Looking for unique things to do in Tulum? You’re in the right place! 

I must confess that I’m absolutely in love with Tulum. Having visited multiple times, I can confidently say that it’s one of the best beach destinations in Mexico.

There are so many things to do that I know how difficult it can be to choose the best ones to make the most of your time in Tulum. This article lists the best of the best, both on and off the beaten path.

⭐ Make the most of Tulum with this amazing Tulum guided tour including cenotes, Tulum ruins, lagoon snorkeling, lunch, and round-trip hotel transport!

Tulum Ruins overlooking the Caribbean, one of Mexico's most incredible Mayan ruins

Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum has stunning cenotes and amazing snorkeling spots that are just perfect for anyone who loves to be close to nature. Additionally, Tulum is a Yucatan Pueblo Magico, which is given only to Mexican towns with a unique cultural charm. 

For breakfast, you can stop by one of Tulum’s many cafes that serve delicious, authentic Mexican meals. And don’t forget to try out the best tacos in Tulum, which are simply amazing. 

Finally, explore Tulum Mayan Ruins – one of Tulum’s most iconic attractions, located on an idyllic cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. 

Ready to get to the list of the 20 best things to do in Tulum? Let’s dive in!

Unique Things to Do in Tulum

1. Best tacos in Tulum

If you’re a fan of tacos, then you’re in for a treat in Tulum. With so many delicious taco stands and restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. 

The best way to discover the best tacos in Tulum is by exploring the town’s Downtown area and eating where the locals do.

During my travels in Tulum, I had the opportunity to try some of the best tacos in town at a few local favorites. 

Tacos of different types with salsas and lime on a wooden table

One of my top recommendations is Taqueria Honorio, an unassuming taqueria that serves up some of the most mouthwatering tacos I’ve ever had.

The meats are grilled to perfection and the tortillas are made fresh daily, making for an unforgettable taco experience. (Don’t forget to try their tacos al pastor!)

Another must-try taco spot is Antojitos La Chiapaneca, located in the heart of Tulum’s Downtown area. This popular taco stand serves up a variety of delicious and affordable tacos, from traditional pork and beef to unique vegetarian and vegan options like nopal (cactus).

Don’t be afraid to try new things, as many of Tulum’s taco stands offer unique and unexpected ingredients that are sure to delight your taste buds.

2. Gran Cenote 

If you’re looking for an awesome spot to cool down under the hot Mexican sun, consider a visit to Gran Cenote, one of the most stunning cenotes in Tulum

This cenote actually consists of two pools, sunk deep into the ground and open to the jungle and sky above. 

The first pool is quite large and deep, with jaw-dropping stalagmites creating a dreamy underwater world

Be sure to grab a snorkel- not only are there stunning light beams under the water’s surface, but it’s also a good place to spot wildlife! For example, you’ll find dozens of colorful turtles, fish, and blue crabs swimming through the clear, azure waters. 

Stalactites falling into the clear water of the Gran Cenote, one of the most beautiful cenotes in Tulum.

To reach the second pool, you’ll need to swim through a small cave, dripping with stalactites and full of chirping bats. 

On the other side, you’ll find a much shallower pool, that’s perfect for taking a break from swimming and wading around in its cool waters. 

Gran Cenote is located a short 15-minute bicycle ride from downtown Tulum

One thing to plan for, though—to protect the cenote’s fragile ecosystem, you cannot wear sunscreen during your visit.

So to make your visit as pleasant (and free of sunburn) as possible, visit in the morning- not only will the harsh sun rays be less intense, but it’ll also be less crowded!

Contributed by Jessica Schmit from Uprooted Traveler who recommends Tulum because of its beautiful cenotes. 

⭐ BEST Tulum Cenote TOURS

3. Tulum Ruins 

No trip to Tulum is complete without a visit to the archaeological site to see some of the most magnificent Mayan ruins located in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

During its heyday, Tulum was the port city of the nearby Coba (where amazing Coba ruins are located). Protected by walls and its position above the Caribbean, Tulum was quite the imposing site. 

Abandoned almost a century after the Spanish arrived, today Tulum Ruins are one of the best sites to see Mayan coastal architecture at its peak.

The best time of day for visiting is early in the morning before the heat of the day takes hold. This is because there is a lot of walking to do here in order to be able to see the entire park and all of the site’s most prominent buildings.

One of the palaces over the sea of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, a must to visit in Tulum

When deciding what to wear to the Tulum ruins, plan for a hot day. Grab a travel umbrella if the forecast calls for rain, especially if you are traveling during the rainy season.

 And above all else, wear comfortable, sturdy shoes that are well broken in. You don’t want blisters ruining your morning (pun intended!).

Booking a guided tour ahead of time is a great option if you are interested in the history, as there aren’t many interpretive signs or information available once you arrive. 

This preserves the beauty of the site and makes a guide a near-necessity.

👉 Check the availability of the Tulum Ruins tour here

Contributed by Stephanie Craig from History Fangirl who recommends Tulum because of its unique Mayan ruins.

4. Try street food in Tulum 

One of the most unique and authentic ways to experience the flavors of Tulum is by exploring the town’s vibrant street food scene

From traditional tacos to sweet churros, Tulum’s street food is a true reflection of the area’s rich culinary traditions and cultural heritage.

One of the best ways to discover the town’s street food stands and local favorites is by booking a food tour

One of the most popular and authentic food tours in Tulum is this walking tour led by a local guide, where you’ll get the chance to try all sorts of traditional dishes, from tacos to tamales to traditional desserts. 

Travelers tasting Street Food Tacos, one of the best things to do in Tulum

This tour is a fantastic way to get a taste of Tulum’s diverse culinary offerings and discover hidden gems that you might not find on your own.

During my food tour experience, I tried some of the best tacos in Tulum, made with fresh and flavorful ingredients like locally sourced meats and handmade tortillas. 

I also discovered the delicious flavors of churros and elote, two popular street food snacks in Tulum that are not to be missed.

When exploring Tulum’s street food scene, say hydrated and bring plenty of cash, as many street food stands don’t accept credit cards. 

5. Snorkeling in Tulum

Snorkeling in Tulum is an experience like no other and one of the best things to do in Mexico. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and an array of colorful marine life, Tulum is a snorkeler’s paradise

Located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum boasts some of the best snorkeling spots in the world, with unique features like underground rivers, cenotes, and sea caves.

One of the most popular snorkeling spots in Tulum is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world, stretching over 600 miles from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to Honduras. 

Here, snorkelers can encounter diverse marine life, including sea turtles, rays, colorful fish, and even the occasional nurse shark.

Clear blue water under the stalactites of Dos Ojos cenote, one of the best cenotes to see in Tulum

Another popular snorkeling spot is the Dos Ojos cenote, which translates to “Two Eyes” in Spanish, as it is actually two separate cenotes connected by a cavern. 

The clear blue waters of the cenote offer incredible visibility, allowing snorkelers to explore the intricate rock formations and stalactites that have formed over thousands of years.

For those looking for a more unique snorkeling experience, the Casa Cenote offers a rare opportunity to snorkel in crystal clear water, where fresh and saltwater mix. 

This creates a unique ecosystem with various fish, mangrove trees, and other rare flora and fauna.

Contributed by Victoria Heinz from Guide Your Travel who recommends Tulum because of its beautiful marine life and snorkeling spots. 

6. Kayaking in Tulum

Kayaking in Tulum is one of the most unique and exciting ways to explore the stunning natural beauty of the town’s coastline. 

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the area’s crystal-clear waters, hidden cenotes, and stunning mangrove forests.

One of the most popular kayaking spots in Tulum is Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

This protected area is home to a diverse array of marine life and stunning coral reefs, making it the perfect spot for snorkeling and kayaking. 

