Tulum strikes the perfect balance when you're looking for a relaxing Caribbean beach town with a fascinating archaeological zone and endless outdoor adventure. The well-preserved Maya ruins are what draws many travelers to the town, but people tend to linger for the buzzing beach bars, enticing wellness scene, and cenote-filled jungle.
While it's easy to get caught up in flitting from one activity or attraction to another, I suggest slowing down and slipping into the bohemian way of life on the Caribbean coast. With this itinerary, you’ll get to appreciate what makes the seaside town so alluring and understand how people like me wind up staying much longer than expected.
Year-round high temperatures makes Tulum a perfect getaway.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a cenote.
On day one, discover Tulum's heritage, linked to the Maya on a visit to the Tulum Archaeological site, right on the water. The temple-filled ruins are an echo of the ancient past and a symbol of the Maya's advanced knowledge. Learn history from a local guide before taking a dive into the water of nearby crystal clear cenotes. These underground networks are perfect for snorkeling, too.
On your return to town, wander around a bit. You might spot a celebrity or two. Then, join a taco walking tour to taste traditional Mexican food at three different stops while learning about street art and other Tulum attractions.
On day two, wake up early. Rent a bike and pedal through the town before stopping for a smoothie bowl breakfast. I recommend Raw Love, Pachamama Pueblo, or Los Bowls de Guadalupe.
Once you're nourished, soak up some rays on board a catamaran in nearby Riviera Maya. Paddleboard, snorkel, swim, sunbathe the Inah Reef before enjoying a buffet lunch on board, with an open bar.
If that's not adventurous enough for you, try Selva Maya Eco Adventure Park instead. There you can zipline, snorkel, swim, and walk over hanging bridges for an adrenaline-pumping afternoon. A taco lunch is provided.
Wake up early and hit the water. Visit one of Tulum's most beautiful lagoons, Kaan Luum on a tour. Loop your way around on a stand-up paddleboard, suitable for beginners or pros. The experience includes take-home GoPro footage and tacos.
In the afternoon, learn how to bring the delicious taste of Tulum home with an authentic cooking experience in a local home. Learn about Aztec, Maya, and Mexican cuisine, while sampling mezcal and making salsa and tortillas from scratch.
At night, watch the sunset with ice cream from Panna e Cioccolato or dance the night away at Papaya Playa Project.