Gay Tulum – Your Local Gay Travel Guide
A day trip to Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, is hands down the highlight of any trip to the Yucutan peninsula. Chichén Itzá means mouth of the water hole or cenote of the Itzá tribe. The main temple in this once thriving city is the star attraction. Built for prayer and worship, it is also the best representation of the Mayan calendar. With 91 steps on each of the four sides plus the very top, the number of steps adds up to the 365 days in the year. Incredibly, twice a year on the equinox of March 21, the time to plant, and September 22, the time to harvest, the shadow of the serpent or snake can be seen on the temple. The snake was important to the Mayans as it represents life and fertility. Hire a car, catch the luxury ADO bus, or organize a tour for this DO NOT MISS experience!
Overview – An increasingly popular gay travel and retirement destination, Tulum attracts LGBT+ from around the world with its stunning beaches, world class restaurants and nightlife, and incredible diversity of attractions from Mayan ruins to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere to over 6,000 cenotes or natural sinkholes dotting the peninsula. You’ll never run out of things to do in and around Tulum!
Top 10 Things To Do In Tulum
Visit Tulum ruins -Grab a bike and head to the Archaeological Zone to explore Tulum's ruins with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea! Bring sunscreen and come early to avoid the heat and long lines.
Relax in paradise -After "an early morning visit to Tulum ruins, reserve a lounger on the best stretch of beach in Tulum at Cinco Beach Club.
Watch the sunrise -As Tulum Beach faces east, the sunrises can be even more epic than the sunsets so it's worth the early rise to feel the magic.
See the most famous sculpture in Tulum -We couldn't be bothered to wait in line, BUT it's totally worth seeing the gorgeous Ven a la Luz by Daniel Popper.
Go off the beaten path -On the outskirts of town, the Art Walk at Holistika will surely impress with a jungle art display. Part of our Gay Tulum YouTube video was filmed in the 'good vibes only' treehouse here-check it out!
Discover Sfer Ik Art Museum -There is a small museum on the beach road, however the true gem lies in Francisco Uh May. Ask for access to Jungle Cuisine for a cocktail after your visit for a jaw-dropping experience.
Explore the Muyil ruins -We organized a private tour with Community Tours and throughly enjoyed these less touristed ruins only 20-minutes from town.
Float on a river in Sian Ka'an -Easily combinable with the Muyil ruins, hire a boat behind the ruins to take you to the river float in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere.
Swim in a cenote -No trip to the Yucutan is complete without a visit to one of the 6,000+ cenotes dotting the peninsula.
Visit Chichen Itza -It's worth repeating from above, the highlight of any trip to the Riviera Maya is Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. We were in complete awe!
When to go – The insane heat and humidity begin to subside in late November when high season begins lasting through April. During this period, the weather is at its best! Extremely popular times to be in Tulum are for New Year and for the numerous music and art festivals like the Gay Arena Music Festival in Playa and Art with Me Tulum.
Getting here – Tulum is located on the coast of the gorgeous Mexican Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Rivera Maya. It’s about 75 miles or 120 kilometers south of Cancun International Airport (airport code: CUN). On arrival, transit options to Tulum include renting a car, organizing an authorized taxi or taking the ADO bus. The taxi option is about 2,000 pesos or just under $120 USD for the 1-hour and 45-minute to 2-hour trip. Also, just outside of the airport exit you will find the red ADO buses and ticket counter. The ADO bus costs around 400 pesos or $23 USD and is by far the best way to get to Tulum given how expensive taxis are in the Riviera Maya. You may want to book your ADO bus online ahead of time as they are extremely popular and can book up fast!
The Mexican Government also recently announced two large infrastructure projects to benefit Tulum, including its own airport as well as connection to the Cancun airport via the Maya Train. Both projects are expected to be operational in 2023.
Where to stay – Our favorite hotel in Tulum is The Beach Tulum. It’s where we got married during the pandemic, and everything about this phenomenal resort is five stars!
The beachfront suites include a private plunge pool and dedicated loungers on the beach in front of your suite. On the opposite side, we also had an outdoor shower and another private day bed next to the lagoon pool. Inside, the suites come with a jacuzzi for two and so much more. Our wedding planner and the entire staff exceeded all expectations.
In Pueblo or town, our favorite hotel is Bardo and sister property Una Vida. We love staying here as you get access to both properties with their beautiful suites and jungle vibe. There’s also a reasonable minimum spend if you want to come here just for a pool day. The Kinky Bar is also a favorite of ours at sunset. And it’s located right next to our future house in our jungle community in town so the location is perfect!
If you want to stay in between the beach and town and support a gay owned and operated hotel, Loba Tulum is for you. Located in trendy Aldea Zama, we are stoked to highlight Tulum’s first gay hotel. There are eight beautiful rooms with a jungle treehouse vibe. In addition, Loba Tulum has two amazing plunge pools on the roof that say ‘get naked’ so obviously it is clothing optional which we love. It is also men only.
In the future, they are going to have day passes as well as a bar and terrace for people to hang out. We’re definitely excited to see this hotel grow, and the manager, Gustavo, could not be nicer. He’ll definitely give you a warm welcome to Tulum.
