Tulum is the emerging town of the Riviera Maya, located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Home to treasures in the heart of lush jungle, the small town of Tulum has enchanted me with its incredible natural sites and paradisiacal white sandy beaches, as well as its characteristic laid-back bohemian lifestyle.
In the evening, the paradisiacal beaches give way to a rich and vibrant nightlife amidst the surrounding jungle.
The rich history of Tulum remains visibly present through the archaeological site of Tulum, bearing witness to the significance of the city for the Mayan civilization.
Tulum has even more treasures to unveil during your stay on the Riviera Maya. In this ultimate guide, I present my favorite activities to do if you happen to be in the charming town of Tulum.
You will also find all my recommendations for restaurants to try, hotels, and the best places to have an excellent evening!
Top 22 Activities to Do in Tulum
1. Tulum Archaeological Site
The Tulum Archaeological Site is a must-visit during your time in Tulum. Bearing witness to the past history of the Mayan civilization, it is situated in a spectacular setting.
Indeed, the ruins of Tulum are perched on cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea, providing a breathtaking view of the surroundings.
Dating back to 564 as a fishing port, according to early records, most of the visible ruins on the Tulum site today were constructed from 1200 onwards.
At that time, the city of Tulum was an economic and religious center located at the crossroads of trade and maritime routes.
The decline of the Mayan city of Tulum occurred in the 15th century when the population gradually abandoned it.
Many temples and buildings make up the Tulum site, with the main one being El Castillo, the tallest building situated facing the Caribbean Sea.
Numerous ancient structures associated with administrative and religious functions are still present. However, the residential parts located outside the walls have disappeared over time.
Price: 90 pesos MXN + 68 pesos National Park
Opening Hours: Every day from 8 am to 5 pm. Last entry at 3:30 pm
👉 Visit in the morning
I recommend going there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the intense heat. There is little shade on the Tulum ruins site.
How to get to the Tulum Ruins?
🚗 By car: You can reach the Tulum Ruins from the city center by taking the road towards Playa del Carmen. After less than 5 minutes of driving, you will see the parking lots for the archaeological site.
🚌 By public transportation: Take a colectivo heading towards Playa del Carmen and get off after a few minutes at the Tulum Ruins.
🚀 By excursion: If you prefer a guided tour of the archaeological site, feel free to book a full-day excursion that includes the visit to the Tulum Ruins, the exploration of a cenote, and swimming with turtles!
2. Exploring the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Now, I present to you my favorite experience during my trip to Tulum: the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
The Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve is located at the end of Tulum’s hotel zone. This biosphere is home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, with over 300 bird species and a variety of other animals.
🚐 Excursion to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
To explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, I opted for an excursion from Tulum, which included a boat tour on the lagoon to observe the diverse wildlife.
After a bumpy ride on a rugged trail, where we could spot crocodiles from the bridge overlooking the lagoon, we boarded a small boat.
The boat tour was magical for nature lovers! I saw dolphins, sea turtles, and hundreds of birds. Once we reached the coral reef, I participated in a snorkeling session to see colorful fish and even a small shark!
The crystal-clear water of the lagoon allowed us to spend a dreamy moment in the natural pools of Sian Ka’an. The setting was paradise with turquoise water, white sandy beaches, and coconut trees!
Finally, we enjoyed a typical Mexican lunch in a restaurant in the small fishing village of Punta Allen.
Our guide, who accompanied us throughout the day, explained the importance of protecting this natural environment and the diverse wildlife it shelters.
Spending a day at Sian Ka’an is a magical and unforgettable experience that I highly recommend if you have the chance to visit Tulum!
How to get to the Sian Ka’an lagoon from Tulum?
🚗 By car: There is a roughly 40 km bumpy trail that takes you to the small fishing village of Punta Allen. Inquire with your rental agency to see if they allow you to drive there, as many refuse due to the poor condition of the trail.
🚀 Excursion: I recommend this excursion from Tulum that include transportation from your hotel, a boat tour to observe wildlife, snorkeling on the reef, relaxation in natural pools, and a meal in a local restaurant.
3. Take a plunge into an open cenote in Tulum
Tulum is surrounded by numerous spectacular cenotes. Cenotes are natural water bodies, either open-air or within underground caves.
Fed by underground rivers, open-air cenotes are hidden gems in the heart of the jungle. These natural pools serve as ideal water oases for a refreshing break during your day.
In addition to being able to observe numerous fish during a snorkeling session, you will also discover various animals coming to hydrate around the cenotes.
Many cenotes also provide a jumping platform for you to make your most splendid dives.
💡 Visiting the cenotes in Tulum is a magical experience not to be missed!
Cenote Azul is one of the most famous cenotes on the Riviera Maya, thanks to its idyllic setting and completely transparent water.
