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 in all of Quintana Roo, but there are a ton of awesome places to visit in Tulum beyond the shore. With endless things to do in Mexico, make sure Tulum is on your list, and don’t visit Tulum without reading this list.
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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.
Tulum Highlights Map
35 Things To Do in Tulum
To help you make the most out of your visit, I’ve put together a list of the 35 best things to do in Tulum. From the Tulum Ruins to chillin’ on Tulum beach, you’ll find it all on this list! Don’t visit Tulum without reading this post!
1. Hang Out on Playa Paraiso
After enjoying all of the awesome things to do in Mexico City, head to Tulum to enjoy some sun and the beaches!
The gorgeous 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 Mexico. 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 Mexico…..
2. Marvel at the Mayan 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 (aka Playa Ruinas) a marvelous site to behold. A visit here is a must from anywhere in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Playa del Carmen as well.
With Tulum’s meteoric rise on the tourist scene, the 13th-century Mayan 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.
There are also plenty of other nearby Mayan ruins if you want to have a less crowded experience.
Don’t miss these spectacular Tulum Ruins and make sure you check out an ancient Mayan city on your trip to the Yucatan. A trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse into ancient Mayan civilization. See our full guide to visiting the Tulum Ruins for more.
3. Go Paddleboarding in Kaan Luum Lagoon
One of the best-kept secrets in Tulum is the Laguna de Kaan Luum, which sits just 9 kilometers south of downtown Tulum.
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 the lagoon and paddle over the calm, beautiful water. Whether you’re a SUP beginner or advanced, this trip is for you.
This fun tour includes tasty tacos from one of the best places in Tulum, a SUP (paddleboard) guide, equipment, and entrance to Laguna de Kaan Luum. This is one of the more unique things to do in Tulum. Learn more here.
Of course, if you’re not interested in paddleboarding, you can still visit the gorgeous Kaan Luum Lagoon and enjoy a day of swimming and relaxation. Plus, its reasonable entrance fee (300 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 banana-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 local cuisine in the 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 downtown 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 every 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 enjoy Mexico travel!
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.
Note that the long road through the park is very rough, so you’ll either need to rent a 4×4 for the drive or sign up for a tour (which is a lot of fun and takes the hassle out of getting to Sian Ka’an). It makes for a great day trip from Tulum.
7. Go Into The Mayan Jungle to Witness The Coba Ruins
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 to see the Coba Ruins.
Though slightly less popular than the famous ancient Mayan 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 the 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 Unesco World Heritage Site of 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. Driving around Tulum is definitely possible, and is a great way to get to all of the nearby sights. There are lots of day trips from Tulum to these and other nearby Mayan ruins, and having your own wheels gives you the freedom to get off the beaten path.
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’re into scuba diving, you can do a dive at Dos Ojos!
You may wonder why you’d ever leave the pristine 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 Caribbean 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.
One way around that is to rent out a day bed at a beach club, and the best of the bunch is Papaya Playa Project. Less pretentious than its neighbours, this bohemian beach club serves up some seriously delicious Mexican food in an Instagram-worthy setting.
Note that while there is officially a minimum spend of 500 pesos ($26), I’ve often found the servers willing to lower or waive that if you ask in advance.
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 south beach that will teach you how to crush those waves. This is one of the most extreme Tulum adventures and one of the best things to do in Tulum if you’re looking to get a workout.
Book your lesson with an International Kiteboarding Association certified guide and enjoy a few hours on the water. Learn more here.
11. Try Cold Brewed Coffee on Tap
A cup of joe may not seem worthy of inclusion on a list of the best things to do in Tulum. But, as someone who used to work as a barista, let me tell you that Chale’s cold-brewed coffee is no ordinary cup of coffee.
This local roaster doesn’t have a physical location, but you can find Chale cold brew in coffee shops all around town. But for a special treat, be sure to head to Matcha Mama, where you can try it straight from the tap.
12. Browse Tulum’s Boutique Shops
If you’re the kind of person who cares about fashion, you’ll love the many boutique vendors that sell hippie-inspired wear in Tulum.
