HomeDestinationsCancun vs. Tulum – Which Ought to You Go to Subsequent?

Cancun vs. Tulum – Which Ought to You Go to Subsequent?

Selecting between Cancun and Tulum to your subsequent trip spot is like deciding between two excellent tacos, every made to order and every with its personal distinctive taste. Each locations provide gorgeous Caribbean coastlines alongside Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, however cater to totally different tastes, preferences and budgets.

Micki and I’ve spent ample time in each Cancun and Tulum and love every of them for various causes. Whereas each provide one thing distinctive, we’ve discovered that we loved our time in every place extra as soon as we outlined what precisely we had been in search of and matched it to our moods and expectations earlier than arriving in Mexico.

Cancun vs Tulum which is a better vacation destination for you

Cancun or Tulum? Which is the Finest Trip Vacation spot for You?

Although it may be a simple reply for individuals who’ve had the nice fortune of visiting every vacation spot beforehand, the choice basically boils all the way down to what options you’re in search of in a getaway in addition to your price range, expectations, ease of arrival and even your timelines.

Key Takeaways

  • Cancun is for you if you would like a simple, all-inclusive expertise, nightlife, and the comfort of recent facilities.
  • Tulum is for you if you would like an Instagram vibe, gorgeous white sand seashores, and a extra laid again expertise.

So, whether or not you’re in for vibrant nightlife and luxurious resorts or a extra serene getaway near nature and historic ruins, this information will hopefully aid you resolve which vacation spot fits you finest.

Cancun: Vibrant Nightlife with Fashionable Luxuries

Cancun, usually synonymous with the Spring Break crowd, is a well-known resort city on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The well-known Resort Zone is a protracted, beachfront strip of high-end accommodations, nightclubs, retailers, and eating places, all dealing with the breathtakingly blue Caribbean Sea. Cancun is in the end designed for vacationers looking for an opulent, all-inclusive expertise with the comfort of recent facilities.

Hotel Zone Strip Cancun

Why Select Cancun?

  • Vibrant Nightlife: Cancun’s nightclubs and bars provide an electrifying environment with world-class DJs and events that final till daybreak.
  • All-Inclusive Resorts: The town is thought for its huge array of all-inclusive resorts catering to each kind of traveler, from households to get together goers to {couples} looking for excessive class romance.
  • Buying and Eating: With an in depth collection of purchasing malls, boutique shops, and eating choices, Cancun is a hub for individuals who take pleasure in city conveniences by the seaside.
  • Actions and Excursions: Past the seaside, Cancun presents quite a few actions equivalent to {golfing}, snorkeling, scuba diving, and visiting close by Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza.

Tulum: Bohemian Appeal Meets Historical Historical past

A few hours south of Cancun, Tulum presents a contrasting vibe that’s extra laid-back and immersed in nature. Identified for its eco-friendly boutique accommodations, Tulum is the epitome of a bohemian paradise, with yoga retreats, natural cafes, and artisan retailers. Its seaside is dotted with palm bushes and rustic cabanas, with the traditional Mayan ruins overlooking the ocean, providing a singular backdrop.

Tulum Ruins and ocean

Why Select Tulum?

  • Eco-Stylish Way of life: Tulum’s lodging are typically designed extra in concord with nature, usually providing a sustainable and intimate expertise.
  • Cultural Richness: The city is near a few of the most vital Mayan archaeological websites, together with the Tulum Ruins and Coba.
  • Pure Wonders: From the close by gorgeous cenotes (pure sinkholes) to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Tulum is a haven for nature lovers and adventurers.
  • Wellness and Leisure: With a give attention to wellness, Tulum tends to draw these trying to unwind by means of yoga, meditation, and spa remedies utilizing pure, native substances.

Issues to do in Cancun

There are a myriad of issues to do in Cancun from journey excursions to spas. Right here’s a couple of of our favorites:

Playa Delfines stands out for its expansive stretches of sand and vibrant turquoise waters, excellent for sunbathing, swimming, and even browsing. For these fascinated with marine life, the Interactive Aquarium Cancun permits guests to rise up shut with dolphins, sharks, and a wide range of tropical fish in interactive experiences.

