Mexico | North America | Tulum

Things To Do In Tulum Mexico – The Only List You’ll Ever Need

Are you looking for the best things to do in Tulum to fill your Tulum itinerary with fun Tulum activities and incredible places to visit in Tulum? Tulum is an ultimate boho beach paradise, renowned for its unbelievably beautiful beaches, chic beach clubs and bohemian-style accommodation.  

From enjoying the white-sanded beaches and turquoise shores teeming with wildlife, swimming in Tulum cenotes and whizzing through the nearby rainforest on a zipline to touring the most famous Tulum Instagram Spots and eating your way through the city’s hipster restaurants, Tulum has a lot to offer! 

things to do in Tulum

Also, being located in the heart of Yucatan, Tulum is an excellent base for visiting destinations such as Isla Mujeres, Valladolid, Coba Ruins, Chichen Itza and even Isla Holbox!  

Let’s dive into the details of the epic things to do Tulum is so famous for!

Table of Contents

Quick Travel Guide to Tulum

✈️ Browse for cheap flights with Kayak 

🚕 Book your private transfer Cancun to Tulum 

🚗 Need a car? Use Discover Cars for the best deals

🏨 Where to stay in Tulum?

Tulum Beach – Papaya Playa Project (unique)

Tulum Beach – Selina (great for socialising)

Tulum Town – Xperience Tulum Hotel (affordable)

Where is Tulum Located?

things to do in Tulum
Playa Paraiso, Tulum.

Where is Tulum located? Tulum is a coastal town situated in central Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula. Here are some distances to other popular places to visit in Yucatan:

Tulum to Cancun | 131 km or 81 miles (under 2 hours drive)

Tulum do Playa del Carmen | 65 km or 40 miles (under 1 hour)

Tulum to Valladolid | 102 km or 63 miles (1.5 hours)

Tulum to Merida | 259 km or 161 miles (3.5 hours)

Where is Tulum Beach Located?

Tulum Beach is situated just under 5 km southwest of Tulum Town. While no local transport connects the two Tulum areas, it is an easy car or motorbike ride, and there is also a decent cycle path from downtown to the beach. 

Best Things to Do in Tulum Mexico Map

Click here for the interactive version of this map.

Tulum things to do map

Top Things To Do in Tulum for the First Time in Tulum

Let’s start with the very top ​​things to do in Tulum Mexico. These are the best Tulum attractions to get you started or if your stay in Tulum is not too long. 

#1 Learn About Mayan Civilisation at Tulum Ruins

tulum ruins, things to do in Tulum
Tulum ruins.
tulum ruins, things to do in tulum\\\\
Tulum ruins.

Tulum Archeological Zone, often referred to as Tulum ruins, is an impressive Mayan heritage site and a Tulum must see place! 

The ruins are what’s left of the 16th-century walled Mayan settlement that today is the best preserved coastal Mayan town and one of the best Tulum places to visit for history enthusiasts. Perched high on the 12-meter tall cliff, with incredible panoramic views over the Caribbean Sea, Tulum ruins are a delight to see, even if you’re not the biggest history fan. 

The Mayan settlement of Tulum had a strategic location in terms of its defences and sea access, as well as the critical land trade routes, which gave the leaders of Tulum significant prosperity and power, especially between the 13th and 15 the century.

As you walk through the ruins of Tulum, make sure you pay attention to Tulum’s most iconic building –  El Castillo – Tulum’s tallest (7.5 meters) pyramid that served as a watch tower, from where the Mayans could spot potential incoming enemies.  

In the 16th century, the European diseases brought by the Spaniards decimated the Mayan population, and Tulum lost its greatness. 

One of the curious Tulum facts is that Tulum takes its name after the pre-hispanic Mayan walled fortress as Tulum signifies “fence” in the Mayan language.

Where | Google location 

Admission to Tulum ruins | 85 MXN ($4)

Opening Time | 8 am to 4 pm

If you would rather visit Tulum ruins with a knowledgeable guide that can explain more about the meaning, architecture and history of the Tulum settlement, I recommend you book this highly rated tour with Viator. It’s a  half-day tour that combines the visit to Tulum Archeological Site with fun activities such as snorkelling at a nearby reef and cenote swimming!    

Tulum Ruins + Reef Snorkelling + Cenotes & Caves 

#2 Swim in the Mystical Tulum Cenotes

Gran Cenote Tulum, things to do in Tulum
Gran Cenote

Taking a dip in one of the Tulum cenotes is an absolute must do in Tulum! And, if you’re vacationing in Tulum, you will be spoiled with so many gorgeous cenotes near Tulum. Spend at least one day touring the best cenotes. You can either rent a car or a scooter and visit them independently or take an organised tour for a hassle-free experience.   

I’m leaving links to the best and highly rated Tulum cenotes tours below. 

Cenote Triple Adventure Tour –  Cenote Zemway, Gran Cenote Tulum, Casa Cenote

Cenote Bike Tour – Gran Cenote, Cenote Escondido, Cenote Cristal

Here are the must see cenotes in Tulum:

Gran Cenote

things to do in tulum\\\\

Gran Cenote is one of the most beautiful open cenotes in Tulum that boasts crystal clear water, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. If you only have the time for one cenote, I’d recommend choosing Gran Cenote!

The entrance ticket includes snorkelling equipment, so take advantage of it! In the water, you can spot various fish species and small turtles! Yes, you heard me right, tinny and super cute turtles! 

There is also a picturesque decking where you can snap cool pics and a cave. Make sure you swim through the cave to explore the other side of the cenote.

*The cenote ticket includes a snorkel mask, but you have to hand in your ID card as a deposit because you won’t be able to use it without it! The entrance fee is also cash only, so ensure you have enough cash. 

