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No longer a hidden gem, Tulum is on the radar of many tourists and digital nomads around the world. This town, nestled between the thick jungle and the Caribbean Sea, is rapidly growing and developing and has become a hotspot for remote workers and expats in the past few years. Are you a digital nomad wondering whether or not Tulum is a good destination for you? You have come to the right place! After spending around one month in Tulum, this is our honest review and extensive travel guide on Tulum for digital nomads!

In this travel guide for Tulum, we will cover everything you need to know, from finding a place to live to the best activities and restaurants, staying safe, and much more!

Where Is Tulum?

Tulum digital nomad
Tulum is one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico.

Tulum is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula. The town is near the Caribbean coast, around 1.5 hours from Cancun and 45 minutes from Playa Del Carmen. Situated below the Tropic of Cancer, Tulum experiences warm tropical weather all year round, making it an excellent place for digital nomads who want to live in a hot place.

How to Get to Tulum

The Tulum Airport officially opened on December 1st, 2023. So, several domestic and international flights now land right directly in Tulum. Airlines that fly to Tulum include: 

  • AeroMexico
  • Volaris
  • American
  • Delta
  • Spirit
  • VivaAerobus

That said, the most common airport for most travelers will still be the much larger Cancun International Airport. 

If you land in Cancun, you have a few options for getting into town:

  • Taxi: This is the easiest option but also the most expensive. You can take a taxi directly from the Cancun Airport for $85 to $100.
  • Rent a Car: Many digital nomads in Tulum choose to rent a car for their stay as it makes getting around easier. You can rent a car directly in the Cancun Airport for about $30 to $50 per day. Make sure to get insurance coverage!
  • ADO bus: The ADO bus is a popular transportation service with routes around Mexico. They are super comfortable, safe, and reasonably affordable. The bus from the Cancun Airport to Tulum will cost you $15 to $25 and will drop you off at the bus station in Tulum’s town center.
  • Shuttle: This is the option we chose, as it was only slightly more expensive than the bus. This shuttle will take you directly from the airport to the Tulum town center for $27. It can also drop you off at your accommodation for an extra $8.

Is Tulum Safe?

Is Tulum Safe
Digital nomads in Tulum can rest assured as it is one of the safest parts of the country.

Mexico has a notorious reputation for being unsafe, and while you should always be cautious and “street smart,” not all parts of Mexico are “no-go-zones”. Tulum is located in the Mayan Riviera, one of Mexico’s safest areas.

As for travel advisories, the USA has a level 2 “exercise increased caution” advisory for Tulum and the Quintana Roo region, which is the same as France, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

On our visit to Tulum, we felt completely safe the entire time. In fact, the level of safety felt higher than in many places we have traveled to in the USA and parts of Europe. That said, petty crime such as pickpocketing is still prevalent, and as it is such a touristy area, it is important to be aware of common scams.

The Good: Reasons to Go to Tulum

The days of Tulum being a hidden gem in the Mayan Rivera are long gone, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a great place to visit. There are quite a few things to love about Tulum.

Proximity to Attractions

Tulum is an excellent jumping-off point to tons of amazing tourist attractions in the region. Wanna swim in the gorgeous crystal clear waters of a cenote, snorkel in a coral reef, and visit ancient Mayan ruins? You can do all of this right in Tulum!

Tulum is also pretty close to other popular areas, making it a great place for day or weekend trips. For example, Playa Del Carmen is only 45 minutes away, Bacalar (a true hidden gem) is 2.5 hours south, and Chichen Itza can be reached in just over 2 hours.

Good Weather

It isn’t surprising that Tulum gets extremely busy during the North American winter months, as the weather stays warm here all year round. While you may need to brace yourself for the intense humidity, Tulum does not get cold, which is a huge plus for many digital nomads.

Slow Pace of Life

While definitely not a tranquil oasis, Tulum is much more chilled out than Cancun or Playa del Carmen. What we loved most about Tulum was riding our bikes around the streets and exploring the town and beach areas. This is a great place to relax, spend time at the beach, eat delicious food, and repeat!

