Tulum is one of those magical places in the East Coast of Mexico that sucks you in and makes you want to stay forever. With crystal clear blue water, sandy beaches that go for miles and a climate that’s suitable year-round, you’ll question why you have to leave Tulum. With ancient Mayan ruins as a backdrop to the beaches, cenotes where one can go diving, snorkelling and swimming and lagoons with tropical fishes only native to the area, Tulum promises a dream family vacation.
The ruins of Tulum are historically significant and beautiful
Located in the Yucatan province of Mexico, Tulum is in the eastern part of the province, two hours south of tourist hot-spot Cancun and much more underground and reserved. Frequented by more Mexican locals than foreigners, Tulum has the small-town, beach-side resort atmosphere to it. The number one thing to do in Tulum is to visit the Mayan ruins. The best time to visit is early in the morning or later in the afternoon - outside of times when the tour buses arrive and flood the ruins and beaches. The ruins have a tropical beach backdrop, which is considered by some as the main attraction of this much-visited ruins, but dig a little deeper and discover the history behind the ruins. Though they are scattered and deteriorating, the Mayan history of the ruins is engrossing - they used Tulum as a seaport to trade turquoise and jade, and were one of the few cities to use a wall as a protection. If this aspect of the ruins fascinate you, it’s highly recommended to get a guide or pick up a guidebook before you enter the ruin so you get the full experience of the place.
Tulum’s Cenotes are a must to experience
The ruins only take around a day to visit but in Tulum there’s a lot more to do. The cenotes (pronounced seh-NOH-teh) are a series of underground caves and tunnels that stretches across several acres where rainwater has collected annually for centuries. Cenotes allow swimming, diving, snorkelling and with most containing fresh water, it’s a great place to unwind in the hot afternoon. Cenotes also promises close-up access to fishes, turtles and other harmless sea-life. The three main cenotes to see are El Gran Cenote, Casa Cenote and Cenote Calavera. El Gran is the most popular, therefore the most crowded, in Tulum. If it’s your first time going to a cenote or you’re an amateur swimmer or diver, El Gran is the best place to start your cenote experience. It’s highly recommended to go to all three cenotes, as they’re vastly different and each offers its own unique experience.
The biosphere seems otherworldly
No visit to Tulum is complete without experiencing the gorgeous Sian Ka’an Biosphere. A natural reserve featuring several acres of pristine mangrove swamps and wetlands, the biosphere is a tourist attraction that you’d have to spend the entire day to truly understand. There are numerous tours and fishermen offering you unofficial tours of the biosphere, but if you’re an experienced swimmer, it’s highly recommended to walk the kilometre long road to the biosphere from the entrance with your own equipment and take a dip right into the water. The water is calm and clear with an abundance of fish in every possible direction. It’s a gorgeous location and in the hot, humid days of Tulum, you can’t think of a better place to spend it.
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Tulum is your go-to family vacation spot
Apart from the tourist attractions, Tulum has an abundance of restaurants that will satisfy your hunger after a day of doing nothing but lying on the beach. If you’re brave enough, venture out to the food trucks to ingest some delicious local tacos, but otherwise the main stretch of the city offers you scrumptious options with every restaurant. The crime problem in Tulum is minimal with the locality so unknown and small that most foreigners don’t even know of the place. You’re guaranteed to feel safe for your entire stay in Tulum.
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