Tulum Mayan ruins viewpoint

14 Best things to do in Tulum

Table of Contents

Tulum is definitely one of the must-visit places in Yucatan, and it offers so many things to do that you will never be bored. From its beautiful beaches perfect for relaxing to its ruins, cenotes, and jungle hikes – there are plenty of things to do in Tulum! Here’s a list of the best things to do in Tulum, from swimming and snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters to exploring the ancient Mayan ruins. Also, we share from where to stay and nice places to eat, all the way to insider tips and experiences that will ensure your visit to Tulum will be a success!

Tulum beach
One of the best things to do in Tulum is relaxing at the beach

Things to do in Tulum?

Tulum is full of things to do and explore! Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Tulum has plenty to offer. From snorkeling and jungle tours to cenote swimming and exploring the ancient Mayan ruins, there’s something for everyone in this unique destination. Read on for our top things to do in Tulum and start planning your own adventure today!

Tip: use the map below to see where Tulum’s best things are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Tulum.

#1 Surprising thing to do in Tulum: discover the cenotes

Visiting the cenotes in Mexico is one of the best things to do in Tulum. A Cenote is a cave or pool of clear water that was sacred to the Maya, as it was believed to be the opening to the underworld. Many ceremonies were performed here in the past and these cenotes are amongst some of the most popular things to do in Tulum. There are over 1 trillion cenotes, of all different sizes and shapes. Given the amount, it is difficult to choose which one to visit. We have visited the cenotes below and recommend them to anyone looking for things to do in Tulum.

Grand Cenote

The things to do in Tulum are endless and you can find many exciting activities in Tulum. One of the most popular things to do is explore the Grand Cenote. The cenote is beautiful both above and underwater, making it a great place for snorkeling. You may even be lucky enough to spot turtles! However, because this cenote is so popular, it can be quite busy. To avoid crowds, it’s recommended to visit the cenote as soon as the doors open at 8:00 am. The entrance fee is 500 MXN / $27.15 per person, snorkels can be rented for 100 MXN / $5.43 and there are lockers available for 40 MXN / $2.17. Grand Cenote is located around 4.5 km from Tulum, and the best way to get there is by taxi (120 MXN / $6.51) or by bicycle.

Choo-ha

If you’re looking for activities in Tulum, visiting Choo-ha cenote should definitely be on your list. It’s one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan with clear blue water and a nice temperature that’s perfect for swimming. The intimacy of the cave is also amazing to discover. The best part? Choo-ha isn’t as crowded as other cenotes, which makes for a more enjoyable experience.

To make the most of your visit, start at Grand Cenote before heading to Choo-ha. Take your time to relax in the cave and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Just be careful not to fall at the entrance, which can be narrow and steep.

Admission is 100 MXN / $5.43 per person, and you can reach Choo-ha by shuttle bus from Tulum to Cobá. From there, take a taxi to get to the cenote. And if you have time, don’t forget to check out Tankach Ha – another quiet and beautiful cenote located next to Choo-Ha.

Are you wondering what to do in Tulum? Look no further than the nearby jungle where you’ll find four stunning cenotes. With options for swimming, kayaking, zip lining, and jungle trekking, there’s something for everyone.

On a tour of these cenotes, you’ll experience all of these exciting activities. Begin with a jungle hike to Naval Cenote where you can jump into the water using a thrilling zip-line. At Pirañas Cenote, take time to swim and enjoy the natural beauty of this spectacular cenote nestled in the jungle. Then head over to Cenote Tankah where two long zip-lines await before embarking on a kayak trip to Cenote Azul – an excellent spot for admiring fish, turtles, and other underwater creatures thanks to its crystal-clear waters.

Please note that all of these activities can only be done through a tour. Check availability and pricing here to book your adventure today.

Tulum cenote
cenote Tulum

#2 Tulum Maya Ruins

If you’re looking for things to do in Tulum, the Archaeological Zone should be at the top of your list. This unique activity allows you to explore a variety of historical buildings and get up close and personal with Mayan culture.

While we loved this experience, we spoke to some travelers who didn’t enjoy it as much. To ensure that you have a great time, it’s important to prepare properly and choose the right time to visit. The Maya complex is located near the beach and offers a real “Pirates of the Caribbean” feeling. While tours are available for background information, we recommend exploring on your own as the signage provides good information.

