27 Best Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico In 2024

27 Best Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico In 2024

Tulum is nestled on the sun-kissed Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and is a unique fusion of cultural heritage and impressive natural scenery. Our expert guide is packed with things to do in Tulum that will add the perfect zest to your travel diary. We first visited Tulum while scuba diving our way through Central America in 2003.

Twenty years later, things have changed a lot, but one thing is certain, the beauty has endured. Picture yourself wandering through the iconic Mayan ruins set against the backdrop of the azure Caribbean Sea or diving into the hidden cenotes veiled by emerald jungles. Ready to dive in? Let’s uncover the top experiences in Tulum that promise to enrich your journey with unforgettable memories.

Top Things to Do in Tulum

Tulum’s Yucatan Peninsula is a haven of thick jungle, Ancient Mayan ruins, and white sand beaches. It’s essentially everything you want in a beautiful holiday to Mexico. There are so many things to do in Tulum, including that loveably cheesy photoshoot spot near the Tulum sign.

Tulum is tucked away on the eastern coast, south of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. It is just a short drive south of the tourist hubs of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, making it the perfect place to make a base when exploring Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Its convenient location means you can mix up days of adventure with moments of pure chill, all within a stone’s throw from each other.

It’s a great starting point for all sorts of experiences, whether you’re here to dive, explore, or just soak up the laid-back vibe. Renting a car is the best way to get around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. You can compare car rental prices here.

1. Tulum Mayan Ruins

best things to do in tulum mexico ancient mayan ruins

The Tulum Ruins are located just 20 minutes from the Tulum city center, and should be the first stop on your list. They have a dramatic setting, overlooking the gorgeous Caribbean Sea and the white sand beach below.

Compared to other ruins sites in the Yucatan, the Tulum Mayan Ruins are small. However, it’s one of the most beautiful ruins in Mexico thanks to its privileged location on the cliffside.

Tulum Ruins in Tulum Mexico

Inside, you’ll see the Templo del Viento (Wind Temple), Templo del Dios Descendente (Temple of the Descending God), El Castillo (The Castle), and Templo de Los Frescos (Temple of the Frescoes). There is a designated pathway to walk along, so if you follow the path, you won’t miss a thing. This guided tour takes you through the archeological site and a visit to Cenote Chen Há and Mariposa cenotes.

You can tour the entire site in about one hour, but when you visit the ruins, try to go early in the day because there’s no shade, and it gets very, very hot. One of the best things about the Tulum Ruins is that you can head down to the beach after visiting the ruins and jump into the sea. To see more nearby Mayan ruins, read our post: Best Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Address: Carretera Federal, Cancun – Chetumal Km 230, 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico. There is a parking lot where you can park your rental car and walk. Or there is a train for 10 pesos that you can take as well.

2. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Things to do in Tulum Mexico Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a massive natural park of 5,280 km2. It is just south of Tulum, further down into the state of Quintana Roo. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it attracts fewer tourists. It is somewhere to visit for a real jungle experience, out in the remote areas of Tulum’s coastline.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one of Tulum’s best things to do to get ‘off the beaten track.’ And it offers a more intense jungle experience than short hikes to cenotes and Tulum ruins. The best way to experience the reserve is by guided tour. The park is so massive that you want some direction from a knowledgeable guide.

3. Spend time Tulum Town aka Tulum Pueblo

Best Things to do in Tulum mexico Tulum Pueblo

Tulum Pueblo is the bustling town of Tulum and a must-visit for tourists seeking an authentic Mexican experience. Unlike the beach zone, Tulum Pueblo offers a glimpse into everyday life with its unique blend of local culture and modern conveniences.

Here, you can wander along the main street, Avenida Tulum, lined with various shops, restaurants, and bars that showcase the region’s culinary diversity. Key attractions include the local market, where you can find handcrafted souvenirs and traditional textiles, and the Tulum Art Club, a cultural hub for art and music.