No wonder why shopping is one of the most popular things to do in Tulum. Just be prepared for sticker shock, as Western prices dominate here.
There are several clusters of popular shops along Tulum’s south beach road – just walk or bike the road and stop along the way.
13. Ride a Bicycle
One of the more annoying aspects of visiting Tulum is the constant need to shuttle yourself between the pristine beaches and Tulum town.
While there are plenty of Tulum taxis that ply that route, a fun and affordable way to get around Tulum is to rent bicycles and power yourself with your own feet.
Nearly every hotel in town and in the Tulum hotel zone will rent you bikes (including the luxury hotels), and there are several large bike paths in Tulum that make biking the best way to get around and one of the most popular activities in Tulum. Bicycle rentals are around 100 pesos ($5.25) per day.
For an even better bike experience, get out of the city and cycle through the jungle before cooling off in some cenotes! Click here to learn more about that trip.
14. Explore the Caves at Cenote Caracol
Just a few miles north of Tulum lies a cave and cenote complex that will make you feel like you’ve left Mexico and landed on another planet. The pools of spring water inside the caves make for a spectacular sight as they reflect the hanging stalactites.
Best of all, Caracol is a bit of a hidden gem, so it’s a great thing to do in Tulum to get away from the crowds.
To get here, you’ll either need to rent a car and drive yourself or go as part of an organized tour. The entrance fee (starting at 500 pesos) is steep but worth it. If you’re wondering what to do in Tulum when it’s raining, this may just be it.
15. Dance the Night Away at Santino
Tulum isn’t known for its nightlife (my theory is that the sun sucks the energy out of people during the day), but if you’re in the mood to go out anywhere, Santino bar is the spot to be.
This tiny bar and club in the middle of town boasts a small but pulsating dance floor, strong cocktails, and the best music in town.
16. Join a 5-Course Dinner Party with Cocktails
If you’re looking for unique social things to do in Tulum, you’ll love this 5-course dinner with cocktail and wine tasting in a beautiful, open-air venue.
This highly-rated experience is one of the best things to do in Tulum at night for solo travelers, couples and groups. Enjoy drinks and tasty Mexican food in a stunning setting with new friends. Find out more here.
17. Take a Photo at the Tulum Sign
So it’s a little touristy.
Ok, so it’s a lot touristy.
But, come on… you know you want to!
Tulum, like towns all around Mexico, has a sign in its center just begging for you to take a photo with it. You’ll find the sign in the main square in the center of town (Tulum Centro). It’s among the most popular things to do in Tulum, so you may have to wait in line to grab that shot.
18. Join a Cooking Class with a Local Family
This is one of the more authentic and local experiences to have in Tulum. Meet at a local’s home and enjoy a traditional cooking class with drinks.
Once you arrive, you’ll head into the kitchen to cook a delicious meal while interacting and learning about Aztec, Mayan and Mexican cuisine. You’ll discover and learn many new things about Mexican life, traditions, and customs. Everyone will eat together inside the home.
Come hungry! This small-group experience includes preparing (and eating) a 3-course meal and snacks. Plus, you can enjoy mezcal, beer, wine and soda. Find out more about this unique thing to do in Tulum here.
19. Visit Offtrack Cenotes
Skip the overly touristy cenotes in Tulum and head into the surrounding jungle to find 3 hidden gems…by bike! On this fun experience, you’ll visit three beautiful cenotes, and enjoy a tasty brunch in a secret jungle lodge.
This is one of the best things to do in Tulum (even when it rains), the weather doesn’t matter, as you’ll be getting wet while swimming in the cenotes anyways!
Find out more about this highly-rated, unique cenote experience here.
Other Magical Cenotes Near Tulum
- Casa Cenote
- Gran Cenote
- Cenote Cristal
- Cenote Azul
- Cenote Dos Ojos
- Cenote Escondido
20. Eat Tasty Tacos
When visiting Tulum, it can be easy to find yourself eating international food (there are some great restaurants here), but make sure you eat some tacos as well!