Downsides of Tulum for Digital Nomads

We spent a month in Tulum as digital nomads. Would we do it again? Probably not. While Tulum is a beautiful travel destination, it didn’t quite check the boxes for what we look for in digital nomad destinations. But, of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out! Here are the downsides of Tulum.

Overtourism

If you are looking for a secluded beach destination, you should skip straight past Tulum. This area, as well as the surrounding Mayan Rivera, is extremely popular with tourists. Tulum has seen such a rapid rise in tourism in the last decade that the town is almost unrecognizable.

For a frame of reference, the population of Tulum was only around 2,000 in 1970, but today, it is more than 45,000!

There are several environmental and societal problems involved with this rapid population growth and flock of tourists.

Not a Very Authentic Place

If you are interested in immersing yourself in Mexican culture, learning Spanish, and experiencing life the way locals do, you should NOT set up your digital nomad base in Tulum. We definitely had some amazing, authentic experiences in Tulum, but you have to seek them out. The town is marketed towards tourists who want to party and lounge on the beach with other tourists and not those who want to experience a new country’s culture.

It’s Pricy

Our jaws dropped when we saw the prices in Tulum. It is seriously expensive here! For many things, you’ll be spending more than you would spend in the USA, the UK, Australia, or other classically expensive countries. Restaurants, shopping, groceries, gym passes, and taxis will cost astronomically more than other Mexican cities. 

Infrastructure

As Tulum is rapidly expanding, the quality of the infrastructure will likely change soon. That said, the roads, electricity, wifi stability, and waste systems are all definitely lacking in the town. Power outages are relatively common, which can be pretty inconvenient for digital nomads. It is also worth pointing out that recycling is essentially non-existent in town. Most businesses and apartment complexes don’t recycle at all, so you’ll have to drop your recycling waste off on your own.

Best Neighborhoods for Digital Nomads in Tulum

Cenotes in Tulum
Many visitors travel to Tulum to visit the beautiful cenotes.

You aren’t going to have much trouble finding a good area to stay in Tulum because there really aren’t that many neighborhoods. Tulum is a small town with four distinct areas that digital nomads stay in.

Aldea Zama

We stayed in Aldea Zama during our stint in Tulum and found it to be the best neighborhood for digital nomads in Tulum. This newly developed area has decent infrastructure and tons of cute cafes, restaurants, hotels, and apartment complexes. This area is quieter and more walkable than the main Pueblo. It also has lots of green space and trees. That said, Aldea Zama is definitely a high-end part of town, and prices are much higher than in the downtown area of Tulum. In fact, we mostly ate at restaurants in the downtown area as they were half the cost as the ones in Aldea Zama.

The other major problem we had with this neighborhood was the power outages. There were a few occasions during our stay when the power in the entire neighborhood was out for the whole day. This meant that we had to venture to the other side of town just to work at a cafe or coworking space.

La Veleta

While we enjoyed our stay in Aldea Zama, La Veleta seemed to be the most popular area for expats. This area is also a relatively new development, but the infrastructure is noticeably worse than in Aldea Zama. There is more of a mix of expats and locals living here. The main reason digital nomads choose this area is the cost of living. La Veleta is MUCH cheaper than Aldea Zama and, of course, the hotel zone in Tulum. So, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. There are tons of nice cafes, bars, restaurants, and shopping areas, and it is only a 5 to 10-minute bike ride from the main Pueblo.

The main downsides of La Veleta are the infrastructure and the distance from the beach, as this is the furthest neighborhood from both the Hotel Zone and the National Park beaches.

Tulum Pueblo

The Tulum Pueblo, or downtown, is the busiest area of the town and also the most affordable. Apartments, hotels, and hostels are all much cheaper in the downtown area, as well as restaurants and bars. The Tulum Pueblo is also the best place to find authentic street food and is a great place to witness how the locals live, as this is where most of the Tulumeños (locals) are based.

Downtown Tulum is definitely not as Instagrammable as the other areas we have mentioned, but it is still a good place for digital nomads who want to save a bit of money and stay in a more authentic area.

Tulum Hotel Zone

The most popular area for tourists in Tulum is the Hotel Zone. If you have seen photos of Tulum on Instagram, they were likely taken in this area. The Hotel Zone has a truly bohemian vibe, loaded with beach clubs, resorts, boutique shopping, and fancy restaurants. While we didn’t spend much time here during our visit to Tulum, it is definitely a great place to stroll through. 

As the Hotel Zone doesn’t have very many apartment complexes and is mostly comprised of fancy hotels and resorts, it is not very popular with digital nomads. Your lifestyle would be much more expensive here, as there are few budget eateries and no large grocery stores.

Digital Nomad Accommodation Options in Tulum

Finding a good place to stay is one of the first steps in setting up your remote work life in a new place. And your accommodation’s quality (as well as the cost) can make a huge impact. Here are some of your best options for finding a place to stay in Tulum.

Long Term Leases

If you plan on staying in Tulum for longer than a month, we recommend renting an apartment there. Generally, landlords will want you to sign a lease of at least three months, but you may be able to negotiate a shorter lease, especially if you are already in Tulum when looking for an apartment. Keep in mind that you’ll generally get better rates the longer you sign a lease for.

Short Term Rentals

As we were only in Tulum for around a month, we booked a short-term lease. In Tulum, short-term rentals are more expensive, but if you only plan on visiting for a month or so, this is a good option. We also recommend booking a short-term rental for your first week or so in town while you look for a more permanent option. 

We don’t generally recommend booking directly through Airbnb, as the rates are higher and contribute to rising rent causes across the world. Here are a few good Airbnb alternatives.

  • Find apartment listings in Facebook groups
  • Book Airbnbs with on-property hosts (guest houses, traditional bed and breakfasts, etc.)
  • Book a homestay

Hostels and Coliving

If you are on a tighter budget or want to interact with other tourists and expats, hostels and co-living spaces are an awesome option. In hostels, you’ll meet tons of other travelers and have access to all the events and activities that the hostel organizes. Here are a few of the best hostels and co-living spaces in Tulum.

Things to Do in Tulum

what to do in Tulum
There are tons of amazing things to do in Tulum, making it a great place to explore for digital nomads.

During your time in Tulum, you could simply chill by the beach and relax or explore and take part in some of the many activities in the area.

Check Out the Cenotes

You probably already know this, but part of what makes Tulum so popular with tourists is its proximity to cenotes. Cenotes are natural limestone sinkholes that contain a permanent freshwater supply. Some are located fully inside caves, and some are large open pools. All the cenotes we visited during our time in Tulum had extremely clear water and were simply gorgeous! The Yucatan Peninsula has over 6,000 known cenotes, so it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the best ones.

We booked a day tour through Airbnb that took us to 3 off-the-beaten-path cenotes in Chemuyil (a town 15 minutes north of Tulum). The cenotes the guide took us to were secluded and absolutely stunning!

Best Cenotes in Tulum

  • Cenote Calavera: This is a small but gorgeous cenote located just outside of Tulum. It costs around 500 pesos (28 USD) to enter. Keep in mind that this cenote can get pretty crowded on the weekends.
  • Kaan Luum Laguna: This is one of the most unique cenotes in Tulum. In fact, it looks more like a massive lake than a cenote. This massive lagoon has a beautiful dark blue drop-off in the middle, likening it to the Blue Hole in Belize. You can swim and relax in the main part of the lagoon, but only divers can enter the deep (dark blue) portion.
  • Cenotes Casa Tortuga: Casa Tortuga is an area with 4 amazing cenotes. You can book a tour for 700 pesos (35 USD) and see all 4 of the cenotes. These cenotes were very well maintained and had some of the clearest blue water we had ever seen!

Wander Mayan Ruins

Tulum is also essentially at the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization, so there are tons of impressive Mayan ruins nearby. While Chichen Itza is the most famous (and most crowded), we highly recommend checking out some of the other amazing sites in the region. Here are a few of the best ones.

