13 Tips for What to Wear to the Tulum Ruins + Tulum Outfit Ideas Plus What to Bring

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Last Updated on: 23rd February 2023, 06:49 pm

Wondering what to wear to the Tulum Ruins? Use this guide to help you plan the perfect Tulum outfit for your trip!

Here’s a full rundown of what to wear, what to bring with you, and what NOT to wear to the Tulum Ruins.

I also list travel tips specific to those going on a tour versus going without a tour, as these two different experiences call for slightly different Tulum ruins packing lists.

Read next: My full Tulum packing list is coming soon! You can also check out my complete Mexico Packing List and What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico

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What to Wear to Tulum Ruins Mexico + Tulum Outfit Ideas

Tulum Vacation at a Glance

Tour, accommodation, and transportation tips for your Tulum vacation.

Popular Tulum Tours

Tulum Ruins, Turtles in Akumal, and Cenote tour (Likely to sell out)

From Tulum: Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid Tour (I did this tour!)

Riviera Maya Luxury Catamaran and Snorkeling (On my bucket list)

Where to Stay in Tulum

Mimosa Tulum Hotel (Budget)

Maison Tulum (Mid-Range)

La Zebra a Colibri Boutique Hotel (Luxury)

My Soul Home Studios (Airbnb-style vacation rental)

Transportation

Welcome Pickups (guarantees English-speaking driver)

Discover Cars (for road trips and independent day trips)

Round-Trip Ferry Ticket to/from Isla Cozumel (if you’re flying into Cozumel)

Odds and Ends

Radical Storage (reliable luggage storage)

Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan (guidebook I used)

Cruise Critic (tips if you’re coming to Tulum via a Cozumel cruise)

Flytographer (vacation photographer I use. Get a 10% discount with code HISTORYFANGIRL)

Get a travel insurance quote with Safety Wings (I’ve used them!)

What to Wear to the Tulum Ruins: Tips + Tricks

Planning a trip to one of the most iconic historic sites in Mexico comes with some challenges.

Between the long walking distances, the hot weather, and the potential for hitting the beach, it can be challenging to know how to dress and what to have with you.

See also
Best Quotes about Mexico City, Mexico

Here’s what you need to know.

Plan for the Weather in Tulum

When you’re planning your Tulum outfit, it’s important to prepare for the weather in this part of the Yucatan peninsula.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins - Stephanie Craig and Jordan - photo by Stephanie Craig
Expect the weather in Tulum to be hot!

Mexico is said two have two seasons. The dry season runs from October through April, while the rainy season runs from May through September.

(June through November is hurricane season).

If you are traveling during the dry season, expect it to be hot and sunny in Tulum. This makes the winter months the best time to visit.

If you are traveling during the rainy season, prepare for rainy and hot days.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

Here are the average temperatures in Tulum throughout the year along with how many days of rain to expect:

January: 81° / 70° / Averages 7 days of rain

February: 81° / 70° / Averages 6 days of rain

March: 82° / 72° / Averages 4 days of rain

April: 84° / 73° / Averages 3 days of rain

May: 88° / 75° / Averages 7 days of rain

June: 88° / 75° / Averages 12 days of rain

July: 88° / 75° / Averages 12 days of rain

August: 90° / 75° / Averages 13 days of rain

September: 88° / 75° / Averages 13 days of rain

October: 86° / 75° / Averages 14 days of rain

November: 82° / 73° / Averages 8 days of rain

December: 81° / 70° / Averages 8 days of rain

Note that while Tulum is more popular in the winter high season, it is a year-round destination. You can swim in the Caribbean Sea any month of the year. Just be careful about hurricane season.

Dress in Layers

No matter which season you’ll be visiting Tulum in, you will want to dress in layers.

You will likely spend a few hours to an entire day visiting the ruins. You can expect intense heat during the middle of the day, with cooler mornings and evenings.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins - Stephanie Craig

Plan for humidity, especially if you’ll be there during the rainy season.