There are lots of small taco joints in the town, but definitely check out Taqueria Honorio, El Carboncito, and Antojitos la Chiapaneca which is known for its Yucatecan snacks. Don’t miss the al pastor tacos here, which are my personal favourite.
Another option is to join this awesome food and walking tour where you’ll devour some of the best and most delicious tacos in town, plus other Mexican foods. If just tacos are what you’re into, join this taco-tasting tour for some legitimately authentic tacos. Whatever you do, just make sure to eat some tacos when in Tulum!
21. Get in the Water
Ok, so this may seem like an obvious thing to include on a list of the best things to do in Tulum. But, with so many other activities in Tulum, it can be easy to forget that the gorgeous water is the star here.
Be sure to build in some time in your Tulum itinerary to take a swim in the sea. Or take it one step further and enjoy some snorkelling, paddle-boarding, riding a banana boat or jet ski, or any of the many incredible water activities on offer in Tulum!
You’ll find vendors all throughout the beach and in the town willing to help you get your adventure on.
22. Day Trip to Playa del Carmen
While I have visited Tulum over a dozen times, The Goats, Nick & Dariece, recently lived in Playa and they love the city. Luckily, a day trip between Tulum and Playa del Carmen will only take you around an hour each way. Taxis can take you on the route for around $50.
Once in Playa, you’ll have a great selection of restaurants, beach bars, and beach clubs on the Sea to choose from. Everything in Playa is significantly less expensive than in Tulum as well, so you can enjoy the discounted prices.
23. Join a Pub Crawl
If you want to party and meet new people in Tulum, join this pub crawl for a fun night out. The ticket includes unlimited free drinks for 30 minutes at the start, followed by a free shot or drink at each bar, discounts on other drinks, cover charge, and more.
24. Join a Day Trip to Chichen Itza
The Wonder of the World and Unesco World Heritage Site is a must-visit during your stay in Tulum. Visit Chichen Itza, swim in a cenote, and explore the colonial city of Valladolid on this tour. The day trip is the highest rated, and most-rated tour in Tulum, by far. Learn more here.
25. Visit The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
This is a must-visit spot for nature lovers and is a quick and scenic 2-hour drive from Tulum (or you can join an organized tour). When I went it cost around 50 pesos to enter, but once you’re in you can pay to join a boat ride to cross the lagoons and spot some dolphins and turtles.
You can also join birdwatching tours and see some Ancient Mayan Relics along the way. Definitely highly recommended.
26. Go Snorkeling
There are plenty of places in Tulum renting snorkel gear for the day (many are found in the town center) and you can either hit up one of the many Tulum beaches, snorkel near the Tulum Mayan Ruins, or head out to a nearby cenote.
The reefs are stunning at the shore, but you can hop on a boat ride out to the coral reefs in hidden bays for a more exclusive experience and a better chance of spotting turtles and rays.
27. Join a Yoga Retreat
If you’re looking to have a healthy visit to the city, then consider joining one of the weekly yoga retreats ranging from 1-8 days.
28. Visit Holistika Tulum
If you want to have a revitalizing trip to Tulum, but aren’t interested in joining a retreat, consider heading to Holistika Tulum. Tucked away from the noise and parties of the city center (aka Tulum Pueblo), Holistika offers a holistic experience for those looking for a deeper connection to nature, their soul, and their inner selves.
Therapy sessions here will cost around $50 – $120 depending on what you get. There’s also a relaxing “Art Walk” path that is set in nature. You can also eat at an on-site vegetarian restaurant that serves tasty Mexican dishes inspired by local ingredients and flavors.
29. Go Sailing Along The Riviera Maya
A trip to the Caribbean Sea wouldn’t be complete without a sailing trip. Join a luxury catamaran sailing trip departing from Playa del Carmen (they can pick you up in Tulum) and heading along the Riviera Maya coastline before anchoring up at Inah Coral Reef.
This place is renowned as one of the best snorkeling spots in all of the Mayan Riviera. After snorkeling through giant schools of vibrantly colored fish and healthy coral reefs, you can hop back on the boat for a luxury gourmet lunch of freshly caught seafood and Mexican delicacies.
