How Big Is Tulum?

Tulum is a small, laid-back town that has grown from a small fishing village to one of the top tourist destinations in Mexico and the world. Tulum spans a surface area of around 790 sq. miles (2040 sq. kilometers).

Although Tulum is a small town, it houses three main areas, namely: Zona Arqueologica Tulum (Archaeological Zone of Tulum, Tulum Pueblo (Tulum Downtown), and Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone). 

Tulum has an elevation of around 5 meters or 16 feet, and it houses a population of around 46,000 that continuously grows over the years. Overall, Tulum attracts more than a million visitors every year, making it one of the top destinations in the country.

Whether you are thinking about visiting or wondering about Tulum’s size in comparison to other places around the world, you are at the right place since this is what I am here to tell you.

In this article, I will discuss Tulum’s size, how long it takes to travel around, and compare it to significant tourist destinations in Europe. 

Without further ado, let’s begin.

How Big Is Tulum

How Long and Wide Is Tulum?

There’s no specific length and width in Tulum since it’s a town within the state of Quintana Roo. However, unlike other islands, the span of Tulum has boundaries from neighboring towns and cities. 

Further, you’ll find nearby small beach communities that may or may not be included in Tulum Municipality’s jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, Tulum spans from the north, going to the nearby town, Playa Del Carmen, and south towards the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. On the right side of Tulum is the Caribbean sea, while on the left are two neighboring towns of, X-Can and Chemax.

Despite the undefined size, you’ll notice that this town has three main areas that center most of the activities and establishments. These three are the Tulum Pueblo, Zona Arqueologica Tulum, and Zona Hotelera. We’ll talk about each one later on.

Overall, Tulum packs many things to do and places to visit. Further, its laid-back nature feels relaxing, and the tropical paradise vibe will always be like a fulfilled dream. Thus, considering visiting this town, it’s worth every penny and vacation time.

How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Tulum?

Since Tulum is a small town, you may think it will only take a short moment to drive across Tulum. However, the busy downtown of Tulum produces a lot of traffic, and driving across this town can be a hassle.

Now, driving will only take 10-15 minutes if you pass by Tulum Pueblo. However, if you plan on exploring this town, it can take around 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your routes and itinerary.

For instance, the travel time from Tulum Pueblo to the Hotel Zone only takes 11 minutes. If you plan on visiting the Tulum Ruins, it will only take 9 minutes.

However, if you want to explore the entire beach road, it will take you around 35 minutes since it’s a long and narrow road. You’ll even have to drive a dirt road to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve at the southern end. 

Now, if you want to go further, you’ll need to ride a 4×4 to manage the dirt road, and it will take around 2 hours of travel time. 

To learn more about Tulum’s location, read Where is Tulum?

How Big Is Tulum Compared to Cancun?

Cancun is the closest city to Tulum. Further, it’s where you’ll probably land when you’re going to Tulum. When it comes to size, Tulum and Cancun are almost the same, but Tulum is a bit larger. Cancun generally has 764 sq. miles, and Tulum has 782 sq. miles.

Tulum and Cancun offer a completely different vibe despite the almost similar size. Tulum is a lovely destination for those seeking tranquility and relaxation. On the other hand, Cancun may be more appealing to large groups, families, and those looking to let loose.

If you’re planning a long-term vacation, you can always try both. The travel from Cancun to Tulum and vice versa is easy because there are several modes of transportation. Read 7 Ways To Get To Tulum From Cancun Airport to learn more.

How Big Is Tulum Compared to Playa Del Carmen?

Playa Del Carmen is a bigger town compared to Tulum. In general, Playa Del Carmen has a population of over 300,000, while Tulum only has around 46,000. 

Playa Del Carmen also offers a more upscale beach vibe than Tulum. However, it’s not as upscale as the vibe in Cancun. 

Playa del Carmen has abundant amenities and attractions, whereas Tulum is significantly smaller, eco-focused, and refined. There is an urban feel to Playa del Carmen, while there is a definite bohemian feel to Tulum.

How Big Is Tulum Compared to Cozumel?

Tulum is a much bigger town than Cozumel, three times larger in particular. Cozumel only has a surface area of 249.94 sq. miles, while Tulum has around 790 sq. miles. 

Cozumel is a small island just across Playa Del Carmen. Despite the small size, Cozumel has a higher population of around 88000 compared to the smaller population of Tulum, with only around 46,000. 

Tulum is a much smaller town than Cozumel, but more nightlife spots and trendy restaurants cater to young people. Cozumel is quieter in comparison, and Tulum has less of Cancun’s Spring Breaker vibe, but it has real nightspots and livening parties. 

Tulum’s Biggest Areas

Below are the three most extensive areas in Tulum. In general, Tulum Pueblo and the Hotel Zone are the two common areas related to tourists. In addition, the Aldea Zama is an area under development.

Tulum Pueblo

Tulum Pueblo is the center of Tulum, and you can find everything you need around this area. It’s also where you can find affordable accommodation, restaurants, and shops. 

If you would explore the entire town, it’s only around 3 to 5 kilometers, and you can explore it within an hour, either with a car or a bike. 

Due to the traffic, it’s best to explore the town by bike. This way, you can see everything while saving yourself from traffic hassles.

Hotel Zone

The Hotel Zone is the most popular area in town, and it’s where most of the tourists stay. Here, you can enjoy an array of upscale hotels and resorts, chic restaurants, and the best bars and beach clubs.

The Hotel Zone is accessible through Tulum Beach Road, a 10.5-kilometer-long road that starts from Tulum Ruins and ends at a small part of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

The long road sits beside the long stretch of Tulum beach, giving you the best views of fine white sand and the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean sea.

Aldea Zama

The Aldea Zama is an area in the middle of Tulum Pueblo and the Hotel Zone. This area spans a vast 80-hectare land, and many establishments, such as luxury hotels and condominiums, are up for building and development.


Tulum might be small compared to neighboring towns. However, its variety of tourist spots and natural wonders make it a better option for travelers. Also, Tulum is a less-crowded place that will make you feel relaxed with its chill and laid-back vibe. So, if you’re looking for a place to retreat, recharge, and enjoy, Tulum is the place for you.
If you want to know more about the things you can do and enjoy in Tulum, read 24 Things To Do in Tulum.

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