For a free continental breakfast or two free cocktails per night, book direct using code TWOGAYEXPATS at lobatulum.com/reservations.
Where to eat and drink – For that Tulum ‘WOW’ factor, sunset in the nests at Azulik’s Kin Toh is a top choice. During high season, please book well in advance.
Now for one of the most gay-friendly and frequented restaurants in Tulum, we highly recommend Mezzanine Hotel, Bar, and Restaurant in the Archaeological Zone. It’s an incredibly romantic venue and another top choice for a sunset dinner.
In Pueblo or town, you cannot miss Palma Central, the food truck park. Our favorite here is Asian Bodega. And they also have a stand alone restaurant nearby which just opened.
Other top picks are Tres Galeones in La Veleta with some of the best seafood and shrimp tacos, and everybody’s favorite, Burrito Amor. We seriously eat here 3-4x per week! It’s that good.
We also love Las BBQ Tulum for lunch as they have the best chicken wings and mac-n-cheese we’ve had so far in Tulum.
In Aldea Zama, Norita at Arthouse is our favorite. The food is delicious and the service is top notch. The entire property is also stunningly gorgeous.
Where to find gay nightlife – As Tulum is growing quickly, there are new places and events launching regularly. There are also a number of pop ups and gay DJs and performers that come frequently through Tulum so check out @fruitytulum on Instagram for the latest.
For the best gay bars in Tulum, on Thursdays, Elixyr Tulum hosts a LGBT+ night on the roof. It’s a sexy spot for sure with a gorgeous pool. They also have amazing cocktails, and we always have a good time here. [Update: The LGBT+ night has been discontinued. Follow @fruitytulum on Instagram for the latest gay popups and events.]
In addition to a new gay hotel which just opened in the last few months, a new gay bar also opened in town last month called I Am. It’s located on the main strip above Tequila y Mezcal at Avenida Tulum and Calle Jupiter. The space is up the stairs and outside under a massive palapa. Free shots on arrival help the party escalate quickly with dancing on the bar because why not!? You’re supposed to have a good time when you’re in Mexico! [Update: I AM has subsequently moved and then closed. Follow @fruitytulum on Instagram for the latest gay popups and events.]
Where to find the best gay-friendly beach club – Like Mezzanine a few doors down, gay-friendly Cinco Beach Club is a popular spot for the gay community in Tulum.
Where to go for the best day trips in and around Tulum – In addition to a Chichen Itza tour from Tulum as highlighted above, including a cenote and impressive Vallodolid, we also highly recommend the Muyil ruins tour and float in Sian Ka’an. You won’t regret it. It’s been one of our highlights in Tulum!
Banking – There are plenty of ATMs on the main road in town, Av. Tulum, including national and international banks like HSBC, Santander and Scottiabank among others. We personally would avoid ATMs on the beach road.
For ATM withdrawals, one thing to note which we learned the hard way last year when it was implemented: there will be an option to decline the conversion on the ATM, and you’re going to want to decline this because you want your bank to process the foreign exchange. We thought this would cancel the transaction, BUT it does not and it saves you anywhere from 5-12% additional fee on top of the ATM use charge. INSANE! So definitely hit decline on that conversion at the ATM, and you’ll get the best exchange rate.
Lastly, if you travel a ton like we do, look into the Schwab checking account where they reimburse all foreign ATM fees! We’ve saved thousands in ATM fees over the years with this account.
Covid testing – To get your COVID test to return home, you will literally find dozens and dozens of options in mobile testing sites all over Tulum. We prefer Centro Quimico testing here in Tulum and Playa. It’s where the locals and expats go for bloodwork and it’s super reputable. Cost is 500 pesos or $25 USD. You’ll have no issues flying with their paperwork.
Co-working – For our digital nomads, head to Digital Jungle which is a great place to work, and there’s also an amazing wine bar next door for when you finish up your day called Off the Vine.
Fitness/Gym– To burn off those holiday calories and stay in shape while enjoying Tulum, the most well known gym in town is Los Amigos Gym and Climbing in La Veleta. It’s air conditioned with multiple levels and a rooftop overlooking the jungle with boxing bags and a TRX. In Pueblo or Town, there is Evolve Fitness which is a great choice if you are also visiting Playa as you can get a week or month pass to both locations. On the beach, Tulum Jungle Gym is insta-famous, but there is also now a location in Pueblo. New gyms and yoga studios are popping up everywhere with exploding demand so these are just three of your options not a definitive list.
Laundry – If you need a quick and easy solution for laundry, Washit Lavanderia in town is great and well priced.
Wine/Liquor store – By far the best place to buy everything for your vacation or extended stay is Chedraui or the ‘Ched.” This massive store on Av. Coba on the way to the beach is your one stop shop for food, drink, and everything in between.
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Hi! We're Two Gay Expats
Hola amigos and welcome to our gay travel blog! We are Andy and Trai, a gay couple traveling the world with PRIDE 🌈 …and our rescue dog, Pattie!
After meeting in San Francisco in 2018 and later moving to Chicago, we decided to quit our jobs in 2021, sell everything, and become Two Gay Expats!
If you’d like to follow our adventures, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and add us on social media using the links below. We’d also love to hear from you and meet up if we’re in your city!
❤️ Andy + Trai