One Day in Tulum Itinerary – Top things to do in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, an hour and a half away from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is one of the major tourist attractions in Mexico. Tulum was a walled city built by the Mayans in the 13th century. In fact, Tulum is the Yucatan Mayan word for “fence” or “wall”. Tulum is now known for its Mayan ruins, gorgeous beaches and clear ocean views.

One day in Tulum itinerary

Guest post by Lola
Blog: La Vida Lola


A few facts about Tulum

Since Tulum is a beach town, it’s a popular year-round destination. The tourist crowds are heaviest in spring and summer and significantly less in the fall and winter so depending on what type of experience you are seeking, keep that in mind when booking your trip.

Beaches in Tulum
Beaches in Tulum, Author: Gabriel Garcia Marengo Follow, Photo source: Flickr


One day in Tulum itinerary

Top things to do in Tulum, Mexico

Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Tulum.


Walk among ancient Mayan ruins

To enter the archaeological site to see the Mayan ruins, it is $35-$40 pesos per person. The ruins sit atop cliffs so hiking up to the Mayan ruins offers a nice vantage point to see the beach and ocean. There are also other places that you can see Mayan ruins in Tulum such as Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve.

Mayan ruins in Tulum Mexico
Mayan ruins in Tulum Mexico, Author: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Photo source: Flickr
Mayan ruins in Tulum
Mayan ruins in Tulum, Author: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Photo source: Flickr

Visit the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve

After viewing the Mayan ruins, you can tour the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Sian Ka’an was formed in 1986 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site the following year. The biosphere reserve is 780,000 acres and thus has many access points. One of the most common entrances into Sian Ka’an is Muyil, also known as Chunyaxche.

Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve in Tulum
Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve ruins, Author: Seann McAuliffe, Photo source: Flickr

The cost of a one-way bus ticket from Tulum to Muyil is $24 pesos. When you arrive at Sian Ka’an, you can relax on the beach, look at more Mayan ruins, float in a lagoon, or see animals such as dolphins and turtles in their natural habitat.

Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve
Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve beach, Author:Seann McAuliffe, Photo source: Flickr

Swim in a cenote

Cenotes are underground sinkholes that were held sacred by ancient Mayans and are now used as swimming pools and popular tourist attractions. There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico, however only about half of them have been discovered. Some of the cenotes specifically in Tulum are Dos Ojos, Tortuga, Vacaha, Abejas, Calavera and Grand Cenote.

Tulum Cenote
Tulum Cenote, Author: Lola from “La Vida Lola”

To preserve the delicate pH balance in the underground water, all visitors who are planning to swim in cenotes are required to not have any lotions, creams or oils on their body otherwise it will pollute the water in the cenote.


Experience nightlife at beach bars

There are quite a few bars by the beach where you can dance the night away on the sand or dip your toes in the ocean. One of the top picks is Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar where fruit drinks are made with real sugar cane. The bar can easily be identified by a yellow classic VW Bug parked in the entrance. Some other bars worth checking out are Curandero, Bar Iguana, and Kiki.


Where to Stay in Tulum?

There are many beachside hotels in Tulum which makes the decision of choosing one difficult. By reading reviews and checking out people’s opinions on social media, travelers interested in Tulum can find the right hotel for them.

Villas H2O Hotel

Villas H2O Hotel is a gorgeous resort around $120 per night that offers a great view of the ocean and Mayan ruins along with providing its guests yoga classes by the beach and various breakfast options.
Book here
Villas H2O Rooms
Villas H2O Rooms
Villas H2O
Villas H2O

Best budget hostels in Tulum

If you’re a budget-conscious traveler or backpacker, you might want to search sites like AirBnB or HostelWorld. Tulum is a beach resort town so most hotels are expensive however there are still available deals.
When researching hostels, I found some for as cheap as $12 per night for a bed! Some popular hostels in Tulum are Hostel Sheck, Quintana Roots Hostel, and Casa del Sol.
Tulum One day itinerary
Lola from “La Vida Lola” in Tulum

Make your trip to Tulum even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in Tulum or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.



Tulum Mexico Top things to doTulum Mexico One day itinerary

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Tulum Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!


Here are some of the top travel items you must bring to your next trip. These items will make your trip a lot more relaxing and you’ll surely get rid of some extra hassle.

Make sure to travel light, safe and stylish following our travel item guide for 2018.

Lola La Vida Lola
Travel Blogger at

Lola lives in NYC and works full-time as an IT Consultant. She enjoys traveling in her free time and shares her travel experiences on her Instagram and travel blog, La Vida Lola.

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