TOP 25 Best Tulum Day Trips You Won’t Want to Miss in 2024

best tulum day trips

searching for the best day trips from tulum Mexico?

You’re in luck because there are so many of amazing Tulum day trips, and they’re all highlighted here in this article. As I’ve been living in Mexico since 2018 and spent A LOT of time in Tulum, I’m going to share my insider info with you so you pick the most fun Tulum day trips.

🚗💨 Need a rental car? Whenever I rent a car in Mexico, I always use Discover Cars. They are the company I recommend to readers because they have the BEST rates, and FREE cancellation up to 48 hours before your rental.

Within 30 minutes to 2.5 hours of Tulum, you will find everything from swimmable beaches, beautiful cenotes, Mayan Ruins, and even one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (Chichen Itza Ruins).

Ready to discover the 25 of the most epic Tulum day trips!? Let’s get to it! After you see all thee places themselves, check out the practical information at the end of the article about the best way to take a day trip from Tulum (rental car, tour or bus).

The 25 Best Tulum Day Trips from Tulum

1. Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins: Most popular day trip from Tulum

chichen itza pyramid mexico attractions
Not only is Chichén Itzá a Wonder of the World, it’s also a Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Photo: Canva, Chichen Itza day trip from Tulum)

As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — Does Chichen Itza Ruins even need an introduction?! Probably not, but what I will say is that a day trip from Tulum to Chichen Itza is among the most popular day trips of them all.

These ancient Mayan Ruins house the most famous of all pyramids in Mexico, El Castillo (AKA Temple of Kukulkan), as well as numerous other important structures.

It is one of the most-visited landmarks in Mexico, with about two million annual visitors, and a must see Yucatán Peninsula site.

You can visit on your own, but tours from Tulum to Chichen Itza with a guide to explain all the history, significance and hidden symbolism are much more fun.

2. Valladolid Pueblo Magico

woman walking on Calzada de los Frailes Valladolid Mexico (Calle de los Frailes)
Strolling the Calzada de los Frailes (Calle de los Frailes) is one of the best Valladolid things to do.

Want to take a day trip to Valladolid?! Smart choice! Valladolid Mexico, located in Yucatán State, is an increasingly popular Mexico travel destination. It’s also one of my favorite places to jump in a car from Tulum and spend the day.

It is also one of the country’s 175 or so pueblos magicos (Mexico magic towns), and known as one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico — so get that camera ready.

Aside from all the pretty pictures you’ll take in Downtown Valladolid, there’s also great shopping on the Calzada de los Frailes, restaurants in Valladolid to sample authentic Yucatan food, cenotes near Valladolid, Mayan Ruins just outside of town, and more.

Cenote Zaci: Best Valladolid Cenote

cenote zaci valladolid mexico yucatan
Cenote Zaci is one of the so-called Valladolid cenotes, and located just outside downtown.

Located only a few blocks from downtown Valladolid, Zaci Cenote is one of the best cenotes near Tulum, and popular with locals and visitors alike.

💡 Valladolid Travel Tip: The entrance to Cenote Zaci costs $30 pesos (about $2 USD), but you get in free if you’re eating at the onsite restaurant.

Colorful Church in Uayma Yucatán

woman in front of colorful church in Uayma, Mexico
The photogenic church in Uayma Yucatan makes for a unique day trip Tulum option.

Located just 20 minutes from Valladolid, don’t miss the colonial town of Uayma, Mexico (pronounced why-maa).

It is a charming pueblo (small town) with one of the most beautiful and best churches in Mexico — the Santo Domingo de Guzman Church and Convent.

3. Xcaret Park: Best Waterpark Near Tulum

mayan show and swimming lagoon at Xcaret Waterpark near tulum mexico
Xcaret Water Park is one of the most fun and easiest excursions from Tulum, as it’s only about 45 minutes away.

With more than 50 activities, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Xcaret Park. During your visit, you can zip line through the jungle, swim in the cenotes and three underground rivers, go snorkeling at the beach inlet, enjoy the famed nighttime dance show, and much more.

Among the best things to do in Yucatan, Xcaret is a water park that uses the beautiful native environment instead of swimming pools.

While visitng Xcaret, you’ll also learn about the surrounding land and culture at the famous Xcaret Mexico Espectacular Mayan Show, held nightly. This show features more than 300 artists on stage to takes you on a journey through the history of Mexico.

💧 Xel-Ha Park

xel-ha water park near tulum
When it comes to the best kid-friendly day trips Tulum has, head to Xel-Ha Water Park.

Xel-Ha (pronounced shell-ha) is billed as “the world’s largest natural aquarium.” This water park near Cancun also has the tallest waterslides in the Yucatan Peninsula.

It is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa Del Carmen, there’s also cenotes and caves, snorkeling, zip-lines, cliff jumps, a lazy river, and more. 🙌 BONUS: Admission includes an all-you-can-eat buffet with open bar.

🔥 Xplor Fuego Park

people on atv at xplor park tulum atv tours
For one of the best ATV tours in Tulum, opt for the Fuego Xplor Park (“fuego” meaning fire).

All these parks are owned by Grupo Xcaret, and though similar, they do offer a different experience overall.

Of the three, Xplor Fuego is perfect for adventure enthusiasts who want to enjoy waterslides, cenotes and rafting at night. You’ll also explore underground caves on amphibious vehicles, ride ATVs in the jungle after dark, and fly across seven ziplines under the starry night sky.

Besides all the adventure activities, you get an all-you-can-eat buffet at the onsite El Troglodita restaurant. Once you visit, it’s easy to see why this is known as one of the best things to do in Tulum at night.

4. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve & Muyil Ruins

A Sian Ka’an boat tour is the perfect place to see wildlife in its natural habitat. (Photo: Kay Tours)

Sian Ka’an is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that spans about 1.3 million acres (5,260 km²) — which is one of the largest of all Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Located deep in the jungle on an unpaved road on the edge of Tulum, it’s not easy to get to unless you have a 4X4. Personally, I wouldn’t attempt it in a compact car, though some do — and not always with great results.

For those who don’t want to risk a possible tire blow-out in the jungle, the best way to visit Sian Ka’an Reserve is on this boat ride tour. This way, you won’t have to deal with transportation, and you can go out the water with a knowledgeable tour guide leading the way.

Muyil Ruins

Muyil Ruins
This ancient Mayan city is one of my favorite day trips from Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo.

The actual name of Muyil Mayan Ruins is Chunyaxché, though you’ll mostly see it referred to as Muyil (pronounced moo-yeel). It is located just south of Tulum in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, within the Sian Ka’an Reserve.

As a smaller archeological site, many combine their visit to Muyil with a boat tour of the Sian Ka’an Natural Reserve — I always recommend this top-rated Sian Ka’an and Muyil Archaeological Site Tour.

5. Rio Secreto Underground River

rio secreto mexico underground river
Among the best things to do in Tulum, Rio Secreto provides a unique opportunity to swim within the Earth.

Río Secreto Nature Reserve is a semi-sunken cave system just a few miles from Playa del Carmen.

Meaning “secret river” or “hidden river,” you can only access it with a tour guide who will lead you through an elaborate system of tunnels well lit by artificial lights.

On the tour, visitors don a wetsuit, helmet and headlamp to explore this underground river, marveling at its impressive rock formations and limestone bedrock walls.

You’ll walk and swim through the clear turquoise water, as your guide lists fun facts about this unique ecosystem.

  • 💡 Note: You can only visit with a guide, but you’ll jump to the front of the line of those waiting for a guide with this Rio Secreto Skip the Line Admission Ticket
  • 🗺 Tulum to Rio Secreto Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Rio Secreto: 39 miles (63 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Rio Secreto: 45 minutes in normal traffic

6. Playa Maroma Beach

El Dorado Palafitos on Playa Maroma Beach, Mexico
The best Mexico overwater bungalows — El Dorado Palafitos on Playa Maroma Beach. (Photo: Expedia)

Punta Maroma Mexico has been voted one of the Best Beaches in the World by the Travel Channel and Discover Channel. It also ranks among the best hidden beaches in Mexico.

It’s soft sand and warm waters are perfect for overwater bungalows — and this is where you will find all the best overwater bungalows in Mexico.

Though all beaches in Mexico are public, not all beaches have easy public access.

Unless you’re staying at a resort like El Dorado Palafitos, the easiest way to access Playa Maroma is with this day pass from Maroma Adventures and Beach Club, which costs $40 USD per person.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Playa Maroma Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Playa Maroma: 51 miles (82 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Playa Maroma: 1 hour and 15 minutes in normal traffic

Playa Xpu-Ha Beach

playa xpu ha beach yucatan mexico
Looking for natural beauty and clear water? Head to Playa Xpu-Ha Beach.

Similar in look to Playa Maroma Beach, but less exclusive and easier to access, there’s Xpu-Ha Beach in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

It is considered one of the best beaches in the Mexican Caribbean — yet it’s still somewhat off the beaten path and not super crowded (though that’s changing as it gets more well-known). To escape the crowds, I also head to Playa Paamul Beach.

7. Izamal: The Yellow City

colonial town with yellow walls and man on his bike in the street - day trips from Merida
Though millions of people take trips to Tulum Mexico each year, so few visit the hidden gem of Izamal.

Izamal is a small colonial town and one of the best Yucatan pueblos magicos (magic towns).

It’s known as the Yellow City in Mexico because all of its buildings are painted the same shade of yellow. Izamal is one of just a few monochromatic cities on Earth (cities painted all one color).

Downtown Izamal is on the smaller size, but there’s still plenty to see, like the Convent of San Antonio de Padua (Izamal church), and the Mercado Municipal (Izamal market).

Just a few blocks from downtown, don’t miss the Kinich Kakmo Pyramid (AKA Izamal Mayan Ruins). In my opinion, this is one of the best Mayan Ruins near Tulum.

8. Isla Holbox Island

adorable couple at isla holbox island mexico
Surrounded by mangrove trees, tropical forests and blue waters, Isla Holbox is a great spot for relaxing in nature for one day.

Isla Holbox is one of the Mexican Caribbean islands, along with CozumelIsla Contoy, and Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun. They’re all located in the Caribbean Sea, so get ready for an awesome day in some of the bluest waters you’ve ever seen.

Holbox Island (pronounced hole-bosh) a paradise, with gorgeous beaches and fun activities — like swimming with the whale sharks in Isla Holbox (from approx. May 15 to September 15 only).

For the record, whale sharks are sharks, but a docile variety, like a nurse shark. They are also the largest fish in the sea, averaging about 40-feet-long (12 m).

If giant fish aren’t your thing, there are other things to do in Holbox Island, like laying in the hammocks on Punta Cocos Beach, walking the sandbars of Punta Mosquito Beach, taking a boat tour to Cabo Catoche, or admiring the street art murals.

  • 🏆 Best Tulum to Holbox Tour: Holbox Full-Day Tour with Lunch
  • 🗺 Tulum to Chiquilá Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Chiquilá: 104 miles (167 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Chiquilá: 2.5 hours in normal traffic
  • Chiquilá to Holbox ferry time: 20-30 minutes

⛴️ how to get to Holbox from Tulum

ferry boat to holbox island mexico
The Holbox Island Ferry, which you’ll catch in Chiquila Mexico.