For dining, the Pueblo offers an array of options, from street food stalls serving tacos and tamales to cozy cafes and upscale eateries. The town comes alive in the evenings with vibrant nightlife spots offering live music and dance. Tulum Pueblo’s proximity to major attractions like the Tulum ruins and cenotes, combined with its more affordable lodging options, makes it an ideal base for travelers wanting to explore the area’s natural and historical sites while experiencing the local lifestyle.

4. Bike to Tulum Beach

things to do in Tulum Mexico bike to Tulum Beach

If you are not staying in the Hotel Zone on Tulum Beach, it is easy to get to the beach from Tulum Town. You can opt for a quick taxi ride, rent a bicycle for a scenic route, or even take a stroll if you’re up for some exercise.

Once you arrive, you’re greeted with powdery white sand and turquoise, postcard-perfect waters. Here, you can indulge in various activities – relax on the beach with a good book, take a refreshing dip in the Caribbean Sea, or try stand-up paddleboarding for some adventure.

Don’t miss out on the beach clubs and beach bars where you can enjoy a cocktail with a view. The nearby Tulum Ruins are perched on a cliff overlooking the beach.

5. Playa Paraiso

Best Things to do in Tulum Mexico Playa Paraiso

Playa Paraiso translates exactly to Paradise Beach, and if that doesn’t sell you, we don’t know what will. The beach, we can attest, does look like paradise. Picture those slanted palm trees just made for climbing, white sand, and lulling waves – it is one of the best beaches in Mexico. You can grab food and snap pictures by its huge multi-colored sign; Paradise Beach is the main beach in Tulum, and it’s easy to see why it made our list of Best Beaches in Mexico.

Playa Paraiso is a 20-minute drive or an hour’s walk from the town center. If you choose to walk, you’ll pass through the Parque Nacional Tulum on foot. You could easily combine this with a visit to the Playa Ruinas, El Castillo, Casa de Cenote, and the beloved turtle beach, Playita Tortuga.

6. Other Tulum Beaches

Things to do in Tulum Beaches

Tulum Beaches are actually several small beaches connected along 10 km of the beautiful Caribbean Coast from Sian Ka’an National Biosphere Reserve in the South to the Tulum Mayan Ruins in the North with the Tulum Hotel Zone being the main beach area.

Playa Ruinas is famous for its spectacular backdrop of the Tulum Ruins. The combination of the ancient Mayan structure on the cliff above and the gorgeous beach below is truly breathtaking.

Las Palmas Public Beach: This beach is a great choice for those looking to escape the more popular tourist spots. It offers a more tranquil setting while still featuring Tulum’s signature beautiful waters and sand.

Ziggy Beach: Popular for its beach club, Ziggy Beach offers a lively atmosphere with excellent food, drinks, and music. It’s a great spot for those looking to combine beach relaxation with entertainment.

Secret Beach (Playa Escondida): As the name suggests, this beach is a bit off the beaten path, offering a more secluded and peaceful environment. It’s perfect for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some quiet time.

Akumal Beach: While not in Tulum itself, Akumal Beach is a short drive away and well worth the visit, especially for snorkeling to swim with sea turtles in their natural habitat.

7. Hop Between Beach Clubs

Things to do in Tulum Beach Clubs

When it comes to beach clubs, head out of Tulum Pueblo instead of Tulum Beach. This neighborhood is packed with beach bars and clubs, and you can easily spend a day (or night) hopping between them before finally booking a taxi back to your hotel.

This is the die-hard party strip, and you can expect extravagant cocktails and music at all hours. If you are a partier, beach club hopping is easily one of the most fun things to do in Tulum. A taxi ride will take as little as 10 minutes.

8. Cenote Calavera

Best Cenotes in Mexico Cenote Calavera

Cenote Calavera is a famous cenote that you’ve very likely seen before. The cenote is sat in a massive sinkhole with a wooden ladder teetering down the edge into the water. Photo by Mal Hellyer, you can read her entire article about the Best Cenotes in Mexico here.

The cenote hole with its ladder is one of the most photographed places in Tulum, and when you see it, you will understand why. Inside the main pool, there is also a swing, which also is a cool photo spot.

