Tulum is a dreamy, laid again seashore 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 seashore 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 might 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 number of the greatest, together with a number 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. Nicely not likely, however there are such a lot of cenotes scattered nearly in all places that you possibly can spend weeks solely going cenote searching. Every has a singular promoting level as nicely – some are greatest for diving, others are deep in caves, and so they range in shade as nicely. So how do you decide and select? I requested a couple of of my buddies who’re accustomed to the world to make suggestions earlier than I went and ended up visiting 5 completely different cenotes:
*By the best way, I rented a automotive and self-drove to those cenotes, which I like to recommend in the event you’re snug with it. If not, this day tour will take you to a number of.
180 pesos, very fashionable
It is a very fashionable one, however by arriving proper when it opened at 8 AM I didn’t should battle the crowds to take pleasure in this cenote. In a while within the day after I drove by, the parking zone was buzzing with automobiles and folks. I might extremely suggest attending to this one first and visiting the others on this checklist after. One quirky factor about Gran Cenote is that there are a ton of turtles within the water, which you’ll be able to swim alongside!
Whereas the cenote does really feel very business with an enormous deck constructed on prime, 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 lovely and I do suggest visiting. Simply go there early!
100 pesos, much less widespread (however no much less wonderful)
Out of all the cenotes, I appreciated this one the very best as a result of it felt the least business. The newborn blue water is a pleasant temperature and I simply beloved trying across the inside the attractive cave. In distinction to the Gran Cenote with its open ceiling, this one has a really small opening on the prime and a slim staircase down.
That is one in every of 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 widespread
I used to be struck by how deeply blue the water is on this cenote. It additionally has two platforms you can soar off of into the water. I solely realized mid-fall that the upper of the 2 actually is kind of excessive, so ensure you’ve bought your kind 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 subsequent day I want it had been a ten out of 10! Maintain the nice kind, individuals!
100 pesos, much less widespread
Out of the three cenotes close to Coba, this one was the least wonderful nevertheless it was additionally the most important, so there’s a lot to swim round and to see. The stalactites on the ceiling are additionally fairly spectacular.
Bonus: Suytun close to Valladolid
120 pesos, very fashionable
Suytun is kind 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 wakened 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 individuals within the shot it wouldn’t be practically as particular. Additionally, if you wish to swim within the cenote you’re required to put on a life jacket, which takes it off of the swimming checklist 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 the event you develop to your complete Yucatán peninsula, certainly there are a whole lot. Nevertheless in the event you solely have time to go to those I’ve talked about right here you will notice a pleasant selection. Different honorable mentions embody Jadin de Eden, Sac Atun, and Casa Cenote.
2. Hang around at Laguna Kaan Luum
100 pesos (further 300 to fly a drone), reasonably widespread
This Laguna seems to be a bit just like the Blue Hole 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’ll be able to 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 it will likely be an additional 300 pesos. It is distinctive, although, and was type of price it. That is one other one which I visited proper when it opened at 9am to get some photographs of it with out a bunch of individuals in them. It labored out. The early hen will get the worm in Tulum!
3. Try the Tulum Ruins
80 Pesos, Very Well-liked
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 spiritual and ceremonial heart. The placement can also be gorgeous, set on a backdrop of the seashore 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 attributable to their respective sizes, it’s actually extra handy to take a look at the Tulum ruins.
Should you do go, make it early. I deviated from my regular plan of visiting widespread 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 individuals. 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 individuals round.
4. Discover the jungle
The seashore in Tulum is totally beautiful with its white sands and beautiful blue, tub temperature water. However the jungle is kind of magical as nicely. Earlier than transferring to a beachfront resort, I stayed in a bit hut within the jungle and it was so good falling asleep to the sounds of all the animals, and seeing the celebs so dazzling and good within the sky.
Plus, in the event you keep off of the highway that goes in the direction of Coba the place lots of the jungle hideaways are, you’ll already be on the stretch of highway that results in many 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 acutely aware travellers who wish 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 seashore remains to be laid-back and there aren’t tons of high-rise motels and fixed paragliders and speedboats. There’s nonetheless some peace and tranquility.
Should you aren’t staying at any of the seashore resorts and are doing Tulum on a budget, Playa Pocna is one in every of Tulum’s solely public seashores, however simply as lovely as some other. In any other case, you would possibly find yourself paying an arm and a leg for a seashore chair or an overpriced seashore cocktail.
One other tip is to regulate the seasons earlier than planning your journey in the event you’re hoping to spend some high quality time with the attractive turquoise waters. Between Might and October of every yr, the seashore tends to have a great deal of sargassum (aka pungent seaweed) that piles up on the seashore.
6. Eat some native meals
There are two sorts of meals on supply in Tulum: meals meant for vacationers with an English menu and excessive costs and the little, unassuming native eateries which might be extra genuine and tastier, tbh. The world is understood 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 after I bought to Mexico that the very first thing we did, straight from the airport, was to drag over on the facet of the highway exterior of the airport once we noticed a taco stand. Avenue tacos are so low-cost, scrumptious, and recent. Should you’re hesitant about the entire affair, go to a stand that has a number of patrons (strive La Chiapaneca within the heart of city!). It wouldn’t be tremendous widespread if it made individuals sick.
