Tulum is one of the trendiest travel destinations along the east coast of Mexico and has become incredibly popular.
Compared to othwer popular places along the Riviera Maya, Tulum offers gay travellers a more chilled and relaxed vibe.
We spent 4 days in Tulum and have put together a short guide to show you the best activities, hotels, beaches, how to get there and quite importantly for us, how we found Tulum as a gay couple.
Check out our Gay Tulum travel guide below where will take a look at gay bars in Tulum, the best gay friendly hotels and some beautiful beaches.
Is Tulum Gay Friendly?
As a gay couple we had to ask ‘is Tulum LGBTQ friendly?’. The simple answer is yes.
In all of these destinations we felt very welcome as a gay couple with no problems.
This is in part due to the vast number of tourists and their reliance on the tourism industry.
Gay Bars in Tulum
Tulums first and only gay bar is called Fruity Cocktail Bar. However we are sad to report that currently it’s status on Facebook is ‘Closed until further notice. Stay safe. First and Only Queer Bar and Party in Tulum, México.’
To see if this gay bar in Tulum reopens, keep an eye on their Facebook page here.
In general Tulum does not have a big nightlife scene like Playa Del Carmen or Cancun (the biggest party scene) so it’s no surprise that the chances of finding a gay bar in Tulum were low and unfortunately it remains that way for now…
Gay Beaches in Tulum
There is no gay beach in Tulum (but of course you are welcome at any beach and there are many beautiful options.
The nearest ‘official’ gay beach can be found in the north end of Playa Del Carmen – see details in our Gay Guide to Play Del Carmen.
However, if you are simply after a beautfiful beach in Tulum check out:
Also known as Playa Ruinas – this beach can be accessed via the Mayan Ruins (near the wind temple).
The beach is beautiful, albeit quite touristy but after spending a few hours walking around the ruins is the perfect way to cool off. Bear in mind that at different times of year there can be a lot of seaweed so check in advance!
Santa Fe beach can be found 5 minutes south of the Mayan Ruins.
Like all the beaches it has powdery white soft sand, beautiful turquoise sea and plenty of space to sunbathe. To find it just follow the signs for the public beach.
There are washroom facilities etc but you need to pay.
This beach lives up to its name – Paradise Beach. If you come here early in the morning it is very popular with yoga lovers practising their moves as the sun rise.
As the day goes on, the beach will get busier, but due to its size you will always get plenty of space to yourself. You can finish the day at one of the nearby restaurants.
Akumal Beach (near Tulum)
This might be your more typical commercial beach but it is still stunning. The benefit, is that it is perfect for families as everything you need is there. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and sun loungers to rent. Essentially, this place has everything you need for a full day at the beach!
You can drive here or get a taxi in half an hour from Tulum centre.
Secret Beach (near Tulum)
We love to explore further afield which is why we ended up cycling many kilometres into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.
You will have to cycle for an hour or get a taxi, but Secret Beach will more than likely be empty with perfect white sand and crystal clear and calm water. Perhaps take a picnic and enjoy a romantic afternoon.
Gay Events and Parties in Tulum
The annual Arena Festival is a huge gay circuit party held over the course of a week in venues alternating between Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum (varies year to year).
When we went the finale event was a huge party deep in the jungle in Tulum surrounded by beautiful cenotes – it was incredible!
Check our more in our Guide to Arena Festival.
Tulum Gay Resorts and Hotels
Tulum is quite small and is yet to have any outright gay hotels or gay resorts like you would find in Puerto Vallarta. There used to be a hotel that marketed itself as a gay hotel called Adonis, however this has chanegd its name and rebranded.
However we have listed a few stunning hotels further below that will welcome all travellers with open arms.
Layla Tulum – Adults Only (Travel Proud)
This is an absolutely stunning property situated in the heart of Tulum Town. Showcasing exceptional architecture amid a magnificent Riad style courtyard garden and pool.
Layla Tulum offers a warm welcome to all and is ‘Travel Proud’ certified by booking.com (as a hotel that has gone the extra mile for it’s LGBTQ guests).
Layla is an adults only hotel with anoutdoor swimming pool, garden, a shared lounge and terrace. This 4-star hotel offers room service, a concierge service and free WiFi.
Rooms are all air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a coffee machine, a fridge, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, a patio and a private bathroom with a shower.
La Zebra a Colibri Boutique Hotel
The Colibri group of hotels are all beautiful, including this boutique hotel described as one of the best “Beach Chic” experiences in Tulum and is in one of the best locations.
The hotel is located on the beach, rooms are luxurious and spacious with some having views of the ocean, and some with plunge pools (there are seven room types in total).
Everything from the staff to the on site restaurant gets great reviews from guests. You are also able to use facilities at the sister hotels (which are again stunning and luxurious).
Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel-Adults Only
Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel.
