9 Tulum Hidden Gems You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

From secret cenotes to trendy new spots, step off the beaten path with these stunning Tulum hidden gems.

As Tulum, Mexico gets increasingly popular, I find myself wanting to step off the beaten path more and more. While I love visiting all of Tulum’s MUST-see locations, there’s something special and relaxing about exploring the less touristy side of Tulum. If you feel the same way, then I’ve got you covered with these Tulum hidden gems!

As a travel blogger, I’m always on the lookout for hidden gems. That means talking to locals and scouring Google Maps, finding obscure places with rave reviews. While sometimes there are misses, oftentimes that leads to unique and incredible experiences that I wouldn’t have had just through normal trip research.

And now it’s time to share my list with you!

I wouldn’t be surprised if these gain popularity over the next few years as the number of tourists increases, but for now, they are unique places to visit in Tulum without many crowds.

Here I’ll cover some stunning lagoons, gorgeous cenotes, exquisite restaurants, empty beaches, and a jaw-dropping hotel that is absolutely worth booking!

Map of Tulum Hidden Gems

Here’s a map to show you where these Tulum hidden gems are located! As you can see, they’re all pretty close to downtown Tulum, so you won’t need to drive too far around the Yucatan Peninsula to visit any of these. (Many people put places like Valladolid on their Tulum lists, but we tried to limit the amount of driving we did on our trip.) The furthest location on my list is Neek Tulum, which is within 30 minutes of Tulum Pueblo and on your way to the Tulum airport.

If you’re staying in Tulum without a rental car, you’ll be able to reach these spots via bike rental or taxi (though taxis are quite overpriced!).

Visitors doing a day trip from Cancun or Playa del Carmen may be able to find tours that come to these Tulum hidden gem locations, but since they are more off-the-beaten-path destinations, I’d recommend a rental car.

Okay, let’s get to it! Here are my favorite hidden gems in Tulum!

1. Neek Tulum

Hours: Daily from 10:30 am to 7 pm (sometimes they have private events, so DM their Instagram to confirm hours if you plan to stay after 6 pm)

Cost: Entrance fee of $200 pesos per person (~$12 USD)

Parking: Free parking lot

Neek is definitely one of Tulum’s most gorgeous hidden gems. Nestled on the shores of Laguna Napolitos, this restaurant/lagoon club is a stunning sanctuary. And it’s less than 30 minutes from Tulum’s city center.

We stopped here on our way to Tulum from the Tulum Airport (TQO) and it felt like we’d finally arrived in paradise. It’s simply beautiful and extremely Instagram-worthy with swings, a pier, hammocks over turquoise water, and more.

Even the entrance from the parking lot is gorgeous as you follow a narrow path through dense palms.

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

As you’re driving to Neek (unless they’ve improved it by the time you read this), you’ll be on an extremely bumpy road. We were in a little sedan and had no car issues, but our toddler was not a fan of the jarring bumps in the road. Google Maps also wanted to take us the wrong way once we got to Laguna Nopalitos, so your map may do the same. Instead, after you head down the road to Laguna Nopalitos, you’ll want to follow signs for Neek and turn left.

Pothole-ridden roads and wrong maps aside, once you get to Neek, you’re in paradise. You could pay the price for it, though – the entrance fee of $200 pesos per person isn’t bad, but your food and drinks could add up if you’re not careful!

Since Neek Tulum has limited space, you can make sure there’s room for you by making a reservation ahead of time through their Instagram, @neektulum.

2. Vesica Tulum Cenote Sanctuary

Hours: Daily from 11 am to 6 pm

Cost: Entrance fee of $300 pesos (~$18 USD) per person + either $500 (~$29.50 USD) or $1000 (~$60 USD) minimum consumption per person depending on seating. Credit card only.

Parking: Free parking lot

There are plenty of beach clubs around Tulum, but how about a cenote club?

And Vesica is a relatively new cenote on the Tulum scene, so it definitely deserves a spot on my list of Tulum hidden gems.

