Once a sleepy off-the-grid beach town, Tulum is now a popular Caribbean vacation destination, with countless activities and adventures for visitors. Its popularity means there are more and more things to do and see, from free or inexpensive activities to pricy excursions. Here’s our pick of the best activities around.
Experience all that Tulum has to offer – and more – by booking Culture Trip’s small-group, nine-day tour around Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula.
There’s nothing like ice cream on a sweltering tropical day. There’s almost always a line at Panna e Cioccolato downtown on Avenida Tulum because of its sensational gelato flavors. At Helados Buena Estrella on Highway 15, which leads to the beach, you’ll find fresh, mixed ice cream, while Meows Cream Heladeria on Jupiter Avenue offers vegan soft-serve with an oat or coconut base. For something more authentically Mexican, visit La Reyna de Michoacan, located on Alfa Sur street off the main drag, for paletas (popsicles) made from natural ingredients.
Tulum abounds with independent shops and boutiques selling everything from luxury home goods and apparel to Mexican handcrafts and Fairtrade items. Many shop owners are people who visited Tulum, fell in love, stayed, and opened stores selling unique merchandise inspired by the area. For beachy one-size-fits-all dresses, visit Josa Tulum. If you’re looking for home goods, Kaahal Home carries beautiful items, while gender-fluid fashion can be found at CALÓ. There are shops in both the Downtown and the beach area.
This multidisciplinary museum located in a huge sphere made from natural materials features visual artists, workshops and artist residencies focusing on interdisciplinary projects and new ways of experiencing and creating art. They also have programs that involve the local community. Admission is free, and although the whole museum can be seen in 10 minutes, many will want to stay for a while to soak in the visuals and energy. Located at KM5 on the Tulum-Punta Allen highway, visitors must take off their shoes to enter. Don’t miss the front door, which is a huge porthole.
There are plenty of fantastic restaurants in Tulum, but if you’re looking for a dining adventure, try Mexican Experience Tulum, a communal dinner with up to 21 guests that takes you on a gastronomic journey through Mexican culture by combining Mexican classics and local delicacies. Mexican cuisine is a fusion of ancient indigenous civilizations and other cultures. Dinner is accompanied by unique cocktails and plenty of free refills. You’ll also learn how to prepare authentic Mexican salsa. People with special dietary requirements are welcome.
Kiteboarding is an exhilarating extreme sport. Whether you’re an expert or it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, Tulum is a great place to kiteboard. If you don’t have your own gear, there are kiteboarding schools that offer rentals and lessons. Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf at Ahau Tulum hotel is a good option because they also offer restrooms, wifi, beach beds, a restaurant and parking. Kiteboarding all depends on the wind – and remember that though the windiest months are November to May, during this time there may be days with no wind, while conversely there may also be very windy days during the non-windy months.