Tulum is a small city with a laidback atmosphere that has beautiful sandy beaches. It is a top destination for relaxation and a good base for activities. The advantage of Tulum compared to the famous places Cancun and Playa del Carmen is that it is not so touristic. In this article we tell you how many days we recommend staying here, how to get to Tulum, the best things to do in Tulum and where to stay in Tulum.
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How many days do need for Tulum?
We recommend a minimum stay of 4 nights. This allows you to fully enjoy the beautiful surroundings and you can discover nice places in the vicinity. Curious about the best things to do in Tulum? Continue to read. We give you a recommendation of the activities that we liked. If you like them all and you also would like to spend some days as ‘free time’ then then it is advisable to extend your stay to 6 nights. But this is of course entirely personal.
Tulum how to get there? Cancun to Tulum travel tips
Most of the people come from Cancun to Tulum. Other places like Playa del Carmen, Valladolid or Bacalar are also popular places to travel from. Traveling is very easy for all places and takes little time. In two separate article we describe in detail how traveling in Mexico with the bus or with the car, the tips in these articles will help you during your trip.
Things to do in Tulum?
Tulum is not a typical beach destination, because in addition to relaxing on the beach there are plenty things you can do. Despite all the choices we have made a list of our 5 favorite things to do in Tulum.
#1 Tulum cenotes
The number 1 on the list things to do in Tulum is without any doubt to visit the cenotes in Tulum. Mexico is known for its Cenotes. There are more than 1 trillion Cenotes, of all different sizes and formations. It is difficult considering the amount of Cenotes you should visit, each Cenote has its advantages. We have seen several Cenotes and recommend the two below.
Grand Cenote Tulum
This is perhaps the most popular Cenote near Tulum. The cenote is beautiful above and below water. We highly recommend to go snorkeling to see the wildlife under water. The disadvantage of the cenote is that it can be very busy. To experience a nice visit, we recommend that you arrive at the opening at 8:00 am to avoid large groups. If you don’t do this, this Cenote can be disappointing. In the beginning the Cenote can feel like a swimming pool, but if you are in the Cenote itself (early in the morning with few people) you will be rewarded by the beauty. Admission price person is 100 pesos.
This cenote is beautiful because, unlike the grand cenote, it didn’t feel so commercial. The blue water, the good temperature and the intimacy of the cave are great. Sit back and watch how impressive the cave is, you’ll be amazed. Please note that the entrance to this cenote is very narrow and the stairs to enter the Cenote are steep. Admission price person is 55 pesos.
#2 Tulum Mayan Ruins
In our opinion the best things to do in Tulum is visiting Tulum Mayan ruins, but without proper preparation it will be disappointing. Before we went to the Tulum Mayan ruins, we did not have high expectations, but once we arrived we loved it! This is because we visited the Tulum Mayan ruins at the end of the day instead of most people in the morning. The advantage is that is not busy and the temperature has dropped. We were so lucky that we almost walked alone. It was really cool to discover this Mayan complex because it is so close to the beach. During the trip we had the feeling that we were in a set of Pirates of the Caribbean. You can choose to take a guide but we recommend to walk by yourself and read the information on the signs. If you want to swim in the small bay below the temples then you have to go earlier. Don’t forget your camera to photograph one of the many iguanas.
#3 Tulum beaches Mexico
Of course the beaches of Tulum can not be missed in the list best things to do in Tulum. The great thing about the beaches of Tulum is that they are still laid-back and that there are almost no big hotels. Fortunately there are still places that are quiet! When you go to the beach you have the choice between public or private beaches. The best public beach is playa Paraiso. If you see the white sand beach and the turquoise blue water you will understand why this beach has been chosen as the winner at the travel choice award of TripAdvisor of all beaches in Mexico. It is also nice to have a drink on the beach at Batey in the evening. They play music every night and you can enjoy some delicious mojitos.
