So, Tulum, heard of it?
It’s a tiny municipality on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsul
A few miles from Cancun, but a world away.
Oh, and it’s also a bonafide tropical paradise.
But hey, tropical paradises, they’re ten a penny these days. What makes Tulum so special?
Well, let us show you!
1. It’s only an ancient Mayan Coastal Fortress city (and you don’t see those every day).
Originally a seaport, Tulum is the only Mayan city built on the coast, making for some amazing natural architecture.
It’s one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Mayans, and one of the best preserved remains of the civilisation.
3. It definitely doesn’t need any retouching.
Picture-perfect and postcard-ready.
4. (Although it does go well with a nice filter.)
This could be your back yard, literally.
5. Tulum’s all natural, baby.
El Castillo in Tulum sits on a cliff above the Caribbean Sea.
6. Which makes for some incredible natural wonders, like these cavernous cenotes.
If it’s visual drama you like, Tulum has it in spades, with every path offering new adventure.
7. Cenotes are natural freshwater swimming holes formed by collapsing limestone bedrock.
For the brave, it’s a secret subterranean world waiting to be explored.
8. There’s the world’s largest natural acquarium: Xel-Ha
Mayan for “where the water is born”, this amazing water park is just over this 80ft floating bridge. Entry gets you all-inclusive access, including food and drink at all the restaurants, bars, and buffets, plus snorkelling, zip-lining, cliff jumping, bike hire… The list is endless!
9. Its hidden beach is well worth finding too.
Not too far from the Lazy River, which is as blissful as it sounds!
10. Tulum even has its own shipwreck.
Located just 60 feet from the shore and just one of the many excellent snorkelling waters in Tulum. And if that doesn’t satisfy an explorer’s appetite, then just a short drive down the coast is the town of Akumal and the legendary wreck of the Matanceros.
11. The locals? They’re super friendly.
If nature’s your thing, then step right in.
12. There’s a whole range of colourful characters
As well as these can’t-miss flamingos, the Tulum jungle is home to exotic birds including the squawking Chachalacas, which will give you a hearty wake-up call.
13. Tulum has both modern art….
Beautifully detailed graphics like this are dotted all over town, each with their own story.
14. …and ancient art at the Temple of Frescoes
The “Templo de las Pinturas” is home to a number of murals that provide a unique insight into an ancient civilisation. The centrepiece of the temple is a painting divided into three distinct layers: the underworld, the living, and the heavens.
15. It’ll make you wonder why history was never this interesting in school.
Naturally, we would pray to Xaman Ek, the Mayan God of Travellers!
16. You’ll find what it means to have an authentic Mexican mojito.
People travel the world over to try Alberto Marango’s legendary mojitos at Batey’s. Made with hand-pressed sugar cane and set to a live Latino soundtrack.
17. And you’ll soon realise you’ve been doing Mexican food all wrong.
Our tip is Mateo’s: Tex-Mex comfort food where you’ll be greeted like an old friend.
18. You never knew coconuts could be so good
Or looked like that. Did you know they looked like that?
19. And we haven’t even told you about the seafood.
The locals of Tulum know that good things come to those who wait, especially those waiting to sample the delights of Chef Jose Reinaldo at the El Camello seafood restaurant.
20. In fact, everywhere feels like you’re on the end of some famous family recipe.
Need another recommendation? Try the Ki’Bok Cafe, where it seems like the entire town stops by!
21. Did we mention Tulum’s “Muy Fuerte” Margaritas?
That’s very strong! And you’ll find them at the ¡Que Fresco! restaurant beachfront on Tulum Beach Road.
22. You’ll be pleased to know the locals adopt a liberal approach to happy hour too.
So best to enjoy one (or two) with your feet up.
23. And when it’s time to come home, you won’t leave with “tat”.
La Casita de Xaman in particular is a real hidden gem. Find it on Tulum beach near Mateo’s but careful – as if you blink, you could miss it!
24. It’s just fitting it all in your suitcase that’s the problem.
The artisans of Tulum use Mexican techniques like openwork weaving crochet and macramé to craft some truly unique pieces at very fair prices.