With so many things to do in Tulum, Mexico, it’s no wonder this former sleepy fishing village has recently become one of the most popular destinations on the planet.

The incredible white sand beaches of Tulum are the main attraction here, but there are a ton of great places to visit in Tulum beyond the coast. With endless things to do in Mexico, make sure Tulum is on your list.

I spent over six months living in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and have visited Tulum nearly a dozen different times. Every time I am amazed at how many incredible places there are in this small town. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico.

To help you get the most out of your visit, I’ve compiled a list of the 21 best things to do in Tulum.

1. Hanging out on Playa Paraiso

After enjoying all the great things to do in Mexico City, head to Tulum to soak up the sun and beaches!

The beaches of Tulum are the main attraction of the city for a reason, and the best of the forest is Playa Paraiso. Once you see the white sand and turquoise waters of the beach, you’ll understand why it’s 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, which means that visiting this natural wonder is one of the great free things to do in Tulum. However, if you want to spend some money, Villa Pescadores and El Paraiso beach clubs offer lounges for a minimum of drinks and food.

It is an easy walk from here to the second best thing to do in Tulum…..

2. Admire the 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 a beautiful place to behold. A visit here is a must from anywhere in the Yucatan, and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Playa del Carmen as well.

With Tulum’s lightning-fast rise on the tourist scene, the 13th-century ruins can get a little 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.

A great option for visiting the Tulum ruins is this highly appreciated experience that includes a walk through the ruins, and lunch. More information can be found here.

Don’t miss these spectacular ruins on your trip to the Yucatan. See our complete guide to visiting the Tulum Ruins.

3. Take a mud bath in a lagoon

One of the Best Kept Secrets in Tulum is the Laguna de Kaan Luum, which is located just 9 kilometers south of Tulum city.

This magical lagoon is home to a huge cenote (underground spring) in the center, which infuses the water of the lagoon with a spectacular range of colors.

Visit the lagoon and bathe in the mud produced by the cenote, which according to legend has healing properties. Plus, the reasonable entrance fee, makes it one of the great budget things to do in Tulum.

Another option if you prefer to participate in a unique experience is to meet life coach Susan for an enlightening day filled with manifestation, self-love, and of course, the mud clay exfoliation in the lagoon.

Get clarity on what you want in life with help from Susan. Find out more about this highly rated, unique thing to do in Tulum here.

4. Fall in love with Burrito Amor

I’ve probably had thousands of burritos in my life, and I can’t think of anything more delicious than the creative banana-leaf-wrapped burritos served at Burrito Amor.

Really, they’re so good.

Located on Tulum’s main road on the south side of town, Burrito Amor serves some of the best food in town. And, best of all, the average price, making it a welcome break from the rising prices that have infected much of Tulum recently.

5. Enjoy a Mojito in Batey

As Tulum’s nightlife explodes, the same modest bar still remains the place to start your night out. At Batey you will find live music in the evenings and an energetic crowd that walks the streets with tropical drinks.

Oh, and you can even watch them press the cane for your mojito! It doesn’t get much fresher than that.

Mojitos while that’s a bit pricey when backpacking Mexico, the drinks are worth every peso. The atmosphere here is excellent and it is always full of people who want to have a good time.

Are you looking for other places in Mexico to have a good time and a fun night out? Check Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Cozumel. All four places have a great nightlife! See these articles: What to do in Cancun, what to do in Puerto Vallarta, what to do in Cabo San Lucas, what to do in La Paz and what to do in Cozumel – and enjoy Mexico travel!

6. Discover the Sian Ka’an Biosphere

Just south of Tulum lies the enormous Sian Ka’an biosphere, a protected area with thousands of species of flora and fauna, as well as some of the most pristine water in Mexico. In the park you will 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 will either have to rent a 4×4 for the ride or sign up for a tour (which is great fun and takes the effort to get to Sian Ka’an). It makes for a great day trip from Tulum.

7. Go into the Jungle to see Coba

The Tulum ruins are great for their surroundings, but if you’re looking for a more substantial Mayan pyramid, you still don’t have to go far from Tulum.

Although slightly less popular than the famous ruins of Chichen Itza, I think the Coba ruins make for a much more fun day trip from Tulum.

Why?

Well, for one thing, you have to cycle through thick jungle to reach them. And, for another, you can still climb to the top of the main pyramid at Coba (climbing is prohibited at the more famous Chichen Itza ruins).

You have to climb 120 steep stone steps to the top of Coba, but it’s worth it for the view from the top.

To get here, you can take the local ADO bus, rent a car, hire a private taxi, or take a tour.

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 carved into the limestone rock.

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 the city (you can get there by collectivo or by taxi). And actually, if you are a diver, you can do a dive at Dos Ojos!

You may wonder why you would ever leave the beautiful beaches in Tulum, but once you try a dip in a cenote, you will understand why the locals actually prefer the cool fresh water of the cenotes to the sea.

9. Rent a sunbed at Beach Club

Tulum’s south beach is beautiful, but can be difficult to access unless you’re staying at one of the many resorts that control the beach.

One way to do that is to rent a daybed at a beach club, and the best of the bunch is Papaya Playa Project. Less pretentious than its neighbors, this bohemian beach club serves some seriously delicious food in an Instagram-worthy setting.

Note that while there is officially a minimum spending, I have often found that the servers are willing to lower or wait that if you ask in advance.

10. Go Kitesurfing

There are several operators along Tulum’s south beach who will teach you how to crush those waves. It is a great adventure activity and one of the best things to do in Tulum if you are looking for a workout.

Book your lesson with an International Kiteboarding Association certified guide and enjoy a few hours on the water. More information here.

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