It’s paradise for photographers, vacationers, and professional relaxationers (I just made that an occupation and a word). Tulum weather is bikini-friendly all year long, the crystal clear waters are a beautiful deep turquoise, and the resorts cater to your vacation dreams. If you are looking for an adventure or just a place to perfect your tan, Tulum Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo should be added to your travel bucket list.
The town’s history dates back to the Mayan centuries but is now a resort town on the Carribean Coast of Mexico. Located just an hour and a half away from Cancun International Airport, Tulum resorts are beginning to become a popular destination for young travelers and space is limited. Reserve your travel plans ahead of time. This eco-friendly city is known for being the hub for Instagram influencers and their photographers. Most of the best photo spots are not shared with the public so we had to discover most of these ourselves. I know most of the fun is in the exploration but why not share the wealth?
If you are reading this, you are in for a treat. This is a secret cenote that we stumbled upon, not even on the cenote area map. The locals shared with us where they take their families to swim and snorkel and escape the extreme heat of Mexico and hundreds of tourists. After we drove past Cenote Dos Ojos, a beautiful yet tourist-filled cenote, we ventured into a narrow one-way dirt road which led us to Cenote Tak Be Ha.
It was one of the most unique locations I’ve ever seen. We followed the steps underground to a limestone cavern with the clearest deep blue water. Our only companions were the underground bats (not harmful but startling at first). The stalagmites and stalactites made the most picturesque natural backdrop, sure to awe Instagram and take over Pinterest.
Tulum has over 6,000 cenotes which gives you plenty of options. Some are underground caves and some are natural swimming jungles. Some are small, some are… grand. Gran Cenote, or Great Cenote, is one of the more popular ones, but the entrance fee is inexpensive and also the most well-maintained cenote I’ve seen in the country. They require a shower before entering, which really helps preserve this natural wonder.
If you don’t have your own snorkel gear, rent a set at the entrance. Experience a different perspective under the deep blue waters. The Gran Cenote is a great combination of open and closed cenotes and is home to small turtles and fish with the occasional flying bat.
I found this photo op inspiration on Instagram and had to see it for myself. Swings, cute signs, and matcha, what more could a blog photographer wish for? We walked here along the short resort strip on a typical hot and humid Mexico day. We found Matcha Mama right next to the Amor Resort and by the time we got there, I wanted to order everything on the menu from matcha tea, ice cream, fresh juices, and more.
What could be better than a sign that tells you where to go to follow your dreams in the middle of Tulum paradise? Whether you dream of relaxing on the beach or setting new goals, you will feel inspired after leaving Tulum. Rent a bike, go on an adventure down the hotel zone, and find the Follow That Dream sign next to the cute Lolita & Lolita boutique across from Sueños Tulum.
Playa Paraiso (Crooked palm tree)
We walked up and down the beach by the hotel zone for miles with no crooked palm tree to climb in sight. This infamous photo blew up my Instagram feed for months with the Tulum location tag, so where was it? Nope, not along the hotel zone but near the Tulum Ruins on one of the rare public beaches, Playa Paraiso. Because it’s public, go early. We tried to visit in the late afternoon and the parking lots were packed.
Climbing up this tree for this infamous photo op is a ton of fun though. I wanted to swing on it and do a yoga pose or something exciting, but found out that it’s actually difficult to climb a palm tree! Instead, I slid up butt-first as high as I could for as long as it took to snap this photo.
Unlike the California coast, the sun rises by the shore and sets inland. If you’re not an early bird, you should become one while visiting Tulum. The pink and purple colors in the sky compliment the clear blue waters. The temperature outside is not yet scorching and the water is warm all day long.
We weren’t able to visit all the resorts since most of them charge a resort fee. But walking along the shore we stumbled upon CoCo, complete with swinging chairs by the bar, gorgeous covered cabanas, and the cutest hammocks. Most resorts require wristbands and have security guards but will allow you to roam around if you purchase something at the bar or ask nicely. The next time I head to Tulum, and there will be a next time, I plan to visit Azulik Resort. There’s a bridge there that leads you to paradise and I must see it!
Zona Arqueológica de Tulum, one of the only places where the Mayans built ruins that have been restored right by the ocean. Beware of the crowds as thousands of tourists pack the place by 10 a.m. It is only 70 pesos to get in so try not to purchase all-inclusive packages with the guides. They usually increase costs by a lot and many aren’t experts like they say they are.
You’ll see some coati animals roaming around. They remind me of raccoons that play like monkeys. Iguanas love to sunbathe on the ruins as well. Neither are harmful if you don’t harass them.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Electricity is limited throughout the city which limits cell reception and wi-fi anywhere you go. But it’s perfectly okay – vacation should be off-the-grid anyways.
- Most places, even the pricey restaurants, do not accept credit cards but there are plenty of ATMs around town. Cash is always the preferred payment method. US Dollars are accepted at most stores and restaurants but you may end up paying a slightly higher price tag.
- During climate change seasons, the coast of Tulum is full of seaweed and it’s not a pretty sight (or a great smelling one). You will notice that resorts hire workers to clean it all day long. It usually ends in June, so try to book your travels accordingly.
- Just like all of Central and South America, there are stormy seasons. Usually, it will rain no more than a few hours a day but try to go before May to avoid the thunderstorms.
- Be careful of scammers. Tourists are an easy target for locals who just want more money. Feel free to haggle on prices.
- It’s no wonder Tulum is an Instagram photo paradise. Go to places early (or late afternoon) to avoid the crowds at all of the places listed above.