Top 7 Tulum Tourist Mistakes

Tulum has pristine beaches, stunning ruins, crystal-clear cenotes (sinkholes for swimming) and a National Biosphere that is unbelievable. However, there are plenty of mistakes to be made on your beach filled vacation. Don’t let these top 8 tourist mistakes bring you down in Tulum. Read below!

1. Not clearing your memory cards or phone storage for the abundance of pictures and videos you will be taking!

The one is explanatory but be sure to check your phone and SD storage before your trip. Make sure to format your SD card, like this one here, before taking your first photo.

2. Only Eating Tacos and Burritos

If those mouth-watering inspired photos above don’t make you crave tacos, I don’t know what will?! But, you aren’t going to Mexico for JUST tacos and burritos. I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely nothing against tacos and burritos. In fact, I love them. But Tulum has a lot more to offer than just tacos. You can find great BBQ at Smokey O’s, exquisite Thai at Mezzanine and firewood pizza at Pizzeria Manglar.

Related: The Best Airbnb Jungle Retreat in Tulum

You won’t experience a foodie tour of a lifetime in Tulum but you may be surprised at its offerings outside the obvious choice of tacos and burritos. 

Tulum Ruins. Tulum, Mexico

3. Tourist Traps and Most Famous Attractions

In the last 4 or 5 years Tulum has really blossomed. For better or for worse, it’s not the same raw and secluded beach town it once was. 

“Almost free” is a new term locals use to sell you their service or product.

What this really means is, a way to engage you to buy, buy, buy. It was funny at first, but then the more you hear it, the more you will get annoyed.

So, plan your itinerary accordingly and hit some of the main attractions, like the Tulum Ruins, but not all of them. You will thank me later because the last thing you want to do is spend your entire vacation getting hounded by vendors at all the top tourist attractions. 



4. Tipping excessively

Excessive tipping is not common in Tulum. Plan to leave around 15%. Baggage handlers, rental car agency’s, parking lot attendees, maids, tour guides and EVERYBODY ELSE will be asking for tips in Tulum. You will run out of pesos quickly if you are tipping everybody. 

I’d recommend focusing your tips on those who really offer exceptional service. I also will tip more at local restaurants and mom & pop style cafés or coffee shops, rather than chain restaurants along the beach or in town. 

5. Expecting all spots to accept credit cards

Tulum has become very expensive.

Many places outside of Tulum town and the Hotel Zone do not accept credit cards

Tulum Map. Mexico.

There are even places in the Tulum town area that prefer or only accept pesos

Plan accordingly and have some extra pesos.

On our trip, we were super close to running out of Pesos by the end of Day 5. We did buy a souvenir, so that did cut into the budget a little but did not run us peso broke. 

Also, be careful where you grab extra pesos from ATM machines. This can’t be entirely avoided but skimmers are everywhere in Mexico. EVERYBODY wants your money. Look for skimmers and be aware of shady ATM that don’t look or feel right.

Mezcalita. Tulum, Mexico

6. Only Drinking Tequila & Cheap Beer

Tequila is not the only famous liquor in Mexico. Mezcal is also really popular. It’s like a margarita, only better! Mezcalitas bring a spicy, mysterious twist to the classic margarita. Mezcalitas also feature more citrus, bringing us a particularly bright and brilliant summer feel with every sip. And just when you think you’ve gotten the Mezcalita figured out, she hits you with a hint of smoke and layers of spice.

8. Falling prey to a travel scam or pickpocketing incident

Travel scams and robberies can happen to even the savviest of travelers. However, there are things you can do to prevent these from occurring.

  • Always leave your valuables and passport in the hotel safe;
  • Don’t carry large amounts of pesos on you
  • Be cautious when taking taxis (insist they put the meter on)
  • Be careful and alert in crowded tourist areas.
  • Do not walk around at night in areas outside of the downtown strip or the beach

Related: How to Avoid Pickpockets

What is your top tourist mistake in Tulum?

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