The cenote is surrounded by greenery and colorful sun loungers where you can dry off and catch some sun. There is also a snack shop, and as at most cenotes – showers, toilets and changing rooms. Cenote Calavera is situated just outside Tulum downtown, off the main road to Coba Mayan ruins, and you can easily cycle to its entrance or grab a taxi.

Of Tulum town’s nearby cenotes, Cenote Calavera is the one that is the most covered by the rock above. It has a natural cavern feel, which is atmospheric and makes for a unique swimming spot. Cenote Calavera is also just a 10-minute drive from Tulum Pueblo center if you need any more persuading. Tulum Ruins Visit and Swim in Two Different Cenotes Guided Tour (Our favorite).

You will soon find out that there are a lot of Cenotes near Tulum. Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Car Wash, and Cenote Zacil-Ha are just a few. We highlight some of our favorites further down.

Opening times: 8:30 am to 5 pm Entrance ticket: 250 pesos ($14)

9. Climb Tulum Tower

Best Things to do in Tulum Mexico Tulum Tower

Tulum Tower is like something out of War of the Worlds. The great spider-looking structure is more alien-looking than something a human has designed.

For an entry ticket of around $40, you can scale the building to the top for a beautiful view over Tulum from its observation deck. If you visit Tulum and love scenic views, you know where to visit. Better yet, Tulum Tower is just a 10-minute drive or 40-minute walk from Tulum town center.

10. Street Markets at Parque Dos Aguas

Best Things to do in Tulum Street Markets At Parque Dos Aguas

Parque dos Aguas is right in the middle of Tulum Center – so an easy fit into even the most packed of your itineraries. The little park is a constant hive of activity, with public sports areas and street food vendors selling tasty, traditional Mexican food and ice cream.

Parque dos Aguas is a brilliant place to connect with the community. And the park gets even better when it hosts one of its regular street markets where you can buy handicrafts and splurge on souvenirs. Check out the schedule when you visit Tulum.

11. Playa Ruinas

Best things to do in Tulum  Mexico Playa Ruinas

Tulum has a lot of gorgeous beaches, but Playa Ruinas takes the biscuit when it comes to dramatic appeal. This beach is a tiny strip of bright white sand with the remains of an ancient Mayan city overlooking it from a grassy cliff top. Visitors have both the beach and ruins to appreciate, and the beach is just 20 minutes from Tulum by car or an hour on foot through the Parque Nacional Tulum.

12. Tulum Gran Cenote

Best Things to do in Tulum, Mexico Gran Cenote

Speaking of significant cenotes, Tulum Gran Cenote is one of the most beautiful things to do in Tulum. And, only a 10-minute drive or 15-minute cycle from the town center, this cenote is also one of the most convenient Cenote to visit. This cenote is a glass-blue pool with limestone rock and a spectacular cavern. You access the cenote via a flight of steep steps, stepping down into the pool partially underground in a massive sinkhole-type structure. To visit the cenote, you can swim and snorkel or stay on the main boardwalk, providing a beautiful, scenic view.

Gran Cenote has incredible wildlife. If you opt to swim, you can see turtles, fish, and even bats or birds if you take a peak into the cavern. We don’t throw the word magical around often, but the cenote ticks that box. Climbing down into the cenote adds to that mystical allure, creating one of the most unique swimming spots you’ll ever experience.

13. Laguna de Kaan Luum

Best Things to do in Tulum Laguna De Kaan Luum

Okay, let’s take a brief pause from all these beautiful cenotes. Next up is a pastel-turquoise lake called Laguna de Kaan Luum. Laguna de Kaan Luum is stunning, stretching as far as the eye can see in a vast expanse of shallow, pastel-blue water.

The lake is shallow and perfect for swimming – people use the nearby swimming pier when not admiring the water from a swinging hammock. There are also tons of traditional beach huts with food and drink available. Laguna de Kaan Luum’s winning quality is best appreciated aerially, though; in the lake’s center, there is a vast dark blue patch of deeper water. Laguna de Kaan Luum has a beautiful natural coloring, and the different depths create a characteristic pattern of varying color blues.

