Best Things to Do in Tulum: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Emil Backup
This post may have affiliate links, where I receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you planning to visit Tulum in the near future? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Tulum. These captivating sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Welcome to Tulum—a slice of paradise that’s more than just Instagram-worthy beaches and boho-chic boutiques. This gem on Mexico, Yucatán Peninsula is a haven for those seeking a blend of ancient history, natural beauty, and a dash of modern luxury. Those things to do in Tulum include cycling through lush jungles, only to stumble upon ancient Mayan ruins overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Imagine savoring authentic Mexican cuisine, your taste buds dancing to the rhythm of spicy salsas and tangy margaritas.

But Tulum is more than just a pretty face; it’s a destination that invites you to dive deep—both literally and metaphorically. From the mystical cenotes that dot the landscape to the vibrant local culture that welcomes you with open arms, Tulum is a place that begs to be explored beyond its surface. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone who just wants to lounge on the beach with a cocktail in hand, Tulum has something for everyone.

So, pack your bags and your sense of adventure, because we’re about to embark on a journey through the Best Things to Do in Tulum. Trust me, you’ll want to experience every single one. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Tulum.

The best things to do in Tulum right now.
This article on the best things to do in Tulum contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in Tulum

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Tulum? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this heavenly vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Tulum places to visit.

Are you looking to go snorkeling in crystal-clear cenotes and enjoy vibrant nightlife? Or would you prefer to immerse yourself in wellness practices like yoga and meditation? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Tulum can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Tulum that you should know about.

1. Tulum Ruins

Ah, the Tulum Ruins, a place where history and natural beauty collide in the most spectacular way. Perched on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, these ruins are a must-see in Tulum. As you wander through the well-preserved temples and castles, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The El Castillo, the main temple, offers panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

What makes a visit to this spot one of the best things to do in Tulum is its distinctive blend of culture and nature. After exploring the ruins, head down the wooden staircase to the beach below. It’s a secluded slice of heaven where you can take a refreshing dip, with the ancient ruins as your backdrop. Talk about a one-of-a-kind experience!

If you’re an early bird, aim to visit at sunrise to avoid the crowds and catch the ruins in the soft morning light. Trust me, the serenity and the views are worth the early wake-up call. Whether you’re a history buff or just someone looking to capture that perfect Instagram shot, the Tulum Ruins offer an experience that’s both enriching and awe-inspiring.

Amidst the lush greenery, the Tulum Ruins stand proudly, echoing the rich history of the Mayan civilization.
Amidst the lush greenery, the Tulum Ruins stand proudly, echoing the rich history of the Mayan civilization.

2. Cenote Dos Ojos

If you’re wondering what to do in Tulum that’s both adventurous and surreal, look no further than Cenote Dos Ojos. This natural sinkhole is a diver’s paradise, offering an ethereal underwater experience unlike any other. The cenote gets its name from its two ‘eyes’—two circular openings that lead to a labyrinth of underwater caves.

Imagine floating in crystal-clear waters, surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming for thousands of years. The sunlight filtering through the openings creates a magical play of light and shadow, making you feel like you’re in a different world altogether. It’s one of those unique places in Tulum where nature’s artistry truly comes to life.

For the less adventurous, there’s also the option to snorkel or simply swim in the shallower areas. Either way, the cenote offers a refreshing escape from the tropical heat. And if you’re into photography, the lighting conditions here are a dream come true.

Whether you’re a diving enthusiast or someone just looking to experience the natural wonders of Tulum, Cenote Dos Ojos is a must-visit. It’s not just a cool destination in Tulum; it’s a journey into an awe-inspiring underwater realm.

Crystal-clear waters beckon adventurers into the enchanting depths of Cenote Dos Ojos.
Crystal-clear waters beckon adventurers into the enchanting depths of Cenote Dos Ojos.

3. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve—a place where the soul finds solace and the heart beats in tune with nature. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see for anyone who cherishes biodiversity and unspoiled landscapes. Stretching over 1.3 million acres, it’s a sanctuary for thousands of species of flora and fauna.