The easiest and best way to get from Tulum to Holbox Island is on this tour, so all you have to do is kick back, relax and enjoy. If you decide to stay the night, there are so many great Holbox hotels to choose from.

You can also go to Holbox on your own by driving or taking the bus to the small town of Chiquilá Mexico, then taking the Chiquila to Isla Holbox Ferry.

Note: You can’t bring your rental car on the ferry, as there’s no cars allowed on Holbox Island. Once there, you can rent a golf cart or bike to get around, walk, or use the golf cart taxis owned by locals.

9. Cenote Suytun

woman in cenote suytun mexico
If you want Cenote Suytun all to yourself like this, it’s best to visit in the early morning right when they open at 9am.

Cenote Suytun has become known as the most Instagram worthy cenote in Mexico.

When you visit, you’ll see there’s a circular platform perfect for photos, which goes into the center of this cave cenote. There’s also a single beam of light that shines down, giving an otherworldly look.

Cenote Suytun is best for a quick swim and capturing stunning photos of the beautiful rock formations inside the cave.

It is a smaller-sized cenote, so you won’t need more than 1-2 hours for a nice visit, and then you can head to some other Instagrammable cenotes nearby. These include Cenote Ik-Kil, Cenote Zacil Tunich, and Cenote San Lorenzo Oxman (AKA Cenote Oxman).

10. Laguna Bacalar Lagoon

woman on a swing in the water at bacalar lagoon mexico
Bacalar is just a short distance from the Mexico-Belize border, and those continuing onto Central America from Mexico, usually have it as a last stop.

Bacalar Lagoon earned the nickname, the Maldives of Mexico, after the Instagram-famous Maldives Islands, and their crystal-clear blue waters.

The Mayans native to this part of Mexico call Bacalar the Lagoon of Seven Colors, because they say you can see seven shades of blue in the water.

There are quite a few things to do in Bacalar, including a blissful swim in beautiful Laguna Bacalar (AKA Bacalar Lake or Bacalar Lagoon), this catamaran cruise of the lagoon with open bar 🥂, or a sunset SUP session (stand-up paddle boarding).

You can also take this Bacalar boat tour, head to Los Rapidos Bacalar Beach Club, or check out the Bacalar cenotes, especially Cenote Azul.

11. Akumal Beach: Swim With the Turtles

swimming with turtles in akumal mexico
Akumal Mexico is one of the most popular day trips because it’s only a 25 minute drive from Tulum.

Want to swim with turtles in Mexico 🐢? This is the place! Akumal is located in-between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It is a small town in the Caribbean, and ranks among the safest cities in Mexico.

While some of the best Mexico resorts are in Akumal, the #1 reason people visit is to snorkel with the Akumal turtles.

Akumal means “place of the turtles” in Maya, and Playa Akumal Beach is famous because you can swim with the sea turtles.

A few years back, the Mexican government put restrictions in place to limit the number of daily visitors — so you must now book a tour to swim with the turtles in Akumal.

  • 🏆 Best Akumal Turtles Tour: Adventure Snorkeling in Akumal Bay is the highest rated Akumal tour, but you will have to get from Tulum to Akumal on your own
  • 🗺 Tulum to Akumal Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Akumal: 17 miles (28 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Akumal: 25 minutes in normal traffic

12. Cozumel Island

colorful cozumel sign

Wondering, Can you take a day trip from Tulum to Cozumel? You sure can!

If you now need to know How far is Tulum from Cozumel? It’s about 50 miles (80 km) by land and sea. The entire Tulum to Cozumel trip will take about two hours, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Cozumel Mexico is among the top Mexico travel destinations because it has some of the best diving and best snorkeling in Mexico.

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world, is located just off-shore from the beautiful white sand beaches of Cozumel. One of the coolest ways to see it is on this Cozumel submarine tour (yes, you get to go in a real submarine).

You can also take this Cozumel Jeep tour to explore the whole island on land. It has numerous amazing parks, natural areas and beaches, like Punta Sur Ecological Park, Playa Palancar and Playa Chen Rio.

Besides all those, there’s San Gervasio Mayan Ruins on Cozumel Island, the Jade Cenote (one of the best Cozumel hidden gems), and numerous Cozumel beach clubs to enjoy — like the popular Mr. Sanchos Beach Club.

how to get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen

people buying tickets for the ferry to cozumel mexico
The dock where you take the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry.

First, you will have to get from Tulum to Playa del Carmen, which you can do by rental car, ADO bus, or taxi. The drive takes about 45 minutes to one hour.

You’ll want to head to the Playa del Carmen ferry dock, next to Parque Fundadores (Founders Park). There are ferries leaving every hour with both the Ultramar Ferry and Winjet Ferry companies, so you can just buy a ticket for the next one available.

The fast ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel takes about 45 minutes, and costs about $450 pesos (about $25 USD) round trip.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Playa del Carmen Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Playa del Carmen: 39 miles (64 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Playa del Carmen: 60 minutes in normal traffic, then 30 minutes on the ferry to Cozumel

13. Coba Ruins

woman climbing coba pyramid in mexico
After the Tulum Ruins located in Tulum, Coba is the closest Mayan Ruins to Tulum. (Photo: Canva, Coba day trip from Tulum)

While Chichen Itza is the most-visited Mayan Ruins in Mexico, there are great sites near to Tulum to explore, like Coba. The Coba Mayan Ruins offer a unique insight into the ancient Maya civilization.

If you’re debating Chichen Itza vs Coba, know that Cobá Ruins is much easier to get to from Tulum, much less crowded, and you can climb some of the Coba Pyramids — but you can’t climb any Chichen Itza pyramids.