The lake is just a 15-minute drive from Tulum or a (quite challenging) 40-minute bike ride. You’ll pass a few cenotes on your way. It is a brilliant spot to spend a handful of hours, especially in the late afternoon when you want a refreshing dip.

14. Punta Laguna Nature Reserve

Best Things to do in Tulum Punta Laguna Nature Reserve

Punta Laguna Nature Reserve is another spectacular lake near Tulum. However, you can expect two specific animals – howler and spider monkeys- instead of stunning watercolor patterns at this attraction. Visiting Punta Laguna nature reserve is one of the best things to do in Tulum for any animal lover.

The spider monkeys at the reserve are completely free to see, and it is an ethical way to get up close to them. You can also take ziplines around the reserve as an extra fun touch.

A 50-minute drive from Tulum town, this nature reserve is the place for ethical wildlife watching and a great day trip. We recommend it for families as a zoo alternative.

15. Escultura Ven a la Luz

what to to n Tulum Mexico Escultura Ven a la Luz

Escultura Ven a la Luz is an influencer’s paradise. The whole venue is designed for one big photoshoot, and you can snap pictures next to colossal statues made from rustic materials. While this attraction sits inside the Ahau Hotel, you can pay a tiny fee to enter and see the best statues. If you are planning a beach day, it is a must-detour attraction.

Escultura Ven a la Luz is 20 minutes away from Tulum town by car or 30 minutes by bike. Situated in the Tulum Beach district, getting away from the town center for a bit of coastal buzz is brilliant.

16. Zona Arqueologica de Muyil

what to to in Tulum Mexico Zona Arqueologica de Muyil

The Muyil ruins are situated just on the outskirts of the vast Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. If you want old Mayan architecture, visiting these ruins is some of the best things to do in Tulum.

The steep-walled pyramids are a much lesser photographed site, an ideal solution to avoiding the crowds that inevitably accrue outside sites like Chichen Itza. The Muyil ruins are quieter and much less trampled. And the actual site dates back as far as 300 BCE to 1500 CE.

The Muyil ruins are a 20-minute drive south of Tulum. Combine it with a visit to the biosphere reserve and Santuario de Cenotes – a beautiful cenote with barely any crowds compared to the cenotes scattered around Tulum Center.

17. Cenote Azul

what to do in Tulum Mexico Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is one of the most incredible Mexican cenotes and things to do in Tulum. This cenote is 30 minutes from Tulum by car, but well worth the extra miles. The water is (as you might guess) a bright, bright blue. Despite its tinted color’s strength, you can also see all the way to the bottom.

It is so clear. It is so clear, in fact, that you’ll be able to count all the tiny fish that inevitably give you a pedicure experience. Surrounded by tropical jungle, Cenote Azul is a top-day trip from Tulum. It has that jungle aesthetic that many people pursue on a Tulum holiday.

18. Tankah

what to do in Tulum Mexico Tankah

Tankah is one of the prettiest things to do in Tulum. Absolutely breathtaking, the nature park is a beautiful collection of crystal-clear lagoons. You venture around the different lagoons using an exciting mix of trails – and even zip lines – with Mayan ruins and jungle dotted around the park to greet you as you walk.

It is a beautiful place to spend a few hours, especially in the morning when the weather is cooler and less humid. Tankah perfectly blends together excitement and natural beauty.

Tankah is just a 20-minute drive from the town center. If you feel energetic, you can easily catch a taxi or bike there in about 30 minutes.

19. Cenote Escondido

Seemingly arising out of just jungle and mangrove swamps, Cenote Escondido is one of Tulum’s most magical cenotes. Despite its proximity to the town center, Cenote Escondido feels remote and isolated – only accessible by a pretty rugged-looking hiking trail that takes 15 minutes to tackle.

Of course, all of these factors add to the adventurous element of visiting this cenote tenfold. You pay a fee at the trailhead and get unlimited daily access to the swimming hole. And at the cenote, there is a rope swing to jump into the water, plus changing rooms for the more shy tourists. While minimalistic, it definitely has everything you need for a refreshing afternoon.

