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    Best Things To Do In Marrakesh, Morocco

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    Marrakesh, Morocco
    Marrakesh is a beautiful city in Morocco. The “Rose City” or “Red City” offers visitors an enchanting taste of old world charm and opulence. Here are some of the best things to do in Marrakesh.
    Many travelers who visit Morocco spend at least a few days in Marrakesh, before moving on to other parts of the country. And there’s a lot to see in the city.
    Marrakesh (sometimes spelled Marrakech) is without a doubt one of the most exciting destinations in Northern Africa. The city has been an important trading hub for centuries and inside the walled Old City Medina, you’ll find a maze of lively markets and a myriad of busy alleyways – a true feast for the senses.
    There are smells, colors, flavors, sounds and textures to be devoured, and even though the hectic heart of the city can feel both enticing and overwhelming at the same time, there are places where you’ll be able to enjoy moments of calm, such as the riad hotels, and several parks.
    The city’s bustling souks, theatrical street vendors, and mesmerizing performers are attractions in itself, but don’t ignore the palaces, the mosques, and the food – here are my top picks for the best things to do in Marrakesh.

    Table Of Contents

    Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten
    I’ve been traveling the world for 10+ years as a professional photographer & writer. I hope you enjoy my Marrakesh tips! If you find them useful, using my affiliate links to book something will give me a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

    Marrakesh Morocco Travel Guide

    1. Exploring The Souks

    The Medina, Marrakesh’s walled Old Town, is the most popular tourist attraction in Marrakesh: a labyrinth of small alleyways lined with shops (called souks) that sell anything from fruits and vegetables to Berber rugs and furniture.
    You can spend hours wandering the streets here, and I recommend taking your time: soak up the smells, marvel at the old buildings, shop for souvenirs, and finish your visit with a tea in one of the rooftop cafes to take in the hustle and bustle from a different perspective.
    The main souks, markets, are all located in the Medina, and are arranged according to the kind of product they’re selling. Souk Semmarine is the main area of the market, which means it gets the most tourists.

    Go further away and you’ll be able to get away from the crowds. There are over 3,000 market stalls and the endless maze of market streets can feel intense, but don’t worry too much about getting lost and just enjoy the spectacle that Marrakesh’s markets are.
    However, if the thought of getting lost in the alleyways and the vast souks stresses you out, I recommend booking a tour. That way you won’t get lost, and you also know that you won’t miss any of the must-see places inside the Medina.

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    2. Jemaa el-Fnaa

    Jemaa el-Fnaa is the main square in Marrakesh’s Medina. No matter what time of day or night you come here, there’s street theater non-stop. From street food stalls to street performers and musicians, the square has always a show going on – especially at night!
    Apparently, the market on this square is the busiest market in all of Africa and UNESCO recognized Jemaa el-Fnaa as World Heritage in 2001. In fact, it inspired UNESCO to create a whole new category: “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

    It is worth visiting Jemaa el-Fnaa during the day and then come back at night, because the entire atmosphere of the square changes depending on the time of day: During the day, it is much less crowded and less exciting, but you can take in the square itself. At night, Jemaa el-Fnaa really comes to life, and you can enjoy the performances of entertainers and musicians.

    USEFUL TIP: Be aware of pickpockets in the Medina – always make sure your belongings are safe. Don’t have any valuables on you, such as your passport. This is especially important if you go at night when the square gets very crowded.

    3. Koutoubia Mosque

    Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech, and even if you don’t want to visit the mosque, it is impossible not to notice it while you’re in town.
    Koutoubia is Marrakech’s most famous landmark, and the mosque’s 250-feet (76 meters) high minaret towers above all the other buildings in the city. You also won’t be able to escape the call to prayer: the muezzin calls the faithful five times a day.
    Non-Muslims are not allowed to visit the inside of the mosque, but the outside of the building and the grounds are worth visiting for the spectacular Almohad architecture.

    USEFUL TIP: Don’t miss the gardens behind the mosque! Koutoubia Gardens is a lovely park and welcome retreat from the packed Medina. From the gardens, you also have a great view of the minaret.

    4. Stay In A Traditional Riad

    Staying in a riad, a traditional Moroccan guesthouse, is an unforgettable experience – it allows you to take in all the extraordinary details of Moroccan architecture.
    A riad is a mansion that is typically set around a small swimming pool in a courtyard filled with plants – a tranquil oasis in this bustling city. The ambience of the riads with their ornate decorations and the traditional architecture is completely unique!
    These are six of the best-rated riad hotels in Marrakech:
    Riad Palais Sebban – Stunning riad with a beautiful pool. This is where we stayed.
    Riad Dar Anika –
    Riad Sultan Suleiman – Double rooms starting at US$77 per night
    Riad Janate & Spa – Double rooms starting at US$94 per night
    Riad l’Oiseau du Paradis – Double rooms starting at US$124 per night
    Dar Dama – Deluxe Suite from US$118 per night
    Riad Melhoun & Spa – from US$154 per night
    If you’re traveling on a budget, check out the Rodamon Riad hostel (Dorm beds start at US$20)

    5. Eat Traditional Moroccan Food

    Moroccan cuisine is influenced by Berber, Jewish, Arab, Mediterranean and French cultures with hints of European and sub-Saharan influences. Moroccan food has savory, sweet, and sour flavors and is uniquely seasoned with a multitude of spices.
    Try to eat as many traditional Moroccan dishes as possible while you’re in Marrakesh – the obligatory ones are:

    Tangia (a traditional dish in Marrakech: slow-cooked lamb is placed in a clay pot with lemon, garlic and saffron and then cooked in charcoal – not to be confused with tagine)
    Tagine (a slow-cooked savory stew typically made with lamb, chicken or fish together with vegetables, often also nuts and dried fruit, cooked and served in the clay or ceramic pot it is named after)
    Couscous (a processed grain derived from durum wheat semolina, served with vegetables and meat)
    Bastilla (Moroccan chicken pie: saffron chicken, a spicy omelet stuffing and crunchy fried seasoned almonds are layered within a crispy pastry shell)
    Taktouka (a zesty puree of tomatoes and green pepper)
    Zaalouk (a dip made with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and spices like cumin, paprika, parsley and fresh cilantro)
    Shakshouka (a popular Mediterranean breakfast dish for which eggs are cooked in a tomato sauce with peppers, garlic, onions, olive oil, and spices)
    Harira (a tomato-based soup with lentils and chickpeas)
    Fish Chermoula (a herb sauce used to marinate grilled fish)