Standing at 138-feet-tall (42 m), Nohoch Mul Pyramid at Coba is one of the tallest Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula still standing today. Note: This tallest Mayan pyramid in Yucatan is located at Calakmul Ruins in Campeche; it stands 180-feet-tall (55 m).

From the top, you have amazing views of the surrounding Mayan jungle. ⚠️ UPDATE: Sadly, visitors are lo longer allowed to climb the Nohoch Mul Coba Pyramid (AKA Ixmoja Pyramid). However, there are other structures you can climb.

  • 🏆 Best Tulum to Coba Tour: Cobá Express with a Mayan Guide
  • 🗺 Tulum to Coba Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Coba: 29 miles (47 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Coba: 45 minutes in normal traffic

14. Las Coloradas Pink Lakes

woman at las coloradas mexico pink lakes
There are only about 30 pink lakes on Earth, so seeing the pink lakes in Mexico is a truly unique experience.

The vibrant pink waters of Las Coloradas have grown in popularity over the years, thanks to social media, and have since drawn admirers from all across the globe.

Nowadays, many say their Tulum isn’t complete without seeing the pink lakes of Mexico — one of the few natural pink lakes on Earth.

The pink lakes in Las Coloradas are 100% natural, and get their color from the red- and pink-colored plankton, brine shrimp and algae in the water.

Although visitors can not swim in Las Coloradas Mexico, you can still get up close to the colorful waters.

Rio Lagartos

woman swimming in rio lagartos mexico, yucatan peninnsula
Swimming in Rio Lagartos — the parts of the river where no alligators go 🐊

The town closest to Las Coloradas is Rio Lagartos Mexico. Meaning Alligator River, the town does live up to its name, as you’ll see plenty of them if you take a boat tour in Rio Lagartos.

There is a long boat dock in town, where you can book a tour operator for about $800 pesos ($40 USD).

Las Coloradas is easiest to access by boat, and the boat tours will take you out on the river, and over to see the pink lakes.

You’ll pass by gators in the water, and see different types of mangrove trees and various bird species, including flamingos during some months 🦩 I visited in January, and we saw quite a few flamingoes.

  • 🏆 Best Tulum to Rio Lagartos Tour: Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon + Rio Lagartos Tour
  • 🗺 Tulum to Rio Lagartos Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Rio Lagartos: 128 miles (206 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Rio Lagartos: 2 hours and 45 minutes in normal traffic

15. Cenote Ik-Kil

people swimming in cenote ik-kil mexico
If you also love ancient ruins, Chichen Itza Ruins are only about 10 minutes from Cenote Ik-Kil.

Hands down, one of the most impressive, most famous and best cenotes in Mexico is Ik Kil Cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula near Valladolid. (BONUS: It’s super easy to get to Valladolid from Tulum).

It is located only 3.5 miles (7 km) from Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins, so many people opt for a Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil day trip from Tulum.

This massive sinkhole is unique in the fact that its walls are completely vertical and form a circle around the swimming hole.

On top of that, vines hang from the walls and roof into the water, making it look almost magical. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Yucatan.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Cenote Ik Kil Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Cenote Ik Kil: 91 miles (147 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Cenote Ik Kil: 2 hours in normal traffic
  • ⚠️ For a complete guide, check out this Cenote Ik Kil Mexico article

16. Punta Allen: Best Tulum Beach

playa punta allen beach sian kaan mexico | best beaches in mexico
As far as off the beaten path Tulum hidden gems go, it doesn’t get much better than the beaches of Punta Allen.

Punta Allen, located just south of Tulum, is where you’ll find the so-called Tulum Secret Beach. It is located in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, and considered one of the best beaches in Mexico — especially if you want to escape the crowds.

Now, it’s not always easy to get to, especially in the Tulum rainy season when the road gets washed out. (Yes, this is the main road to get there.)

In fact, the best way to visit is in a 4X4 or SUV. To reach Punta Allen, keep driving south down QROO 15, the dirt road at the end of the Tulum Hotel Zone.

It takes about two hours to get all the way to Punta Allen, but if you don’t think you’ll make it, you can try for Boca Paila Beach instead. They two of the best secret and hidden beaches in Mexico, so you can’t go wrong with either.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Punta Allen Directions: Google Maps (Note: This drive isn’t recommended unless you have a 4X4, SUV, truck or equivalent)
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Punta Allen: 34 miles (54 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Punta Allen: 2.5 hours in normal traffic

17. Laguna Kaan Luum Lagoon

kaan luum tulum lagoon
Laguna Kaan Luum is one of the best day tours from Tulum because it’s only about 30 minutes from Tulum Beach.

Want to take one of the best day trips in Tulum? If you only have one day in Tulum, Kaan Luum Lagoon should be on your list (though for a similar vibe, don’t miss El Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera).

Meaning “yellow Earth” in Maya, Kaan Luum is a hidden swimming hole, located just a short drive of about 15 minutes from downtown Tulum.

It’s one of the easiest Tulum day trips you can take, and for some it might even be a half day trip so you can still enjoy the Tulum nightlife later on. Of course, you can also easily spend the entire day here.

Once you arrive, you’ll find a long wooden dock where you swim, relax, and sunbathe in the shallow water. There are benches here, as well as a few snack bars, but not much else.

Keep in mind that sunscreen of any kind is prohibited in Lagina Kaan Luum Tulum. When you visit, consider a long sleeve swim shirt and waterproof sun hat, and bring your water bottle, as there’s no only a few shaded areas on the dock.

18. Mahahual Beach

costa maya beach town of mahahual, mexico | cancun to mahahual
Mahahual is a coastal town and popular spot for cruise ship travel in Mexico. In recent years, this beautiful place has grown in popularity, but it still feels like a small town.