Cenote Escondido is one of the best things to do in Tulum; beautiful, reasonably quiet, isolated, and just a 10-minute drive from Tulum town; it is a must for your Tulum itinerary. You can even cycle there in less than 15 minutes if you prefer to bike.

20. Casa Cenote

what s to do in Tulum Mexico Casa Cenote

Casa Cenote is one of the all-time favorite cenotes near Tulum. While it is further away from the town center – 20 minutes by car – it is one of the largest cenotes in the area and is famous for diving and snorkeling. You can visit independently or on a guided tour.

We’d suggest taking a scuba diving or snorkeling tour to get the most out of the experience; getting extra direction will help you engage better with wildlife and understand more about the cenote. Go for a swim, snorkel, or scuba dive and enjoy one of Tulum’s largest, most exciting cenotes.

Casa Cenote has the ‘big wide world factor’ and is an amplified version of other smaller cenotes. There is even a local crocodile called “Panchito” that you can see from a distance, and most tours take you to visit him before you finish. He is said to be very friendly, but we wouldn’t get too close. Aside from Panchito, there are tons of fish and wildlife in the surrounding jungle, too, often including little raccoons venturing down to look for a snack.

21. Playa del Carmen

Best things to do in Tulum Mexico Visit Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is known for its amazing beaches and resort city buzz. Only some people are cut out for days and days in a relatively sleepy town, so if you need a city fix, Playa del Carmen is where to take a day trip to.

Consider this one of the best things to do in Tulum to get away from actual Tulum. We’d suggest walking Quinta Avenida – a promenade meets thoroughfare along the beachfront with restaurants and bars. You can enjoy significant museums and attractions like the 3D Museum of Wonders and Playacar Mayan Ruins.

Best things to do in Tulum Mexico Visit Playa Del Carmen downtown

Playa del Carmen is only a 50-minute drive north of Tulum. You can book a taxi or just organize a rental car or shuttle. By 2024, a train will connect the two major Yucatan destinations, so watch this space. Make sure to check out all the Best Things to do in Palya Del Carmen before you go.

22. Chococacao Maya

what to do in Tulum Mexico Chococacao Maya

Chocolate lovers, leave Tulum Pueblo and head through the surrounding jungle to visit Chococacao Maya. This attraction takes you on an immersive experience where you transform your own cacao beans into a delicious chocolate dish. The experience is led by a knowledgeable guide. The most valuable part of this is the cultural exchange and insight into the importance of cacao and chocolate in Mayan history that you’ll leave with.

Chococacao Maya is a 40-minute drive from Tulum. However, it is located right next to the Nohoch Mul Pyramid and multiple cenotes – so it is easy to combine.

23. Chichen Itza

Best Things to do in Tulum  Mexico Chichen Itza Famous ruins and Mayan culture

Chichen Itza is a big deal – consider it a celebrity status attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best day trips from Tulum. The complex was once an ancient Mayan city full of Mayan ruins, including the stunning step Temple of Kukulkan. Many people mistakenly think that Chichen Itza is just a single temple. Still, the complex can take half a day to explore and fully appreciate.

This attraction is a 2-hour drive inland from Tulum. Be prepared to hire a car or book an experience, including public transportation. It is further, if not the furthest, of all the day trips. However, it is definitely the most famous and, as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, worth carving out time to visit.

24. Road Trip Through Parque Nacional Tulum

what to do in Tulum Mexico Parque Nacional Tulum

Parque Nacional Tulum is the best place for the underconfident driver to tackle a single-day road trip. You’ll be stopping and starting constantly with a full list of to-dos, many of which already feature in this guide.

It neatly combines so many attractions into a single day, making it one of the best things to do in Tulum. There’s Playa Ruinas, the turtles at Playita Tortugas, and the infamous Tulum ruins. The total driving time will be less than an hour, but you’ll have so much to see that you can dedicate an entire day to the experience.

25. Coba Ruins

Best Things to do in Tulum Coba Ruins

Coba is an ancient Mayan city, and its full name is Zona Archeologica de Coba. The preservation is home to the highest pyramid in the Tulum area, Nohoch Mul, which sits dramatically in a jungle clearing.

