Tulum is a vibrant mixture of artistic streets, spiritual vibes, exotic beaches, and incredible aesthetics.
It's no wonder tourists and influencers have been flocking to Tulum in droves.
But what's Tulum like as a remote working destination? is the wifi reliable? and is it really one of Mexico's best digital nomad hotspots?
This digital nomad guide will walk you through everything you need to know about remote working in Tulum, Mexico.
Tulum has boomed in recent years to become one of Mexico's premier destinations.
Located in Yucatan Penisula, the spiritual town is conveniently located an hour south of popular Playa del Carmen and about two hours from Cancun (where the closest International airport is).
However, Tulum has a different feel to both Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
Tulum boasts a more laidback lifestyle, quieter roads, and an overall more hippy feel to its neighbors.
The area has also attracted a lot of digital nomads. While the COVID-19 pandemic saw most countries close their borders. Mexico remained open to tourism and became a base for remote workers who were either stranded abroad or wanted to escape their country.
A quick Google of Tulum will bring up blue-water beaches and ocean-side Mayan ruins.
However, the real heartbeat of Tulum is in town, which is located a short drive (or 30-minute bicycle ride) away.
Tulum town has a different feel to the beaches. The sidewalks are splattered in street art, there's local food sizzling out onto the side-streets, and there's a more community feel to the beaches.
Town is where most digital nomads base due to affordability and better infrastructure.
Tulum beach is probably what you'd expect.
There are high-priced resorts and restaurants and plenty of aesthetics for the 'gram.
You can still find decent wifi and infrastructure to work, but you're going to pay a considerable amount more.
If you're okay with paying for it, living on Tulum beach is the iconic Tulum holiday lifestyle.
When to visit Tulum
Tulum is hot all year round with its temperatures sticking between 70-80F.
However, Tulum's tropical climate means seasons can bring rain, hurricanes and humidity.
Tulum's wettest months are June to October. This is also hurricane season, which can impact power and wifi in Tulum significantly.
Often considered the best time to visit Tulum is between October-November. However, prices climb at this time, making it quite expensive.
From January to March gets hot, and waves of tourists flock to Mexico's beaches to escape the American winter. It can get crowded during these months.
A huge drawcard for a lot of digital nomads coming to Mexico is the 6-month visa on arrival.
You get 180-days if you're traveling with a passport from:
- The United States
- New Zealand
- EU Schengen Countries
- See the full list here
This makes Mexico ideal if you're looking for a base without annoying visa-runs.
Where to stay in Tulum?
Airbnb is a popular option for long-term stays in Tulum. If you haven't signed up for Airbnb yet, this link will give you a discount on your first booking. Remember bookings of 28 days or longer unlock huge monthly discounts.
I personally recommend staying in Tulum town if you want to be in the heartbeat.
Turquoise Petit is definitely the kind of hotel you've seen on Instagram. The rooms are aesthetic, there are two swimming pools and guests get free use of bicycles.
Hotel Holistika is a conscious hotel/retreat option. There is a vegan restaurant, swimming pool, and yoga here.
A highly-rated and affordable hotel option in Tulum. Arcos is a great option in the heart of Tulum town.
Definitely a pricier option, but good for shorter stays, or for those who want the beach life.
Habitas is an eco-hotel located right on the beach. So if you like waking to waves at your feet - this is for you.
Villa Feronia is a beachfront eco-B&B in Tulum. It's located right between Tulum Ruins and Sian Ka'an Reserve.
This adults-only resort is a popular direct beachfront option in Tulum.
Sian Ka’an Reserve
Getting close to nature is easy in Tulum. You can even stay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located nearby. While I wouldn't recommend it as a long-term option, it would be a great experience.
Located just south of Tulum Beach, Casa Niños Sian Ka'an has accommodation in Tulum with access to a garden, a private beach area, as well as a 24-hour front desk. This beachfront property offers access to a balcony, free private parking and free WiFi.
Tired of Tulum or just want to get a little closer to authentic Mexican life? Macario Gomez is located just 20 minutes away (inland) and offers a completely different feel to the well-known Tulum.
The top-rated hotel in Macario Gomez. The accommodation hidden in the jungle has wifi, free parking and a 24-hour front desk.
This hotel has a beautiful swimming pool and garden area and rooms with everything you need to be comfortable.
Aldea Balam has a restaurant, wifi free private parking, free bikes, and an outdoor swimming pool.
Playa del Carmen
It's also worth considering Playa del Carmen. Of course, Playa del Carmen is not Tulum, however, it does have a thriving digital nomad community and is less than an hour bus trip away from Tulum. Many remote workers choose Playa del Carmen over Tulum due to its affordability and workspaces, especially relocating during peak season when Tulum prices skyrocket.
Getting around Tulum
There are a number of ways to get around Tulum.
If you're based in Tulum town and don't plan to travel outside, it's a very walkable town. However, if you're planning on exploring a little further afield, or plan to go to the beaches, etc. then renting or buying a bicycle is a popular option.
