Tulum is a dreamy, laid again seaside paradise with white sands and jungle adventures. I had 5 days there to discover and was overwhelmed with wonderful issues to select from.
Now more often than not in seaside locations, I do know precisely what to do – head to the sand and placed on SCUBA gear, discover a hammock, or seek for a chilly coconut. In Tulum there’s much more to select from, together with Mayan ruins, cenotes (caves or sinkholes which can be stuffed in with crystal clear water) galore, varied lagoons to drift in, yoga, and avenue tacos. That final level is essential.
It’s robust to slim it down, however these 13 wonderful issues to do in Tulum are a few of the greatest, together with a lot of selection and deliciousness:
1. Take a dip within the cenotes
I had no concept till arriving in Mexico that there are roughly 1 billion cenotes to select from. Effectively probably not, however there are such a lot of cenotes scattered nearly all over the place that you could possibly spend weeks solely going cenote looking. Every has a singular promoting level as effectively – some are greatest for diving, others are deep in caves, they usually range in coloration as effectively. So how do you decide and select? I requested a couple of of my pals who’re accustomed to the realm to make suggestions earlier than I went and ended up visiting 5 completely different cenotes:
*By the way in which, I rented a automotive and self-drove to those cenotes, which I like to recommend in case you’re snug with it. If not, today tour will take you to a number of.
180 pesos, highly regarded
This can be a highly regarded one, however by arriving proper when it opened at 8 AM I didn’t must battle the crowds to get pleasure from this cenote. In a while within the day once I drove by, the parking zone was buzzing with automobiles and folks. I might extremely advocate attending to this one first and visiting the others on this listing after. One quirky factor about Gran Cenote is that there are a ton of turtles within the water, which you’ll swim alongside!
Whereas the cenote does really feel very industrial with an enormous deck constructed on high, which initially turned me off, after spending some extra time there, swimming round, and discovering one other little hidden space, I made a decision that it was fairly stunning and I do advocate visiting. Simply go there early!
100 pesos, much less well-liked (however no much less wonderful)
Out of all the cenotes, I appreciated this one the most effective as a result of it felt the least industrial. The infant blue water is a pleasant temperature and I simply cherished wanting across the within the attractive cave. In distinction to the Gran Cenote with its open ceiling, this one has a really small opening on the high and a slim staircase down.
That is one in all a trio of cenotes out close to Coba, so I visited all three as a result of we have been there anyway, proper?
100 pesos, much less well-liked
I used to be struck by how deeply blue the water is on this cenote. It additionally has two platforms that you would be able to bounce off of into the water. I solely realized mid-fall that the upper of the 2 actually is sort of excessive, so be sure you’ve bought your type proper earlier than you hit the water!
I give my pencil dive a 7 out of 10 however let me inform you, after nursing a sore neck the following day I want it had been a ten out of 10! Preserve the great type, folks!
100 pesos, much less well-liked
Out of the three cenotes close to Coba, this one was the least wonderful nevertheless it was additionally the most important, so there’s loads to swim round and to see. The stalactites on the ceiling are additionally fairly spectacular.
Bonus: Suytun close to Valladolid
120 pesos, highly regarded
Suytun is sort of a drive away from Tulum however out of all the cenotes I visited, this one was the dreamiest-looking. The platform is partially submerged underneath the water and strolling out to it to be illuminated by a gap within the ceiling feels such as you’re strolling on nature’s cat stroll.
I awoke at 6 AM to get to the cenote proper when it opened in order that I might get images with out anyone in them. I’m nonetheless not clear on whether or not it opens at 8 or 9 AM. They opened the gate for us at 8:20 and we have been the primary ones there. I feel with even one or two different folks within the shot it wouldn’t be almost as particular. Additionally, if you wish to swim within the cenote you might be required to put on a life jacket, which takes it off of the swimming listing for me! Can’t stand carrying these orange abominations.
There are dozens of different cenotes within the neighborhood of Tulum (Cenote Cristal and Escondido are even inside biking distance), and in case you develop to the complete Yucatán peninsula, absolutely there are a whole bunch. Nevertheless in case you solely have time to go to those I’ve talked about right here you will notice a pleasant selection. Different honorable mentions embrace Jadin de Eden, Sac Atun, and Casa Cenote.
2. Hang around at Laguna Kaan Luum
100 pesos (additional 300 to fly a drone), reasonably well-liked
This Laguna appears to be like a bit just like the Blue Gap in Belize. It’s a sinkhole within the jungle with some very shallow water adopted by some extremely deep water. The deep space is roped off to swimmers however you possibly can scuba dive into it. Whereas it’s a good distinction to all the cenotes, I discover that it’s extra fascinating from the air than down on the bottom.
It’s a reasonably low cost exercise at solely 100 pesos, nevertheless if you wish to fly your drone there will probably be an additional 300 pesos. It is distinctive, although, and was sort of price it. That is one other one which I visited proper when it opened at 9am to get some photographs of it with no bunch of individuals in them. It labored out. The early chook will get the worm in Tulum!
3. Take a look at the Tulum Ruins
80 Pesos, Very Standard
Proof of the Maya civilization is throughout this peninsula and down into Guatemala and Belize, although the Tulum location was of serious significance to the empire as a non secular and ceremonial heart. The situation can also be beautiful, set on a backdrop of the seaside with dazzling blue water and white sand. Whereas not as spectacular as Tikal in Guatemala or Chichen Itza a lot additional west, each of that are astounding as a result of their respective sizes, it’s definitely extra handy to take a look at the Tulum ruins.
If you happen to do go, make it early. I deviated from my traditional plan of visiting well-liked points of interest very first thing within the morning and regretted it! By noon it’s unbearably sizzling and I used to be sharing the ruins with hoards of different folks. Make this one of many actions to prioritize early within the morning if you wish to take a look at the ruins with out tons of different folks round.
4. Discover the jungle
The seaside in Tulum is totally attractive with its white sands and beautiful blue, bathtub temperature water. However the jungle is sort of magical as effectively. Earlier than shifting to a beachfront resort, I stayed in slightly hut within the jungle and it was so good falling asleep to the sounds of all the animals, and seeing the celebrities so dazzling and good within the sky.
Plus, in case you keep off of the highway that goes in direction of Coba the place lots of the jungle hideaways are, you’ll already be on the stretch of highway that results in a lot of the cenotes. Spend a while within the jungle, even when it’s simply wandering round on the cenotes, exploring at your resort, if they’ve a jungle path, or sleeping in a jungle hut.
Near Tulum is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is filled with wildlife and jungle journey alternatives. It’s nice for environmentally aware travellers who need to actually take within the magic of the Maya jungle.
5. Get within the ocean
There are such a lot of issues to do within the water in Tulum! You are able to do standup paddle browsing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, or hop on a catamaran.
I additionally actually like that this seaside continues to be laid-back and there aren’t tons of high-rise motels and fixed paragliders and speedboats. There may be nonetheless some peace and tranquility.
If you happen to aren’t staying at any of the seaside resorts and are doing Tulum on a budget, Playa Pocna is one in all Tulum’s solely public seashores, however simply as stunning as every other. In any other case, you would possibly find yourself paying an arm and a leg for a seaside chair or an overpriced seaside cocktail.
One other tip is to keep watch over the seasons earlier than planning your journey in case you’re hoping to spend some high quality time with the attractive turquoise waters. Between Could and October of every yr, the seaside tends to have a great deal of sargassum (aka pungent seaweed) that piles up on the seaside.
6. Eat some native meals
There are two sorts of meals on provide in Tulum: meals meant for vacationers with an English menu and excessive costs and the little, unassuming native eateries which can be extra genuine and tastier, tbh. The world is thought for its delicacies that’s bursting with spicy, candy, and savory flavors. Don’t skip on salbutes, panuchos, and tamales.
I used to be so excited to eat avenue tacos once I bought to Mexico that the very first thing we did, straight from the airport, was to drag over on the aspect of the highway exterior of the airport once we noticed a taco stand. Road tacos are so low cost, scrumptious, and contemporary. If you happen to’re hesitant about the entire affair, go to a stand that has a lot of patrons (strive La Chiapaneca within the heart of city!). It wouldn’t be tremendous well-liked if it made folks sick.
There’s additionally a implausible fruteria within the city of Tulum referred to as Huerto del Eden with contemporary juices, hand-ground espresso, plus cooked to order eggs. The entire produce is contemporary from native farms, it’s regionally run, and the blokes working there are so good and accommodating. Plus, it’s genuine and the value matches.
7. Get into the hippie vibe
Tulum is a hippie haven. It should be a mixture of the realm being sacred to the Maya folks, the laid again ambiance of the seaside, the pure magnificence, and the jungle vibes. There’s simply one thing about it that calls the kind of people who find themselves into the non secular aspect of life.
If you happen to’re interested by this type of factor, the seaside space of Tulum is the proper place to strive one thing new, like a cacao ceremony (this yoga studio hosts them once in a while), beachfront yoga lessons, holistic well being choices and meditation lessons. Simply discover and see the place your open thoughts can take you.
8. Take a look at the structure
There’s a purpose why Tulum attracts architects from everywhere in the world. The jungle is an apparent inspiration and far of the structure mimics historical Maya strategies whereas including a contemporary, minimalist aptitude.
One place specifically that you would be able to’t miss is Azulik resort. Its whimsical vibe and offbeat points of interest are sufficient to make your jaw drop as you stroll by means of. The resort itself is sort of expensive to remain in, however you possibly can get pleasure from it from the within if you wish to get a drink on the resort’s bar.
As you stroll by means of the resort zone, it’s onerous to overlook the enormous picket sculpture referred to as Ven la Luz on the entrance of Ahau Tulum. It’s a preferred spot for images as a result of actually, is any journey to Tulum full with out an Insta put up there?