Mahahual (pronounced ma-ha-wall) is a small Mexico beach town on the Caribbean Sea, in an area called the Costa Maya.

It is a popular destination for Mexico cruises and visitors who enjoy venturing off the beaten path, as Mahahual is far less crowded than Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Mahahual Mexico used to be a quaint fishing village, though is now on the map as one of the best beaches in Yucatan Mexico, especially for diving and snorkeling in its coral reefs.

It has retained a small town feel, as it hasn’t been overtaken by all inclusive Mexico resorts and chain restaurants. It’s usually a quiet town, except on days when the Mahahual cruise ships dock; though it calms down again when they leave.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Mahahual Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Mahahual: 140 miles (226 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Mahahual: 2.5 hours in normal traffic

19. Ek Balam Ruins

ek balam ruins in mexico
Looking for the coolest Tulum Mexico excursions? Don’t pass up the chance to visit Ek-Balam Mayan Ruins.

Ek-Balam, meaning black jaguar, is a visually interesting site, with thatched roofs covering many of the structures; a gorgeous contrast with the stone pyramids. It’s actually one of the closest ruins from Tulum (not counting Tulum’s Ruins, of course).

Towards the interior of the buildings, don’t miss the elaborate carved stone statues tucked away beneath the thatched overhangs.

You can climb the main pyramid at Ek-Balam, the Great Acropolis, for some spectacular jungle views of the surrounding area.

Overall, it’s a gorgeous Mayan ruins site, so make sure your phone is charged when you visit because you’ll want tons of photos.

20. Isla Mujeres Island

boat in the water in isla mujeres mexico
Isla Mujeres is surrounded by bright turquoise waters on all sides, and a good option for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Tulum.

One of the 175 or so Mexico pueblos magicos (magical towns), Isla Mujeres means Island of Women — though men can go too 😜

Located in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, it is one of the best places to visit in Yucatan, and one of the best islands in Mexico.

There are many things to do in Isla Mujeres — swimming at Playa Norte, exploring the ruins at Punta Sur, renting a golf cart to drive around the island, and swimming with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres. Note: Isla Mujeres whale shark season runs May 15 to September 15.

how to get to isla mujeres from cancun

cancun to isla mujeres ferry
One common Tulum FAQ is How do you get to Isla Mujeres from Tulum? Easy; you take this ferry boat!

To get to Isla Mujeres from Tulum, you first need to get from Tulum to Cancun. From Cancun, head to the closest ferry port (Puerto Juarez Embarcadero, Playa Tortugas, or Playa Caracol), and take the short ferry ride over.

Depending on where you catch the ferry, the ride is just 15-30 minutes, as Isla Mujeres is only about 10 miles (16 km) east of Cancun.

I took the Ultramar ferry to Isla Mujeres from Puerto Juarez Cancun, and it took 15 minutes.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Cancun Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Cancun: 84 miles (135 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Cancun: 2 hours in normal traffic

21. Playa del Carmen

people walking on 5th Avenue Playa del Carmen Mexico
There’s no guided tour necessary when traveling to Playa del Carmen — it’s walkable and easy to navigate on your own.

A nice alternative to the busier tourist hub of Cancun, Playa del Carmen Mexico is a picturesque beach town in the Mayan Riviera.

Though generally overshadowed by Cancun, Playa has been carving out its own identity, and is now one of the best places for digital nomads in Mexico.

There are so many things to do in Playa del Carmen, like strolling the bustling Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue). This main street in Playa del Carmen has shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars, great people-watching, and more.

Looking to visit some of the best cenotes in Playa del Carmen? You’re in luck because there are A LOT to choose from! The most popular Playa del Carmen cenotes is Cenote Dos Ojos and Cenote Azul. For a full cenote day, add Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Garden of Eden to your list.

There’s also beautiful beaches, especially Playacar Beach, on the southern edge of town. I also love Playa Punta Esmerelda Beach on the northern side of town. This local’s only beach is one of the best Playa del Carmen hidden gems, and it has a cenote that’s in the sea.

22. Cancun

straw umbrellas on the beach in cancun mexico
Day trips to Tulum from Cancun are some of the most popular for visitors to take.

One of the most recognized places in Mexico, is the coastal city of Cancun Mexico.

It is the entry point to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for many, and well known for its white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters, year-round warm weather, and bustling nightlife.

Between the Cancun Underwater Museum, numerous gorgeous beaches, the best Cancun cenotes, and seven lagoons at Laguna Nichupte Lagoon — perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling and jet skiing — there’s no shortage of unique things to do in Cancun.

Though mostly known as a party town or a place families go for summer break, there’s much more to Cancun. One of the most popular Mexico resort towns, there’s also amazing cenotes near Cancun and Mayan Ruins near Cancun to explore nearby.

With so many things to do in Cancun, it’s a great way to spend a day outside of Tulum. It’s also easy to take a day trip to Tulum from Cancun because you have several transportation options.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Cancun Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Cancun to Tulum Distance: 84 miles (135 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Cancun: 2 hours in normal traffic

23. Puerto Morelos

tilted lighthouse in puerto morelos mexico
El Faro Inclinado, meaning the leaning lighthouse, in an icon in Puerto Morelos; it has been this way since Hurricane Beulah hit in 1967.

Just south of Cancun, don’t miss the laid back beach town of Puerto Morelos. Enjoy the beaches while lounging at My Paradise Beach Club or Unico Beach Club.

Among the other things to do in Puerto Morelos, check out the Jardin Botanico, one of the best botanical gardens in Mexico.

