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.
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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)
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.
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 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.
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.
Plan for humidity, especially if you’ll be there during the rainy season.
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.
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.
Sneakers are another option. If you wear close-toed shoes, wear moisture-wicking performance socks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 car, you 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.
If you will be using public buses, you can travel with Ado. In this case, be prepared with extra layers in case the air conditioning is blasting.
What to Wear to Tulum if It’s Raining
Wear waterproof shoes that won’t slip too much in the rain. Pack a backup outfit in case you get drenched.
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:
cash (for snacks and tour guide tips – this can be MXN pesos or USD if necessary)
credit card (entrance fees can be paid via credit card or cash – some days have free entry for Mexican citizens and permanent residents)
cell phone charger
offline version of Google Maps directions if driving
swimsuit (if necessary)
travel tripod (optional)
beach essentials if you are going to swim at the ruins (not always open)
This is the day bag I took on my most recent trip to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What shoes to wear to the Tulum Ruins?
Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes that are already broken in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Central America Travel Guides
Will you be exploring Central America after your trip to Mexico? Check out these Central America travel guides: