When you’re planning a trip to the Mexican beach paradise of Tulum, keep in mind that there are numerous attractions nearby. So, head beyond the local beaches and save some itinerary space for the Mayan ruins, underground cenotes and natural aquariums. Here’s our guide.
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This stunning lagoon just south of Tulum is the perfect place for a swim. The gorgeous destination has clear, calm waters and is often deserted. Arrive in the early morning if you want to be the only person in paradise. The lagoon contains at least two different shades of blue because its center has a cenote (sinkhole) around 260ft (79m) deep. You won’t find food vendors or restaurants in the immediate area, so bring a picnic and eat on the tables next to the lagoon.
Taking its name from the nearby Mayan ruins, Xel-Há is an aquatic theme park and natural aquarium that offers an incredible range of activities. Whether you are looking to snorkel with tropical fish, swim in a cave, try zip lining or take a trip down the river, Xel-Há is the place for you. A fantastic day trip for families, the park is also extremely beautiful and can be explored on foot, bike or mini-train. Xel-Há also has an impressive range of amenities, including free wifi and four restaurants serving Mexican and international dishes.
The area surrounding Tulum is famed for its cenotes, which were once revered as sacred by the ancient Mayans. Formed when limestone is gradually eroded over hundreds of years, these cenotes attract a diverse crowd of divers, swimmers and adventurers. Gran Cenote is a particularly impressive example and takes only 15 minutes to reach by bike from central Tulum. Swimmers flock to the destination because of its sandy bottom and sunbathing decks, while serious divers are attracted to the site because it provides access to the world’s second-largest cave system.
Zip lining has exploded in popularity in Mexico in recent years. Adventure and sports companies such as Aventura Mayas offer thrillseeking travelers the chance to soar over the Mayan jungle. The company offers a range of tours that take around six hours and include other activities such as snorkeling, rappelling down a rock face and exploring an underground river – the perfect way to get an adrenaline rush while also enjoying the local wildlife.