Cancun Vs Tulum | Find The Best Beach Vacation In Mexico 2022

Tulum vs Cancun

Cancun vs Tulum; are both popular vacation destinations in Mexico. But there is some key difference you’ll want to keep in mind before choosing between them.

They are on the East Coast of the country, close to the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is much smaller, which makes it a popular destination for those looking for a more intimate and laid-back vacation. Cancun is a much larger city, which can make it difficult to get around.t 

The article analyzes the differences between the two locations and which one might be the right fit for you.

Cancun and Tulum on Map

Things to Consider Before Going to Tulum and Cancun

There are many things to consider when choosing between Tulum and Cancun. One of the most important factors is deciding what type of vacation you want.

Tulum is a more secluded, smaller town, while Cancun is a larger city with more activities and nightlife. If you are looking for a more relaxed and quiet vacation, Tulum is the better choice. If you are looking for a more action-packed and lively vacation, Cancun is the better choice.

Another factor to consider is the cost. Tulum is more expensive than Cancun, especially for lodging. However, Cancun is more expensive for food and activities.

Both Tulum and Cancun are great choices for a Mexican vacation, and it ultimately depends on what you are looking for on a trip. 

Cancun Vs Tulum – What is the best beach vacation in Mexico

Cancun vs Tulum

Cancun and Tulum are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. And have a lot to offer to any traveler. From beautiful beaches to great shopping, Cancun and Tulum have something for everyone. 

The highlights of both places are the experiences, the beauty, the price, and transportation. 

We’ve already answered, “How Safe is Mexico City to Travel”?

And while Tulum and Cancun are safer, you still need to take precautions anywhere you are visiting. 

About Cancun

Cancun is a city in southeastern Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. Cancun is a popular tourist destination.

And is home to the Maya archaeological site of Chichen Itza. As well as the Xcaret eco-archeological park and the Xel-Ha water park.

We know Cancun as a beach destination, but it also has several other attractions that make it a great place to visit. They have transformed its downtown area into an artsy district.

The cafes and restaurants, make it a great place to relax after sitting beside the turquoise waters.

About Tulum

Tulum is a small town on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Close to the best islands in the Caribbean. It’s known for its Mayan ruins, which are on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum is a more laid-back and slower-paced town when compared to the party atmosphere of Cancun. Tulum is perfect for those who are looking for a more relaxed and natural setting.

The town is about an hour and a half drive from Cancun, so it’s easy to get to if you’re looking to explore more of the Yucatan Peninsula

Mexico Tulum vs Cancun? Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to both Cancun and Tulum as travel destinations.

Cancun is a more developed and commercialized city, with many resorts, nightclubs, and restaurants. It is a popular tourist destination for people looking for a party atmosphere.

Tulum is a smaller and more laid-back town. The city has a rustic appearance, with a more bohemian vibe. It is popular with people who are looking for a more relaxed and romantic getaway.

Some people prefer Cancun because it is more action-packed, while others prefer Tulum because it is more peaceful. Ultimately, it is up to the individual traveler to decide which destination is a better fit for them. 

Pros and cons of Cancan

We know Cancun for its all-inclusive hotels. As well as, fine dining, being more accessibility friendly, and nightlife.

This also makes it a popular spring break destination. 

A con of Cancun is that it is such a popular vacation destination in the USA. So while you traveling in Mexico you are surrounded by other travelers from America. 

Another pro of Cancun is that it also has an airport. Tulum does not. The Cancun airport is only around 10 miles from the city.

Tulum Downsides Vs Cancun

Tulum is much smaller and more laid back than Cancun. If you are looking for a party atmosphere, Cancun is the better option.

  • Tulum is more expensive than Cancun.
  • The beaches in Tulum are not as nice as the beaches in Cancun.
  • There is not as much to do in Tulum as there is in Cancun. 

Cancun Vs. Tulum: Which Desitnation is Right For You?

Tulum is Yoga and More Fitness Friendly

If you’re a yogi, you’ll love Tulum. With its stunning beaches and lush jungle backdrop. Tulum is the perfect place to practice your poses. And with its growing yoga scene, you will find plenty of classes to choose from.

Cancun is not as yoga-friendly. While there are a few yoga studios in town, they’re not as plentiful as in Tulum. So if you’re looking for an abundance of yoga classes to choose from, Tulum is the place to be. 

Cancun is All About The Party

Cancun is known as the party capital of Mexico. If you’re looking to let loose and have a good time, Cancun is the place for you. From world-renowned nightclubs to beach bars. And everything in between, Cancun has something for everyone looking to party.

Tulum, while also a great place to party, is a bit more low-key than Cancun. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and chill atmosphere, Tulum is the place for you. That said, there are still plenty of great nightlife options in Tulum for those looking to let loose. 

Tulum is Perfect For Nature Lover

If you’re looking for a place that’s teeming with nature and wildlife, Tulum Mexico is the place for you. From the stunning beaches to the dense jungle, Tulum is a nature lover’s paradise. In contrast, Cancun is a more developed city with less natural scenery, but better beaches. The Tulum beach isn’t bad. It is just not as good as Cancun.

