A cenote near tulum with clear blue water and stalactites.

Adventure! Destination: Tulum

the good life Mar 05, 2021

Headed to Tulum for a vacation? Check out these fun adventures!


January we traveled to Tulum to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  While we were there, I received a lot of inquires on IG about where we stayed, played, and ate while on our adventure.  You can check out my Tulum dining guide here on where to find the BEST tacos in town as well as other must-stop spots.  

This vacation was very different than the type of traveling we usually do.  We’re the type of people that try to pack in as much as we can on a trip by traveling around multiple countries by rental car, train, or even hop on a plane to get to another destination.  In fact, we’ve visited 12 countries since 2015 with no international travel in 2020!  While we did rent a car for our time in Tulum (which was its own learning experience), we chose to stay at one place for the whole 7 days aside from a couple of adventures.  Most of our days were spent lounging at our hotel’s beach club and playing in the ocean.  Check out the adventures we choose to do during our vacation!


Coba

While there are ruins right in Tulum, we decided we wanted to get a little further away from the crowds (especially while traveling during COVID) and decided to drive about an hour to the town of Coba.   

Coba was, at one time, the dominating civilization of the Yucatan peninsula with population records of 50,000.  It flourished between 200 AD and 600 until the rise of neighboring Chitzen Itza. The city had many documented female leaders as well!

We opted not to hire a tour guide and explored on our own instead.  The architecture was super intriguing and had us wondering how much time, effort, and skill it took to build the structures without the technology we have access to now.  The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is the largest structure in Coba and the Yucatan peninsula.  Apparently, there are beautiful views from the top as it’s one of the structures that you can climb to the top of.  However,  it was not allowed during our visit due to the global pandemic.  Instead, we enjoyed the views of the structure from a shaded bench near the base.

Tips:

  • Rent a bike!

    • I highly recommend renting a bike to get around Coba.  The ruins are fairly spread out and would take a fair amount of time to visit by foot.  You can also hire a trike in which a driver will pedal you around the ruins if you’re not comfortable biking yourself.  

  • Avoid the midday heat and pack bug spray!

    • The ruins are located within the jungle so the temperature can get quite warm.  We were there from about 10 am -12 pm in late January and would not want to be there during the height of summer midday!  Make sure to pack along some water to hydrate while you explore.  We did not have issues with insects, you are in the jungle so plan accordingly.  

  • Bring pesos!

    • There is a fee to park your car and to enter the archeological site as well.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember the price we paid…...I want to say it was less than $20 USD total to park and the entrance fee for the 2 of us.  Renting a bike was probably another $3-5 per bike.  


Cenotes

Cenotes are underground pools of freshwater formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock.  These magical little caves are all over the Yucatan peninsula and should not be missed!  We decided to visit the 3 cenotes that were about a 15-20 minute drive from Coba.  You will need to shower before entering the cenote and only use eco-friendly sunscreen.  (Although you are in a cave and there is not much sunlight!).  Again, I can’t remember how much we paid to visit all 3 but I want to say it was $5-$10 per person.  To enter the cave, you have to descend a wooden staircase of a hole in the ground. You feel like you’re entering a different world!

Choo-Ha was the first one we went to and the most beautiful one!  The water was a gorgeous aqua blue color with amazing stalactites.  It was the biggest with a couple of places to enter the pool.  I was a bit surprised to see some small fish swimming with us!

Tankach-Ha was our second stop.  This cave was big and round with much higher ceilings and much deeper water.  This one had 2 platforms you could jump off of and into the water.  One was 10 meters high and the other 5 meters high.  My husband jumped off of the 10 meters one like it was no big deal.  While I’m not a huge fan of heights (or of water to be honest) I decided that my fear of missing out was greater than my fear of heights.  It didn’t take me long to jump off that platform once I got on it as I was also afraid of the bats flying around the cave. In the end, I’m super glad I did it!

Multum-Ha was the final stop on our cenote tour. The water was high in this one as the wooden platform to walk out on was mostly underwater.  This one was also large but nothing super noteworthy to us and after 5-10 minutes decided to head back to Tulum which was perfect timing as a tour bus arrived upon our departure.

Tips:

  • Wear appropriate footwear!

    • Wear waterproof shoes with good traction.  The stairs to get to the cenote are wood and can be slippery when wet.

  • Don’t forget a towel!

    • We totally spaced this one but thankfully had 2 small packable towels in our bag.  Towels are not available at the cenotes and I don’t recall seeing anywhere you could purchase one as well.

  • Stop for lunch on your way back to Tulum!


SUP Yoga

This was, by far, my favorite activity we did!  (Minus watching the sunrise every morning from our bed!)  We booked this adventure through SUP Yoga Tulum for a morning of standup paddleboard yoga on a beautiful private lagoon. The colors of the water were absolutely stunning! You don’t have to be well versed in yoga or even SUP to do SUP yoga.  The boards are tethered in an area where the water is about 3-4 feet deep so if you fall off your board, you can easily get back on.  After your 45-60 minute yoga session you’re served fresh fruit and juices and then have free time to paddle around the lagoon.  I could have spent all day here!  It ws truly a serene and beautiful experience! The price per person was $110 and we ended up being at the lagoon for 3-4 hours.

Tips:

  • Grab breakfast before you go!

  • You’ll meet SUP Yoga Tulum at Matcha Mama in town.  Go early and grab a smoothie bowl before you head out!

  • Plan to be flexible with your day/time!

  • We originally booked for Tuesday but Nancy contacted us right away to reschedule until later in the week because of high winds.  We were able to reschedule for Thursday and had absolutely gorgeous weather.

  • Protect the ecosystem!

  • Eco-friendly sunscreen only is allowed to preserve the natural environment of the lagoon.  I’m a big advocate for clean skin/personal care products anyway so this was not a big deal for us.  Learn more about the importance of clean products here.

  • You may want to do this more than once on your trip!  

    • We had such a wonderful time that we would definitely have done it again!

  • Do not miss this lunch spot!

    • Stop at Los Aquachiles afterward for a delicious lunch!  The tostadas were amazing and you must try the different sauces they offer!


Going on these adventures helped to break up the monotony of days at the beach while still providing us plenty of down time to soak in the sun while enjoying the sea and cervezas.  We like a good mix of both!  If you’ve been to Tulum and have some other recommendations, drop them in the comments below!

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