See also
The Best Quotes about Cancun, Mexico

If you aren’t familiar with how humidity affects heat, I’ll just say this. Imagine you’re sightseeing in a jungle that feels like a sauna.

Outer layers should be waterproof, especially if you’re visiting from May through September.

Choose Breathable Fabrics

You’ll want clothing that breathes so that you get some relief from the heat when you start sweating.

Look for items made of cotton, nylon, polyester, rayon, linen, or silk.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Valentine

If you tend to sweat profusely when you are walking in the heat, you can also look for fabrics that are moisture-wicking or quick-dry.

This is a great overview of the pros and cons of various breathable fabrics to help you decide which ones work for you.

The Best Shoes to Wear to Tulum

During your trip to Tulum, you will walk. A lot.

Skip the strappy sandals and high heels today. You will want comfortable shoes that are sturdy enough to survive dirt paths and patches of rocks.

When I travel, I like to wear Tevas or Birkenstocks on days that involve a lot of walking.

Sneakers are another option. If you wear close-toed shoes, wear moisture-wicking performance socks.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site

If you prefer wearing flip-flops, pack some in your day bag to slip on in the car or on your tour bus. I like this pair of flip-flops with arch support.

Here are men’s versions of the Birkenstocks or Tevas, plus flip-flops or slides for the car or bus.

Pro tip: Make sure your shoes are broken in! Wearing new shoes on a long day of walking is a recipe for disaster.

BYOS to Tulum – Bring Your Own Shade

The archaeological site at Tulum has minimal sun protection with no shade overhead in many places, so you will be walking outside in the sun for quite a while.

You can bring a little shade for yourself by bringing a good sun hattravel umbrella, or scarf.

See also
13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas Plus What to Bring

Dressing for a Guided Tour of Tulum

A few things to note if you will be going on a guided tour of Tulum.

First, the tour buses are usually air-conditioned and can be very cold. Bring a light jacket so you can cover yourself.

If you’ll be wearing shorts and open-toed shoes, stick a pashmina, cardigan, or light sweater in your day bag to pull out if needed.

Mexico - Tulum - Street sign - Restrooms Train Artisan Shops

Consider bringing a pair of socks if you will be wearing open-toed shoes in case your feet get cold.

Depending on your tour, you may have additional activities planned for after you visit Tulum. You will want to plan and dress with these activities in mind as well.

Come Tulum Ruins tours include ATVs, sea turtles, or swimming in cenotes.

Mexico - Valladolid - Cenote Zaci - photo of Stephanie Craig
Stopping at Cenote Zaci

If your tour group will be swimming in a cenote afterward, bring a swimsuit or wear it under your clothes. You will also want a beach cover-up or sarong to throw over your bathing suit when you’re done.

If you’ll be visiting Xcaret Park, make sure your outfit follows their dress code.

Dressing for Visiting Tulum without a Tour

If you are not staying in Tulum Town, you can get to Tulum without a tour by taking a taxi, rental car, or public bus.

If you will be driving to Tulum in a rental caryou will be able to control the temperature of the car, so you don’t need to worry about freezing. Don’t leave any valuables out in your car.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

If you will be using public buses, you can travel with AdoIn this case, be prepared with extra layers in case the air conditioning is blasting.

Even if you don’t have a tour, you may want to enhance your trip by reserving a Skip-the-Line ticket or a self-guided tour.

What to Wear to Tulum if It’s Raining

If you will be visiting Tulum in the rain, wear a rain jacket and bring a travel umbrella.

See also
24 Hours in Puerto Vallarta: Itinerary for One Perfect Day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Wear waterproof shoes that won’t slip too much in the rain. Pack a backup outfit in case you get drenched.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site

What Not to Wear in Tulum

Skip any outfits that involve heavy fabrics, non-functional shoes, offensive language, or are too revealing.

