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8 best things to do in Tulum, Mexico

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Tulum is known as one of the most popular destinations among backpackers in southern Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo. It is not called the hippie paradise of the region for nothing. What to do in Tulum? In this article you will read about the 8 best sights, the nicest places and the best restaurants in Tulum.

All sights and restaurants in Tulum mentioned in this article can be found in the map below.

Visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum

One of the main attractions in Tulum the huge temple complex built right on the coast. These ancient Mayan ruins are built atop a cliff and from the complex you have a fantastic view of the clear blue sea. Although Chichén Itza is of course the most famous temple complex in the country, the Mayan ruins of Tulum are also among the most beautiful Mayan temples in Mexico. During a tour of the complex you can learn about the history of the Mayans and with a little luck spot some cool animals.

Mayaruïnes van Tulum drone
Mayaruïnes van Tulum drone

Rent a bike

For about 100 pesos a day you can rent a bike almost everywhere in town to explore the city, Pueblo Tulum, and its surroundings. The city is fairly flat and therefore popular with anyone who enjoys cycling. On a bicycle you will cycle at your own pace past the most beautiful places in Tulum. Do not skip the center of town, but also bike to the most beautiful beaches of Tulum. Discovering the city and its surroundings by bike is without doubt one of the best things to do in Tulum.

Don’t feel like going out by yourself? It is also possible to join a bike tour along the most beautiful places.

Tulum, Mexico

A refreshing dip in the cenotes

The region around the city is known for its many cenotes. Cenotes are natural caves or pools of groundwater where you can take a refreshing dip or even snorkel or dive. Cenotes are very impressive natural phenomena and therefore highly recommended to visit during your city break Tulum. The most famous – and beautiful – cenotes in the area are Dos Ojos and the Grand Cenote. From Tulum you can reach both cenotes by bike, but you can also opt for a tour.

Chilling at Playa Pescadores

In Tulum, you can visit a number of beaches, such as the vast, 6-kilometer-long Tulum Beach, but an even finer beach is Playa Pescadores. Playa Pescadores is close to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, so from your towel or beach bed you’ll have a fantastic view.

Playa Pescadores
Playa Pescadores

Swimming with sea turtles in Akumal

The beaches in Tulum are beautiful – provided you travel to the coast outside of seaweed season – but close to town there is another cool beach to visit. The coastal town of Akumal is about a half hour drive from Tulum and is known for the many sea turtles that live just off the coast. When you rent a car in Mexico and travel around you’ll be at this beautiful spot in no time. It is also possible to travel by bus to Akumal. Snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal was one of the highlights of our trip through Mexico.

Snorkelen met zeeschildpadden in Akumal, Mexico

Visit the temple complex of Cobá

During your trip through Yucatán, there is a chance that you will become “temple tired. There are so many beautiful Mayan temples to visit in the region that it’s hard to choose. If you are not temple-weary you can take a day trip from Tulum to the famous temple complex of Cobá. After about 45 minutes drive you are in the middle of the jungle where this impressive temple complex is built. Cobá is especially cool to visit at the end of the day, just before the sun sets. Admire the beautiful Nohoch-Mul, or El Castillo and, discover the most beautiful buildings on a bicycle.

To do in Tulum: Street art spotting

Tulum is also called the hippie paradise of Yucatán and that is reflected in the many hip (vegan) restaurants and the relaxed atmosphere, but also in the many street art you can spot. Near Tulum Beach you will find the famous street art wall, but also in the center you will find some beautiful works of art. Keep your eyes open!

Street art Tulum

Delicious food in Tulum: The best restaurants

Tulum is heaven for anyone who loves healthy and delicious food. The choice of restaurants and lunch rooms is huge. Below are our favorite restaurants in Tulum.

#1. Lunch at El Gourmet

Right in the center of town you will find a wonderful place for a fantastic lunch. At El Gourmet you can choose from more than 100 sandwiches and that makes it the perfect place for a delicious lunch

#2. The best coffee in Tulum: Ki’bok Coffee

If you love good coffee then you should definitely drop in at Ki’Bok Coffee in the center of town. Nowhere in Mexico have we tasted such good coffee. Also hungry? The menu also features a number of tasty, small dishes.

#3. Breakfast at Raw Love

Raw Love is perhaps the most popular restaurant in all of Tulum. Enjoy the most delicious (smoothie) bowls with all delicious and healthy ingredients. The atmosphere in the garden of Raw Love is wonderful and you come here to relax

#4. Italian food at La Trattoria

The choice of restaurants in the city center is huge and you can’t just choose Mexican food. We went in search of the best Italian restaurant in Tulum and found this one. La Trattoria is a fantastic, cozy, and fun restaurant with great staff. So if you love Italian food definitely slide into La Trattoria for an evening.

#5. Healthy food at La Hoja Verde

If you are vegan or just love healthy food then La Hoja Verde in downtown Tulum is the place to be. The menu is full of delicious, vegan dishes, healthy smoothies and teas and the most delicious vegan cakes

La Hoja Verde

Where to stay

The hotels around the beaches are often quite priceless, but there are still some nice options to stay. The center of town is also a good base from which to explore Tulum’s most beautiful sights. Below we have listed some fine accommodations: