The great thing about Tulum is that there's lots to do, if sitting on the beach sipping a cocktail and reading a book are not your thing. Here a list of some of my favorites for when I just can't eat another taco. Note that there aren't really any proper addresses listed as many places don't have actual locations. Your hotel or taxi driver will be able to lead you, though.
AKUMEL DIVE SHOP
Plaza Ukana I, Playa Akumal, Local 3, 77731 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
+52 98 48 75 90 30
Akumel, which is located about 20 minutes up the coast from Tulum, is home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving. Located in the middle of the public beach replete with taco stands is the Akumel Dive Shop, which offers everything from bull shark diving to tours of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere (see below). Or, if you prefer to snorkel solo you can also rent gear and go it alone.
Located 25 min from Playa del Carmen, 4 km south of Akumal and 16km before Tulum
+52 98 48 06 49 62
Caves, ziplines, underground rivers, wildlife – it’s all here at Aktunchen Natural Park. Great if visiting Tulum with kids, or antsy travel mates who are tired of laying on the beach drinking margaritas.
CASA CENOTE (or CENOTE MANATEE)
Carratera Cancun - Tulum, Interior Fraccionamento Tankah, Caribe Lote 32 Manzana 3, Q.R. Mexico
+52 98 41 15 69 96
People LOVE cenotes – natural sinkholes created where a cave has collapsed – and while I’m not a HUGE fan (I tend to get claustrophobic), the one at Casa Cenote seems to me to be the most beautiful and serene. And there’s also a great restaurant right next door for cold beer and ceviche when you’re done. Ask any taxi driver and they’ll get you here in 10 minutes from the Tulum hotels.
+52 98 58 51 01 37
The second most visited archaeological site in Mexico, Chichen Itza was elected one of the new 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. It’s a very cool Mayan Ruin and worth a look if you’re searching for an activity.
Located 15 minutes from downtown Tulum, by road from Tulum to Muyil south, approximately 9 km south of Tulum.
Totally crystal clear and calm, this lagoon is perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Bring your own gear, though, because there are no amenities here.
You kind of can’t get away with a trip to Tulum without visiting the ruins. There are quite a few to choose from, but I like the Tulum ruins the best. They are just North on the beach road and there’s a beach just below.
SIAN KA’AN BIOSPHERE
It’s a 1.5 MILLION acre UNESCO world heritage site. It’s a biosphere. Jaguars, pumas, hundreds of birds, manatees, and alligators and about a thousand other animals call it home. And it just might be the coolest place on Earth, so whatever you do or don’t do during your time in Tulum, you can’t miss it. Book a tour, go solo – however you want to do it, just please trust me on this one.
TEMAZCAL CEREMONY AT MAYA TULUM
You’re already in Tulum, so the next obvious step is this traditional Mayan purification ceremony. Led by a shaman, inside a small, hot lodge it’s really just a more exotic way of saying sweat lodge.