Front of a boat sailing through the mangroves of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, one of Tulum's hidden gems

Kayaking through the mangrove forests and lagoons is an incredible way to experience the reserve’s unique ecosystem and learn about the area’s wildlife and conservation efforts.

Personally, it was one of the most beautiful experiences I had when I traveled to Tulum. To be able to go into the mangroves and be so close to nature was amazing!

👉 Make the most of Sian Ka’an with this amazing kayaking tour of the reserve and its wildlife!

Another popular kayaking spot in Tulum is Muyil, an ancient Mayan site that’s home to a network of canals and waterways. 

Kayaking through the canals is a unique and serene way to explore the site’s ruins and get a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural history.

When planning a kayaking trip in Tulum, always wear biodegradable sunscreen and a hat, bring plenty of water, and avoid damaging or disturbing the area’s fragile ecosystems.

7. Breakfast in Tulum

When it comes to food in Tulum, breakfast is a meal not to be missed. From traditional Mexican fare to healthy smoothie bowls, there’s something to suit every taste and preference. 

Breakfast in Tulum is a unique experience that’s not just about the food – it’s about the ambiance and atmosphere too.

One of the best spots for breakfast in Tulum is Botanica Garden Café, a charming and peaceful oasis in the heart of Tulum town.

This cozy cafe is known for its healthy and delicious breakfast offerings, including fresh smoothie bowls, avocado toast, and homemade granola. The cafe’s lush garden setting and friendly staff make for a truly relaxing breakfast experience.

Avocado Tartin on a wooden table at Botanica Garden Café, one of the best places in Tulum for breakfast
Botanica Garden Café image via facebook

Another popular spot for breakfast in Tulum is the charming Ki’Bok Coffee. This cozy cafe serves up delicious coffee and pastries, as well as healthy smoothie bowls and breakfast sandwiches. The cafe’s lush garden setting and friendly atmosphere make it the perfect spot to start your day in Tulum.

If you are looking for a typical Mexican breakfast, I recommend Taqueria Honorio (one of my favorite taquerias in Tulum). This local taqueria serves up some of the best tacos in Tulum, including a variety of breakfast tacos.

From classic egg and chorizo tacos to more unique options like cactus and cheese, Taqueria Honorio is a must-visit for anyone looking to try authentic Mexican cuisine.

Here’s one of my top breakfast in Tulum tips: When planning a breakfast outing in Tulum, it’s a good idea to arrive early or make a reservation in advance. And be sure to bring cash, as some of the best restaurants may not accept credit cards.

8. Swim in Kaan Luum Lagoon, one of the most unique things to do in Tulum

Kaan Luum Lagoon is a hidden gem located just outside of Tulum that’s definitely worth a visit. 

This stunning natural pool is known for its crystal clear turquoise waters and unique underwater cenote. Kaan Luum Lagoon is the perfect spot to relax, swim, and soak up the beauty of nature.

One of the most unique features of Laguna de Kaan Luum is its underwater cenote, which can be explored by diving or snorkeling. 

Kaan Luum Lagoon is one of the most unique things to do in Tulum

This mystical underground cave in Riviera Maya is filled with stalactites and stalagmites and provides an unforgettable and surreal experience for those brave enough to venture beneath the surface.

In addition to its stunning natural beauty, this lagoon is also a great spot for outdoor activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. Kaan Luum is surrounded by dense jungle, and the tranquil waters provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day on the water.

Here’s one of my top tips when visiting Kaan Luum: The lagoon is a bit off the beaten path, so it’s recommended to either rent a car or book this tour to get there.

Entrance fee: $300 pesos (~$15 USD) Be sure to bring cash! 

9. Tulum Street Art 

Tulum is a vibrant and creative town that’s known for its stunning street art. From colorful murals to intricate graffiti, the streets of Downtown Tulum are filled with unique works of art that showcase the town’s unique culture and history.

As someone who loves street art, I was blown away by the incredible murals that can be found throughout Tulum

Many of the murals feature local wildlife and flora, as well as nods to the town’s ancient Mayan heritage. These stunning works of art are not only visually striking but also provide a glimpse into the town’s rich cultural history.