    Marrakech has hundreds of restaurants and trying to find the best ones can feel like a daunting task. Here are a few places that are worth eating at:
    For the best slow-cooked lamb, head to Mechoui Alley, where local families roast mechoui – whole lamb or mutton – in an underground oven for four to six hours. You won’t get a more authentic lamb experience than this in Marrakech.
    Café des Épices, right on the edge of Rahba Kedima Square is a great place for a Moroccan breakfast.
    For Tajine, visit Atay Café (62 Rue Amsafah) where you can try chicken, kefta (meatball) or lamb tajine. They also have a vegan tajine and vegan couscous. Café Clock (224 Derb Chtouka) is also a fantastic place to try traditional Moroccan dishes.
    Nomad (1 Derb Aarjane) is a popular rooftop restaurant that has scrumptious Moroccan food, including tajine, lamb, fish and a vegetarian platter.
    As for drinks: Moroccan mint tea is ubiquitous in Marrakech, and I guarantee that even non-tea drinkers will enjoy a delicious cup of it. The terrace of Café De France (Rue des Banques), which overlooks Jemaa el-Fnaa, is a great place to enjoy a cup of mint tea.

    USEFUL TIP: For a more hands-on Moroccan food experience, join a cooking class!

    You can learn how to make tajine with a local, which includes a visit to the market to source all the ingredients: Tagine Cookery Class With a Local
    Hosts Khmisa and Kawtar show you how to make a broader range of Moroccan dishes that includes a market visit: Traditional Moroccan Cooking Class & Market Visit
    If you don’t want to get your hands dirty but still want to experience authentic Moroccan food, consider this street food tour: Street Food Tour by Night

    6. Visit A Tannery (at your own risk)

    Bab Debbagh is the part of Marrakech where you find many tanneries. Leather tanning is one of Morocco’s oldest crafts and watching the leather-makers in action will make you appreciate any leather goods you may buy there even more.
    The leather is treated and dyed the old-fashioned way here, and the colorful tannery pools are a fascinating sight. I recommend visiting the tanneries early in the morning when most of the work is done. The best photos are from the rooftops of the shops surrounding it.
    Of course, you can also buy leather goods here, from bags and jackets to leather poufs and traditional babouches (Moroccan slippers). Be prepared to use your haggling skills here.
    IMPORTANT: Do not try to visit the tanneries on your own. Many people are scammed and/or harassed by fake local “guides” who try to extort way too much money from unsuspecting tourists. The area can be a bit dangerous too, and easy to get lost in. If you want to visit this area of the city, arrange for an official group or private tour with your hotel in advance.

    7. Dar El Bacha Palace (Musee Des Confluences)

    Dar El Bacha Palace is one of the best places to see some of the most beautiful riad architecture with incredible Zellige tiles, the geometric tile-work unique to Morocco.
    Dar El Bacha was built in the early 20th century for Thami El Glaoui, who was the Pasha Of Marrakesh from 1912 to 1956. The palace is worth visiting it for the extraordinary interior design, the Moorish decorations, and the symmetrical courtyard. In addition to the interesting architecture, the palace also offers regularly changing art exhibitions and a well-preserved Hammam (Moroccan bathhouse).
    If you’re a coffee lover, make sure to stop at the swanky coffee house that is part of the palace: Bacha Coffee. It is on the pricier side, but the gorgeous interior as well as the specialty coffees and French baked goods are well worth the splurge. (The opening times are the same as for the museum).
    Address: Rue Lalla Fatima ZahraOpening times: 10am – 6pm; closed on TuesdaysAdmission: Adults pay Dh60 (around US$6); free for children.

    8. Bahia Palace

    Bahia Palace is another palace where you can see some of Morocco’s finest architecture, with Moorish and Andalusian influences.
    The palace, which was built in the 1860s, has 150 rooms and several courtyards with marble floors, lined with orange trees and pretty fountains. Throughout the palace, there is impressive tile art, there are mosaics, muqarnas, arabesques and stucco carved with Arabic inscriptions.
    If you’re smitten by the architecture in Morocco, then definitely don’t miss Bahia Palace – especially since it almost free to visit! Make sure to arrive early though; it can get crowded later in the day.

    The blue colors of the tile here reminded me of another of my favorite Moroccan cities, the blue city of Chefchouen.

    Location: Rue Riad Zitoun el JdidOpening times: Open daily from 9am – 5pm.Admission: Dh10 (around US$1)

    9. Badii Palace

    The third great palace in Marrakech is Badii Palace (full name El Badii-Ksibat Nhass Palace), which was built in the 1570s. The name translates to “The Incomparable Palace” and that is exactly what this palace was — once a dazzling palace with more than 350 luxurious rooms, today only the sandstone shell of the palace remains.
    There are a few noteworthy intact features that make visiting the ruins worthwhile nonetheless: The four sunken orange orchards with the (empty) reflection pool, floor mosaics in some rooms, and several artifacts and original pieces of art.

    USEFUL TIP: You can climb on top of some of the ruined walls for beautiful panoramic views of Marrakech city.

    Location: Ksibat NhassOpening times: Open from 9am – 5pm. CLOSED on Saturdays.Admission: Dh10 (around US$1)

    10. Saadian Tombs

    The Saadian Tombs are a royal necropolis that was created during the Saadian dynasty in the 16th century and comprises of around 170 mausoleums and tombs.
    Ahmed el-Mansour, who ruled from 1578 to 1603, built the most lavish of the mausoleums: the Hall of Twelve Columns, which is his very own mausoleum. In total, 66 princes and other notable figures are buried here, plus more than one hundred chancellors and their wives.
    You will see some of the finest classic Moroccan architecture and intricate details in the design, such as Italian Carrara marble, ornate wood carvings, beautiful tile mosaics, domed ceilings and gilding honeycomb plaster-work decorated with gold.
    Location: The Saadian Tombs are located along Rue de la Kasbah on the south side of the Kasbah Mosque (not far from El Badi Palace).Opening times: Monday to Sunday from 9am -5pm.Admission: Dh70 (around US$7)

    USEFUL TIP: There is a combined tour of the Bahia & Badii Palaces as well as the Saadian Tombs with Skip-the-Line Tickets.

