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Why is Tulum Mexico So Popular? A Complete Visitor Guide

  • Joel CZ 
  • 12 min read
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I am happy to share with you all the best things to do during your visit to this beautiful town in the state of Quintana Roo, so keep reading!

Some of the most popular attractions of the Magical Town of Tulum in the Mexican Riviera Maya include coastal and jungle archaeological ruins, enchanting beaches, reserved areas, and dreamy cenotes like the famous Cenote Calavera.

First things first, lodging is an essential part of traveling. Tulum and the Riviera Maya have accommodations of all categories, with comfortable and economical options in small hotels and inns.

On Luna Sur street # 5 in Tulum is the Posada Luna del Sur, located just 5 minutes from the archaeological zone.

They provide excellent service, and breakfast is included in the rate.

Very close to the archaeological site is the Mango Tulum Hotel, a place of great privacy and tranquility, with exquisite attention from its staff.

Playa Paraiso has splendid cabana accommodations, such as Villa Pescadores Tulum, La Vita e Bella, and Cabañas Zazilkin.

Visit the Tulum Archaeological Zone

Source: DC_Aperture /

This archaeological site in front of the sea is one of the most appreciated in the country because of the beautiful contrast between the ruins and the magnificent Caribbean.

The fundamental structure of the complex is El Castillo, a galactic observatory and a beacon that helped Mayan guides stay away from the Great Reef found a couple of meters from the coast.

Other important constructions of the Tulum Archaeological Zone are The Palace, the Temple of the Descending God, and the Temple of the Frescoes.

The first was a private structure of the political and strict tip-top of the walled city of Tulum.

While the second was supposed as a result of a figure on the entryway that appears to drop from the sky.

In the Temple of the Frescoes, some paintings of fabulous beings suppose that the Mayan artists had a great imagination or did the works under the effects of some hallucinogen.

Tour Tulum National Park

The archaeological site of Tulum is located within this national park, which also includes a long strip of beaches, forests, wildlife reserves, and many other attractions.

Tulum National Park has an augmentation of 660 hectares and covers the seaside zone, seaward and inland, between the metropolitan capital of Tulum and where Casa Cenote is found.

Notwithstanding lovely seashores, the recreation area has a few conditions of extraordinary excellence and significance for biodiversities, like mangroves, cenotes, and tropical timberlands.

The park is home to several endangered species of fauna, such as loggerheads and white turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches of the protected area.

Take a tour of the best Cenotes

Beautiful view of Cenote Sac Actún – Akumal, near Tulum city – Source: Nido Huebl /

The district of Tulum and its encompassing regions are spotted with cenotes.

The amazing sea-going bodies are shaped by the shallow limestone mantle’s slow disintegration because of the waters’ impact.

The Maya were convinced that the cenotes were the entry to the hidden world or universe of the dead.

Yet past the folklore, these karst bodies are overflowing with life, as many vacationers who go jumping and swimming in them can confirm.

Cenote Dos Ojos is so-called because of its two cavities that look like the eyes of a colossal stony monster.

It is integrated into a system of underwater caves more than 58 km long, being a paradise for scuba diving.

Other cenotes very close to Tulum that stand out for their beauty are Cristal, Calavera, and Escondido.

Cenote Calavera lives up to its name with a haunting atmosphere and is located 3.5 km from Tulum. Read more about it below.

Also near the municipal capital of Tulum are the Aktun and Casa Cenotes, which are among the most frequented for diving.

The Gran Cenote is another of these bodies that must be included in the list, mainly because of the clarity of its water, which allows observing the stalactites and stalagmites inside.

Cenote Calavera in Tulum

Cenote Calavera – Source: Mala Iryna /

Diving enthusiasts frequently use this cenote to obtain their accreditations in cave diving, located 3 km from Tulum and 4 km from the archaeological site, on the road to Cobá.

It is semi-open, and the descent is through wooden ladders placed inside the water or jumping directly.

The water is refreshing and inhabited by several fish species.

It is open every day of the week between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and has life jackets and snorkel equipment for rent.

It receives its name because a figure is formed at the bottom of the rocky ceiling, similar to a skull, with holes resembling the empty sockets and the mouth.

In the deep-diving area are visible layers of haloclines, interesting phenomena in which freshwater floats over saltwater because it is less dense.

Through the water, it is possible to admire stalagmites and stalactites.

Spend a lovely day at Playa Paraíso

Playa Paraiso – Source: Simon Dannhauer /

Smooth white sand, warm, clear water of incomparable blue tones, radiant sunshine, and the tastiest cocktails await you at Playa Paraiso.

For many, the most spectacular sandy beach in Mexico.

This natural jewel of the Riviera Maya has located 6 km from the town of Tulum.

It has all the services and entertainment for you to spend a splendid day sunbathing, resting, swimming, reading, or sharing with friends while sipping margaritas, ice-cold beers, and piña coladas.

In the vicinity of Playa Paraíso, there are hotels with pleasantly rustic atmospheres, but with all the comfort and the best attention.

Enjoy the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

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Source: Cristina Conti /

This protected natural area has an area of 526,000 hectares and is shared by the Quintana Roo municipalities of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

The reserve is located 48 km from the municipal capital of Tulum.

It is worth admiring for its archeological ruins, petenes, sandy beaches, cenotes, mangroves, and other environments where more than 19 Mayan communities live in perfect harmony with their natural surroundings.