If you want to swim in the small bay at the bottom of the temples, make sure to visit in the morning before it gets too crowded. In fact, one of our top Tulum tips is to visit at the end of the day instead of in the morning when most people tend to visit. This way, you’ll avoid large crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience. Aim to arrive at 4:00 PM for optimal timing.

To skip waiting in line, consider purchasing a skip-the-line ticket here which will allow you direct entry into Tulum Archaeological Zone. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!

Tulum Mayan ruins

Where to stay in Tulum

Beach | budget: Playa Esperanza Tulum is located just slightly away from the main beach, visitors can enjoy all of its natural beauty without any of the associated crowds and noise. Swimming, snorkeling, and lounging on the beach are all popular activities here. One good thing is that you can stay near the beach without spending a lot of money.
Beach | luxury: Villa Pescadores Tulum is located on the stunning Playa Esperanza Tulum beach. With white sand and clear blue waters, it is an ideal spot to spend your vacation. The hotel also offers a variety of activities. Staying at Villa Pescadores Tulum will provide the perfect combination of things to do and relaxation.

Centrum | budget option I: Casa Almendro has a swimming pool, big rooms with one king or two double beds, private bathrooms, and balconies overlooking the area.
Centrum | budget option II: Casa Abanico offers spacious rooms, with air conditioning and a balcony. A big advantage is that it is quietly located.

#3 Discover the best beaches in Tulum

One of the best things about Tulum’s beaches is their laid-back atmosphere and lack of large hotels. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax, there are plenty of options available whether you choose to visit a public or private beach. To make the most of your beach experience, we recommend checking out the following beaches in Tulum:

  • Playa Paraiso: the best (public) beach is Playa Paraiso. This beach has been voted the best beach in Mexico by TripAdvisor’s travel awards. This beach has beautiful white sand and blue water. You expect a lot of people here but this is not the case at all. There is enough space to find an intimate place. Bring your towel, some snacks, and drinks so you can enjoy the time;
  • Playa Ruinas: at the bottom of Tulum Archeological Zone you find a beach that is great to visit because of the environment. You need to be early to swim at this because it is not crowded yet. Also later in the day you are no longer allowed to swim here. Try to be here at 08:00 am;
  • Playa Akumal: This beach is a 30-minute drive from Tulum and is perfect for families with children. This beach has many facilities for children, turtles are often spotted in this area making it a nice place for snorkeling. For travelers without children, Playa Paraiso is more than fine;
  • Playa Las Palmas: this is also a public beach, the great advantage of this beach is that it is one of the most secluded beaches in Tulum. Because of this, you don’t see many other people here, so it’s a good place to go!

You can easily reach all beaches by taxi from the Tulum center. Costs are between 60-90 MXN / $3.26-4.89 depending on the distance. To Playa Akumal, it costs between 200-250 MXN / $10.86-13.57.

Tulum beach view

#4 Chichén Itzá and more

If you’re wondering what to do in Tulum, a visit to Chichén Itzá is a must-see. This iconic destination is one of the seven wonders of the world and features a sprawling complex with several temples.

To make the most of your visit, we recommend taking a Chichén Itzá tour which includes a knowledgeable guide who can provide valuable insights and historical context. This will help you better understand and appreciate what you see.

In addition to Chichén Itzá, many tours also include visits to Hubiku cenote and Valladolid. Hubiku cenote is famous for its unique shape and offers an opportunity to walk along the bottom and witness the awe-inspiring power of nature firsthand. Meanwhile, Valladolid is a charming colonial city that boasts a rich history and a beautiful historic center.

Having done this tour ourselves, we highly recommend it as an excellent way to experience all that this region has to offer. Check here for current prices and availability.

Chichen Itza

#5 Complete Mayan Day

If one of the reasons for you to travel to Mexico is to discover the remains of the Mayan culture, then following a complete Mayan day trip is highly recommended. On this day trip, you will visit some of the most iconic Mayan ruins in Yucatán.

The difference between activity #4 is that you also visit the archaeological site of Cobá. You do not visit the cenotes during a Mayan day. You will also visit Valladolid and Chichén Itzá.

Cobá is a complex that is built in 100-300 BC. The reason Cobá is so popular is that you can walk up to the Nohoch Mul temple, and you rise above the tree line from where you have a magnificent view of the jungle.

Besides Cobá, your visit to Valladolid and Chichén Itzá. If you would like to see a lot of the Maya, it is recommended to do this activity. However, if you prefer a varied day program, activity #4 is recommended. Check for current prices and availability here.