    11. Jardin Majorelle

    Jardin Majorelle are the most colorful gardens in Marrakech, set around a stunning, bright blue building and home to a variety of plants such as cacti, palm trees and bamboos. The gardens were created by French painter Jaques Majorelle and were later co-owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his business partner Pierre Bergé.
    In addition to all the beautiful plants and flowers, you’ll get to admire Moorish-style archways, colorful tile art, fountains and pools.
    There is also a small museum that outlines YSL’s connection with Marrakech (his ashes were scattered in the rose garden at Jardin Majorelle when he died in 2008), worth checking out if have an interest in haute couture fashion.
    Fun fact: The shade of blue the house is painted in was invented by Jaques Majorelle and is known as “Majorelle Blue”. Allow about an hour to visit the gardens, or at least 90 minutes if you also want to check out the YSL museum.
    Location: The Jardin Majorelle is located on Rue Yves St LaurentOpening times: Open daily from 8am – 6.30pm.Admission: Dh70 (around US$7). The museum is an additional Dh30 (US$3).

    12. Ben Youssef Madrasa

    Ben Youssef Madrasa was built in the 14th century and used to be the largest Islamic college in all of Morocco with room for 900 students. Today it is a historical site that is visited for the stunning architecture and Islamic design – it is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Morocco!
    The artistry of the former school is incredible: a stunning marble-tiled patio with a reflection pool, remarkable mosaic tilework, stuccoes, latticed balconies, and a grand bronze doorway. Most of these ornate details were added during the Saadian dynasty, making it the most extravagant Islamic college in Northern Africa.
    Allow about one hour for your visit.
    Location: Rue AssouelOpening times: Open daily from 9am – 6pm.Admission: Dh50 (around US$5).

    13. Heritage Museum Marrakesh

    The small Heritage Museum (Musée de Marrakech) in the heart of the Medina, just a short walk from Jemaa el-Fnaa, is housed inside a 17th century riad and showcases Moroccan antique artifacts collected by the Alouani Bibi family. The collection includes many fascinating items, from jewelry to traditional Berber costumes.
    Tip: There is a café on the rooftop which has fantastic views over the Medina – the Heritage Museum is worth visiting for those views alone!
    Location: 25 Zinkat RahbaOpening times: Open daily from 9am – 6pm.Admission: Dh50 (around US$5) for adults / Dh20 (around US$2) for children

    14. Le Jardin Secret

    Le Jardin Secret, which translates to Secret Garden, is a garden inside a small Riad right in the Medina. The origins of the gardens date back to the Saadian dynasty, more than 400 years ago!
    The garden is a traditional Islamic Garden, so expect to see beautiful Moroccan architecture and tile art. The garden is much larger than you’d think and feels like a hidden oasis right in the Medina: the perfect place to escape the noise and the crowds for a while, and to enjoy the tranquility of the gardens.
    In addition to the garden, there is a small museum, a shop and two cafes. The tower of the complex is the second highest tower in Marrakesh (after the minaret of Koutoubia Mosque) which means you’ll have amazing views – you can see the Atlas Mountains on a clear day. If you’re looking for a great spot to take photos from Marrakech from above, it is worth to pay the additional 30 Dirham (US$3) to climb to the top of the tower.
    Location: 121 Rue MouassineOpening times: Open daily, between March and September from 9.30am – 7.30pm. Between February and October from 9.30am – 6.30pm.Admission: Dh80 (around US$8) for adults / free for children under 6

    15. Visit A Hammam

    Visiting a Hammam – a Moroccan bathhouse – is a quintessential Moroccan experience and if you enjoy spas, you will not want to skip a Hammam visit. The Berbers have perfected their way of cleaning a body for thousands of years: you’ll get a nice scrub-down and your skin and hair are treated with beauty products containing Moroccan argan oil and Moroccan black soap.
    You can also get a massage but be aware that Moroccan massages involve a lot more scrubbing than your regular massage.
    The antique hammams themselves are worth visiting for the simplistic architecture alone: a high dome, star-shaped vents and stone-paved or marble steam rooms.
    Hammam Dar el-Bacha is the largest public hammam in Marrakech, but there are countless hammams in Marrakech, many of which cater to tourists.
    Location: 20 Rue Lalla Fatima ZahraOpening times: Open daily, separate entrance times for men and women. Men enter from 7am to 1pm; women enter between 1pm and 9pm.Admission: Dh10 (around US$1)
    Additional Hammams in Marrakech

    Royal Mansour (Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti) – owned by the King of Morocco
    Hammam Mouassine (Rue Sidi el Yamani) – the oldest hammam in Marrakesh
    Hammam de la Rose (Route Sidi Abdelaziz) – beautiful, elaborately decorated spa
    La Mamounia Spa (Avenue Bab Jdid) – a posh hammam in a 5-star hotel
    Les Bains de Marrakech (2 Derb Sedra)
    Hammam Rosa Bonheur’s (35 Derb El aarssa)
    Le Bain Bleu (32 Derb Chorfa Lakbir)
    Heritage Spa (40 Arset Aouzal Rd)

    Price: Most hammams in the Old City cost between USD $10 – USD $30.

    Enjoy This Article? Pin It!

    I hope you enjoyed my guide on what to do in Marrakesh, Morocco! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Have any questions about things to do in Marrakesh? What about other suggestions? Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to share!



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    Zona Hotelera is Cancun’s main tourist district where you’ll find the higher-end resorts that cater to tourists. Stay here and you’ll find restaurants, shopping malls, and a happening night-life scene. Extending all the way from Puerto Cancun to Punta Nizuc. It’s also where some of the best beaches in Cancun are located.  
    El Centro (Downtown) Cancun
    The place to be if you want to feel the heartbeat of the city. Watching busy locals go about their days, eating street food at stalls, or visiting affordable night clubs and restaurants. El Centro offers more affordable budget accommodation options than other parts of Cancun.
    Costa Mujeres
    At the far North end of the Zona Hotelera sits Playa Mujeres (Costa Mujeres) – a newer developed luxury resort area of Cancun. A bit closer to El Centro and Puerto Juarez, this area is not as crowded as Zona Hotelera. If you’re looking for a bit more peace and quiet on a holiday with the family, Playa Mujeres is a top choice. 
    Puerto Juarez
    Situated about 2 km from the center of Cancun, Puerto Juarez is another good place to stay in Cancun if you’re on a budget. It’s quieter than the city center, but not as touristy as Zona Hotelera. It’s also the perfect place to stay if you plan to visit Isla Mujeres, since the Ultramar Ferry to the island leaves from here twice and hour.
    Zona Hotelera – Where To Stay For First Time Visitors

    Luxury Hotels In The Hotel Zone ($200+ USD)
    Ritz Carlton Cancun – The luxury AAA Five Diamond Award winner, the Ritz Carlton is within walking distance of popular beaches Playa Marlin and Playa Ballenas. Guests will enjoy the 2 swimming pools, Kayanta Spa, 7 onsite restaurants, kids club and a teens club. Elegantly decorated rooms with the best amenities, Ipod docking stations, Egyptian cotton sheets, private beach cabanas, what more can you ask for?Nizuc Resort & Spa – Situated on Boulevard Kukulcan in Zona Hotelera’s Punta Nizuc, the Nizuc Resort is one of the best places to stay in Cancun. Guests at this 29-acre beachfront resort can soak in the most luxurious environment catering to all their needs. Enjoy access to 6 international restaurants, 2 swimming pools, a top-grade fitness center, spa and wellness treatments, thermal experiences, free parking, free WiFi, and the best amenities.

