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    Cool Cenotes In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

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    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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    Visiting The Hidden Mayan Ruins Of Calakmul In Mexico

    Calakmul Mayan Ruins in Mexico
    Campeche, MexicoCalakmul is an ancient Maya ruined city located deep within a jungle biosphere on the Yucatan Peninsula. Here’s why it’s my favorite archeological site in Mexico!
    Not many people make it down to the ruins of Calakmul compared to the other famous Mayan pyramids in Mexico like Chichen Itza or Tulum — mostly due to its very remote location near the border of Guatemala.
    Calakmul is far away from any tourist cities, requiring a pretty long & dedicated trip out there to visit the site.
    It’s a real hidden gem for those who wish to get off-the-beaten-path!
    Located in the Mexican state of Campeche on the Yucatan Penninsula, the ruins are extensive and cover 2 square kilometers (0.77 sq mi).
    Many sections have never been excavated, and because it only receives about a dozen visitors per day, it feels like a true “Indiana Jones” kind of experience.
    In this travel guide, you’ll learn tips for visiting Calakmul, along with some interesting history about my favorite Mayan ruins in Mexico.
    History Of The Calakmul Maya Ruins
    Calakmul Archeological Site
    The ancient city of Calakmul is thought to have been populated with about 50,000 people. It was “re-discovered” and named by a biologist named Cyruss Lundell, who flew over the area in 1931.
    Calakmul means “two adjacent mounds” in the Maya language — which makes sense as I’m sure the two main pyramids just looked like two mountains in the middle of a very flat jungle!
    The city was the capital of a large regional state at the time. The Calakmul kingdom included 20 secondary cities such as La Muñeca, Naachtun, Sasilha, Oxpemul and Uxul. The population of the whole kingdom is estimated to be about 1.7 million people!
    The equally large city of Tikal in what’s now Guatemala regularly fought with Calakmul — until Tikal won and took over in 700 AD. Eventually the city was abandoned and consumed by the jungle over hundreds of years.
    Calakmul’s ruins and the surrounding jungle was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.
    Calakmul Ruins Highlights
    Pyramid Structure 1 View From the Top of the Pyramid
    Pyramid Structure 1
    Among the many interesting structures found there are two gigantic pyramids — called Structure 1 & Structure 2. Structure 1 is the second highest pyramid at Calakmul, reaching a height of 130 feet/40 meters. One thing that makes Calakmul stand out from other sites is that you can climb these pyramids!
    The steps of the pyramids are steep, and not very wide — maybe just the length of your foot. Some are narrower than that! You need to be careful climbing, and preferably not afraid of heights. Falling would be a disaster…
    View of Structure 1 from Structure 2 Climbing the Pyramids
    Pyramid Structure 2
    The most impressive building in Calakmul is called Structure 2. This pyramid was built up a number of times over centuries to reach a final height of around 150 feet/50 meters.
    It is the highest and largest structure in the Maya world. Nine royal tombs have been found inside the pyramid, some containing rich artifacts like jade masks.
    Mayan Ball Court
    Calakmul has its own Maya Ball Court, where athletes put a rubber ball (representing the sun) into a small stone circle perched very high on a wall, without using their hands OR feet.
    Some carvings suggest that the winning team’s captain was decapitated, which was a sign of honor. The ball game is over 3,500 years old, making it the first organized game in the history of sports.
    Games were played to resolve arguments between rival cities or as an alternative to all-out war.
    Chiik Nahb Acropolis
    The Chiik Nahb Acropolis, or “Place of the Water Lilly” is an area to the North of the site. Climbing this Acropolis gives you an excellent view of Structure 2 for photos.
    This complex is famous for incredible painted murals recently discovered inside.
    Maya Stelae with Red Pigment
    Ancient Stone Stelae
    Many great stelae can be found at this site too — large slabs of limestone that have been intricately carved with pictures and glyphs.
    Unbelievably some of them still have their original color pigments showing! It’s crazy that the color has lasted so long…
    The Biosphere Reserve
    Blue Ocellated Turkey in Calakmul Howler Monkey’s are Loud!
    The ruins of Calakmul are located inside the massive Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, 2,792 square miles of protected jungle.
    You’ll find all sorts of wildlife living within the reserve, including Ocellated Turkeys, Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Baird’s Tapir, Tucans, and if you’re SUPER LUCKY — the very elusive Jaguar!
    The best time to see wildlife on the drive up to the ruins is early in the morning, or right before sunset in the late afternoon.
    Driving to Calakmul through the Biosphere
    Getting To Calakmul
    Calakmul is much more difficult to reach than other Mayan ruins in Mexico. I’ve visited 3-times now, once through a combination of bus, taxi, and bicycle. Plus twice more with a rental car (it’s much easier!)
    Rental Car
    The best site to book your car is 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 in Mexico.
    CANCUN – Calakmul is 464 km (6 hours) from Cancun by car.TULUM – The ruins are 334 km (4 hours) from Tulum by car.CAMPECHE – Calakmul is 300 km (4 hours) from Campeche by car.
    By Bus/Taxi
    The closest town to Calakmul is a small city called Xpujil. There are buses that run from Campeche and Tulum to Xpujil via the Mexican ADO Bus Service.
    Once in Xpujil, you can then hire an expensive taxi (the trip still takes an hour or so) to take you to the Calakmul ruins — they will wait while you explore for a few hours.
    Camping at Campamento Yaax Che
    Where To Stay Near Calakmul
    Because Calakmul is basically in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to need to spend a night or two nearby. The closest towns are Xpujil and Chicana. Here are some suggestions for good places to stay during your trip to Calakmul…

    Best Accommodation In Xpujil

    Camping In The Calakmul Biosphere
    If you’re up for an adventure, I highly recommend camping within the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. There are a few campgrounds located inside, and you can even rent a tent if you don’t have your own. The place I’ve stayed during all my trips is called Campamento Yaax Che.
    Just be aware that camping overnight in the jungle is a very LOUD experience! Walking around in the dark with howler monkeys screaming at you from the tree tops is something you’ll never forget…
    Jungle in All Directions…
    Tips For Visiting Calakmul
    The ancient ruins of Calakmul are HUGE. Plan to spend at least 4 hours exploring the site, if not more.
    If driving from Xpujil, first you’ll have to enter the Biosphere Reserve. From here you still have a winding hour-long drive to the ruins.
    Yes, you can climb the ruins! This is rare in Mexico these days, but I think it’s because this site gets so few tourists.
    You can hire a tour guide at the entrance for about $600 MXN pesos who will explain the history and culture of the site.
    If you go on a weekday around 8am when they first open, you may be the only ones there!

    I hope you enjoyed my guide to exploring the remote Calakmul Mayan Ruins! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

    Have any questions about Calakmul? What are your favorite Mayan ruins? Drop me a message in the comments below!

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    Top 15 Mayan Ruins & Archeological Sites To Visit In Mexico

    The Best Mayan Sites in Mexico! Mexico Culture One of my favorite parts about traveling in Mexico are all the interesting ancient Mayan ruins to explore. Here are the best Maya archeological sites that you don’t want to miss! Maya is a lifestyle; a community of settled people who have inhabited areas of Mexico and […] More

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    My Run-In With A Notorious Mexican Drug Cartel

    My Craziest Travel Story Somewhere In Mexico… This is the story of how I accidentally wandered into an extremely remote Mexican village that was openly controlled by a ruthless drug cartel — and what happened next. The other week I was taking an Uber from the airport, chatting with the driver about traveling and working […] More