Particularly attractive are the petenes, conglomerates of trees up to 32 meters high that rise among the wetlands and constitute almost unique ecosystems globally.

UNESCO declared the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Visit the Archaeological Zone of Coba

Source: Ingus Kruklitis /

46 km from the municipal capital of Tulum, nestled in the jungle of Quintana Roo, is this archaeological site where the Nohoch Mul Pyramid stands out.

At 40 meters high, it is the tallest pre-Hispanic construction in the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Pyramid of Nohoch Mul has 120 steps, and from the summit, there are spectacular views of the immense green carpet of the jungle, adorned by the blue lagoons.

Some architectural details of Cobá suggest that it maintained close relations with other pre-Columbian towns in the central region of Mexico, particularly with Teotihuacan.

Dive in the Great Mayan Reef

This immense coral reef of nearly 1,000 km covers the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is the second-largest in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Oceania.

Because of its dimensions and rich marine biodiversity, the Great Mayan Reef or Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System is one of the world’s sanctuaries for scuba diving.

Through the clear and warm waters and among more than 67 types of stony corals that form the reef, divers can admire barracudas, sea turtles, manta rays, moray eels, and a great variety of species.

In Tulum, the operator Dive Shop Tulum takes you to dive the Gran Arrecife and the cenotes.

If you want to get started in this fun sport, you can take a course with them, as they are members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

Practice your favorite activities

In Tulum, you have a wide range of possibilities to practice your favorite sea or land sport in the most spectacular sceneries, and with all the safety guarantees.

Apart from packages for diving and snorkeling in the sea and cenotes, the operator Agua Clara Tulum Ecotours can organize your hiking, bird watching, turtle watching, kayaking, zip lines, and other entertainment.

Agua Clara Tulum Ecotours is highly rated by users of the prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor.

This operator has its office in the Placita Ka`an Muluc, Avenida Coba 600, Local 1.

Enjoy Tulum’s festivities

The carnival has become a lovely celebration in the Riviera Maya, with Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum standing out.

In March, the Alborada Maya is a festival with religious, musical, cultural, and sporting events whose purpose is to thank God for the good harvests.

The “Talking Cross” celebration happens in Tulum during July, blending agnostic and Christian practices.

This celebration recognizes the disclosure of a mahogany cross in a cenote in the Quintana Roo people group of Chan Santa Cruz.

A trendy event among ecologists is the Sea Turtle Festival, with the participation of the environmentalist communities of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

On Xcacel beach, 15 km from Tulum, an emotional ceremony is organized to release hundreds of sea turtles.

Discover Akumal Beach

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Akumal beach – Source: lunamarina /

It was not long before this coastal strip of Quintana Roo, located 27 km north of Tulum, overtook Cancun in the competition to select the site for constructing a large, high-standard resort.

Ultimately, Cancun won, and Akumal beach was left with its wild and untouched beauty, which is now its main attraction.

Akumal’s coastline comprises coves and caverns where the corals have a particular morphology, creating beautiful environments for diving and snorkeling.

The Akumal region is likewise speckled with cenotes, like Azul and Eden.

At the same time, archeological vacationers can appreciate a Mayan place of worship situated in the inlet of Xaac.

Visit Playa del Carmen

The famous “5th Avenue” in Playa del Carmen – Source: posztos /

Playa del Carmen, located 63 km from Tulum, is the central city of the Riviera Maya and is comparable to Cancun in terms of the quality of its tourist infrastructure.

Near the city, there are formidable water parks, beaches, cenotes, and other places of interest, which comprise a complete package of attractions.

Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida (fifth avenue) provides a delightfully urban ambiance facing the Caribbean Sea.

There are boutiques, galleries, brand-name stores, restaurants, and other cosmopolitan establishments.

Relax with yoga and temazcal sessions

Tulum is a favorite destination for yogis from Mexico and other countries for its environmental quality and stunning beauty.

The combination of yoga, temazcal, and walks through the beautiful and luminous Riviera Maya will leave your body and spirit in a state of wellness as you have never experienced.

Yogadicha Studio offers group and private yoga sessions and temazcal ceremonies, including retreats, and is staffed by highly trained professionals.

Tulum gastronomy: Where to eat?

Tulum is an ideal place to taste the best fish, seafood, and mollusks in the Caribbean Sea.

Likewise, you can find all the types of fast food you want, such as pizzas, chicken, hamburgers, tacos, and other local goodies.

To eat tasty food in Tulum, you don’t necessarily have to go to expensive restaurants. For example, Taqueria Honorio is known for its delicious pork tacos.

La Barracuda seafood restaurant has the best seafood at excellent prices.

If you are in the mood for a tasty pizza, I recommend you go to Pizzeria Manglar, while the best tacos al pastor can be found at Antojitos La Chiapaneca.

Don’t forget to have some fun at night!

In Tulum and its surroundings, you will find bars and clubs with excellent atmospheres to enjoy a noisy night of drinks with friends or a more intimate evening with your partner.

On Calle Centauro Sur, El Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar offers a wide variety of drinks at reasonable prices, with a musical ambiance enlivened by a small jazz band.

At km 1.5 of the Tulum-Boca Paila road, the Mezzanine Bar faces the sea and serves the best craft beers and micheladas in the area.

While Drink House Tulum has become famous for its Passion Ginger cocktail.

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