Almost 13 years ago, with 2 teenagers and 2 toddlers in tow, my husband and I day tripped from Playa del Carmen to Tulum to see the Mayan Ruins. Back then Tulum was not much more than a sleepy little town; a place for locals with very little tourist infrastructure. But that was then.
The Tulum of today is a destination city; a place for fun and sun without the crowds of the typical Mayan Riviera locations of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Backpackers have been coming here for years, but now, Tulum is for everyone! People may still come for the Ruins, but now they stay for the week; or two.
For a number of people, the pristine beaches are a draw, and many never leave their little “seaside haven.” How sad for them; Tulum has so much more to offer. Without going very far at all, you can visit the only Mayan Ruin located on the coast, the Ruins of Tulum. And venturing just a little bit further, you can visit the Ruins of Coba as well. You can swim with sea tortoises in the bay at Akumal or explore the many cenotes (water caves) of the area. Wildlife your thing? Take a trip to Sian Ka’an, a 650,000 hector protected area where you can experience the multitude of flora and fauna species, many rarely found elsewhere.
Then there’s the town of Tulum, filled with restaurants, hotels, bars, cybercafes and shops. You can have your fill of great Mexican food and beer and when you’ve had your fill of that, check out other spots for Italian, French and Japanese. Town has the typical selection of “tourist shops” for “cheap” souvenirs , but if you’re in the market for some higher end artisan gifts, fear not, Tulum has its options for that as well.
If you’ve visited Cancun and Playa del Carmen in the past, try Tulum for a kinder and gentler Mayan Riviera experience. If you’ve not yet visited this area of Mexico at all, what are you waiting for?