Mural in Tulum of 3 black-haired Mexican girls in colorful costumes on a yellow wall

Exploring Tulum’s street art scene is a great way to get to know the town and its people. Many of the murals are located in residential areas, so you’ll have the chance to see the town from a different perspective and interact with locals along the way.

When you visit Downtown Tulum’s murals, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water, as Tulum’s streets are hot and humid.

Some murals are separated from each other, and I visited them all on foot, but since it is so hot, it might be a good idea to rent a bike.

10. Playa Paraiso, one of the best beaches in Tulum

Playa Paraiso in Mexico should be your next stop for the perfect beach getaway. From the moment you will step foot on this beach, you’ll understand why it’s worth visiting.

It’s located only 7 kilometers from the center of Tulum, south of the Maya preserve. There’s a good chance you will be staying nearby.

With pristine white sand, crystal blue waters, palm trees, and postcard-worthy sunsets, Playa Paraiso is one of the most beautiful beach destinations in Mexico.

A turquoise and white boat on the turquoise water of Playa Paraiso, one of the best places to visit in Tulum

Not only can you relax and enjoy some downtime, but you can swim in warm and clear water. You can also do snorkeling to explore the underwater world of Paraiso Beach.

Last but not least, with a variety of beachfront bars and restaurants, you can have a cocktail or fresh seafood at any time of the day. 

Yes, Playa Paraiso is not just a good beach: it has it all!

Contributed by Soline of On the Road Diary, who recommends Tulum because of its lovely Mexican vibe and beautiful beaches.

11. Cenote Calavera

Also known as the “Temple of Doom,” Cenote Calavera is an underground cave system with an eerie atmosphere and unique features. 

The main draw of Cenote Calavera is its three separate entrances that look like eye sockets in a skull. The depth ranges from two to ten meters deep, and there are plenty of ledges where you can sit and take in your surroundings or jump off for some fun.

If you want to beat the crowds and have this natural wonder all to yourself, the best time to go is early in the morning. The cenote opens at 8 am and falls in line at the entrance before that time.

Impressive cenote Calavera with stairs to go down to the water, one of the cool things to do in Tulum

Cenote Calavera is located just 5 km from Tulum Centro. To get there, your best bet is renting a bike or scooter. It’s not only more affordable than taking a taxi but also allows you to have a comfortable ride if scooters or bicycles are not for you. 

The fare prices vary depending on how long you rent them for: bicycles can cost anywhere from $10-15 USD per day, while scooters range from $25-35 USD per day.

For taxis, make sure to haggle with the taxi drivers at Tulum Centro and don’t pay more than $50 USD.

The entrance fee to Cenote Calavera is $100 MXN ($5 USD). Bring cash as they don’t accept credit cards.

Contributed by Cenote Calavera by Trisha Velarmino who recommends Tulum because of its beautiful cenotes.

12. Tulum Photo Spots 

Tulum is one of the most picturesque vacation spots in Mexico, and if you’re looking for a destination with incredible visual appeal that will wow your Instagram followers, this is it.

Start your photoshoot trip by paying a visit to the impressive Ven a la Luz 10-meter-tall sculpture

Note about Ven a la Luz: the sculpture was accessible to the public for free as the entrance to the Ahau Hotel. However, due to the disruption caused by photographers to the traffic, the hotel decided to establish the Ahau Tulum Sculpture Park, with the structure now serving as the centerpiece of the park.

Along the main road of Zona Hotelera, you can also find the most famous road sign in Tulum that says, “Follow that dream,” and a picture-perfect cafe – Matcha Mama, where you can snap the perfect photo and have a beautiful smoothie bowl for breakfast.

Matcha Mama is one of the unique places in Tulum to have smoothies and breakfasts
Matcha Mama image via facebook

If you have the budget, visit some of Tulum’s chic beach clubs, which are the beach boho heaven and the perfect inspiration for creative photography. 

