Tulum is one of the treasures of the Riviera Maya in Mexico. The city is defined as « Eco-chic« , it is a concept where the sustainable development is on the heart of the everyday life. Tulum has succeeded to integrate this to the development of many tourist projects. It is this concept that turned this seaside resort into the new trendy destination in the Caribbean. Tulum offers activities for everyone’s taste and budget, you will find some good options and discover the best things to do in Tulum through this article, by yourself or via an agency with a guide.
1. Archeological ruins of Tulum
The archeological ruins of Tulum is a must see. This well preserved fort enjoys a privileged location facing the Caribbean Sea. Founded over 1500 years ago, this city was originally called Zama (means dawn in English) and then changed its name to become Tulum (wall). Its main role was to serve as the basis for maritime trade, but Tulum was also an Astronomical and Military Observatory. Besides the visit of the ruins, the archeological site has a beautiful beach below, a good reason to spend a full day there.
How to get to the ruins of Tulum?
You can walk from the city centre of Tulum to the ruins, it will take you approximately 35 minutes. The two best ways to get to the entrance are to take a taxi for around 80 Pesos MXN or get there by public transport using the « collectivos » (small vans) for around 15 Pesos MXN per person.
You can also book an excursion with a guide to visit Tulum. Most day trips combine the visits of Tulum ruins and Coba ruins, further north.
Information about the visit of Tulum ruins
- Entrance fee: 70 Pesos MXN per person
- Opening hours: everyday from 8AM to 5PM
We advise you to get there early in the morning to avoid groups arriving around 10AM. A visit of the site at the end of the afternoon is also a good option but that will not give you time to enjoy the beach located below.
2. The cenotes
Cenotes are natural pits formed by the collapse of the ground caused by underground rivers across Yucatán Peninsula. More than 1000 Cenotes are located in this area, which are private and fitted out with facilities. You will find a lot of Cenotes around Tulum.
Most famous Cenotes
Cenote Dos Ojos. It is a semi-open Cenote which gives the impression to be divided into two. Undoubtedly the most visited, you can find a restaurant and a bar.
Gran Cenote. It is an ideal place for swimming and diving. In its cave, you can sometimes see bats and even toucans in January and February.
Cenote Azul. It is a large Cenote perfect for swimming, diving and snorkeling, with activities for the whole family and a direct access from the main road.
Cenote Zacil-Ha. A family Cenote with all basic facilities (toilets, changing room, lockers…) to enjoy a good swim. You even can go scuba diving in this Cenote.
3. The Sian Ka’an and Muyil reserve
The Sian Ka’an reserve (it means « Origin of the sky » in Maya) is located a few kilometers from Tulum. Thanks to its reserve status, Sian Ka’an succeeded to escape from the mass tourism, and is a heaven of peace for the wildlife of the Riviera Maya. The best is to visit Sian Ka’an with a guide through a tour agency. It will be difficult to get there by yourself because the road is actually a long 40kms winding track (25 miles). Once inside the reserve, taking a wildlife cruise is a must-do activity, you will discover dolphins and tortoises, snorkel on the reef and enjoy the natural pool of Punta Allen. The price for a tour in the reserve ranges from 95€ to 170€ per person depending on the agencies.
4. Xel-Há and Xcaret Parks
A visit in one of the Xcaret group parks is now an unmissable experience during a stay on the Riviera Maya. At only 15km from Tulum you can find Xel-Há, an ecological water park with a lot of activities for the whole family: slides, underground rivers, cenotes, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and trekking routes… more than 25 activities for young and old. The group own several parks: Xel-Há, Xplor, Xcaret, Xenses and Xavage. The entrance fee for one park is around 110€, quite expensive if you want to visit several parks. We advise you to look closely at the details and the activities of each theme park before deciding.
5. Lake Bacalar
The « Laguna de Bacalar », also known as the « lagoon of seven shades of blue », is located 200 kms south of Tulum, in the city of Bacalar. The lagoon is famous for its seven shades of blue, from the darker to the almost transparent blue visible on the surface. Combined with the colors offered by the sunrises and sunsets, you will feel like you’re in a real paradise. Visit the lagoon by boat, relax in the « Cenote Azul », dive into the pirates channel, explore the San Felipe Fort and taste the most exquisite and freshest seafood are some of the activities you can enjoy in Bacalar.