Things to do in Tulum, Mexico?

beautiful tulum beach photography

Get the skinny on things to do and see in and around Tulum, Mexico. -Image credit: Darren Lawrence

As you might expect, I highly recommend staying in the Tulum Hotel Zone. Which is typically very close to the beach.

A couple of our friends have fallen in love with the area around Tulum and have decided to buy real estate in Tulum and build a custom home.

What are things to do in Tulum?

Answer: 

Tulum Mexico Hotels are one of a kind and beachside is the only way to go. However, if you want to save some money, spending time in the city of Tulum is not a bad idea either.

Kanan Tulum: Make your escape to Mexico’s Caribbean coast at Kanan Tulum, the newest and most luxurious eco-friendly spa resort in Tulum. Located on the beach with spacious suites and accommodations amid the Mayan jungle.

Casa Malca Tulum: A luxury boutique hotel filled with art from @liomalca ‘s eclectic collection.

Kai Tulum:  We love the light, elegant feel of the rooms. Plus, it is right on the popular strip where many restaurants and bars are located. This hotel is close to the Tulum Ruins and Tulum town.

Biwa Tulum: This hotel has a modern, sleek vibe to it. They are also the cutest pool to relax by! The hotel is in the city of Tulum, affordable, and cute.

Ahau Tulum: This place has a boho-chic feel to it, and it is located right on the beach!

At times, prices are more reasonable on their smaller rooms during certain times of the year. I took advantage of that.

What are the Best Things to Do in Tulum Mexico?

Answer:

Create Amazing Memories of your Tulum Vacation

While you’re on your vacation in Tulum (and dressed fabulously, thanks to this Tulum, Mexico packing list!) why not book yourself a photoshoot to help capture the amazing memories from your vacation.

Gear Used:

Camera: Sony A7III
Lens: Sony 35m prime
f/1.8
1/125
ISO 200
Light: Natural
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Software used:
@lightroom
@photoshop
@nikcollection_official

Explore Tulum on a Bike

One of the top things to do in Tulum is to rent bikes and ride all over town! All the fun bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels are lined up along the hotel zone street.

So biking is a fantastic way to see the best of Tulum.

Tulum Nightlife

We love walking around at night and trying out different bars and restaurants. There was a lively, fun atmosphere and many cool spots to choose from and great music to dance to.

Try some different Mezcals or our favorite cocktail a passion fruit mezcalitas, as this smokey tequila is everywhere in Tulum.

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made of agave, and it has a smokey flavor to it.

Tulum Restaurants

There are so many great Tulum restaurants! We love just walking around and eating or having drinks. It was so fun trying out all these restaurants. There are so many excellent choices for restaurants in Tulum.

Visit Ancient Tulum Ruins

Chichen Itza

This should be on everyone’s list as the pyramid is stunning! Since we drove, we were only at Chichen Itza for half a day. Chichen Itza is technically an hour away from Tulum, so it requires you to either rent a car or hire a tour guide.

Mayan Ruins in Tulum Mexico

The Mayan Ruins are one of the top things to see in Tulum. The Mayan Ruins do not require a car or a tour guide to view. The ruins are near the public beachside of Tulum. It is easy to bike to the ruins

Tulum Shopping

If you love shopping, then this activity is necessary! The main road called Avenida has many chic and boho boutiques filled with beautiful hats and clothing.

If you do not have many cute clothes to bring with you on vacation, you can always buy some clothes there. Just keep in mind that shopping here can get expensive.

Visit the Best Cenotes in and Around Tulum

beautiful tulum cenote photograph

A beautiful Tulum Cenote photograph by Tommy Milanese.

Cenote Suytun

One of the best things to do near Tulum is to visit the cenote, Suytan. Get there early as it gets super crowded, and the water can feel freezing.

Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman

This was by far my favorite part of our time in Tulum Mexico! I loved Cenote Lorenzo Oxman. To get to the cenote, you will need a car rental or a guide. The cenote is about an hour away from Tulum. The best part is that you can arrive early and have the entire place all to yourself.

Dos Ojos Cenote

Dos Ojos is a must-do in Tulum, and it’s my second favorite cenote. The water was insanely blue, and I loved the cave formations.

This is also a great spot to go scuba diving. There are so many remarkable hidden caves to explore. There are two different cenotes at this location. Be sure to visit them both.

Lay At a Tulum Beach Mexico

One of the easiest things to do during your Tulum Mexico vacation is to lay around on the beach. Tulum has two distinct types of areas,  private and public. Both are great options to layout and enjoy the vibes and some tasty cocktails.

What Should You Pack for Your Tulum Vacation?

Mexico Beach Packing List

Cancun is only a short flight away from the US, and its party atmosphere combined with idyllic coastline makes it a favorite getaway destination. There are also some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico in and around Cancun.

You really can do Cancun your own way. The whole of the Riviera Maya, which the coastline that runs from Cancun, through Playa del Carmen, and down past Tulum, is so diverse, that whatever your style or budget, you can find activities to suit you!