Beach Cancun

Past the seashores, Cancun serves as a hub for exploring historic and pure wonders. The Mayan ruins at El Rey provide a glimpse into the traditional civilization proper within the coronary heart of the Resort Zone. For a day journey, the majestic Chichen Itza, one of many New Seven Wonders of the World, is inside attain, providing insights into the Mayan tradition and structure.

Nature lovers might be drawn to the pure fantastic thing about the cenotes, equivalent to Cenote Ik Kil, with its crystal-clear waters supreme for swimming and snorkeling. Journey parks like Xcaret and Xel-Há mix the great thing about the pure atmosphere with thrilling actions, from zip strains and river tubing to snorkeling and cultural exhibits.

We additionally love heading over to Isla Mujeres for the day and if you happen to had a gaggle, taking a catamaran cruise over to it will be a enjoyable option to get to and from the island.

Issues to do in Tulum

Tulum’s allure lies in its capacity to mix tradition, historical past, and pure magnificence right into a serene and enriching expertise.

Playa Paraiso Tulum

The Tulum Ruins are the city’s most iconic attraction, perched atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. These ruins provide breathtaking views and an opportunity to stroll by means of the remnants of a once-thriving Mayan port metropolis.

Seaside lovers will discover their slice of paradise at Playa Paraíso, identified for its powdery white sand and clear, calm waters, offering a extra relaxed environment in comparison with Cancun. For a singular expertise, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve presents an opportunity to discover untouched landscapes, together with seashores, coral reefs, and jungles teeming with wildlife.

Tulum can also be well-known for its cenotes, pure sinkholes stuffed with recent water. Cenote Dos Ojos, for instance, is a well-liked spot for snorkeling and diving, with its clear, turquoise waters and complicated cave methods. We loved our first time at Cenote Dos Ojos a couple of years in the past. These pure swimming pools provide a cool respite from the warmth and a small peek into the geological wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula. Regionally, there’s additionally Cenote Sac Actun and Gran Cenote which can be very near Tulum correct.

The city itself is a haven for foodies and people looking for wellness experiences. Tulum’s culinary scene is various, specializing in recent, native substances and progressive dishes. Many eating places provide out of doors seating, permitting diners to take pleasure in their meals within the open air. Wellness retreats and yoga studios are ample, selling rest and mindfulness amidst the pure fantastic thing about Tulum.

Iguana at Tulum
Our kiddos liked this huge iguana at Tulum

Making the Resolution: Cancun or Tulum?

The selection between Cancun and Tulum in the end boils all the way down to the kind of trip you need.

Cancun is good for individuals who:

  • Crave the joy of a bustling metropolis’s nightlife and leisure.
  • Choose the comfort and luxurious of enormous, all-inclusive resorts.
  • Take pleasure in having loads of purchasing and eating choices at their doorstep.
  • Are in search of a trip the place every thing is inside attain, providing a mixture of rest and journey.
  • Are okay with being close to to resort properties alongside the seaside.
  • Need to be at their resort inside 20 minutes of getting off their aircraft.

Tulum fits vacationers who:

  • Need a quieter, extra serene setting that’s near nature.
  • Recognize the allure of small-scale, eco-friendly lodging.
  • Need a cultural expertise, exploring historic ruins and interesting with native traditions.
  • Worth sustainability and wellness as integral components of their journey expertise.
  • Take pleasure in lengthy stretches of seaside with minimal massive resorts.
  • Are okay with longer drives to get the place they need to be.
Tulum Beach
Cancun vs. Tulum – Which Ought to You Go to Subsequent? 7

Extra to consider…

Each Cancun and Tulum are gateways to Mexico’s gorgeous Caribbean coast, however cater to distinct tastes and experiences. Cancun’s attract lies in its vibrant nightlife, luxurious facilities, and metropolis comfort, making it an ideal selection for individuals who search an lively and pampered trip.

Tulum, however, appeals to the soul looking for tranquility, pure magnificence, and a contact of historical past, all wrapped in an eco-conscious and wellness-oriented bundle with a smaller metropolis to discover and nearer to ruins and cenotes.

Your determination may additionally depend upon the form of reminiscences you want to create. Are you trying to dance the night time away and indulge within the epitome of resort dwelling with dozens of eating places inside a couple of blocks of your resort, or do you envision your self waking up in a beachfront cabana to the sound of waves, able to discover the depths of a cenote or stroll round a Mayan spoil?

