Tulum, located a mere eighty miles south of Cancun is graciously imbued with a dramatic coastline offering stunning views of a picturesque Mayan ruin. Replete with snow-white sands contrasting perfectly with postcard-blue waters; Tulum had long been one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. Though it still cannot match the fame of Cancun or Cozumel, this hidden gem has at last been uncovered. At the turn of the century, back when MTV was broadcasting its Spring Break specials from eighty miles north, this one-time Mayan seaport was still a little-known, Bohemian retreat. Now, this sleepy Mexican hamlet is a highly sought after vacation destination for adventure seekers, amateur historians, and celebrities searching for a family luxury vacation tour to Tulum.
Try not to let the recent buzz fool you, however, as Tulum—absent any horizon-blocking resort, reliable cell service, or trendy nightclub—is an antipode to Cancun. At its heart, Tulum remains the time warp to a simpler, straightforward era where past and present merge into unified harmony, and unforgettable adventures—cave diving, cenote snorkeling, kite surfing, or archaeological exploration—lie just around the corner.
With such an exclusive, romantically glorious setting, it might seem as though Tulum is a destination meant only for couples seeking some alone time. While this type of vacation has much to recommend it, Tulum also plays host to a bevy of family activities. Whether the children in tow are two or twenty-two, here are a few fun-filled family activities that await travelers to Tulum.
Bring a sense of history to your family luxury vacation tour to Tulum by visiting the only coastal Mayan city to be discovered. Tulum is partially enclosed by a thick limestone wall (Tulum means “wall” in the original Mayan tongue) that rises between nine and sixteen feet high, with five openings in the fortification. Inside the barrier, the decaying remains of the lost city structures await active imaginations. The Castillo, situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the crashing surf and only accessible via a narrow, precipitous stairway, dominates the scene. Just in front of the Castillo is the Temple of the Frescoes, with its depiction of the three levels of Mayan existence: the underworld, the earth, and the heavens. After thoroughly exploring the ruins, visitors can follow the trail down to the beach and take a Caribbean dip while basking in the shadow of the ruins. The setting is the very definition of picturesque and will likely be instantly recognizable, even for first-time visitors.
Make history come alive for the children of all ages by spending a day transported to another time and place by exploring the majestic ruins of Tulum, or some of the other marvels of the Yucatan such as:
A half-hour away in the jungle northwest sits the ziggurats of Coba, and the Yucatán’s tallest pyramid, Nohoch Mul. Enjoy marveling at the magnificently preserved structures while spotting iguanas with the kids. These hikes are fun and educational for the whole family.
Those willing to venture even further afield will find one of the most recognizable ruins in the world, and one of the new seven wonders, Chichen Itza. The main focal point of this site is undoubtedly El Castillo, the world famous stepped ziggurat that serves as the model for all other Mayan pyramids. This is a must-stop site for the archaeologically inclined.
After the ruins, (or, instead of, if ancient architectural marvels aren’t your cup of tea) while on your family luxury vacation tour to Tulum, you can venture out into the astonishing jungle watering holes known as cenotes. Explore the underground system of grottos and waterways with a guided diving adventure. Once again merging history with tropical relaxation, Tulum’s cenotes are considered sacred because they were once places of worship for the Maya that would allow them to communicate directly with the gods. One look at their divine beauty—at the sparkling aquamarine waters set off by the earthy limestone, at flamboyantly green flora, at the (typically) azure sky—and you can easily see why the ancients felt connected to the heavens in such a place. For those with children too young for scuba or snorkeling, there is also glass bottom kayak tours and boating adventures that will delight the crew.
No cenote exploration of Tulum would be complete without a stop at the place whose name is (nearly) synonymous with awe-inspiring. Conveniently situated near the Tulum Ruins, Gran Cenote allows visitors to scuba, snorkel, or just swim around the unique geological formations carved over millennia, all while forging memories that will last a lifetime.
Translated into English as, “Two-Eyes”, this sacred well is likely to be a bigger hit with divers than snorkelers, though everyone will find something to enjoy here. One of the ten longest underwater cave systems in the world, Dos Ojos, can also boast of having the deepest passage, the Cenote Pit.
Cenote Manatee/Casa Cenote
The cenote with two names is unlike the other two mentioned on this list, in that it more closely resembles an open-air lagoon than an underwater cavern system. Still, the marine channels allow seawater to mix with freshwater, creating strong currents enjoyed by humans and tropical fish alike. Also, if diving and snorkeling have worked up your appetite, a gourmet BBQ restaurant is located directly on the beach.
In addition to diving and snorkeling adventures that await you on a family luxury vacation tour to Tulum, the thrill of kiteboarding also awaits anyone not faint of heart. With waves reaching sixteen feet high and persistent wind conditions (especially at El Cuyo—a local secret spot) during the November-June season, Tulum has long been a favorite spot for kiteboarding enthusiasts. While this is likely too much for families with smaller children, those with teenagers will presumably earn the much sought after “Cool” points by booking kiteboarding adventures.
Pure Family Fun Activities
Why travel to one of the world’s most arresting beaches and not spend a good deal of your family luxury vacation tour to Tulum soaking up the sun’s energy? Bask on the marble sands; splash in the salty blue surf. Whether before your adventures or after, save some time for the simple pleasures of togetherness in this idyllic location.
If, however, you have gotten a good burn on your skin and are looking for some family time spent out of the sun, consider taking the family to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and experience the wonder of nature uncorrupted.
Stay in Tulum
These are just snippets of what this majestic destination has to offer. World-class eateries and adventures await, as well as stunning beachfront luxury villas in Tulum. Browse a list of luxury villas in Tulum or call our Riviera Maya experts at 1.866.605.3542.