Backpackers Guide to Tulum – Mexico

Things to do in Tulum

Out of all the places I have visited in Mexico, Tulum is by far my favourite. Tulum is located on the Carribean Coast near Cancun and Playa Del Carmen and has a super laid back vibe. Days in Tulum are generally spend drinking cocktails on the perfect beaches, parasailing, jet skiing and cruising around on a moped. The best travel experience I have ever had happened in Tulum. One afternoon my friend and I were walking along the beach at sunset with not a person in sight when we suddenly seen hundreds of baby turtles hatching and running for the ocean. This was the most amazing, unexpected thing I have ever experienced. This blog is a full guide to Tulum: Things to do in Tulum, places to stay and other travel tips.

Things to do in Tulum

Beaches in Tulum: Are by far the nicest in the region, you can easily spend a few days lazing on the beaches.

CA: Olympus E-M1 Mark II Promotion

The Best of Mexico

These are the photos from the turtles hatching that I mentioned above!

The Best of Mexico


Tulum Ruins: The area is impressive with turquoise waters and bold cliffs. The archeological site hosts a number of housing structures, burial sites and pyramids. You can also swim on the beach off the coast of the ruins. Entry to the ruins is around $15 per person.

Tulum Ruins Mexico

Snorkel Cenotes: A cenote, for those who don’t know, is a natural pit or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposed ground water underneath. The Yucatan Peninsular of Mexico, including Playa Del Carmen and Tulum are home to hundred of cenote systems. Therefore, Tulum makes the perfect base to explore these cenotes.

Things to do in Tulum

Things to do in Tulum

Cenotes near Tulum include Grand Cenote, Cenote Calavera, Cenote carwash, Cristal Cenote and Cenote Escondido.

Ziplining: Why not combine a cenote tour with a zip lining tour? And while you’re at it, why not swim with turtles too. I had a great day ziplining in Tulum, but what really made the day was the total package.

Ziplining in Tulum Mexico

I booked a day trip though Edventure Tours and would highly recommend it. It was the perfect day, hotel pick up and drop off, lunch and beers included, zip lining, snorkeling and swimming with the turtles included and a coco loco (fresh coconut with rum) at the end of the day.

Swim with the turtles at Akumal: I did this as part of the Edventure tour, but it could so easily be done solo. From Akumal Beach, which is a nice beach area half way between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, you can rent a snorkel and go swim the turtles alone. If you prefer you can hire a guide from the beach to help you spot the turtles.

Things to do in Tulum

Go Parasailing and Jet Skiing: The conditions for parasailing in Tulum are absolutely perfect!

Tulum Monkey Sanctuary: A privately owned ranch just outside of Tulum. This ranch rescues animals, looks after them, and releases them once they are healthy. We saw a camel, several monkeys, emus and white tail dear. The tour was very informative, to the point that is almost got boring, but the information was interesting, it just needed to be condensed. The animals were interesting to see, but the highlight was definitely the cenote that you jump into at the end. I wouldn’t recommend this tour unless you really want to see monkeys. I would also recommend cenotes other than the one on this property.

The Best of Mexico
Last Minute Flight Deals!

Other things to do in the Yucatan region

Chichen Itza: A large Mayan Ruin and popular tourist attraction.

Explore Playa Del Carman and Cancun

Take a cruise to Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun.

Gap Year

Recommended length of stay

I recommend staying in the Yucatan Peninsular for two weeks, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum.


Mexican Pesos and US Dollars .

Getting to and around Tulum

If coming from overseas, you would fly into Cancun Airport. From Cancun Airport you can organise a transfer or get a taxi or bus to your accommodation. I recommend organising a transfer through Shuttle In Cancun.

Once in Tulum I recommend hiring a moped to get around.

Last Minute Flight Deals!

Where to stay in Tulum

Yoga Shala: Located in the tropical and enigmatic region of Tulum, offering a range of Yoga classes suitable for different experience levels. The accomodation is out of Tulum, which makes it difficult to access shops and convenience stores, but on a positive note it is quiet, surrounded by rainforest and only 50 meters from the beach. I would recommend Yoga Shala to travellers on a higher budget. Accommodation is relatively cheap but the lack of access to shops means you spend a lot at nearby resorts on eating out.

Mango Tulum Hostel/Hotel: Centrally located in Tulum, within walking distance to the beach, shops, restaurants and ruins. Mango Tulum is better suited to budget travellers with a nice courtyard and pool available to hang out by. Breakfast not included.

Search for cheap accommodation options here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.