Cancun is Great for Shopaholics

If you’re looking to do some serious shopping, then you’ll want to head to Cancun. The city has some of the best shopping in all of Mexico, with plenty of malls and stores, and markets in Mexico, to choose from. 

Cancun Has Better Accommodations

If you’re looking for a more familiar hotel chain, Cancun is the better destination. There are more big-name international hotel chains in Cancun than in Tulum. So, if you’re looking for all the comforts of home while on vacation, Cancun is the better pick.

Tulum Is More Expensive

We know Tulum as being a more expensive destination than Cancun. But they are about equal. So, if you’re looking to save money on your vacation, Cancun is the better option just because you have a better chance of finding a travel deal. However, if you’re looking for a more luxurious getaway, Tulum is the better choice.

Cancun Is More Crowded

Cancun is a more popular tourist destination than Tulum, so it’s more crowded. We are talking about the Riviera Maya after all. If you’re looking for a more peaceful and relaxing vacation, Tulum is the better pick. 

However, if you’re looking for more nightlife and activity options, Cancun is the better destination. 

Cancun Has Amazing Beaches

The beaches in Cancun are some of the best in the world. And rival some of the best beaches California, like San Jose. 

They are wide, sandy, and have crystal clear water. In addition, the beaches are well-maintained and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Tulum’s beaches are beautiful, but they are not as well-maintained as the beaches in Cancun. The sand is not as white and the water is not as clear. There are also not as many activities to keep you busy. 

El Castillo, Chichen Itza is Closer to Tulum

Both Tulum and Cancun are close to Chichen Itza, but Tulum is closer. Chichen Itza is a famous Mayan archaeological site, and it is about 95 miles from Tulum and 120 miles from Cancun. 

Tulum is Smaller than Cancun

Tulum is a much smaller town than Cancun. It is a more eco-friendly, and outdoor focus. This means that there is a more intimate and relaxed feel to Tulum, while Cancun is a bustling city. If you are looking for a more low-key and chill vacation, Tulum is the better option. If you are looking for more nightlife and activities, Cancun is the better choice. 

Tulum vs Cancun Similarities 

Okay, we have gone over the key differences between Cancun vs Tulum. Now let’s look at some areas where they are the same. 

Both are popular tourist destinations in Mexico. 

These are two of the top tourist destinations in Mexico.

Both have beautiful beaches. 

They have great beaches. But Cancun comes out on top.

Both have a lot of tourist infrastructure.

When comparing Tulum vs Cancun, there is not much different with it comes to tourist infrastructure. Both are tourist friendly.

Not Great Downtowns to Explore

Both Tulum and Cancun have lackluster downtown areas. In Tulum, there are a few small shops and restaurants, while Cancun’s downtown is mainly filled with souvenir shops. They are both popular vacation destinations when you travel to Mexico. And so both have regular tourist traps. 

Wi-Fi & Cell Phone

Both Cancun and Tulum have good cell phone reception and Wi-Fi availability. 


We consider Cancun safer than Tulum. However, both areas are safe for tourists. Use common sense when traveling in either location and be aware of your surroundings. 

Ado Buses

Tulum and Cancun have Ado bus stops. But they don’t take you to the beachfront area. 

The ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum takes you to the downtown area of Tulum. There are Taxis in Cancun and Tulum which will drop you off close to the beach in Playa del Carmen. There is also an ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, which takes you to the downtown area of Tulum. 

Tulum vs Cancun for partying

Cancun is the better party destination. It is home to some of the biggest and best clubs in Mexico, as well as a thriving nightlife scene. Tulum is much more laid back and is better suited for those looking for a more relaxing vacation. 

How far is Tulum from Cancun?

The easiest way to get from Cancun to Tulum is by bus. There are several buses per day leaving from the Cancun bus station. The trip takes about 2 hours and tickets cost around USD 20. You can also take a taxi or rent a car if you want more flexibility in your travel plans.

Cancun vs Tulum – What Would I Choose?

I am over large tourist crowds. Which are found on the Riviera Maya. So I am more interested in what Tulum offers travelers.

What to do in Cancun

Best Beach Vacation in Mexico

There are plenty of things to do in Cancun, no matter what your interests are. 

You can visit the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza

and go swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean.

See Dolphins at Playa Delfines

There are a few amazing beaches to choose from. But Playa Delfines, which means Dolphin Beach, is one of the best! Sadly, today seeing dolphins are rare. But it still happens. 

go golfing

There are a lot of great golf courses around the area.

Visit Cozumel or Isla Mujeres

This is a wonderful day trip to the beautiful islands.

Enjoy the Nightlife

You can also enjoy a night out on the town, with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. 

Downtown Cancun

While not amazing, it is great for art and markets. Plus, this lets you escape the hotel zone! 

Visit the Small Fishing Village of Puerto Morelos. 