    Mid-Range Hotels In The Hotel Zone ($150 – $190 USD)
    Renaissance Cancun Resort – Located in the Puerto Cancun section of Zona Hotelera, the Renaissance Cancun is within walking distance of the Marina Town Center, restaurants and a shopping center. There’s a free shuttle to the beach, a sauna, infinity pool, beach club, and spacious rooms and suites with every amenity you need. Marriott Cancun Resort – Set on the beachfront of the Caribbean sea, the large spacious rooms at the Marriott are perfect for a luxurious stay at not-so-luxurious prices. Guests have access to 8 international restaurants including Japanese and Thai, free WiFi, fitness center, and the top amenities. Day care programs to take care of kids too.
    Budget Hotels In The Hotel Zone ($50 – $100 USD)
    Mayan Monkey Hotel & Hostel – Previously known as Senor Frog, and right in the heart of Zona Hotelera, the Mayan Monkey Hostel is within walking distance of beaches, restaurants and bars. You can either choose from dorm rooms, double rooms, or a suite. Free WiFi, free private parking, barbecue facilities, a lounge, bar, and pool make this hostel perfect! 
    El Centro Neighborhood – Cancun On A Budget

    Mid-Range Hotels In El Centro ($150 – $190 USD)
    Selina Cancun Downtown – Within walking distance of the Cancun Bus Station and Cristo Rey Church, this Selina Hotel offers a swimming pool, free WiFi and free onsite parking. Pets are allowed at a charge, and guests have access to a shared kitchen, breakfast at the onsite restaurant, as well as access to a co-working space. Whether you choose the dorms, apartments or rooms, you’ll enjoy your stay at this colorful hotel. 
    Budget Hotels In El Centro ($50 – $100 USD)
    Casa Blanca Boutique – You’ll love the bright and colorful rooms and furnishings at this El Centro bed & breakfast which allows pets on request. Guests have access to the onsite pool, continental breakfasts, rooms with balconies, and friendly advice from an accessible host. And in keeping with its organic mantra even the coffee here is organic!Nomads Hotel – Featuring a rooftop pool and huge bar, this hostel is set 3-minutes from the main bus stop in Downtown Cancun. Apart from free WiFi and parking, this adults-only hostel offers access to a shared kitchen, loungers, and is within walking distance of good nightlife.
    Puerto Juarez – Cancun’s Newest Area

    Luxury Hotels In Puerto Juarez ($200+ USD)

    Budget Hotels In Puerto Juarez ($50 – $100 USD)
    Hotel Del Sol – Offering free continental breakfasts at their onsite restaurant, Hotel Del Sol is just 450 meters from Playa Blanca and a world of water activities. The affordable compact bedrooms include free WiFi and air conditioning, and has the best amenities for a budget hotel.
    Costa Mujeres Area – Luxury Beach & Golf Area

    Luxury Hotels In Costa Mujeres ($200+ USD)
    Secrets Playa Mujeres – An adults-only all-inclusive resort offering Junior Suites and ocean-front Master Suites. They have a private beach, luxuriously decorated rooms, 7 international restaurants, an elegant spa, top-notch fitness center, and everything you need for a fantastic holiday. It’s pet-friendly too! 
    FAQ: Top Cancun Questions

    What’s The Best Neighborhood In Cancun?It depends on what you’re after. If you want to save money, and see the “real” Cancun, the El Centro neighborhood is where you want to stay. If you’re visiting Cancun to party, or stay on the beach, Cancun’s popular Hotel Zone is where most people stay.
    Where To Stay In Cancun For Nightlife?Cancun’s top nightclubs and attractions are located around the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera). Specifically the Punta Cancun area.
    Is It Safe To Visit Cancun Right Now?Mexico has its share of drug cartel problems, but overall Cancun is pretty safe compared to other regions of Mexico. Petty crime like theft can be an issue, so don’t leave stuff in your rental car or unattended on the beach!

    I hope you enjoyed my guide on where to stay in Cancun! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Do you have any questions about where to stay in Cancun? Are you planning a trip to Mexico? Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to share!



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    Cool Cenotes In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

    img#mv-trellis-img-1::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-1{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-2::before{padding-top:125%; }img#mv-trellis-img-2{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-3::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-3{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-4::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-4{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-5::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-5{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-6::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-6{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-7::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-7{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-8::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-8{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-9::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-9{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-10::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-10{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-11::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-11{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-12::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-12{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-13::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-13{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-14::before{padding-top:62.555555555556%; }img#mv-trellis-img-14{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-15::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-15{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-16::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-16{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-17::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-17{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-18::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-18{display:block;}img#mv-trellis-img-19::before{padding-top:66.666666666667%; }img#mv-trellis-img-19{display:block;}
    The Best Cenotes in Mexico
    Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
    One of my favorite things to do in Mexico is swim in the beautiful cenotes of the Yucatan. Here are tips for visiting a cenote in Mexico, and how to enjoy them responsibly.
    Cenotes are super cool! The Mayan people used cenotes to supply their ancient cities (like Chichen Itza) with fresh water, as well as a sacred place to conduct sacrificial offerings to their gods.
    Ancient golden artifacts and human bones have been discovered in many.
    Offerings were made to the Mayan god Chaac, the god of rain, when drought threatened the area. The Maya also believed these underground wells were entrances to the afterlife.
    Despite their slightly creepy history, these days cenotes in Mexico are enjoyed by foreigners and locals alike as refreshing jungle swimming holes and cave diving hot-spots. No trip to Mexico is complete without swimming in a cenote!
    After spending many years living in and regularly traveling to Mexico as a digital nomad, I wanted to put together a helpful guide to my favorite cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Table Of Contents

    Mexico Travel Restrictions 2021
    Mexico is open to most travelers again, including American tourists. However you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
    Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines.
    You can find the latest updates on traveling to Mexico here.

    Get Travel Insurance
    Protect yourself from injury, illness, or theft. Safety Wing offers affordable travel insurance that covers COVID-19 too!