As part of the world’s second largest barrier reef, Puerto Morelos Reef National Park is teeming with tropical fish, turtles, colorful coral and rays.

Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts should check out these healthy reefs to check out the many types of marine life here.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Puerto Morelos Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Puerto Morelos: 60 miles (97 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Puerto Morelos: 1 hour and 15 minutes in normal traffic

24. Isla Contoy National Park

isla contoy mexico national park near cancun
A true hidden gem, you’re often surrounded by more palm trees than people on Contoy Island Mexico.

You’ll find some of the best beaches in Yucatan at Isla Contoy National Park. You’ll need to book an Isla Contoy tour to visit because this small island is only accessible by boat trip.

All tours to Isla Contoy leave from Cancun, so you’ll have to get from Tulum to Cancun first. You can get there by rental car, bus or taxi, and the drive takes about two hours in normal traffic.

To keep this Mexico national park pristine, the Mexican government limits the number of daily visitors to just 200. Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to book your Isla Contoy tour, as they usually sell out.

In such small groups, it can feel like you’re on a private island, especially during the Mexico slow season months of April to September, when the island doesn’t even reach capacity. In my opinion, it’s the best way to escape the crowds on the Riviera Maya coast.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Cancun Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Cancun: 84 miles (135 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Cancun: 2 hours in normal traffic, then 30 minutes by boat from Cancun to Isla Contoy

25. Felipe Carrillo Puerto

tall stone structure at Muyil Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan, Tulum
Ready for some jungle adventures? Head to Muyil Mayan Ruins in the Municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

Continue south past Punta Allen to the pueblo (small town) of Felipe Carrillo Puerto Mexico — the same town the Tulum Airport is located in.

The town was named after Felipe Carrillo, a Mexican journalist, politician and revolutionary, and is one of the best places to experience real Mayan culture near Tulum.

There are only a few things to do in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, but the town is a nice way to see what Mexico is like outside of the big name destinations.

While there, don’t miss the Centro Ecoturistico Sijil Noh Ha, a Mayan eco-tourism center, and the Santuario de la Cruz Parlante shrine.

  • 🗺 Tulum to Felipe Carrillo Puerto Directions: Google Maps
  • 🚗💨 Distance from Tulum to Felipe Carrillo Puerto: 60 miles (96 km)
  • ⏰ Drive time from Tulum to Felipe Carrillo Puerto: 1 hour in normal traffic

Best Way to Take Tulum Day Trips

You have a few options when taking day trips from Tulum Mexico — go with a tour, drive yourself in your rental car, take the ADO bus or hire a taxi for the day (this works best if you speak Spanish though).

There’s no best way to take Tulum day trips, so what you pick will depend on your travel style. Personally, I always rent a car when I’m planning for a few Tulum excursins, so that I can go at my own pace and see only what I want to.

Hover, that might now be the best way for you! If not, or if you’re not sure, keep reading for more info on different ways to take day trips form Tulum Mexico, so you can pick the best one.

1. Tulum Rental Cars

car rental tulum mexico locations
For a deep dive into this topic, head Renting a Car in Tulum: Everything You Need to Know

If you want a Tulum rental car, there are several places in town you can get one. These include the Tulum International Airport, and along Avenida Coba near downtown, where you’ll find most of the car rental agencies in Tulum.

If you’re flying into Cancun International Airport, the best place for your rental is Cancun Airport when you arrive, as they have a much bigger selection than Tulum.

Whenever I rent a car in Mexico, I always use Discover Cars. The reasons I use them include:

  • They always have the best rates (and I’m a big price-comparer!)
  • They have FREE cancellations up to 48 hours before your reservation
  • They offer the cheapest Full Coverage Plan for Mexico car insurance (which you do need to have in order to legally drive in Mexico; your U.S. or Canadian plan won’t be accepted)

Best Tulum Tours

best things to do in tulum header image
Only have 1 day in Tulum? Book a tour so you don’t waste a single second of your precious travel time.

Don’t want to deal with driving in Mexico on your trip to Tulum? No worries, you can book a group tour or private tour for many Tulum day trips.

For the best tours in Tulum, I recommend Viator and Airbnb Experiences, where knowledgeable guides who live in Tulum will show you around.

Looking for specific tours? I have A LOT of Tulum tour blog posts, as it’s my second favorite way to take day trips from Tulum (my first is renting a car and going at my own pace).

However, tours are great too because someone else will handle all the logistics — so check out these articles to help you decide which to take:

ADO Bus in Tulum

ado red bus in mexico
The ADO Mexico bus is a great way to get around for cheap, and there are may places you can go just a few hours from Tulum.

The ADO bus is an option for some day trips from Tulum, like Valladolid, Cancun and Chichen Itza Pyramids, and a few more. However, it will NOT get you to all the places on this list!

In general, ADO (the largest Mexico bus company) is a great way to get from city to city, but not great to explore within the cities themselves. If you want to venture off the beaten path to explore the small towns and hidden gems, you’ll want your own transportation.

⚠️ Note: The ADO website is not user-friendly and they don’t take usually U.S. credit cards (it works sometimes, but usually not). For booking Tulum ADO bus tickets the easiest way possible, I recommend booking your tickets with BusBud instead of ADO.

Is there Uber in Tulum Mexico?

No — There’s no Uber in Tulum, no Lyft in Tulum, and no ride-shares of any kind.

tulum taxi SUV
There’s no Tulum Uber service, but there are plenty of Tulum taxis so you can easily get around in Tulum.

You can try to negotiate a day rate with a Tulum taxi driver, where they drive you to your destination, wait there for you, and drive you back to Tulum when you’re done exploring. Of course, this works best if you speak Spanish because you will need to negotiate.