What to Bring to Tulum in Your Day Bag

Here’s what to put in your day bag to keep with you during the tour:

wallet with RFIDsafe technology

cash (for snacks and tour guide tips – this can be MXN pesos or USD if necessary)

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Jordan eating ice cream while mad

credit card (entrance fees can be paid via credit card or cash – some days have free entry for Mexican citizens and permanent residents)

ATM card

passport

waterproof passport holder 

cell phone

cell phone charger

offline version of Google Maps directions if driving

portable charger

sun hat

sunglasses

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Gift Shop - T-Shirts

travel umbrella

reef-safe sunscreen with a high SPF 

mosquito repellant

swimsuit (if necessary)

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Jordan
Dressed to swim at Tulum. Then we found out the beach was closed because the water was too high.

snacks

water bottle

camera

travel tripod (optional)

beach essentials if you are going to swim at the ruins (not always open)

El Salvador - Juayua - Stephanie Backpack - photo by Stephanie Craig | best day pack for Cozumel Mexico

This is the day bag I took on my most recent trip to Mexico.

For your day bag, you can use a day pack, beach bag, or tote bag. These are the three day bags I have used during travel in Mexico:

Pacsafe Citysafe (best anti-theft day bag)

Venture Pal (best budget day bag)

Large Longchamp (best classic day bag)

If you plan on swimming at the Tulum ruins or any of the best Tulum beaches, you might want to bring a dry bag packed inside your day bag.

What Not to Bring to Tulum

Don’t bring anything valuable, dangerous, illegal, or bulky.

Leave Room in Your Day Bag to Shed Some Layers

It can be tempting to fill up your day bag, but make sure you leave enough room in it free so that you can safely stash any layers of clothing that you need to peel off as the temperatures rise throughout the day.

See also
3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest
Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Iguana

Storing Your Luggage While at Tulum

If you are going on a guided tour or an independent day trip and need somewhere to store your luggage, you can make a reservation with Radical Storage.

They have locations in Cancun and Playa del Carmen and store luggage for $5 per day.

Tulum Outfit Ideas

For women, t-shirts and shorts or pants are a common outfit.

If you want something a little bit less casual, you can opt for dresses. Both maxi dresses and shorter dresses paired with leggings are popular options.

Mexico - Playa del Carmen - Stephanie Craig - Sign

Tulum style is famous for being boho chic. Think long, flowy dresses, breezy rompers, and strappy sundresses.

These can all be worn to the Tulum ruins with a little bit of planning. Throw some vaseline in your day bag in case of chafing. And if you wear a long dress, wear bicycle shorts underneath.

Other chafing tips include using vaseline or baby powder.

El Salvador - View from the Mirador Turístico Apaneca (The Apaneca Tourist Viewpoint) - Stephanie Craig
Long, airy dresses are great for Tulum. Just wear something underneath to stop chafing in the heat.

Long, airy dresses are great for pairing a visit to the Tulum ruins as long as your footwear and undergarments are solid.

For men, t-shirts and shorts or pants are the most common outfits you’ll see. Swim trunks, tank tops, and collared shirts are also popular.

More important than what the items of clothing are is what fabric they are made from, so check your clothes against the breathable fabrics list posted above.

Frequently Asked Questions about What to Wear to the Tulum Ruins (FAQ)

These are the answers to the questions that travelers to Tulum need to know before visiting.

Is Tulum worth visiting?

Tulum is so famous and beautiful that it pops up as pre-installed wallpaper on computers. But does the experience match the hype?

While I find visiting any Mayan ruins to be rewarding but challenging in the heat, you really shouldn’t miss seeing these spectacular beachfront ruins.

See also
Best Quotes about Mexico

Even if you just come to the Riviera Maya for a beach vacation and never plan on leaving the hotel zone, a morning in Tulum is well worth the effort.

Mexico - Tulum - Street sign

What is the dress code for visiting the Tulum Ruins?

There is no official Tulum dress code, but don’t wear anything with offensive language or that is too revealing.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most important archeological sites from Mayan culture, so you should act and dress respectfully during your visit.

This is an important historic Mayan site, not just a vacation destination.

Of course, if the beach is open, you will want swimwear (both one-pieces and two-pieces are fine) and beach essentials like suntan lotion, a quick-dry towel, and lip balm with you so you can dip into the turquoise waters below the ruins.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

What to wear when visiting the Tulum Ruins?