Picture yourself gliding through mangroves in a kayak, the water beneath you so clear it’s like floating on air. Birds of every hue and song fill the air with a natural symphony, while the occasional splash signals the presence of a manatee or crocodile. It’s one of those Tulum attractions that make you appreciate the grandeur of Mother Earth.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, there are guided eco-tours that take you through the jungle, explaining the delicate balance of this ecosystem. You’ll learn about the ancient Mayan canals and get a chance to see some of the most endangered species in the region.

Preparing a list of the unique things to do in Tulum? Make sure a visit to Sian Ka’an is right at the top. It’s not just a visit; it’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve left.

Vast and untamed, the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve unveils a tapestry of pristine landscapes.
Vast and untamed, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve unveils a tapestry of pristine landscapes.

4. Playa Paraíso

Imagine stepping onto a beach so pristine, it feels like your own private paradise. Welcome to Playa Paraíso, a must-see in Tulum that lives up to its name—Paradise Beach. The powdery white sand feels like silk underfoot, and the turquoise waters are so clear you can see the fish darting about.

Now, curious about what to do in Tulum’s Playa Paraíso? Well, you could start by lounging under a palm-thatched umbrella with a tropical drink in hand. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for some water sports? From paddleboarding to snorkeling, the coolest activities in Tulum are right here.

Other than the fun beach activities, the beachside eateries offer some of the most delectable seafood you’ll ever taste. Fresh ceviche, grilled fish, and coconut shrimp are just a few of the culinary delights waiting for you.

As the sun sets, the sky transforms into a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples – each moment feels like a postcard. So, if you’re wondering where to visit in Tulum for that perfect beach day, look no further than Playa Paraíso.

Playa Paraíso, where the turquoise waters of the Caribbean embrace the powdery white sands, offers a slice of paradise.
Playa Paraíso, where the turquoise waters of the Caribbean embrace the powdery white sands, offers a slice of paradise.

5. Coqui Coqui Perfumeria

In the heart of Tulum, you’ll stumble upon a gem that’s unlike any other—Coqui Coqui Perfumeria. The moment you enter the shop, you’re greeted by an array of scents that transport you to different worlds—from tropical jungles to smoky temples.

What makes this one of the coolest things to do in Tulum? It’s the personalized experience. You can create your own signature scent from a selection of natural oils and fragrances. Imagine having a perfume that’s exceptionally yours, capturing the essence of your Tulum adventure.

But wait, the experience doesn’t end there. The perfumeria also offers a range of skincare and home products, all infused with the same high-quality scents. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs that are both luxurious and meaningful.

As you explore the perfumeria, you’ll also discover its rich history. The building itself is a work of art, with its rustic charm and elegant décor. It’s one of those essential places that offers more than meets the eye.

Coqui Coqui Perfumeria, a sensory haven nestled in the heart of Tulum.
Coqui Coqui Perfumeria, a sensory haven nestled in the heart of Tulum.

6. Tulum Art Club

Welcome to Tulum Art Club—where creativity knows no bounds. This gallery is a vibrant community space that’s one of the best places to go in Tulum if you’re an art aficionado or even just a casual observer. The moment you walk through the door, you’re enveloped in a world of color, texture, and imagination.

Seeking a bit of culture? Look no further. The Tulum Art Club hosts a variety of events, from art exhibitions to workshops, making it a dynamic hub for local and international artists. You can even try your hand at a painting class or simply enjoy the rotating exhibits that showcase everything from contemporary art to indigenous crafts.

The club offers more than just visual delights. It’s also a place where you can engage in meaningful conversations about art, culture, and life in general. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate, ready to dive into discussions that will leave you inspired long after you’ve left.

And let’s not overlook the café inside the club. With its artisanal coffee and scrumptious pastries, it’s the perfect spot to sit, ponder, and soak in the artistic atmosphere. Truly, the Tulum Art Club is a feast for all senses. Is this among the top things to see and do in Tulum? 100%.

Where artists come together to share their passion and inspiration, adding a touch of culture to this tropical paradise.
Where artists come together to share their passion and inspiration, adding a touch of culture to this tropical paradise.

7. Casa Malca

Casa Malca is more than just a luxury hotel; it’s a living, breathing art installation. This opulent mansion, once owned by Pablo Escobar, has been transformed into one of the best things to do in Tulum. As you step inside, you’re greeted by a kaleidoscope of art pieces, from contemporary sculptures to avant-garde paintings.

