south of the ruins, the small public beach of Playa Santa Fe (Santa Fe Beach) has a beach club and two hotels (Hotel Santa Fe and Zazil Kin).
- Best for: views of the ruins, more secluded, totally chill vibes, boat rides for snorkeling and views of the ruins from the ocean.
- Beach clubs here: Santa Fe Tulum Beach Club, Beach Club ZZK (at Zazil-Kin Hotel), Coral Azul Restaurant & Beach Club
Playa Pescadores | Fisherman’s Beach
Named “Fisherman’s Beach,” this small stretch of sandy beach is where local fishermen bring in their catch. There are several beach clubs, glamping and hotel options nearby including one of my favorites, Villa Pescadores.
- Best for: beach clubs, fresh seafood, views of the ruins, a laid-back atmosphere, and amazing sunsets. You can also hire a boat captain here to take you on a tour to Akumal or to see the ruins from the sea.
- Beach clubs here: Villa Pescadores Beach Club
Playa Paraiso | Paradise Beach
Just south of Pescadores lies Playa Paraiso, or “Paradise Beach.” This is widely thought to be the most beautiful beach in Tulum, but I suggest you go check it out and decide for yourself to be sure. 😉 Paraiso is a picturesque, wide stretch of public beach, with several hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs available.
- Best for: beach clubs, atmosphere, yoga enthusiasts, perfect beach for swimming. One of the top beaches in Tulum.
- Beach clubs here: Maia Restaurant
The Haphazard Traveler Pro Tip
Hotel Diamante K is set on a secluded section of beach between Playa Paraiso and Playa las Palmas. This boutique beach hotel isn’t as popular as other resorts, but guests love its pretty beach and quiet, chill vibes.
Playa las Palmas
Another beautiful beach in Tulum but less busy, Las Palmas is the beach adjacent to Hotel Pocna, located just south of Playa Paraiso.
- Best for: beach clubs, beach walks.
Playa Mirador | Sunrise Beach
Around km 6, this rocky section of the coastline is a popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset and take Instagram shots staring out over the water. You can also have a drink at the hotels near here, Zamas and El Pez, or Mateo’s restaurant. (Mateo’s is the first place I ever had fish tacos many years ago!) There is parking along the road in certain sections adjacent to Playa Mirador.
South Tulum Beaches | South Beach Zone
The beaches along Tulum’s South Beach Road don’t really have specific names – it’s mainly one long stretch of beach with more closely-packed hotels. The South Beach Zone also lacks public parking and it’s harder to get to the beaches from the road, unless you’re staying at one of the hotels or using a beach club for the day.
Unless you’re staying at a hotel in the South Beach Zone, you’ll probably want to settle in at a beach club for the day. The easiest way to get to these beach clubs is by bike, taxi, or colectivo (shared van).
- Best for: lots of Insta-worthy restaurants, shopping, and beach clubs. Some of the clubs here are quite exclusive and reservations are required; check the links below for more info.
- Beach clubs here: Too many to list! Some of the best are: Papaya Playa Project, Ziggy’s Beach Club, La Zebra, Coco Tulum, Ahau Tulum, Mia Restaurant & Beach Club, Akiin Beach Club. More on the map above – plus be sure to explore, since new ones are popping up all the time. Remember that these clubs will have a minimum spend for food and drink.
The Haphazard Traveler Pro Tip
My favorite cheap beachfront spot, Taqueria La Eufemia, seems to have closed this summer. Their cabanas are still open but their beachfront bar with cheap tacos is relocating, according to their Facebook page.
Sian Ka’an Beaches | Tulum’s “Secret Beach” in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
At the end of the Tulum beach zone lies the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sometimes people refer to Sian Ka’an as Tulum’s “secret beach” because they are so secluded! Within the biosphere are many pristine white-sand beaches that you can explore along with the flora and fauna of the reserve.
The best way to see Sian Ka’an is with a day trip tour. There are private luxury homes inside the biosphere that might not take kindly to visitors. Plus a guide can help you find the best secluded beaches. Here are a few options with great reviews and easy online booking:
- Sian Ka’an Adventure: full day tour to explore the marine ecosystem, snorkel, birdwatch; includes lunch
- Sian Ka’an and Muyil Archaeological Site Tour: explore ancient ruins, take a boat ride, and a leisurely canal float; includes lunch
- Sian Ka’an Kayaking and Snorkeling Experience: Kayak through lagoons, snorkel cenotes, and have a local lunch
The Haphazard Traveler Pro Tip
In recent years, there have been outbreaks of sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic beaches of Central America, including Tulum and the Riviera Maya. Most hotels have staff clear their beachfront throughout the day. Check out webcams in the region here; conditions can change from day to day.
Other Beaches in the Area
If you want to experience more of the Riviera Maya, hop over to one of these beaches for the day.
Akumal Beach | Akumal Bay
Akumal is a coastal resort area about 25 minutes north of Tulum Pueblo on Highway 307.
Akumal Beach has white sands, a coral reef and warm waters rich in marine life. It’s possible to swim with turtles here. The Half Moon Bay herehas a curved picturesque beach. North of this, the Yal-ku Lagoon has colorful tropical fish, plus stingrays and barracudas. There are also cenotes to visit here.
More Tips for Visiting Tulum Beaches
Are there public beaches in Tulum?
There are several public beaches in Tulum; and technically, every beach in Mexico must allow public access for visitors to get to the beachfront. Most hotels discourage this, so just be aware that there is a certain amount of privilege in being able to wander through hotel lobbies as a tourist.
Some hotels section off the area adjacent to the hotel to form a private beach area for guests, away from the water. This lets guests lounge without being bothered by sellers that roam the beach.
Safety & belongings
Many Tulum beaches offer parking areas, but be careful about leaving valuables in your car at public and private beaches. I leave credit cards and my passport in the hotel safe, and just bring cash and one card. In public parking areas, you might encounter “car watchers” (informal security) that offer to direct you into a space and watch over the lot; it can be worth giving a small tip for them to keep an eye on your car.
What to bring
Be sure to bring cash (Mexican pesos) to pay at the smaller beach clubs and restaurants. A water bottle when traveling in Mexico is a must! You’ll also need a good sunscreen, sun hat, a cute beach bag, a beach towel, and a cover-up. A waterproof phone case and dry bag can also be helpful with keeping your belongings dry and sand-free. Also, consider a beach safe, which secures to your beach chair and can hold credit cards, cash, phone, and keys.
Ready to hit the beach? Be sure to save this list for your trip, plus check out all of my Tulum travel tips here including top sights and tours, where to stay, and best Tulum Airbnbs!
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