The hotel is nestled upon a small rocky outcrop overlooking the Caribbean Sea and as the name implies, if you are looking for a romantic and luxurious hotel in Tulum this may be for you, especially since some of the rooms offer your own private plunge pool.
The hotel also hosts live DJ sessions which you can enjoy as you sip masterful cocktails in their infinity pool.
Activities in Tulum for Gay Travellers
We can guarantee that you will not be bored. Whether you are a beach bum or an avid explorer, here is our list of top things to do in Tulum to get you started!
Explore by Bike
Tulum is quite small. Equip yourself with a map, a bike (there are plenty of places to hire), plenty of water and set off on an adventure.
We saw on the map a section where there was a thin strip of land separating the sea and a lagoon. This looked like it would be spectacular to see so off we went!
We cycled 15km along the coast and back. This was away from the main roads so was very easy and safe. Along the way there are many beautiful hotels, boutiques and restaurants. There seemed to be a bit of an “LA vibe” around as there were many health-conscious places to eat, yoga retreats and bikini boot camp resorts!
After 15km we entered the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean.
This was free to enter on a bike and the road got very bumpy. After about 20 minutes into the reserve there was small path on the right. This led to an expansive and beautiful lagoon. The lagoon is home to a vast array of wildlife including manatees!
Visit Casa Malca
We visited the well renowned Casa Malca hotel. This had been recommended to us by a number of people and we were not let down.
The entrance to the lobby had 10ft curtains made of bridal gowns and large windows looking straight out on to the white sand beach.
We took a stroll around the hotel taking in all its quirks. Apparently, this hotel was owned by Pablo Escobar, and is now owned by his family which is why it’s a top spot for tourists to seek out.
However, you won’t find it without a map and a keen eye. Its not signposted as such; the sign is a train crossing sign and it sits between Rosa del Viento and Nomade. Just knock on the door and a lady will let you come in and take a look!
Visit the Grand Cenote
Much of the land in Mexico is made of limestone. This often collapses leaving behind open pools and underground cave systems of fresh water called cenotes. Many of these are now open for public entry for swimming, and some of them even offer cave diving for the more adventurous. There are plenty to choose from, but we chose the Grand Cenote as it was renowned to be particularly beautiful.
It definitely lived up to our expectations! The water was crystal clear with small fish and terrapins swimming around. We spent an hour exploring and testing our lungs by diving deep and swimming under rock arches before leaving.
We do recommend getting there early. Entry is also free on Sundays for locals, so it’s naturally busier then. We found having less people made this a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience!
We paid 180 Mexican pesos each for entry, 30 pesos for the locker and 80 pesos for snorkels (an absolute must have).
For more cenotes, take a look at this guide to cenotes in Cancun .
Visiting Tulum Ruins
Top on everyone’s list is visiting Tulum ruins!
The ruins are on the coast overlooking the Mayan beach. Some buildings are still well intact including the palace at the centre and temples. On many of them you can still see the decorations and the carvings. Its intriguing to imagine what life would have been like living somewhere like this!
Tulum Ruins Hours
Again, get here early because this really does get busy! The ruins open at 8am, aim to arrive at 8am at the very latest!
This cost 70 Mexican pesos for entry. We considered a guided tour, however the signposts throughout were enough for us. Each building also has an information board with all you need to know, so we enjoyed exploring at our own pace.
However, if you are a history buff and you really interested in learning Tulum ruins history, we highly recommend speaking with one of the guides and organising a Tulum ruins tour! We saw lots if groups going around and being entertained.
How to get to Tulum, Mexico
Tulum is easily accessible given it has become such a popular tourist destination. Here are your options for getting to Tulum from around Mexico:
How to get to Tulum from Cancun
There are three different options to choose from:
Shuttle from Cancun Airport to Tulum
This is the cheapest option and very straightforward. We suggest using Hoppa as they search for the cheapest deals from different companies.
For a shared shuttle you can expect to pay $30 per person one way. A private shuttle for 3 people will cost around $100 so if there are a few of you, this may be the best option.
Travel time should be around 95 minutes.
Taxi from Cancun Airport to Tulum
You can just get a taxi on arrival and the price should still be around $100 for 1-4 people. However, if you want to avoid haggling perhaps just book a shuttle in advance.
Travel time should be around 95 minutes.
Bus from Cancun to Tulum
The main bus company is called the ADO bus. We used this a lot to move around in Mexico and found them easy to use.
For this journey you would need to change at Playa Del Carmen and get on a second bus. This is not ideal after a long flight but can work out to be the cheapest option.
Check the ADO website online for the best prices
How to get to Tulum from Playa Del Carmen
For this journey we suggest that you just use the ADO bus. You could also haggle with a taxi driver but the bus is perfectly comfortable and cheap.
We didn’t know much about Tulum before we arrived, but we are very glad we went!
The rest of the Riviera Maya and Cancun has plenty to offer. Tulum may not have a huge gay scene, but we would rank it as one of the top destinations in Mexico for gay travellers.
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