Ideal for exploring an open-air cenote, Cenote Azul is also home to numerous fish to observe during a snorkeling session.
🐟 Natural Pedicure
There are even small fish that come to nibble on the dead skin of your feet for a natural pedicure!
A few turtles are also present, along with other animals enjoying the ambient coolness.
- Price: 150 pesos MXN
- Hours: Every day from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Casa Cenote is a elongated cenote, more akin to a small river. Perfect for snorkeling, you’ll encounter numerous fish in its waters.
You can either swim upstream along the little river or rent a kayak.
🐊 A crocodile at the cenote!
Occasionally, the cenote’s mascot, Panchito, a crocodile, is present at the end of the cenote! But don’t worry, he’s completely harmless.
Cenote La Calavera
This cenote is very popular for its photo opportunities, including descending its wooden ladder and swinging over the water.
- Price: 250 pesos MXN
- Opening hours: Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
The Zacil-Ha cenote is a magnificent natural pool with crystal-clear water, reaching a depth of 2 to 3 meters.
It is also connected to the neighboring cenotes Carwash and La Calavera through an underground river!
You can easily access the cenote via a wooden ladder or, for the more adventurous (additional fee), through a zip line.
- Price: 300 pesos MXN
- Opening hours: Every day from 10 am to 5:30 pm
4. Explore the underground cenotes around Tulum
More spectacular than the open cenotes, Tulum is surrounded by numerous underground cenotes.
These places with water inside caves are impressive and mysterious due to the thousands of stalactites and stalagmites present on the cenote’s walls.
☀️ Magical light!
Some cenotes are also semi-open, with a part exposed to the open air and a part underground. The sunlight filtering into the cenote and onto the water creates a magical atmosphere!
The underground cenotes are my favorites due to their spectacular geological formations. Here are my top picks easily accessible from Tulum.
Cenote Dos Ojos
The Dos Ojos cenote is a semi-open cenote, combining an underground section with an open-air area.
The name Dos Ojos, or “Two Eyes” in English, comes from the fact that it consists of two different cenotes connected by an underground river.
Dos Ojos is a paradise for divers as there are several scuba diving routes in this cenote to explore impressive geological formations.
If you’re not a diver, a portion of the underground area is also accessible for snorkeling!
- Price: 400 pesos MXN
- Hours: Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
Cenote Taak Bi Ha
My favorite underground cenote in Tulum is Cenote Taak Bi Ha. It is located near the Dos Ojos Park.
To access the underground cave, you’ll need to descend a small staircase and enter a cavern. A spectacular cenote then unfolds amidst thousands of stalactites and stalagmites.
💍 Mayan Wedding
In this cenote, it’s even possible to organize a wedding ceremony following Mayan rites!
- Price: 350 pesos MXN
- Hours: Every day from 9 am to 4:30 pm
5. Exploring an Underground River
Exploring an underground river is a magical experience in my eyes.
The network of underground rivers beneath the Yucatan Peninsula is extensive, and some sections open to the public allow you to embark on an adventure to explore these hidden treasures!
The Rio Secreto cave is a unique adventure to have during your stay in Tulum.
Accompanied by a guide, you’ll learn about the history of these geological formations and the Mayan legends related to the underworld.
Then, you’ll wander through the heart of the underground river, surrounded by thousands of stalactites and stalagmites, for a breathtaking spectacle!
👉 Rio Secreto Excursion
How to get to Rio Secreto from Tulum?
🚗 By car: It will take you about 45 minutes by car to reach Rio Secreto from Tulum, heading towards Playa del Carmen.
🚌 By public transport: Take a colectivo heading to Playa del Carmen. After a 45-minute drive, the driver will stop you on the main road at the entrance to the Rio Secreto park.
🚀 On an excursion: Round-trip transportation from your hotel is also available as an option.
6. Relaxing on the beaches of Tulum
I love the paradisiacal beaches of Tulum, covered in white sand and dotted with coconut trees.
A large stretch of sand with four beaches is located between the Tulum ruins and the beginning of the hotel zone.
Others, located a few minutes away by car or public transport, will allow you to enjoy the beach with more tranquility.
Bring your towel for a leisurely afternoon in the sun!
Here are my favorite beaches in Tulum.
Playa Paraiso in Tulum is the most famous beach in the stretch of white sand located to the north of the hotel zone.
The color of the water, ranging from turquoise to deep blue, provides a spectacular gradient of colors.
📷 Photo Tip!
On this beach, you’ll find the famous leaning palm tree, the symbol of Tulum’s beaches. Take out your camera for a souvenir of your time on Playa Paraiso!
Playa Las Palmas
Playa Las Palmas is the southernmost beach in the public beach area of Tulum. Being the farthest from the ruins, it is also the least crowded.