The trip includes hotel transfers and there are departures in the morning and afternoon. You really shouldn’t miss this tour. At $140 it’s an absolute bargain. Click Here to learn more.
30. Eat Healthy at Raw Love Cafe
I guess we’re on a bit of a health kick in Tulum now. After spending nights out enjoying the nightlife, and days spent lazing on the beach and eating decadent Mexican Cuisine, it’s time to lighten things up and keep your beltline before returning home.
Nestled in the Tulum jungle, Raw Love Cafe offers amazing vegan dishes, made primarily with raw ingredients, that explode with flavor and color in equal measure.
Don’t miss the Mystic Spirulina Bowl and the Raw Pizza. Prices here will range from around $8-$15 USD per small dish. You can wash it all down with a delicious Choco-Maca Smoothie, a tasty blend of cacao, banana, and organic almond milk.
31. Discover Punta Laguna Nature Reserve
The Punta Laguna Nature Reserve is another must-see day trip from Tulum. The reserve is a hidden gem of a wildlife sanctuary. Entrance will cost around $10 USD while guided tours are $20-$30 USD.
Guides help you spot cool creatures and often tell captivating stories of Mayan Legends and folklore. While you’re here, you can also take part in a traditional Mayan ceremony led by a local shaman, or you can just relax on a canoe ride across the lagoon.
32. Visit (or Stay At) Casa Malca
Casa Malca famously was once owned by Pablo Escobar, but it has now been transformed into a luxurious and eclectic space.
You don’t have to spend a night here to enjoy the many on-site contemporary art installations, or to gaze in awe at the unique architecture. Simply book a meal at their top-rated restaurant.
Casa Malca is located at the end of the beach road into Tulum and you can easily get here by taxi or bicycle from town. Meals range from $15-$50 and reservations are recommended.
33. Get Swole At The Tulum Jungle Gym
Not surprisingly, a workout area in Tulum is mainly a place to go to see and be seen. As I’m not usually trying to “see” or “be seen” in Tulum, I haven’t gone to this gym yet to work out, but I’ve passed by it multiple times and it looks like a pretty well-set-up outdoor gym.
Here you can work out with an ocean view. The open-air fitness center uses mostly wooden and stone gym equipment and it looks like it’s something out of the Flintstones.
A day pass will cost you around $20 USD, but it’s a pretty Instagram-worthy spot (as made clear by the many people snapping selfies in and out of the gym).
34. Eat at Matcha Mama
Macha Mama is as popular with foodies as it is with Instagrammers, thanks to it’s extremely photo-worthy dishes. They also have some Insta-worthy spots like the iconic “I Love Tulum So Matcha” sign.
You can come here to enjoy a refreshing snack or snap a viral photo for your gram. Matcha Mama is located right on the Tulum Beach Road and you can easily get here by bike, taxi, or on foot.
Prices for bowls range from $5-$15.
35. Check Out Dos Aguas Park
An oasis in the heart of Tulum town, Dos Aguas Park is a little escape for those looking to relax without heading to the beach. With its lush greenery, serene water features, and scattered sculptures, it’s a spot for relaxation or even a picnic. Located in Aldea Zama, it’s a short taxi ride away from Tulum’s main town or a 20-minute bike ride. Entrance is free, but it’s always good to check the opening hours before visiting.
Is Tulum Safe?
While crime in Tulum has risen drastically over the past few years, it’s still generally safe for tourists. Most of the crime is gang-related or over the ownership of certain nightclubs and jungle raves. For normal tourists who have their wits about them and don’t go looking for trouble, Tulum is a fine place to visit and it’s still one of Mexico’s tourism hotspots.
Check the US Government Website for up-to-date travel advisories for US citizens.
Where is Tulum?
Tulum is located on the southeastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. Blessed with powdery white sand and stunning cenotes (underground river caves), the Yucatan has long been one of the most exciting and beautiful areas in Mexico, particularly for those looking for a relaxing beach holiday.
Best Time To Visit Tulum
December to January
These late winter months are well outside of the hurricane season and have the best weather overall, but it’s also the peak tourism time when many people visit during the winter holidays. During this time resorts can fill up and prices can sky rocket.
