Tulum is located on the coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a beautiful coastal town with miles of beaches in the Riveria Maya. It’s well known for its Mayan history, luxurious resorts, authentic Mexican food, and snorkeling in the Mesoamerican Reef.
What to do in Tulum
Visit the Tulum Ruins
Tulum was once a walled city and a major seaport inhabited by the Mayans. The Tulum ruins are made of limestone and are located on a 39-foot tall cliff. There are many mysteries as to why it was walled in, but visiting the site allows you to use your imagination as to what the Mayan city once was in the 15th century. Visiting the ruins is a great day trip to explore the historical site and wonder what the city was like thousands of years ago. While visiting the ruins, climb up the castle for amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. Visit the murals in the temple and take a walk on the beach for a great day adventure.
Tulum is located on the coast of the second biggest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. Visit the Sian Ka’an Reserve which is in the reef for a beautiful day of exploring Tulum’s natural beauty. Another great experience is to snorkel inside a cenote which is a body of fresh water from underground rivers and streams. Some cenotes are in caves and easily accessible with incredible underwater visibility. If you want to swim near sea turtles, make a day a trip to Akumal which is located 16 miles north of Tulum for an amazing snorkeling experience.
Xel Ha Aquatic Theme Park
Spend a day at Xel Ha which is a beautiful aquatic theme park with so much to see and do and it’s less than 20 minutes from Tulum. It’s centered in a natural inlet and lagoon that connects to the ocean through a river. With over 100 hundred different species, there is so much to experience when swimming or snorkeling in cenotes or on the reef. You can also swim with dolphins, check out the sharks, and watch turtles swim at the reserve. It’s a great opportunity to see mangroves, cenotes, and jungle trails all in one perfect day trip.
Where to stay in Tulum
There are a few main places to stay in Tulum. The first and most expensive is the private beach area where hotels cost $200 minimum per night. For the price, you’ll most likely wake up right on the beach and can get straight to relaxing and enjoying the Caribbean sun. On the hotel strip of Tulum, there are lots of shops and restaurants within walking distance.
Be Tulum is a hotel and spa on the beach. It’s an adults-only luxurious location in the middle of the hotel strip. It has many restaurants, bars, pools, and hot tubs that would make a great spot for lounging on the beach and relaxing.
A cheaper option is to stay on Tulum’s public beaches rather than on the hotel strip of private beaches. It won’t be as luxurious, but it will be much less expensive for a similar experience. Diamate K is closer to the ruins and it’s still an exclusive and private hotel. It’s located in a unique spot between the jungle and the ocean. The hotel runs on solar energy and it’s a great place to relax and unwind while still getting to explore the natural wonders of Tulum. The hotel has amazing oceanfront bungalows and cottages, a restaurant right on the water, and offers great services such as massages and yoga.
If you want a more authentic experience, staying right in town will be less expensive but won’t have the added plus of waking up to the sound of the ocean. There are some Airbnb options but it’s a less popular accommodation in Tulum.
Central Park Lagunas
Staying in the city will give you the most culturally enhanced experience to explore the town but still be close to the water. Central Park Lagunas is a great hotel in the city that uses sustainable technologies with a private pool, gym, and spa options. It’s very modern and has great views of the jungle.
The price for each of these hotels will vary depending on your party size and what level of luxury you’re looking for. If you’re in need of a relaxing vacation, a private beach hotel or resort is your best option. If you’re looking for an authentic experience to immerse yourself in the culture, staying in town will allow you to visit local restaurants and shops that are less commercialized than those on the hotel strip. Depending on your budget, you can enjoy Tulum from any location you choose. There are many hotels and different accommodations in Tulum that will be perfect for your stay in the city.
Where to eat in Tulum
Chamicos is a restaurant about 25 minutes north of Tulum but it delivers amazing food at an inexpensive price. The food is authentic and cooked on a wood fire grill in a quaint little beach shack.
Another great option is Taqueria Honori where you must try the famous cochinita pibil tacos. They also make some great breakfast tacos and it’s right near the hotel strip so it’s an easy destination.
A more hidden gem is Don Beto right down the street. It’s not a fancy place but that’s what makes it so authentic.
Antojitos la Chiapaneca
If you get the chance, you should also try Antojitos la Chiapaneca which has tacos for roughly 50 cents each! It’s a little street-side vendor with a small but mighty menu.
Tulum is a great place to visit for both the vacationers looking for a sandy week of relaxation as well as the adventurers who want to experience ancient ruins, authentic Mexican food, and the bluest of oceans.