I appreciate this beach because it is quieter than the neighboring beaches but with the same idyllic setting.
The beach of Playa Xcacel is quite far from the center of Tulum, providing protection from the city’s tourist activity.
🐢 Turtle Protection
It is a turtle sanctuary, where every night from March to September, turtles come to lay their eggs.
The beach is protected, and there is an entrance fee, supporting the turtle protection center.
On calm days, don’t hesitate to bring your snorkeling gear to observe the numerous fish off the beach!
7. Sip a cocktail or a smoothie at a beach club
Tulum’s beaches are lined with numerous beach clubs and restaurants. Some are very unique, and you can sip on a refreshing cocktail in a chic and relaxed atmosphere.
Here are my top beach club recommendations for enjoying a drink on the beach in Tulum.
La Diosa Tulum: La Diosa is a restaurant and beach club located on Playa Pescadores. Here, you can enjoy local dishes and cocktails right by the sea in a paradisiacal setting. The beach club is constructed entirely of wood with original furnishings.
Cinco Tulum: Cinco Tulum is a complex with a beach club on Playa Paraiso, along with a restaurant and glamping hotel. The beach club offers service on loungers for you to enjoy your day on the beach.
Matcha Mama Ikal: Located at Playa Pescadores, this small beach club offers excellent smoothies and fruit bowls. Ideal for breakfast or working on the beach!
8. Snorkeling in the Sea
You can take about an hour-long boat tour from the beaches of Tulum for a snorkeling activity on the reef.
The boat will first take you to see the Tulum ruins from the sea, providing a unique perspective, before reaching the reef. There, you can dive alongside turtles and many fish!
If you’re interested in the experience, head to Playa Paraiso or Playa Pescadores. You’ll find numerous agencies offering this service.
🐠 Boat tour with snorkeling
Negotiate the prices; it will cost you around 250 pesos MXN.
9. Renting a Bike
During my visit to Tulum, I was able to rent a bike in the city center to travel to the hotel zone and explore the many works of art along the road.
If you are staying in the city center, renting a bike in Tulum will allow you to move from the city center to the hotel zone along the beach via a bike path.
Indeed, these two areas of the city are too far apart to consider walking between them.
With your bike, you can easily reach the beaches of Tulum or even the archaeological site. A 15 to 20-minute ride from the city center is needed to access the beach area and the Tulum ruins.
Renting a bike in Tulum is an excellent way to explore the hotel zone, adorned with works of art.
Whether you’re staying in the hotel zone or the city center, renting a bike in Tulum will also allow you to reach some cenotes located about a fifteen-minute bike ride from the center, which are challenging to access by public transportation.
🚲 Bike rental prices in Tulum
Some hotels provide or rent bikes to their guests. Otherwise, be aware that the average price for renting a bike in Tulum for 24 hours is around 200 to 250 pesos MXN per bike.
10. Explore the hotel zone along Tulum’s beach
The hotel zone of Tulum is lined with luxurious and uniquely designed hotels, creating an eco-chic and bohemian atmosphere unique to this special place.
Numerous shops featuring bohemian-chic art, objects, and clothing also dot the hotel zone.
However, the major highlight of this road, stretching to the entrance of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is the abundance of art installations.
You’ll come across them at the turn of shops, on facades, or along the roadside.
I loved exploring the hotel zone by bike – it’s an excellent way to discover it and be captivated by all its statues and sculptures.
🎨 “Ven a la Luz” Statue
I recommend stopping at the famous “Ven a la luz” sculpture to take a photo with this iconic artwork in Tulum. The entrance fee for the statue is 60 pesos MXN.
However, be aware that there may be a significant wait time!
11. Playa Xpu Há
Playa Xpu Há is a white sandy beach with completely transparent water near Tulum. The coconut trees lining the beach will give you a paradise-like feeling.
For snorkeling enthusiasts, the second-largest coral reef in the world is just a few meters from the beach!
🐟 Snorkeling on the Coral Reef
I recommend bringing your mask and snorkel and swimming about twenty meters to the coral reef to observe tropical fish amid the corals.
The beach is large, so if you want more tranquility, feel free to walk a few minutes north of the beach. You’ll be quieter than near the beach restaurant.
Note that entry to Playa Xpu Ha is subject to a fee.
- Prices in 2023:
- 50 pesos MXN for beach access only
- 200 pesos MXN if you want to sit at a restaurant table. The 200 pesos are consumable on food and drinks.
- 500 pesos MXN if you want a beach club Serenity sunbed. The 500 pesos are also consumable.
How to get to Xpu Ha from Tulum?
🚗 By car: The beach is easily accessible from Tulum. It is located about thirty minutes by car from downtown. The last meters are on a dirt road.