Where | Google location 

Gran Cenote Tulum entrance fee | 500 MXN (almost $25)

Opening Time | 8 am to 4:45 pm

Cenote Calavera

things to do in tulum\\\\

Cenote Calavera is very different from other Tulum cenotes because the cenote roof has not fully collapsed, and the cenote entrance is what looks like a big hole in the rocks. To access the cenote pool, you need to climb a huge ladder! And if you dare, an alternative way to access the cenote is to jump through its ceiling! Another unique feature of this cenote is a swing and a few other smaller cenote holes through which you can also jump into the cave. 

The cenote area is relatively small, and with just a few people, it can feel overcrowded, so coming in the early morning, just after the opening time, makes a lot of sense. 

After swimming, jumping and taking photos at the cenote, you can chill on one of the colourful sun loungers or a hammock. There is also a snack bar, where you can get a light bite and a cold drink.   

Entrance | 250 MXN ($12) + 200 MXN ($10) professional camera fee

Opening Time | 9 am to 5 pm 

Where | Google location 

Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha, is located a further 4 km north, just off the main road in the direction of Coba. Cenote Zacil Ha is also an open cenote with bright emerald water, perfect for swimming.  

Take a leisurely dip or plunge into the cenote from the jumping platform. The cenote also has a zip line from which you can jump into the water for a small, additional charge. 

Entrance | 300 MXN 

Opening Time | 10 am to 5:30 pm

Where | Google location 

Casa Cenote

Cenote Casa, things to do in tulum\

Casa Cenote Tulum is an open cenote tucked between the white-sanded beach and the jungle and boasts incredibly turquoise water! Casa Cenote resembles more a river or a lake than a typical cenote, and if you own a drone, make sure you get a bird’s eye view of it because Casa Cenote looks unreal from above!   

This cenote is also excellent for jumping, swimming and snorkelling, which are some of the best activities in Tulum.  

Where | Google location 

Entrance | 150 MXN

Opening Time | 9 am to 5 pm

#3 Have a Beach Day at Playa Paraiso – One of the Best Free Things to Do in Tulum Mexico

stuff to do in tulum

Playa Paraiso couldn’t have a more perfect name! It means Paradise Beach, and it is truly one of the best beaches in Tulum. Spending a day enjoying Playa Paraiso is hands down one of the best Tulum things to do! 

The beach has a broad sweep of white sand and swaying lush palm trees on the back. The sea is mostly calm, and its waters shallow, which is perfect for dipping. 

Playa Paraiso is also one of the few beaches that are free to access. You can simply bring your towel and stretch it in the shade of one of its gorgeous palm trees. Don’t forget to bring snacks and plenty of water. Or you can buy a snack from the beach vendors, which sell freshly cut tropical fruit, vegan burgers and other healthy snacks.

For those who prefer a more organised beach experience, various small beach clubs offer sunbeds, umbrella rentals, drinks, and food services.       

Where | Google location 

#4 Snap a Photo With the “Ven a La Luz” Tulum Statue

tulum stuff to do, ven a la luz tulum sculpture

If you’re an avid Instagrammer or a photography enthusiast, or both, you cannot miss the “Ven a La Luz” Tulum statue situated along Tulum Beach, which is one of the best places to see in Tulum. 

Escultura Ven a la Luz (in Spanish, “come to light”) is an impressive 10 meters high sculpture created by the artist David Poppers with wood, bamboo, rope and plants. The statue showcases a female that opens her heart filled with vegetation and symbolises the unity of humans with nature. 

The Ven a La Luz Tulum sculpture used to be an entrance to the Ahau Tulum Beach Resort. But, after the images of the sculpture went viral on Instagram, the Ahau Tulum sculpture was moved, and now the owners require a small entrance fee for those that want a photo. 

Ven a La Luz sculpture is super beautiful and a must see in Tulum. Make sure you have enough cash to pay for the ticket, and in case the line is too long, try later, just before the closing time. 

Where | Google location 

Ahau Tulum sculpture entrance | 60 MXN 

Opening Time | 9 am to 6 pm 

#5 Spend a Day in Style at a Tulum Beach Club

things to in tulum

One of the best things to do Tulum is so famous for is spending a day in one of its fancy beach clubs! Tulum boasts many famous beach clubs that will let you have a fabulous time on a comfy sunbed, with an attentive staff, ensuring all your needs are fulfilled. The only thing to know is that all Tulum beach clubs require a minimum spend per person ranging from $50 to $100.  

One of the best beach clubs in Tulum is Vagalume, situated along the main Tulum beach strip near Escaltura Ven a La Luz. It has an epic entrance – a massive sculpture of hand made of wood hanging over the gate! They require a $100 minimum spend per person for the use of their beach club facilities, including a picturesque pool with a bridge supported by hand sculptures going across the pool. 

Where  | Location on Google 

Entrance | $100 minimum spend per person

Opening Time | 11 am to 11.30 pm

Another excellent beach club where you can spend the rest of your day is Selina Tulum. Selina is a little more affordable, it requires a $50 minimum spend per person, and it also boasts excellent beach club facilities. Selina is also a great place to stay if you enjoy socialising and nightlife. The property features boutique rooms, a coworking space, daily yoga classes and even hostel-style rooms.  

Where  | Location on Google

Entrance | $50 minimum spend per person

Fun Things To Do in Tulum Mexico

If you’re looking for some cool things to do in T​​ulum, this section is for you! Here, you’ll find some of the most fun activities in Tulum, such as cenote diving, ziplining, roaming in an ATV and touring some of the most famous photo spots.  

#6 Scuba Dive in Tulum Cenote

things to in tulum
Cenote Dos Ojos.

Cenote diving is hands down one of the coolest things to do in Tulum! I mean, can you imagine a more unique activity than exploring the underwater world of a cenote? You can take various cenote diving tours in Tulum, but I recommend the two below tours run by Viator. 