Some of the best ones are Vegalume, Selina, and Roc Luxe. To enter any of these beach clubs, there is a minimum spend that varies from $50 up to $100 per person.

If that’s above your budget, then simply take a shot at their entrances, which are Instagrammable in their own right!

Other picturesque places in Tulum include Tulum ruins, Cenote Calavera and Gran Cenote.

The best time for photographing Tulum Instagram spots is early in the morning, both for the best light and to avoid queuing and people photobombing your shots.

Contributed by Mal of Raw Mal Roams who recommends Tulum because of its cool Instagram Spots.

13. Mexican cooking class 

If you love learning more about different cultures through their food or are an adventurous traveler who loves Mexican food (um… who doesn’t?!) then going to a Mexican cooking class is one of the best things to do in Tulum

Not only will this help you understand and appreciate Mexican culture more, but it’s really educational, unique, and fun too!

Get immersed in Mexican culinary history along with learning the staple ingredients and traditional recipes so you can bring a little bit of Mexico home with you and impress your family and friends with your newly-acquired Mexican cooking skills!

Mexican traditional food including guacamole, pico de gallo and enchiladas to try in Tulum

The Rivera Kitchen Tulum share their family recipes with you in their classes – which take place in the comfort of their home. They’ll bring you to their home where you’ll help prepare a 5-course meal. Once you’ve finished cooking you’ll of course get to enjoy eating the delicious meal along with a beer and mezcal – perfecto!

👉 You can check the cooking class availability here

Make sure to get some photos of the fun to post to social media, along with a great Tulum caption!

At $87 USD per person, this is a great activity in Tulum that you are sure to enjoy if you’re able to peel yourself away from the beaches and cenotes in Tulum, or if you want to have a break from the weather! 

There’s no best time to do the cooking class – just whatever day you feel like and they have it available on their website to book!

Contributed by Catrina of 24 Hours Layover who recommends Tulum because of its delicious food.

14. Tulum beach 

Tulum Beach in Mexico is a stunning getaway destination. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum has some of the best beaches in the world

The white sand and crystal blue waters are so inviting that it’s easy to see why this beach is one of the most popular destinations for travelers. 

The beach is also home to the iconic Tulum ruins, and there is a lovely restaurant. Enjoy fresh seafood and delicious Mexican cuisine here. You’ll also find here some of the best beach clubs in Tulum, like Papaya Playa Project or Vagalume. 

This beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the sunshine with family or friends. There are plenty of beach activities to keep everyone entertained, including snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving.

You can also take this amazing guided tour to ancient Mayan ruins located nearby or guided water excursions.

Swimming in Tulum beach is one of the unique things to do in Tulum

Don’t forget your swimsuit, as Tulum Beach is one of my favorite places to go swimming in the Caribbean Sea. 

Without indulging in water activities, you can still have a good time at Tulum Beach, walking the shore, relaxing on the sand, and soaking in the sun! 

The best time to visit Tulum Beach is from December to April when the weather is nice and warm and there is no seaweed. During this time yoga retreats and multi-day music festivals also take place!

If you’re looking for an escape from everyday life Tulum Beach is the place to be; besides, it’s one of the top free things to do in Tulum.

Contributed by Stephanie from Bey Of Travel who recommends Tulum because of its amazing beaches and marine life.

15. Glamping in Tulum 

One of the unique things to do in Tulum is to book at least one of your nights at a glamping location. Tulum’s natural beauty, eco-friendly vibe, and tropical climate make it an ideal location for glamping in Mexico.

Whether you are on a Yucatan road trip to Merida, Cancun, and Cozumel and including Tulum, or your entire vacation will take place in Tulum; glamping is a great way to connect with travelers

⭐ Two great options for glamping in Tulum are Harmony Glamping Tulum and Serena Tulum.

Harmony Glamping Boutique Hotel and Yoga is located just 0.7 miles from the center of Tulum. This charming boutique hotel offers both traditional hotel rooms and glamping tents, providing visitors with a range of options for their stay. 