February to April
Still outside of the hurricane season, these spring months are beautiful in the Yucatan. The earlier months of February and March are still pleasantly cool, while the later months see a significant drop in tourism numbers and prices.
May to November
May to around the middle of October are definitely the hottest and wettest months in Tulum, but usually, the rain comes for a few hours, dumps heavily, and then it’s sunny again.
You’ll have to be aware of the weather during this time as it is hurricane season and Tulum has seen some high wind storms in the past few years. The end of November is outside of the hurricane season and offers pleasant weather and fewer tourists.
Tulum Travel FAQs
The most popular things to do in Tulum include snorkeling, diving, zip lining, going on day trips, visiting cenotes (Tulum Gran Cenote, Tulum Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Azul, and Cristal Cenote are some of my favorite cenotes), and eating local food at the beach bars and restaurants.
The best things to do in Tulum for kids include snorkeling, zip lining, going to the water parks, visiting cenotes, visiting a nature reserve, or for beach lovers, just lazing on the beach and building sand castles.
The best extreme sports in Tulum include ATV tours, zip lining, repelling down cenotes and scuba diving.
The top attractions in Tulum include Dos Ojos, Sac Anton, and Gran Cenotes, Tulum Archeological Site, Playa Paraiso, Laguna Kaan Luum, Tulum Beach, and the nearby nature reserves.
You can snorkel in Tulum Beach, at the Tulum Ruins or join a snorkel tour that will take you out in a boat to the best reefs just offshore.
I recommend taking an ATV tour, joining a tour to the 3 main cenotes of Dos Ojos, Sac Anton and Gran, and taking a day trip to the nearby nature reserves.
While crime has risen lately in Tulum, this beach town is generally safe if you’re not staying out all night and surrounding yourself with drugs and getting into trouble.
Tulum beach is calm and is a beautiful and safe place to swim for adults, kids and all ages of beach lovers. When the waves are high, you’ll need to take normal precautions, particularly for younger or inexperienced swimmers.
Traveling between the Cancun International Airport and Tulum is quite simple. You can hop on a private transfer with a company like Cancun Airport Transfers for around $165 USD, or you can take the Ado Bus to Playa del Carmen, and switch to the Tulum bus from there. You can also rent a car for around $50 USD per day and drive the 1.5-2 hour highway to get between Tulum and the Cancun Airport. Lastly, Taxis can get you there for around $110 USD.
For a great view, head up the Tulum Tower. The observation deck at Tulum Tower gives panoramic views over the sea. You can’t swim from here, so it’s a hot outing. Bring lots of water. Tickets start at $57.
Now You Know What To Do in Tulum
There are so many incredible things to do in Tulum, so be sure to plan plenty of time for your visit to this stunning destination. You’ll quickly realize why Tulum has become one of the hottest tourist spots on the planet.
(Note: All photos copyright of the Author Nate – Travel Lemming)
Tulum Travel Resources
✓ Wondering where to stay in Tulum? To get the best Tulum accommodation you’ll have to book online before you arrive. There are numerous accommodation options on Booking.com – from luxury resorts on the beach to midrange hotels and cute guesthouses in town. Goats On The Road uses and recommends Booking.com due to their awesome cancellation policy, discounts and deals. Click here to see properties available in Tulum, Mexico.
✓ With all of the fun things to do in Tulum, it’s important to have adequate travel insurance. Goats On The Road uses and recommends Safety Wing. Click here for a free quote.
✓ If you’d like to rent a car in Tulum or any other place in Mexico, we recommend checking out the prices on Expedia.com. This is the booking company we went with when we spent 2 months in Manzanillo Colima. Be warned though, in Mexico, you’ll have to pay around $15 more per day for mandatory insurance fees. Goats On The Road always use Expedia for our car rentals. Click here to find the latest prices.
✓ For tours, activities and other things to do in Tulum, check out Get Your Guide and Viator for low prices and excellent service. Always cross-reference your tours with reviews and find one that suits your needs.