With so many things to do in Tulum, Mexico, it’s no wonder that this former sleepy fishing village has recently become of the most popular destinations on the planet.
The incredible white sand beaches of Tulum are the main attraction here, but there are a ton of awesome places to visit in Tulum beyond the shore.
I spent over six months living in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and have visited Tulum almost a dozen separate times. Each time, I’m blown away at just how many incredible places are packed into this tiny town. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
So, to help you make the most out of your visit to Tulum, I’ve put together a list of the 21 best things to do in Tulum. Oh, and you’re definitely going to want to check out #19 (trust me, your taste buds will thank you….)
1. Hang Out on Playa Paraiso
The beaches of Tulum are the town’s main attraction for a reason, and the best of the bunch is Playa Paraiso. Once you see the beach’s white sand and turquoise water, you’ll understand why it has been a winner of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice award for the best beach in all of Mexico.
Best of all, Playa Paraiso is a publicly accessible beach, meaning a visit to this natural wonder is one of the great free things to do in Tulum. Or, if you want to spend a little cash, Villa Pescadores and El Paraiso beach clubs offer loungers for a minimum spend on drinks and food.
It’s an easy walk from here to the second best thing to do in Tulum…..
2. Marvel at the Tulum Ruins (one of the best things to do in Tulum!)
They may not be the largest Mayan ruins in Mexico, but their spectacular location on a cliff overlooking the beach makes the Tulum ruins a marvelous site to behold. A visit here is a must from anywhere in the Yucatan, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Playa del Carmenas well.
With Tulum’s meteoric rise on the tourist scene, the 13th century ruins can get a bit crowded. So visit early in the day for the best chance to snap that envy-inducing Instagram shot without pushing your way through a crowd of visitors. The entrance fee is 65 pesos per person ($3.40). Don’t miss these spectacular ruins on your trip to the Yucatan.
3. Take a Mud Bath in a Lagoon
One of the best kept secrets in Tulum is the Laguna de Kaan Luum, which sits just 9 kilometers south of Tulum town. This magical lagoon hosts a huge cenote (underground spring) in its center, which imbues the lagoon’s water with a spectacular array of colors.
Visit to the lagoon can bath in the mud that’s produced by the cenote, and which according to legend has healing properties. Plus, it’s reasonable entrance fee (50 pesos), makes it one of the great budget things to do in Tulum.
4. Fall in Love at Burrito Amor
I’ve probably had thousands of burritos in my lifetime, and I can’t think of any tastier than the creative bannana-leaf-wrapped burritos served up at Burrito Amor.
Seriously, they are that good.
Located along Tulum’s main road on the south end of town, Burrito Amor serves up some of the most delicious food in a town. And, best of all, the average price is only about 100 pesos ($5.25), making it a welcome respite from the soaring prices that have infected much of Tulum recently. This is easily one of the best places to eat in Tulum, and a can’t-miss stop when you are in Tulum town.
5. Sip a Mojito at Batey
As Tulum’s nightlife scene explodes, the same unassuming bar still remains the go-to place to start your night out. At Batey you’ll find live music in the evenings and an energetic crowd spilling into the streets with tropical drinks in hand.
Oh, and you can even watch them press the sugarcane for your mojito! It doesn’t get much fresher than that. Mojitos go for 120 pesos ($6.30), and while that’s a bit pricey when backpacking Mexico, the drinks are worth ever peso. The vibe here is excellent and it’s always packed with people looking to have a good time.
☞ Looking for other places in Mexico to have a good time and a fun night out? Make sure to check out Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Cozumel. All four places have awesome nightlife! See these articles: Things To Do in Cancun, Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta, Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas, Things To Do in La Paz and Things To Do in Cozumel – and start planning your Mexico travels!
6. Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
Just south of Tulum lies the enormous Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a protected area home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, as well as some of the most pristine water in Mexico. Inside the park, you’ll find dolphins, turtles, and more fish and birds than you can count.
7. Go Into The Jungle to Witness Coba
The Tulum ruins are great for their setting, but if you’re looking for a more substantial Mayan pyramid, you still don’t have to go far from Tulum.
Though slightly less popular than the famous ruins at Chichen Itza, I think the Coba ruins make for a much more enjoyable day trip from Tulum.
Well, for one thing, you have to bike through thick jungle to reach them (45 pesos / $2.40 for a bike rental). And, for another, you can still climb to the top of the main pyramid at Coba (climbing is forbidden at the more-famous Chichen Itza ruins)! You’ll have to climb up 120 steep stone steps to the top of Coba, but it’s worth the effort for the views from the summit.
To get here, you can take the local ADO bus, rent a car, hire a private taxi, or take a tour.
8. Take a Dip in a Cenote
The most refreshing thing to do in Tulum is to take a dip in a “cenote,” jungle swimming holes formed when underground springs cut into the limestone bedrock.
There are dozens of cenotes in the Tulum area to choose from, but one of the most popular is Cenote Dos Ojos, which is located just 20 minutes north of town (you can get there by collectivo or via a taxi). And actually, if you are a scuba diver, you can do a dive at Dos Ojos!
You may wonder why you’d ever leave the gorgeous beaches in Tulum, but once you try a dip in a cenote, you’ll understand why the locals actually prefer the cool fresh water of the cenotes to the sea.
9. Rent a Daybed at Beach Club
Tulum’s south beach is gorgeous, but can be difficult to access unless you are staying at one of the many resorts that control the beachfront.
10. Go Kitesurfing
One of the few drawbacks to the amazing beaches in Tulum is that they can get a bit windy at times. But this also makes Tulum the perfect place to try your hand at kitesurfing.
There are several operators along Tulum’s southbeach that will teach you how to crush those waves. It’s a great adventure activity and one of the best things to do in Tulum if you’re looking to get a work out. A 1 hour lesson and a 1 hour rental is around $100USD.