Those looking to get away from the everyday should consider going on a beach vacation. There are many beautiful places around the world you never knew existed—but one of them happens to be in Mexico, and that’s Tulum.
It features historic ruins, great food and endless beaches set along the spectacular Caribbean.
With an increasing popularity, Tulum remains quieter than nearby Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The change in pace is what sets it apart and offers travelers an authentic experience that is not as hectic.
The great thing about Tulum, Mexico is that there are plenty of chilled and adventurous things to do there.
Tulum is split between the central area with shops, restaurants and hotels that run along the main road, and a beachfront location approximately five kilometers from town.
The small road running the length of the beach has hotels and restaurants on either side. If you stay near the beach or in the center of town, it is easy to get between these two areas.
If you’re on a budget, try staying in central Tulum and taking advantage of the beach by using the bus. It’s easier to find transportation and cheaper than an air mattress!
When you’re in Tulum, you’ll have time to relax, but you’ll also want to explore a few nearby attractions. Here are some activities that can’t be missed during your time here.
Fun things to do in Tulum, Mexico
Want a relaxing day in the sun? Spending it at one of the Tulum beaches offers luxury experiences.
There are a few dozen beaches to check out in Tulum, but the main strip has tons of options for those looking for an easy day trip. You can find affordable beach clubs with free or low-cost admission that offer an on-site restaurant or bar.
If you’re staying in central Tulum and not on the beachfront, a beach club would be a great addition to your experience. You can enjoy some sun and cocktails without having to leave the hotel grounds!
There are tons of beach clubs in the world and not all of them are created equally. So, do your homework to find one that’s perfect for you.
If you want to share what your business does, try a photo walk along Tulum Beach. You’ll see the different set ups of each club, and you’ll be able to interact with locals.
Personally, I loved Viento De Mar. It was a smaller beach club that had a minimum spend, which helped keep crowds down. From my research, it had one of the better sunbed setup’s and also wasn’t listed on any of the tourist maps given out by hotels in town. This meant people were less likely to go searching for it, which made it seem more exclusive.
If there are two of you, consider bringing a single-bed size packable umbrella in addition to the double-sized one. With this option you’ll be able to duck out of the group and read some books during clogged times.
Explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum, a beautiful coastal town in Mexico that can only be reached by boat or seaplane
Tulum is a former Maya city in southern Mexico that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Visitors come to Tulum to take photographs of themself, by the ruins and even with the Caribbean Sea as a backdrop.
The castle has been standing proudly in the same spot since 1540 and it is easy to see why it is one of the most famous images of Mexico. Its awe-inspiring structure can be seen from thousands of miles away.
Ancient Tulum, located in Mexico, is a well-preserved ancient city. It was built on the coast and served as a port until the middle of the 15th century when it became much smaller. You can explore these ruins to learn about Ancient Mayan culture.
The best way to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum is to arrive before 8am. You’ll be able to explore the ancient city wall and the site without waiting in line with tours groups that tend to flock the ruins by afternoon.
Swim in the Gran Cenote
With Tulum just three kilometers away and Gran Cenote just a few minutes on the road to the Mayan pyramids of Coba and Chichen Itza, it’s one of the most popular swimming spots in Mexico.
Cenotes are often described as natural sinkholes. They were created when limestone collapsed and revealed the underground river systems below. Cenote means sacred well and the Mayans built cities near cenotes as they were reliable sources of water.
There are many cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, but the Gran Cenote is the best for swimming.
The water is so pure and fresh that it’s as clear as glass. You’re likely to run into a few fish and turtles while you are swimming in the cenote.
Your hike through the cave system is an experience you won’t forget. As you walk, you’ll see stalactites, stalagmites, and even more bats. You can also swim and snorkel in the Gran Cenote pool or arrange for scuba diving.
It’s best to get to the cenote for opening time (8am) so you can have the experience of being one of only a few people who are swimming around peacefully in this underwater cave. The more noise there is, the less peaceful it will be.
Ride a bike through the jungle at Coba, the ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico.
The Mayan ruins at Coba, about 40 minutes from Tulum, are set among dense jungle and are different from the other popular sites within this region such as Chichen Itza or Uxmal.
While Coba is a site that has been extensively studied, parts of the site remain to be restored and untouched. This helps to make it feel more wild as well as less crowded than other sites that have already been fully explored.
In the early 1900’s, this site served as a home to around 50,000 families. You can see the remnants of roads, homes and temples in the region today.
Grab a bike from inside the complex and you’ll have the option of exploring more of this bustling town. It’s a lot of fun, you can cover more ground and it also means traveling lightly on your feet. There are some areas with very few people so you might have some solitude to enjoy.
You’ll be able to see plenty of mounds while on the tour that look like pyramids or other structures. However, more often than not, these mounds prove themselves to be nothing but larger plants.
Although it may feel a little disrespectful at first, climbing structures here is a great way to get close to the unknown and look out over the site.
Once you’ve seen the people climbing up the giant pyramid, known as “Nohuch Mul,” at the back of the site, you’ll want to climb up and have a go yourself!
It’s a very steep climb to the top, but you should be more worried about mental preparation than physical conditioning. The actual drop is just a small step from the top – you only need to look a few steps ahead and take a step forward.