Thinking about where to go in Tulum for a blend of history, luxury, and art? Casa Malca is your answer. Each room is a curated experience, filled with handpicked art that tells a story. The mansion itself is a labyrinth of hidden rooms and secret passageways, each revealing a new facet of artistic brilliance.

The property also boasts pristine beaches, a rooftop bar with panoramic views, and a world-class restaurant serving up gourmet delights. It’s a place where you can lounge by the pool with a cocktail in hand, all while soaking in the surrounding beauty.

And for those looking to tie the knot in style, Casa Malca offers one of the most distinctive wedding venues in Tulum. Imagine saying “I do” amidst a backdrop of art and the azure Caribbean Sea. It’s a dream come true for any couple.

If you’re in search of a luxurious escape that offers a feast for both your eyes and soul, Casa Malca is a must-visit.

Casa Malca, a luxurious retreat on Tulum's pristine shores, where modern design seamlessly blends with the jungle's lush embrace.
Casa Malca, a luxurious retreat on Tulum’s pristine shores, where modern design seamlessly blends with the jungle’s lush embrace.

8. Gitano

Ah, Gitano! If you’re asking yourself about Tulum things to do for an unforgettable culinary experience, this is your spot. Situated amidst the lush jungle, Gitano is a restaurant and mezcal bar that offers more than just a meal—it’s a feast for all your senses.

The ambiance is pure magic. Visualize this: fairy lights twinkling amidst the trees, a DJ spinning tropical beats, and the aroma of wood-fired dishes wafting through the air. It’s a Tulum attraction that’s not just about the food but the atmosphere too.

And how about the menu? From mouth-watering tacos to fresh ceviche, the dishes are a fusion of traditional Mexican flavors and modern culinary techniques. The star of the show? Their mezcal cocktails. Crafted by expert mixologists, each drink is a work of art, both in presentation and taste.

Gitano isn’t just a nighttime affair. During the day, it transforms into a serene oasis where you can enjoy a leisurely brunch or partake in a mezcal tasting session. It’s one of those best places in Tulum where day or night, there’s always something exciting happening.

Planning to elevate your Tulum experience with a dash of culinary brilliance and a sprinkle of jungle magic? Gitano is the place to be.

Gitano, a sultry and chic oasis in Tulum, where the rhythms of live music mingle with the flavors of Mezcal and Mexican cuisine.
Gitano, a sultry and chic oasis in Tulum, where the rhythms of live music mingle with the flavors of Mezcal and Mexican cuisine.

9. Ahau Tulum

Ahau Tulum, a hidden bohemian gem in Tulum, offers an enchanting experience. Located on Tulum Beach, this eco-friendly beachfront retreat exudes tranquility.

Begin your day with beachfront yoga and savor organic cuisine at the restaurant. Explore the nearby Mayan ruins or indulge in spa treatments. With its beachfront location, Ahau Tulum provides sun-soaked relaxation and water adventures like paddle boarding and snorkeling. At night, enjoy live music and fire dancers.

Ahau Tulum seamlessly combines luxury and sustainability, making it perfect for eco-conscious travelers. Whether you seek wellness or a nature escape, Ahau Tulum promises an unforgettable stay in Tulum’s vibrant landscape.

Ahau Tulum, a beachfront haven where rustic elegance meets the Caribbean's turquoise embrace.
Ahau Tulum, a beachfront haven where rustic elegance meets the Caribbean’s turquoise embrace. Photo Credits: Ahau Tulum.

10. La Zebra Beach Bar and Restaurant

Ah, La Zebra Beach Bar and Restaurant, where the Caribbean Sea meets culinary excellence. If you’re curious about the coolest things to do in Tulum to satiate both your wanderlust and your taste buds, this is your spot. Imagine sipping on a handcrafted mezcal cocktail as the sun dips below the horizon. Yes, it’s as dreamy as it sounds.

From fresh ceviche to mouthwatering tacos, La Zebra offers a gastronomic journey through Mexican cuisine. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience that tantalizes all five senses. And for those who love to dance, the live music and salsa nights are a must-see in Tulum.

Now, what sets La Zebra apart from others is its surf school. That’s right, you can catch some waves right after catching some rays. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a total newbie, the instructors will have you riding the waves in no time.