(If you’re not familiar with cenotes, they are natural sinkholes filled with water, and there are a ton of them in the Yucatan Peninsula. Visiting a cenote (or several) is a must when in Tulum!)

There are many cenotes in and around Tulum, but how many of them have luxurious lounging beds, spa service, and delicious food that they’ll bring right to you?

And while you may think of cave diving and caves when you think of cenotes, this one is an open-air cenote, making it easy to access.

Vesica is also a very short drive from Tulum Centro, making it very convenient to get to.

It has more of a party scene on the weekends, with a DJ playing club music, so if you’re traveling with little kids, you may prefer visiting on a weekday. (We learned that the hard way when we visited with our toddler on a Sunday afternoon.)

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

We showed up without a reservation, but Vesica Tulum recommends them, especially on weekends. You can WhatsApp them directly at +52 984 323 9572 to reserve your visit.

Some notes about entrance cost: The $300 pesos per person entrance fee includes access, towel, internet, and parking. On top of that, the minimum consumption of either $500 or $1000 pesos per person depends on where you’re seated. Unfortunately, you can’t reserve either type of bed; it’s subject to availability when you arrive. (So there’s no way to guarantee a $500 pesos per person bed). The $1000 pesos per person beds are located right around the cenote, while the $500 pesos beds are further away around the perimeter.

If you don’t want to enter the cenote, you can eat at their restaurant without a minimum consumption or the $300 pesos entrance fee.

They prohibit professional cameras unless you book in advance and pay a hefty fee; phone cameras are fine. So I got the above photos with my iPhone 14 pro (but you can see what’s in my camera bag here)!

3. Laguna Kaan Luum

Hours: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm

Cost: Entrance fee of $300 pesos (~$18 USD) per person, cash only.

Parking: Free parking lot

This Tulum hidden gem becomes even more incredible when it’s seaweed season at the beach! Laguna Kaan Luum isn’t the beach; it’s a giant cenote! No seaweed here!

Instead, you’ve got a giant, blue, shallow lagoon with a super deep hole in the middle. We saw people snorkeling over the deep section, but most people kept to the main part of Laguna Kaan Luum.

In fact, if you’re not a good swimmer, this is a great spot for you. Most of the swimming area is pretty shallow with beautiful aqua water. (I’d read some Google reviews saying that the water was light brown, so I suppose that can happen. But when I went in April, the waters were a pretty shade of light turquoise, just as shown here!)

There are really cute little Instagram moments with swings, hammocks, a heart platform, and more. You’ll also find a viewing platform that you can go up and see more of the cenote from above. It’s amazing just how big this cenote really is!

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

You can pay $150 pesos to bring a drone and fly it at Laguna de Kaan Luum. (I had read that drones weren’t allowed in the country, so we didn’t bring ours. If you want to risk it, you’re allowed to fly them at Laguna Kaan Luum for a fee!)

If you get hungry, there’s a little snack shop here as well.

To preserve the ecosystem, you cannot wear sunscreen in the water, but there is shade at Laguna Kaan Luum. It has shaded palapas with benches underneath where you can escape from the sun.

And if you’re looking for more cenotes nearby, you can check out Cenote Cristal y Escondido, a two-in-one cenote just down the road. While they are well known, they aren’t as popular as some of the other cenotes, so you should be able to avoid big crowds there too.

4. Cenote Santa Cruz

Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Cost: Entrance fee of $250-300 pesos (~$15-18 USD) per person, cash only. (We paid $250 on a weekday but I read reviews that said it cost $300, so that may be a weekend cost.)

Parking: Free parking lot

This is the most genuine hidden gem in Tulum I’ve found. Not many people talk about this place, but it’s an incredible secret spot!

I just happened to find this on Google Maps and clicked on it to learn more. From the reviews, I thought it was worth checking out, so we decided to go. The end result: it’s one of my favorite cenotes in Tulum!