  • Tulum Ruins: The Tulum ruins are the namesake of the city and are located just outside of the Pueblo. These are the only major Mayan ruins located directly on the coast, and they are unique in that you can go to the beach right near them!
  • Muyil Ruins: Situated around 25 minutes south of Tulum, Muyil has a completely different vibe than the far more popular Tulum ruins. These ruins are in the middle of the jungle, and the majority have yet to be uncovered! Muyil is also right next to a beautiful lagoon, which you can take a boat tour of.
  • Coba Ruins: Around an hour from Tulum, Coba is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in the Yucatan. The Nohoch Mul pyramid is also one of the largest in the area, at around 137 feet tall. Coba was believed to be one of the most important Mayan cities, with an estimated population of approximately 100,000 at its peak.
  • Chichen Itza Ruins: Chances are, if you have heard of a Mayan ruin, it is Chichen Itza. This is by far the most visited Mayan ruin in the world and has even been deemed a “New Wonder of the World”. This ruin holds the iconic “El Castillo” pyramid and gets around 2 million visitors each year. It is located in the Yucatan province, around 2 hours from Tulum by car.

Go to the Beach

One of the main reasons digital nomads and tourists visit Tulum is the easy access to the beautiful Caribbean Sea. If you stay in the Hotel Zone, you’ll be able to walk out of your accommodation onto the beach, but those staying in the Pueblo will need to ride a bike or drive. There are many amazing beaches in and near Tulum, so there are bound to be options for you depending on the experience you seek. 

You can break down the beaches in Tulum into two categories: Free beaches and beach clubs. All beaches in Mexico are open to the public, so in theory, all beaches are accessible. That said, accessing the beaches in Tulum’s Hotel Zone can be difficult as many of the hotels do not have a public entrance to the beach. But, it is important to keep in mind that you do NOT need to pay a hotel to simply access the beach and sit in the sand.

Best Beaches in Tulum

Here are a few of the best beaches in the Tulum area.

  • Playa Paraiso: This beach is free to enter and has tons of non-hotel beachfront. But keep in mind that the beach can get quite crowded, especially on weekends. You will also need to pay the National Park entry fee (58 MXN or 3.5 USD) to enter this beach area.
  • Playa Las Palmas: Just a short walk down from Paraiso, Las Palmas was our favorite beach in Tulum. This beach has way fewer people and is wilder and more natural.
  • South Tulum Beach: This is the most popular stretch of beach in Tulum, encompassing the Hotel Zone. This beach stretches for a few miles south of Tulum and the ruins. The beaches here are beautiful, but there are not a lot of areas that are not lined with hotels and beach clubs. We prefer more natural beaches without as much development, so while this area was nice to visit on a weekend for lounging in a beach bed and sipping on a cocktail, we spent most of our time at the northern beaches.

Take a Weekend Trip

One of the best parts of setting up a digital nomad home base in Tulum is your proximity to other awesome destinations in the region. It is super easy to get from Tulum to other locations in Quintana Roo. In fact, the highlight of our trip to the Yucatan were some of the epic day trips and weekend trips we took from Tulum.

  • Cozumel: If you are into snorkeling and scuba diving, we highly recommend heading over to Cozumel. Here, you’ll easily be able to access the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and swim in some of the bluest water on the planet. Surprisingly, San Miguel De Cozumel has decent infrastructure and Wi-Fi connection. So, you shouldn’t struggle to get work done there.
  • Akumal: Due to the beautiful beaches and abundance of sea turtles, Akumal has become one of the most popular destinations in Quintana Roo. As it is only a quick 30-minute drive away from Tulum, you can easily make Akumal a day trip. 
  • Bacalar: We didn’t make it to Bacalar this trip, but we plan to return for it. We met tons of other travelers and digital nomads in Tulum who said Bacalar was similar to Tulum 10 years ago. The town is around 3 hours south of Tulum and is on a large, beautiful lagoon. It is also a good jumping-off point for Belize, as it is just 40 minutes from the border.

Wifi and SIM cards for Tulum

One of the most important factors that make a destination “digital nomad friendly” is the wifi and data connectivity. After all, we are “digital” nomads! Our experience with the wifi connection in Tulum was that it was pretty strong when it was available. But, with the many power outages and electrical issues, it could be pretty spotty at times. Our accommodation had a strong wifi signal, but some of the cafes we worked at had weak signals.

