Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coast of Mexico about 130 km south of Cancun. It has seen big changes over the years going from a sleepy fishing village to a hippie hideaway and now today it’s high on the tourist radar. This is no surprise since there are so many things to do in Tulum and it’s a stunningly beautiful spot.
There are really three distinct parts to Tulum: the town, the ruins, and the beach strip. Downtown Tulum is inland with a main road full of shops and restaurants. The Tulum ruins are the remains of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city overlooking the impossibly crystal-clear Caribbean. The beach strip is where most tourists spend their time enjoying the soft, white sand beaches and a wide variety of beach clubs, restaurants, bars and accommodations.
So Many Things to do in Tulum
With a mix of offerings in and near Tulum, there is something to please everyone. Whether you’re looking for relaxing beach time, a lively party scene, a wellness retreat, cultural sights or immersion in nature you’ll find it all in Tulum.
If you’re planning your first visit to Tulum, Mexico there are some definite must-sees. Even if you’ve been multiple times, there are sure to be some things you haven’t yet done or want to do again. After multiple visits ourselves, we’ve compiled this list of our favorite things to do in
Enjoy the Beaches
Tulum is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. The most famous beach in Tulum is Playa Paraiso (Paradise Beach). Worthy of its name, Paradise Beach, has warm, clear water, soft white sand, and of course a fringe of palm trees. It’s the best place to swim, relax and sunbathe. Walking the long stretch of sand, you’ll find beach clubs, restaurants and bars so there’s never any need to leave the beach.
There are also plenty of accommodation options on Playa Paraiso. Choose from boutique hotels, full-service resorts, glamping sites, or even private Tulum villas on the beach.
For a quieter Tulum beach experience head to Las Palmas. Here you’ll find fewer crowds and beautiful scenery with crystal-clear blue water, flat sand and calm waves. However, plan to bring your own food and drink as there are few amenities here.
As another option, If you’re looking to combine a beach trip with Tulum ruins, you can stop by Playa Ruinas Beach. A mix of nature and ancient culture, you will get an amazing and unique experience.
Visit the Tulum Ruins
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Tulum, you must visit the Tulum Ruins. “Zama” or “the place of sunrise” was an important Mayan city located on the cliff edge. You can walk around the ruins of temples and monuments yourself but to get the full story it’s best to hire a guide.
There are many amazing archeological sites around the Yucatan, but the Tulum ruins are unique. This marvelous archaeological site is where history and nature come together with spectacular Caribbean views and a surrounding of palm trees and cactus flowers. The view at the sunrise is especially unforgettable. A visit to the Tulum ruins has a top spot on any list of things to do in Tulum.
Explore the Cenotes
The Yucatan has hundreds of natural wonders called cenotes. A Cenote is a deep sinkhole that has created an underground cave or an above-ground natural pool filled with water from a massive underground river system.
Many of these magical cenotes in the Mayan Riviera are open to the public to explore. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in a cenote and some are good for snorkeling or even diving. There is a wide variety of these sinkholes including cave, semi cave and above ground. The above-ground cenotes tend to have warmer, shallower water more suitable for young children. However, the underground cave cenotes provide a really unique, though somewhat chilly experience.
There is usually an entrance fee and many have amenities such as change rooms, toilets and life jackets. Some of the more commercial cenote sites will also have small shops or cafes. Some of the top cenotes near Tulum are Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, Car Wash and Cenote Akumal.
Try Delicious Mexican Food
It’s easy to find fresh and flavorful food in Tulum of all varieties but trying some of the local Mexican dishes is a must. What makes the food in Tulum unique is that it’s a wide mix of cultural influences including Yucatecan, Mayan and Spanish. Many dishes will be familiar like tacos, tostadas and enchiladas. However, be sure to try something new to you like chilaquiles, tamales and elote.
Of course, being by the ocean means that fresh seafood is bountiful. Delicious Yucatan style ceviche, grilled fish, octopus and shrimp are just a few incredible dishes that can’t be missed. The best part is you can indulge in a delicious meal with your toes in the sand and an amazing ocean view.
Rent a Bike
Tulum is a great place to explore by bike and there are lots of wide sidewalks and bike lanes to make it easy. If you are staying in downtown Tulum a bike is a perfect way to get to the beaches and ruins. Most of the hotels will offer bike rentals and there are also bike rental businesses around town. Expect to pay about 100 pesos for the day.
Tulum is a perfect destination for a momentous holiday whether you want to go alone, with your friends, your partner or your family. With so many things to do in Tulum, there is everything you want in a vacation. Think stunning nature views, gorgeous beaches, historical sites, magical cenotes, lively nightlife and delicious food. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip now and get ready for one of the best beach vacations you will ever have.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.