2 Days in Tulum: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 2 Days in Tulum: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re want to go 2 days in Tulum and you’re looking for the best things to do?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Tulum in 2 days.

In addition to the world famous Tulum archaeological site, you will also discover the best of the city (including some hidden gems!) as well beautiful beaches and Cenotes located nearby.

I will first give you my optimized and detailed 2-day itinerary to make the most of your stay in Tulum, with all the best places to visit and activities for each day.

Of course, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Tulum in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

2 Days in Tulum: Itinerary + Best Things to Do + Tips

Visits of Day 1

A. Morning: Archaeological Site of Tulum

Kick off your 2 days in Tulum with a visit to the beautiful ruins of Tulum.

Nestled on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, these ruins stand as a testament to the ancient Mayan civilization. It’s one of the few Mayan cities known to have been inhabited when the Spanish arrived, and it served as a major port.

While exploring, make sure to visit key structures like:

  • El Castillo (The Castle), a temple perched on the edge of the cliff offering stunning sea views
  • The Temple of the Frescoes, renowned for its preserved murals depicting Mayan cosmology
  • The Temple of the Descending God, notable for its distinct architecture and the intriguing figure carved into its facade

My Advice
 To plan your visit and uncover every detail of this amazing historic site, be sure to check out my Full Guide on the Tulum Ruins!
The Castle, Tulum

B. Afternoon: Tulum’s Beach Strip and Beaches

In the afternoon, explore the allure of Tulum’s Beach Strip, also known as the hotel zone.

This extensive area, stretching about 10 miles along the beautiful Caribbean coastline, is dotted with boutique hotels, unique shops, and inviting restaurants.

My Advice
 Given its length, I suggest renting a bike (or a scooter) if you don’t have a car, which allows for an enjoyable and leisurely exploration of the area.

If biking isn’t an option, be strategic with your stops; choose locations closer together to fully experience Tulum’s vibrant beach culture without tiring yourself out.

Renting a bike in Tulum is a great way to explore the area!

Following your stroll along the Beach Strip, head to one of Tulum’s idyllic beaches for some relaxation and sun.

Playa Paraiso and Playa las Palmas are two of the most popular choices, each offering its unique charm.

  • Playa Paraiso, known for its wider stretches of sand and panoramic views, is perfect for those looking to enjoy the vibrant beach atmosphere
  • Playa las Palmas offers a more secluded and tranquil experience, ideal for those seeking a quieter day by the sea
My Advice
 To enhance your beach experience, consider visiting one of the many beach clubs which are fantastic options if you’re looking to combine dining and drinking with your beach day.

Some notable beach clubs to check out are La Zebra Beach Club and Ziggy’s Beach Club.

playa paraiso tulum
Playa Paraiso, Tulum

C. Night: Tulum’s Vibrant Nightlife

As the sun sets, dive into Tulum’s lively nightlife. The town is home to a variety of spots perfect for enjoying a drink or partying.

Alongside the popular Papaya Playa Project, Casa Jaguar, and Gitano, don’t miss the unique experiences offered by Tulum’s rooftop bars.

Mateo’s Mexican Grill is a favorite for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning views of the sunset. For a more tranquil evening, head to Muuyal Rooftop, where you can relax in a serene setting.

If you’re in the mood for something more energetic, Nana Rooftop comes alive at night with its lively techno music.

papaya playa project tulum
papaya playa project tulum

Day 2 in Tulum

A. Morning: Refreshing Cenote Visits

Spend your second morning exploring the mystical cenotes, a hallmark of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Cenotes are natural freshwater pools formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock. These stunning natural wonders were considered sacred by the ancient Maya, who believed them to be gateways to the underworld (called Inframundo).

In Tulum, you’ll encounter both open-air and underground cenotes:

  • Open-air cenotes resemble natural swimming pools under the open sky, perfect for sunbathing and swimming
  • Underground cenotes offer a unique experience of swimming in cave-like settings with clear waters and striking rock formations

Options like Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote, or further towards the archaeological site of Coba, Cenote Zacil-Ha and Carwash are all fantastic choices, especially if you’re interested in visiting more than one since they’re located on the same route (Mexico 180D).

My Advice
I suggest heading out early, before 10 am, to enjoy these natural wonders when they’re less crowded!
cenote zacil ha
cenote zacil ha

B. Afternoon: Coba and Caleta Tankah

A 2-day trip to Tulum is not complete without a visit to the archaeological site of Coba.

This ancient city was one of the most significant urban centers in the Yucatan Peninsula during the Classic Period (200 to 900 AD).

It played a pivotal role in controlling agriculture and water supply, which placed it in a dominant position in the region.

It had commercial, political and religious interactions with major cities like Tikal and Calakmul, among others. Coba also maintained significant relations with Teotihuacán, the great metropolis of central Mexico during that period!

In about 2 hours, you can visit:

  • Nohoch Mul Pyramid: The 2nd tallest Mayan pyramid on the Yucatán Peninsula (after Calakmul).
  • Ball Courts: Ancient sites where the Mayan ball game was played, showcasing the sports culture of the Mayans
  • Coba Stelae: Stone monuments with inscriptions, revealing historical and astronomical insights.
  • Sacbeob (White Roads): Network of ancient roads connecting Coba with other Mayan cities and within the city itself
  • Coba Group: A collection of large temple pyramids and residential buildings near the entrance
  • Macanxoc Group: Known for its stelae and small altars, providing a glimpse into the spiritual practices of the Maya

My Advice
 If you are venturing to Coba on your own, renting a bike is the best way to navigate between the structures, covering the extensive ruins efficiently.
Nohoch Mul in Coba, the 2nd highest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula after Calakmul

After Coba, return to Tulum and unwind at Caleta Tankah.