Tulum is full of bicycles and there is even a bicycle lane from the town to the beaches.
Bicycle rentals vary in prices depending on seasons. However, you can get big discounts by renting on a monthly basis, rather than day-by-day.
When renting accommodation, it's always worth a try to see if your host can throw in a bicycle as part of the deal. This is common in Tulum.
Remember bicycle theft is extremely common in Tulum. Always lock up your bicycle and do not leave it on the street at night.
Scooters are another popular option in Tulum and are a great means to get around.
The downside is they are relatively expensive, especially come peak season.
While renting a scooter monthly is your best bet, some places won't rent scooters out for that long during busy seasons.
Scooter rentals are more expensive on the beach, but Tulum town isn't much better. Your best bet is to post in Tulum's Facebook Groups asking for rentals or search in Facebook Marketplace, as often it's the same price to purchase a scooter then it is to rent for a month.
Unlike other parts of Mexico, you won't find any rideshare options like Uber in Tulum. Taxis still dominate, however, they are an expensive means to get around.
If you need to use a lot of taxis, my suggestion is to find a driver you like and get their number. Drivers will often give you better prices if you use them a lot.
Renting a car is also an option and there are a few rental shops around town. Like scooters, prices vary depending on season and shop, so it pays to look around. Monthly discounts apply.
Working in Tulum
Tulum requires a little bit of flexibility and a sprinkle of patience at times.
The truth is wifi can be unreliable and power-outs are common.
Most of the time it's a good place to work. However, hurricanes and bad weather are when things get testing.
In Tulum's 2020 hurricane season, the wifi went out in a lot of areas for a week, with many remote workers moving to Playa del Carmen until the wifi returned.
In my opinion, Tulum still has a long way to go before I'd recommend it as a strong option for a lot of digital nomads.
While fiber optic internet can be found, it's not always reliable.
I highly recommend having backup options, whether it's a hotspot from your phone (Telcel have good Tulum town coverage), a portable wifi device like Skyroam, or somewhere else you can go if need be.
Power can randomly cut in Tulum and there's not a lot you can do about it besides wait.
Most times the power goes out for minutes, sometimes hours, and rarely you can lose power for longer. Like wifi, this is more common in poor weather conditions and hurricanes.
Tulum's best coworking cafes
There are a number of cafes to work from in Tulum - in fact, most offer pretty good wifi. The difficult part is finding a cafe with enough power-outlets and comfortable seating, which Tulum lacks, in my opinion.
Babel was my personal favorite cafe to work from. It has strong wifi speeds, powerpoints at every table, and reasonably comfortable. The downside is it's small and can fill up.
Ki'bok is a popular option for workers, however, my experience wasn't great. The wifi wasn't good and I couldn't find a table with a power outlet, so I moved on pretty quickly.
This laidback vegetarian restaurant/cafe is nestled in an open backyard space which is easy to relax and get some work done. Power-outlets aren't easy to find, but the food and coffee here is perfecto.
Other cafes include:
Tulum's growing popularity as a remote working destination means more coworking spaces are popping up. While I didn't personally use them due to their high prices, it could be worth it if you're looking for a more reliable workspace.
If you're looking at Coliving in Tulum, the most popular option is Outsite Tulum.
For around $2000 a month you can co-live and work in Tulum. Again, I can't personally vouch for Outsite, but they appear to be your best option. if coliving is your thing.
Cost of living in Tulum
The cost of living varies considerably in Tulum depending on what time of year you visit and the lifestyle choices you make.
Prices start to skyrocket between November-January and you could end up paying more than double for accommodation during these times.
In fact, the prices climb so high in peak months, I personally don't see Tulum as a good choice for digital nomads around these times.
Average Monthly Airbnb (1-person & off-peak)
Average price of local meal
Restaurants & supermarkets
Tulum has enough restaurants, cafes, and bars to keep you exploring options for months.
It is also home to some of the best vegan food in Mexico, which is a major drawcard for many people.
Some must-try restaurants are:
Head here for the best burritos in town.
A 100% plant-based food truck serving up incredible meals roadside.
Cheap and delicious tacos with open-air local vibes.
Incredible tacos stacked with high with guacamole.
There are so many tasty options in Tulum, it's best to go explore and see what you find.
There are two main options for major supermarkets.
For more organic, vegan and specialty items, Gypsea Market is located at the other end of town but has a wide range of quality products.
Is Tulum a good digital nomad destination?
Overall, Tulum can be a good digital nomad destination if you're flexible on:
- Work schedules
- Seasonal price shifts
- Unpredictable weather
If you're tied to a job where there is little wiggle room for power-outs or technical problems, Tulum might not be the right place for you. Likewise, if you're on tighter budget, you might find Playa del Carmen a more affordable option, especially between November-February.
The hurricane season can really disrupt work schedules too, so flexibility at these times is a must.
No one likes to think about it, but traveling in Mexico can have risks. By covering yourself with the right travel insurance, you can enjoy the world without worries.
I recommend World Nomads as my favorite travel insurance provider.