Terrific Times at Tulum
Tulum, Mexico, situated in the Riviera Maya, is a tropical paradise that often gets overshadowed by its famous neighbour, Cancun. Tulum boasts pristine beaches, mouth-watering food, and exciting nightlife, making it a perfect winter tourist destination. Additionally, it offers eco-friendly opportunities to witness wildlife in its natural habitat and explore historic ruins.
The winter months, with warm and sunny days, are ideal for visiting this beach town. You can avoid the hurricane season and enjoy the average temperature of 75 degrees. Here are nine compelling reasons to visit Tulum, Mexico, during winter.
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip, why not explore three Maya ruins? It’s worth noting that they are often mistakenly referred to as “Mayan ruins.” The Tulum ruins, dating back to the 13th century, are located on the beachfront, making a breathtaking start to your day. Just an hour from Tulum, you’ll find the Coba ruins, featuring a 138-foot pyramid, and the Chichen Itza ruins are a little farther away.
The Tulum ruins are well-preserved and situated on a cliff with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Recognised as one of the world’s seven wonders, visiting these ruins is an awe-inspiring way to discover Mexico’s history. One of the most photographed sites here is the Castillo, a clifftop watchtower that hearkens back to when Tulum was a port village.
The term cenote refers to a sacred well. The region is renowned for its various caves and underground rivers, with Cenote Dos Ojos being Tulum’s nearest and deepest cenote. Dos Ojos is so named because it consists of two cenotes that resemble a pair of large eyes peering into the underground. These two cenotes are connected by a vast cavern perfect for exploring the unique ecosystem. Just outside Tulum, Gran Cenote offers crystal-clear swimming, snorkelling, and diving waters. Underground rivers replenish these limestone sinkholes and provide a stunning glimpse into the underground world.
Tulum is a popular destination due to its beautiful beaches, which are among the most pristine in Mexico. Visitors can spend a day relaxing on the near-white sand, watching the waves, and soaking up the sun. The combination of untamed jungle and miles of beachfront make it one of the most spectacular beach destinations in the world. Some of the best beaches to visit in Tulum include Playa Ruinas, at the base of the Tulum ruins, Playa Paraiso, Akumal Beach, and Las Palmas Public Beach.
Kaan Luum Lagoon
Just a few minutes' drive from Tulum, you can find Kaan Luum Lagoon. The lagoon is mesmerising turquoise and features shallow areas perfect for wading and other regions no more profound than 6.5 feet. The mineral-rich mud in the lagoon is known for its healing powers, and the shallow waters make it easy to cover yourself in the mud or relax in the waters. If a mud bath isn't your tea, you can always take a paddleboard tour or relax in a hammock suspended above the water. In the centre of the lagoon lies an enormous cenote that scuba divers can explore.
The lagoon is within the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While there, take in this critical nature reserve that boasts nine ecosystems. It has four endangered species: jaguars, tapirs, manatees, and peccaries. It's a truly unique destination with 300 bird species and 100 mammals.
Explore the mangroves and lagoons of Sian Ka'an on a boat or kayaking tour. Maya communities on the outskirts of the reserve can take you on an organised expedition of Sian Ka'an. Immerse yourself in the culture even more and participate in workshops by locals who introduce you to honey production, medicinal herbs, and the Mayan language.
If you want to explore the ruins and swim with sea turtles in Tulum, Ocean Tours can provide a guided trip that begins with a visit to Tulum National Park, a historical site with Maya ruins. The tour also includes visiting some of the cenotes and then swimming along the coast with sea turtles in Tulum's coral reef. They offer a variety of combinations, including hiking through the jungle, swimming in cenotes, and more, so you can experience all the area has to offer in a single tour.
Alternatively, you can rent snorkelling gear and head to Akumal Bay. It is an ideal spot for snorkelling with turtles, as the bay is protected by a reef that keeps large waves out of the area. The turtles are plentiful in the bay, and since they are accustomed to humans, you can swim up close for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tulum is more than just a tourist destination because its sustainable hotels aim to minimize their environmental impact. Three hotels in Mexico have received Green Key certification for their focus on sustainable hospitality, which includes protecting marine life and nature, creating jobs for residents, limiting food waste, and utilizing green building practices. One of these hotels is Ahau Tulum, which offers eco-conscious cabanas and huts, daily yoga lessons, and sunrise meditations, all set against a beautiful beachfront location. Another adult-only beachfront property, AZULIK, takes environmental sustainability further by using only candlelight, making it a popular nesting area for turtles. The 48 villas at AZULIK reflect a desire to live in harmony with the Maya jungle and the Caribbean Sea and do not have electric light, air conditioning, or televisions.
Tulum is a beautiful place to spend your days exploring the ruins, diving in cenotes, taking a yoga class, or simply relaxing on the beach. As the sun sets, the town comes alive with beach parties and live music venues. The best bars are located in the Pueblo and the Middle Beach Zone. Each area has a unique vibe, with the Pueblo being more affordable and laid back, while the Middle Beach Zone offers more upscale hotspots. According to Dave, five bars take turns hosting the most prominent parties, each designated a particular night of the week. Although the bars are open nightly, the party night for each includes Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar, Thursdays at Casa Jaguar, Fridays at Gitano, Saturdays at Papaya Playa Project, and Sundays at Salsa Night at La Zebra Hotel.
Explore The Area On Bikes
Tulum is an ideal destination for those exploring the hotels and bars along the shoreline. The town is renowned for bike-friendly, and bike rentals are readily available. You can also opt for a bike tour. Tulum Bike Tours offers a variety of times, including a cenote tour, a city tour, and a backroads tour. During these tours, you'll discover the local culture and wildlife.
When in Tulum, the diverse food scene caters to all tastes, from trendy eateries to street food, with a focus on the unique flavours of the Yucatan Peninsula.