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 superb 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 crammed 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 superb issues to do in Tulum are a number of the greatest, together with plenty of selection and deliciousness:
1. Take a dip within the cenotes
I had no thought till arriving in Mexico that there are roughly 1 billion cenotes to select from. Nicely probably not, however there are such a lot of cenotes scattered nearly all over the place that you might spend weeks solely going cenote searching. Every has a novel promoting level as nicely – some are greatest for diving, others are deep in caves, and so they fluctuate in coloration as nicely. So how do you choose and select? I requested a couple of of my mates who’re conversant in 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 automobile and self-drove to those cenotes, which I like to recommend for those who’re comfy with it. If not, today tour will take you to a number of.
180 pesos, extremely popular
It is a extremely popular 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 car parking zone was buzzing with vehicles and folks. I’d extremely advocate 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 industrial with a giant 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 lovely and I do advocate visiting. Simply go there early!
100 pesos, much less common (however no much less superb)
Out of the entire cenotes, I preferred this one the very best as a result of it felt the least industrial. The child blue water is a pleasant temperature and I simply cherished trying 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 had been there anyway, proper?
100 pesos, much less common
I used to be struck by how deeply blue the water is on this cenote. It additionally has two platforms you could 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! Preserve the nice kind, individuals!
100 pesos, much less common
Out of the three cenotes close to Coba, this one was the least superb but it surely 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, extremely popular
Suytun is kind of a drive away from Tulum however out of the entire cenotes I visited, this one was the dreamiest-looking. The platform is partially submerged beneath 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 photographs 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 had been the primary ones there. I believe with even one or two different individuals 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 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 for those who broaden to all the Yucatán peninsula, absolutely there are lots of. Nevertheless for those who 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 common
This Laguna appears 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 may scuba dive into it. Whereas it’s a good distinction to the entire 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, nonetheless if you wish to fly your drone there it is going to be an additional 300 pesos. It is distinctive, although, and was sort of value it. That is one other one which I visited proper when it opened at 9am to get some pictures of it with no bunch of individuals in them. It labored out. The early chicken will get the worm in Tulum!
3. Try the Tulum Ruins
80 Pesos, Very In style
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 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 actually extra handy to take a look at the Tulum ruins.
In the event you do go, make it early. I deviated from my typical plan of visiting common sights 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 try the ruins with out tons of different individuals round.
4. Discover the jungle
The seaside in Tulum is completely attractive with its white sands and lovely blue, bathtub temperature water. However the jungle is kind of magical as nicely. Earlier than transferring to a beachfront resort, I stayed in somewhat hut within the jungle and it was so good falling asleep to the sounds of the entire animals, and seeing the celebrities so dazzling and sensible within the sky.
Plus, for those who keep off of the street that goes in the direction of Coba the place most of the jungle hideaways are, you’ll already be on the stretch of street 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 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 seaside continues to be laid-back and there aren’t tons of high-rise lodges and fixed paragliders and speedboats. There’s nonetheless some peace and tranquility.
In the event you 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 lovely 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 control the seasons earlier than planning your journey for those who’re hoping to spend some high quality time with the attractive turquoise waters. Between Might and October of every yr, the seaside tends to have a great deal of sargassum (aka smelly 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 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 aspect of the street outdoors of the airport after we noticed a taco stand. Road tacos are so low-cost, scrumptious, and recent. In the event you’re hesitant about the entire affair, go to a stand that has plenty of patrons (strive La Chiapaneca within the heart of city!). It wouldn’t be tremendous common if it made individuals sick.
There’s additionally a improbable fruteria within the city of Tulum referred to as Huerto del Eden with recent juices, hand-ground espresso, plus cooked to order eggs. All the produce is recent 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 mix of the realm being sacred to the Maya individuals, 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.
In the event you’re interested by this sort of factor, the seaside space of Tulum is the right place to strive one thing new, like a cacao ceremony (this yoga studio hosts them occasionally), beachfront yoga lessons, holistic well being choices 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 could’t miss is Azulik resort. Its whimsical vibe and offbeat sights are sufficient to make your jaw drop as you stroll by way of. The resort itself is kind of expensive to remain in, however you may take pleasure in it from the within if you wish to get a drink on the resort’s bar.
As you stroll by way 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 well-liked spot for photographs as a result of actually, is any journey to Tulum full with out an Insta put up there?
9. Be taught in regards to 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. In the event you’re a historical past and tradition buff, contemplate taking a fast Maya language class to study extra in regards to the distinctive numbering system and Maya glyphs. It is going to actually offer you a glimpse into the previous and a higher understanding of the native individuals.
Throughout Tulum you can even discover Temazcal ceremonies, that are a wealthy cultural expertise involving a educated shaman who guides individuals in a cleaning ceremony.
10. Go for a stroll by way of the Centro
Whereas a lot of the motion in Tulum occurs within the Resort Zone, the Centro can also be filled 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.
On the lookout for the very best cup of espresso on the town? Cara Feliz is an cute bookstore café that has loads of espresso and tea choices for those who 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 all over the place. Renting a motorcycle is inexpensive and a good way to get from place to put for those who’re staying off the overwhelmed path. Whether or not you wish 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 take pleasure in this tropical paradise.
Not into biking? There are additionally loads of locations to lease motorbikes or a automobile round city.
12. Get off the overwhelmed path
Tulum has completely exploded in the previous couple of years, and for good motive; it’s some of the lovely seaside locations on this 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 may 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 may get an incredible view of the sensible inexperienced jungle throughout, and possibly even catch a glimpse of a toucan or maya clock chicken!
13. Take a mural tour
Being such a hub for artists of every kind, Tulum is filled with lovely, colourful murals. Whereas loads are simply noticed from the principle avenue within the Centro, contemplate taking a tour to study extra in regards to 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 seaside and somewhat hut within the jungle. It was good, and allowed me to get the very best of each worlds:
Resort: The TRS Yucatan in Akumal has the dreamiest pool, a stunning white-sand seaside, and the world’s greatest breakfast. I did somewhat 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 constructed from supplies that exist already within the jungle and so they run on solar energy. The homeowners are so beautiful as nicely, and the vibe is simply superb. I stayed for 2 days and thought it was good. (for those who’re new to Airbnb you can get a reduction right here).
In the event you’re an Airbnb fanatic like me, try our checklist of the very best Airbnbs in Tulum!
The best way to get round
It’s potential to take collectivos, taxis, or excursions, however nothing provides you with the flexibleness of renting a automobile and driving your self. We had 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 dust low-cost (simply guarantee that insurance coverage is included in your reserving or they’ll attempt to cost you further for it once you choose up the automobile!), and for those who 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, nicely, I match proper in. That is rather more my pace than the mega resorts of Cancun.
Although I used to be heartbroken to have needed to depart what felt like method too quickly, I used to be happy to seek out that there have been so many issues to do in Tulum. I had no thought earlier than I went what number of superb choices can 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 rather more time in your arms.
In the event you’re visiting Mexico, be sure Tulum is in your checklist.
**COVID-19 Replace: Like a lot of the touristic state of Quintana Roo, a lot of the sights stay open and operating amidst the pandemic. Courses and experiences are nonetheless going down, however with group limits. Ensure that to guide any actions upfront to safe your spot and naturally, be aware of the native inhabitants and take security precautions!