Coba

#6 Discover the local cuisine

If you’re looking to explore Tulum’s local cuisine, be sure to check out Burrito Amor. This popular eatery is renowned for its delicious burritos, which are a staple of the Yucatan province.

Burrito Amor boasts a lovely terrace that’s perfect for enjoying your meal. We highly recommend trying the chaya, vegetarian, and vegan burritos – all of which are packed with flavor and made with fresh ingredients. The chaya burrito features spinach, while the vegetarian option includes grilled peppers, onions, black beans, and avocado.

For meat lovers, there’s even a rib-eye burrito. Prices range is 119-199 MXN / $6.46-10.80. We have eaten a lot of burritos, and we can say that Burrito Amor serves very good burritos. You don’t need to make a reservation – enjoy.

Looking for an itinerary through Yucatan? Read more.

#7 Enjoy your time at a beach club

What could be more fun than relaxing on the beach with a cocktail and great music in the background. You can do this at one of the beach clubs in Tulum. There are a couple of beach clubs that appeal to different types of travelers. We have visited the beach clubs below and this is our experience:

  • La Eufemia: a nice place where they play great live music. Here you can find a real laid-back vibe where you can enjoy excellent tacos. There is also enough space so that you are not too close to each other;
  • Paraiso Beach: at the best public beach in Tulum you will find Paraiso Beach, this is a nice place because on the terrace you have a great view of the surroundings. We spent an afternoon on the terrace and enjoyed it. The beds on the beach were the most comfortable beds we have ever seen, we did not lie on them ourselves because we did this a bit further on the beach. However, if you are looking for a nice place to lie down, this is the place to visit;
  • Ahau Tulum: we wanted to visit the most luxurious beach club in Tulum, this is Ahau Tulum. An awesome place to see. The nice thing about this place is that they have incorporated a lot of art into the complex, especially the entrance is beautiful to see. Keep in mind that you have to spend at least 400 MXN / $21.72 for a bed, this is expensive but worth it to experience some luxury. If you like yoga or meditation you can take classes here, or ask at the reception for more information.
Tulum Beach Club
Tulum Beach Club at night

#8 Go on a safari at Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve, which means that this nature reserve is protected. Sian Ka’an is about a 30-minute drive from Tulum and can only be visited under the supervision of a guide. This water park can only visit by boat. The boat trip lasts 3 hours and you can also compare it to a sea safari.

During the sea safari, you have the chance to come into contact with special animals, such as wild dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, crocodiles, and many different types of birds. A unique experience that is highly recommended if you love nature. This tour can be done by anyone, as it requires no physical effort.

You must reserve on time for this tour, due to its popularity and the fact that the park does not allow too many people in one day. Check here for current availability.

Sian Ka'an

#9 Discover the best island in Mexico

If you’re looking for things to do in Tulum, we highly recommend taking a trip to Holbox – one of the most beautiful islands in Mexico. While we suggest staying on the island for a few days to fully experience its charm, it’s still worth visiting even if you can only spare a day.

One of the biggest draws of Holbox is its pristine beaches, which are often uncrowded and offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation and exploration. From Tulum, it’s easy to book a Holbox tour that will take you to all the best spots on the island. During the tour, you’ll have ample time to walk along the beach, enjoy some downtime at special locations, and discover hidden gems around the island.

If you’re interested in learning more about Holbox, be sure to check out our article about Holbox for all the details.

Isla Holbox viewpoint

#10 Rent a bike Tulum

Renting a bike in Tulum is a great way to explore places nearby. The big advantage is that you get to the destination a lot faster, you have all the freedom because you don’t have to use a taxi and it also saves you money.

It is a nice drive along the beach and be surprised by what you encounter. We also did this and liked it because you come across several beaches where there are almost no people. We drove from Tulum to Puente de Boca Paila, which is about 25 km cycling which takes about 75 minutes. You must take enough water with you. You pass plenty of restaurants where you can eat something.

If you love riding a bike and would like to take on a physical challenge and see a lot of the surroundings, you can cycle the same part only to Zamach or Faro de Punta Allen.

The best place to rent a bike is at Ola Bike Tulum. To rent a bike costs 200 MXN / $10.87 per day. You can reserve a bicycle via the site. If you would like to follow a bike tour, this is also possible in Tulum, read more information about a bike tour here.

