Tulum is a fairly small town, but if you want to get out and about to see what Tulum has to offer, you’re better getting a mode of transportation.
The town stretches from north to south along the 307 Federal Highway that runs from Cancun down to Chetumal. There’s not much to see beyond the south side of town save for a couple of cenotes that are a five minute drive south, but with the emergence of new land offered up for development some of the newer hostels are starting to pop up at the south side of town. The key point is the intersection as you approach Tulum from the north. From here, with your back to Playa del Carmen and Tulum in front of you, you will have already passed Tulum ruins (about a mile back). The beach is down a 2.5km road on your left and Grand Cenote, Callavera Cenote and the Coba ruins are a few kms down the road to your right, and the town is ahead of you.
The preferred mode of transport is a bicycle. You’ll see them locked up around town everywhere. You can get down to the beach easily with one of these, but be careful where you lock it, choose somewhere where people are and lock it to something that doesn’t move. If there’s many of you, you can get away with locking them up all together in a bike bicycle bunch. You can cycle to The Ruins, Beach, cenotes and town quiet comfortably.
Motos are fun, little 50 or 125cc engines, you can zip around pretty efficiently on one. Motos are ideal if you’re staying at the beach, but want to go out in the town at night, but beware of drinking and driving.
There are plenty of Car rental offices located near the main crossroads. Rates start from $50 USD per day.
There is an abundance of Taxis around the town and beach. A journey within the town is 25 pesos unless you take one from a taxi stop (outside the ADO and supermarkets) where they will charge a little more. Prices between the town and the beach start at 70 pesos and increase the further along the beach road you want to go.
Collectivos run up and down the main Highway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. They are frequent, about every 5 to 10 minutes during the day. You can flag one down from anywhere along the main road in town and the highway and they can drop you anywhere along the route. Prices start at 25 pesos for a short trip (Tulum to Dos Ojos) and go up to 40 pesos for the full journey between Playa del Carmen and Tulum