🚌 By public transport: Take a colectivo in downtown Tulum and ask the driver to drop you off at Playa Xpu Ha. You will also be there in 30 minutes. Then walk 5 minutes to the beach on a trail.
12. Explore the Coba Ruins
The Coba ruins house the most significant archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula, including the tallest Mayan pyramid. At its peak, Coba had a population of 50,000 people.
Coba was a stronghold of the Maya civilization between 200 and 600 AD. From the 7th century, the rise of Chichen Itza began to overshadow Coba, gradually diminishing its influence.
Nevertheless, until 1500, Coba’s impact remained substantial in the Yucatan region.
Unlike the nearby Tulum ruins, this site is nestled in the heart of the jungle, making it a pleasant visit in the intense heat, shaded by tall trees.
🚲 Explore on Foot or by Bike
The temples and buildings spread across several hectares can be explored on foot or by bike. I recommend the latter option if you want to make the most of your visit.
The circuit is about 3 miles, taking approximately 2 hours on foot or 45 minutes by bike.
The two impressive pyramids of the Coba archaeological site coexist with temples, structures facilitating movement between cities, two ball courts, and residential buildings.
In the heart of the jungle, you’ll observe numerous animals in the trees. It’s not uncommon to spot colorful birds, squirrels, and sometimes even be surprised by spider monkeys leaping from tree to tree!
- Prices in 2023: 190 pesos MXN
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8 am to 4 pm
How to get to the Coba Ruins from Tulum?
🚗 By car: The Coba archaeological site is about a 40-minute drive from Tulum.
🚌 By public transport: Colectivos that connect Tulum to Valladolid pass through the town of Coba. Ask the driver to drop you off there.
🚀 On a guided tour: You can book an excursion from Tulum to visit the Coba ruins, a cenote, and the Punta Laguna reserve with a French-speaking guide.
13. Having Fun at Xel-Há Park
The Xel-Há water park is located in a natural cove in the heart of the mangrove, where you can snorkel to observe a diverse marine life.
You’ll encounter hundreds of tropical fish, manta rays, turtles, barracudas, and more. I love the variety of colorful fish and animals present in the park’s cove.
Various activities are also offered for a day of adventure at Xel-Há. In addition to unlimited snorkeling, you have access to diving platforms, activities on ropes, and more.
A tower several meters high, from the top of which you have a breathtaking view of the park and the surroundings, allows you to take a waterslide to descend.
The lush vegetation surrounding the park harbors a diverse range of fauna and flora.
You’ll discover them in the Chacahs park, which houses many local trees, as well as the melipona bees that produce the famous Mayan honey.
Unlimited meals and drinks (including alcohol) are included in the entrance ticket. You’ll enjoy dishes and drinks typical of the region when visiting one of the 4 restaurants in the park.
👉 Online Tickets
How to get to the lagoon at Xel-Há from Tulum?
🚗 By car: Xel-Há Park is located 20 minutes north of Tulum, heading towards Playa del Carmen.
🚌 By public transport: Take a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen and ask the driver to stop at the park. You will reach there in 20 minutes.
14. Relaxing at Kaan Luum Lagoon
Kaan Luum Lagoon is a hidden gem just a few minutes from Tulum. This large expanse of crystal-clear water is sure to captivate you for a relaxing moment!
Shallow in the first meters, you’ll love lounging in the warm and turquoise water.
Swings and hammocks are at your disposal for a delightful visit to Kaan Luum Lagoon.
Two cenotes, several tens of meters deep, are present in the middle of the lagoon. The color gradient due to the difference in depth is beautiful to observe.
A wooden tower provides a panoramic view of the lagoon and the surrounding jungle.
If you wish to stay for the day, feel free to bring your own meal and enjoy the loungers provided.
The natural beauty of the place will charm you with its surprising colors. Still preserved from mass tourism, don’t hesitate to visit Kaan Luum Lagoon.
- Price in 2023: 300 pesos MXN
- Opening hours: Every day from 9 am to 4 pm
How to get to Kaan Luum Lagoon from Tulum?
🚗 By car: The lagoon is located 15 minutes south of Tulum.
🚴 By bike: To reach the lagoon by bike from downtown Tulum, it takes about 35 minutes.
🚌 By public transport: In Tulum, take a colectivo heading to Felipe Carrillo Puerto. After a 15-minute drive, the driver will drop you off on the main road near the lagoon. You will then have about ten minutes to walk to the entrance of the lagoon.
🚕 By taxi: You can take a taxi in Tulum and go to the lagoon.
🚀 On an excursion: You can book an excursion to visit Kaan Luum Lagoon and a cenote, with a guide and transportation included from your hotel.