To reach Nohoch Mul, you’ll first need to hike for nearly 40 minutes through the jungle. It is one of the most active things to do on a day trip from Tulum, and super adventurous and atmospheric. If you want an active experience of a Mayan pyramid, the Coba ruins are your best choice. These Mayan ruins are also much quieter than Chichen Itza – keep that in mind when crowd dodging. 4×1: Coba, Cenote, Tulum and Playa del Carmen Tour from Cancun (Best Deal)

Coba is a 45-minute drive inland from Tulum. It is a scenic drive through heaps of jungle and past many major cenotes. You can always rent a car and make a full day of it, combining cenote hopping with the Coba ruins. Otherwise, book a guided tour with roundtrip transport included from Tulum.

26. Say Hi to Turtles

what to do in tulum mexico sea turtles

From May to October you can witness sea turtles making their way to the beach at night to lay their eggs before returning to the sea. This natural phenomenon offers a rare opportunity to observe them up close in their natural habitat. When planning to see turtles in these areas, respecting their natural habitat is crucial. Disturbing the turtles, especially the nesting females and hatchlings, can be harmful to them. So make sure to visit with a knowledgeable guide from a reputable tour group that follows ethical wildlife viewing practices.

In Tulum, the best places to see sea turtles is Akumal Beach. Located a short drive north of Tulum, Akumal is famously known as the “Place of the Turtles.” It is one of the best spots for snorkeling with sea turtles, as they frequent the shallow waters here.

Xcacel Beach is another sea turtle sanctuary and one of the most important nesting sites for turtles in the area. It’s a protected area, so adhering to any restrictions and guidelines while visiting is essential.

27. Try Kite Boarding

Kiteboarding lessons in Maui

Kiteboarding is popular in Tulum, thanks to its ideal wind conditions and beautiful beaches. Here’s more information about kiteboarding in Tulum:

Tulum Beach is an ideal spot with its long stretch of beach, its steady winds, and wide-open spaces. It is perfect for kiteboarding. The area offers a great balance of waves and flat water, suitable for both beginners and experienced kiteboarders. Playa Paraiso also offers excellent conditions for kiteboarding, especially for those who are just learning.

Several tour companies and schools in Tulum offer kiteboarding lessons.

Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf & Paddlesurf: Located at Ahau Tulum Hotel, offers kite gear and kitesurfing lessons and Morph Kiteboarding, located at the El Pez Hotel, Morph offers lessons with certified instructors and the latest equipment.

Extreme Control Kiteboarding School offers comprehensive lesson plans, including both private and group lessons.

The best time for kiteboarding in Tulum is from November to June, when the winds are most favorable. The wind typically picks up in the afternoon, making it an ideal time for the sport. Mornings tend to be calmer, which is perfect for beginners taking lessons.

28. Go Scuba Diving

what to do in Tulum Mexico Scuba diving

You can’t visit Tulum without truly experiencing its underwater world, and a scuba dive experience is much more immersive than snorkeling. News flash – scuba diving is incredible in Tulum.

Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is offshore of Tulum; the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef in the world. It’s second only to the Barrier Reef in Australia. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a breeding ground for a flurry of brightly colored tropical fish and larger animals like sharks, turtles, manta rays, and dolphins.

what to do in  Tulum Mexico Scuba Diving Cenote

You can book diving tours from Tulum town to see the coral reefs. Many of these trips include transportation to a dive center; otherwise, you can just grab a taxi. It is easy to squeeze into a short period if you already have your PADI qualification, and if not, allocate a few days of your itinerary to getting the qualification first.

You can also book cavern diving in the Cenotes. This is recommended for experienced divers.

About Cenotes in Quintana Roo

cenotes of mexico

Cenotes are natural sinkholes or pits resulting from limestone bedrock collapsing, exposing the groundwater underneath. These unique geological formations are predominantly found in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. They played a critical role in the development of the Mayan civilization and are now popular tourist attractions.

There are different types of cenotes – open, semi-open, and cave cenotes. Open cenotes resemble natural pools or ponds, semi-open cenotes have partial cave cover, and cave cenotes are almost entirely enclosed except for small openings.

