While you may feel like you never want to leave Tulum, there are some day trips worth exploring. From secret lagoons and ruins, to snorkeling with sea turtles there are plenty of nearby destinations you can check out for a few hours. Here is a list of our must visit Tulum day trips.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Get on the beach street and keep driving into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. On the right side of the road are swampy mangroves and on the left side of the road are stunning, white beaches. Lots of people take a boat tour of the mangroves and you can even see manatees and crocodiles! We stuck to the road and beaches for this trip. We accidentally passed the beach we planned on going to so we kept driving past lots of gated houses until we found our own private beach! It was beside an abandoned house and was so gorgeous, it seriously looked like a screensaver. We were there for over an hour and only saw one distant jogger.
Coba was amazing and one of our favorite Tulum day trips! It’s about 45 minutes away from Tulum and the road is a straight shot and easy to drive on. Coba has Mayan ruins similar to the ones in Tulum but I liked these WAY better! Admission was very cheap Insider Tip: hide your GoPro, they’ll charge you 40 extra pesos for video cameras. My favorite part of Coba was biking through tree covered paths of what used to be an ancient Mayan city! We totally recommend renting a bike. They had a basket for your things, were only $5 for both of us and made the experience so enjoyable! Coba’s Mayan ruins are different than the others because they have a pyramid you can climb. I didn’t realize that I may be a little afraid of heights until we were halfway up! It was SUPER tall, the pictures don’t do it justice. But get over your fears because the view from the top is 360 degree jungle!
We had plans to go to Kanlum Lagoon but like the early risers we are, we were too early and it wasn’t open yet. We drove a little further down the road to kill time and explore when we saw a sign for Muyil. It is a very tiny town with one bus stop and a few houses, but it also has Mayan ruins. We had no idea, what a cool find! Apparently you can leave for a Sian Ka’an boat tour from Muyil as well. The ruins weren’t huge but still neat. Definitely check them out if you’re in the area.
Kanlum Lagoon was really cool. Again, we are early birds so we got there before anyone else and had the entire place to ourselves! It is a pretty big freshwater lagoon with clear, blue-green water and a deep, dark-blue cenote in the middle. The cenote is roped off and only for scuba diving. We brought our snorkels, but there weren’t too many fish. It was a little chilly in the morning but the lagoon would be ideal for a refreshing dip on a hot Tulum afternoon.
Well this one is in Tulum so it isn’t really one of the Tulum day trips but I cant write about Tulum without mentioning the reason it exists in the first place! It was about 10 degrees too hot and high noon when we visited so we didn’t stop to read every plaque but we definitely experienced the ruins! It is really cool to peek at ancient history and the location is top notch. The Mayans had that part figured out! Insider Tip: Don’t forget a swimsuit. There are stairs that lead from the ruins directly to the beach and it was so refreshing to go for a swim after trekking around in the heat.
About 20 minutes north of Tulum is Akumal, which in Mayan means “place of the turtle” and it sure is! I love sea turtles so we did not want to miss the chance to snorkel here. Everyone from the parking lot attendant to the guy on the beach with a clipboard will try to get you to pay $40 USD for the snorkel tour. Don’t do it! We brought our on snorkels, paid $3 USD to park and swam right in! We saw two turtles in about 30 minutes! The water is clear, calm, and the depth is only 6-8 ft so if you’re a confident swimmer I say skip the tour!
We had never heard of Soliman Bay aka Bahia Soliman during our first two trips to Tulum but we had several people recommend it to us during our most recent trip. It is a shallow bay lined with a few small hotels, private residences, and one restaurant, Chamico’s. Chamico’s is a hidden little paradise. It is very low-key with plastic tables and colorful hammocks but the location is beautiful and the food is great! There is also a campground on the edge of the property. We had a delicious mixed ceviche here which included little fried lobster pieces. Finish it off with a cerveza while listening to Bob Marley and your Caribbean paradise is complete!
We brought our snorkels and went swimming in the clear bay which stays shallow for what appears to be miles. The visibility was great and there is a nice reef full of coral and fish. We even saw two stingrays, a puffer fish! If you don’t have your own gear there is a really friendly guy who rents snorkels, kayaks, and paddle boards.
Getting to Soliman Bay can be a little challenging. Taking a taxi or car is easiest but the taxis were around 400 pesos! We took the collectivo (our preferred mode of Tulum transportation. Read more about it here.) toward Playa del Carmen and got dropped off at the popular roadside restaurant Oscar and Lalo’s. Across the street is a dirt road that leads to Soliman Bay. Follow the road to the right and you will eventually dead into Chamico’s. It is about a 40 minute walk but we were fortunate that some construction workers let us hop on the back of their truck so we made it in about 10 minutes!
There are also tons of gorgeous cenotes near Tulum which make for an ideal way to spend the morning. Check out our favorite cenotes here.
While beautiful Tulum is hard to leave, a few hours exploring the surrounding area are almost necessary to get the full experience! Please comment with your favorite Tulum day trips!
Happy Day Trippin’,