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#11 Visit Cobá

If you travel to Valladolid and from there visit Chichén Itzá and you still want to visit Cobá, it is also possible to follow a tour that only visits Cobá.

Cobá is a complex that is built in 100-300 BC. The reason Cobá is so popular is that you can walk up to the Nohoch Mul temple, you rise above the tree line from where you have a magnificent view over the jungle.

The advantage of a tour that goes only to Cobá is that you also visit the cenotes nearby such as Mariposa and Chen-Ha. Check availability for the tour here.

#12 Visit the best zipline course in Mexico

If you’re looking for a thrilling and exciting activity to add to your Tulum itinerary, we highly recommend visiting Selvatica jungle zip line park. This popular attraction features 10 exhilarating zip lines that offer breathtaking views of the lush jungle surroundings.

At the end of the trail, you’ll have the option to take on the aqua zip – a refreshing experience that ends with a splash in the water below. This is definitely an optional activity, but one that we highly recommend if you’re up for a bit of adventure.

If you’re interested in visiting Selvatica jungle zip line park during your time in Tulum, be sure to check out all information here.

#13 Go snorkeling or diving in Tulum

It is one of the things to do in Tulum! Snorkeling and diving are exciting activities that allow you to explore the beautiful underwater world of coral reefs, tropical fish, and marine life. The crystal-clear waters off the coast of Tulum make it a great spot for snorkelers and divers alike. The best thing to do in Tulum is to go swimming with whale sharks. When you travel to Holbox we recommend doing this activity from there but if you are not planning to go to Holbox Tulum is a great place to take a tour to swim with whale sharks. Swimming with whale sharks is a unique experience, as these gentle giants can grow up to 12 meters in length. It is sure to be something you will never forget!

Isla Holbox whale sariks

#14 Take a Yoga Class

Tulum is known for its wellness scene, with plenty of yoga studios offering classes for all levels. Most of the studios are located near the beach, so you can enjoy a sunrise or sunset class overlooking the Caribbean Sea. If you are looking to deepen your yoga practice, there are several retreats in Tulum offering intensive training and workshops. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, Tulum is an excellent place to follow a yoga class and reconnect with yourself. We recommend going to Amansala Resort.

How many days should I stay in Tulum?

Tulum is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula. With so many exciting activities and attractions on offer, we highly recommend staying for at least 5 days (4 nights). This will give you enough time to explore all that Tulum has to offer.

For those who want a more relaxed pace and plenty of time for beach lounging, we suggest extending your stay to 6 nights. This will allow you to fully unwind and soak up all the natural beauty that Tulum has to offer.

Where to stay in Tulum?

Choosing the right area to stay in Tulum is crucial for an enjoyable and convenient vacation. You have two options: staying in the village or on the beach, each with its own advantages.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option and want to be close to restaurants and shops, staying in the village would be ideal. On the other hand, if you want to wake up to breathtaking ocean views and have access to a private beach, staying on the beach is a must.

Hotels on the beach tend to be pricier but offer unparalleled luxury and relaxation. Plus, you won’t have to venture far from your room to experience all that Tulum’s beautiful coastline has to offer.

To make your decision easier, we’ve selected two accommodations per area that offer excellent value for money. However, it’s important to note that accommodations in Tulum fill up quickly, so we recommend booking as soon as possible to secure your spot.

tulum v14

Beach | budget: Playa Esperanza Tulum is located just slightly away from the main beach, visitors can enjoy all of its natural beauty without any of the associated crowds and noise. Swimming, snorkeling, and lounging on the beach are all popular activities here. One good thing is that you can stay near the beach without spending a lot of money.

More information

Beach | luxury: Villa Pescadores Tulum is located on the stunning Playa Esperanza Tulum beach. With white sand and clear blue waters, it is an ideal spot to spend your vacation. The hotel also offers a variety of activities. Staying at Villa Pescadores Tulum will provide the perfect combination of things to do and relaxation.

More information
tulum v13

Centrum | budget option I: Casa Almendro has a swimming pool, big rooms with one king or two double beds, private bathrooms, and balconies overlooking the area.

More information

Centrum | budget option II: Casa Abanico offers spacious rooms, with air conditioning and a balcony. A big advantage is that it is quietly located.

More information

Where to eat in Tulum?

