Your Ultimate Guide to Tulum – Top 5 Things to Do
If you’re heading to Tulum this summer, here is a list of the Top 5 Things NOT TO MISS during your vacation in Tulum Mexico – video guide included!
In this guide, you’ll find all the top thing to do in Tulum. This includes places to visit, where and what to eat, along with some recommendations for off-the-beaten path activities which you can do during your trip to Tulum. To those of you who have already watched our YouTube video on Tulum’s Top Things to do – thanks for asking us to complete this detailed guide. We hope it helps and happy travels.
Let the countdown begin!
#5 – The Beaches
Obviously you’ve come to Tulum for a reason. This may seem like a no brainer but we wanted to give you a few options.
Tulum Beach – This beach runs south starting from Tulum Ruins. In fact, our recommendation is to head to the beach straight after a visit around Tulum Ruins in order to help you cool down. There will be no shortages of restaurants and beach front establishments who will gladly serve you a coconut or your cocktail of choice.
Akumel Beach – Located 20 minutes north of Tulum Beach, this is a great option for those who are looking for cheaper accommodation than chic Tulum. Bare in mind, this is no where near an isolated beach. It’s family friendly, the sand is soft, and the water is clear. Apparently you can also snorkel with turtles. We tried this but did not see any turtles – the locals told us this was because it was too windy at the time. Hopefully you’ll have better luck than we did.
Route 15 Beaches – If you’re looking for isolation, then head on south pass the Si’an Kaan eco reserve. You’ll find yourself driving along a thin stripe of land with a lagoon on one side and beaches for miles on the other side.
#4 – The Cuisine
We were positively surprised by the lightness of Yucatan and Mayan cuisine. You won’t find heavy or rich cuisine here. The flavors are packed with fresh ingredients; if you’re a seafood lover, Tulum has a wealth of options for you. Below are some of our favorite restaurants in Tulum.
Los Aguachiles – The no-frills seafood restaurant was recommended to us by a friend. This is a great option for those looking to venture into the actual town of Tulum away from the trendy beachfront establishment. This place is more of an “oldie but goodie” kind of establishment.
La Zebra – This restaurant is located in a hotel with the same name. We went here with as a part of a larger group (think 20 people). The service was good and the food was very delicious however the best part to this restaurant would have to be the live salsa dancing after dinner. Guest and diners are invited to the dance floor to dance the night away. Caution – we hope you know what you are doing because there are some serious pros out there!
Restaurare [PERMANENTLY CLOSED] – One of the best plant-based restaurants that we have tried inside and outside of Mexico. Unfortunately this is permanently closed.
#3 – Explore Mayan Culture
Tulum is a wonderful place to visit because it has so much to offer in terms of activities. Besides the beautiful beaches and delicious cuisine, you’ll find a wealth of culture to be explored around every corner.
Tulum Ruins – The most obvious place to start is the Tulum Ruins. We almost missed this one as we were pressed on time, however I convinced Pierre to visit the ruins with me the morning our flight was meant to leave. We were not disappointed. The location of the ruins perched onto of a hill overlooking the beach is one of my most memorable sites during our trip.
Coba – Visit the ancient Mayan city of Coba. Our tip, get there early before the tour buses arrive. We were one of the first cars to arrive between 8-8:30am. While here take the opportunity to climb the ancient pyramid while you still can. Unlike many other famous sites in Mexico, the pyramid at Coba is still open for visitors to climb (although we anticipate this closing in the future for preservation). The view from above overlooks a lush green forest. The city itself is immense so you might want to rent a bike to cover more ground. There really is so much more to be explored besides its famous pyramid structure.
#2 – Get off the Beaten Path
Head south of Tulum Beach towards the Sa’an Kaan Eco Reserve. You’ll be surprised to see how little tourist venture off into this area. Our drive down to Puta Allen was one of our favorite adventures while in Tulum. On one side of Route 15, you’ll find the ocean. On the other side, is a salt water lagoon (DO NOT go swimming in the lagoon unless you want to run into a crocodile!)
Along the way, we stopped to see the beaches which were completely isolate. We literally couldn’t stop jumping for joy while there.
We decide to drive all the way to the tip of this little strip of land to a small town called Punta Allen. If you’re feeling adventurous, find a way to climb up to the lighthouse. The views up here are the best we’ve seen in Tulum.
#1 – Swim in a Cenote (or multiple Cenotes)
Tulum and the Yucantan region have some of the most beautiful cenotes known to man. Swimming in a centone is like swimming in a life sized aquarium. We’ve never seen such crystal clear water in our lives. There are many cenotes to choose from while in Tulum. We visited two and were not disappointed.
Dos Ojos Cenote
Watch our Video on TOP 5 THINGS NOT TO MISS IN TULUM