SIM Cards for Tulum

One of the first things any digital nomad does when they arrive in a new destination is sort out a SIM card for the duration of their stay. You essentially have 3 options when getting data for your smartphone in Mexico:

  • Purchase international roaming with your home phone pan
  • Purchase a physical SIM card after you arrive in the country
  • Purchase an eSIM for Mexico

Physical SIM (Telcel)

Our recommendation for a physical SIM card is Telcel. The plans are relatively affordable, and the local SIM provider has the best service in Tulum. We picked up around 6 GB for our stay in Tulum, setting us back around $20 each. The plans range from around $8 for 3 GB of data to $50 for $30+ GB.

eSIM (Airalo)

eSIMs are super popular for digital nomads as they make the process of getting your phone connected to the internet in a new country much easier and faster! Not all smartphones are eSIM compatible, but most new models are. In fact, the new iPhones don’t even have a SIM port! When we do use eSIMS, we generally get them from Airalo. These SIMs are affordable, reliable, and super quick to set up.

One downside of using an eSIM is that you will usually pay quite a bit more. For example, 6 GB of data from Telcel cost us around $20. With Airalo, 5 GB costs $32. That’s a steep price difference if you ask us! But oftentimes, it’s worth it for the convenience.

Transportation in Tulum

Bike rental tulum

We love setting up shop in destinations where getting around is easy, whether in a large city with good public transportation or an area that is small and walkable. Unfortunately, Tulum has neither of these and is definitely not an easy place to get around. Tulum will probably disappoint you if you are a digital nomad who values the freedom of walking or hopping on a train or bus. That said, here are some of your transportation options in Tulum.

Bike

Your best (and most cost-effective) option is to rent a bike for the duration of your stay in Tulum. We rented our bikes from Zazil. We had very few problems with the bike company, and they gave us a discount for renting our bikes for an entire month.

Tulum isn’t the most bike-friendly place in the world, but you’ll easily be able to get around town on two wheels. Everything is relatively close, and the entire region is incredibly flat, so you won’t have to worry about grueling hills.

Just make sure to bring a poncho or a rain jacket, as you will likely get caught in a downpour occasionally. After all, Tulum is in the middle of a rainforest!

Colectivos/Buses

Biking around is a great choice, but if you plan to venture outside of Tulum (which you definitely will if you stay for more than a few days), you’ll need to take a colectivo or bus. Colectivos are the local commuter option. They are 12-seater vans (with a few more seats squeezed in) that will take you to the most popular destinations, attractions, and cities in the region. We used the colectivos a lot in Tulum and found them to be super easy and efficient.

They leave every 5 minutes from the center of Tulum, right across the street from the ADO bus station. A ticket costs 50 pesos (around 3 USD) to get to Playa Del Carmen, 35 pesos (2 USD) to get to Akumal, and 40 pesos (2.3 USD) to get to Muyil. Simply get in the colectivo and tell the driver your destination; when you get to your stop, the driver will tell you how much to pay.

You can also take the ADO bus to get from city to city. These buses are your best option for traveling longer distances (Cancus, Bacalar, Merida, etc.). ADO buses are super comfortable and are equipped with outlets, reclining seats, air conditioning, and WiFi.

Car/Scooter/ATV Rental

Most digital nomads in Tulum staying for longer than a month opt to rent cars, scooters, or ATVs as their primary means of transportation. The obvious pros of this are getting around much faster and easier. If you are staying in La Veleta, a 4WD vehicle is all but necessary due to the road conditions.

A Note on Police Corruption in Mexico

It is also crucial to discuss the issues of police corruption in the region. We saw many tourists getting pulled over by the police and have heard a lot of horror stories about traffic police asking tourists and expats for bribes. Police in Mexico are highly underpaid, so there are currently many corruption issues. Being such a touristy area, it is very common for expats and digital nomads to experience issues with police.

If a cop pulls you over and asks for money without a ticket, ask them why you are being given a ticket and ask them to give you a written citation that you can pay at a local police station or by mail. Generally, if the officer is asking for a substantial amount of money, refusing to take you to a police station, withholding your documents, or not giving you a proper citation notice, it is a scam. In Mexico, you must pay all fines at the police station, so if a cop asks you to pay them on the side of the road, it is not a legitimate fine.

