Digital Nomad Guide: Tulum, Mexico
I'm happy to publish my second digital nomad guide today after spending one month in Tulum, Mexico! If you missed my previous one, click here to read about Berlin, Germany. This time, I traveled with my partner which helped lower costs on top of having a great time discovering the area together! When needed, you will find an additional comment under each subject if you plan on going alone.
Period: January 11th to February 11th 2017 Community: N/A Goals: Run away from winter and focus on work
I didn't choose Tulum, my partner did. In my case, all I wanted was to spend time away from Montreal as it's not very interesting during the winter. It was definitely a plus to know we would be staying very close to the beach!
Traveling To And In Tulum
We booked a direct flight from Montreal for about $520 with Air Canada which was a great deal! The most convenient airport is in Cancun. From there, you can buy a direct ADO bus trip from the airport to the center of Tulum for about 228 pesos (so cheap!). There's a catch though as the direct bus stops at night and you will be forced to take two different buses. In our case, we decided to spend the night in Playa del Carmen after the first bus.
While in Tulum, we started inquiring about bike rentals since everyone who visited told us to get one. In pesos, the cheapest bicycle for one month came to 1500 pesos each. As for a cab ride, it was between 50-120 pesos (depending on how far we wanted to go) a day each. Since we went to the beach about 3-4 times max per week, it ended up being cheaper to take cabs instead. The rest of the time, we walked everywhere!
One important thing to know with cabs is that they do not have a counter. You need to ask and deal for the price before even setting foot in the cab. I had the chance of getting pretty standard prices because I looked local but my partner did get the tourist rate most of the time. For reference, I payed:
50 pesos from Chedraui to our Airbnb which was close to ADO bus station 50 pesos to Kore Resort (end of road before going towards the public or private beach) 70-80 pesos to the public beach 120 pesos to La Zebra Hotel (area with the most popular restaurants and private beach clubs)
If you are planning on traveling alone, I would get a bike rental for the month at Kelly's Bike.
We rented an apartment through Airbnb which came to a total of $1400 or about $44 a night. Split by two, it was a pretty decent price for 32 nights! It gave us the budget to rent hotel rooms on weekends while traveling north (Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres) and also on the private beach area of Tulum.
If you are planning on traveling alone, I would look into the numerous hostels in the pueblo to find a similar nightly price or even lower!
Data And Sim Cards
It was pretty easy to find a good sim card with data in the pueblo. You can find a Telcel store and they will set everything up for you. I bought a 4Gb data plan for 600 pesos which was plenty enough for the month.
The staff at Telcel will get everything set up for you.
There is no coworking in Tulum and most places (including your Airbnb) have very bad wifi. The only place that ended up being reliable everyday was Babel café. The staff is used to people coming with their laptops, the food is good and cheap and they have not one but two wifi networks.
Eating In And Out
On our arrival, we went to the biggest supermarket of the area named Chedraui. It was a smart move to buy all the basic things we would need like toilet paper and as many 5L water bottles as possible. Cabs are always around so it makes it easy to get back home with all the heavy stuff. For the rest of our stay, I went to POOL market to pick up fresh vegetables to cook with items I had also brought from Montreal (rice, noodles, etc...).
Eating out is very cheap as long as you stay in the pueblo! We almost ate tacos daily at La Chiapaneca because they were so affordable and delicious :)
A lot of restaurants are closed on Sunday so make sure you have some backups in your fridge!
Since we didn't rent bikes, it was very important for me to find another way to stay in shape. After visiting the two gyms in town, I chose Evolve Fitness because it was both clean and modern. It only cost me 600 pesos and I found everything I needed to workout 3 times a week. The price also includes group classes.
We also went snorkeling in a few locations! Anything in the water is a great way to stay active and Tulum has plenty of that.
You are not going to get very far if you don't speak a few Spanish words. Almost nobody in the cities we visited spoke English. It does get better when you're in touristy areas but you'll also pay the tourist price.
Bring a lot of cash and expect going to the bank regularly (Scotiabank was the best, expect line ups everywhere). With the wifi being so unreliable in Tulum, it's no surprise that they hardly accept credit cards. In town, everything is cash only in general. You will be able to use your credit card on the beach restaurants & hotels though.
That's It For Tulum!
Feel free to ask me any question you may have about my stay, I know I had a ton before my trip started. I will also be posting a list of my favorite Tulum venues and restaurants in the next few weeks so make sure to like Montreal State on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe for updates at the bottom of this page!