This beach club, with its stunning private beach, natural freshwater pool, jungle cenote, and beachfront restaurant, offers the perfect setting to relax and end your Tulum 2-Day Itinerary.

The best part about Caleta Tankah is that it is consistently free from sargassum, ensuring a pristine beach experience every time you visit!

caleta tankah tulum
caleta tankah tulum

Tulum in 2 days: the best tours to choose from

To make the most of your 48-hour trip, these are the tours that I recommend, all with Pick Up and Drop Off from Tulum:

The best hotels for two days in Tulum

Here are my best hotel recommendations for your short stay in Tulum:

  • Mayan Monkey Tulum: an excellent value for money. Nice modern hostel with a good atmosphere, a pool, bar and garden. Including fast wifi, kitchen access, yoga classes, coworking spaces, and bike and motorcycle rentals. Dorms and private rooms starting at only 24 $usd per night.
  • Casa Almendro: if you are looking for a little more comfort, you will like this small cheap hotel in the center of Tulum. It’s a green oasis with a rooftop terrace with chairs and hammocks. There are king size beds and breakfast is included, from only 50 $usd per night!
  • Diamante K: is a high-end hotel but at a very fair price, which is exceptional in Tulum, especially for a hotel with direct access to the beach in the hotel zone! Bohemian chic atmosphere, including a restaurant, hammocks and beds on the private beach, and a massage service. Bungalows are 207 $usd per night.
  • Habitas Tulum: this small eco-friendly hotel with a chic design is ideal for a romantic stay in Tulum. It is a true oasis of peace, hidden among the palm trees, with a magnificent swimming pool and a private beach. There are also yoga classes on the terrace at sunset. From 371 $usd per night!
  • Kanan Tulum- Adults Only: this is the ultimate option for a luxury stay in Tulum. It is an ecological hotel for adults only, located on a beautiful private beach with hammocks and beds. With a fantastic rooftop terrace with a bar; the hotel also has an excellent restaurant, great rooms and a very friendly welcome. From 566 $usd per night!
kanan hotel tulum
Kanan Tulum

Is 2 Days in Tulum Enough?

Spending two days in Tulum can be enough to experience a taste of its unique charm.

While a longer stay allows for a deeper exploration, a well-planned 2-day itinerary can cover the highlights, including the breathtaking Tulum ruins, stunning cenotes, and the vibrant beach strip.

However, if you have more time, adding a third day could give you the opportunity to visit the amazing Sian Ka’an Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity.

Check out my other Tulum guides:

Sian Ka’an Reserve in the Yucatan Peninsula

Essential Tips for an Unforgettable 2-Day Trip in Tulum

To make the most of your 48h in Tulum, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan Your Itinerary Wisely: With so much to see, it’s important to plan efficiently. Prioritize the must-visit places like the Tulum ruins and a couple of cenotes, and don’t overfill your schedule.
  • Rent a Bike for Local Exploration: Biking is an enjoyable and eco-friendly way to explore Tulum, especially the beach strip and nearby attractions.
  • Bring Aqua Shoes for Cenotes: cenotes can have slippery surfaces, so wearing aqua shoes will provide better grip and protection while exploring these natural pools.
  • Stay Hydrated and Sun-Protected: The Yucatan sun can be intense. Always carry water and use sun protection, whether you’re exploring ruins or lounging on the beach.
  • Be Prepared for Mosquitoes: Especially if you’re venturing into cenotes or jungle areas, insect repellent will be your best friend.
  • Check for Sargassum Updates: While Caleta Tankah is free from sargassum, other beaches might be affected. It’s a good idea to check (here is the link!) the current conditions before planning your beach day.
  • Carry Cash: While many places in Tulum accept cards, having cash (preferably in mexican pesos) is handy for small purchases, cenotes, tips, and some local markets or vendors.
  • Start Your Day Early: To avoid the crowds, especially at popular spots like the archaeological sites and cenotes, try to begin your activities early in the morning
  • Learn Basic Spanish Phrases: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, knowing some Spanish phrases can enhance your interaction with locals and show respect for the culture.

Rent a car in Tulum

Nothing beats renting a car to discover Tulum in two days and have a wonderful time!

To rent a car, personally, I always use Rentalcars.com, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Rentalcars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

rent a car tulum
Rent a car to explore Tulum

How to find a cheap flight to Tulum

You can choose between two airports to get to Tulum: Cancun and Felipe Carrillo.

Cancun (CUN) has more flight options, but it’s a 3.5-hour drive to Tulum. Felipe Carrillo (TQO) is newer and closer to Tulum (only a 40-minute drive), but it has fewer flights.

I recommend you check the fares and layovers for both airports from where you’re flying. Right now, there are not many direct flights to Tulum, so Cancun might be a better choice for now.

To find a cheap flight to Tulum or Cancun as well as the best domestic flights in Mexico, I recommend using our flight comparison tool in partnership with Skyscanner. It is guaranteed to get you the best price!

My tip
You can choose from three ways to travel to Tulum after you land in Cancun: rent a car, hop on an ADO bus, or reserve an airport transfer
Book your trip now and save money!

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best places to visit in Tulum in 2 days


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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