There’s additionally a unbelievable fruteria within the city of Tulum known as Huerto del Eden with recent juices, hand-ground espresso, plus cooked to order eggs. The entire produce is recent from native farms, it’s domestically run, and the blokes working there are so good and accommodating. Plus, it’s genuine and the worth matches.
7. Get into the hippie vibe
Tulum is a hippie haven. It should be a mix of the world being sacred to the Maya individuals, the laid again environment of the seashore, 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 facet of life.
Should you’re interested in this type of factor, the seashore space of Tulum is the proper place to strive one thing new, like a cacao ceremony (this yoga studio hosts them on occasion), beachfront yoga classes, holistic health offerings and meditation lessons. Simply discover and see the place your open thoughts can take you.
8. Try the structure
There’s a motive why Tulum attracts architects from everywhere in the world. The jungle is an apparent inspiration and far of the structure mimics historic Maya strategies whereas including a contemporary, minimalist aptitude.
One place specifically you can’t miss is Azulik hotel. 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 kind of dear to remain in, however you’ll be able to take pleasure in 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 known 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 submit 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 individuals nonetheless exist AND communicate their indigenous language. Should you’re a historical past and tradition buff, take into account taking a fast Maya language class to be taught extra concerning the distinctive numbering system and Maya glyphs. It should actually offer you a glimpse into the previous and a larger understanding of the native individuals.
Throughout Tulum it’s also possible to discover Temazcal ceremonies, that are a wealthy cultural expertise involving a educated shaman who guides members in a cleaning ceremony.
10. Go for a stroll by means of the Centro
Whereas many of the motion in Tulum occurs within the Lodge Zone, the Centro can also be stuffed with enjoyable issues to do and loads of purchasing and eating places. Plus, issues are usually less expensive on this finish of city and that is the place the locals hang around.
Searching for the very best cup of espresso on the town? Cara Feliz is an lovable bookstore café that has loads of espresso and tea choices in the event you want a caffeine repair. The café hosts portray nights, reside music, and different cultural occasions commonly. Plus, they’ve a couple of rescue cats lingering round that are up for adoption from the native shelter.
11. Lease a motorcycle
As quickly as you get to Tulum, you’ll see individuals on bikes in all places. Renting a motorcycle is inexpensive and a good way to get from place to position in the event you’re staying off the overwhelmed path. Whether or not you wish to get out and hit the seashore vivid and early or head to a cenote a pair kilometers away, biking actually is a enjoyable technique to take pleasure in this tropical paradise.
Not into biking? There are additionally loads of locations to hire motorbikes or a automotive round city.
12. Get off the overwhelmed path
Tulum has completely exploded in the previous couple of years, and for good motive; it’s one of the crucial lovely seashore locations on this planet! Nevertheless, there may be a lot extra to the world than simply the seashores and cenotes.
About quarter-hour south of Tulum is Muyil, the place you’ll be able to discover the Muyil Archaeological Web site and even spend the day floating down an historic Mayan canal.
Cobá is one other superior place to go to when you’re in Tulum, because the ruins are a number of the greatest within the peninsula. Climbing to the highest of the pyramid, you will get a tremendous view of the good inexperienced jungle throughout, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a toucan or maya clock hen!
13. Take a mural tour
Being such a hub for artists of every kind, Tulum is filled with lovely, colourful murals. Whereas a lot are simply noticed from the primary avenue within the Centro, take into account taking a tour to be taught extra concerning the artwork itself in addition to the unbelievable artists who create the murals.
The place to remain
I cut up my time in Tulum between a luxurious resort on the seashore and a bit hut within the jungle. It was good, and allowed me to get the very best of each worlds:
Lodge: The TRS Yucatan in Akumal has the dreamiest pool, a stunning white-sand seashore, and the world’s greatest breakfast. I did a bit 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 out of doors bathe! The huts are constituted of supplies that exist already within the jungle and so they run on solar energy. The homeowners are so pretty as nicely, and the vibe is simply wonderful. I stayed for 2 days and thought it was good. (in the event you’re new to Airbnb you can get a discount here).
Should you’re an Airbnb fanatic like me, take a look at our checklist of the best Airbnbs in Tulum!
Tips on how 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 capable of cowl a lot floor and to get in all places 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 velocity bumps within the cities. Automobile leases are dust low-cost (simply make it possible for insurance coverage is included in your reserving or they’ll attempt to cost you further for it once you decide up the automotive!), and in the event you get a mannequin that’s good on fuel, 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, nicely, I match proper in. That is way more my velocity than the mega resorts of Cancun.
Although I used to be heartbroken to have needed to go away what felt like method too quickly, I used to be happy to search 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 could be pulling me in so many instructions. It’s a stunning factor to go to a spot and instantly begin making a listing of issues to do once you return, however subsequent time with way more time in your arms.
Should you’re visiting Mexico, be certain that Tulum is in your checklist.
**COVID-19 Replace: Like a lot of the touristic state of Quintana Roo, a lot of the points of interest stay open and working amidst the pandemic. Courses and experiences are nonetheless going down, however with group limits. Be sure that to e-book any actions upfront to safe your spot and naturally, be aware of the native inhabitants and take security precautions!