26 In Mexico/ Travel/ Tulum/ Worldwide

20 Things to Tick off your Tulum Bucket List!

Tulum bucket list

I went to Tulum, Mexico in September last year, and after spending the best part of 2016 looking forward to it, this little Mexican town on the Yutacan peninsula, about 1 hour 45 minutes from Cancun airport did NOT disappoint! Here’s all the things unique to Tulum that should definitely be on your things to do in Tulum bucket list if you plan to visit. My advice would be give Cancun a miss and go here instead, it was incredible!


Tulum bucket list


Try authentic Mexican street food, tacos made on giant hot plates, more nachos than you can imagine, meat skewers, it all tastes incredible!


Mexican street food


Swimming with sea turtles. Akumal Bay about ten minutes taxi ride from Tulum is the perfect spot to see wild sea turtles in their natural habitat. The area is dedicated to protecting them and you can see up to five or six different species.


Sea turtles at Akumal

Sea turtles at Akumal


Try a smoothie! Made from some of the freshest and delicious local fruit and vegetables!


Coco's smoothie bar


Indulge on nachos, salsa and guacamole. Words cant describe how good these taste, and in Tulum they were served as an appetiser for every meal!


Mexican nachos


Spend a day having adventures at Xel Ha! The all inclusive, natural eco park is a haven for fun and beautiful scenery, as well as incredible experiences. Snorkelling, sea walks, cliff jumping…the list goes on.


Adventure World, Xel ha

Adventure World, Xel ha


Jump in a natural cenote. Tulum has so many, and they’re stunning. The water is so cool and clear it’s the perfect way to escape the heat!


Xel ha cenotes, Tulum


Get a glimpse of the simple life. Tulum is very modest, everything is simple, everyone is happy. Even the taxi drivers.


Tulum taxi driver


One you’ll see on most Tulum bucket list ideas, visit the Mayan ruins. They are impressive, but attract tourists which does go against every reason you’re likely to WANT to visit Tulum. But the ruins also happen to be next to one of the most beautiful beaches of the coast.


Tulum beach


Enjoy the luxury of an all inclusive hotel. The Tulum coastline is lined with fabulous all inclusive luxury resorts, so if you aren’t quite prepared for the basic life that can be found in Tulum town, where electricity and wifi are hit and miss, stay at a luxury resort instead. A beachfront massage has to be on your Tulum bucket list!




Make Mexican friends! The people are so welcoming, from staff in hotels, to local taxi drivers and restaurant owners. They’re especially nice if you pay for things using Mexican pesos instead of US dollars. Many run their own businesses and rely on tourist income, pesos are worth more to them than dollars.


Tulum fruit store


Enjoy the weather! Visiting in September I was a bit worried we would hit the tornado/rainy/storm season, but thankfully we only experienced one thunderstorm and it was over and back to bright blue skies within fifteen minutes. It was actually very impressive to see it coming in over the sea.  Just stay safe and get under cover until it passes. Other than this the weather was scorching hot and absolutely blissful.


Xel Ha

Xel Ha


Pick up a colourful bargain! Tulum is home to so many boutique stores and shacks self run by locals, often selling home made items. I picked up a beautiful bright coloured scarf.


Xel ha, Tulum


Switch off completely. As I mentioned previously Tulum itself is pretty basic, electricity can go off suddenly, and there’s very limited wifi. If you’re after this sort of experience in a beautiful place, this is exactly what you’ll get.


Xel ha cenotes, Tulum


Visit a beach cafe with swings for seats! There are so many, and they’re everywhere you look but there’s something about sipping a cocktail on a swing that makes you realise you really are in paradise.


Swing seat cafe


Try the local alcohol, while most recognisable spirits are available even in the all inclusive hotels at no extra charge, try the local drinks. Tequila for one! And I can guarantee you’ll not find a better mojito!





We didn’t quite make it to Hartwood Restaurant, but everyone we met who had been absolutely raved about it. It’s a rustic, simple, locally owned restaurant, with food freshly caught and grilled. It looks and sounds divine. If you visit Tulum, go along and let me know how it is!


Get crafty on the beach! If lying all day in the sun isn’t your thing or you get a bit bored there’s plenty going on that you can choose to seek out if you want. But I loved how you weren’t approached to join in, everything was relaxed and optional. Should you choose to you could join in yoga, art sessions, beach football, Zumba…


Tulum crafts


Take advantage of all the day trips pretty close by around the Tulum area. We did Xel ha but there were so many to choose from, and staying in Tulum you’re a lot closer than if you’re based in Cancun. No shuttle buses for a start, just a cheap taxi!


Xel ha


Spot all the wildlife – tropical birds, iguanas, whale sharks, barracudas, sea turtles, grouper fish, these are just a few we saw!




Hope this gives you an idea of some of the amazing experiences and things there are to do in Tulum, that should definitely be on your Tulum bucket list. Have you been – what would you add?