The hotel features a pool, outside bathrooms and shower, bike rental, and shares a garden with a café that hosts yoga classes and serves food until 11 pm.

👉 Check prices and availability here

Serena Tulum is another excellent option for those interested in glamping. This secluded and fabulous location is situated just outside the jungle and within walking distance of many great restaurants and beach clubs. 

The property offers nightly bonfire pits, a yoga studio, and a rooftop area for relaxation. Guests can enjoy a quiet and peaceful vacation away from the loud clubs and bars, while still being near the beach and other attractions.

👉 Check prices and availability here.

Contributed by Alexa from 52 Perfect Days who recommends Tulum because of its unique accommodation and glamping.

16. The Real Coconut – Amber Haggerty

Located within the Sanara Hotel in the Hotel Zone is The Real Coconut, a must-visit restaurant in Tulum

The Real Coconut is the perfect place to go if you’re needing to squeeze in some self-care while on your vacation and looking for a break from some of the heavier menus in Tulum. 

Not only do they have plenty of fresh and healthy ingredients, the space is delightfully laid back and set right on the beach, with comfortable seating and fabulous views of the ocean

Although you’ll find great menu options for every meal, breakfast, and lunch sittings during the week are the most relaxing time to visit.

There’s often not a strong cell signal when you’re on the beach, so you can log in to the WIFI to fire off a few emails while you sip a creamy vegan smoothie.

The Real Coconut in Sanara Hotel right on the beach with hammocks and day beds, a unique place to eat in Tulum
The Real Coconut in Sanara Hotel

The Real Coconut’s entire menu is gluten-free and grain-free, ideal for anyone with a gluten allergy. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, too, so your entire group will be able to find something to eat.

You’ll want to be sure to try their coconut tortillas, an espresso smoothie, and the ceviche if you eat fish. 

Even people who aren’t particularly drawn to healthy or gluten-free food will appreciate the flavorful and creative takes you’ll find at the Real Coconut. 

The cocktails are also tasty, if you’re around later in the day.

Contributed by Amber from Amber Everywhere who recommends Tulum because of its delicious food and cool restaurants.

17. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one of the most popular tours in Tulum.

It’s one of the largest biosphere reserves in Mexico that covers 528,000 hectares, including a portion of the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest reef in the world). 

If you want to escape the busy Tulum and spend time in nature, this is one of the best places to visit in Mexico’s Rivera Maya.

The biosphere is a popular destination for wildlife watching as it’s home to many animals including monkeys, manatees, dolphins, dozens of species of birds, and even crocodiles.

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the biggest protected habitats in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Sian Ka’an means “Entrance to the Sky” in the Mayan language.

A boat and a dolphin in Sian Ka’an Biosphere

You can visit Sian Ka’an only with a guided tour, because of its protected status. You can book this amazing tour online or on the spot with one of the tour agencies in Tulum. 

When looking for a tour, you can choose from a variety of options as some tours of Sian Ka’an also include stops at the Muyil Mayan Ruins, while others offer snorkeling and kayaking options and floating in the canals. 

Your tour will pick you up in Tulum and take most of the day before bringing you back in the late afternoon. 

👉 Make the most of Sian Ka’an with this amazing kayaking tour of the reserve and its wildlife!

Don’t forget to wear reef-safe sunscreen and avoid wearing any perfumes or cosmetics which can be harmful to the ecosystem of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Contributed by Daria from The Discovery Nut who recommends Tulum because of its beautiful nature and biosphere.

18. Tulum Cave diving

Did you know that Tulum is one of the best destinations in Mexico for cave diving

It’s an adrenaline-fueled activity that attracts thrill-seekers and diving enthusiasts from all over the world.

With crystal-clear water and a vast network of underground rivers and cenotes, Tulum is the perfect destination for cave diving

There are several different caves to explore, each with its own unique features and challenges. From the ancient Dos Ojos Cenote to the otherworldly beauty of the Angelita Cenote, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring sights to discover.