Largest Underground Cave System

The water in cenotes is often crystal clear, coming from natural filtration through the ground. This makes them excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

For the ancient Maya, cenotes were not only water sources but also sacred places. They believed cenotes were gateways to the underworld (Xibalba) and sites for rituals and offerings.

Downtown Tulum, aka Tulum Centro

what to do in Tulum Mexico Downtown Tulum Centro

Tulum Centro is the main Downtown Tulum area with regular live music, shopping opportunities, and sometimes street parties. But despite its trendy oomph, it is also where to head when you fancy a relaxing day. Perhaps a day of casual cocktails and kicking back with some traditional food.

Tulum Centro is the ideal place to retreat once you’ve done your fair share of day trips and edge-of-your-seat-style activities in Tulum. You can take a walking tour of Tulum Centro or visit by yourself. It is really fun to get lost in, and if you download Google Maps offline in case you need extra help with directions, you can’t go wrong with a good wander. We vote for including a few hours in Tulum Centro for a lazy morning when visiting Tulum.

Where to Stay in Tulum

Choosing where to stay in Tulum can be confusing. The best area for you will depend on what you’re looking for in your visit. Are you looking for close proximity to the beach, nightlife, cultural experiences, or tranquil retreats? Here are some of the best areas to consider:

Tulum Beach (Zona Hotelera)

Tulum Hotel Zone is the most famous area in Tulum, known for its beautiful beaches and boutique hotels. Here you’ll have direct beach access, a wide variety of beach clubs and high-end accommodation. However, it is more expensive than other areas and can crowded during peak season.

Tulum Town (Tulum Pueblo)

Tulum Town (Tulum Pueblo) in the town center offers a more authentic and local experience. You’ll find More affordable accommodations, a variety of local eateries, markets, and easy access to transportation. It’s also close to many cenotes and the Tulum ruins.

But it is farther from the beach, requiring transportation to reach the seaside. You may want to rent. acar if you are staying here.

Kore Tulum Retreat is a stunning adults-only resort amid Tulum’s Hotel Zone. When we say central, we mean it; you are just steps away from Tulum’s archaeological sites. And Kore Tulum Retreat is one of the best all-inclusive resorts if you want an adults-only resort experience in Tulum.

Things To Do in Tulum: FAQs

Top things to do in Tulum FAQ

There are so many Tulum adventures for nature lovers, history buffs, and beach bums. Let’s face it. The allure of cave diving into one of Tulum’s awesome cenotes, visiting Tulum’s ruins, or exploring the Tulum jungle is hard to resist.

I am sure you have many questions, from Is Tulum safe to visit to when is the best time to visit Tulum? So, before you go, though, read on to see if we can answer some of your most pressing questions to enjoy your Tulum visit.

How to Get to Tulum

Best Things to do in Tulum How To get to Tulum

Tulum is most easily reached via a direct flight to Cancun International Airport. Cancun Airport has a regularly scheduled flight fleet, connecting Mexico with major countries like the US and Canada and many cities across Europe and South America. Domestic airlines fly to Quintana Roo from Mexico City daily.

It is an absolute hub for arriving in Mexico by plane and only a 2-hour shuttle away from Tulum. You can land at Cancun Airport and then book a taxi or shuttle or we suggest renting a car. You can compare prices here.

Another option is to road trip to Tulum if you are already within driving distance. If this sounds like the idea for you, just keep an eye on regular Mexico security updates to avoid any areas of particular unrest.

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming train line being built to connect Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, too. A new Mayan train opened in December 2023 to connect all the major Yucatan Peninsula hubs. This will make traveling from Cancun International Airport massively more straightforward. It will also mean that you can get to Tulum from numerous points on the peninsula without needing a car or an expensive shuttle.

Getting Around Tulum

Best Things to do in Tulum Getting Around Tulum

Tulum is super easy to get around. The town center is so compact that it is easily fully experienced on foot. At the same time, the outskirts can be reached by hiring bikes – keeping things as eco-friendly as possible.