Taxis

The final way to get around Tulum is by taxi. However, we wouldn’t really recommend using taxis often. While it is a convenient option, they are not the most economical way to get around. For example, a 3-mile taxi ride from the Tulum Hotel Zone to the Pueblo may cost you $15 to $20! Tulum’s taxis are not metered, so you must negotiate the cost with the driver beforehand. Taxis are super pricy here, and they are known to overcharge, especially at major tourist attractions.

Tulum has no Ubers, so taxis have a monopoly over the rideshare market. This is why we recommend digital nomads to rent bikes, scooters, or a car during your stay.

Where to Eat in Tulum

Tulum Food
The food in Tulum is to die for.

Tulum has a wide variety of restaurants catering to all budgets. From authentic street tacos to smoothie bowls and vegan options, Asian cuisine, and upscale dining, you can find just about anything in this small town. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants in Tulum.

  • Taqueria la Chiapaneca: This is a hole-in-the-wall authentic Mexican restaurant with some of the best pastor (marinated pork) we have ever tasted. They have delicious tacos, tortas, quesadillas, and more! The food here is also super budget-friendly.
  • El Agavero: If you are looking for a fancy twist on some classic Mexican dishes, we highly recommend El Agavero. This restaurant takes dishes from Oaxaca (a different region in Mexico) and elevates them. The ambiance and aesthetics in the restaurant are also very interesting. A perfect place for some Instagram photos!
  • Street Food: Our final food recommendation isn’t a specific restaurant, but it is definitely something you should try during your stint in Tulum. After dark in the downtown area, next to the OXXO on Calle Geminis Sur, you’ll find 20+ street food stalls selling delicious and cheap eats. Just follow your nose and look for the stands with a crowd of locals and enjoy a tasty local dinner!

Coworking Spaces in Tulum

For many digital nomads, finding a good coworking space is a non-negotiable. Coworking spaces are a great way to separate your home from your work and provide excellent networking opportunities! Here are a few of the best coworking spaces in Tulum.

  • Los Amigos Coworking: Los Amigos is a coworking space in La Veleta. It is a comfortable area with hot desks and private offices available. Hot desks cost 17 USD per day or 73 USD per week.
  • Digital Jungle Cafe: The most popular coworking space in Tulum. They offer day passes for 400 pesos (23 USD), free coffee and fruit, and access to a private Zoom booth. They also offer weekly passes for 1500 pesos (86 USD) and monthly passes for 5,000 pesos (288 USD).
  • Maya Xel Cafe: This is a cute cafe in Aldea Zama is perfectly set up for remote work. The coffee and food are tasty, they have a strong Wi-Fi connection, and there are tons of comfortable chairs and tables to set up. You do not have to pay extra for coworking as long as you buy food and drinks.
  • Babel Cafe: Another popular coworking cafe in Tulum is Babel. The unique thing about this cafe is that there is a designated table for coworking, which has outlets and strong wifi. Unfortunately, once this table fills up, you won’t be able to work there, so make sure to get there early and grab a spot!

Healthcare in Tulum

Mexico has a good healthcare system, with highly trained doctors and excellent medical infrastructure. If you need medical tests or advanced procedures done, your best bet is to head to Playa Del Carmen, as there are tons of private and public health clinics there. But for standard doctor visits, bloodwork, etc., you can head to one of the following clinics in Tulum.

  • Costamed: A large private hospital in downtown Tulum
  • Centro Medico Maranatha: An affordable clinic in Tulum that can help with most basic medical issues and prescriptions.

Unless you have a resident visa in Mexico, you cannot access the public healthcare system. So, you will have to pay for medical procedures out of pocket. This is why we recommend investing in travel medical insurance to ensure you are covered in the case of emergencies or need to visit a doctor. Check out our guide on health insurance options for digital nomads for more information on this.

Cost of Living in Tulum

As mentioned above, Tulum is one of the most expensive areas in Mexico. If you expected the cost of living to be similar to other popular areas of Mexico like Oaxaca, Merida, and Puebla, think again! You’ll be paying 50 to 75% more for most things in Tulum! This is due to the droves of tourists and expats moving to the area, willing to pay extremely high rent prices. This is forcing many locals out and driving up the cost of living.

Most digital nomads in Tulum will need AT LEAST 2,000 to 3,000 USD per month to live in Tulum. In terms of rent, you can expect to pay between 600 and 1,000 USD per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Groceries will cost between $50 and $100 per week if you shop from Chedraui.

Our top tip: Buy all your produce from a local fruit and veggie stand (there are tons in the main Pueblo). These are much cheaper than the major grocery stores.

Does Mexico Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

Mexico does not have a specific digital nomad visa at this time. That said, there is an alternative visa that will allow you to stay in Mexico long-term. 

Temporary resident visa

This is a blanket term referring to a ton of different visa types (work visas, business visas, etc). However, remote workers can also qualify. You’ll need to make at least 2,595 USD per month for 6 months leading up to when you apply for the visa. To qualify, fill out and submit the visa application along with financial statements, proof of medical insurance, and a clean criminal record check and wait for the immigration office to grant the visa. Once granted, you will be able to live in Mexico for up to 4 years!

How to Be an Ethical Digital Nomad in Tulum

Tulum Beaches
Tulum’s coast is lined with white sandy beaches and turquoise blue water.

There are quite a few ethical issues that surround the worldwide digital nomad community, and Tulum is not untouched. Rising rent prices, environmental issues, and gentrification are all running rampant in Tulum. From our perspective, many travelers and digital nomads come here for the “aesthetic” without realizing the impact of their visit. There is a stark contrast between the luxury beachside hotels and the makeshift shacks that house many local people in the downtown area of Tulum.

Does this mean you should avoid Tulum altogether? Not necessarily. But you should keep these things in mind and make sure you do things differently to remain a responsible and courteous visitor. Here are some of our tips for lessening your negative impact on Tulum during your visit.

Bring Recycling to Tulum Circula

As we mentioned above, recycling in Tulum is almost nonexistent. However, if, like us, you are determined to leave as little waste as possible, you can bring your recycling (cans, bottles, plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard) to the Tulum Circula recycling facility in La Veleta. They have clear labels that will direct you to separate the items into the corresponding bins.

Support Local Businesses

The general Tulum locals are negatively impacted by the boom in tourism in the area. While many entrepreneurs and business owners in the area have benefited greatly, most people in Tulum are not benefiting from the rise in popularity of the town.

One thing we noticed in Tulum was that there were many foreign-owned businesses. There are a lot of expats who move to Tulum and set up boutique clothing stores, cafes, hotels, etc. While these businesses are attractive, and it is certainly okay to support them, you should also ensure that you support locals. Eat at locally owned restaurants, book experiences with Mexican tour companies, and book your accommodations directly from a local, not an expat or large company.

Come in the Off Season

Tulum gets a ton of tourist traffic, and the number of visitors only grows yearly. The impact of over-tourism on a developing place like Tulum is drastic, which you can see in the lack of infrastructure. During the peak season, the town struggles to keep up with the demand from tourists. An estimated 2.2 million people visit the town each year, which is an incredible statistic considering that only 43,000 people live here!

We recommend coming to Tulum in the off-season (May, June, September, October, and November). You will have to deal with more rain and hotter days, but the prices will be much lower. This also gives you a better opportunity to connect with the local people and build unique, meaningful experiences.

Verdict: Is Tulum a Good Digital Nomad Destination?

Tulum is what you make of it. At its roots, Tulum is a culturally rich and ancient place with amazing nature and archeological sites. But things are quickly changing here. With the rise in tourism, it seems that the cultural identity of Tulum is being snuffed out.

There is a lot to love about Tulum: The food, the cenotes, the beaches, and the nature are all truly amazing. While there were certain aspects that we didn’t love, such as the infrastructure, cost of living, and inauthenticity, you can certainly make the most out of your visit.

Our honest review of Tulum? It is not our favorite digital nomad destination, but we for sure enjoyed our time here!

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