Diver diving among the Angelita Cenote caves in Tulum

But before you head out to explore these underwater caves, there are a few things to keep in mind

  • First and foremost, safety is key. Make sure you go with a certified guide and use proper equipment. The caves can be quite challenging, so it’s important to be in good physical shape and have some diving experience under your belt.
  • Another tip is to bring a waterproof camera to capture the incredible beauty of the caves. And don’t forget to pack a wetsuit, as the water can be chilly even in the warmer months.

Overall, cave diving in Tulum is a truly unique and exhilarating experience that’s not to be missed. 

So if you’re a diving enthusiast looking for a new challenge, make sure to add it to your Tulum itinerary!

19. Visit Chichen Itza from Tulum

If you’re looking to explore more of the Riviera Maya region beyond Tulum, a day trip to Chichen Itza is a must-see

Located just a few hours from Tulum, Chichen Itza is one of the most famous and well-preserved archaeological sites in Mexico, showcasing the ancient Mayan civilization’s incredible architectural and cultural achievements.

During my visit to Chichen Itza from Tulum, I was able to witness firsthand the awe-inspiring beauty of the famous pyramid of Kukulcán (known as El Castillo), and other incredible structures like the Temple of the Warriors and the Ball Court. 

Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza, one of the best day trips from Tulum

With an expert guide, I learned about the fascinating history and culture of the Mayan people and gained a deeper appreciation for their incredible achievements.

In addition to visiting Chichen Itza, my day trip also included stops at some of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya region.

These natural swimming holes offer crystal-clear waters and breathtaking scenery, making for a refreshing and unforgettable experience.

If you’re planning a day trip from Tulum to Chichen Itza, be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes, as the site can get quite hot and crowded. 

👉 Make the most of Chichen Itza with this amazing day tour from Tulum that includes a cenote, lunch, and Hotel pickup and drop-off!

Booking this tour will help you get the most out of your visit, with knowledgeable guides and comfortable transportation. Chichen Itza is definitely one of the best day trips from Tulum!

20. Visit Yal-Ku Lagoon

One of the most unique attractions close to Tulum is the Yal-Ku Lagoon. This stunning lagoon is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Riviera Maya in a unique way.

Located just a short drive from Tulum Pueblo, Yal-Ku Lagoon is a natural wonder that’s home to a wide variety of marine life. You can snorkel in the clear, calm waters and see colorful fish, sea turtles, and even stingrays up close. 

The lagoon is surrounded by lush jungle foliage and dotted with rocky outcroppings, making for a stunning backdrop for any adventure.

The beautiful landscape of Yal-Ku Lagoon with turquoise waters, surrounded by vegetation, one of the unique things to do in Tulum off the Beaten Path

But the Yal-Ku Lagoon isn’t just a great spot for snorkeling. You can also do some water sports like renting kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to explore the lagoon at your own pace.

There are also plenty of spots to relax and soak up the sun or enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the serene beauty of the lagoon.

Here’s one of my top tips for visiting Yal-Ku Lagoon: Bring your own snorkeling gear or rent it on-site, and wear coral and seabed-friendly sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Wrap Up: Best things to do in Tulum

Tulum is truly a gem of a town, with so many unique things to do that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

From exploring ancient Mayan ruins to swimming in crystal-clear cenotes, there’s no shortage of adventures waiting for you here.

But beyond the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, there’s also a certain vibe that sets Tulum apart from other beach towns in Mexico. 

Woman on a swing on Tulum beach

Maybe it’s the laid-back atmosphere, the friendly locals, or the bohemian-chic vibe that permeates everything here. Whatever it is, I fell in love with Tulum from the moment I arrived, and I’m sure you will too.

So, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a solo adventure, or a fun-filled vacation, Tulum is one of the best towns to visit in Mexico. Trust me, it’s worth the trip!

FAQ about Traveling to Tulum & What to do

What is Tulum best known for?