Around 30 minutes south of Cancun lies this small fishing village of 

Puerto Morelos. This town, though smashed between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, has kept its authenticity. 

Chill on Playa Norte

Playa Norte is in the heart of Cancun and is known for its crystal clear waters and soft sand. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views. 

Visit a Cenote

There are many cenotes in the Cancun area, but some of the best ones include Ik Kil, Dos Ojos, and Gran Cenote

coral beach Cancun

Coral Beach Cancun is beautiful, with soft white sand and gentle waves. The water is clear and blue, and there is a wide variety of coral and fish to be seen. 

The beach is well-maintained and the staff is friendly and helpful. There are plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas available, as well as a few restaurants and shops. The beach is not very crowded, making it a great place to relax. 

Best Things to do in Tulum

Tulum Beach

Swim and sunbathe on the world-famous Tulum Beach

Explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum. 

The Tulum ruins are amazing. Playa Ruinas is an unforgettable ruin. Tulum is also close to El Castillo.

Go snorkeling or diving. 

Tulum has beautiful waters, and in the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean, there is some great diving and snorkeling.

Take a yoga or meditation class 

There is no shortage of Yoga in Tulum. So take a class and learn in a stunning setting

Eat Authentic Food

Sample the delicious local cuisine, including fresh seafood and tasty Mexican dishes

Party All Night

Party the night away in one of Tulum’s lively bars or clubs 

Wander downtown Tulum 

Even though the downtown isn’t amazing, Tulum town is still worth exploring!

Admire the Beauty of Sian Kaan 

A lesser-known site. But a beautiful nature reserve with a special ecosystem. 

Stay in an Tulum pueblo

This has become more popular over the years. But these little homes can be a great alternative for Airbnb. And an unique experience staying in one

See the Luxury apartments in Aldea Zama

Aldea Zama is an up-and-coming neighborhood in Tulum. It is quickly becoming a popular destination for expats and retirees. The neighborhood is situated close to a beautiful beach. And has a variety of amenities available, including grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. Aldea Zama is also home to several yoga studios and wellness centers.

Akumal beach

Akumal beach is a beautiful, secluded beach located in Tulum, Mexico. It is known for its clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches. The beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. 

More Questions About Tulum Vs Cancun Answered

Cancun vs Tulum

What is the Riviera Maya?

The Riviera Maya is a region on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It was named after the city of Cancún, which is located on its southern shore. The Riviera Maya is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world. And the Mexican Riviera Maya stretches to Tulum. The Riviera Maya is the Mexican Caribbean! 

What is the Cancun hotel zone?

The Cancun Hotel Zone is a 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) stretch of beachfront land. It is on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, is devoted to tourism. It is located between the municipalities of Benito Juárez and Isla Mujeres. Which is where you find North Beach on Isla Mujeres

What are some Resort Town Options in Mexico

Cancun and Tulum aren’t the only resort areas to visit. You also have 

  • Cabo san Lucas
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Playa Del Carmen
  • playa paraiso in Tenerife, Spain. (Not in Mexico, but it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe.)

Is Cancun or Puerto Vallarta better?

Both Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are great choices for a vacation, but they are very different. Cancun is a more developed tourist destination. With a wide variety of activities and nightlife. While Puerto Vallarta feels more authentic and, like Cancun, has a beautiful waterfront. 

Best Hotels and Resorts in Tulum

  • Hotel Zamas 
  • Casa Malca 
  • La Zebra Hotel 
  • El Pez Hotel 
  • La Casa de los Sueños
  • Hotelito Desconocido

Best Hotels and Resorts in Cancun

  • Rosewood Mayakoba 
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun 
  • Fairmont Mayakoba 
  • Moon Palace Cancun 
  • Paradisus Cancun 
  • Krystal Cancun 
  • coco Tulum beach club
  • Le Blanc Spa Resort
  • Nizuc Resort and Spa
  • Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort
  • The Tower by Temptation

What are a cenotes

A cenote is a natural sinkhole that is found in the Yucatan Peninsula. They are created when the limestone bedrock collapses, exposing groundwater underneath. They are beautiful places to visit in Mexico.

Cancun vs Playa del Carmen

Both Cancun and Playa del Carmen are popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Cancun is known for its beaches and nightlife. While Playa del Carmen is known for its smaller town feel. And its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, and its abundance of scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. 

Cancun vs Tulum: The Verdict

Both are good options. And are in contention for the title of “best beach vacation in Mexico.”

Cancun has many things going for it: It’s close to the US and it has a lot of hotels and resorts like the Papaya Playa Project. So there are plenty of activities, restaurants, and shopping options.

Tulum is smaller and more remote but has its own set of benefits. It’s a very popular destination for yoga retreats. Because of its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere – not to mention the surfers who want to catch some waves!

So whether you are coming from North America or South America. There is something to enjoy in both Cancun and Tulum.

What you choose depends on what you are looking for out of a holiday. What did you think, did we help you choose between Cancun vs Tulum?

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