Rates vary, but plan to spent at least $2,000 pesos (about $115 USD) for an eight hour day. If you want to go somewhere far, like Chichen Itza Ruins which is about a three-hour drive each way, you will spend much more.

As you can see, costs can really start to add up with this — which is just one more reason I recommend you rent a car in Tulum if you want to cover a lot of ground at your own pace, and at a reasonable price.

Are Tulum taxis safe?

For the vast majority of travelers, it’s perfectly safe to use taxis in Tulum. You can hail one on the street, and if there’s someone friendly you like, ask for their number so you can text them if you need more rides.

⚠️ Note: In Mexico, you need to agree on the price before entering the taxi, as there aren’t meters, and you’ll need to have pesos to pay the driver. Some drivers will be open to price negotiations, and some won’t.

Map of Tulum Day Trips

Want to take a couple of day trips? For your convenience, all the Tulum day tours mentioned in this article have been pinned to this Tulum map, so you can visualize where everything is — and plan an EPIC tour around Tulum.

Some Tulum day trips are only 30 minutes away, but many of the best excursions are about 1.5 to 2 hours away — so consider renting a car in Tulum to be able to see as much as possible.

🇧🇿 Note: I don’t recommend day trips from Tulum to Belize because you won’t have enough time. This trip will take about 5-6 hours one way, so not really a Tulum day trips option.

Best Way to take a Day Trip to Tulum Mexico

colorful sign that says Playa del Carmen
It’s way to get to Playa del Carmen from Tulum via rental car or ADO bus.

Are you staying near Tulum in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Riviera Maya? Then you’re going to need some options for Tulum day trips from Cancun and the other towns. Unless you have a rental car, I’d recommend a tour, like these:

Tulum Mexico Travel: Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Tulum located?

Tulum is a Mexico pueblo magico (magic town) in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Yucatan is located in southeastern Mexico, with the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

🗺️ Tulum Map

Still wondering, Just where is Tulum Mexico located exactly? The map above should help, but here’s some more context for you.

Tulum is about 1.5 to 2 hours south of Cancun (don’t worry; the Tulum Cancun trip is an easy one) and 45 minutes to 1 hour south of Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya.

All three cities, as well as Tulum, are located in Quintana Roo state. This is one of the three Mexico states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula; the others are Yucatan state and Campeche state.

Is there an airport in Tulum?

Yes — The Tulum Airport (code: TQO) opened to domestic flights in late-2023, and opened to international flights in 2024.

tulum airport

Officially called Aeropuerto Internacional de Tulum Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the Tulum International Airport is located in the Municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. It is about 25 miles (40 km) from downtown Tulum, and the drive usually takes 30-60 minutes depending on traffic.

However, some travelers are still using Cancun International Airport (code: CUN) and booking this Cancun to Tulum shuttle. Since Cancun Airport is one of the largest airports in Mexico, its easier to find direct flights.

How do I get to Tulum from Cancun?

From Cancun Airport to Tulum you have a few options including a rental car, private transportation, or the ADO bus.

🚌 Private Shuttle: Cancun to Tulum Transfer service

Cancun to Tulum private transfer service
Cancun Airport Transportation is the best airport transfer from Cancun to Tulum, with a 4.7 out of 5 Star rating and 4,500+ reviews on Tripadvisor.

I recommend Cancun Airport Transportation Services, which has an impressive 4.7 out of 5 Star rating on TripAdvisor. It is the highest-rated and best Cancun to Tulum private shuttle service available.

This Cancun to Tulum shuttle is also the easiest, fastest, most stress-free and hassle-free way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum with door to door service! It is also the fastest way to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport.

Book your Tulum Shuttle now with Cancun Airport Transportation

This is a nice option because your private transportation service will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to Tulum. After a long day of travel, having someone waiting to take you from the airport straight to your hotel in Tulum is the best start to the trip.

Is Tulum expensive?

When comparing Tulum to other beach towns in Mexico, yes, Tulum is on the expensive side.

 Azulik Tulum Resort private plunge pool area
For an unforgettable experience, there’s no Tulum hotel better than the Azulik Tulum Resort. (Photo: Expedia, Tulum boutique hotels & luxury hotels)

However, doing Tulum on a budget is completely possible by making it a point to save money here and there. One way is opting for street food taco stands over restaurants.

Another tip is to stay in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum) instead of staying on the beach. In fact, eating, drinking and shopping will all cost less in downtown than on Tulum beach, as it’s less touristy.

🏡 Need a Tulum place to stay that’s budget-friendly? Check out these 11 Best Cheap Hotels in Tulum Mexico, and these 17 Best Tulum Hostels.

If you’re a budget traveler, there are many other cheap Mexico beach towns you can visit instead of Tulum. These cheaper options include Sayulita, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Escondido, El Cuyo and Bacalar Lagoon, though it’s not technically a beach.

What’s the best place to stay in Tulum?

people at a beach club in tulum mexico
The famous white swings at Coco Tulum Resort. (Photo: Expedia, Tulum what to do)

🏝️ Best Tulum Beachfront Hotels

While they certainly don’t always come cheap, Tulum hotels on the beach are the way to go for most travelers.

Staying on the beach in the Tulum Hotel Zone means you’re in the middle of all the action and within walking distance of everything you’d need.

Here are some of the best hotels Tulum Beach has to offer, at several price points:

What are the best neighborhoods in Tulum?

This Tulum map will give you a better idea of the town’s layout, so you know what to expect when traveling to Tulum.

🏝️ Tulum Beach

If you discovered Tulum on social media or YouTube, what you’ve likely seen is Tulum Beach. You might have even seen some of these unique Tulum glamping options or these best all-inclusive Tulum resorts.

