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Tulum – a Mexican Paradise

Tulum has assured its place on the globe by quickly becoming a rising star in the Mayan Riviera. Once a tiny fisherman’s village with a few dirt roads, this seaside resort is now one of the most popular getaways for New Yorkers, Europeans and adventurers from around the world wanting to get away from the chaos of Cancun. Tulum has remained a laid-back beach destination thanks to its limited opportunity for growth. The beach road is a paved, narrow two-lane highway that borders the Caribbean Sea running from the Tulum archaeological site all the way down to the entrance of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. A protected inland mangrove, national park and some natural cenotes on the other side of the highway also prevent hotels and businesses from encroaching on this wonderful natural habitat.

Pyramids on the beach in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum’s downtown area spans just a little over 10 blocks with most major shops and restaurants lining the main highway that cuts through town. Luckily, the local government has already diverted major traffic around town and takes the opportunity to set up markets and musical stages during different times of year to make this area a quaint inviting part of town.

Tulum’s idyllic white-sand beaches and calm surf make it the ideal place to escape to. Forget about your worries at home, grab your favourite book and claim your piece of sand. Chow down on mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, do some yoga, test your skills at kite surfing, paddle boarding or simply sip down a fresh mango margarita and enjoy life in this idyllic paradise.

Here are some recommendations on what to do while you are here. The options are limitless!

1. Cenotes

A cenote in Tulum MexicoA trip to Tulum would not be complete without visiting one of the many “Cenotes” nearby. Cenotes are defined as natural underground reservoirs of water that occur commonly in the limestone landscapes of the Yucatan Peninsula. The ancient Mayans believed that they were passageways into the underworld and considered them sacred. There are hundreds of  cenotes scattered around the Yucatan peninsula and several of the best  cenotes in the region are located a short drive from Tulum. Depending on the cenote’s formation, you can walk, swim, snorkel and scuba dive inside these mysterious water caves surrounded by incredible stalagmites, stalactites and impressive rock formations. Some cenotes are open to the air while others are partway or completely covered. Most people would say that visiting a magical cenote is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

A woman sunbathing on a boat in Tulum

Meaning “Origin of the Sky” in the ancient Maya language, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was established in 1986 and quickly became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The reserve encompasses 528,148 hectares of pristine mangroves, marshes, palm savannah, tropical forests and a stunning 120 km coastline including a large portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The region is densely populated by a rich diversity of exceptional flora and fauna. Puma, Jaguar, Ocelot and Central American Tapir are among the exotic animals that inhabit the tropical forest. Manatees, four species of marine turtles and hundreds of fish species can be found in the shallow marine habitat.

3. Snorkelling & Scuba Diving

A turtle and a scuba diver photographed together.

One of the best ways to explore Tulum’s incredible marine environment and nearby cenotes is to go on a snorkelling or scuba diving trip. Embark on an unforgettable snorkel or scuba diving excursion into cenotes -underground water caves-, or go off the coast of the Peninsula.

4. Archaeological Sites

Chichen Itza Ruins in the jungle

Learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Yucatan Peninsula by visiting its intriguing archaeological sites. Many smaller sights are scattered around the Yucatan, however these are 3 of the principal Mayan sites that controlled the region: Tulum Ruins, Coba Ruins & Chichen Itza Ruins.

 If you are going to Tulum, Bamba Experience highly recommends: