Where to stay in Tulum: Centro or Playa?

A short guide to help you decide where to stay in Tulum

Published on
November 30, 2021

Thinking about making a trip to Tulum? You'll probably find yourself deciding between staying in Tulum town (pueblo) or the beach (playa). There really isn't a wrong choice here; both offer incredible experiences, though very different. They're about a 50 minute bike ride from one another, or 30 minutes in a taxi (though this can be dependent on traffic, which there is usually quite a bit of in the hotel zone by the beach).

Tulum Beach

The beach is relaxing, beautiful, and not to mention it's hard to beat waking up just steps away from a gorgeous white sand beach. The beach road is a long dirt road lined with trendy restaurants, cafes, fun bars, and luxury hotels. For this reason, the area is referred to as the "Hotel Zone". With no shortage of beautiful hotels, yoga shalas, and beach side boutiques, it's all very idyllic (and Instagram friendly). If it's your first visit to Tulum, the beach offers a great introduction.

Tulum Town

This is home to the locals, and so many incredible restaurants and authentic taco restaurants and stands. It's a fairly walkable area, though bikes and scooters definitely come in handy. There are plenty of rental options available and you'll likely find scooters to be the most efficient way to get around. You'll find more affordable accommodation, food and drink than on the beach, and the Wifi is much faster and more reliable. It's also much easier to reach cenotes from here. Staying in town generally makes for a quieter, more relaxed experience

Neighborhoods in Tulum Town

La Veleta
La Veleta is the newest neighborhood in town. It's about a 15 minute bike ride from the center, and about an hour bike ride to the beach. Its allure lies in it being very affordable, and home to many boutique restaurants and hotels.

Tumben Kaan
This is where you can find Outsite Centro. It's close to the centre of town, while maintaining a neighborhood feel.

Aldea Zama
Aldea Zama is another new residential development in town that is significantly closer to the beach and thus more expensive. Both areas are very safe, modern, and maintain the boho-chic style of the beach area.

All in all, it comes down to what you're looking for throughout your visit to Tulum.

Stay at the beach if:

You have a shorter stay here
You're craving days filled with sunbathing and swimming
You want a more chic and luxurious trip with trendy restaurants and bars

If this sounds like you, check out Outsite Tulum - Playa.

Stay in town if:

You're visiting for an extended period of time
You're wanting a bit more of an active and adventurous visit
Want to a more authentic experience of Tulum

If this resonates more, consider Outsite Tulum - Centro.

Wherever you decide to call home, you really can't go wrong. Should you land on the beach, the town is just a quick taxi or bus ride away (and vice versa). Check out our Neighborhood Guide and the Digital Nomad Guide for more tips and our top Tulum recommendations.

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