    Cenote Swimming in Mexico
    Ultimate Guide To Mexico’s Cenotes
    What Exactly Is A Cenote?
    Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its amazing cenotes — natural pools of fresh water located in limestone caves. These pools are connected to each other through the world’s largest underground river system.
    Rain water seeps through the porous limestone, collecting underground.
    Cenotes themselves are created when the limestone surface collapses, creating a cave opening into this river system. Some cenotes are “open air” meaning the roof has completely collapsed, while “cave cenotes” may have most or all of their roof still intact.
    Many cenotes in Mexico are home to a variety of fish and plant life, some even have turtles!
    There are supposedly over 6000 different cenotes located in Mexico. Some have been turned into swimming holes for tourists, others are used for technical cave scuba diving, and many more are simply inaccessible – hidden in the remote Mexican jungle.
    Best Cenotes To Visit In Cancun
    Cenote La Noria
    Cenote La Noria
    The best cenotes near Cancun are located along the Ruta De Cenotes (Cenote Route) just outside the city of Puerto Morelos. La Noria was my favorite of these cenotes. It boasts milky blue water, some rope swings, a jumping platform, and dramatic cave stalactites hanging from the roof.
    Entrance Fee: 300 MXN ($14 USD)
    Opening Hours:
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote Verde Lucero
    Verde Lucero
    Cenote Verde Lucero is a fun one, with different cliff jumping spots and even a zipline! A very popular cenote that many tours stop at. They also have kayaks to rent here.
    Entrance Fee: 300 MXN ($15 USD)
    Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Top Cenotes Near Playa Del Carmen
    Jardin del Eden Cenote
    Garden Of Eden Cenote
    Cenote Jardin del Eden (Garden of Eden) is a large open-air cenote just outside Playa del Carmen. It’s pretty popular with locals and expats, with lots of shady trees, multiple decks for jumping or sunbathing, and plenty of little fish swimming around. A great spot for snorkeling!
    Depending on the time of year, and time of day, it can get crowded here. However because it’s big, there is usually plenty of room to spread out.
    Entrance Fee: 100 MXN ($4.75 USD)
    Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote Azul
    Cenote Azul
    Located right next to Garden of Eden, Cenote Azul has stunning blue water. The “blue” cenote boasts a nice small cliff you can jump from, a wooden boardwalk, and a few shaded areas to hang out.
    There’s lots of small fish in this cenote too, who will nibble on your dead skin if you put your feet in the water. A natural Mexican fish spa! Make sure to walk the jungle path that circles the cenote too, it’s super cool.
    Entrance Fee: 100 MXN ($4.75 USD)
    Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Yax-Kin Cenote
    Cenote Yax Kin
    Cenote Yax Kin is a wonderful cenote in Mexico for families and kids. This is due to its large shallow areas, something that most cenotes don’t have. They also have lounge chairs, and pathways that take you to even more cenotes that are part of the same complex.
    There are grills and campsites available to rent too. Keep an eye out for all the HUGE iguana lizards who like to hang around this cenote! Sometimes they chase each other up trees. It’s pretty entertaining.
    Entrance Fee: 150 MXN ($7 USD)
    Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Best Cenotes In Tulum
    Casa Cenote in Tulum
    Casa Cenote (Cenote Manatí)
    One of my favorite cenotes in Mexico, Casa Cenote is an open-air cenote that looks more like a river than a typical cenote. Jungle plants go right up to the edge of it, and it’s an excellent spot for snorkeling. It’s narrow but VERY long, so you might want a life jacket here if you’re not a strong swimmer.
    Locals call it Cenote Manati, because there used to be a population of Manatees living in it. While they are no longer there, a friendly crocodile named “Panchito” does sometimes make appearances to swim with tourists. I wouldn’t pet it, but otherwise there’s nothing to be afraid of!
    Entrance Fee: 150 MXN ($7 USD)
    Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) Cenote
    Dos Ojos
    Dos Ojos Cenote is one of the coolest cenotes near Tulum. It’s very popular for scuba diving, due to its “two eyes” (sinkholes) separated by a 400m long underwater tunnel. But it’s also fun for snorkeling, as there are plenty of caves to explore that are just above the water line.
    Because Dos Ojos is one of the most famous cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, it can get crowded fast.
    Entrance Fee: 350 MXN ($17 USD)
    Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Gran Cenote
    Gran Cenote
    Gran Cenote (aka Great Cenote) is one of the closest cenotes to the town of Tulum. In fact it’s possible to ride a bike there if you want to. It’s not super big, but has two cool chambers separated by a cave tunnel. They also have a mini turtle sanctuary!A nice cenote for swimming and snorkeling, they also have showers and restrooms on site.
    Entrance Fee: 180 MXN ($8 USD)
    Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote Taak Bi-Ha
    Cenote Taak Bi-Ha
    This cenote hidden in the jungle of Tulum is a special one. A full on cave cenote, it’s lit with led lights, but still kept looking natural, which I love. The water is super clear, and snorkeling here makes you feel like a cave diver. Which, by the way, you’ll see plenty scuba divers disappear into the abyss beyond.
    Entrance Fee: 500 MXN ($24 USD)
    Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote Car Wash
    Cenote Car Wash (Aktun Ha)
    The Car Wash Cenote is located right off the road from Tulum to Coba, and used to be where locals would wash their cars! Now it’s a proper swimming cenote where you’ll see tons of fish, water lilys, iguanas, and even some turtles.
    Car Wash has a few wooden jumping platforms, and is another cave diving spot. There are a lot of downed trees at the bottom too, making for a unique underwater world.
    Entrance Fee: 50 MXN ($3 USD)
    Opening Hours: 9am – 4pm
    Location: Click For Map
    The Temple of Doom
    Cenote Calavera (Temple Of Doom)
    Cenote Calavera gets its name from the appearance of a skull, with three openings into the ground. It’s a very deep cenote, that cave divers love. Perfect for jumping from the sides (there’s even a narrow opening you can drop into). It’s sometimes called The Temple Of Doom by professional scuba divers.
    Entrance Fee: 100 MXN ($5 USD)
    Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm
    Location: Click For Map
    Fun Cenotes Near Valladolid
    Ik-Kil Cenote
    Ik-Kil Cenote
    Cenote Ik-Kil is a super popular cenote near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, and is often included as a stop on guided bus tours. As such, it’s often packed with people. Massive vines stretch down to the water, making it look very dramatic.
    Entrance Fee: 350 MXN ($17 USD)
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote Zaci in Valladolid
    Cenote Zaci-Ha
    Cenote Zaci is located right in the heart of the Mexican town of Valladolid, and an easy bike ride from anywhere in town. It’s not quite as popular as others, but has a few different cliff jumps, some big black fish swimming around, and sometimes a little waterfall.
    Entrance Fee: 30 MXN ($1.50 USD)
    Location: Click For Map
    Suytun Cenote
    Cenote Suytun
    One of the most photogenic cenotes in the Yucatan, Suytun has become an Instagram sensation. Sunlight streams down from a hole in the ceiling, making for a very dramatic scene. Due to its popularity, it can get quite busy as everyone waits in line for a photo on the circular walkway.
    If you’re patient, and don’t mind waiting around for a few hours, you might get a lull in the constant tour groups and have the place to yourself for a bit.
    Entrance Fee: 130 MXN ($6 USD)
    Location: Click For Map
    Cenote X’Canche
    Cenote X’Canche

