Set on the Caribbean coast and surrounded by rain forests, turquoise water, and Mayan ruins, Tulum is a vacationer’s paradise perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. From snorkeling in underground rivers and visiting ancient ruins, to shopping for souvenirs and eating seafood, here’s how to make the most of a day in Tulum.
Start off with a trip to the Mayan ruins perched on the bluffs above the ocean. To enter the ancient fort before the midday heat and crowds descend, join a morning tour of the ruins and enjoy a serene walk through the grounds. After wandering the remains of the only Mayan city built on the coast, walk down the steep trail, then relax on the scenic beach at the base of the cliffs.
Time to venture inland to see more natural wonders. The Riviera Maya’s magical cenotes (freshwater sinkholes and caverns) are the perfect place to spend the afternoon snorkeling or basking in the sunshine. Some tours include snorkeling gear and give you the chance to explore the intricate cave systems of one cenote, while other tours take you to multiple cenotes. To get a feel for the surrounding jungle, travel to a cenote on an ATV or bicycle tour.
Return to Tulum and immerse yourself in the local fusion of Mexican and Mayan culture and cuisine. If you’re staying in the hotel zone along the beach, you can visit the other side of Tulum on a guided tour that includes round-trip transportation. Once there, browse the shops to pick up souvenirs before heading to one of the palapa-top restaurants for an open-air dining experience along the busy main street. For a more hands-on alternative, sign up for a cooking class and tequila tasting that culminates in a communal meal, and share stories with fellow travelers over cocktails.