What’s not to love about Tulum’s premier location on the Caribbean Sea? It’s a dream destination adored by honeymooners, families and friends. It even appealed to 13th century Mayans who decided the stunning coastal spot was ideal for training priests, building perfect pyramids and practising human sacrifice. Today’s visitors are rather more welcome with top hotels and luxury retreats offering quality accommodation in rustic finery, alongside family run boutique guesthouses.
Endless azure waters lined with miles of sugar-like sands and swaying palm trees attract 2 million holidaymakers each year to the Mexican shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. The most popular time is the cooler winter period of November to April, when people from all walks of life congregate to enjoy food, music and beautiful beaches. Low season from May to October sees hotter temperatures and wetter days, with the latter months in particular experiencing tropical storms. Some restaurants close during this hurricane season, but otherwise, visiting Tulum during the low season can be good option, offering a much more authentic travel experience. The iconic white-sand of Tulum is freed up, it’s easier to connect with the local population and their culture, and prices drop significantly. Yes, the chance of rain is higher but there are still many sunny low season days to be enjoyed. Overall it’s a wonderful time to really appreciate Tulum’s uniqueness and natural beauty without the crowds.
Beach and Pueblo
Tulum is famed for its miles of stunning beaches. Playa Paraíso is popular with locals and Playa Ruinas is renowned for iconic images of Mayan remains perched high above the white sands. Up market hotels boast their own private beaches, but there are many long stretches open to all. Explore and find your favourite, whether it is populated with bars serving delicious snacks and cocktails, or relatively pristine and untouched. Downtown Tulum is a good 4km from the beach area, walkable in 45 minutes or so or take a scooter or cab.
Explore Archeological Sites
Low season is a great time to visit Tulum’s Mayan ruins when you can really get into to the mysticism of the beautiful spot in relative peace. The ancient site formed a walled trading port city to serve the major centre of Cobá from the 13th to the 16th centuries. It’s most well-known for its exquisite watchtower El Castillo, peaking over the Caribbean Sea; and the Temple of the Frescoes with blue-green murals depicting Mayan gods.
Wildlife & Ecotourism
May through October is nesting season for the region’s beloved sea turtles with thousands of turtle mothers making their way onto the sands after sunset to lay eggs. A 3-day autumn festival celebrates on-going conservation efforts, educating locals and visitors on respectful practices and preserving the natural environment. A little further afield, check out the array of flora and fauna at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a large protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to bats, dolphins, tapir, monkeys and a range of big cats like jaguar, ocelot and puma.