Once a sleepy fishing village, today Tulum is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. The incredible white sand beaches and jungle adventures are certainly activities to do in their own right, and we’ll talk more about them below. But on top of that, there’s so many more things to do in Tulum including Mayan ruins and the countless cenotes. With so much on offer, it’s hard to narrow it down, but here is a list of the six best things to do in Tulum!
1. Explore the cenotes
Cenotes are caves or sinkholes, usually found in sedimentary limestone rock that are filled with crystal clear water. In Mexico, there are about 6,000 cenotes, and the best ones are here in the Yucatán! They’re a great way to seek shelter from the Mexican sunshine, since the water comes from underground and makes for a refreshing cool dip. Some great cenotes to explore in Tulum include the ever-popular Gran Cenote with its collection of an open-air cenote, caves and caverns. It can get crowded as the day progresses, so try to get here early! If you prefer not to share, Cenote Choo-ha near the Coba ruins is an underground cenote that’s less popular, but not any less beautiful or amazing. In general, the cenotes in Coba are less visited by tourists, so they are great for those who wanna get away from the crowd!
2. Check out ancient Mayan ruins
The Mayan ruins are the greatest cultural and historical things to do in Tulum. The town is within driving distance to several archaeological sites, such as the Chichen-Itza, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Other ancient ruins that are worth a visit include Tulum Archaeological Zone and Nohoch Mul Pyramid. Try to make your visits early, as the midday gets unbearably hot, and the hordes of people will not make you feel any better. Visiting the ruins is best at the start of the day, where you can wander in silence without tons of tourists around.
3. Spend time on the beach
Tulum’s beaches are really spectacular with its white sand, turquoise waters and pastel sunsets. And hanging out on the beach is one of the must-do things here! One of the best ways to get full access to the beach and be steps away from the water is to stay in a beachfront hotel. If you have some cash to spare, Papaya Playa Project has beautiful rooms with private plunge pools. If you’re not staying at a beachfront property, you can also hang out at a beach club such as Ahau Tulum, Taboo Tulum, and Mia Restaurant & Beach Club. And if you’re doing Tulum on the cheap, bring your own towels, snacks and drinks and head for one of Tulum’s public beaches at Las Palmas, Playa Paraiso or Playa Ruinas.
4. Take a yoga class (or two)
The yoga scene in Tulum is alive and thriving, making it a haven for all levels of yogis. You can find everything from luxurious beachfront studios, to laidback hippie shalas. It’s the perfect place to deepen your practice, or even try out something new like a cacao ceremony, meditation session or sweat it out in a vinyasa class. Some yoga studios we love include Sanará Studio, Holistika Tulum, Amansala and Yaan Wellness Energy Healing Spa.
5. Experience a temazcal ceremony
Temazcal ceremonies date back to almost 1,000 years ago. They are essentially sweat lodges for the mind, spirit and body. These ceremonies are led by shamans, who guide participants in a special meditation session. Traditional chants, prayers and intentions are also involved during the ceremony. The shaman will throw herbs and water on hot stones to produce steam and in addition to sweating it out, the ceremony is also said to purify individuals on a deeper level and help them be more aware of their inner consciousness. Whether you’re the spiritual kind or not, temazcal ceremonies are a great way to participate and experience the local culture!
6. Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a protected area south of Tulum, home to thousands of flora and fauna. With a name that means ‘where the sky is born’, you know you’re in for a good time. It’s a great spot for eco-conscious travellers who really want to experience the magic of the Mayan jungle. Not to mention, you’ll also get the chance to spot turtles, dolphins, and more fishes and birds than you can count! The reserve is pretty massive, so you’ll need to pick one of the two main areas to explore, either Punta Allen or Muyil. The road through the park is also rather rough, so it’s best to rent a 4×4 or join a day tour.