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Biking in Tulum

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Updated: August 9, 2020

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The sign at the entrance to Tulum with a bicycle
Biking is the best way to get around Tulum, whether in the town or at the beach.

Getting Around Tulum By Bike

Biking the beach road in Tulum
Biking along the beach road in Tulum. The road is narrow with no bike lane, but traffic moves slow and drivers are used to looking out for cyclists.

There are five ways to get around Tulum

  • Walking is easy to do in the pueblo (downtown) or at the playa (beach). Most of the pueblo’s hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and the bus station sit within a three square kilometer section of town. Streets follow a mostly grid-like pattern with wide sidewalks and good lighting at night. The clubs stay open until late (some as late as 5:00 a.m.), so it’s not unusual to have the streets crowded with pedestrians until late in the evening. At the playa, there is only one narrow road, so it’s impossible to get lost. Most hotels and many restaurants are set up along the eastern, beach side of the road, while most restaurants, shops, bars, and yoga studios lie on the western, jungle side of the road. Though there is no sidewalk for most of the length of the beach road, cars move slowly and drivers are used to pedestrians, so it’s very safe to walk all day. Exercise caution walking at night, as there are no street lights here, just the lights from the hotels and other businesses, so it’s hard for drivers to see pedestrians. Though walking is the most common way to get around in the beach zone, the whole length of the beach is over 10 km from the ruins in the north to Sian Ka’an in the south and would take around 2.5 hours to walk the full length. For longer trips or to travel the 5 km between the pueblo and the playa, you’ll want a more efficient mode of transportation.
  • Busing is an easy, affordable way to travel from Tulum to nearby cities, including Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Bacalar. There are two bus stations in Tulum, the main one in the pueblo and another one at the ruins. However, there are no bus routes connecting the pueblo to the beach. The closest thing Tulum has to a public bus serving local routes in the pueblo or on the beach is the colectivo, a large van that operates as a bus and is mostly used by locals and hotel workers. The colectivo between the pueblo and playa runs about every hour; it’s often full and when that’s the case, it won’t pick up more passengers. Colectivos are incredibly cheap if you’re lucky enough to flag one down on Avenida Coba, but it’s not recommended to rely on the colectivo.
  • Taxis are the most expensive public transport option, but they are the best option for traveling with luggage, large groups, or for late-night trips to or from the beach zone. Taxis are easiest to find near the bus stations, Chedraui supermarket, and near hotel-heavy areas, or call ahead to reserve one. Taxis in Tulum do not use meters; instead, they charge flat rates depending on which zone you are traveling to or from. Drivers have an official list of fares per zone in their taxis, and you’ll also find these lists at designated taxi stands. For a taxi from the pueblo to the North Beach Zone (up to the ruins) or Beach Town area (as far south as Zamas Hotel), the price should be around 100 pesos, while a taxi from the pueblo to the South Beach Zone, near the entrance to Sian Ka’an will be around 180 pesos. Not too bad for an occasional expense, but for multiple trips, it adds up fast. There is no Uber in Tulum to compete with taxi rates.
  • Driving is easy to do in and around Tulum and offers more flexibility for exploring farther-flung attractions, including the Cobá ruins, Punta Laguna Nature Park, or Dos Ojos cenote. But a car can be a burden for traveling along the beach road since there is not much parking available and the narrow road is prone to congestion with work trucks and too many taxis. Rent a car if you plan on doing a lot of exploring outside Tulum proper, but if the bulk of your time will be spent in the pueblo or at the beach, cycling is the best option.
  • Cycling is the best way to get around Tulum especially for traveling up and down the beach road all day, for getting between the pueblo and playa, and for getting to the cenotes just outside of town. Bikes are everywhere in Tulum. They’re easy to rent and cost about 150 pesos a day (less if you rent for multiple days). Tulum pueblo, playa, and the surrounding areas are mostly flat with a few very slight inclines here and there. The bike ride between the town and beach takes 20 to 35 minutes depending on your precise starting and stopping points. Along the beach road, car traffic can stop for 5 to 15-minutes for seemingly no reason at all. On a bike, you sail right by all the traffic and are happy for not being stuck in a car.

Renting a Bike

Bike rentals at Punta Piedra Beach Posada in Tulum
Punta Piedra Beach Posada is the most popular spot to rent a bike at the beach in Tulum.

The best bike rental shop in Tulum is Ola Bike Tulum in the Pueblo on the road to the beach. There are many rental shops nearby, but Ola has the most well-maintained bikes in all sizes, plus accessories like baby carriers. If you book in advance, they’ll even deliver the bikes to you at your hotel and pick them up when your rental term ends.

Paola is another good shop in the Tulum pueblo. The bikes are older and not as high-end as Ola’s, but they are cheaper, about 100 pesos a day. The downside is that they will keep your ID for collateral as long as you have the bike.