Tulum mayan ruins

Tulum is best known for its stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and eco-chic style.

It’s also popular for its zen vibes, cenotes (underwater cave systems), wildlife sanctuaries and adventurous activities like snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing and more. Tulum offers travelers the perfect blend of nature, culture and relaxation.

How many days do you need in Tulum?

You need at least 3 days to visit the highlights of Tulum. If you also want to do a tour of the Sian Ka’an reserve, you will need an extra day.

However, if you want a more relaxing vacation with yoga classes and spa treatments then longer stays up to a week can be beneficial.

What is the best month to visit Tulum?

The best month to visit Tulum is November through May.

What are three facts about Tulum?

1. Tulum is known for its stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and eco-chic style.

2. There are plenty of unique things to do in Tulum such as snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing, and more.

3. The best time to visit Tulum depends on whether you want higher prices but warmer temperatures (peak season from June through October) or a quieter atmosphere with perfect weather for outdoor activities (low season from November until May).

What are the best things to do in Tulum at night?

Some of the best things to do in Tulum at night include beach bonfires, romantic walks on the beach, stargazing, music performances and shows, and visiting rooftop bars.

There are also plenty of delicious restaurants and vibrant nightlife spots that offer unique ways to experience this beautiful city after dark.

What are the best things to do in Tulum for couples?

Couple playing on Tulum beach

The best things to do in Tulum for couples include taking a romantic stroll on the beach, exploring the Tulum Ruins, enjoying a couples’ massage or spa day, taking a dip in a cenote, having a candlelit dinner on the beach, and watching the sunrise or sunset from a rooftop bar.

What are the best relaxing things to do in Tulum?

The best relaxing things to do in Tulum include enjoying the sandy beaches, visiting cenotes (underwater cave systems), taking yoga classes, and indulging in spa treatments.

Additionally, there are plenty of delicious restaurants offering unique culinary experiences and vibrant nightlife spots for a memorable evening.

What are the cheap Things to Do in Tulum?

Tulum offers many inexpensive activities, such as visiting ancient Mayan ruins, kayaking, snorkeling in the cenotes, relaxing at the beach, and stargazing.

Can you fly direct to Tulum?

No, you cannot fly directly to Tulum. You will have to fly to Cancun Airport and then take a 1.5-2 hour drive by car or bus to get to Tulum.

Make sure that your car is well-maintained and that you plan ahead with an up-to-date map of the area before departing from Cancun airport. Additionally, there are several public transportation options available such as buses and taxis which can take you directly from Cancun Airport to Tulum.

Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum?

Blue Van on Tulum beach

Yes, it is safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum or from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The route takes roughly 1.5-2 hours and passes through some smaller towns on the way.

It’s important to pay attention while driving, as traffic can be heavy during peak times and there have been reports of theft in some areas, especially at night. Make sure your car is well-maintained and that you plan ahead with an up-to-date map of the area before embarking on your journey.

Is Tulum Mexico safe?

Yes, Tulum Mexico is considered to be a safe destination for travelers.

While it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to any warnings about unsafe areas, Tulum has a low crime rate with many activities available such as snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing, and exploring ancient Mayan ruins that make it an enjoyable place for tourists.

What is the best area to stay in Tulum?

The best area to stay in Tulum depends on what you’re looking for. For those seeking a more luxurious and relaxing experience, there’s the beachfront strip of hotels located in the Zona Hotelera.

There are also areas such as Downtown Tulum or Aldea Zama that offer a balance between luxury amenities, adventure activities, and cultural experiences.

Are Tulum beaches swimmable?

Yes, the beaches in Tulum are considered safe to swim in. The water is generally calm and free of large waves and strong currents due to its sheltered location.

Swimming is one of the most popular things, as there are plenty of opportunities to explore the local caves, cenotes, and coral reefs. However, it’s important to stay alert while swimming and be aware of any potential hazards or warnings from locals so that you can stay safe during your visit.

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