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Cancun/Tulum Travel Guide

Mexico is a super popular place to visit- especially right now with everyone being so anxious to get out of the house. If you are planning on traveling to Mexico anytime soon this blog post will be your best friend. Trust Me! I will give you all the need to know deets before your trip. My husband and I did half of our trip in Cancun and the other in Tulum, so I will give you the rundown of both cities.

5 Things you should know before traveling to Mexico.

All Things COVID-19

I know what you are thinking- How does the whole traveling during “COVID” thing work right now? I will tell you it is pretty stressful- but if you have all the right information before you go it will make your life a lot easier and become a more seamless process.

    • First off, the travel requirements are constantly changing- so make sure you check out the CDC website before going to Mexico.
    • You will be required to fill out a few different forms before entering Mexico. No need to stress- the airlines will provide these forms for you to fill out during your flight.
    • You are required to wear a mask in public settings. This includes planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
    • Most places (Stores, restaurants, malls, etc.) require you to wear them even if they are located outdoors. They also take your temperature and make you wipe your feet and sanitize your hands before entering. With restaurants they let you take off your mask once you are seated or have received your drinks.
    • Both, Cancun and Tulum required all of their staff, chefs, managers, waiters etc. to have masks on 24/7 .
    • From my experience, beaches and pools did not require you to wear them.
    • My word of advice is to ALWAYS have a mask with you because you never know who will require you to have it on.
    • If you are staying at a resort, hotel or complex you can have the manager or front desk call a doctor to come to your room directly and perform a test. My husband and I did this and it was a quick and easy process. I do recommend getting this done early and scheduling an appointment ASAP so they do not fill up. There are also many clinics in Cancun/Tulum that you can visit- however, I heard the lines are ridiculous so plan to wait 2-6 hours in line. Keep in mind that most test results are given within 24-48 hours – so make sure you plan accordingly.
    • As of January 26th 2021, you MUST have a negative PCR COVID test when you are in Mexico or they will not let you back into the U.S. Your test needs to be no more than 3 days before your departure date. Keep your results with you during travel-for more information click HERE.
    • I recommend arriving at least 2 hours early before your flight is scheduled to take off. You will be required to have to go through normal security, customs, as well as you are required to take a survey at the airport that may take some time so plan for that.
    • If you have a connecting flight you will have to re-check any bags (if you checked bags) So make sure you have enough layover time during your connecting flight.

Currency – PESOS

    • When you arrive at the Cancun airport there will be a kiosk for money exchange.
    • NOTE: They will only exchange cash. NO CARDS.
    •  It will make your life easier if you have pesos on hand. Most Cenotes, toll booths, and some resturants do not take card.

How To Get Around

    • My husband and I decided to rent a car because we were visiting Cancun and Tulum (and planning on driving to Chichen Itza which is about a 2 hour drive inland.) If you are nervous about driving in a foreign country, don’t be- we found that driving in Mexico is doable; There are just a lot of speed-bumps haha.
    • They’re a lot of different car rental options at the airport. I made an appointment ahead of time through Expedia and honestly it was not necessary. You can easily book a rental on the spot. Note- they will make you pay a refundable deposit for insurance purposes which can be pricey, but you will totally get it back.
    • Random Tip: if you book through Budget – Payless and Budget car rental are the same company
    • There is plenty of public transportation like buses and taxis around.

Where To Stay

    • Although there are a lot of fabulous resorts in Cancun we decided to book our stay through Airbnb to save money. Here is a link to our Cancun Airbnb where you can also look at my review.
    • We picked this place specifically because it was cheap and right on the beach. No joke, it was about 30 seconds from the beach. If you are looking for a place that has pool/beach access and that is all you care about this is your place! If you are wanting an oceanfront room or a super nice room I would say keep looking.
    • A lot of my friends have done all-inclusive resorts that are amazing. We decided not to do this because we wanted to explore and adventure a lot outside of our place of stay. If you want to chill and stay at your hotel your whole vacation, I would recommend doing an all-inclusive.


    • We decided to stay at a dope Airbnb in the jungle of Tulum. This place was AMAZING and I would totally stay here again. It was super private and off the beaten path.