15. Doing Yoga in Tulum
The bohemian-chic atmosphere of Tulum is highly inspiring for many travelers seeking a spiritual retreat.
That’s why numerous yoga sessions are available in Tulum, either in studios or directly on the beach.
Many hotels in Tulum also offer yoga classes.
Here are some recommendations if you’re looking for good yoga spots in Tulum.
Holistika is a complex offering a luxury hotel, a restaurant, and providing retreats, ceremonies, and, of course, yoga classes.
All styles of yoga are offered here, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, and acro yoga.
Yoga classes are available every day, and the schedule is accessible on their website.
🍽️ Vegan Restaurant
After your yoga session, you can enjoy a delicious meal at Holistika’s vegan restaurant located right next door.
Yäan Wellness Sanctuary
This yoga studio offers classes outdoors on a platform above the jungle canopy.
Two classes are offered every day at 8:30 AM and 10 AM for a duration of 60 minutes. The price is $25 USD per class.
Every Thursday at 5 PM, a breathwork class is offered, and every Friday at 5 PM, you can participate in a sound journey.
This center also hosts traditional Mayan spiritual ceremonies, including temazcales.
16. Kitesurfing in Tulum
If you want to try kitesurfing, Tulum is the ideal place! Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, you can practice this sport on the beaches of Tulum.
Visit the Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf school, which offers private lessons for all levels.
You will learn the entire process to ride the board and be pulled by your kite!
⛵ All Water Sports!
This school also provides lessons in surfing, foilboarding, and paddleboarding tours.
17. Have a Drink at the Top of Tulum Tower
The Tulum Tower hosts the only aerobar in Mexico.
It’s a platform with 16 seats that gradually rises and rotates up to 35 meters high with a bar in the center.
From the top of the tower, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the Tulum ruins, the Caribbean Sea, and the surrounding jungle.
At the bar, you can sip on a cocktail or enjoy a typical Mexican dish. There’s even karaoke if you fancy yourself a singer!
During this time, the platform rotates to admire the surroundings. You’ll also learn more about the region’s history.
👉 Online Tickets
- Price: 985 pesos MXN
- Hours: Every day from 12 pm to 7 pm
18. Explore Punta Laguna
If you love adventure, I present to you my favorite spot around Tulum.
Punta Laguna is an exceptional nature reserve home to various animal species. Managed by a Mayan community, the reserve offers an authentic experience away from mass tourism.
During a jungle walk, you’ll observe two monkey species. You’ll likely see spider monkeys jumping from tree to tree with their long arms.
As for howler monkeys, you might hear their impressive calls up to 5 kilometers away from the reserve!
You’ll be accompanied by a local guide who will share insights into these monkeys, as well as the flora and fauna of the reserve.
🛶 Adrenaline and Adventure!
During your stroll in the jungle, you’ll zip line over the reserve’s lagoon for a panoramic view, then cross it in a canoe for a magical experience!
Finally, a shaman will lead you through an emotional Mayan ceremony to conclude this visit combining adventure, nature, and culture.
Visiting Punta Laguna is ideal to combine with a trip to the nearby Coba ruins.
How to Get to Punta Laguna from Tulum?
🚗 By Car: Punta Laguna is located 20 minutes from the Coba ruins by car. From Tulum, it takes approximately 55 minutes.
🚀 On Excursion: A common excursion includes visiting the Coba ruins, exploring Punta Laguna, and discovering a cenote.
🚌 By Public Transportation: Unfortunately, there is no public transportation directly to Punta Laguna.
19. Swim with Turtles in Akumal
The bay of Akumal is home to numerous sea turtles that you can observe during a snorkeling session.
Guided by an expert to ensure the animals’ protection, you’ll swim alongside these incredible marine creatures for an unforgettable experience.
🐢 Turtle Conservation
The Akumal Ecological Center ensures the preservation of turtles throughout the bay and protects the numerous turtle nests on the beaches.
You’ll also visit the coral reef to observe the various tropical fish and rays it shelters.
Akumal Beach is a white sandy beach where you can spend the day on your towel or a beach chair under the coconut trees, all in a paradise-like setting.
- 120 pesos MXN for beach access
- 500 pesos MXN for swimming with turtles
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
How to Get to Akumal from Tulum?
🚗 By Car: Akumal Beach is located 25 minutes from downtown Tulum. At the Akumal bridge, turn right and ignore snorkeling tour vendors. You’ll find several paid parking lots near the beach entrance.
🚌 By Public Transportation: Take a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen and ask the driver to stop at the Akumal bridge. From there, it’s about a ten-minute walk to the beach.
🚀 On Excursion: You can also book a full-day excursion, including swimming with turtles in Akumal, visiting the Tulum ruins, and exploring a cenote. This excursion includes a guide for the day and round-trip transportation from Tulum.
