Impossibly idyllic with flour-white sandy beaches, lapped at by the turquoise Caribbean sea, and atop its black and grey granite cliffs sits what once was an important Mayan seaport town: Tulum is one of those places that will always stick with you.
Built between AD 1200-1521 and originally a fortress and small city-state of the Mayan Empire, historical theories put Tulum as a prominent seaport. Many of the buildings show the sculpture of their diving god and where inhabitants still lived even after the arrival of the Spanish, but it seems disease finally ended civilian life in this town. However, much of Tulum’s previous functions and imprints of everyday life here have been well-preserved, excavated, or in some places faithfully replicated.
You can swim and relax on the beach beneath the ruins once you’ve finished exploring the ancient town.
Also, rather pleasingly, the area has retained a remote and un-touristy feel with only a small collection of high-end hotels and eco-retreats nearby. There is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (incorporating Tulum Playa and many of these eco-hotels) and the fairly non-descript town of Tulum itself, which all adds to the evocative romance and glorious setting of its main attraction. Mind you, this also depends on the volume of visitors and getting there early in the morning is well worth the chance of getting the site mostly to yourself.
Lazy sunset cocktails with sand in between your toes overlooking the striking Caribbean Sea and leafy green canopy backgrounds. Tulum is a fantastic beach spot for ending or beginning a Mexico adventure. The bohemian vibe here welcomes you to relax and restore.
What to do
- Explore the Watch Tower, El Castillo, Temples, Palaces and Observatories of the ancient town of Tulum, before cooling off in the sea below or soak up the sun like the beach's resident Iguanas.
- The Sian Ka'an is only 10km South of Tulum and is a vast reserve of ocean and jungle, virgin beaches, over 2300 species of birds, as well as pumas, monkeys, ocelots,and even dolphins, manatees, sea turtles.
When to go
All year round is good given its Caribbean location, with an average temperature of 32°c (90°f).