Option 1

Even if you have no scuba diving experience, you can still enjoy your first diving experience under a watchful eye of a certified diving instructor on this tour. It is a half-day excursion to Casa Cenote, where you get to dive with an experienced instructor for around 40 minutes observing the incredible underwater world of the cenote!

The tour also includes a proper safety briefing that explains how to use the equipment, how to communicate with the teacher underwater and what to do in case you experience any problems. 

Cenote Scuba Diving Tulum for First-Time Divers

Option 2 If you’re a certified diver, this tour is for you:

2 Tanks Cenote Dive Tulum Adventure 

#7 Go Ziplining – One of the Best Tulum Fun Things to Do

crazy things to do in tulum mexico

Another excellent option for some fun adventures in Tulum is taking a combination tour that involves ziplining and swimming in a cenote at Selva Maya Eco Park.

As part of the adventure, you will whizz through the lush rainforest on nine ziplines varying in length and speed and various hanging bridges. Then, you will scale over a 5-metre high climbing wall and rappel it down on the other side, having a view of one of the cenotes. 

On the other side, the emerald waters of two cenotes – one semi-open and one cavern cenote await you! You can here enjoy some snorkelling, a jump from one of the jumping platforms or simply some relaxing time comfortably floating in a lifevest. Only five people are allowed at a time in the cenote, so you can enjoy the cenote swim without the crowds. 

The tour takes around 4 hours, and after the fun, it includes Mexican tacos for lunch! 

Selva Maya Eco Adventure Park Tour 

#8 Tour Instagrammable Places in Tulum

tulum photo spots
Tulum Instagram Spots.
instagram tulum
Blue wings at Plaza Kapen Ha.

One of the best activities in Tulum Mexico, for photography enthusiasts, is touring Tulum’s Instagrammable places. Tulum is the perfect place for snapping some cool shots with its cute cafes, iconic Tulum landmarks and bohemian vibe. 

Most Tulum Instagram spots, such as Escultura Vez a La Luz are super popular Tulum tourist attractions, and you may want to get there early to avoid the crowds and potentially having to wait in a long line to take a photo. 

Also, touring the photo spots in Tulum is one of the best things to do in Tulum on a budget, as a lot of them a free to photograph or charge only a small fee. 

Here are some of the most famous Instagram places to go in Tulum, and if you want to find out about all of them, I’m leaving the link to a full post below. 

Escultura Ven a La Luz 

Follow that dream sign 

Matcha Mama Cafe

Crooked palm tree at Playa Paraiso

Blue wings at Plaza Kapen Ha

Cenote Calavera

Check out |  22 Epic Tulum Instagram Spots 

Best Things To Do In Tulum MX For History Lovers

Are there any explorers and history lovers out there? If you enjoy exploring ruins and learning about different civilisations, here are the best day trips from Tulum. 

#9 Tick Off One Of The Seven World Wonders – Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

One of the best day trips from Tulum is visiting Chichen Itza. It is located just over two hours drive, and you can easily see it in one day. Apart from being one of the Seven New World Wonders, Chichen Itza is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most important Mayan monument. 

Back in 600 AD, Chichen Itza was an influential Mayan city with a robust economy and architectural superiority. 

The most famous part of Chichen Itza is the Kulkulan Pyramid (also known as El Castillo), a temple devoted to Kulkulan and a giant calendar! The temple has 365 steps representing days in the year and four sides representing four seasons. The Mayan leaders used the pyramid to teach common people when to plant seeds and harvest crops. 

Another curious fact about Chichen Itza is that it takes its name after the nearby cenote – Sacred Cenote, a place used for sacrificial offerings. Chichen means ‘mouth of the wells’, and Itza refers to the name of a Mayan tribe that lived nearby. 

The best way to visit Chichen Itza is either by car or with an organised tour and a knowledgeable guide who will share super interesting Chichen Itza facts.

Where | Google location 

Opening Time | 8 am to 4:30 pm 

Entrance Fee | 571 pesos ($29)

Combine the Chichen Itza Tour with Instagram-famous  Cenote Suytun!

You may also like: Chichen Itza from Valladolid | Tips & Prices

#10 Climb To The Top Of The Pyramid At Coba Ruins

Coba Mexico
Coba ruins.

The ruins of Coba are located 47 km from Tulum, which makes visiting Coba the perfect Tulum day trip for ancient history lovers and explorers! 

Coba takes its named after the two large lagoons located nearby, and in the Mayan language, it translates to “waters stirred by the wind”.

The city of Coba was another super important Mayan settlement. What’s unique about Coba is that it wasn’t just one city but a cluster of multiple Mayan settlements, all connected to the central pyramid – Nohoch Mul, with a network of sacbéob, which are ceremonial white roads. The whole site is still largely undiscovered, but it is believed that there are over 6,000 structures! 

The site’s main pyramid – Nahoch Mul is the tallest pyramid in the entire Yucatan Penisula, measuring 42 meters, which is even more than El Castillo at Chichen Itza. And, the best part is that you can still climb its 120 steps. For the best experience, arrive early in the morning, before it gets too hot. The climb is challenging, but you will be rewarded with impressive panoramic jungle views at the top. 

Private Coba Tour from Tulum + Tulum Ruins

Entrance Fee | 100 pesos ($5) + 60 pesos ($3) parking

Opening times | 8 am to 4 pm

Where | Google location  

#11 Visit Off The Beaten Track Muyil Ruins 

Visiting Muyil ruins is also one of the incredible things to do near Tulum for adventurous souls and history enthusiasts. Situated 23 km south of Tulum town, the Mayan site of Muyil is one of the more unknown things to do in Tulum, still largely under the radar. 

Muyil settlement was one of the earliest and longest inhabited Mayan cities in this part of the Yucatan Peninsula, between 350 BC and 1500 AD. It was strategically located next to the two large lagoons – Laguna Muyil and Chunyaxche and was well connected to the important trading routes through carefully engineered canals. The inhabitants of Muyil traded jade, obsidian, chocolate, honey, feathers, chewing gum, and salt with other Mayan cities in the area.