All this isn’t to say that you could’t discover rest and tranquility in Cancun or a couple of wild events in Tulum. Every location has its share of each, however Cancun’s vacationer roots stretch farther again so usually, the accommodations, eating places and sights cater to a bigger, extra boisterous crowd. What Tulum would possibly flip into in 20+ years remains to be up for debate nonetheless now the constructing and elegance pattern is unquestionably in direction of the extra ecological aspect.

Kids on the Beach in Cancun at Chokmal
on the seaside in Cancun

The place to Keep in Tulum

We’ve stayed in small accommodations, condos and much more conventional all-inclusive resorts in and round Tulum over time. Right here’s a couple of private favorites we’ve stayed at or had family and friends rave about.

Kanan Tulum Resort and Spa – Beautiful bohemian stylish beachside resort

La Zebra Boutique Resort – Smaller upscale boutique lodge on the seaside

Goals Tulum Resort & Spa – One of many bigger extra conventional all-inclusive accommodations in Tulum

Copal Tulum Resort – Tons of greenery and good rooms proper on the town

Resort Posada 06 Tulum – I stayed right here a couple of years in the past with Micki and the children and had a good time. Quaint and quiet on the town lodge near retailers and eating places

Kanan Tulum Hotel and Spa
Kanan Tulum Resort and Spa

The place to Keep in Cancun

We’ve executed loads of all-inclusives when staying in Cancun although we have now stayed in a couple of condos and even a traditional lodge after we had an early flight the subsequent day. HZ refers back to the Resort Zone strip which runs north to south outdoors of the primary metropolis in Cancun.

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Seaside Cancun – A private favourite from after we stayed right here final! Nice spa and calm oceanfront on the northern finish of the Resort Zone.

Paradisus Cancun – Heart of HZ with nice views, tons of eating places/nightlife and good beachfront

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun – Quieter location on south aspect of HZ supplying you with a pleasant tropical really feel

Solar Palace – {Couples} solely boutique retreat on the south of HZ

Ambiance Suites Cancun – Clear on the town lodge nice for an inexpensive in a single day keep when wanted

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive
view from the Fiesta Americana

Getting There

Attending to Cancun or Tulum is comparatively simple.


Cancun has been on the vacationer radar for many years now and has a preferred and busy worldwide airport solely 20 minutes away from the Resort Zone. Flights to Cancun are typically low-cost and plentiful from most North America, South American and European international locations. Native buses are simple to leap on and off and taxis are in every single place plus trip sharing websites like Uber additionally exist.


Tulum opened their very personal worldwide airport just lately (Tulum Airport (TQO) | Felipe Carrillo Puerto Airport). Nevertheless there are solely a fraction of flights presently touchdown in comparison with Cancun, so if selecting Tulum, notice that you just may be pressured to land in Cancun and must drive or take a bus or shuttle service (roughly 2 hrs from Cancun airport).

There’s a practice route below building from Cancun to Tulum, referred to as the Tren Maya, which is typically known as the Mayan Practice or Maya Practice. The present projection is that the Cancun to Tulum route might be open in June 2024, however there’s a strong chance of delays, so make certain it’s operating if you happen to plan to make use of it to get all the way down to Tulum to your keep.

Taxis are simple sufficient to search out although collectivos (small van-like native buses) are extra the norm there for farther jaunts. In fact, each cities have good lengthy distance ADO buses that may get you wherever within the peninsula and even all the way down to Belize or central Mexico.

Things to do on the Riviera Maya - walking along Tulum beach
Strolling onto Tulum Seaside

Cancun or Tulum, Each Are Superior

Whether or not you select Cancun or Tulum, each locations promise an unforgettable escape to the Riviera Maya. We’ve had superb experiences in each locations each with our children and with out and have a tendency to name the Riviera Maya our unofficial second house. We’re excited to see how the brand new worldwide airport in Tulum and the brand new Yucatan practice modifications each the panorama and the chances within the area. however time will inform if the practice helps or hinders the areas it’s opening up.

In both case, you may’t go incorrect with both location because the seashores are lovely, the meals is scrumptious and the persons are welcoming.

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