Don't know about you, but we think it's more than time to exchange gloomy winter blues for beach days in the Yucatán Peninsula. During a trip to the jungle oasis of Tulum, discover how one strip of road became a coveted jet set locale, offering an unmatched wellness adventure worthy of a warm weather retreat.
Stay in the Heart of Tulum's Jungle
Luckily for travelers everywhere, there’s no shortage of luxe stays in Tulum, all of which line the beach road sandwiched between the ocean and the jungle. For intimate seclusion and access to waves without the crowds, opt for a stay at Casa de las Olas, a property positioned adjacent to the lush Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Or, if you’re keen on outdoor showers and a lively communal atmosphere, stay at Habitas Tulum. The wellness set will find peace at yoga-minded Sanara (it’s surrounded by ethereal coconut palms and Mayan chit trees), while Nomade’s holistic cuisine entices gourmands.
Sip Tropical Smoothies and Dine on Fresh Ceviche
Due to Tulum’s location, plentiful jungle produce is readily available, granting restaurant’s unmatched bounty to craft delicious meals. Begin your day with homemade kombucha and acai bowls from organic beach shack Raw Love Café. Requiring a 30-minute drive to stunning Soliman Bay, daytime ceviche and fried fish is not to be missed at Chamico’s. Of Tulum’s evening eateries, Hartwood is undoubtedly the most popular. Book in advance to try chef Erin Werner’s rotating menu of fresh seafood and meat dishes which are sourced fresh each day from nearby farms and markets. Nearby is Arca, perfect for decadent prawn crude and grilled lobster tail dinners.
Explore Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
A visit to Tulum grants travelers intimate access to the Yucatán jungle, and there’s no area more striking than the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a coastal wetland rife with shimmering lagoons, rare wildlife, and hidden Mayan ruins. Translating to “Origin of the Sky” in Mayan, Sian Ka’an’s tropical forests, mangroves, and coral reef prove to be an ideal locale for hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Sail the Yucatan Peninsula on a Private Catamaran at Sunset
To see areas of the Yucatán only accessible by boat, book an adventure with Sailing Tulum Tours. With the company, you can depart on a private catamaran expedition to Tulum National Park, setting sail through the protected waters of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve before arriving to the city's protected archaeological zone. Stroll the Tulum Ruins, a 13th-century Mayan archaeological site that overlooks the sea, and before returning to town, enjoy sunset cocktails on the calm waters of the Riviera Maya.
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Climb the Cobá Ruins
While you're in town, venture an hour northwest of Tulum to the Cobá Ruins, considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico. The ruins include the tallest pyramid in Quintana Roo, and the second tallest in the Yucatán, making these ancient site more than worthy of a road trip. Stroll or cycle the ancient limestone walkways, known as sacbes, to the main pyramid of Nohoch Mul. Although the structure requires quite the climb up massive stone steps, it’s worth the effort for the unmatched view at the top. Bask in the sun and enjoy views of the jungle, where the site’s estimated 6,500 structures remain unexcavated.
Sweat it Out in Wellness Ceremonies
As an intrinsically relaxing destination, Tulum is the perfect locale to find your inner compass. By day, enjoy power yoga and sound healing at Sanará; by night, venture to the Yäan Wellness Energy Spa (adjacent to Nomade), home to holistic treatments by world-class wellness practitioners. Partake in the spa’s Temazcal ceremony, which harkens back to a pre-Hispanic era when Mayan leaders participated in shaman-led sweat rituals for renewal and clarity. With dates set according to the moon cycle, prepare for an evening of deep healing and cleansing during this four-step rebirth experience.
Dive into a Cenote
No trip to Tulum is complete without a dive into the turquoise waters of a cenote. These freshwater pools were once regarded as spiritual passageways to the underworld; but today, they’re the perfect place to beat the Tulum heat. Towards the end of Tulum’s beach road, visit Cenote Escondido for an introductory dip. But if you wish to swim where seldom travel, drive 40 minutes northwest to Cenote Isla Alamos, one of the finest in the area. Snorkel on the surface or dive deep into the cenote’s cave system.
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For the perfect Tulum souvenir, there’s no need to venture far. Plenty of shops, like Josa Tulum, line the jungle road. Browse the store’s set of ethereal dresses, kaftans, and beach-ready byJames leather sandals, the latter of which are handcrafted near Tulum in Valladolid. Shop one-of-a-kind rings at Mr. Blackbird, handwoven clutches at Wild Sea Boutique, and bring back the essence of the Tulum during a stop at Lolita Lolita Tulum, a shop selling rosemary-and-honey-scented beauty products.