Muyil Archeological Site is relatively small but has some tall pyramids to get you impressed! You will also find here a wooden platform that you can climb for incredible panoramic views of the jungle and the nearby lagoon. 

If you’re looking for non touristy things to do in Tulum, visiting the Muyil ruins is a perfect activity for you, which can also be combined with Sian Kaan Laguna and Cenote Escondido.  

Entrance Fee | 65 MXN ($2+)

Opening times | 9 am to 3 pm

Where | Google location  

Best Tulum Things To Do for Nature Lovers

In this section, you will find plenty of inspiration for what to do in Tulum Mexico if you are a nature lover. Here are the best nature and water activities in Tulum.

#12 Take a Dip in Laguna de Kaan Luum

things to do in tulum

Kaan Luum lagoon is a bit of a hidden gem most tourists skip. But, I believe that the lagoon is one of the must see places in Tulum and an excellent place for swimming! 

The water at the lagoon is crystal clear and shallow on the edges, with deeper water with more intense blue colour in its centre.  

In the lagoon’s centre is an 85 meters deep cenote with a diameter of 25 meters. The lagoon cenote is one of the oldest cenotes in Yucatan, millions of years old, with its roof and cenote walls completely sunken. In the Mayan language, ”Kaan Luum” means yellow earth, which refers to the type of mud found at the bottom of the lagoon, which was believed to have medicinal properties. 

Swimming in the centre of the lagoon is, however, not allowed due to strong currents that can potentially suck you inside. But, it is entirely safe to enjoy the edges of this large lake! 

You can also jump off the jetty or relax in one of the lagoon water hammocks or swings. It is also possible to rent a kayak or a paddleboard for 150 pesos ($8) an hour. 

Laguna de Kaan Luum is located a short drive from Tulum town centre and opens at 9 am, which is also the best time to visit it to enjoy the place being quiet.

Where | Google location 

Entrance | 300 MXN ($15)

Opening times | 9 am to 4 pm

#13 Explore The Wildlife at Sian Ka’an Biosphere Park

Another excellent activity for nature lovers is visiting Sian Kaan, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve renowned for its rich fauna and flora and one of the best places to visit in Tulum.  

And the best way to experience everything Sian Kaan offers is taking a guided boat tour through its lagoons and diverse ecosystems. Here, you will spot different bird species and other lagoon animals, including manatees! 

The excursion also includes a snorkel stop at the barrier reef, lunch and free time in the small but charming town of Punta Allen. 

Sian Kaan Reserve + Guided Kayaking Tour:

Where | Google location 

#14 Sail to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres Mexico

Taking a one-day sailing trip to Isla Mujeres is another fantastic activity and one of the best things to do around Tulum Mexico. Isla Mujeres is renowned for its relaxed vibe, pristine beaches and rich fauna and flora. 

If you can, I’d always recommend travelling slow and staying on the island for a few nights to savour its chilled island vibe properly, but a day excursion is a perfect choice for those on a tight schedule. 

On this full-day tour from Tulum, you will board a luxury catamaran, including an onboard lunch and open bar. The catamaran will make various snorkelling stops, and if you dare, you can experience spinnaker activity, which is a similar activity to para shooting. And, once you get to Isla Mujeres, you can relax in a beach club or stroll the island’s lively downtown area. 

Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres

#15 Swim With Whale Sharks 

crazy things to do in tulum mexico

Hands down, one of the most exciting Tulum Mexico things to do, swimming with whale sharks, is once in a lifetime experience! Between June and mid-September, hundreds of whale sharks come to the northeastern shores of Yucatan, forming one of the world’s largest congregations. 

These gentle giants can measure up to 40 ft in length and live up to 70 years. Swimming with these beautiful creatures is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Tulum and something you will never forget! 

Each whale shark has a unique set of patterns on its skin, and as they glide just below the surface of the sea, their mouth can open up to 5ft wide! But don’t you worry, whale sharks are herbivorous and are only interested in eating plankton! 

You’ll also be snorkelling under a watchful eye of a marine life expert that will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Apart from spotting whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, you’ll also see manta rays, turtles and dolphins! The tour includes Tulum hotel pick up and drop off, lunch, drinks, and snorkelling equipment. Make sure you’ll bring a Go Pro for this one!  

Small-Group Eco-Friendly Whale Sharks Tour

#16 Have Fun at Xel Ha Park – One of the Best Things To Do in Tulum with Kids

Located 19 km north of Tulum, Xel Ha Park is one of the best places to visit near Tulum for families. The park’s biggest drawcard is its protected lagoon, which is safe for swimming and snorkelling, even for small kids. And the lagoon is teeming with colourful fish! 

Apart from snorkelling in the lagoon, there is a myriad of other activities that can easily keep the whole daily entertained for the entire day. Some of the best activities include jungle trails for walking and cycling, zip lines, mountain climbing walls, Tarzan swings and suspension bridges. The park also boasts a lighthouse from where you can get a scenic view over the entire area, water slides, river floats and a few cenotes. 

Book Your Xel Ha Park Tickets  

Where | Google location

Opening hours | 9 am to 6 pm

Things To Do In Downtown Tulum

Visiting Tulum Mexico town is one of the essential things to do during your Tulum vacation to really get to know the authentic part of the city. Here is the list of the best things to do in Tulum town. 

#17 Ride a Bicycle Everywhere

Follow that dream sign Tulum

Rent a bicycle, which will make it easy to access all the things to do in Tulum city! Bike rentals are widely available in Tulum, and many hotels and Tulum Airbnb accommodation offer complimentary use of bicycles. 

And, you would be surprised how many best places in Tulum, apart from Tulum town, you can get to on a bike! Some of the must visit places in Tulum that you can reach by bicycle include Tulum beach, Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote and Cenote Escondido. 

