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TULUM

One of the Yucatán’s most beautiful places, Tulum offers its visitors a breathtaking combination of spectacular Mayan sites and miles of superb, palm-fringed beaches. Nearby, too, is the finest cave-diving area in the world. This is the most popular destination in the Yucatán for renting cabañas – simple rooms in palm-roofed cabins set right by the beach within earshot of the waves.

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Map of Tulum

NEED TO KNOW

prac_info Visitor Information: www.rivieramaya.com; www.inah.gob.mx

prac_info Gran Cenote and Aktun–Ha Cenote: open 9am–5pm daily; adm $12

prac_info Xel-Ha: (998) 251 6560; open 8:30am–7pm daily; adm $89, children $49; under 5s free; www.xelha.com

prac_info Tulum Site: open 8am–5pm daily; adm $5

prac_info Tankah Natural Park: open 9am–5pm daily; adm $40–50; www.tankah.com.mx

prac_info Dos Ojos Cenote: tours 9am–4:30pm (winter: until 5pm); adm per activity; www.cenotedosojos.com

Google Map

  • In peak season the cheaper beach cabañas are often booked up by 10am each day.
  • Diamante-K cabañas, north of the T-junction, have a vegetarian café and juice bar, open to non-residents.

1. Tulum Site

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Mayan Tulum was a walled town and prosperous trading community when the Spaniards arrived in the 1520s. The site includes a recognizable main street, the House of the Columns, and the Palace of the Halach Uinic.

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Tulum Site overlooking the sea

2. Tulum Pueblo

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A rambling place spread out along the main highway, Tulum village was almost 100 percent Mayan, but it now has a bank, bus terminus, cafés, small hotels, and backpacker services.

3. Playa Paraíso

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Set against a backdrop of the iconic El Castillo, Paradise Beach is widely considered as one of the best beaches in Mexico. It has clean sand and clear Caribbean waters, and is a must-visit for visitors to Tulum.

4. Tankah Natural Park

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Part of Tankah Bay, the park offers jeep, zip-line, and canoe rides through lush forests, as well as the opportunity to visit a Mayan village located within the park.

5. Secluded Heaven

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Along a stretch of beach south of the T-junction in the road is a wide choice of beach cabins, from sand-floor huts to luxurious cabañas, most of them secluded. Few have electricity and are lit only by candles at night.

6. Aktun-Ha Cenote

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An enjoyable cenote for swimming, with a broad, peaceful pool that runs into a dark and mysterious cave system. As you swim, you’ll see many shoals of tiny fish.

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Turtle in the Aktun-Ha Cenote

7. Dos Ojos Cenote

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This is the entrance to the world’s longest known underwater cave system, which stretches over 350 miles (563 km).

8. Xel-Ha

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This coral inlet has been landscaped as a snorkel park, plus forest trail and beach. It has plenty of colorful fish and is a great place for children. Across the highway is the site of a Mayan city.

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The beach at Xel-Ha

9. Gran Cenote

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Along the road toward Cobá from Tulum are several accessible cenotes in which visitors can take a cooling dip. Surrounded by rock columns and exotic flowers, and leading into into a wide, arching cavern, the Gran Cenote is one of the area’s most appealing for swimmers and snorkelers.

10. El Castillo

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The most impressive of the Mayan buildings is the great temple. A flaming beacon lit at the top of the temple was once visible for miles.

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The imposing El Castillo

CENOTES

Some 65 million years ago an asteroid struck the Yucatán Peninsula, an event that helped to precipitate the extinction of the dinosaurs. The impact also formed vast networks of limestone caves, subterranean rivers, and cenotes, natural sinkholes fed by springs. Swimming or diving in these cenotes, which vary from tiny wells to cathedral-like caverns, is an unforgettable experience. Cave-diving trips are offered across the Tulum area.

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