Welcome to Tulum Mexico
Breathe it in… the salty air, the wafting of floral incense, the deep sweetness of tropical flora and fauna…exhale slowly. You have arrived in Tulum.
The magic of Tulum and the reason it has become such an extraordinary destination on the Yucatan Peninsula lies not only in the history of the nearby Mayan ruins of the same name, but in the energetic pull the city and sea have over those who come to visit. Below is our guide to making the best of your visit to Tulum. We hope you enjoy!
1. Explore The Tulum Mayan Ruins
The Tulum Ruins archaeological site is most likely what brought you to the region in the first place, so go see it! The energy of this magical, ancient place is what has been calling tourists here for centuries. The ruins are perched over the sea in a breathtaking locale near Tulum Centro.
Guides are available at the entrance if you are keen to really understand the historical significance of the place, but strolling solo is always a pleasure too.
If you’d like a private tour including guide and transport from your hotel in Tulum or Akumal, this tour is the most highly rated.
For more info on visiting the Tulum Ruins, check out our Tulum Ruins Visitors Guide.
2. Visit A Cenote
Talk about healing properties. The cenote choices in the Tulum area are vast and diverse as there are literally dozens of incredible locations nearby. You can swim, scuba dive, snorkel or just walk through one of these breathtaking and powerful forces of nature.
Check out this very popular cenote day tour that visits four of our favorite cenotes (Gran Cenote, Casa Cenote, Cenote Cristal & Cenote Escondido) for a fun day of swimming and snorkeling. Sidenote: Ignore the first image of scuba divers on the tour listing. There is no scuba diving on this tour, just swimming and snorkeling!
If you want to scuba dive in a cenote, try this beginners diving class that includes a lesson and an introductory cenote dive OR if you are already scuba certified, go for this top rated cenote diving tour in the area. For both tours, all equipment is included.
For more cenote info and great Tulum cenote recommendations, be sure to check out our Ultimate Cenote Guide.
2. Experience The Adventure Parks
About 30-40 minutes north of Tulum are a cluster of world famous adventure parks that are unlike anything you’ve probably experienced before.
The most famous is Xcaret with its meandering canals you can swim through, incredible beach coves, cultural shows, jungle hikes and so much more. They are a little pricey, but the adventure parks are widely considered a must do in the area.
Other very popular parks include Xplor with its caves, ziplines, rafting and ATV’s, Xel-Ha with its waterslides, snorkeling, mangrove tubing and other water activities, Xplor Fuego nighttime torchlight adventure, Xenotes cenote experience, Xoximilco floating fiesta and the oddly popular Xenses optical illusion park.
4. Go To The Beach!
With so many beautiful beaches to choose from it’s a sure bet you can find find a dreamy spot, perfect for a sarong and a picnic basket! Bring your swimsuit as the water can be perfect. Take a fun kitesurfing lesson if you’re bold, Tulum is famous for the sport. Hotels in the Zona Hotelera are on the beach, but if you’re staying in town, the beach is just 10-15 minutes away.
For more Tulum beach info and great beach recommendations, be sure to check out our Tulum Best Beaches Guide.
*Note: Since 2008, Sargassum (seaweed) has regularly arrived on the Caribbean coast of Mexico (Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc.) from April to August. Many resorts and beaches remove the seaweed from the sand daily, but it can pile up by the water’s edge and be stinky in places where it’s not removed. For this reason, we suggest getting a hotel with a nice pool area for swimming or spending some time on the islands of Cozumel or Isla Mujeres which are largely protected from the seaweed.
5. Visit The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of ancient tropical canals, rainforest, 120 km of coastline, an abundance of wildlife, and coral reefs to delight your every adventure whim.
Float the winding river canals, take a boat to see manatees and sea turtles, or simply relax under a forest canopy. It is an unforgettable experience not to be missed!
Check out this highly reviewed tour of the Sian Ka’an biosphere that also includes visiting the nearby Mayan ruins of Muyil.
6. Discover Tulum Pueblo
Tulum town center (aka Tulum Pueblo) has a magic all of its own. We always recommend to new travelers that the most important thing you can do when visiting a new place is to see where the locals live. The art, food and culture will delight you.
From Acai to Zanahorias (carrots) and all the delicious options in between, traditional Yucatan fare abounds here. Exploring the town on foot is nice but bicycles are also a popular way to get around. Bikes are for rent everywhere in town. Enjoy the journey!
Check out this fun Tulum walking food tour that goes off the beaten path to show you the best of local cuisine.
7. Let Yourself Go
Discover something new or dabble in the peculiar. It’s what makes Tulum stand apart from the rest of the Yucatan. Take a cooking class, visit the art zone, explore the immense yoga and meditation class options, try your hand at scuba diving, take a dance class, start a conversation with a stranger…your options are endless here.
Getting out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new possibilities is what makes this beautiful place so intoxicating for so many. Open your mind and your courage to the possibilities. Be happy, be free.
8. Get Wild In The Jungle
The jungles around Tulum make for some incredible adventures! Numerous tours in the area will take you on jungle ATV rides, ziplining, cenote swimming, and more.
These Tulum adventures are different from the fancier adventure parks up north like Xcaret, Xplor, Xel-Ha & Xenotes and are more about getting wild out in nature. Prepare to get a little dirty and don’t forget your swimsuits!
Explore several popular ATV/Zipline jungle tours here.