Tourist riding a bicycle in Tulum hotel area.

Explore Tulum: Discover The Best Things To Do and Places To Visit

Imagine yourself basking in the sun on pristine white sand beaches, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, and diving into crystal-clear cenotes. Welcome to Tulum, Mexico, an enchanting destination that offers a perfect blend of history, nature, and culture.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover Tulum’s magical Mayan history and culture, stunning beaches, and vibrant local atmosphere.
  • Explore ancient ruins, cenotes, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve & more!
  • Enjoy delicious cuisine & find the perfect accommodation for an unforgettable experience.

Unveiling Tulum’s Magic

Tulum, located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is renowned for its awe-inspiring ancient Mayan ruins, stunning pristine beaches, and vibrant local culture. Nestled between the lush jungles and the sparkling cerulean waters of the Caribbean Sea, this small town offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking adventure and relaxation.

From exploring majestic Mayan ruins to luxuriating on the beach, there’s something for everyone in this tropical paradise. Tulum attracts all types of travelers, including luxury travelers and budget-conscious visitors. Also, the town has a cheerful and creative vibe, with interesting shops and delicious local food, all located along the beautiful Caribbean coast.

Whether you’re here to soak up the sun, delve into ancient history, or simply unwind in a serene setting, Tulum promises a memorable experience that will leave you wanting more.

Tulum’s Rich History

Tulum Archaeological site, surrounded by ancient temples from the Mayan civilization.

Tulum holds a special place in Mayan history as the final great city constructed and inhabited by the Mayan people during the 13th and 15th centuries. The city’s strategic location along the Caribbean Sea made it an important port for trade, while the Great Wall surrounding the city protected it from potential threats, such as rival traders.

The main attraction in this area is undoubtedly its incredible ancient Mayan ruins. As you explore these well-preserved archaeological sites, you’ll gain a more in-depth understanding of the Mayan civilization and its rich history. The ruins serve as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of this ancient culture, leaving visitors awed by the past.

The Alluring Beaches of Tulum

View of Tulum Beach Club with white sand and beautiful clear water ocean.

Tulum’s captivating beaches boast beautiful white sand and sparkling crystal-clear waters, making them a haven for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike. With a wide range of exciting activities available, such as swimming, kite surfing, and picnicking, you’ll never run out of things to do on Tulum’s stunning shores. Additionally, the presence of beach clubs adds to the vibrant atmosphere of this coastal paradise.

One of the most popular beach spots in Tulum is Playa Paraiso, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The best time to visit this beautiful beach is early in the day, allowing you to take advantage of the glorious sunshine. Here, the temperature is perfect for swimming in the crystal-clear waters and sunbathing on the powder white sand, while taking in breathtaking views. For those wanting to get their adrenaline pumping, Playa Paraiso also offers great opportunities for kite surfing and other water sports.

Another great destination nearby is Laguna Kaan Luum, a wondrous lagoon with a captivating cenote and stunning turquoise green water. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, this natural wonder offers a unique and refreshing experience for visitors. Don’t forget to bring your own food and drink to make the most of your time at Laguna de Kaan Luum.

Exploring the Ancient Mayan Ruins

Exploring the Tulum Mayan Ruins, one of the best things to do in Tulum this 2023.

A trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Tulum ruins, an archaeological site that offers a fascinating glimpse into the Mayan civilization and its intriguing history. Conveniently located near Tulum Centro, the Tulum Arqueological Site provides a unique opportunity to explore the ancient world and marvel at the incredible structures that have withstood the test of time, including the famous Mayan ruins.

One of the most remarkable structures within the ruins is the God of Winds Temple, a beautiful structure located in Tulum’s Archaeological Zone. As you explore this awe-inspiring site, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship of the Mayan people. Whether you choose to join a group day trip or embark on a Tulum Private Tour, visiting this archeological site is an experience that should not be missed.

Dive into Cenotes

Underground Cenote with crystal clear water and surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites.

Cenotes are beautiful natural sinkholes that offer a unique and exclusive experience in the Yucatan Peninsula. These underwater wonders are perfect for:

  • Swimming
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Walking through

Allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the captivating beauty of these geological formations, which are as inviting as swimming pools.

Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, and Laguna Kaan Luum are some of the most impressive cenotes in this area. They are a must-see for all visitors! Whether you’re seeking a thrilling adventure or a serene escape, Tulum’s cenotes offer an unforgettable experience for all.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Adventure

A young couple exploring Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, teems with vibrant wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes, making it a perfect place for an adventure. This incredible reserve offers a wide range of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. These include exploring winding river canals, taking a boat ride to observe manatees and sea turtles, or simply relaxing and taking in the beauty of the forest canopy.

Exploring the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve lets you experience nature’s magnificence firsthand. Whether you’re an avid wildlife enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve promises an adventure that will leave a lasting impression.

Navigating Tulum Town Center and Hotel Zone

Tulum Hotel Area surrounded by eco-friendly boutique hotels.

The vibrant and lively areas of Tulum Town Center offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in local art, food, and culture. The best way to explore downtown is either on foot or by bicycle, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere and discover hidden gems at your own pace.

As you navigate the lively streets of Tulum Town and Pueblo, you’ll come across a delightful variety of traditional Yucatan fare and other mouth-watering options. For a truly immersive experience, consider joining a walking food tour that showcases the best of local cuisine.

Tulum Hotel Zone is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring. Here, visitors can enjoy plenty of luxurious amenities such as spas, beachside bars and restaurants, shopping areas, and more. For those looking for an extra special experience, consider booking one of the many boutique hotels located in the area or renting a private villa for a secluded getaway.

With its charming streets, friendly locals, and diverse culinary scene, Whether it’s Tulum “Pueblo” or the Hotel area, they are both guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on your heart.

Shopping in Tulum Pueblo

Tulum’s shopping scene is characterized by its charming boutiques, many of which are located in Hunab Lifestyle Center, next to Aldea Zama neighborhood. Here, you’ll find various shops selling everything from handmade jewelry and clothing to home decor and beauty products.

For those interested in local crafts and souvenirs, the Tulum Art Club is a must-visit. This creative space offers various handcrafted items made by local artisans, including pottery, textiles, and paintings.

If you’re looking for high-end fashion, you won’t want to miss the boutiques along the beach road. Here, you’ll find various upscale shops selling designer clothing, swimwear, and accessories.

Accommodation Options in Tulum

Hotel private balcony with seats and jacuzzi in the middle of the jungle.

From luxurious all-inclusive resorts to stylish boutique hotels, Tulum presents an outstanding range of accommodation options. Whether you’re seeking a lavish retreat or a charming hideaway, you’ll find the perfect place to stay in this enchanting destination.

Some of the most popular hotels and resorts in Tulum’s hotel zone include the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort, offering 735 luxurious rooms and suites, and an array of exquisite eateries. For those seeking a more intimate experience, consider staying at Nômade, a hotel situated on the peaceful southern end of the beach road, perfect for nature lovers and wellness-focused guests.

For a comprehensive list of the best accommodations, the Tulum Hotel Guide offers top hotel recommendations for every budget.

Savoring Tulum’s Culinary Delights

A plate of fresh ceviche, guacamole, and drinks with an ocean view.

Tulum’s culinary scene invites indulgence, offering traditional Mexican flavors, international cuisine, and vegan-friendly options. From casual street food to gourmet dining experiences, Tulum Pueblo has something to satisfy every palate.

Some popular restaurants and eateries in Tulum include El Oasis, a beloved local restaurant in Tulum Pueblo, known for its generous portions of ceviches, grilled octopus, and fish tacos. Moreover, Kitchen Table is an excellent restaurant located in the Tulum Hotel Area (Zona Hotelera). It offers delightful Mexican flavors, farm-to-table ingredients, and a commitment to sustainability. This experience guarantees satisfaction as they serve modern interpretations of traditional recipes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

With such a vibrant culinary scene, your taste buds are in for a treat during your adventure.

Transportation Tips for Tulum

White Volkswagen Tiguan driving through the Tulum Highway.

The variety of transportation options available make getting around Tulum both easy and convenient, including:

  • Taxis: Taxis can be easily hailed from the street or at two conveniently located taxi stands in the town center.
  • Private Transportation: Book a private vehicle for stylish travel in Tulum. If you need a private transfer to anywhere in the Riviera Maya or Cancun Airport, take a look at our Cancun to Tulum Private Transfer.
  • Buses: Buses are a cost-effective option for traveling within Tulum and to nearby areas.
  • Rental cars: For those looking to explore the area further, renting a car is a great option, with rental services available in Tulum town or at the Cancun airport.
  • Bicycles: Tulum is a bike-friendly town, and renting a bicycle is a popular way to get around and explore the area.