9. Study concerning the Mayan tradition
Tulum is on the very coronary heart of the Zona Maya and many individuals don’t know that the Mayan folks nonetheless exist AND communicate their indigenous language. If you happen to’re a historical past and tradition buff, take into account taking a fast Maya language class to study extra concerning the distinctive numbering system and Maya glyphs. It is going to definitely provide you with a glimpse into the previous and a better understanding of the native folks.
Throughout Tulum you too can discover Temazcal ceremonies, that are a wealthy cultural expertise involving a skilled shaman who guides members in a cleaning ceremony.
10. Go for a stroll by means of the Centro
Whereas a lot of the motion in Tulum occurs within the Lodge Zone, the Centro can also be stuffed with enjoyable issues to do and loads of procuring and eating places. Plus, issues are usually less expensive on this finish of city and that is the place the locals hang around.
On the lookout for the most effective cup of espresso on the town? Cara Feliz is an lovable bookstore café that has loads of espresso and tea choices in case you want a caffeine repair. The café hosts portray nights, dwell music, and different cultural occasions often. Plus, they’ve a couple of rescue cats lingering round that are up for adoption from the native shelter.
11. Hire a motorcycle
As quickly as you get to Tulum, you’ll see folks on bikes all over the place. Renting a motorcycle is reasonably priced and a good way to get from place to position in case you’re staying off the crushed path. Whether or not you need to get out and hit the seaside vibrant and early or head to a cenote a pair kilometers away, biking actually is a enjoyable technique to get pleasure from this tropical paradise.
Not into biking? There are additionally loads of locations to hire motorbikes or a automotive round city.
12. Get off the crushed path
Tulum has completely exploded in the previous couple of years, and for good purpose; it’s probably the most stunning seaside locations on the planet! Nevertheless, there may be a lot extra to the realm than simply the seashores and cenotes.
About quarter-hour south of Tulum is Muyil, the place you possibly can discover the Muyil Archaeological Website and even spend the day floating down an historical Mayan canal.
Cobá is one other superior place to go to when you’re in Tulum, because the ruins are a few of the greatest within the peninsula. Climbing to the highest of the pyramid, you may get an incredible view of the good inexperienced jungle throughout, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a toucan or maya clock chook!
13. Take a mural tour
Being such a hub for artists of every kind, Tulum is filled with stunning, colourful murals. Whereas loads are simply noticed from the principle avenue within the Centro, take into account taking a tour to study extra concerning the artwork itself in addition to the unimaginable artists who create the murals.
The place to remain
I break up my time in Tulum between a luxurious resort on the seaside and slightly hut within the jungle. It was good, and allowed me to get the most effective of each worlds:
Lodge: The TRS Yucatan in Akumal has the dreamiest pool, a beautiful white-sand seaside, and the world’s greatest breakfast. I did slightly tour of the breakfast unfold and room within the video above. The service was wonderful, the meals was scrumptious, and it’s all inclusive with out being tacky!
Jungle Hut: The Lumapi Jungle Eco Lodge is within the good spot if you wish to go to the cenotes, plus you get an opportunity to go to sleep to the jungle noises and get a secluded expertise – with an outside bathe! The huts are constructed from supplies that exist already within the jungle they usually run on solar energy. The house owners are so beautiful as effectively, and the vibe is simply wonderful. I stayed for 2 days and thought it was good. (in case you’re new to Airbnb you can get a reduction right here).
If you happen to’re an Airbnb fanatic like me, take a look at our listing of the most effective Airbnbs in Tulum!
The way to get round
It’s attainable to take collectivos, taxis, or excursions, however nothing offers you the pliability of renting a automotive and driving your self. We have been in a position to cowl a lot floor and to get all over the place very first thing within the morning as a result of we drove ourselves.
Driving in Mexico wasn’t scary or all that completely different from driving in LA, the place I grew up. Simply go sluggish, drive defensively, and look ahead to pace bumps within the cities. Automobile leases are filth low cost (simply make it possible for insurance coverage is included in your reserving or they’ll attempt to cost you additional for it whenever you decide up the automotive!), and in case you get a mannequin that’s good on gasoline, it’s a less expensive various to excursions or taxis.
Tulum is a laid again paradise within the Riviera Maya. I have a tendency to like locations like this as a result of, effectively, I match proper in. That is way more my pace than the mega resorts of Cancun.
Although I used to be heartbroken to have needed to go away what felt like manner too quickly, I used to be happy to seek out that there have been so many issues to do in Tulum. I had no concept earlier than I went what number of wonderful choices can be pulling me in so many instructions. It’s a beautiful factor to go to a spot and instantly begin making a listing of issues to do whenever you return, however subsequent time with way more time in your arms.
If you happen to’re visiting Mexico, make certain Tulum is in your listing.
**COVID-19 Replace: Like a lot of the touristic state of Quintana Roo, a lot of the points of interest stay open and operating amidst the pandemic. Lessons and experiences are nonetheless happening, however with group limits. Be sure that to e book any actions upfront to safe your spot and naturally, be conscious of the native inhabitants and take security precautions!