Where To Eat

    • Grocery Store– There are hundreds of amazing places to eat in Mexico. At our airbnb we had a kitchen so we went grocery shopping at which is located in the indoor mall there.
    • El Fish Fritanga Pescadillas– We found this local taco shack called El Fish Fritanga Pescadillas that was about a 5 min walk from our Airbnb that was delicious! AND CHEAP! It was about $7 USD total for us to eat there- including drinks. We got the Carne Asada, pork, shrimp, and fried fish tacos and they were all very good! They also had a more expensive restaurant in the back with the same name but we never tried it.

    • Tacun–  If you are looking for authentic Mexican food,  I recommend going here. I also recommend getting the queso- not pictured but it was really tasty! 

    • San Giovanni Tattoria –  On our way back from Chichen Itza to Cancun we stopped and had dinner in Valladolid. This place was a little overhyped but the food was good. I would recommend getting a pasta.


    • We branched out a little more in Tulum and tried some street cart food (not pictured.) Honestly, the food was surprisingly not worth it but the experience was fun.
    • El Camello Jr-We ended up eating here twice because we enjoyed it so much. The best thing on their menu was BY FAR the tuna tostadas! So fresh and yummy!


    • Raw Love Cafe– RLC was probably my favorite place we ate at. They are a raw, vegan cafe. The best thing to get here are the Acai bowls and the avocado toast. Also, if you are looking for a cool place to take photos, the entrance to the restaurant is amazing! See picture.


Chichen Itza

    • We drove about 2 hours inland from Cancun (past Valladolid) to see Chichen-Itza and some amazing Cenotes. If you want more information on Chichen-Itza here are two different articles I found very helpful. 9 tips before visiting and 12 things I wish I knew
    • We arrived just before 3 and I felt like it was perfect timing. The weather was not too hot at that time, and because they close at 4 it was not too crowded so it was easy to get pictures without other people in the shot.



    • We did two different cenotes on the way to Chichen Itza. Cenote Suytun and Cenote Lorenzo Oxman. They were both breathtaking!! Cenote Suytun was bar far my favorite! It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. If you have the time I would highly recommend seeing it. It is about an 1hr 45 min drive from Cancun and 1hr and 15 from Tulum. So no matter what city you are staying in it is pretty close. It is also about 45 min from Chichen Itza so I would recommend doing them in the same day.
    • Depending on the season the platform will either be completely underwater or completely above water . Currently we are in the wet season so it is underwater. As long as you have a life jacket on they will let you swim out.
    • If you are wanting to get the famous Instagram worthy photo with the light rays I suggest going between 12 noon- 2 pm. However, sometimes that can be the busiest times. When we were there we went around 12 PM on a Saturday and surprisingly there was NO ONE there. There was about 5 of us total. However, if it is busy people are pretty understanding of others taking pictures, so there will be a line to go out on the platform and get pictures.

    • Cenote Oxman is about 30 min from Cenote Suytun. So if you are going to do one you might as well do both. Oxman is so different and fun to snorkel in. I recommend bringing your own snorkeling gear. Some Cenotes let you rent gear but most don’t even have the option.
    • Cenote Oxman is fun because it has an awesome rope swing. This one was pretty busy when we went and had a small line for the rope swing, but it is less about the pictures and more about the experience.


    • The Gran Cenote is located in Tulum. If you are staying in Tulum don’t miss this one! We saw lots of different kinds of fish and turtles here. Bring your snorkeling gear because this water is super clear!



    • There are many different excursion options in Mexico. You can rent a catamaran and go snorkeling out in the ocean, go scuba diving (without being certified),rent a boat and go fishing, rent a tour guide and see many exclusive Cenotes, take a boat tour of Isla Mujeres, go free diving, etc. We considered all of these options and after lots of research we decided to go free diving with Black Fin Free Diving. 
    • We decided to go free diving because we had never done something like it before. I reached out to Pepe via WhatsApp and scheduled everything there. He was really easy to work with and spoke very good English so communicating was not hard. He is open to anything so if you have a special request or need help learning how to swim etc he is willing to accommodate. You can choose do to a private or a group tour. We decided to do a private free diving session which included photos and videos of our experience. He made us feel so comfortable in the water! The cenotes he takes you to are exclusive and you can only get in with a guide. He took us to swim with a crocodile but unfortunately he was not there when we went. Regardless the experience was to die for and I would happily do it agin!
    • DISCOUNT- mention my name and he will give you a discount on any package!