There are also bikes available to rent on the beach, but most beach bike rentals are run out of hotels with a limited selection of bikes at an inflated rate (around 250 to 500 pesos per day). The best bike rentals on the beach are at the hotels Punta Piedra Beach Posada and Las Palmas Maya. Both places have a good selection of well-maintained bikes at reasonable rates (around 150 pesos a day).

Cycling in the Tulum Pueblo

The bike lane on the main street in Tulum.
The bike path on the main road in the Pueblo, Carretera Tulum-Cancun, is new and well-marked with a wide sidewalk on the inside and a large buffer space between the bike lane and the road.
Bikes in front of Antojitos la Chiapaneca
Many of the Tulum’s best taco stands, restaurants, and bars are either right on this road or within a block, including Antojitos la Ciapaneca, seen here.
Bicycles parked at Burrito Amor in the Tulum pueblo.
…and Burrito Amor, with plenty of bike parking available.
Cycling at night in the Tulum pueblo
The pueblo, espcecially Avenida Centauro Sur, is the main nightlife hub of Tulum, with bars open all night until 4 or 5:00 a.m. The area is fairly well-lit all night with plenty of people on the streets, so it feels safe. On a bike, it’s easy to zip down the narrow, pedestrian-filled streets where cars would struggle to cross.
Shared cycle/walking path on Avenida Coba, Tulum
Avenida Cobá is the road leading from the pueblo north to the Cobá ruins or south to the beaches. Headed toward the beach from the pueblo, the bike lane becomes a shared walking/cycling path for about 3.5 km.

Cycling in the Beach Zone

Bike parking at the Tulum Ruins
Avenida Cobá runs from the pueblo south and dead-ends at the beach road, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, where there is a roundabout and a small police station. Turning left (north) here takes you off the bike path onto the road. Follow the road past several sandy and a few rocky beaches all the way up to the Tulum ruins. On a bike, you can park for free in the bike lot (seen here) right next to the main entrance. Car drivers will have to pay to park their cars in one of the lots about a 10-minute walk away.
The Temple of the God of Winds at the Tulum Ruins
View of the Temple of the God of Winds at the Tulum ruins. Biking to the ruins and exploring the archaeological site is a major highlight of any vacation to Tulum.
The shared bike/pedestrian path on the beach road in Tulum
From the main intersection of Avenida Cobá and the beach road (seen in the background), turning right (south – the opposite way than these cyclists are going) leads to the most popular beaches of Tulum. The shared cycling/walking path continues south along the beach road all the way to the small collection of hotels, shops, and restaurants at the start of the main strip of beach hotels. (I call this Beach Town, but no one else does).
The end of the bike lane on the beach road in Tulum
The bike lane ends just past Azulik Hotel. South of here is no path along the beach road, but traffic moves slowly – it always feels safe to be on your bike as long as it’s not dark (there are no street lights in the beach zone, so it’s hard for drivers to see cyclists at night).
The narrowest part of the beach road.
The beach town area is the skinniest part of the beach road as shops and restaurants tend to spill over the boundaries.
Walking bikes along the beach road
If you’re uncomfortable navigating this patch, just walk your bike.
Bike path along Mirador Beach in Tulum
For hotels, restaurants, shops, and bars south of here (the opposite way of these cyclists) you’ll ride on for 1 to 5 kms. The road along the beach is flat.
Arco Maya, the entrance to Sian Ka'an Bioreserve in Tulum
The beach road stretches south for about 7 km before reaching Arco Maya, the entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve. The road gets pretty bumpy and patchy as you approach and continue into the nature park.

Hotels in Tulum with Free Bikes

The following hotels offer free use of their bike fleets for hotel guests. Bikes are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get an early start to your day.

Free bikes at Casa Malca in the South Beach Zone
Free bikes at Casa Malca in the South Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Suenos Tulum in the South Beach Zone
Free bikes at Sueños Tulum in the South Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Una Vida Tulum
Free bikes at Una Vida Tulum in the pueblo.
Free bikes at Naay Boutique Hotel in Aldea Zama
Free bikes at Naay Boutique Hotel in Aldea Zama.
Free bikes at O Tulum in Tulsayab
Free bikes at O’ Tulum Boutique Hotel – Adults Only in Tulsayab, north of Tulum.
Free bikes at Teetotum in the Pueblo
Free bikes at Teetotum in the pueblo.
Free bikes at Villa Geminis in the Pueblo
Free bikes at Villas Geminis in the pueblo.
Free Bikes at Live Tulum in the pueblo
Free bikes at LiveTulum in the pueblo.
Free Bikes at Casa Ambar in the Middle Beach Zone
Free bikes at Casa Ambar Boutique Hotel – Adults Only in the Middle Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Posada Lamar in the Middle Beach Zone
Free bikes at Posada Lamar in the Middle Beach Zone.

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