Tulum, in the Riviera Maya, is a popular tourist destination thanks to its coastal and jungle ancient sites, beautiful beaches, protected areas, and dreamy cenotes. It’s not a huge town, but it has plenty of things when it comes to attractions and activities that can be found in the town or its surroundings. Therefore, you can explore its many restaurants, shops, and beaches.
Before we start, if you’re visiting from other country make sure to find out about electrical outlets in Mexico. This way you won’t end up on a situation where you have 5% battery left and find out that you can’t charge your device due to plug difference.
The Best Things to Do in Tulum
Visit the Mayan Ruins
The Mayan ruins at Tulum are the most famous attraction in the area, and their “Castillo del Mar” is featured on many Riviera Maya postcards. The archaeological site is larger than it appears, so plan on spending at least a couple of hours there.
Get up early (it opens at 8 a.m.), and you won’t have to deal with any of the crowds brought in by the many tours from all over Riviera Maya.
Explore the National Park
The 1,640 Acres (664 Hectares) that make up Tulum National Park contain the entire coast, both offshore and inland, between the city’s epicenter and the spot Casa Cenote is found.
The park is home to various aesthetically pleasing and biologically significant ecosystems, including beaches, mangroves, cenotes, and tropical woods. If you were searching for Tulum vs Cabo and needed help deciding – Cabo is magnificent too, though Tulum has cheaper options.
The Alborada Maya takes place every March, a celebration celebrating the bounty of God’s provision via various religious, musical, cultural, and sporting events.
In July, Tulum hosts the festival of the Talking Cross, an event that fuses shamanic and Christian rituals. This celebration honors the finding of a mahogany crucifix in a cenote in the town of Chan Santa Cruz in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
This could be a fantastic experience for all those who want to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions.
Taste the Best Local Foods
You can’t leave before trying some of the freshest seafood and mollusks the Caribbean has to offer in Tulum. Besides that, you should also try traditional drinks like balché, hydrating flavored waters like strawberry, hibiscus, tamarind, horchata, or the customary michelada well-cooled.
Tulum’s traditional food includes a variety of sweet treats, including the city’s namesake marquesitas, cocadas, and delicious ice creams.
Take a Tour of the Best Cenotes
Cenotes, which are magnificent aquatic formations formed by the gradual breakdown of the superficial limestone mantle under the influence of water, can be found all around the Tulum municipal area and its surroundings.
The Maya considered cenotes portals to the afterlife, but the thousands of tourists who dive and swim in them yearly attest that these rocky waters are bursting with life.
Some stunningly beautiful cenotes around Tulum are Cristal, Calavera, and Escondido. Also near the municipal capital of Tulum are the Aktun and Casa Cenote cenotes, which are among the most visited for snorkeling in Tulum.
Zip Line through the Trees
There is nothing more liberating than flying through the forest canopy. Fortunately, there are many zip lines not far from town, making this one of the easiest but most adrenaline-pumping things to do in Tulum.
Do you dare to go on a leash and swing through the trees like a modern Tarzan? You may glide over cenotes on some courses and enjoy a dive afterward.
Take Advantage of the Wind on a Sailing Adventure
Enjoy life on the ocean waves as you cruise through beautiful lagoons and across the sea aboard a luxury yacht or catamaran.
Discover what lurks beneath these tropical waters as you enjoy swimming and snorkeling stops. Then, dry off on deck with a great lunch and refreshing drinks. It’s one of the most soothing things to do in Tulum!
Enjoy the Sunsets and Sunrises at the Beaches
You may walk south to Santa Fe beach, preceded by the beach Pescadores and then the beach Paraiso, two of the most popular beaches in the Riviera Maya because of their proximity to Tulum. You can sunbathe or even see some sea turtles while enjoying the stunning sunsets.
There is also the beach Xcacel which is part of a conservation area, so there are rules in place to keep it clean and safe for visitors to enjoy: no smoking or drinking. A haven for the marine and terrestrial creatures that call it home, especially nesting turtles.
Keep in mind that some of the beaches might have limited access due to fees charged by beach clubs. Check our list of Tulum’s public beaches for beaches with unrestricted access.
Explore the Coba Ruins
Coba is a highly recommended day trip for those visiting the Riviera Maya, as it is one of the most impressive Mayan areas in the region. Best of all, you can hire bicycles and bike all around it.
Coba was created centuries before the present, but its golden age was between 8000 and 1050 A.D. The city still has many mysteries that give it its character.
Paddle Sian Ka’an by Kayak
Explore this biologically rich World Heritage site from the comfort of your kayak. You can paddle silently and discover old trading routes using the mangroves’ cover and the lagoon’s relative silence.
Keep your camera ready since the Sian Ka’an reserve is home to a wide variety of animals, from iguanas and ospreys to crocodiles and sea turtles.
Discover a Secret Oasis in the Bacalar Lagoon
To believe the vivid hues, you must see this freshwater lagoon in the interior. The silky white sand will charm your toes, while your eyes will be drawn to the dazzling blues and greens that compete for your attention in the swaying sunlight.
The Bottom Line
You can maximize your time at one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations by planning with the help of this guide. November through May have milder temperatures and lower rainfall rates, making them the optimum time to visit Tulum.
The fact that Tulum still possesses the allure of its hippy era while still benefiting from the conveniences provided by huge hotel chains has contributed to the city’s status as one of the most wanted vacation spots in the world.
Next important things to know when visiting Tulum: exchanging your local currencies to peso. While some clubs and other establishments accept credit cards, many vendors on your destinations won’t. Here’s where you can get good rate: best places for currency exchange in Tulum.