This is where you will find all the beautiful large-scale art installations, beachfront eco-resorts like Alaya Tulum, high end restaurants, cool bars, and all the Instagram worthy places in Tulum.

🏩 Tulum Town (Downtown)

colorful shops in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum or Tulum Pueblo)
Shopping in Downtown Tulum Mexico.

Tulum Town is also called Tulum Pueblo, and it’s the downtown area where many Tulum locals live. If you’re doing Tulum budget travel, you’ll want to stay here in downtown.

It has a charm all its own, but this is not the Tulum you’ve seen on Instagram — that’s Tulum Beach. However, you can always stay in Tulum Town to save some money, and spend most of your time at the beach.

🏨 Aldea Zama Tulum

aldea zama tulum neighborhoods
Aldea Zama is one of the best Tulum neighborhoods, with cute cafes and new construction condos.

The Aldea Zama neighborhood is located between Tulum Town and Tulum Beach. Besides this great central location, it’s walkable, there’s plenty of restaurants, and newer construction apartment buildings with nice amenities.

When I visit Tulum, I usually stay here because you can often find great deals for Airbnb Tulum Mexico options in Aldea Zama.

What’s the best time to visit Tulum?

The best time to go to Tulum is during the Tulum dry season from November to April. This is also the high season, so expect higher price tags and bigger crowds — but also nice weather and low humidity.

Use the links below for a rundown on what to expect in each month. These articles provide general weather information, travel tips, and information on activities to do in Tulum during each month.

🌡️ Tulum Weather & Temperatures

tulum mexico weather chart

Tulum has a tropical climate, so plan for hot weather all year long. Tulum temperatures average about 83-87° Fahrenheit (28-30° Celsius) in the fall and winter, and 93-97°F (33-36°C) in spring and summer.

Keep in mind that summer in Tulum is seaweed season, and very humid — and it will often feel 5-10°F (2-3°C) hotter than the number reads. Don’t forget to pack your reusable water bottle so you stay hydrated.

💧 I recommend and use a Water-To-Go bottle with a built-in, three-stage water filter. They will filter your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico. Use code SOLO15 for 15% OFF your purchase.

Located in the tropics, it will likely rain daily from about May to October, though storms tend to pass quickly. June 1-November 30 is Atlantic Hurricane Season and Tulum Hurricane Season, though direct hit hurricanes are rare.

What do I pack for Tulum?

As far as what to wear in Tulum, anything goes! For specifics, head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List: What to Wear in Tulum Mexico.

You can expect to see everything from boho hippie style to decked out Instagram influencers. If you need a visual, head here for some Tulum outfit inspo — or just think flowy sundresses, cute sandals, a sunhat and sunglasses.

Tulum is hot, so don’t forget your Water-To-Go refillable water bottle. This not only keeps you hydrated, but filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico. 🤑 Use code SOLO15 for 15% OFF your purchase.

You’ll also need one of these best sunscreens for Mexico, some Frizz Ease for your hair, and anti-hangover pills if you plan to party hardy.

Is Tulum safe for tourists?

For the vast majority of visitors, yes, Tulum is safe. If you want to do a deep dive into the complex topic of Tulum safety, check out this Tulum Travel Safety Guide and this Tulum Solo Travel Guide.

While the majority of travelers simply visit and have a nice time, always be aware that no place on Earth is 100% safe. You have to make safety a priority by staying aware of yourself, your belongings and your surroundings at all times.

While not everyone would rank Tulum among the safest places to travel in Mexico, plenty of statistics show that millions visit each year — and by comparison, the number of incidents of petty crime and violent crime is low.

Is Tulum worth visiting?

Tulum is worth visiting for those who love beaches, jungles and boho vibes — but also understand this is a popular place with large crowds and high price tags, even in the slower seasons.

tulum follow that dream sign
The famous Follow The Dream sign in Tulum Mexico on the Beach Road.

Believe it or not, Tulum used to be a sleepy town. In the last decade or so, it’s become one of the top Mexico vacation destinations.

How many days in Tulum do I need?

As a small town, you can see all the best Tulum sites within 3-5 days. Of course, the more days you have, the more you can see, and even if you spend a week in Tulum, you’d never be bored.

What’s the best way to get around in Tulum?

Since Tulum is on the smaller side, you’ll only want to rent a car if you’re doing a few Tulum day trips. If you’re not, it’s easier to rent a bike or rent a moped, use taxis or walk when you can.

Final Thoughts: Best Tulum Day Trips to Take

If this is your first time in Tulum, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of choices you have for day trips. Indeed, there are a lot of popular sites and cool things to see in Tulum.

If you need some help, check out this Tulum itinerary which has some suggested Tulum day trips already added in.

This handy map of Tulum day trips will give you a visual on where all the best Tulum day trips are located, if you’d rather plan your Tulum trip on your own.

Depending on where you’re going, you can decide if a rental car, tour or bus works best — though I tend to recommend Tulum excursions and tours through Viator and Airbnb Experiences if you only want to take one or two day trips.

Personally, I always say your best option is to do Tulum Mexico tours, so you can just kick back and relax on your vacation — unless of course, you want to see A LOT of the popular sites. If so, opt for the renal car.

When you subtract out the cost of a rental car (which you don’t really need in Tulum unless you’re doing a lot of day trips) the tours can be quite economical.

Tulum Travel Planning Guide

1. Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

2. Can you drink the water in Tulum?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

3. Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

4. Will my phone work in Tulum?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy this Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

5. What’s the best way to book my Tulum accommodations?

For Tulum hotels, Booking.com is the best site, but for hostels, use Hostel World. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

6. What do I pack for Tulum?

Head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

7. What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

8. Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa or passport stamp upon arrival.