See my other Tulum posts:

Swimming with sea turtles at Akumal

A Day at Xel Ha


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Tulum Bucket List

Tulum Bucket List

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  • Reply
    Sara White
    18th February 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve been toying with the idea of visiting Tulum for a while now – I’ve heard great things, but I’ve also gotten the impression that it might be over-developed and too overtly touristy. But from your photos and descriptions, it looks truly lovely – like a really nice balance between comfort (which, let’s face it, I wouldn’t want to actually give up) and authenticity. And those swings by the beach look so incredibly relaxing!

  • Reply
    18th February 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Would you believe me if I told you that I have never heard of Tulum? I feel like kicking myself because it really should be on my bucket list. There is just so much in this world to see and do that it is so hard to prioritize.

    • Reply
      18th February 2017 at 6:20 pm

      I hadn’t heard of it until last year either! One of those places I think will quickly get popular and good to go before the flood of tourists!

  • Reply
    Megan | Red Around The World
    18th February 2017 at 7:24 pm

    All I did in Tulum was see the Ruins and I so wish I did more there! Your pictures are awesome! Snorkeling with the sea turtles sounds amazing, even though snorkeling freaks me out haha

    • Reply
      19th February 2017 at 10:19 am

      Haha! It freaked me out a bit until I saw one, they’re so friendly!

  • Reply
    18th February 2017 at 8:17 pm

    I hate overly touristy places and that’s why I haven’t really ventured to Mexico. But tulum looks amazing and authentic and devoid of the hordes of tourists that are probably elsewhere in mexico. Would love to try the street food and see the beaches. Love the photo of the sea turtle too.

    • Reply
      19th February 2017 at 10:18 am

      Yeah I totally agree it’s why we went there and completely avoided cancun. 🙂

  • Reply
    19th February 2017 at 12:51 am

    Exactly what I need for our trip in December – thanks!

    • Reply
      19th February 2017 at 10:17 am

      Hope you have an amazing time I’m certain you will!

  • Reply
    Alice Chen
    19th February 2017 at 1:52 am

    These pics look incredible!! I’m adding them to my own list!

  • Reply
    Wendy Maes
    20th February 2017 at 10:54 am

    And you even missed one more. Taking a speedboat to discover the mangroves.

    • Reply
      20th February 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Oooh thats a great one!

  • Reply
    20th February 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Wow the beaches look incredible! Didn’t realise there was so much to do in Tulum! Xel Ha sounds like a fun way to spend a day! Thanks for the tips hope we make it here.

  • Reply
    20th February 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Mexican food and beaches, swimming with turtles, Mayan ruins, beach massages, cocktails on the beach … I’m convinced, it is time to pack my bags. Tulum, I am coming!

  • Reply
    20th February 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I have heard so many awesome things about Tulum. This list and these pictures are making me want to go ASAP! Love the beach photos!

  • Reply
    21st February 2017 at 3:49 am

    Aw! The beach ‘s really really nice ! I wish I could be there soon. Those pics beautiful. Thanks for your info!

  • Reply
    Sourav Aggarwal
    21st February 2017 at 5:17 am

    These pics look incredible!! I’m adding them to my Album. Great article..!!

  • Reply
    21st February 2017 at 8:45 am

    Whoa! This is so pristine, untouched and gorgeous. I’m gonna take your advice and when I plan to visit Mexico, I’ll give Cancun a miss and go here instead!

  • Reply
    21st February 2017 at 9:59 pm

    You brought back memories for me when I saw this on Instagram. We holidayed in this part of the world back in 2004 — how time has flown but it still looks as beautiful and unspoiled. One of the best days we’ve ever had on any holiday was at Xel Ha. I remember my two boys bubbling away through their masks excited at all the amazing fish that were swimming by us. Fab time! xo

  • Reply
    23rd February 2017 at 9:58 am

    I didn’t know there was so much to see and do in Tulum. Swimming with sea turtles sounds great. I am not the person to stay on a beach for days. I need things to do and it seems there is enough of that here.

  • Reply
    26th February 2017 at 9:52 am

    I have to admit I’m not that into luxury stays… but just seeing that picture of yours, I’d love to stay in that hotel and get a beachfront massage. I’mean: Wow!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth
    26th February 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve heard that Tulum is a bit more “off the beaten track” compared to Cancun… but i didn’t know that electricity went off randomly! It’s been a dream of mine to go diving in a cenote ever since I was certified 6 years ago. Gosh, looks like you had an amazing time there! And Xel-Ha looks like a perfect place for me 😀
    Wonderful suggestions!

  • Reply
    26th February 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Wow Tulum looks so cool! I haven’t been to Mexico in years but went to Cozumel and Costa Maya and liked neither so I think should definitely return and visit Tulum now!

  • Reply
    27th February 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Have heard a lot about Tulum and your post make it clear why. Beautiful place and much less touristy than Cancun. Definitely a place to go.

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