La Zebra is a place where you can sip, savor, and surf, all while soaking in the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

11. Tulum Monkey Sanctuary

Are you on the hunt for unique places in Tulum that offer more than just sun and sea? Then the Tulum Monkey Sanctuary is your next stop. Nestled in the lush jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, this sanctuary is a haven for spider monkeys and other local wildlife. It’s not just a zoo; it’s a conservation effort aimed at rescuing and rehabilitating these incredible creatures.

You’ll be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who’ll share fascinating facts about the monkeys and the local ecosystem. It’s an educational experience that’s also a lot of fun, especially when you get to see the monkeys swinging from tree to tree, living their best lives.

The sanctuary also offers bird-watching tours for nature enthusiasts. Bring your binoculars and get ready to spot some of the most exotic birds you’ve ever seen. From toucans to parrots, the avian life here is simply mesmerizing.

The Monkey Sanctuary deserves a spot on your list of Tulum places to visit. It’s a perfect blend of adventure and education, offering an exceptional perspective on the rich biodiversity of the region.

The Tulum Monkey Sanctuary, a haven for rescued primates nestled in the heart of the Yucatan jungle.
The Tulum Monkey Sanctuary, is a haven for rescued primates nestled in the heart of the Yucatan jungle.

12. Muyil Archaeological Site

Curious about the unique things to do in Tulum that’s a bit off the beaten path? Consider a visit to the Muyil Archaeological Site. Unlike the more famous Tulum Ruins, Muyil offers a quieter, more intimate experience with the ancient Maya civilization. Located within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, this site is a treasure trove of history and culture.

While wandering through the ruins, you’ll come across various structures, including the Castillo, a 57-foot tall pyramid. The site is surrounded by dense jungle, adding an extra layer of mystery and allure. It’s as if you’ve stepped into another world, one where time stands still.

Muyil stands out due to its proximity to the Muyil Lagoon. A wooden boardwalk takes you through mangroves and wetlands, leading to a stunning view of the lagoon. From here, you can take a boat tour that includes floating down ancient Maya canals. It’s an experience that combines history, nature, and a touch of adventure.

Muyil should be on your list of cool destinations in Tulum that offer a blend of the past and the present. It’s for everyone to see, especially for those interested in archaeology or natural beauty.

Ancient Mayan history comes to life amidst the tranquil beauty of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.
Ancient Mayan history comes to life amidst the tranquil beauty of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Tulum

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Tulum? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Tulum:

Is 3 days enough in Tulum?

Three days in Tulum can be enough to get a taste of what the area offers. However, your experience will largely depend on your interests and how you prioritize your activities. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 3-day trip:

Day 1: Tulum Ruins and Beach

  • Morning: Visit the Tulum Ruins. These seaside Mayan ruins are one of the most iconic sights in the area. Arrive early to avoid the midday sun and larger crowds.
  • Afternoon: Spend time at Tulum Beach. The white sandy beaches and turquoise waters are perfect for relaxation. Many beach clubs offer loungers, food, and drinks.
  • Evening: Dine at one of Tulum’s trendy restaurants or beachfront eateries.

Cenotes and Downtown Tulum (Day 2)

  • Morning: Explore a cenote or two. Cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with freshwater, and the Yucatán Peninsula is dotted with them. Popular ones near Tulum include Cenote Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote.
  • Afternoon: Wander around Downtown Tulum (Tulum Pueblo). It’s less touristy than the beach area and offers a more local vibe with shops, restaurants, and bars.
  • Evening: Try local street food or dine in a local eatery in the town.

Day 3: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve or Beach Day

  • Option 1: Take a tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a mix of tropical forests, mangroves, marshes, and a barrier reef. You can see various wildlife, including tropical birds, manatees, and dolphins.
  • Option 2: If you prefer a relaxed day, spend another day at the beach, perhaps trying a different beach club or a more secluded spot.

Is Tulum safe for tourists?

Tulum is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s wise to exercise common-sense precautions. Secure your belongings, stay in well-traveled areas at night, and be mindful of your surroundings. Stay informed about local guidelines and health recommendations, especially in light of changing conditions.

What’s the best time to visit Tulum?