    Turtle in a Cenote
    Useful Tips For Visiting A Mexican Cenote
    To avoid polluting the water in cenotes, most places require you to shower before entering. Please don’t use sunscreen either, as it can be harmful to wildlife.Many cenotes in Mexico provide life jackets for people who are not strong swimmers. Most cenotes don’t have a shallow area — they can be super deep.Some cenotes include rope swings, jumping platforms, zip lines, and will rent you snorkeling gear.Cave divers frequent some cenotes, so make sure to give them plenty of room, and be careful where you jump!Some cenotes can get very crowded, depending on the season and time of day. If you arrive at a cenote and see a bunch of tour buses, it might be worth looking for another if you want to avoid crowds.The water in most cenotes is pretty cold, as they are fed from underground sources.

    I hope you enjoyed my guide on cenotes in Mexico! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Have any questions about visiting cenotes in Mexico? What about other suggestions? Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to share!



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    25 Best Things To Do In Tulum, Mexico

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    Best Things To Do In Tulum, Mexico!
    Tulum, Mexico
    Once an idyllic sleepy village, Tulum has been transformed into a celebrity vacation playground. From cenotes to chilling on the beach — here are the best things to do in Tulum, Mexico!
    Home to an ancient Mayan city, Tulum was once called Zama or “City of Dawn”.
    Facing the sunrise, this tropical paradise destination along Mexico’s Riviera Maya has beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s also a scuba diver’s paradise with many cenotes and caves to explore. 
    Tulum is a place where the ancient and the modern world blend together. Today you’ll find a mix of ancient Mayan ruins, yoga retreats, shopping, restaurants, and plenty of famous people who flock here to refresh their mind, body, and soul.
    I’ve spent a lot of time in Tulum over the years while living on and off in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and wanted to put together a guide on what to do in Tulum for first-time visitors.
    My Tulum itinerary is completely free! I’ve worked hard putting it together for you. If you find it useful, please use my affiliate links when you book hotels, rental cars or activities. I’ll get paid a small commission, at no extra cost to you! Thanks.

    Table Of Contents

    Mexico Travel Restrictions 2021
    Mexico is open to most travelers again, including American tourists. However you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
    Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines.
    You can find the latest updates on traveling to Mexico here.

    Mexico’s Riviera Maya
    Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
    1: Visit The Tulum Ruins (Archeological Site)
    Tulum’s Ancient Mayan Ruins
    The Tulum Archeological Site is an impressive 13th-century cliff-top Mayan city which is the highlight of any trip to Tulum. Set 12-meters high overlooking the shimmering Caribbean sea, the ruins are the perfect backdrop for photos.
    The 5-meter tall walls that surrounded the city, may have something to do with the name Tulum, which is the Maya word for fence. 
    Some important structures at the Tulum ruins are the Templo Dios del Viento or Temple of the God of the Wind, Pyramid El Castillo, Temple of the Descending God, and the Temple of the Frescoes. 
    Gates open at 8 AM, but the lines here are so long that you should get here 1 or 2 hours earlier to actually get in right as it opens. 
    ➜ Read My Guide To Visiting Tulum’s Ruins Here

    Tour Of Tulum & Coba
    Explore 2 archaeological sites in one day, as well as a Mayan village and swimming in a cenote.

    2: Explore Tulum Pueblo (El Centro)
    Tulum Pueblo
    Tulum is actually split up into 3 different areas, all commonly described as “Tulum”, which can make things a bit confusing for first time visitors.
    Tulum Town (aka Tulum Pueblo, or El Centro) is where locals in Tulum actually do business. Here you’ll find grocery stores, local restaurants, and other Mexican shops.
    Tulum Beach (aka Tulum Hotel Zone) is where all the beaches, resorts, and tourist shopping is. This is actually a 5-10 minute drive away from Tulum Town. Walking this distance would take about an hour (not recommended). A bike or taxi should be used instead.
    And finally there are the Tulum Ruins, which I described above. The ruins are located North of both the town and the beach.
    A few good places to stop in Tulum Town to get a feel for local Mexican life include La Chiapaneca for street tacos, Del Cielo for breakfast or brunch, and Huerto del Eden if you love fresh juice and coffee.

    3: Relax On Tulum’s Best Beaches
    Beautiful Playa Paraisao
    Tulum has so many lush beaches with soft sands and dazzling waters, it’s difficult to choose which beach to get some sun at. Here are our top choices amongst Tulum’s white sandy beaches. 
    Playa Paraisao – Powder white sands, clear shallow waters, beach bars and coconut palms. Playa Ruinas – The climb down the cliff face to this isolated beach is worth it. Pack some snacks because you won’t find any here. Ziggy’s Beach – A private beach that you pay $35 to enter, but includes use of a lounge chair. This family friendly beach is perfect for some quiet time with family.  Santa Fe Beach – This relaxing public beach north of Playa Paraisao, and just South of the ruins, is dotted with tiny shacks to grab a bite or drink.Sunrise Beach – if you’re looking for some real quiet, visit this beach. Especially at sunrise.

    One thing most people don’t know is that Tulum can sometimes get hit with a sargassum seaweed invasion, making the pristine white sand beaches — a little less pristine. The seaweed comes and goes each year, and if you’re unlucky, it may be around during your visit.
    Hotels and resorts try to clean it up from the beaches when they can, but sometimes it can overwhelm an area. The seaweed is harmless, but it can start to rot and smell bad if it isn’t removed right away.
    4: Sian Ka’an Biosphere
    Exploring Sian Ka’an Reserve
    Sian Ka’an means “gate to heaven” or “origin of the sky”. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is located just south of Tulum, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. 
    Sian Ka’an covers 5280 km² and is home to over 300 species of birds, 120 km of coastline, diverse flora and fauna, coral reefs, a lagoon and around 23 Mayan archaeological sites.
    A popular activity is to book a Sian Ka’an boat tour or kayaking tour to explore the jungle mangroves and saltwater lagoons. There are also snorkeling trips too. It’s possible to see dolphins, turtles, manatees, and all kinds of bird life on these trips.

