Tulum was on my “must travel” list for such a long time. I think I have heard about this place for the first time a few years ago. I saw a picture of a girl swinging on a swing at the beach bar with a coconut in her hand. Of course, I immediately imagined myself there. I even almost went to Tulum once with my best friend. We had plane tickets and hotel booked, but well… it turned out that our plans needed to be cancelled. How unhappy I was about that! But at the end, I made it one year later and now I will try to encourage you that you should add it to your travel plans. Why? Let me give you 10 reasons.
1. Stunning beaches
Do you like white soft sand and blue warm water ? Add to this picture palm trees heavy with coconuts and hungry pelicans dive-bomb the sea hunting for a fish. Welcome! You are in Tulum paradise! Beaches here are wide, long and sandy. Most of them belong to hotels, so if you stay in one of the beach front places you will have your own, hotel beach. If you don’t stay at the beach located hotel, don’t worry, most of them are open for non hotel visitors and there are also some public beaches available. We have been visiting Tulum in the high season but surprisingly, beaches have never been crowded. The 10km strip of beach is long and wide enough for you to always have your own private patch of sand. Also, if you prefer no clothes sun bathing, no problem at all, you have several places to choose.
2. No all inclusive and no big hotel resorts
This was one of the important reasons why I have chosen Tulum as my holiday destination. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing agains big resorts and all inclusive holidays. It’s just not for me. Tulum has been recently named “Cancun’s antithesis”. So no big resorts and no hotel skyscrapers. Buildings here are no taller than the loftiest palm tree. Most of them are made from natural materials and perfectly blended in the tropical surrounding. There is a really strong eco ethic in Tulum and some places are entirely self-sufficient. It’s a true tropical gateway where you can relax under the palm tree and charge your batteries far from the noisy resorts. Your only dilemma will be the choice between margarita and pinacolada.
3. Beautiful cenotes
Cenote is an unconditional must when in Tulum! It’s a natural cave swimming pool, usually located in the jungle. They have been formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock and most of them have fresh water that has been filtered by the earth. This is why the water in cenote is so crystal clear that you can see straight through. Interesting fact is that Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times but they were using it also for sacrificial offerings. The entrances to the half-covered cenotes are spectacular: sunlight slants through foliage and into the caves makes the transparent water luminous. Swimming in the cenote was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
4. Mayan ruins and pyramids
Mayan history connected with this place is not only mysterious but also truly interesting. If you have been paying some attention at history lesson back at school, you may know something about Mayans and their amazing culture. Recent discoveries show that this society was extremely well advanced. They built pyramids and temples, developed a form of writing through hieroglyphics, and were highly skilled in mathematics and astrology. For unknown reasons there was a major decline in the Mayan people population. Nowadays, we can still admire their incredible buildings like castles or pyramids and only try to imagine what could actually happen to the mayan civilization. You can find many Mayan’s remains in Tulum but also in other surrounding locations easily reachable from Tulum.
5. Food, food, food!
Actually, I should consider to move this point to the front of my list as Mexican cuisine is absolutely outstanding! Tacos, guacamole, tostadas, fish, sea food… everything was incredibly tasty. Traditional Mexican cuisine is rather heavy and full of meat, but there is no issue at all with finding vegetarian options. We have visited several places both, non-touristic and touristic restaurants, and never left hungry. Also vegans will find lots of good quality places in Tulum. The full guide of Tulum’s food places you can find here (coming soon).
6. Healthy lifestyle
Tulum is a healthy lifestyle mecca. From the early morning hours you can meet people jogging, practicing yoga on the beach or searching for some green smoothies. The last one is not hard to find as there is many healthy food places in Tulum, including raw cooking. Tulum feels like a laid-back hippy haven with a focus on healthy food, eco friendly life and nature. It is the more authentic and nature focused answer to nearby party place of Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
7. Unique hotels
Hotels are absolutely amazing in Tulum. I have never visited a place with so many beautiful options to stay in. Most of the hotels are small, cozy, with it’s own unique interior. You can find in Tulum eco friendly hotels, adults only hotels, or yoga focus hotels. Anything you like. On the other hand it makes it so hard to choose where to stay! We have stayed in Azulik (this one is adults only hotel) and Punta Piedra Beach Posada but if I only could I would switch every night to see all of them.
8. Beach bars
Beach Bars are a thing here. You can read in my other post about Best bars in Tulum. Believe me, it’s really hard to leave it once you enter. Among the Tulum sea coast you will find many of them, each unique, with nice lounge area, great music and drinks. Most of them are hotel beach bars but open also for non hotel guests so you can basically explore all of them. My personal favorites are Nomade Tulum, Coco Tulum and Azulik. The last one is unfortunately pretty expensive. Beach bars have usually their own beach area with lounge chairs, sofas and hammocks. All tempting and beautifully designed.
Music is something that you hear at every corner in Tulum. If you are a dancing type – it is hard to stand still. Basically, from the early morning hours you can hear good vibes everywhere. I would not say that Tulum is a party place. I would rather say that Tulum party scene is quite an intimate affair. There are places with life music played on the beach, there is famous Papaya Playa Hotel with many good djs playing at night but generally, you will not find in Tulum big party clubs. What you will find is a really good music played even in the ice cream shop.
10. Easy transportation around Tulum
It’s so easy to move around Tulum, no car needed at all. Most of the places are available in the range of 5 km, no matter where you stay in Tulum. The best way to move around? Bike. And it’s also the cheapest way, only 9$ per renting day. If you prefer a taxi, there is a rule of 100 pesos per one taxi ride (5$) no matter where you go, if its up to 5km. We have been using bikes almost everyday in Tulum and no issue at all with safety or with finding a parking place. You can pretty much see everything by cycling, from cenotes to the Tulum ruins, and I promis it’s quite easy, even for an amateur like me.
Hope I made you at least a little bit more interested in this paradise on earth. For me it was very special trip, also because we have celebrated our 1st anniversary. Couldn’t have make a better choice with choosing the destination.
We also made a one day trip from Tulum to see famous pink lakes what was truly unforgettable experience. You can read the full story and all the tips how you can organize such a trip on your own in my other blog post here.