20 Things to Tick off your 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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