We visited when they opened at 10 am on a weekday and had the entire place to ourselves until around noon. And this cenote is huge… it’s basically like a natural water park with a restaurant, cabanas, lounge chairs, life jackets, and more. Having it to ourselves felt so bizarre and so cool. (One of the Google reviews I’d read said that they had the park to themselves from 10am-12pm, too, so this wasn’t just a one-off occurrence!)

The cenote forms a “lazy-river” type of circle and isn’t too deep (from what I could see).

It has crystal-clear water, which is absolutely gorgeous! And the water was blue even on a cloudy day.

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

There are fish and turtles in the water at Cenote Santa Cruz, so bring snorkeling gear if you want. Life jackets are available for rent at the front, but they are not required.

There are multiple entrances to the cenote: several stairs and a jumping-off point. We had so much fun jumping into the water over and over again. It’s very kid-friendly, too.

If you get hungry, I believe there is a buffet on the weekends that costs 250 pesos per person. But on weekdays when they are slow, there’s a woman who makes simple ham and cheese quesadillas (3 for 100 pesos) and shredded chicken tacos (4 for 100 pesos). We ordered one of each and it was simple but delicious and cheap.

While you’re in the area, you may also want to check out Cenote Calavera, which used to be a Tulum hidden gem but has increased in popularity in recent years.

5. Cenote Atik

Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm

Cost: Entrance fee of $299 pesos (~$18 USD) per person. Credit card accepted. $299 pesos professional camera fee.

Parking: Free parking lot

Cenote Atik is relatively new, which is probably why it’s not as busy as some of the other more popular cenotes (Gran Cenote, I’m looking at you!).

However, Cenote Atik is the most beautiful cenote in Tulum.

There, I said it.

As more people discover that, I’m sure this place will get more crowded. But for now, this is one of the most stunning hidden gems in Tulum!

On one side of the cenote, you’ve got a stunning ladder moment with a waterfall in the background, framed with lush greenery. And on the opposite side, you can enter the cenote with a staircase. There’s a rock feature in the middle of the cenote that you can stand/sit on, but when we went, it was covered with water.

The water is a beautiful deep turquoise color. And the cenote must be deep – you definitely can’t see to the bottom. When I jumped in alone for this floating picture, it was very eerie being in the water by myself!

All in all, Cenote Atik is paradise and feels like the Garden of Eden! (Ironically, this was one of our hardest times capturing photos and videos because James decided he did not want to be put down. So, internally, we were extremely stressed and frustrated. But externally, we were in paradise!)

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

We visited Cenote Atik at 4 pm on a Monday afternoon and had the entire place to ourselves until they closed at 5:30. (A typical rule with cenotes is to visit right when they open or before they close to avoid the crowds.)

You can choose to enter just the cenote ($299 pesos per person) or the entire park with all of its art installations ($449 pesos per person).

Lastly, you can actually book tickets online on their website instead of at the entrance!

6. Jungle Keva Tulum

Cost: Get up-to-date pricing here!

Parking: Free parking

Forget pricey beach hotels… escape to Jungle Keva in Tulum Centro instead! This property is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Every corner of it feels like it’s straight out of a magazine! We stayed here for five nights and absolutely loved our stay.

Kendall, the owner, welcomed us to this little slice of paradise and gave us plenty of tips for our time in Tulum. She was so friendly and kind and made it feel like home!

Our villa had a king bed, an epic bathroom, and a loft with two twin beds. (We were in Lodge Number Four, which has the prettiest hotel bathroom I’ve ever had!)

Jungle Keva provided a travel crib for James to sleep in, which was exactly what we needed! He slept on the ground floor and we slept up in the loft so that he couldn’t see us.

In addition to your villa at Jungle Keva, you have access to the beautiful communal space. There’s a stunning Infiniti pool, a full kitchen, a giant dining room area, and a yoga/hangout space.

Being in Tulum Centro gave us space from the crowded beach/hotel zone and helped us explore off the beaten path. We had a rental car, which made getting around really easy. And we still got to enjoy the beach by visiting some beach clubs and a public beach. It was a win-win!

Overall, it was a dream to stay here, and we definitely plan on coming back! This hotel is definitely a Tulum hidden gem and worth booking! Reserve your room here!

