Tips on What To Do in Tulum
The highlights of Tulum include its Mayan ruins and pristine beaches, both located a short distance east from Tulum's downtown. Adventurous travelers should take advantage of the great opportunities to observe the Riviera Maya's natural attractions, including Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. You can also check out the several cenotes, or subterranean water caverns, around Tulum.
Tulum doesn't have a great nightlife scene, but Playa del Carmen (40 miles north) and Cancún (80 miles north) come to life after dark. Keep in mind that it’s probably not safe to party in one of these towns and make the long drive back to Tulum in the same night.
- If you're staying elsewhere but want some beach time in Tulum, the easiest thing to do is drive to El Paraíso Beach Club. It's about 1km (a half mile) south of the ruins (take a left at the 'T' junction). This is a great place -- there's a long, broad beach that is pure sand, and access is free." -- Frommer's
- Perambulate the Tulum strip -- Avenida Tulum (make a left on 307 from the ruins and head through the traffic lights) -- with its identical concrete tchotchke stalls all selling exactly the same thing: knotted friendship bracelets, coconut pendant lights." -- New York Times
- Both Cobá to the west and the massive Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an to the south make doable day trips. -- Lonely Planet
Tulum's Mayan ruins are some of the most well-preserved in all of Mexico. Constructed between 1200 and 1450, they include several temples and shrines devoted to Mayan gods. Many are within walking distance of Tulum's downtown, but there are also several structures at Muyil, located on the western edge of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.
- Be prepared for LOTS of people and tour groups at the archaeological site. To avoid the crowds, it is best to stay overnight and visit the ruins early in the morning before the buses arrive, or later in the afternoon. Morning is recommended as you can catch spectacular vistas as the sun is rising over the Caribbean." -- Sherman's Travel
- A standard telephoto zoom lens does well if you must photograph during times of peak tourism. This strategy will keep people out of your shots of the ruins." --Wikitravel
Tulum's beaches are some of the largest in Riviera Maya, and they won't disappoint. You can enjoy a scenic swim right in front of the famous Mayan ruins, or travel south along the road to Boca Paila, where you'll find beaches like the popular Playa Paraíso and a few beachside resorts. You can also charter diving expeditions to nearby reefs or underground water caverns, known as cenotes.
The largest beach in the area stretches south from the ruins to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Beachside boutiques and cabanas run along the coast, offering excellent accommodations ranging from upscale resorts to spare, beachside cabanas.
- Tulum's spectacular coastline -- with its confectioner sugar sands, jade-green water, balmy breezes and bright sun -- make it one of the top beaches in Mexico. Where else can you get all that and a dramatically situated Maya ruin? There are also excellent diving, fun cenotes, great snorkeling, and a variety of lodgings and restaurants to fit every budget." -- Lonely Planet
South of Tulum along the road to Boca Paila, you'll find the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a 1.3 million acre national park that features an abundance of plant life, marine life and a coral reef. Sian Ka'an -- and the lush coast surrounding Tulum -- makes the Riviera Maya a favorite getaway for ecotourists. Also be sure to visit the Gran Cenote -- a large underground water cavern and nearby Xcaret, an old sacred Mayan city and, now, a 250-acre ecological theme park.
- The list of Xcaret's attractions goes on and on: you can visit a dolphinarium, a bee farm, a manatee lagoon, a bat cave, an orchid and bromeliad greenhouse, an edible-mushroom farm, and a small zoo. You can also visit a scenic tower that takes you 240 feet up in the air for a spectacular view of the park." -- Fodor's
- If you've been captured by an adventurous spirit and have an excessively sanguine opinion of your rental car's off-road capabilities, you might want to take a trip down the Punta Allen Peninsula, especially if your interests lie in fly-fishing, birding, or simply exploring new country." -- Frommer's