20. Explore Local Gastronomy
Mexican cuisine is incredibly rich in flavors and offers a wide variety of dishes, including many meat options as well as fish and seafood.
Given Tulum’s coastal location, it provides an extensive selection of seafood dishes, along with the traditional favorite, tacos.
In downtown Tulum, you’ll find restaurants catering to all budgets. However, on the Tulum beach strip, prices tend to be higher.
My top restaurant recommendation in Tulum is Antojitos La Chiapaneca. This small taqueria, frequented by both tourists and locals, will delight you with its excellent dishes and authentic atmosphere.
Below, you’ll find more restaurant recommendations for a fantastic dining experience in Tulum.
21. Experience Nightlife in Tulum
Tulum offers a plethora of bars along the beach, providing a vibrant setting for an enjoyable evening.
The downtown area of Tulum also features some cool bars, although the majority of the nightlife action happens in the Tulum Beach zone.
🍹 Two Different Zones
- Tulum Pueblo: Located in the downtown area, offering more affordable prices.
- Tulum Playa: More elegant and trendy but with higher prices.
The ambiance of bars and clubs in the Tulum Beach zone, nestled in the heart of the jungle, is undoubtedly more upscale and trendy compared to the downtown area.
This is reflected in the prices, with the beach zone generally being more expensive than downtown.
Hotels along the beachfront also have their own beach clubs accessible for the evening. Bars along the road along the coast are usually livelier as they are more accessible to a larger audience.
22. Go Shopping in Tulum
Tulum offers a unique shopping experience, blending the exploration of local craftsmanship with chic and casual clothing featuring modern designs, all within the bohemian atmosphere distinctive to Tulum.
The bohemian vibe of Tulum’s coastal area invites you to stroll through small shops offering creative clothing that combines traditional attire with modern design.
In Tulum, you can discover outfits from local designers that include beachwear as well as trendy evening attire.
👒👗 Local Crafts
While exploring Tulum’s boutiques, you’ll come across a wealth of local craftsmanship, including silver jewelry and original, colorful outfits inspired by the rich Mayan culture.
For those seeking items to furnish their homes, Tulum offers unique wooden furniture pieces and artwork inspired by the bohemian spirit of the town.
Tulum is also a haven for spiritual retreats, attracting many wellness-focused travelers.
If you’re looking for well-being products, you’ll find a variety in Tulum, from yoga items to medicinal herbs, available in several wellness boutiques.
Feel free to wander through Tulum’s shops to discover that unique gem for your wardrobe or home!
What to do in Tulum when it’s raining?
If you find yourself in Tulum on a rainy day, don’t worry, you still have plenty of activity options!
Explore an Underground Cenote
When it rains, there’s nothing better than going underground! Many cenotes in Tulum are located in caves.
In addition to the magnificent spectacle offered by thousands of stalactites and stalagmites, you can swim in the crystal-clear water and observe fish swimming alongside you.
I recommend the stunning underground cenote Tak Bi Ha for an incredible experience, even if it’s raining in Tulum.
Experience Meaningful Moments at Mystika
Mystika is a sensory museum where you will embark on a journey full of vibrations through videos, photos, and profound texts.
Several rooms offer immersive environments for a unique explosion of emotions. Seven rooms, each with a different ambiance, will transport you further and further.
The artist’s breathtaking photos take us into their universe for an incredible spiritual experience.
You will find yourself on a path in search of your inner self.
👉 Book your tickets online
Where to stay in Tulum?
🏨 Book in advance
Feel free to compare prices and book your hotel in Tulum in advance, especially during the high season. Hotels tend to fill up quickly!Booking.com
Here are my favorites for all budgets and the desired experience.
- Ko’ox Wenne: This small hotel in the city center is conveniently located and offers comfortable rooms with a rooftop pool. Free coffee is provided every morning. Rooms start from €25.
- Joy Tulum: This accommodation features private cabins, and guests can use bicycles for free to explore Tulum. Cabins start from €25.
- Uman Glamping & Cenote Tulum: Luxurious tents are located near a private cenote, and guests can also use kayaks for free. Starting from €50.
- Azulik: Luxury treehouse cabins in the jungle of Tulum offer incredible views. The rooms feature ultra-original and modern architecture. Starting from €300.
- La Valise Tulum: This luxury beachfront hotel ensures a magical and unforgettable stay. The modern and sleek design of the rooms will leave you with unforgettable memories of your time in Tulum. Starting from €350.
💡 Tip: Don’t hesitate to book your accommodation in Tulum in advance for lower prices! Check all availability and prices on Booking.com by clicking here.
Where to eat in Tulum?