Make sure that the bicycle you are renting is in good shape. From my own not so good experience, I know that some Tulum bikes are pretty rundown and cycling on them a few kilometres feels like cycling Tour de France!  Expect to pay around $10 per day. 

#18 Shop for Souvenirs – One of the Best Tulum Town Things to Do

things to do tulum town

Tulum downtown is also an excellent place to do some shopping. Whether you’re looking for hand-made quality souvenirs for your loved ones, Mexican-themed decor items to bring back home or sustainable fashion items and unique accessories, you’ll find them in Tulum town. 

Here are some of the best shops in Tulum: 

Mixik | Hand-made souvenirs & home decor: blankets, table clothes, glasses, clothes, wooden artwork, crafted children’s toys.

Mexicarte Tulum | Lucha libre action figures and masks, wall ornaments, magnets, children’s toys.

Organic Beauty Shop La Madre Tierra | A wide selection of organic, natural products and zero-waste toiletries.

Pura Vida Tulum | Organic & unique fashion and accessories.

#19 Gorge on Vegan Tacos

things to do tulum town
El Bajon Vegan Tacos.
things to do tulum town
El Bajon Vegan Tacos.

During your Tulum sightseeing, I challenge you to try a non-touristy cafe! I stumbled upon El Bajon Vegan Tacos during my stay in Tulum, and I loved it so much that I wanted to come back every day! El Bajon is a no-fuss type of restaurant with super friendly staff and delicious food. 

Choose 3-4 tacos; you can select all the different vegan flavours, which I recommend, then add your toppings and sauces, and you have a full super tasty meal for a fraction of the price you pay in any of the restaurants by the beach!  

Try also one of their kombuchas or healthy, homemade lemonade!

Where | Google location

#20 Indulge In a Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato 

things to do tulum town
Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato.
things to do in tulum town
Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato.

When visiting Tulum downtown, make sure you stop at the small and colourful ice cream shop – Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato, which is also one of the best downtown Tulum things to do!

Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato has been operating long before Tulum became a popular vacation stop! It offers twenty different ice cream flavours daily, including classic ones such as salted caramel and Ferrero Roche and more unusual flavours such as chilli chocolate or guava and cheese.

Order a cookie-sandwich “taco” dipped in chocolate and pistachios for an ultimate indulgence.

Gelato at Panna e Cioccolato is the best gelato shop in town so expect a small queue, especially in the afternoon.  

Where | Google location

Things To Do in Tulum at Night

Here are the best Tulum things to do at night.

#21 Visit Tulum Carveceria 

Cerveza Tulum

Cerveza Tulum is located 8 km north of Tulum town, and it’s one of the best places to go in Tulum for dinner and evening entertainment. The restaurant boasts modern decor and features nightly fire shows and DJ nights. Also, the restaurant has its own brewery, and trying their craft beer is a must!

In front of the restaurant, you can also find one of Tulum’s famous Instagram spots – the giant blue Tulum letters featuring a pond and a swing in one of the letters! 

Where | Google location

Opening Time | 12 pm to 11 pm 

#22 Hit the Bars

Things To Do in Tulum at Night

One of the things you must do in Tulum at night is to experience its lively nightlife scene! Tulum is famous for having some of the best bars and clubs where you can party until the dawn and have the time of your life.

Whether you’re staying in the fancy Tulum Beach Zone or the town centre, it doesn’t matter because both areas boast excellent nightlife! Here are some of the best bars and clubs:

Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar (Tulum town) | One of the best bars in Tulum pueblo with live music & craft drinks. 

Naná Rooftop Bar | (Tulum town) great rooftop, quality cocktails made of homemade juices and herbs.

Papaya Playa Project | (Tulum Beach) Saturday & full moon parties.

Todos Santos Bar | (Tulum Beach) personalised cocktails made from scratch.

Confessions | (Tulum Beach) DJ Sessions & a fantastic place to go party. 

#23 Have an Immersive Experience at Mystica

Mystica Tulum, Things To Do in Tulum at Night

Mystica is one of a kind museum and visiting it one of more unusual Tulum Mexico activities to enjoy in the evening. If you’re into art, this place will blow your mind with its beauty and inspire you to enjoy life to the fullest. 

The place is designed to take you through seven different immersive experiences and connect you to the Mayan cosmology and Mexican nature sanctuaries. This art gallery showcases Pepe Soho’s art and takes you through his interest in Mayan history and culture, as well as some of the unique places in Mexico. The artwork is filled with spirituality and unforgettable sensory experiences!

Buy Mystica Tickets

Where | Google location

Romantic Things To Do in Tulum

If you’re looking for some romantic things for couples to do in Tulum, this section is for you! Here are the best activities to do in Tulum Mexico, for couples!

#24 Take a Luxury Sunset Cruise

Things To Do in Tulum at Night

Treat yourself and your loved one to a romantic sunset cruise on a luxury catamaran along the coast of Riviera Maya. Experiencing the magical sunset from a luxury boat is one of the most romantic activities Tulum has to offer!

On this particular tour, you get to sail during the sunset hour while enjoying each other’s company, drinks from an open bar and delicious snacks. Hotel pick-up from Tulum and drop-off are included in the tour price. 

#25 Go on a Luxury Sailing Tour

Things To Do in Tulum at Night

If you’re more of a fan of day activities, then a luxury sailing tour is one of the best excursions in Tulum for couples! It’s a half-day excursion on a catamaran with plenty of snorkelling and swimming spots. On this trip, you will also be able to try paddle boarding along the gentle sea of the Riviera Maya.

Luxury sailing is the perfect day trip from Tulum for couples that enjoy being active and love being on the water. Guests can also enjoy an open bar and a delicious gourmet lunch on the boat. Pick up from Tulum hotels and Airbnb accommodation is included too.