7. Mistico Garden

Hours: Daily from 9 am to 1 am

Cost: See their menu here.

Parking: Street parking or free parking out front, spaces are limited

One day as we were driving through Tulum Centro, this place caught my eye with its gorgeous entrance. We decided to check it out the following evening for an early dinner.

Turns out, it’s a hookah bar, but we went early enough that we didn’t feel weird having a toddler in tow. (There was basically no one there at 5 pm for dinner on a weekday.)

After dining here, we learned that Mistico Garden is one of Tulum’s best hidden gems for cuisine and restaurant vibes! Plus, you get to forget the traffic nightmare of Tulum’s hotel zone and kick back in Tulum Centro for a yummy meal!

And what a meal it was! We shared their grilled salmon, fish tacos, and a side of potato wedges. All were absolutely delicious! I also got a virgin piña colada that I shared with James, and it was fantastic (if it were up to him, he’d have the whole thing and a second one, too).

There’s plenty of seating for different party sizes. You’ll also find jenga on the tables, cute swings, a perfect mirror-selfie moment at the entrance, and more.

8. Veleta Market

Hours: Monday – Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm and 6 pm to 11:45 pm

Cost: See their menu here.

Parking: Street parking

Veleta Market is another incredible hidden gem in Tulum! This unique dining experience is in Tulum Centro (Tulum’s city center). The owner of the hotel we stayed at (Hotel Jungle Keva) told us about this place, and I’m so glad she did! We loved everything we ate here.

Veleta Market is kind of like a modern food court with several food stalls. You’ll find Korean food, Italian food, burgers, Thai food, and more. A large outdoor seating area is right next to all of the food stalls. There’s also a bar and indoor seating as well.

The food we ate was delicious – I especially loved the Thai food! For dessert, we ordered churros con dulce de leche, which were *chef’s kiss*.

9. Playa Santa Fe

Cost: Playa Santa Fe is a free public beach. However, you must pay $60 pesos (~$3.50 USD) per person to enter Tulum National Park, which you can pay by credit card. (If you’re also entering the Tulum Ruins, you’ll need to pay an additional $95 pesos (~$5.60 USD) per person, cash only.)

Parking: Paid parking lot for the Tulum Ruins of $160 pesos (~$9.50 USD) per car

This Tulum hidden gem pairs with a very popular thing to do in Tulum: visiting the Tulum Ruins. What makes Playa Santa Fe a hidden gem is the fact that it’s right next to the Tulum Ruins but not many people come here! You’ll find that Playa Santa Fe is significantly less crowded than the beaches to the south. You can also see part of the ruins from the beach.

And if you’re already visiting the Tulum Ruins, that means you’ve already paid to enter the national park and paid for parking/transportation to the ruins. In that case, the beach is free for you!

Powdery white sand, clear blue water, a unique view of the ruins, and few crowds… a great combination!

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

Since Playa Ruinas (pictured above) is closed due to turtle nesting, Playa Santa Fe is the closest beach to the Tulum Ruins that you’ll be able to access. Yet, most people only see the Mayan ruins and then leave.

Well, that makes this beach a great escape from the crowds! And technically free, since you already paid the 60 pesos per person that is required for entry to the national park.

From the Tulum Ruins, you’ll walk about 15 minutes on a newly paved path/road to Playa Santa Fe. (We didn’t bring our stroller so it felt more like hours in the hot sun while carrying a toddler!)

You’ll want to bring snacks, beach towels, a hat, reef-safe sunblock (we found a shady spot under some palm trees, but overall there isn’t much shade!), and plenty of water so that you don’t get dehydrated.

More Tulum Hidden Gems: Love history and want to learn more about the ancient Mayans, but don’t want as many crowds as the Tulum Ruins? Head to the Coba Ruins or the Muyil Archaeological Site to get off the beaten path!

Tulum Hidden Gems: Honorable Mentions

These aren’t quite hidden, but they are definitely gems! And if you’re not familiar with Tulum, you may not know about these!