    5: Swim (Or Scuba Dive) In Cenotes
    Cenote Taak Bi Ha
    You can’t visit Tulum, Mexico and not visit a cenote. The Tulum cenotes are natural sinkholes that over time filled with water developed marine life. Some of the cenotes also include underwater archaeological sites and relics. 
    With the Riviera Maya being home to the largest underground cave system in the world, connecting at least 226 different cenotes, there are many beautiful underground caverns and caves to explore. Some of my favorite cenotes near Tulum include:
    Gran Cenote – The most popular cenote in Tulum with waters that are considered sacred, it’s the entrance of the Sistema Sac Actun.Casa Cenote – Surrounded by mangroves with a tunnel that heads right out to the sea.Dos Ojos Cenote – Called Two Eyes Cenote, this one has great snorkeling and cave diving (if you’re a licensed scuba diver).Calavera – Looks like a skull from below, and holds pottery relics.Cenote Aktun Ha – Nicknamed Carwash Cenote, it was once used for washing cars. It’s perfect for swimming or diving in its underground cavern. Cenote Zacil-Ha – A family friendly cenote with restaurants and cabanas nearby.

    6: Take A Yoga Class
    Yoga Classes at Sunrise
    Tulum is a bit of a hippie and new-age destination, and as such, you’ll find plenty of yoga retreats, music therapy sessions, and other kinds of health and wellness activities.
    If you’re looking to unwind and immerse yourself in some yoga sessions during your visit, check out Naga Tulum.

    7: Climb The Mayan Ruins Of Coba
    The Mayan Ruins of Coba
    About 45 minutes away from Tulum you’ll find Coba. Tall pyramids look out over the surrounding jungle. Once inhabited by almost 50,000 souls, these ruins date back to the Middle and Late Classic periods (500 to 900 AD) of the Mayan civilization. However, Coba has been inhabited as far back as 50 BC.
    The most visited sites at Coba include the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Sacbe, Coba Group, Coba Stelae, Macanxoc Group and Conjunto de Pinturas. One of the unique features of this Mayan site is the ability to actually climb the main pyramid — something you can’t do at other ruins.   
    8: Visit Yal-Ku Lagoon
    Yal Ku Lagoon & Cenote
    About 33 minutes drive from Tulum, the Yal Ku Cenote is popular for snorkeling and bathing. 
    What’s different about Yal Ku? 
    It’s a cenote that flows in a lagoon that is also an inlet for the sea. Because of the mix of sea water and fresh water, the lagoon is the perfect snorkeling spot. The shallow waters near the cenote teem with small fish, while the deeper waters near the sea are filled with turtles, rays, and bigger fish. 
    There are stores near the ends that offer snacks and snorkeling and diving gear on rent.  

    Shopping in Tulum
    Tulum is a popular shopping destination. Boutique shops sell souvenirs, traditional Mayan clothing, and even some eclectic Western designs.
    Some popular stores to visit are Wanderlust, Pura Vida Tulum, Arte Sano, and La Troupe. You’ll also find great buys at the street-lined stalls. Be prepared to pay Western prices though!
    10: Eat At Local Restaurants
    Fresh Fish Anyone?
    You don’t have to visit the best restaurants in Tulum, Mexico to get a taste of local food. Grab someamazing bites some of the local shacks instead. Here are our favorites. 
    Matcha Mama – Serving plant based smoothies, kombuchas and acai bowls, they’re very popular on Instagram. Burrito Amor – The best burritos in Mexico!Raw Love – A vegan cafe with a hippie vibe that’s popular for raw chocolate and vegan delicacies.  The Dining Experience – If you’re above 18, you can eat at their communal table where you’ll enjoy a 7-course dinner and free-flowing alcohol while the hosts explain the food to you.Origami – Go here for the best gelato!Hartwood – Topping the list of the best restaurants in Tulum, you’ll enjoy wood-fire cooked meals made with local ingredients. Flor de Michoacan – They make fresh fruit popsicles that look and taste amazing!
    11: Check Out The Nightlife!
    Mexican Mezcal
    The nightlife is Tulum is happening, and beach bars are full almost every evening with weekends getting quite crowded. Here are some of the best bars in Tulum. 
    Gitano – Grab drinks at this open air jungle bar while snacking on appetizers!Papaya Playa Project – Popular for the full moon and weekend parties. Todos Santos – Good vibes and spectacular cocktails!Batey – Mojito & Guarapo Bar – Popular for the blue-colored beetle parked outside, this bar is famous for its local cocktails using fruits like the prickly pear! 
    And don’t forget to drink Mezcal at any of the local bars. It’s an agave liquor that you’ll find in many Mexican cocktails. 
    12: Visit A Mexican Adventure Park
    Rio Secreto Adventure Park
    Throughout the Riviera Maya you’ll find a series of outdoor adventure theme parks that were built to take advantage of the natural landscape in the Yucatan Peninsula.
    Some of the most popular ones are Xcaret, Xel Ha, Xplor and Rio Secreto. They’re like organized adventures that will take you zip-lining through the trees, swimming in caves, driving ATVs, or snorkeling with colorful fish.
    A great way for families to spend a day in Mexico, but adults will have a good time at these theme parks too. I think my favorite was Rio Secreto, because it feels a little more authentic and less touristy.
    13: Water Sports Activities
    Kiteboarding in Tulum
    The crystal clear waters of Tulum are perfect for water sports. Paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, and boating are popular. So are river tubing, and snorkeling and diving in the cenotes. But the most touristy thing to do is kite boarding or kite surfing. 
    On land, there are also jungle tours, zip lining and rappelling adventures in nearby ranches. 
    14: Find Tulum’s Famous Instagram Spots
    Ven a La luz Sculpture
    Some of the architecture in the Hotel Zone is not to be missed. Hotel Azulik looks like something from a movie. Ahau Tulum has a giant wooden sculpture that invites you into its bosom. The Macondo restaurant in Nomade looks like a Moroccan Dream. 
    And then there are the murals by local artists that can be found all around Tulum Town. It’s an Instagram addict’s dream come true!
    Ven a La luz sculpture (Ahau Resort)The Tulum SignCrooked Palm Tree (Playa Paraiso Beach Club)Beach Swings (Coco Tulum)Matcha MamaFollow That Dream Sign
    15: Join A Temazcal Ceremony
    Get Your Sweat On!
    One very unique thing to do in Tulum while getting a taste of Mayan culture is take part in a Temazcal ceremony. This traditional Mayan ceremony of purification takes place in a tiny hut made of stone or wood. You strip down to your underwear (or swimsuit), and enter the sweat lodge which is heated with hot rocks & water, turning it into a steamy sauna.
    The ceremony is led by a local shaman, who conducts the ritual and takes care of participants. The temazcal ceremony takes place in complete darkness, as the shaman pours water over the hot rocks, chanting and using different herbs to summon spirits.
    Temazcal was performed since ancient times, and seen as a purification ceremony that cleans the body, mind, and soul. As your body is sweating in the tiny hut, you enter a deep state of meditation, enhanced by the shamanic chanting.
    16: Laguna De Kaan Luum
    Laguna Kaan Luum
    Looking like the blue hole in Belize, the Laguna Kaam Luum is one of the best kept Tulum secrets. The waters of the lagoon supposedly have magical properties and you’re allowed to take a swim for 100 pesos. For an extra 300 pesos you can also fly a drone here. 
    Kaan Luum is also perfect for diving with the deeper area cordoned off to prevent entry to swimmers. 
    17: Drive To Chichen Itza
    The Famous Ruins of Chichen Itza
    One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also the most visted Mayan ruins in Mexico.
    The massive city complex built by the Mayans thrived from 525 AD to 1200 AD. Entrance costs about 80 + 417 pesos.
    One of the most popular places to visit while staying in Tulum, Yucatan, it’s a two hour drive from Tulum Town in a rental car, but there are also many organized tours that will take you there. 

    Chichen Itza Tour
    Skip the line at Mexico’s most famous archaeological site, visit a colonial town, and swim in a cenote.

    18: Rent A Bicycle
    Exploring Tulum by Bicycle
    Hire a bike and wander around Tulum on your own. A bike’s also handy to visit most beaches and restaurants that are about 30 minutes bike ride from Tulum Centro. 
    Or take a bike tour to explore local culture or old ruins while traveling along the Mayan back roads and hidden paths. 
    19: Visit Pablo Escobar’s Beach House
    Casa Malca Resort
    Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord who founded the Medellin Cartel and was shot dead in 1993. His mansion in the Tulum jungle was bought by art collector Lio Malca in 2012 and turned into an art hotel called Casa Malca.
    Stop by to see contemporary pieces of art from Leo Malca’s collection as well as vintage furniture. But remember, if you’re not actually a hotel guest and would like to visit — you’re required to spend at least 1000 pesos (about $50 USD) on drinks, food, etc. 

    20: Check Out The Muyil Ruins
    Muyil Pyramid
    Located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, the Muyil Ruins displaying Peten architecture date as far back as 350 BC. Set along an old trade route to Coba, the ruins also known as Chunyaxché are very close to the Sian Ka’an Lagoon.
    Apart from the main ruins such as the 17-meter tall Castillo, you can also climb to an observation deck to see the surrounding countryside. 

    Seasonal Seaweed on Tulum’s Beaches
    Best Time To Visit Tulum
    January – April
    Excellent weather, with lots of sun and mild temperatures in the 80’s F. However this is also the high season, so there are many more tourists. Lots of Canadians and Americans come down for the winter.
    May – October
    These are the hottest and rainiest months of the year. The heat and humidity can be too much for some people. September and October is also hurricane season for the area. Far fewer tourists though.
    November – December
    This is my favorite time to visit Tulum, because the weather isn’t super hot, hurricane season is over, but the high season for tourists hasn’t started yet.
    Frequent Traffic Jams in Tulum
    Getting To Tulum
    Most people get to Tulum after flying into Cancun International Airport. Search for the cheapest flights to Cancun on From the airport, you can book a private shuttle or take the public ADO bus (much cheaper). Buses leave every 30 minutes and cost about 300 pesos ($15 USD).
    NOTE: Traffic is terrible along Tulum’s beach road. A crowded mix of taxis, supply trucks, and tourists on bicycles makes it a mess. Be VERY careful on the road here, and don’t expect to get anywhere fast in a car during the high-season.
    Rental Car
    The best site to book your car is with Discover Cars. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car and drive in Mexico.
    Renting a car offers the best flexibility to explore more remote and less touristy spots on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s my favorite way to get around!
    Tulum Taxis
    There are no Ubers in Mexico, but there are taxis. Taking a taxi is what most tourists do, but beware that the Yucatan has a “taxi mafia” that charges high prices whenever they think they can get away with it. Always settle on the price before getting in.
    Cycling is a popular way to get around locally. For about USD 10 (Mex$200) you can rent a bike for the entire day. Your hotel should have bikes on hand. If not, pick bikes from Ola Bike Tulum or IBike Tulum. 
    There are a bunch of airport shuttle services offering rides from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, and they’ll be sure to harass you at the airport exit. The most popular one is probably Cancun Airport Transportation. 
    ADO Buses
    Buses in the Yucatan Peninsula are run by the ADO bus company. You can use these buses to get from Tulum Town or Tulum Centro to the Tulum Ruins or Tulum Zona Arqueológica, or literally anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula. You can buy tickets in advance if you want to, but most times you’ll be fine buying a ticket just before entering the bus. 
    Other local buses include the Mayab that goes to the Coba ruins where ADO doesn’t reach.
    Colectivos are local minivans that transport a group of people to and fro. This is the cheapest way to get around Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula. These are what the locals use to get around the city, but routes can be confusing if you don’t speak Spanish.
    Best Hotels in Tulum
    Where To Stay In Tulum
    Accommodation in Tulum can range from backpacker friendly to luxurious. The best areas to stay are Col Huracanes for the pubs and nightlife, Tulum Playa for the beaches, or Tulum Pueblo for something budget friendly.


    Tulum Travel Tips & Advice
    Tulum regularly has a seaweed problem, where stinky green stuff washes up and covers the beautiful white sand beaches. Resorts try to clean it up, but aren’t always successful.Pay in pesos instead of dollars so you don’t get ripped off. Skip January to March as it’s super crowded and June to October is rainy. To avoid the crowds, best visit during November and December. Be prepared not to have internet access in Tulum since WiFi is really slow in most places.If you’re staying at the luxury hotels, take advantage of the free spas and complimentary wine. There are only a few free public beaches in Tulum. The best beaches will require you to pay for entrance at a beach club.

    I hope you enjoyed my guide on what to do in Tulum, Mexico! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Have any questions about things to do in Tulum, Mexico? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!



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