We’re going to give you the ultimate Mexico beach checklist for traveling to Mexico on your next vacation, so you can look fabulous by the pool, and impress on nights out too!

Cancun, Playa del Carmen & Tulum Packing List

Beach Wear

The beaches of Cancun are known as some of the best in Mexico, and often even the world. The color of the water is such an intense azure that it needs to be seen to be believed, so it’s no wonder that Cancun & the surrounding area is home to a great number of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

You can also travel very light and purchase fashionable, trendy clothes and great prices once you arrive in Mexico.

Swimwear & Bikinis

No matter your shape or size, bikinis are big in Cancun. From high-waisted styles to Brazilian-inspired barely-there bottoms, you need to include a fancy swimsuit that makes you feel great for your trip!

From taking the party from the beach to the restaurant, a sheer beach cover-up is an in-style way to do it – and they help to cover up any body insecurities that all women have.

Long flowing designs with embroidered patterns are on trend for this season and can take a casual beach look like a runway masterpiece.

Once you have the essentials, it’s all about the accessories. Team your look with a sun hat. Not only will you look sharp and keep flyaway hair at bay, but it will also help keep the bright Caribbean sun off of your face.

You’ll also need polarized sunglasses, to protect your eyes from the harsh rays too. Finish your look with chunky, statement earrings for Instagram-ready pictures and make your look just that little bit more wow!

Men Packing List to Cancun, Playa del Carmen & Tulum

For guys, it’s a bit simpler. Swim shorts are the go-to option, but feel free to let your personality shine. Take on a bright color or cheerful print to stand out from the crowd.

Sandals are a finishing touch. The sand and salt of the beaches can be destructive to your nicer shoes, but classic brands like Havanans make options that look great for the beach and club too.

Day Trips

While around Tulum, you might explore the local area, which has archeological ruins left from the Ancient Mayan civilizations that lived here. Chichen Itza is a popular site, listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, and is a favorite excursion of tourists to Cancun.

Even if history isn’t your thing, daytime looks in Mexico are causal and need to be breezy. Light, woven fabrics are key, and avoid man-made polyester blends that will be sticky and make you sweat.

Denim shorts are a vacation staple that can be dressed up or down. Wearing these on your Cancun, Mexico vacation is a great option, plus one pair can be worn multiple times, helping you pack more efficiently.

Team it with a cool, long-sleeved, oversized shirt and sunhat, for a cool look while exploring the ruins. There’s not a lot of shade in these areas, so a light-colored outfit will help keep the sun’s glare away. Long sleeves will also keep your skin from burning.

For a shopping trip, team those denim shorts with a couple of cute tops and sandals. There are many malls to enjoy in Cancun, with a plethora of high-end, designer brands, along with local markets, that offer good value.

Tulum by Night

If you’re staying in a resort during your Tulum vacation, then you can get a little fancy during your evenings.

Guests see their vacation as date night every night, so slip on those dancing shoes and a fancy dress to enjoy your evening.

You may also want to check to see if your resort has a dress code for the restaurants. Some of them require men to wear long pants and a collared shirt for evening meals, so you may need to factor this into the outfits you bring.

Even if you aren’t staying at a resort, the bars and restaurants of Cancun become alive at night.

You can let your style rule, although you’ll find people wearing glamorous mini dresses and heels (or wedges if you want something a little more stable), you’ll also have others dressed up in denim shorts and sparkly tops.

A midi dress can look classy, and elegant, or you may even opt for a jumpsuit look if you find your ankles are prone to be nibbled at by mosquitoes.

Remember to pack your accessories. Jewelry really completes an outfit and can help you feel fancy enough to dance all night. When packing look at your color palette and try to stick to complementary colors, so you can get multiple uses out of your outfits.

If you are planning on having more of a party vibe, Cancun is famous for its nightlife, with clubs like Coco Bongo, where you can enjoy the incredible atmosphere while dancing the night away. On this type of trip, ditch the heels for some fancy sandals that still look dressy, but in which you can dance all night long.

If you travel to Cancun in the winter months, you may wish to also pack a light jacket for during the evenings as it can get a little bit cooler.

A linen shirt is always a great option for men, which can be worn with shorts and trousers. The light fabric is cool, yet stylish and works well with the Caribbean feel of the area.

Boat shoes are a popular footwear choice, or even leather sturdy sandals, like Birkenstocks can be worn for a more casual feel.

What to Pack for Tulum?

Tulum, Mexico is a laidback beach destination filled with yoga retreats, fun nightlife, beach clubs, eco-resorts, and plenty of outdoor adventures.  After spending an entire week of visiting beaches, luxury hotels, ancient ruins, crystal clear cenotes, and the hottest dining spots.

Many of the same rules apply to the Cancun packing list however the nightlife in Tulum can be a bit fancier.  So you may want to bring a couple of nice dresses and heels.

If you need a photographer in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum, please give us a WhatsApp +1 (713) 578 0080 or an email. We would love to earn your business!

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Joshua Ardoin

Photography Coach Joshua Ardoin

I am a Playa del Carmen-based photographer, digital marketer, and photography coach serving Playa del Carmen, Cancun & Tulum.

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