Trip Plan Details
- Secret Garden HotelCalle Sagitario Poniente #54, Col. Centro, Tulum 77780, Mexicorecommended Secret Garden HotelThe Secret Garden Hotel is one of my favorite places to stay in Tulum town. Tucked into a residential neighborhood, the rooms vary in style from standard hotel room to thatch-roofed loft; all, ... read morehowever, have an artsy, mid-century flair and comforts like high thread count sheets and wireless internet. The hotel also has an amazing central garden, which is lush and shady--the couches and hammocks make it a perfect place to just chill out. And the service is truly excellent—whether it’s the owner (who is often manning the front desk) or another staff member, I’ve always been impressed by the patience, thoroughness, and enthusiasm of them all.Liza Prado
Just saw you added this hotel to your list....
recommended Cento Ecologico AkumalThe Centro Ecologico Akumal is a non-profit organization dedicated to studying and protecting the coral reefs and turtle population around Akumal. They have a bunch of basic exhibits about their work ... read morein their headquarters but more interesting--much more interesting--is volunteering to go on nighttime turtle walks when visitor volunteers can help biologists look for turtle nests and move them to protected hatcheries (May-July) or help release baby turtles into the sea (August-October). Outings are free but a suggested $10 donation is very appreciated.Liza Prado
If you're interested in sea turtles, Akumal is about 30 minutes north of Tulum.
- Tulum RuinsRiviera Maya Mainland, Cancun, ROO 77500 Mexicorecommended Tulum RuinsTulum Ruins is, without a doubt, a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind setting--Maya ruins set on dramatic cliffs that overlook the Caribbean Sea (and even a small beach that you can swim at on-site)--but the ... read morestructures themselves do not begin to compare with the inland archaeological ruins, like nearby Coba, Chichen Itza, or Uxmal in terms of their grandeur. (The Tulum ruins, in fact, are pretty small in size and scope.) It also is the most visited archeological site in the Yucatan, which means it can get packed fast. If you go, go early to avoid the crowds (it opens at 8am). That way you'll get to enjoy wandering about the site, get that perfect photo opp, and even have a chance to swim on your own a bit.Recommended for:History BuffsLiza Prado
Since you're going to be in Tulum, it'd be a shame to miss seeing the namesake ruins.....
- Reserva de Monos Arañas Punta LagunaQuintana Roo Nuevo Durango - Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico recommended Reserva de Monos Arañas Punta LagunaThe Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve is a great stop for travelers interested in seeing spider and howler monkeys in the wild. A short path winds through the Reserve, passing a small unexcavated ... read moreMaya ruin and a large lagoon where you can rent canoes too. Late afternoon is the best time to visit, when the monkeys are feeding high in the trees. Consider hiring a guide near the entrance (around US$10 per person) if you want to be sure to see the resident monkeys. Good walking shoes and plenty of bug repellent recommended too. The Reserve is located 11 miles north of Coba, on the road toward Nuevo X’can.Liza Prado
A great stop after you've seen Coba ruins....
recommended CobáCoba is an impressive archaeological site located just 45-minutes from Tulum by bus or car. It's known for it's complex system of 'sacbeob'--ancient roads--that criss-cross the thick forest that the ... read moresite is in. It also is the home of the second tallest pyramid in the Maya world--an amazing structure and one of the few that visitors are still allowed to climb (be sure to take good shoes!). Because of the thick forest and lagoons, the site also is a great one for wildlife spotting--just be sure to get there early (or stay late). When I was there last, I saw green parrots and toucans! The site is really spread out so it's worth renting a bike ($5) or hiring a bike taxi ($10 per hour). Guides also are available for about $30 for a two hour tour.
- Hidden Worlds Cenotes ParkHighway 307, Tulum C.P. 77780recommended Hidden Worlds Cenotes ParkThis park is a great intro to the underwater world of cenotes--an underground river system with caves flooded with cool and crystal clear water. Guided snorkeling and diving tours are offered ... read morethroughout the day. Floating past huge stalagmites and stalactites and eyeless fish is an eerie, beautiful and unforgettable experience--I loved it. This park also was featured in a National Geographic film a while back.... The park also offers additional activities like zip lining, rappeling and sky cycling--I saw them but didn't try them out so can't say whether they are worth the extra expense.
recommended Iguana BikeThis is a great little bike shop in Tulum, which not only rents good bikes (with helmets and locks) but also offers a bunch of interesting mountain bike excursions in the jungle. If you're interested ... read morein exploring the southern part of the Riviera Maya, this is definitely a different way to see it!
- CESiaK (Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an)Tulum Highway, Biosfera de la Reserva de Sian Ka'an, Sian Ka'an, Mexicorecommended CESiaK (Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an)This is an incredible organization that offers a variety of tours of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, just south of Tulum. Excursions include visiting lesser-known Maya ruins, exploring Sian Ka'an's ... read moreextensive lagoons on kayak or motor boat, and bird watching. CeSiak also offers eco-friendly accommodations in tent cabins just inside Sian Ka'an, in case you want to stay a bit longer.Liza Prado
Another option for exploring Sian Ka'an....
- XcaretHighway Km 282, Playa del Carmen, ROO 77710 Mexicorecommended XcaretIt's an entertainment park about Mexico. You will swim with a lifeboard jacket on underground rivers, it's also a zoo, an aquarium, orchids, butterflies and so on... There is a spectacular show at ... read morenight, with dancers and actors which will presents the history of the country, and the dances of all the part of the country. It's a must to do near Playa del Carmen and TulumRecommended for:Outdoor Enthusiasts
- La Bodeguita del MedioM. del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
- Sian Ka'an Biosphere ReserveHighway 307, Riviera Maya mainland, Playa del Carmen, ROO 77700 Mexicorecommended Sian Ka'an Biosphere ReserveWe had an amazing day-long trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve with a private tour offered by www.vivitsiankaan.com. This was mostly a boat tour (just two of us and Aldo, the guide) – through ... read moremangroves, huge lagoons with turquoise water, wild beach with very fine sand and narrow canals cutting through the mangroves. We got to see lots and lots of interesting birds, big and small. It was especially exciting to see the birds in the canals – the canals are narrow and winding, so after almost every turn we were “face to face” with the birds. At the very end, we saw many birds at once – the guide told us that it doesn’t happen very often to see so many of them together. We also saw a couple of crocodiles (one was about 4 meters long) but unfortunately we didn’t see the manatees. At one point we stopped and went into the jungle to visit the Maya ruins of Muyil. It was very interesting. Closer to the end of the tour we got to float (with life vest used as “Mayan diaper” – putting legs in the holes where arms usually go) in one of the canals (for about 40 minutes), being moved by the current. It was very relaxing and quite unusual experience. Overall, it was truly an unforgettable trip.