Dress in layers of breathable fabric. Bring a light jacket for air-conditioned transportation.

How much walking do you do at the ruins in Tulum?

You do a lot of walking in Tulum – in areas that have little shade.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

How do I prepare for visiting the ruins of Tulum?

If you are going on a guided tour, make sure your tour is booked. Bring a cash tip with you, as this extra cost is not included in the tour price.

Then brush up on what’s included in the itinerary, tour rules, and any travel tips they send to you.

If you are going independently, have your transportation (bus or rental car) and accommodations booked.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site

How do you dress for Mayan ruins?

Wear light layers that breathe, and prepare to be outside in humidity.

What is the temperature like in Tulum?

See the weather table above. Expect it to be either hot or hot and rainy, depending on which month you are traveling.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Valentine

Is it a good idea to wear jeans to Tulum?

I know that some people do wear jeans to Tulum, but I would not be comfortable in jeans.

See also
23 Best Souvenirs from Mexico City: Gifts for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!

What shoes to wear to the Tulum Ruins?

Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes that are already broken in.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

Should you wear sneakers to Tulum?

Yes, sneakers are a great option for comfortable shoes in Tulum.

Can you wear shorts at Tulum?

Yes, shorts work well in Tulum.

Should I wear a dress to Tulum?

I love wearing dresses when I travel!

Dresses are great for Tulum. Either wear shorts or leggings underneath to avoid chafing from sweating.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Flowers

Do you need a sweater in Tulum?

You can bring a sweater or other light layers to Tulum.

How long does it take to walk through the Tulum Ruins?

You can spend two hours touring the ruins. If you are going to go to the beautiful beach underneath the ruins, plan for a half day to a full day.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site

What do I need to know before visiting the Tulum ruins?

Before visiting the Tulum ruins, decide if you want a guided tour or to go independently. If you go independently, you can buy a self-guided tour. to guide you during your visit.

Read the rest of this travel guide for what to wear and what to bring with you.

Can you swim at the Tulum Ruins?

When I have been at the Tulum ruins, the beach below was closed off because the water level was too high. If the beach is open, then you can swim.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site

Is Tulum safe?

Tulum is safe. Prepare for petty crime by not taking valuables with you and having travel insurance in case something is stolen.

I like traveling with a Pacsafe Citysafe day bag because it has many anti-theft features.

Other things to consider depend on your circumstances. For example, women who are pregnant should make sure to avoid getting Zika by wearing bug spray.

Does Tulum have nightlife?

Tulum is famous for its nightlife. This beach town positively sizzles at night.

See also
101 Things to Bring to Cozumel: Packing List for What to Wear & What to Bring to Cozumel

There are traditional clubs and bars, or you can go on a nighttime excursion like this Xplor Fuego Nighttime Adventure or this Luxury Sunset Sailing Cruise.

Other things to do in Tulum at night include relaxing in the white sands of one of Tulum’s best beach clubs for sunset (though note the sunset will not be over the water), walking on the beach road, water activities like night diving in nearby Cozumel, or enjoying the social side of the areas all-inclusive resorts.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - #tulum sign

Can you visit during the equinoxes?

Yes, while not as spectacular as Chichen Itza, some tourists choose to plan their Tulum trip around the equinox.

The ‘Castillo’ on the cliffs of Tulum is thought to be positioned so the sun shines directly through the entrance on the vernal equinox.

What are the best cenotes near Tulum?

The Yucatan is famous for its cenotes, or pools of water inside limestone sinkholes. Check with my friend Megan for the least crowded cenotes.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Line for Tickets

What to eat at Tulum?

Many tours include a planned lunch.

Independent travelers should bring their food or purchase food at the entrance.

There are no food vendors inside the park past the entrance.

What is the climate of Tulum Mexico?

Tulum has a subtropical climate, not a tropical climate, as one might expect.