The town center is where you’ll find all the Tulum shopping and central facilities, while the beach area is where you’ll find all your clubs and beach day opportunities. The two main areas of Tulum are split by Avenida Coba, which you can tackle by bike or taxi.

Getting around Tulum is manageable without a car, but we’d suggest hiring a car if you want to do day trips. With a rental car, you’ll have complete freedom and can head to some of the most exciting attractions in the surrounding area. Otherwise, you can use Tulum taxis and organize excursions for day trips. Most tours include roundtrip transportation, eliminating the whole ‘how do I get there’ conundrum.

Best Time to Visit Tulum

Best Things to do in Tulum Best Time To Visit Tulum

The consensus is that Tulum is best visited in November. Or at a push, very early December. This season is in the shoulder season, meaning it comes just before the December to April frenzy of partiers, higher prices and flashing cameras. You get the warm weather and beautiful sights without all the mania. Prices are slightly cheaper as well.

Visiting Tulum during the high season (December to April) will see the best weather, with warm sunny days and minimal rain. However, these are the busiest months, as many visitors come to escape colder climates. Expect higher prices and crowded beaches.

June to October is the rainy season. Hurricane season is September and October so you will see more tropical storms. However, the the region is far less crowded and prices are much lower.

Is Tulum Safe?

Is Tulum Safe Mexican police on beach

Many people question, ‘Is Tulum safe?’ Tulum is generally safe for tourists but, like any destination, it’s essential to stay informed about the current safety situation and exercise caution during your visit. 

Although Tulum is considered safe for tourists, there is a warning of crime on government websites. Keep up-to-date with the latest travel advisories and public health information, and be particularly mindful of crime.

Gangs and Drug Cartels have been a problem in Tulum, but they are usually not aimed at tourists. However, some tourists have been caught in the crossfire. There is an added police force in Tulum to maintain order. Remember, tourism is a huge part of Mexico’s economy, and the government wants tourists to feel safe and secure, so they are doing as much as they can to combat the cartel.

It is also best to avoid Hurricane season (September and October)/ You can read about safety in Tulum in our article Is Tulum Safe

What is Tulum best known for?

Tulum is known for Mayan ruins and natural wonders. You’ll spend mornings on Tulum Beach or Tulum Pueblo and then take day trips to adventure in the Mayan jungle and cenotes.

Is 3 days enough in Tulum?

3 days are just enough in Tulum. You’ll be able to visit Chichen Itza and a handful of main attractions, but not enjoy the endless day trips and really get a taste of Mexican culture in Tulum. 5 to 7 days in Tulum is much better if you want to get ‘enough’ of the town and all it offers.

Is Tulum better than Cancun?

We’d say definitely. Tulum is miles more authentic than Cancun and is not ruined by a glossy strip with thousands of tourists arriving daily. For a beach town alternative, it is a must. Read more: Amazing Things to do in Cancun

What should you do in Tulum in two days?

Best Things to do in Tulum To Conclude

In two days in Tulum, you should visit one of the cenotes or Chichen Itza. You should then enjoy a beach club and Tulum’s beach town culture.

Tulum is impossible not to love. The town is beautiful – from the Tulum ruins to Tulum Beach. And it is the ideal tourist destination for anyone wanting to truly experience Mexico off the Cancun strip.

When it comes to Tulum accommodation, there is a massive selection of luxury hotels and resorts. Just check out our guide on the best Tulum all-inclusive resorts – the beach town even has some of the best adults-only all-inclusive in Mexico. So besides searching for the best things to do in Tulum, dedicate ample time to sifting through its throngs of five-star beach view resorts with white sand beaches and Hollywood-worthy swimming pools. Tulum is such an experience.

Best Things to do in Tulum Cenote Cristal Tulum Mexico

And once you’ve visited Tulum, feel free to head across the rest of the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. A Yucatan Peninsula road trip is one way to see the rest of the region. You can get out for several days, weeks, or even months. With a road trip, you can hop along the best beaches in Mexico and taste the region. It is one of the most exciting ways to experience the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula – so if you are adventurous, set this idea aside as a must.

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