Tulum Airport Takes Flight: A Game-Changer for the Region

Riviera Maya Living

The rapidly expanding city of Tulum, nestled along the stunning coastline of the Riviera Maya, has long been a magnet for tourists seeking a perfect blend of ancient Mayan history, natural beauty, and modern luxury. Recently, the region witnessed a significant milestone with the inauguration of the Tulum International Airport. This new aviation hub promises to not only enhance the travel experience for tourists but also boost economic development in the area.


The Tulum International Airport officially opened on December 1st 2023 and has been a long-anticipated project. With a total investment of over $3.2M Mexican Pesos (roughly $160K USD), the structure is 75 thousand square meters total and approximately 30km (18 miles) away from downtown Tulum.

The airport is equipped to handle 5.5M passengers annually and expected by Gustavo Vallejo, in charge of construction, to receive over 700 thousand passengers in its first year of inauguration.

This strategic infrastructure implementation comes as Tulum’s rise to fame has happened extremely fast, with a surge in real estate developments, huge festivals such as Zamna and hand-in-hand with the shortly-arriving Tren Maya. The airport plans to cater to the growing demand for direct access to Tulum and its surrounding destinations.

The question many locals and expats alike are asking is: Has this huge infrastructural development been worth it? Here are some of the Pro’s and Con’s.


For years, travelers eager to explore Tulum faced the challenge of landing in Cancun or Cozumel and enduring a lengthy journey to reach their final destination. The Tulum airport, however, has changed the game, providing visitors with a more direct and efficient route to this tropical paradise. The airport’s proximity to popular destinations, such as the Tulum archaeological site and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, ensures that tourists can spend more time enjoying their vacation and less time in transit.


Beyond its immediate benefits for tourists, the Tulum International Airport is poised to become a catalyst for economic growth in the region. The increase in tourism is expected to create jobs, stimulate local businesses, and encourage further investment in infrastructure. Hoteliers, restaurateurs, and tour operators are optimistic about the positive ripple effect this development will have on the local economy.


While the Tulum International Airport is undoubtedly a boon for the region, some concerns have been raised. Environmentalists worry about the potential impact on the delicate ecosystems of the Riviera Maya. Proponents of responsible tourism are calling for strict regulations to ensure that the influx of visitors does not compromise the natural beauty that makes Tulum unique.


Local newspapers have been quick to cover the inauguration and subsequent impacts of the Tulum International Airport. The “Tulum Tribune” commended the foresight of local authorities in recognizing the need for improved accessibility. In an editorial, the paper highlighted the potential for increased international attention and investment in the area.

Regarding the new airport’s location and viability, a local source who recently visited comments “This airport is really only for those staying IN or AROUND Tulum… Once you start getting close to Playa, it is way further, and not worth it in my opinion.” They further state on its aesthetics “The airport itself is small with only 1 terminal. It’s cute with some wooden accents that feel very Tulum-esque. The road to get to the actual airport once you turn off the highway is lovely, with bridges for wildlife like monkeys to cross above, and jungle all around.”



Although there are concerns surrounding the implementation of this new structure, The Tulum International Airport represents a significant leap forward for the region, opening up new possibilities for tourism and economic development. As the airport settles into its role as a gateway to Tulum, ongoing collaboration between local authorities, businesses, and environmentalists will be essential to ensure that growth is sustainable and in harmony with the natural wonders that make Tulum a destination unlike any other.

What’s certain? Your access to Tulum is now much quicker and easier than via the Cancun airport!
Contact us to begin calling Tulum your home!

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