#26 Take a Romantic Tour of Tulum

Things To Do in Tulum at Night

Another fantastic activity for couples is a romantic tour of Tulum designed specifically for couples. This is an excellent tour to take at the beginning of your vacation because, on this 2-hour-long walking tour, your local guide will show you the most romantic things to see in Tulum and give you many recommendations on Tulum to do for couples!

During the tour, you will also hear many romantic love stories and Tulum tales; some are super beautiful, others sombre and tragic!  

Romantic Tour of Tulum

What To Do in Tulum For Foodies

If you’re a foodie looking for tastebuds-pleasing experiences, here are the must do things in Tulum for you! 

#27 Eat Your Way Through Tulum on a Food Tour

Tulum town

One of the best attractions in Tulum Mexico, for food lovers is eating your way through the city on a food walking tour! I always love taking food tours whenever I’m in a new country because you get to learn so much about the people and the local culture through their food!

On this particular Tulum food tour, a local guide will take you far from the touristy restaurants into the more traditional and authentic eateries. You’ll gorge on all the best local specialities, from tacos to various snacks and desserts, while listening to interesting commentary and anecdotes told by your guide. If you enjoy learning about the local culture and trying new food, this experience is for you!

Tulum Food Tour

#28 Take a Cooking Class

cooking class Tulum

Another excellent activity for food lovers is taking a local cuisine cooking class. This particular tour by Viator takes place in a local home where you get to learn the secrets of Mexican, Aztec and Mayan cuisines while preparing a 3-course dinner in an intimate setting. 

The activity takes place in a small group and also includes mezcal tasting. After preparing the whole dinner from scratch, including homemade tortillas and salsas, you get to eat what you cooked together with the local family and other tour participants. 

Mexican Cooking Class

#29 Fall in Love with the Best Burrito in Tulum at Burrito Amor

Burrito Amor Tulum

We discovered this restaurant in Valladolid Mexico, and immediately fell in love with their burritos which taste like out of this world! And, we couldn’t be happier to find out that there is also one Burrito Amor restaurant in Tulum! 

We came here multiple times during our stay in Tulum and were wowed each time by how full of flavour their burritos are. The burritos come wrapped in banana leaves and are accompanied by four delicious salsas. I’m a vegetarian, and their veggie burritos were also on point! You can find Burrito Amore on the main road that runs through Tulum downtown. 

Where | Google location    

#30 Have a Delicious Smoothie Bowl at Matcha Mama

Matcha Mama Tulum
Matcha Mama.
matcha mama tulum
Smoothie bowls at Matcha Mama Tulum.

If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Tulum, a colourful smoothie bowl from Matcha Mama couldn’t be more perfect! Their smoothie bowls are delicious and include super healthy ingredients such as acai or maca and will fill you up and keep you going until lunchtime! Expect to pay around $10 for a bowl. 

Matcha Mama Cafe is one of the most famous Tulum Instagram Spots. The cafe opens at 8:00 am, which is also the best time to snap cool shots for the Gram. 

Where | Google location (Tulum Beach) & Google location (Pueblo)   

#31 Try Vegan Food at Raw Love

Raw Love Cafe, Tulum
Raw Love Cafe, Tulum.

Raw Love is another excellent restaurant to please your taste buds, especially if you’re into healthy eating!

The cafe is situated right by the Escultura Ven a la Luz along Tulum Beach, and it’s a true beach oasis. Here you can shelter from the heat under the palm trees with your feet in the soft sand while having a delicious smoothie bowl or another healthy vegan meal! The menu encompasses smoothie bowls, including acai, avo on toasts, zoodles, salads and freshly made juices. If you want the best breakfast in Tulum Beach, look no further!

Where | Google location (Tulum Beach) & Google location (Pueblo)  

Spiritual Things To Do in Tulum

#32 Take a Yoga Class

yoga tulum

Taking a yoga class is another incredible thing to do in Tulum. Tulum is famous for its yoga and wellness studios, and there is no better place to try yoga for the first time than a boho yoga parlour overlooking the ocean!

Several hotels and all inclusive resorts in Tulum offer free yoga classes and are often open to non-guests for a small charge. If you want to book a hotel that provides yoga classes, check Ahau Tulum, Selina and Zenses Wellness and Yoga Resort, which is Adults Only. Other places that offer yoga classes include Holistica, located in Tulum town.  

#33 Cleans Your Body & Soul at a Temazcal Ceremony

And, if you want to try one of the little more unusual Tulum best things to do, attend a Temazcal ceremony! 

Temazcal is a Mayan ceremony meant to cleanse and purify your body and soul. Temazcal means “home of hot stones”, and the ceremony uses hot volcanic stones and herbs in the traditional cleansing ritual led by an authentic Mayan shaman. 

You can either experience the ceremony in a small group or book a private experience with hotel pick-up and drop-off. 

Private or Group Temazcal Ceremony

Best Day Trips from Tulum

#34 Valladolid

Valladolid Mexico
Iglesia de San Servacio.
Valladolid Mexico
Valladolid Mexico.

Apart from being an excellent base for visiting the mighty Chichen Itza and cenotes, Valladolid is a great destination in its own right. Picture quaint churches, pastel-painted buildings lining the colourful streets, and tranquil parks where you can taste some of the best street food and watch the local, laid-back vibe. 

Some of the best things to do in Valladolid include an afternoon stroll along the La Calzada de Los Frailes, a stunning light show at the Convento de San Bernardino de Siena and visiting the exquisite Valladolid’s church – Iglesia de San Servacio.

Read the complete Guide to Valladolid Mexico and how to get from Tulum to Valladolid | Tips & Prices

#35 Isla Holbox

holbox mexico
The colourful murals at Isla Holbox.
isla holbox mexico
Holbox Pier.

Holbox is another beautiful island in Mexico with picture-perfect white-sand beaches. The best way to enjoy the island is spending a few blissful days there, but if your Yucatan itinerary doesn’t allow for that, you can take a day trip to Holbox from Tulum. 

