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The Very Best of Tulum, Mexico

Don’t listen to your jealous friends telling you that Tulum has become a tired, worn-out destination. It is still authentic Mexico. It is a place unlike any you have experienced before.

Find your own special paradise on the eastern side of the Yucatan peninsula in the grand area of Tulum; where high-class resorts meet stunning beaches, giving way to lush jungles and ancient Mayan ruins.

Tulum is close in proximity to these fascinating ruins sets it apart from all other destinations in the world. An ancient walled city sitting on a rocky cliff offers stunning views overlooking a spectacular white sand beach. While Tulum is touristy (hello party hounds, we’re looking at you!), the mesmerizing turquoise Caribbean waters and spectacular scenery make up for the throngs of fellow vacationers.

Get into the hippie vibe and the palpable spirituality of the place, because not only is it an area of natural beauty, but the relaxed atmosphere will truly put you at ease and get you in tune with the groovy side of life.

Don’t listen to your jealous friends telling you that Tulum has become a tired, worn-out destination. While yes, this has become quite the popular destination over the last decade, it is still authentic Mexico. It is a place unlike any you have experienced before.

Best Time to Visit Tulum

As you may well imagine, Tulum has a warm climate all year round. Even in the height of winter, temperatures will rarely go below 60 degrees F. But with the good comes the not-so-good, and there are certain times of the year that are better than others!

The rainy season is one of the not-so-great times to visit. This is generally June through October. January, February, and March have great weather but also is when Tulum sees the most tourists. So, if you are not a fan of crowds, avoid these months like a thirsty mosquito!

That leaves October through December as the optimal time to visit Tulum. It is the perfect juxtaposition of favorable weather (not too hot) and the shoulder season (read: thinner crowds and generally better rates for hotels, etc.)

What to Do in Tulum

One of the best places in Tulum to visit is the pyramid of Chichen Itza. This stunning attraction is a must-see, whether this is your first or your fifth visit. About an hour away from Tulum town by car, it is Instagram-worthy and just a wonderful ancient feat of architecture. You’ll never tire of looking at it.

The cenotes are amazing, and there are so many to choose from. Among the cream of the crop is Cenote Suytum – located inside a cave, the water is chilly, and you’ll need a life jacket, but the experience is incredible. Then there is the Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman, about an hour away from Tulum. Get there early in the morning and you may well have the place to yourself! Dos Ojos Cenote has the bluest water you can imagine, and the cave formations are amazing. This is also a great spot for scuba diving. These are just a few of the many cenotes around the Tulum area.

If you are a shopper, then be sure to spend an afternoon in Tulum town and the main road of Avenida. Here there are lots of great boutiques filled to the tippy top with chic boho fashion. When you pack for your trip, be sure to leave room in your suitcase for some great fashion finds that you will no doubt be taking home with you.

One of the top Tulum attractions is to visit the Mayan Ruins – an empire steeped in religious and ceremonial history. To make it even more spectacular, imagine the scene set against the backdrop of a dazzling white sand beach with crystal blue water. To make the most of it, come first thing in the morning when it opens and have a good portion of the sand to yourself. Speaking of beaches…

The Best Beaches in Tulum

Playa Paraiso – or Paradise Beach. A majestic stretch of sand is surrounded by swaying palm trees and rugged cliffs. It’s popular with the yoga crowd…and iguanas! You heard that right, iguanas. During breaks from the sand, indulge in the many restaurants and have a cocktail – make a day of it. Boats offering snorkeling sessions are also on offer.

Las Palmas – blessed by the ancient gods with gentle turquoise waters and a serene vibe, this beach is more secluded. You won’t find any vendors or restaurants here, just a great beachy atmosphere with which to unwind. Bring a picnic lunch and get down to the serious business of soaking up the rays.

Secret Beach – Venture away from the crowds at Playa Paraiso and reap the awards of serenity here in the deep Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO spot. Clear, calm waters are the order of the day, a few minutes by car and about an hour away by bike from Tulum.

Akumal Beach – less than ½ hour by car from Tulum, this beach is great for families and for getting to know the sea turtles! Yes, this beach is a bit more commercialized, but hey, how can you go wrong with palapa-roofed bars and restaurants as a backdrop? Tiki drink, anyone? You can also rent umbrellas and plant one in the sand to stake your claim for the day.

Travel Tips for Tulum

  • While English is spoken, it’s not as widely used as you might think. Immerse yourself in the culture and brush up on your Spanish!
  • The main currency is Pesos, although some places will accept USD. Having said that…
  • Cash is preferred at most places, so have plenty of pesos on hand!
  • In Tulum try to get your cash at Scotiabank, it’s the most reliable. The ATMs by the beach can be a little sketchy, so try to avoid.
  • US citizens do not need a Visa to travel to Tulum.
  • As they say, don’t drink the water in Mexico! Tap water is not acceptable to drink here under any circumstances. Always opt for bottled water and be sure to bring stomach medicine in case you do get sick.
  • Calling an Uber in Tulum? No Bueno! They don’t exist here, although taxis are plentiful and easy to flag down. In fact, …
  • Taxis and bikes are the two main modes of transport in Tulum.
  • Biking is a fun way to get around during the day. However, biking at night is not recommended as the beach area is not well lit and it will be hard to see potholes, speed bumps etc.
  • From the town of Tulum, it’s about a 25-minute drive to the center of the beach area.
  • It is standard for taxi rates to increase during the evening hours. And don’t try to negotiate; all the cab drivers seem to have agreed-upon prices.

Tulum is an amazing place. It is unlike any other in Mexico, and indeed the world. So, if you can get there in the off-season (i.e., not the peak or rainy season) you will have the time of your life!

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