The best time to visit Tulum is during the dry season, from November to April. This period offers sunny weather and comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for beach activities, exploring ancient ruins, and enjoying outdoor adventures. It avoids the hurricane season and heavy rainfall that occurs from June to October.

Is 7 days enough for Tulum?

Yes, 7 days in Tulum provides ample time to explore the area thoroughly and even venture out to nearby attractions. With a week at your disposal, you can enjoy a mix of relaxation, cultural experiences, and adventure. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 7-day trip:

Day 1: Tulum Ruins and Beach

  • Morning: Visit the Tulum Ruins. Arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat.
  • Afternoon: Relax at Tulum Beach.
  • Evening: Dine at a beachfront restaurant.

Day 2: Cenotes Exploration

  • Visit multiple cenotes like Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Calavera.
  • Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or even diving.

Downtown Tulum / Tulum Pueblo (Day 3)

  • Explore the town, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy local eateries.
  • Experience the nightlife in Tulum.

Day 4: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

  • Take a guided tour of Sian Ka’an, exploring its diverse ecosystems and wildlife.

Day 5: Cobá Ruins and Nearby Cenote

  • Morning: Visit the Cobá Ruins and climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid for panoramic views.
  • Afternoon: Refresh at Cenote Choo-Ha or Tamcach-Ha near Cobá.

Beach Day and Spa (Day 6)

  • Spend the day at the beach, trying water sports or simply relaxing.
  • Consider booking a spa treatment or a traditional Mayan healing session.

Day 7: Day Trip to Valladolid and Ek Balam

  • Morning: Explore the colonial town of Valladolid, visiting the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena and sampling local Yucatecan cuisine.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Ek Balam ruins, less crowded than other archaeological sites and known for its well-preserved sculptures.

Do I need to speak Spanish when visiting Tulum?

While many people in Tulum’s tourist areas, such as hotels and restaurants, speak English, having some basic Spanish can be helpful for smoother interactions and a more immersive experience. Learning a few key phrases can enhance communication and show respect for the local culture, but it’s not essential for a visit.

Exploring the ancient ruins of Tulum, where history meets paradise.
Exploring the ancient ruins of Tulum, where history meets paradise.

What’s the currency in Tulum?

The currency used in Tulum, as in the rest of Mexico, is the Mexican Peso (MXN). It’s advisable to have some cash on hand for small purchases and in areas where credit cards may not be widely accepted. ATMs are readily available for currency exchange and withdrawals.

How do I get around Tulum?

Getting around Tulum is easy. Many visitors rent bicycles to explore the town and nearby attractions. Taxis and colectivos (shared vans) are readily available for longer trips or when you prefer not to cycle. Walking is a great option in Tulum’s central area, especially for accessing restaurants, shops, and the beach.

Is Tulum family-friendly?

Yes, Tulum can be a family-friendly destination. It offers a range of activities suitable for families, including beach outings, exploring Mayan ruins, and visiting eco-parks like Xel-Há and Xcaret. Many accommodations and restaurants are family-oriented, and the town generally welcomes visitors of all ages.

What should I pack when going to Tulum?

When packing for Tulum, include lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather. Don’t forget beachwear, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent. Comfortable walking shoes or sandals are essential. If you plan to explore cenotes or ruins, bring swimwear, a water bottle, and a camera.

What is Tulum best known for?

Tulum is best known for its stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins perched on cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, and its bohemian-chic vibe. It’s a hotspot for eco-conscious travelers, offering a blend of luxury and natural beauty. The town is also famous for its vibrant arts scene and unique cenotes.

Is it worth going to Tulum?

Absolutely, Tulum is well worth a visit for its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and laid-back luxury. Whether you’re into history, and nature, or just want to unwind on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Tulum offers something for everyone. It’s a must-see destination.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Tulum

So there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the best places in Tulum that go beyond the usual tourist traps. From the serenity of Muyil Archaeological Site to the vibrant energy of the local markets, Tulum is a destination that promises a rich tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a nature enthusiast, or someone just looking to unwind, Tulum has something special waiting just for you.

Remember, the coolest activities in Tulum aren’t just about what you see, but how you feel while you’re there. So go ahead, pack your bags, and set off on an adventure that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Safe travels and hasta luego!

Best Things to Do in Tulum for all types of travelers.
Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Tulum? Pin it! 

You may also like

Leave a Comment