#4 Discover the best restaurants in Tulum
We love Mexican food and we love to share in our opionion the best restaurants in Tulum. We have eaten many burritos in our lives, but we had the best of all at Burrito Amor. You find this restaurant south of the main street of Tulum. A burrito costs around 100 pesos. Another nice place that is right on the beach is La Eufemia, here you have an extensive menu with the choice of delicious food and drinks. This part of the beach is still very beautiful, because it is not crowded. If you are looking for a good place to have lunch, Raw Love Cafe is the place. Here they serve superfood bowl that are very healthy.
#5 Enjoy a day trip
One of the best things to do in Tulum is to enjoy a day trip. Mahahual, Sian Ka’an, Coba and Chichen Itza are recommended. Mahahual is a small village on the coast that is 1 hour away from Tulum. On arrival it does not seem spectacular but under water it is great! You can go snorkeling where you encounter different fishes and coral but the main reason for coming here is to swim with giant sea turtles. It is very easlity to arrange a snorkel tour at one of the restaurants by the beach. Sian Ka’an is a large protected area that has many thousands of species of flora and fauna. Here you can also find one of the most pristine waters in Mexico. In the park you can see dolphins, turtles and many birds. It is best to book a tour from Tulum. Coba is just like Chichen Itza a Maya temple complex. The benefit of Coba is that you still can climb the temple, plus it is located in the middle of the jungle.
Do you want to something active? If you want to drive a ATV, swim at a cenote and Zipline we recommend below tour:
ATV Tour, Five Ziplines and Cenote Swim | $55 per person
Chichen Itza is in our opinion the most impressive things to do in Tulum. Like you probarly know is Chichen Itza one of the 7 wonders of the world. If your plan is to go to Valladolid, we recommend to visit Chichen Itza when you are in Valladolid. We recommend to visit Coba during your stay in Tulum. You can easily reach Coba by bus that leaves in the center of Tulum. We have included more information about Chichen Itza in our article about Valladolid.
If you aren’t travelling to Valladolid you can visit Chichen Itza via below tour:
Chichen Itza Day Trip from Tulum Including Cenote | $70 per person
Where to stay in Tulum?
You asked yourself: where to stay in Tulum? You have two option: to stay in the village or on the beach. The advantage of the village is that the prices are cheaper and you have more choices. A hotel on the beach has the great advantage that you can jump from your room into the sea. Also, most beaches are private beaches, so when you stay in a hotel on the beach you can use the beach of the hotel. You don’t need to worry about public or private beaches. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. You can choose to spend nights at the beach and the village. Recommended is when you do a couple of excursions you spend the night in the village and when you want to relax a few days you do this in a hotel on the beach. It is advisable to book on time, because Tulum is very popular and nice places are quickly booked. We always link to Booking.com, because you can cancel here free of charge up to 24 hours before the check-in date.
Recommended in the village
Casa Almendro is a hotel that is very centrally located in the village, you can walk everything. The hotel is 3 blocks from the main street which makes is extremely quiet. The location is therefore also assessed with a 9. The hotel has a fantastic roof terrace with a kitchen with all facilities to use. The rooms are clean and have air conditioning, which is pleasant considering the temperatures. Another nice accommodation is Casa Abanico Tulum, the rooms are very proper, there is a relaxed atmosphere and you can rent bikes for free.
Price per night from:
$ 41 double room
Recommended on the beach
Do you want to wake up on the beach and walk straight into the sea? Do you want to stay somewhere where you do not feel that you are staying at a resort then Villa Pescadores Tulum is for you. The advantage of this accommodation is that it is not that colossal, has a quiet beach and you are a 5-minute walk from the Mayan temples. The rooms have a beautiful veranda and private garden on the beach with a hammock. Please note that staying on the beach is much more expensive. If you are looking for something cheaper then Esencial Tulum is an option, you literally walk across the beach to your room. The rooms are awesome and the location is great.
Price per night from:
$ 230 double room with sea view
We hope our article helped you get a better idea of Tulum. From Tulum you can travel to Cancun, Valladolid or Bacalar. If you follow our Mexico itinerary, your next destination is Bacalar. read our article 7 best things to do in Bacalar via the link.