Tulum is full of great places to enjoy local cuisine. You can find restaurants for all budgets in the city center. However, around the beach area, restaurants tend to be more expensive.
Antojitos La Chiapaneca
This taqueria may not look like much, but it serves excellent typical Mexican dishes. Here, you can find tacos, quesadillas, gringas, and more — everything you need to try Mexican food.
Frequented by both locals and tourists, you are sure not to be disappointed. Moreover, the prices at this taqueria in downtown Tulum are very affordable, and the staff is very helpful.
- Price: $
- Location: Downtown
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 11 pm
El Rincón Chiapaneco
Another small eatery serving inexpensive typical Mexican dishes.
Frequented by locals, this taqueria will also delight you with its oversized fruit juices.
- Price: $
- Location: Downtown
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 10 pm
La Hoja Verde
A very good vegetarian and vegan restaurant in downtown Tulum.
I really liked this restaurant for its delicious, authentic, and hearty dishes! There are many choices in both food and drinks.
I loved their guacamole as well as the falafel bowl.
You’ll find fresh fruit juices to accompany your meal or breakfast.
- Price: $$
- Location: Downtown
- Opening Hours: Every day except Wednesday from 8 am to 10 pm
La Barracuda Tulum
La Barracuda is a seafood restaurant offering fresh catches of the day, including fish and seafood.
There’s something for every taste at reasonable prices. You’ll find seafood platters, tacos, burgers, and more, all in very generous portions.
- Price: $$
- Location: Downtown
- Opening Hours: Every day from 12 pm to 8 pm, Tuesday until 7 pm
This restaurant, located in the hotel zone of Tulum, offers dishes with incredible flavors. Enjoy a pleasant service and a cozy atmosphere for an excellent evening.
The prices are quite high, but the setting is worth it. The cocktails are also very good!
- Price: $$$$
- Location: Tulum Beach
- Opening Hours: Every day from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Hartwood is a restaurant offering refined and delicious Mexican dishes.
You will find classics of Mexican cuisine with a twist, such as exotic-flavored sea bass ceviche. Hartwood also offers excellent desserts, like their honey cake.
The staff is very pleasant, ensuring you have a great evening.
- Price: $$$
- Location: Tulum Beach
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
What to do in the evening in Tulum?
Tulum is becoming the rising star of nightlife on the Riviera Maya. Numerous parties take place in the downtown area but especially in the zone near the beach.
In Tulum, each day of the week has its hotspot for the best evening:
- Tuesday and Wednesday: Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar
- Thursday: Casa Jaguar
- Friday: Gitano
- Saturday: Papaya Playa Project
- Sunday: La Zebra Hotel
The Best Festivals in Tulum
Tulum is now renowned for the quality of its music festivals, which are increasingly numerous. Most festivals take place during the months of January and February.
The most significant festival is Zamna, which occurs in early January.
Tulum’s festivals are held in the heart of the jungle, within an 11-hectare space that includes a cenote.
Zamna: This is the most important electronic music festival, hosting the current international DJs.
Day Zero: This festival celebrates the end of the Mayan calendar in a spirit where Mayans and extraterrestrials come together to reimagine space and time.
Tomorrowland Tulum: This is the Belgian version of the famous festival held at the close of the Zamna festival.
Renaissance Tulum: In April, this festival welcomes DJs from around the world.
How much time to visit Tulum?
You’re probably wondering how much time to spend in Tulum to discover the maximum of the riches that the region has to offer.
I’ve prepared an itinerary based on whether you stay in Tulum for one, two, or three days.
Visit Tulum in 1 Day
To explore Tulum in one day, I’ve prepared an itinerary to cover key points of the city.
- Visit the Tulum archaeological site: Head to the site early in the morning to enjoy the cool atmosphere and discover this magnificent archaeological site perched on cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea.
- Dos Ojos Cenote: Explore this incredible semi-open cenote where you can discover its underground part with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Upon returning from the cenote, rent a bike in the city center.
- Tulum Beaches: Relax at Playa Paraiso for lunch at one of the many beach clubs and enjoy the white sandy beach and turquoise sea for a well-deserved moment of relaxation.
- Bike ride: Cycle along the road lined with numerous hotels and chic boutiques near the beach. Immerse yourself in the eco-chic atmosphere of the area. Along the way, stop to observe the many artworks along the road and the famous Ven a la luz statue.
- Dinner at a restaurant in downtown Tulum for a typical Mexican meal.
- You can continue the evening at one of the many chic bars in the Tulum beach area if you feel like it.
Visit Tulum in 2 Days
Two days in Tulum will allow you to explore the region more deeply and dedicate one day to sites near Coba.
For the first day, you can follow the itinerary of Visiting Tulum in One Day above.
