Tulum, Mexico Travel Guide
This destination is no secret. Tulum has been one of the most highly vacationed places in the last few years. From the ancient Mayan jungle paradise to the beautiful Carribean blue waters, Tulum and has everything you could want or need. Come for a relaxing yoga retreat, experience the nightlife and parties, or just relax and enjoy a feast on the beach. Tulum boasts authentic cuisines, beautiful beaches, cenotes, and so much more to easily keep this at the top of your travel bucket list. About Tulum
Tulum is a 2 hour drive south of Cancun International Airport and a much different vibe than the big city of Cancun. This city is very popular but you will not find your typical big hotel chains. It was only until recently where big & modern hotels started to come to Tulum. But even still, the hotels are a lot further away.
Tulum is a small little city with a stretch of road along the beach home to several boutique hotels/resorts. Many people will also rent vacation homes which have become more popular.
Places to See
Cenotes If you've never heard of it, you will certainly find hundreds of them in Tulum. They are natural sinkholes. Tulum is made up underwater rivers connected by these above ground Cenote entrances. These are popular for swimmers and scuba divers alike. Many of these Cenotes are now privatized and will require cash to enter (typically less than $5 USD). Some are more commercial with large parking lots and bathrooms and some are just beautiful (and sketchy) holes in the ground behind an abandoned building. PRO TIP: Get to the cenotes first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. Cenotes look better when you're the only one in the photo and not sitting behind a tour bus from Cancun.
THE GRAND CENOTE The most popular and biggest cenote in the city has two main swimming sections. Make sure you go to the back cenote entrance which is a little quieter and more picturesque. There are also great places to lay out and have a picnic when you get out of the water.
CENOTE ZACIL-HA A few minutes down the road from the Grand Cenote is Cenote Zacil-Ha. This is another larger and more commercialized cenote. The coolest and most unique part of this cenote is the short zip line ride you can take before jumping in. Tip the lifeguard a few USD and you will have a few ride/jumps to capture that perfect photo before you cannonball in to the water. Or if you get here early you can just relax and swim in the cenote all by yourself before the crowds pull in.
This is one of the sketchier cenotes as you walk on a path behind a bunch of buildings but has since been modernized with its popularity. There are 2 smaller holes for those brave souls who want to jump in. There is also a rope hanging in the larger hole thatyou can sit on (note: it is harder to get on that rope when the water level is low!) PRO TIP: Just do it. It looks sketchy and you may even see some bats flying around the cave but it was totally worth it.
A simple bike ride can bring you to the Ruins if you are staying on the beach strip hotel zone. If not, there is a big parking lot or taxis that can take you here. Here you will find amazing stone structures built right along the beautiful Caribbean coastline. It makes sense they built a watchtower here in addition to their temples. This is a major tourist spots and tends to get crowded so arrive early. There is a beach you can swim in but if you get there later in the day you will be swimming with the crowds. PRO TIP: save your beach swimming when you leave and go to public beach or swim at one of the beautiful hotel beach/pools. The Beach / Tulum Resorts Pick a beach. Any beach. Chances are you will stay for a long time. Most of the beaches are behind the private gates of the resorts but most of them are friendly with restaurants and bars looking for new & friendly customers. Places To Eat Casual Dining Amansala (beach front hotel restaratunt perfect for Lunch) Matteo's (sports bar and Mexican cuisine great for Lunch or Dinner)
Fine Dining Arca Coco Tulum Gitano Posada Margherita
Places to Stay
Amansala - a beachfront eco chic resort
Azulik - an expensive but stunning beachfront resort
Papaya Playa Project - a larger beachfront resort with more nightlife
Conrad Tulum - Outside of Tulum but part of the US Hilton Brand! Modern and luxurious.
Cancun / Playa Del Carmen - Find a large resort and drive in to Tulum to visit for a day trip
Other Places to Visit "Outside" of Tulum
Northwest of Tulum Cenote Calavera | Grand Cenote Coba Ruins | Choo-Ha Cenote
Tamcach-Ha Cenote | Mulum-Ha Cenote North of Tulum Tulum Ruins | Cenote Labnaha Xel Ha PArk | Akumal Beach Casa Cenote | Aktun Chen Cenote Dos Ojos Cenote | Cenote Cracol Xcaret Park | Cenote Nicte-Ha Southwest of Tulum Laguan Kaan Luum Muyil Archaeological Site Other Nearby Cities to Visit Cancun Playa Del Carmen Cozumel Akumal Isla Holbox
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Written by Matt Tannenbaum