Tulum has been a “hot” destination since 2015. This beach town has yoga retreats, beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, and upscale restaurants. Whether you want a high-end experience or a thrilling adventure, there’s something for everyone in this little corner of Mexico. We recommend experiencing it all with our list of the top ten things you should do in Tulum.
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Tulum is all about the beautiful ice-blue water and sandy beaches. However, not enough people talk about the luscious, rich jungles. We recommend spending a night or two glamping in a hut in the Tulum jungle. You’ll get to spend time in remote nature and leave feeling truly recharged. We particularly love the Eco-Lodge Hotel MangleX, which offers huts over a cenote, no electricity at night, and a private swimming pool for you to relax and unwind.
Day Trip to Lake Bacalar
While in Tulum, we insist you take a day trip to Lake Bacalar (the Lake of Seven Colors). This lake is 26 miles long and is world-renowned for having seven different shades of blue. The lake is about a two hour and 15-minute drive away from central Tulum. Travelers can book a day tour to the lake, but we recommend staying for one or two nights. While you’re there, book a boat tour of the lake for as little as 250 pesos (~$11 USD) per person.
Take a Yoga Class
Tulum has a new age feel and, in recent years, has seen an influx of yoga and wellness retreats. You don’t have to spend your entire trip at a yoga resort but indulge in at least one yoga class from some of the best teachers in the world.
We recommend checking out Yaan Healing Sanctuary, which has beautiful accommodations, pools and saunas, spa treatments, and outdoor yoga classes.
Explore Cenote Caves
Cenotes are created when the ceiling of a cave collapses, leaving an opening that forms a freshwater sanctuary. Tulum has over 6,000 of these caves to explore. You can choose to go to some of the more beautiful (but also more crowded) cenote caves such as the Gran Cenote or visit one of the lesser-known cenotes such as the Chihuan cenote. You will need to drive a couple of hours to most of these cave sites, but you can make a day of it scuba diving and swimming in the freshwater pools. There is an entrance fee for cenotes, usually ranging between 200 to 300 pesos.
Take a Cooking Class
One of the most authentic ways to experience local cuisine is by taking a cooking class. Mexico is known for its vibrant, rich, and delicious food. This option is a choose-your-own-adventure recommendation. You can choose to take a class with a professional chef or at a resort for a high-end experience. Or, book a class with a local in their home. Whatever you choose, we guarantee you will come back with a guacamole recipe that will impress all future dinner guests.
Eat Muchos Tacos
Speaking of food, you can’t go to Tulum and not indulge in authentic tacos. We recommend Taqueria Honorio for cheap, proper tacos that will blow your mind. Taqueria Honorio started as a street food cart and gained so much popularity it was able to expand to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. With almost 2,000 reviews on Google, it’s popularity shows no signs of dying down.
Tulum’s Fine Dining
While your trip should be filled with cheap tacos, we also recommend at least one fine dining experience. Mexico is home to experienced, gifted chefs that have received plenty of international recognition. Fine dining in Tulum is still incredibly affordable, costing around $30 USD per person for a meal. For that price point, you get to experience some of Mexico’s most talented chefs. We recommend the beautiful atmosphere, stylish cocktails, and delicious food at either Casa Jaguar, Arca, or Gitano for an unforgettable dining experience.
Scuba Diving in Clear Blue Waters
Tulum is all about its white sandy beaches and bright blue waters. Take the time to go scuba diving. You can usually get certified in three days or less and experience the beautiful sea life of the Mexican waters. Many tours also offer scuba diving for cenote caves.
Many people know Mexico for its Mezcal, but another beverage important to the region is coffee. Mexican coffee is rich, vibrant, and often has nutty undertones. Experience a coffee tasting where you learn different brewing techniques and drink your coffee with a side of Mexican sweet bread. We love Brew Tulum for its specialty coffee tasting experience.
Visit Laguna Kaan Luum for a Mud Bath
Laguna Kaan Luum is a popular destination for Tulum tourists. And, the lagoon is made up of mud that is said to have healing benefits for the body. Roll around in the lagoon for a natural mud bath. But, be warned, the mud does smell like rotten eggs!
We left this until the end because it’s the most prominent “thing to do” in Tulum, but we have to mention it. Along with its beautiful water and beaches, Tulum is known for its ancient ruins. The Pyramid El Castillo (the Lighthouse) ruins date back to the 13th century. The ruins are on the edge of a cliff, facing the ocean, and were originally built as a watchtower. You will have to fight crowds of tourists while you’re visiting the Pyramid El Castillo, but we guarantee it will be worth it.
There’s enough to cover in this list, you might find yourself booking a return trip to Tulum as soon as you get home! After all, once you start traveling to the world’s most magnificent places, you simply can’t stop.