For the second day, I suggest the following itinerary:
- Visit the Coba archaeological site: Head to the Coba archaeological site to explore the park by bike and discover its two impressive pyramids.
- Choo-Ha Cenote: Explore this spectacular underground cenote located in a cave with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Lunch in a typical restaurant in the small village of Coba.
- Explore the Punta Laguna Reserve: Observe monkeys in their natural habitat during a jungle walk, zip line over the lagoon, paddle across it, and experience an emotional Mayan ceremony.
- Dinner at a Tulum restaurant.
Visit Tulum in 3 Days
If you stay three days in Tulum, follow the above itinerary and end your stay in Tulum with a visit to the incredible Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve.
Feel free to book a full-day excursion with transportation included from your hotel in Tulum.
Excursions to Sian Ka’an will allow you to observe many animals, including crocodiles, take a boat ride to see dolphins, turtles, and hundreds of birds.
You will also snorkel on the second coral reef to observe many tropical fish.
Finally, enjoy free time in the natural pools of the Sian Ka’an lagoon in a paradisiacal setting. The crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches with coconut trees will charm you.
Conclude your day with a typical Mexican lunch on the beach in the small fishing village of Punta Allen.
How to Get to Tulum?
The city of Tulum is located south of the Riviera Maya. To reach Tulum from Cancun airport or the cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, there are several transportation options.
Here are the various possibilities:
How to Get to Tulum from Cancun Airport?
To get to Tulum from Cancun airport, you have several options.
By Rental Car
Renting a car upon your arrival at the airport is an excellent option. It will take you about 1.5 hours to drive from Cancun airport to downtown Tulum. The road is in excellent condition for reaching Tulum.
In Private Transfer
To reach Tulum from Cancun airport, you can also book a private transfer from the airport.
A driver will be waiting for you upon your plane’s arrival to take you to Tulum.
You will even be dropped off directly at your hotel in Tulum.
The ADO bus company offers a connection between Cancun airport and downtown Tulum.
There is approximately one service per hour, and the travel time is around 1 hour and 55 minutes.
The first trip is at 10:05 am, and the last one is at 9:15 pm from Cancun airport.
You can purchase your tickets online in advance or directly at Cancun airport. Payment by card is possible on-site.
Price: 420 pesos MXN
Taxis are available 24/7 at Cancun airport. They can take you directly to your hotel in Tulum from the airport.
Price: approximately $150 USD
From Downtown Cancun to Tulum
To get to Tulum from downtown Cancun, you can take two colectivos. Colectivos are mini-vans with around 15 seats that operate on the Riviera Maya.
Firstly, take a colectivo heading to Playa del Carmen, where you’ll need to change for a second colectivo towards Tulum.
- Price: 45 pesos for Cancun to Playa del Carmen, 50 pesos for Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
Please note that there is no colectivo directly to Cancun airport.
The ADO bus company also connects Cancun and Tulum. There’s a departure every hour, and the journey takes 2 hours and 25 minutes. You can buy your ticket online or directly at the bus terminal.
- Price: Approximately 300 pesos MXN
From Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Playa del Carmen is located halfway between Cancun and Tulum. The journey takes a little over an hour, regardless of the transportation method chosen.
To reach Tulum from Playa del Carmen, the simplest and most economical option is to take a colectivo. These mini-vans that connect Playa del Carmen and Tulum operate throughout the day with a high frequency of about every 5 minutes.
- Price: 50 pesos MXN
ADO buses connect Playa del Carmen and Tulum multiple times throughout the day.
In Playa del Carmen, there are two bus terminals: Turistica (on Fifth Avenue) and Alterna (further west). Make sure to check the departure terminal if you purchase tickets online.
The journey takes 1 hour and 10 minutes. You can buy tickets at the bus terminal or online.
- Price: Approximately 150 pesos MXN
Is There an Airport in Tulum?
The Tulum airport is now open since Dec 1, 2023. It is located about 15 kilometers from Tulum.
The new Tulum airport is named Felipe Carrillo Puerto, after a former political figure in the Yucatan.
This airport, combined with the new Mayan Train, make Tulum just a few minutes away from an international airport.
Best Time to Visit Tulum
The dry season in the Yucatan Peninsula begins in December and extends until May. During the dry season, rainfall is very rare, and the temperature is pleasant.
From June to November, it’s the rainy season. There can be intense rainy episodes in the late afternoon. However, these rainy episodes are often short-lived, rarely lasting more than an hour.
Moreover, even during the rainy season, it’s possible to experience several weeks without rain.
It’s worth noting that from March/April to September, sargassum seaweed may arrive on Tulum’s beaches, which can be inconvenient if you plan to spend leisure time at the beach.
However, even during the sargassum period, Tulum offers numerous activities to ensure an excellent stay.