Last updated: 8. January 2022
Tulum is a quiet, relaxing city in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and lies on the Caribbean coastline. Its astonishing beaches are the ultimate place to relax and unplug for days at a time. Tulum is that ideal vacation spot that feels like paradise. As Tulum’s popularity as a resort and vacation destination grows, so does its visitor base. Many travelers now come to Tulum looking for that authentic cultural experience.
Tulum is full of different activities and memorable places to visit. From visiting the beach to touring the cities and even having an artistic moment at the cultural ruins, there are many things to do in Tulum. Read on to discover top activities to try out in Tulum.
There are more than enough activities to engage in while visiting Tulum, but these ten (10) things should top your list.
1. See Daniel Popper’s Sculpture
A must-see during your visit to Tulum is Daniel Popper’s sculpture Ven a la Luz. The artwork is located at the Piedra del Sol hotel complex in Tulum. Ven a La Luz represents the connection between nature and human beings. All around this sculpture there is vegetation that has started to grow naturally.
South African artist Daniel Popper, Ven a la Luz’s sculpturer, is known for his massive figurative sculptures. Ven a la Luz, which means come into the light, comes from one of Popper’s favorite poems, which he recited by heart at the opening of the piece during the Tulum Festival. The sculpture is composed of wood and rope formed into a female figure. Her torso is filled with lush green plants, which creates an archway for viewers to walk through. Popper created Ven a la Luz as an allegorical reminder of the importance of protecting the forest.
As a visitor, you can enter the Ven a la Luz sculpture through the top, and find an area to sit and enjoy the artistic view. Visiting the Daniel Popper sculpture will appeal to your artistic side, and is certainly a good way to relax.
2. Dive Into the Gran Cenote
One advantage of staying in Tulum is that it’s situated close to the Riviera Maya. This means you’ve got easy direct access to one of nature’s great wonders – the Cenotes. Cenotes are natural sinkholes with steep walls which form part of underground river systems.
The Gran Cenote is a spectacular underwater cave and two-story-high cavern only accessible by diving. It has a 52-foot deep dome within it, which makes for a spectacular open-water dive. Its beauty and crystal clear waters make it a delight to explore. It is located at the end of a stunning 30-meter passageway rich in stalactites and stalagmites, which light up with amazing clarity in the sunlight. The waters are crystal clear and contain turtles, small fish, and other marine wildlife. You can bask in the thrilling beauty of nature while you dive, swim or snorkel at the Gran Centos.
3. Go Swimming in the Caribbean
Tulum has some of the best Caribbean beaches. In total, there are 4 beaches, each with its own charm, white sand, and clear water. You can swim in the crystal-clear waters or hang back and relax. Playa Paraíso, Playa Ruinas, and Akumal Beach are the popular beaches in Tulum. The most popular of them is Playa Paraiso. It is framed by the Caribbean Sea and is suitable for swimming.
Paraiso beach is 200 meters long and 20 meters wide, with fine sand and warm shallow waters. It’s one of the longest in the area. It is one of the best spots to spend quality time with your family or friends.
The sand at the beach is very soft and smooth to walk on and there are no shells, rocks, or other things that would hurt your feet if you walked on them. Although the beach is popular, it isn’t typically crowded, so you can take a calm walk by the beach or swim conveniently. Ensure to pay close attention to the beach flags to avoid swimming at the wrong time.
4. Visit the Mayan Ruins
The Mayan Ruins of Tulum are one of Mexico’s most popular attractions. The ruins are perched high above a perfect stretch of white-sand beach and backed by a sweep of Caribbean blue. It is a must-see view in Tulum and is one of the most photographed sites in Mexico.
You can visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Copan, Flores, Tikal, Xunantunich, Xel-Ha, Tayasal, as well as the ancient cities of Muyil and Edzna. You can discover the rich history of Mayan civilization and culture, which is considered one of the wonders of the world. The Mayan Ruins is surrounded by tropical forest with over 200 restored buildings, including the main pyramid that towers above palm trees. You’ll enjoy its grandeur and setting overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, with swaths of distant beaches and islands visible on the horizon. Enter through the well-preserved western wall, beside which is a steep staircase leading to the beach.
5. Visit Chichen Itza
The Chichen Itza archaeological site is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city built by the Maya civilization and located in the southeastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. You can take a tour around the historical beauty while in Tulum.