Holbox is renowned for its rich fauna and flora. Here you can spot pink flamingos and various species of tropical birds! 

#36 Rio Lagartos & Las Coloradas Pink Lake

Las Coloradas

A visit to Rio Lagartos is another excellent day trip from Tulum. Rio Lagartos has been recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its rich fauna and flora and its importance as a nesting ground for many endangered species. 

The best way of exploring Rio Lagartos is by taking a boat tour through its mangroves and wetlands. Here you can spot Carrabean Pink Flamingoes, turtles, crocodiles and hundreds of different species of birds. You can spot pink Flamingoes in Rio Lagartos all year round, but the best chance of seeing lots of them is between March and June, which is hatchling season.

It is also common to combine a visit to Rio Lagartos with the pink lake – Las Coloradas. The lake contains a high amount of salt, a perfect environment for the growth of a certain type of algae that gives the water a pink/reddish colour. The lake is private property that charges an entrance fee for a guided tour. 

#37 Bacalar

Bacalar Cenotes
Bacalar Cenotes.

If your vacation in Tulum is a little longer, Bacalar is also an excellent idea for a day trip from Tulum! Located 2.5 hours south of Tulum, Bacalar boasts a stunning lagoon that looks like the Maldives.

It also has a few incredible cenotes to explore, including dark-coloured and perfectly round Cenote Azul, Cenote Cocalitos with shallow turquoise waters where you can relax in a water hammock and Cenote Esmeralda.

Apart from visiting Bacalar cenotes, the best way to enjoy the Bacalar lagoon is by taking a sailing excursion or renting a standup paddleboard or a kayak and exploring the turquoise waters independently. 

Sailing Tour with Snacks & Open Bar

lagoon Bacalar

Private Sailing Tour with Kayaks & Optional Sailing Lesson

#38 Akumal

akumal day trip tulum

Another excellent place to visit near Tulum is Akumal. The village of Akumal is an up-and-coming destination famous for its fantastic all-inclusive resorts and rich marine wildlife. 

The shores of Akumal are perfect for spotting different species of colourful fish and even sea turtles! The beaches of Akumal are also a little less busy than Tulum and don’t experience as many seaweed problems! 

#39 Playa del Carmen

Just an hour from Tulum, Playa del Carment is another vibrant destination worth adding to your Yucatan itinerary! Playa del Carmen boasts incredible white-sanded beaches such as Xpu Ha, an excellent food scene and tons of fun things to do. 

Some of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen include strolling its pedestrians street – La Quinta, in search of unique souvenirs and visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum. 

Apart from the vibrant town and beautiful beaches, Playa del Carmen also has some incredible cenotes nearby and the Rio Secreto cave system, which is a fantastic place to explore!   

#40 Cozumel

Last but not least, on this Tulum to do list is taking a day trip to Cozumel. Cozumel is a relatively small island located just off the shore of Playa del Carmen, which means you can drive to Playa del Carmen and take a 30-minute ferry ride to the island. 

You can rent a gold cart and tour the island and its epic beaches independently or book a snorkelling trip and explore Cozumel’s best reefs. 

Snorkelling Trip to Cozumel

What Are The Best Areas to Stay in Tulum?

Tulum Beach 

The area along Tulum Beach is known as Zona Hotelera, and this is the best area to stay in Tulum if you have the budget. Here, you can find all the chic Tulum beach clubs, excellent restaurants and boutique shops. Also, you can find here the best hotels in Tulum that feature luxury rooms, premium services and often access to a private beach area. 

beat places to stay in tulum
Papaya Playa Project via Booking.com
beat places to stay in tulum
Selina via Booking.com

Tulum Town 

Tulum Downtown is situated just under 5 km from Tulum Beach, and it is the best area in Tulum to stay with the best well-priced and affordable Tulum accommodation. Tulum town also doesn’t come short of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars. 

beat places to stay in tulum
Xperience Tulum via Booking.com
5-Star Tulum Hotels With Private Pool
Hotel Bardo via Booking.com

Aldea Zama

Aldea Zama is a new, up-and-coming neighbourhood of Tulum, situated between the downtown and Zona Hotelera. It boasts an excellent selection of Tulum Airbnb – style accommodation, private villas and apartments. A lot of the flats are brand-new and offer competitive rates.  

best area to stay tulum
Jade Tulum via Booking.com
where to stay in tulum
Orchid House Tulum via Booking.com

Akumal 

Akumal is a small beach town located 28 km north of Tulum and is known for its rich marine wildlife, including sea turtles and a gorgeous Caribbean beach. Akumal is also the best area to stay in Tulum Mexico. 

best area to stay tulum
Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya via Booking.com
best area to stay tulum
Bahia Principe Grand Tulum via Booking.com

You may also like: Where to Stay in Tulum? – The Only Guide You Need to The Best Areas to Stay in Tulum

How to Get to Tulum?

Tulum beach

From Cancun Airport to Tulum

There is 118 km (or 73 miles) from Cancun to Tulum, and the most convenient way of getting from the Cancun airport to your Tulum hotel is with a private transfer

For those who want the flexibility of seeing many places during their vacation in Tulum, renting a car is also a great option. I recommend pre-booking your car through a reputable car rental comparison website such as Discover Cars to avoid local scams. 

ADO Tulum

Another good way of travelling in Yucatan is with ADO buses, especially for travellers on a budget. ADO buses are modern, very reliable and also highly affordable. ADO offers regular bus services throughout the day on the most popular connections, such as Cancun to Tulum and less frequent schedules on routes such as Tulum to Bacalar. 

If you know your travel dates in advance, I recommend booking your ADO bus ticket at least 2-3 days, as they are usually very popular and can fill up quickly.    

The best way for foreigners to book a bus ticket for Mexico is the BookaWay site. ADO has its website, but weirdly is super temperamental and doesn’t seem to work outside of Mexico. Also, you will need a Mexican credit card to purchase the ticket. Alternatively, pop by the main ADO Tulum Centro Terminal to get your bus tickets. 

ADO Tulum bus stop location.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Tulum?

Tulum Pescadores Beach
Tulum Beach.

What’s the best time to travel to Tulum? If you’re looking for perfect weather conditions, the best time to visit Tulum is between December and April, which is the high season in Mexico. These months are the driest, with low humidity and pleasant temperatures. The downsides of visiting Tulum during this time are high prices, and you may feel that it is busy, especially during Christmas time.  

The rainiest months are June, September and October, with the highest possibility of storms and even hurricanes between August and October. As you can imagine, this is the least busy period with many hotels and attractions offering fantastic discounts. 

So, what’s the best time to visit Tulum Mexico? The best month to go to Tulum is either November or May, which is just before the high season starts or right after. During these two months, Tulum is not yet as busy as during the middle of the high season, and the weather is already more stable with not too much rain.    

Things To Do in Tulum FAQ

Why Is Tulum So Popular?

Why is Tulum so popular, and what is Tulum known for? Only in recent years Tulum has become an extremely desirable holiday destination, famous for its bohemian vibe and spiritual and wellness culture. 

What’s the Best Airport Closest to Tulum?

Does Tulum have an airport? The answer is no. Tulum does not have an airport; the nearest airport to fly to is the Cancun International Airport

How Far is Tulum From Cancun Airport? 

There is 118 km (or 73 miles) from Cancun to Tulum, and the most convenient way of getting from the Cancun airport to your Tulum hotel is by booking a private transfer

Playa Paraiso, Tulum
Playa Paraiso, Tulum.

What State is Tulum In?

Tulum is located in Quintana Roo.

What Does Tulum Mean?

Tulum in the Mayan language means “fence”, and it takes its name after the walled settlement of Tulum, which ruins can be visited today. 

Can You Rent a Car in Tulum?

Yes, you can. Car rental shops in Tulum are very common, and the rates are generally affordable. The only thing to be aware of is many car rental scams, which I discussed earlier in this post. The best way to protect yourself from scammers is to book your car online through a car comparison website such as Discover Cars.  

Is Tulum Safe For Tourists? 

Tulum is generally safe for foreign travellers. However, there are a few things you should be aware of. Also, always check the up-to-date travel advisory before your trip. 

ATMs | Only use the supervised cash points that are inside the bank.

Car rental scams |  Mexico has been known for car rental scams where they either add an astronomical insurance cover to your daily rental or try to blame you for damages you’re not responsible for. Use a reputable car rental service such as Discover Cars to protect yourself from scams.

Petty theft | This problem is no different from petty theft problems experienced in big cities in Europe or the US. Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t leave your belongings unattended. Also, get travel insurance! 

Drug cartels | Tulum does have a problem with drug cartels; however, you are very unlikely to be of any interest to them. Again, be aware of your surroundings and take a taxi back to the hotel if you go out at night. 

Tulum is not the safest vacation destination in the world, but if you follow the advice above and follow common sense and general safety precautions, you will be absolutely fine. 

Is Tulum Expensive?

Yes, Tulum is expensive in comparison to other destinations in Mexico, but your Tulum vacation costs will hugely depend on your budget and your travel style. 

Expect to pay at least $60 – $120 per night for a modest double room in Tulum town away from the beach and $300 to $500 per night for boutique accommodation by the beach. 

Regarding the daily food budget for eating out, set aside between $30 to $50 per day, which is still fairly modest and doesn’t include drinking. 

For activities, expect to pay from $50 to $100 daily. Here are some examples of how much things cost:

Gran Cenote entrance fee – $25

Bicycle rental – $10 per day 

Basic Chichen Itza tour – $75

Beach club minimum spend per person – $50 – $100

Is It Possible to Visit Tulum on a Budget?

Tulum zona hotelera
Tulum Zona Hotelera.

Tulum is not really a budget travel destination, and visiting it on a so-called shoestring will be extremely hard. There are, however, a few things you can do to make your backpacking in Tulum trip more affordable. 

Travel in the low season for the best rates. 

Stay in one of the affordable Tulum hotels located in the downtown area.

Rent a bicycle or, even better, choose a hotel that provides free bicycles, and cycle everywhere

Eat in the local restaurants in the downtown area.

Stay in a hotel with a kitchenette and prepare your breakfasts or lunches.   

Use ADO buses. 

Are There Sharks in Tulum?

Yes, there are sharks in Tulum and Riviera Maya. However, sharks attacking human cases are super rare, and we’re talking about only a dozen of incidents in the last century. 

What Are the Things to Do in Tulum When it Rains?

Cooking class, Mystica Museum, gorging on food, yoga class and shopping. 

Is Tulum Worth Visiting?

That depends on your expectations and budget. Yes, Tulum has some of the most incredible beaches in the world, and you will love its hip cafes, yoga parlours and boho beach clubs. However, Tulum is also hugely overpriced, a little snobbish and has nothing to do with experiencing the real Mexico. 

What Are the Best Alternatives to Tulum?

If you would rather enjoy a stunning Caribbean beach in a little less pretentious setting, choose Isla Holbox. Holbox is much cheaper than Tulum and also has great nightlife.  

Things To Do in Tulum Final Word

I hope you enjoyed reading through Tulum top things to do and see, and you are now inspired and ready to book your next vacation! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the section below!

Mal xxx

THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MAY EARN A COMMISSION SHOULD YOU CHOSE TO SIGN UP FOR A PROGRAM OR MAKE A PURCHASE USING MY LINK FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. IT’S OKAY – I LOVE ALL OF THESE COMPANIES ANYWAYS, AND YOU WILL TOO!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *