How to Spend 3 Days in Tulum
With a rustic vibe and relaxed resorts along the beach, Tulum is a laid-back alternative to the nearby tourist hubs of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. With three days to spend, you can experience picturesque beaches, Maya ruins, and countless outdoor-adventure opportunities. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Essential Tulum
Start with a trip to Tulum’s most iconic attraction—the Maya ruins perched on bluffs above the sea. Book an early access tour or snag a skip-the-line pass to explore the archaeological wonder before the midday crowds and heat that inundate the park. Then, follow the trail to the base of the bluffs where you can take your first dip in the Caribbean. After relaxing or snorkeling at the beach, head into downtown Tulum for an authentic Mexican or traditional Maya lunch. If you’re staying at one of the resorts along the beach, you can book a tour that provides round-trip transportation into town and includes a bilingual guide to help you navigate and show you the best shops to browse Mexican and Maya crafts.
Day 2: Into the Jungle
Venture into the interior of the Riviera Maya today with an ATV or bicycle tour, heading off-road to explore parts of the region you can’t see from a car or tour bus. Following your morning spent off-roading between nature preserves, wildlife sanctuaries, and local villages, it’s time to head to the region’s famous cenotes. These freshwater sinkholes are alive with lush plants and marine life and are worthy of your entire afternoon. You can swim and snorkel in several unique ecosystems on a cenote-hopping tour, or spend the afternoon scuba diving (there are packages that include lessons for first-timers) in massive caverns and narrow underground rivers.
Day 3: Culture and Outdoor Adventure
Take your last day to explore more of the surrounding region. Extend your Maya explorations with a tour to Coba, where you can climb an ancient Maya pyramid in the heart of the jungle, or visit the impressive structures at Chichen Itza—one of the new seven wonders of the world. Alternatively, if you are looking for more outdoor adventures, you have barely scratched the surface of the action surrounding Tulum. You can get an adrenaline rush ziplining through the jungle at an ecoadventure park, paddleboard at a freshwater lake, or discover whale sharks on a boat tour along the coast. Finally, wind your trip down with a cocktail and seafood at one of the beach clubs overlooking the ocean.