Mexico - Tulum - Archaeological Site - Beach and Ruins

What’s the best Mayan ruin to visit on the Yucatan peninsula?

The Chichen Itza ruins might be the most famous, but there are many other Mayan sites on the Yucatan peninsula.

If you love your time in Tulum, check out the sites of Coba, Uxmal, and Ek Balam.

Before Your Trip to Mexico – Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road.

I use Safety Wing on international trips, and I happily recommend them.

It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be enjoying water activities, spending time on beaches, or in towns and cities where petty theft occurs.

See also
17 MUSA Cancun Tips: Planning a Visit to the Underwater Museum in Cancun (Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum)

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.

Get a Travel Insurance quote for your trip!

5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico and Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan are available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition. You typically won’t find major guidebooks once you land, so get yours ahead of time.

I used both of these to plan my last trip to the Yucatan, and I read them cover to cover!

Mosquito Repellant is the single most important thing you’ll want on you as soon as dusk hits. Have enough to at least get through the first night if you’re packing light.

Full-Sized Travel Towel Unless your accommodations provide them, you will want to bring your own. I always bring my own towel to Mexico.

This is the best travel towel in the world. It’s pretty enough for the beach, large enough that you forget it’s a microfibre towel, and quick-drying, which is crucial in super humid parts of Mexico.

A Go Pro for underwater and action photography. Why go all the way to Mexico and not be able to capture some of the most exciting parts of your trip?

A Dry Bag for your stuff when you go on a boat or to the beach. You can get a larger one to use for a group or if you plan on taking a larger camera.

Otherwise, I use small ones with lanyards to hold my cell phone, money, and credit cards so I could take them with me swimming when traveling solo.

You might also want a separate waterproof holder for your passport. I’ve seen people who weren’t allowed to board their flights home because their passports got water damaged.

Mexico Travel Resources

101 Things to Bring to Mexico: Complete Packing List for Mexico + What to Wear

See also
40 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Cozumel Made Simple!

101 Things to Bring to Cozumel: Packing List for What to Wear & What to Bring to Cozumel

40 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Cozumel Made Simple!

24 Hours in Puerto Vallarta: Itinerary for One Perfect Day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

23 Best Souvenirs from Mexico City: Gifts for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!

17 MUSA Cancun Tips: Planning a Visit to the Underwater Museum in Cancun

13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas and Travel Tips

13 Tips for What to Wear to Tulum + Tulum Outfit Ideas

10 Tips for What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico + Airplane Outfits

10 Tips for Seeing the Holbox Bioluminescence: Tours, What to Wear, What to Bring, + More!

3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest

Central America Travel Guides

Will you be exploring Central America after your trip to Mexico? Check out these Central America travel guides:

Belize Country Guides

Planning a Trip to Belize: 11 Steps to the Perfect Belize Getaway

What to Pack for Belize

13 Incredible Things To Do In Belize

21 Unforgettable Places to Visit in Belize: Bucket List & Beyond!

10 Spectacular Belize Beaches for Your Caribbean Getaway

The 17 Most Instagrammable Places in Belize

10 Best Books about Belize

13 Beautiful Quotes about Belize for Your Caribbean Getaway

27 Un-Belize-ably Good Belize Puns & Belize Instagram Captions

Ambergris Caye

7 Ridiculously Fun Things to Do in San Pedro, Belize

Belize City to San Pedro: How to Get from the Airport to Ambergris Caye & Back

Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

How to Visit Secret Beach on Ambergris Caye

Caye Caulker

30 Captivating Things To Do in Caye Caulker, Belize + Caye Caulker Travel Guide!

How to Get from Belize City to Caye Caulker

Costa Rica

Your Ultimate Costa Rica Bucket List for a Fabulous Central American Adventure

See also
3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest

El Salvador

The Ultimate El Salvador Packing List: What to Wear in El Salvador (Clothing + Gear List)

27 Magical Things to Do on the Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador

50 Pictures of the Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador’s Route of the Flowers, to Spark Your Wanderlust (Photo Essay)

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What to Wear to Tulum Ruins Mexico

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