Tulum Mexico is famous for its soft, sandy beaches, bohemian vibe and world-famous rustic aesthetic. Today, there are actually two parts to modern-day Tulum, the original sleepy town that is currently booming with restaurants, scuba shops, and luxury hotels, and the beach strip – where the lively crowd finds their home. The two are roughly 3 miles (5 kilometres) apart and easy to get between.
And although Tulum is mostly known for its beaches and yoga retreats, there are also plenty of other exciting things to do in and around the area. Here are the top 10 Tulum tours to take.
1. Caribbean Reef Snorkel Tour
Home to the best snorkeling in Mexico, the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park boasts a wide variety of tropical marine life and colorful coral formations. After snorkeling in three different locations, you’ll get to sit back and relax at the Caribbean beach club where a delicious buffet awaits.
2. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Adventure
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve takes up 1.3 million acres of pristine tropical forests, mangroves, savanna grasslands and coral reefs. Exploring the reserve by boat will give you the opportunity to observe many endemic and migratory birds (cormorants, pelicans, herons and osprey), crocodiles, manatees, turtles, starfish and dolphins in their natural habitat.
3. Tulum & Jungle Adventure
Here, you’ll begin your day of adventure exploring the Tulum ruins – the only surviving Mayan archaeological site set alongside the sea. The stunning backdrop of the Caribbean makes this site one of the most picturesque in the world, and from here it is adventure all the way as you head into the jungle to visit the amazing Sac-Actun cenote system, currently the world’s longest explored underground river.
4. Cozumel Submarine Tour
If you want to see why Cozumel is one of the top reef destinations in the world then exploring it via submarine is the way to go. You’ll get to board the US Coast Guard Certified submarine, the Atlantis VII, on a one-of-a-kind tourist experience that can’t be found anywhere else in Mexico.
5. Ek Balam Archaeological Site Express Tour
Visiting Ek-Balam, a XI-century Mayan city, will reveal one of the most impressively preserved ceremonial centers in the Yucatan Peninsula. The incredible decorations, temples, plazas and unique sculptures, have made this spectacular site one of the most popular in the region.
6. Cenotes & Paradise Lagoon
The Yucatan Peninsula boasts thousands of freshwater “cenotes” (sinkholes) hidden deep in its jungle-clad interior. You’ll get to swim in a beautiful cenote and admire its crystal clear water, as well as the characteristic geological formations that contain many interesting marine fossils. Afterwards, you’ll travel to the coastline and discover the unique underwater world of a marine inlet, where you can snorkel above beautiful rock formations, colorful coral and marine vegetation, and admire the abundance of brightly colored tropical fish that inhabit this incredible place.
7. Cirque du Soleil’s JOYA
The Cirque du Soleil Theater is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya and was built specifically for this resident show. It is located within a complex that also boasts an international restaurant, a lively bar called Nektar, and a souvenir boutique. The show itself is based on the natural culture of Mexico and includes special effects, acrobatics and live music. And like all Cirque du Soleil productions, the production features exciting acts, colorful sets and costumes, and is definitely not to be missed.
8. Jet Surf Adventure
Jet Surf is arguably the latest global aquatic craze among outdoor enthusiasts, sports junkies and beach lovers. Broken down, it is a surfboard powered by motors engineered with Formula 1 technology. From beginner’s classes to pro-racing titanium boards that reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, here there is something for everyone. Get out, get wet and get your adrenaline pumping as you Jet Surf on the turquoise blue waters of the Mexican Caribbean.
9. Maya Eco-adventure
Traverse the Sian Ka’an Reserve’s lagoons by boat and float down the canals together with a local Mayan guide as you marvel at the many species of birds (a perfect spot for birding tours), mammals and fish. Refresh yourself with a delightful swim in a freshwater cenote afterwards and enjoy a guided tour of the Muyil archaeological site!
10. “Gimme All” Adventure Challenge
If adrenaline-fueled adventure is a priority, this one’s for you. You’ll journey into the Yucatan jungle where you will be greeted at the “Casa Zatara” welcome center. From there you’ll tackle an all-terrain ride through the jungle, a circuit of 8 hanging bridges that will thrill even the bravest of participants, and take a 700 metre-long wild ride in a unique coaster. And then to top it all, there’s a 12 zip-line circuit tour through the jungle canopy that reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
What makes Tulum stand out, above all else, is the area’s jungle-meets-beach vibe which stems from the local industry’s commitment to eco-tourism and sustainability, providing a magical atmosphere that’s hard to replicate elsewhere. Yes, development is on the rise, but business owners have done an incredible job of blending their businesses into the local surroundings so that the jungle hasn’t been completely bulldozed to make way for new structures. You may think of the beach when you envision Tulum, but the jungle is what makes it so magical. Tulum is a playground for the tropical lover with a discerning eye, for the yogi with a desire to deepen their practice, and for the traveler who doesn’t want to feel like they need a vacation immediately upon returning home.