The archaeological site consists of a large ceremonial center, with a total area of more than 5 square kilometers and containing at least eight pyramids or temple pyramids, varying between 45 and 66 meters, each with a staircase leading to an upper temple. The site displays impressive architectural structures, including impressive step pyramids, cathedrals, and temples.
6. Explore the Cobá Ruins
Cobá is a small archaeological site in Quintana Roo, Mexico, located approximately 14.9 km east of the town of Pisté. The ruins are situated in a rainforest environment with a nearby freshwater lake, surrounded by fertile alluvial soil.
Cobá consists of well-preserved pyramid structures dotted around the lush jungle. It gives an entirely different feel from the typical visit to the beach or museums. In Coba, there are many plazas, pyramids, and other structures to explore, along with easy access to the jungle and a couple of large cenotes.
If you like to hike, you can consider climbing Coba’s ancient pyramid. The pyramid is 42 meters (138 feet) tall. It is the highest place at the site and is the heart of the city. It stands 138 feet (42 meters) tall and is made of limestone. It features a huge staircase that extends on six ascending levels.
Climbing a pyramid might seem a little scary at first, but you’ll have the help of a thick rope and a friend to support you. Once you get to the top, you’ll discover it’s worth the climb. From the top, you can see a stunning view stretching out in all directions.
7. Pay a Visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve is one of the best eco-tourism destinations in Quintana Roo. The name “Sian Ka’an,” meaning “where the sky is born,” says a lot about what to expect. The vast 1,000km2 reserve supports an incredible amount of flora and fauna, including 365 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and about 1,000 different species of plants. You’ll get to bask in the adventurous wonders of nature. Tours are designed to be enjoyed by both adult travelers and children, whether it’s snorkeling among the coral reefs or hiking through the jungle to take in the fresh air and natural beauty of this important biosphere reserve.
8. Visit Parque Ecológico & Cenotes LabnaHa
The Parque Ecológico and Cenotes LabnáHa is a great place to visit in the Cancun area. It is commonly referred to as the Mundo Mayo Magico or Magic World and it’s just about a 10- minutes drive from Tulum. You can kick back with your family, and friends with activities like diving, zip-lining, and swimming.
The main attraction of the Mundo Maya Magico is the adventure. It combines the walk in a jungle and ecotourism, zip-lining, and kayaking in underground rivers or cenotes. You can enjoy the adventurous nature of nature, plants, and animals and have fun in the waters.
9. Visit Raw Love
Raw Love is a must-try. It is a very special place with friendly staff, beautiful views, and delicious food. You can get all kinds of different raw food here, as well as delicious coffee. The vibe is very authentic bohemian as you want to experience when you are in Tulum.
It is also a great meeting point in the daytime for adventurous people and offers affordable service. The menu includes dishes for all tastes and dietary restrictions.
10. Visit Xel-Ha Eco-Adventure Park
Xel-Ha is a natural ecological paradise located about 20 minutes north of Tulum. The park offers the “largest natural aquarium in the world” with cenotes filled with marine life, Mayan ruins, jungle hikes, zip-lining, and other adventure activities. It offers the option of creating a unique vacation experience where you can cram all of your favorite experiences from Xel-Ha into a single day.
You can visit the largest natural aquarium in the world and swim with sea turtles, relax at the freshwater lagoons, dive into the warm waters of cenotes underground caves, ride bikes, horses, boats, and enjoy other family fun attractions in the eco-park.
November and December are great times to visit Tulum. Average daytime temperatures are about 28 degrees celsius, night temperatures are comfortable, and average rainfall is light. It means that besides having one or two rainy days, the beaches are turquoise blue, and nature is lush green. You can schedule your Tulum vacation around a few rainy days by visiting the beach during the day and exploring the jungle at night.
Moreover, the hotel prices in Tulum are reasonable during this period. Not to say that it’s hard to find affordable room rates at other times of the year. The crowd in November is also fair, compared to what you’ll find when visiting from January to March. Additionally, you can be part of the Day of the Dead festival which occurs on the 1st of Nov, and the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (around November-December) in the Playa del Carmen).
In Tulum, there are tons of activities that can make your vacation memorable. Tulum’s attractions range from a stunning seaside boardwalk to a beachfront aquarium, a nature theme park, artistic views, and much more. It is packed with fun activities for family and friends.