When traveling between Tulum and nearby destinations, such as Cancun or Playa del Carmen, buses offer an economical and comfortable option. Alternatively, taxis can be used for a quicker and more direct journey, with rates ranging from $50 (Playa del Carmen) to $100 (Cancun) dollars. Regardless of your preferred mode of transportation, navigating Tulum and its surroundings is a breeze.

Best Time to Visit Tulum

Young women enjoying a meal at a restaurant in Tulum.

Weather conditions, peak tourist seasons, and local events are some factors that determine the ideal time to visit Tulum. With an average temperature of 83° F, this Caribbean spot offers comfortable weather for most travelers. Winter is considered the best time to visit Tulum, as it offers pleasant temperatures and a lower chance of rain.

However, visiting Tulum from May to October can offer its own unique experiences, with fewer tourists and more attractive rates at hotels, resorts, and tour companies. Although Tulum experiences a peak in hurricane season during September and October, travelers can stay informed about forecasts and get travel insurance to be prepared.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Tulum depends on your preferences and priorities, ensuring a memorable experience, regardless of when you choose to visit.

Tulum Safety and Travel Tips

View of Tulum Beach during the day.

Though Tulum is deemed a safe town for visitors in Mexico, maintaining vigilance and adhering to practical safety tips can help ensure a worry-free vacation. Be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and avoid displaying valuable items that may attract unwanted attention.

When exploring Tulum, it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. For example, when walking on the sidewalk, walk to the right and step off to the side if you need to check your phone or take a moment to admire the scenery.

By following these simple safety tips and travel advice, you can enjoy a stress-free and enjoyable vacation in Tulum, starting from your arrival at Cancun International Airport.

Packing Essentials for Your Tulum Adventure

Luggage, bedding, and a computer. Luggage for a vacation in Tulum.

A comprehensive packing list for a trip to Tulum should include:

  • Comfortable clothing suitable for the warm weather
  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses

Make sure to pack these essential items to ensure a memorable vacation in Tulum.

Additionally, don’t forget to pack any necessary travel documents, such as your passport and Mexican Tourist Permit, which will be issued upon arrival. By ensuring you have all the essentials packed and ready for your Tulum adventure, you can focus on enjoying the incredible experiences this enchanting destination has to offer.


From exploring ancient Mayan ruins and diving into crystal-clear cenotes to lounging on pristine beaches and indulging in Tulum’s vibrant culinary scene, there’s truly something for everyone in this enchanting Mexican paradise. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Tulum promises a memorable experience that will leave you longing to return. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Tulum adventure today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Tulum so famous?

Tulum is renowned for its awe-inspiring Mayan ruins situated on a cliff, offering a unique view of the beach and the opportunity to explore ancient history first-hand. The area also offers visitors access to breathtaking beaches and other attractions related to the Mayan culture.

Which airport to fly to Tulum?

When planning your trip to Tulum, the nearest and most accessible airport is Cancun International Airport (CUN). Located approximately 118 kilometers north of Tulum, it is the second-busiest airport in Mexico and serves various international and domestic flights daily. Airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, and Aeromexico frequently operate flights to Cancun from major cities around the world.

Which is better, Tulum or Cancun?

If you’re looking for a lively, tourist-friendly destination, Cancun is the place to be. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a more tranquil, cultural experience, then Tulum with its pre-Columbian Mayan ruins and stunning Caribbean Sea views is sure to be a great choice.

Which currency should I bring to Tulum, US dollars or Mexican pesos??

Both US dollars and Mexican pesos accepted in Tulum. Carry both currencies for best convenience. Check exchange rates for maximum value.

What are some must-visit attractions in Tulum?

Experience the ancient wonders of the Mayan ruins, bask in the beauty of the stunning beaches, and explore the captivating cenotes-these are just some must-see attractions in Tulum.

Are there any vegan-friendly restaurants in Tulum

Yes, Tulum has a great selection of vegan-friendly restaurants, including Arca and Ziggy’s.

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