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Millenia-old Mayan ruins perch dramatically on cliffs that overlook the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea in Tulum, a Mexican beach destination that exemplifies the Yucatan’s cultural heritage and tropical beauty. Come for the ruins—best explored on a day trip that combines the archeological zone with nearby cenotes, coral reefs, or the cave networks of Rio Secreto—and stay for more of the top things to do in Tulum, including tequila tasting, taco eating, and relaxing on the white-sand beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Head to Tulum at the tail end of hurricane season (November), when the leftover breeze offers pleasant respite from the scorching summer sun—you’ll also get the best hotel deals. For the biggest party of the year, visit during spring break in March, or go in December, when the high-octane Zamna Festival kicks off and draws dance and house music fans from around the world.
Tulum lends itself well to cycling—there’s an abundance of bike rental stores and roads are flat and paved. Biking to the beach is a breeze, but take caution when cycling around the town as you’ll be sharing the road with cars. For a taste of local life, jump aboard a colectivo—shared taxis that follow routes to popular attractions such as the southern beaches, Tulum ruins, and Playa del Carmen.
No visit to the Yucatan would be complete without plunging into a cenote—limestone sinkholes and subterranean caverns that were revered by the ancient Mayans. The most spectacular examples are arguably Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha, and Multum-Ha, about an hour’s drive from Tulum; however, if you’re looking for a less-crowded experience, head to Zacil-Ha. It’s a low-key spot favored by locals and a 15-minute drive from Tulum.
Tulum, a city on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is known for the Maya ruins that overlook the Caribbean Sea. This ancient site offers visitors views of the coast and surrounding jungle. Equally famous for its white sand beaches, food scene, and tourist amenities, Tulum draws crowds to its temperate shores....More
If you’re looking for nightlife, Tulum delivers. Situated on the Caribbean Sea in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the city boasts a selection of local bars and restaurants, as well as lively nightclubs along the beach. The scene is more relaxed than in nearby Cancun, but there’s plenty to do after dark....More
Tulum offers activities and experiences that won’t cost you a cent. Whether you want to spend the day at the beach, walk its eclectic downtown, explore off-the-beaten path cenotes, or take pictures of vibrant sunsets, there are plenty of free Tulum activities to keep you busy....More
Yes, it’s possible to see Tulum’s highlights—like its Maya ruins, beach, and downtown area—in three days. However, if you want to both relax and take advantage of all this beautiful city on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico offers, then plan on spending at least five days....More
Tulum and Cancun are popular Mexico beach destinations that are about a two-hour drive apart, but they are very different. Though safety statistics vary, it’s generally agreed that smaller, more laid-back Tulum is safer than the tourist hot spot of Cancun. Tulum locals are friendly and helpful....More
Tulum is a popular destination, but there are some things to skip. Avoid drinking tap water and don’t leave your bag unattended. Don’t arrive at the Tulum ruins midday and expect to avoid the crowds—instead, come early or late and avoid Sundays when the site is free for Mexicans....More
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