10. La Popular at Nomade

Hours: La Popular from 12pm to 11 pm; Beach Club from 10 am to 6 pm

Cost: See the Beach Club menu here. Credit card only.

Parking: Paid parking lot across the street is typically $200 pesos (~$12 USD)

Though Nomade is a normal hotel in the Hotel Zone, I’m adding it to my list of Tulum hidden gems because it provided us with our favorite dining experience.

We actually came to Nomade to eat at Macondo, their Moroccan restaurant. But when we got there, it was closed for lunch (even though their website says it’s open for lunch). They suggested their beach restaurant instead, and I’m so glad they did.

It was the best meal we had! We shared the fish tacos, fish sticks, and potato wedges. They also give you chips and the most delicious salsa. To top it all off, you get to dine in the sand with ocean views.

While we were waiting for our food, James and I went to the ocean to play in the shallow waves. He had so much fun that it definitely became a core memory for me.

To sum it up: great food and great ambiance.

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

We were only stopping by Nomade for a quick lunch before heading back to our hotel for Jamesy’s nap. But if we had more time, I would’ve considered staying at their beach club all day.

They have a minimum consumption of $100 USD per person, but if you stay there for lunch and dinner, that ends up not being not *that* bad. Especially with how good the food is, and compared to the price of other beach clubs in the hotel zone!

(Also, I still want to try Macondo someday since I love Middle Eastern food. Also, how cute is the bar at Macondo, pictured above?)

Playa Paraiso Beach Club

Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Cost: No entrance fee. Beach furniture day rental costs $100-500 Mexican pesos depending on type (~$6-30 USD). Some seasons they charge a minimum consumption fee. You do need to pay a separate $60 pesos per person entrance fee to the national park.

Parking: Free parking lot with your beach club receipt

Playa Paraiso is well-known in Tulum but I’m still including this on my list of hidden gems in case you haven’t heard of it!

Compared to the expensive beach clubs in the hotel zone, this beach club is much more affordable and laid-back.

They don’t take reservations, but we visited on a Saturday afternoon and had no issues getting a shaded beach bed.

We decided to have dinner here, too, so we ordered food from the kitchen before it closed at 5:30 pm. The fajitas we got were delicious! (I will say that the gelato at their gelato shop is not worth it, though… all three flavors we ordered were icy and melty at the same time.)

As for the beach itself, the white sand and clear, turquoise water at Playa Paraiso are beautiful! And don’t forget to take a picture by a leaning palm tree!

Things to Know Before Visiting this Tulum Hidden Gem

Instead of an entrance fee, you pay to rent beach furniture at Playa Paraiso Beach Club. They cost $100-500 pesos ($6-30 USD) depending on the type of furniture (ie. chairs or day beds).

When we visited in April, there was no minimum consumption fee. (However, their website states that seasonally there may be one that ranges from $1000-3000 per bed! Unfortunately, as it is with Tulum, it can be hard to figure out exactly what is required until you arrive!)

Though the beach club closes at 6, and that’s when they close the umbrellas, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like.

One more thing to note: As you’re driving from Tulum and enter the national park zone, there is a National Guard checkpoint on the road. Don’t be alarmed; they’re there to make sure that you don’t have plastic bottles (no plastic is allowed in the national park!) and that you either have your National Park wristband or pay the $60 pesos per person to get one. We had done the Tulum Ruins earlier that day, so we were able to reuse our wristbands.

Tulum Hidden Gems: Conclusion

The beautiful entrance to Vesica Tulum.

All in all, I hope these Tulum hidden gems get you excited to explore off the beaten path!

While a lot of the most popular places in Tulum may be crowded and expensive, I hope you find some relaxation and beauty at these spots!

If you’ve visited these and have different experiences than I have, let me know in the comments! It’ll be good to keep updating expectations for these Tulum hidden gems over time.

And if you’re about to head to these hidden gems of Tulum and have questions or simply want to share which you’re looking forward to visiting most, let me know in the comments as well!

Safe travels!


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About the author
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
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