A highlight of exploring Tulum is the abundance of colorful street art by local artists. In 2014, the local community launched an urban art project to beautify the town’s grey spaces. The striking pieces that exist today reflect this effort, and they have become a part of Tulum’s identity.
I chose Tulum as a travel destination without knowing much about it. Sure, I had heard about the picturesque beaches and seen photos on Google of the famous Mayan ruins, but that was about it. Little was I expecting a jet-set bohemian culture where vegan restaurants and yoga reign supreme, nor was I prepared for the sky-high prices of Tulum’s hotel zone (ummm, $15 for a cocktail?).
We had fun, of course, and indulged in the swanky beach parties and nightclubs frequented by hip and beautiful travelers. Still, we found the most joy in eating, drinking, and exploring in Tulum’s center, where local Mexican culture thrives despite the influx of tourism.
A highlight of Tulum that surprised us during our two-week trip was the abundance of colorful street art by local artists. In 2014, the local community launched an urban art project to beautify Tulum’s grey spaces. The striking pieces that exist today reflect this effort, and they have very much become a part of Tulum’s identity.
Tinasah, a local art collective with the mission to make Tulum the capital of street art in Mexico, is behind much of the art in town. Tinasah overcomes the difficulties of creating street art in Tulum and uses its platform to promote conversations about social integration and caring for the environment. Many of their murals tell stories of Mayan culture and legend, day-to-day life in Tulum, and the town’s grappling with the growing tourism industry. I noticed many pieces about our relationship with technology and how — for better or for worse — they’ve become a central part of our lives.
Generally, making murals in Tulum is in itself quite a challenge, comparing to other places of the world specially because of the strong sun and heat…our lack of stable strong scaffolding, lack of funds to rent lifts etc. We have several murals that have been huge challenges.Tinasah interview on EssentialTulum.com
Keep scrolling for a full photo tour of the street art we found in Tulum as well as the exact location of each piece.
Tulum Street Art Tips
While there are a few areas with a higher concentration of pieces, Tulum’s street art is pretty spread out. Because of this, it’s best to explore by bicycle or car/taxi, especially on a hot day. I would leave walking for a cooler day, personally.
Street art hot spots in Tulum that we found include:
- Calle Sol Ote & Calle Centauro Sur
- Calle Sol Ote & Calle Orion Sur
- Calle Sol Oriente & Calle Gemini Sur
When wandering in Tulum, make sure to look up! We would discover new pieces high above us on streets that we had passed multiple times. It’s amazing what you can find if you change your perspective just a little bit, and also how easy it is to miss what is right in front of you.
Tulum Street Art Photo Tour
“Play the Wall” depicts children that actually live in Tulum. The artists know the children personally. This mural expresses the freedom and joy that children can teach us, and was represented for our borders situation we have in the world: “We will always find a way to play, despite borders”Tinasah interview on EssentialTulum.com
This mural was designed according to what was happening in Tulum at the moment; many foreigners come to live to Tulum. The melting pot is growing. We chose to depict this growth in a positive manner: the union of foreigners and the local Mayan people.Tinasah interview on EssentialTulum.com
📍We forgot to drop a pin on this one 😞
📍We forgot to drop a pin on this one 😞
Of course, there are many more beautiful pieces of street art in Tulum…
It was impossible to capture all of Tulum’s street art in the short two weeks we were in town. Feel free to share any pieces I’ve missed in the comments, and let me know which are your favorites!
A special shout out to my hubby Laezio Lenza for braving the sweltering tropical heat to take these amazing shots so I could create the sweetest blog post ever about street art in Tulum.