As mentioned in activity #6, our favorite place to eat is Burrito Amor. When you arrive you immediately notice that the terrace outside is great to sit on. We ordered the burritos chaya, vegetarian and vegan and they are delicious. Chaya is a spinach burrito. The vegetarian burrito comes with grilled peppers, onions, and black beans with avocado. With the vegan variant, the best variants of the chaya and vegetarian burrito are combined in a burrito. The most popular burrito is the rib eye burrito, great for people who love to eat meat.

If you are looking for a good place to have lunch that is also very healthy, Raw Love (beach) is the place to go. They serve delicious superfood bowls. The green curry bowl is also a must to try during the afternoon. Raw love has two locations in Tulum, one is located in the center of Tulum and the other is on the beach.

In the evening it is nice to have a drink at Batey. This is located on the beach where you can enjoy the environment in a laid-back way with nice music in the background. If you like mojitos this is the place for you because they are very good here!

Travel insurance

World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.

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How to get to Tulum?

Tulum is centrally located in Yucatan making it easy to travel to. Good to know that it is not possible to fly to Tulum. Tulum can only be reached by car, shuttle bus, or normal bus.

The easiest and cheapest way is to use the bus. At almost every destination in Yucatan, you can buy bus tickets. You can buy a bus ticket online or at the station at the bus company ADO. Check actual routes and prices for buses here. Tip: book your ticket in advance to be sure of a seat.

If you travel to Mexico by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

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If you are in surrounding areas such as Playa del Carmen, Merida, Valladolid, and Bacalar you can also check with the accommodation where you are staying if it is possible to buy a ticket for a shuttle bus. The accommodations where we stayed always offered this service. When you want to fly to Tulum you need to fly to Cancun and take the bus in Cancun to get to Tulum.

You can also travel in Yucatan with a car, see how long it would take to reach Tulum from some popular destinations in the overview below:

  • Cancun to Tulum: 2 hours and 15 minutes | 130 km / 80 miles
  • Playa del Carmen to Tulum: 1 hour | 65 km / 39 miles
  • Valladolid to Tulum: 1 hour and 25 minutes | 100 km / 62 miles
  • Bacalar to Tulum: 2 hours and 30 minutes | 215 km / 133 miles
Tulum best beach
Tulum at night

What is the best time to visit Tulum?

Tulum is an ideal destination for those seeking warm and sunny weather all year round. With a dry and rainy season, you can visit Tulum at any time of the year.

The months of December to March are considered the best time to visit Tulum, as the weather is typically stable with comfortable temperatures.

May is the hottest month in Tulum, with an average high temperature of 32℃ (90℉) and a low of 22℃ (72℉) at night. Conversely, January is the coolest month with an average high temperature of 29℃ (84℉) dropping to 18℃ (64℉) at night.

We visited Tulum in September and experienced perfect weather conditions. One advantage of traveling to Mexico during summer is the day is longer, giving you more time to explore this beautiful destination.

It’s important to keep in mind that during US and European school holidays in July and August, Tulum tends to be busier than usual, resulting in higher prices for accommodations and activities.

What to do in Tulum FAQ

1. Things to do in Tulum at night?

When it comes to evening entertainment in Tulum, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed beach bar or an all-night party scene, Tulum has got you covered.

One of our top picks is Nomade, a stunning beach club with Moroccan-inspired decor that perfectly complements the breathtaking ocean views. This spot is perfect for relaxing with a drink and soaking up the atmosphere while listening to live music. It’s also ideal for couples seeking a romantic evening out.

If you’re up for some late-night fun, head over to Aldea Zama in the old part of Tulum. Here you’ll find a lively bar. And if you happen to be in town on a Saturday night, don’t miss the chance to attend Papaya Playa Project’s full moon party.

Want to see more of Mexico?

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into what Tulum has to offer, including where to stay and some helpful tips for your trip.

After exploring Tulum, we highly recommend adding Bacalar to your Yucatan itinerary. This stunning destination boasts crystal-clear waters and is perfect for swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing on the beach. Check out our guide on things to do in Bacalar for more inspiration.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an authentic Mexican experience that’s off the beaten path, go visit Valladolid. This charming town offers a glimpse into traditional Mexican culture and is less frequently visited by tourists than other popular destinations.

No matter where your travels take you next, we hope you have an incredible time exploring all that Mexico has to offer!

What do you think of Tulum? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!

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Hello, we are Cynthia & Alexander, the team behind Travel Your Memories! Traveling is our passion. When it comes to exploration, we love sharing our tips and adventures to inspire you. Welcome to Travel Your Memories, where we share our love for travel with you! Read our story.

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