Tulum Tours Top 3 We Recommend
Tulum… A favorite travel destination of the Hollywood celebrities and third most visited archaeological site in Mexico after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. It attracts tourists by its rich cultural heritage, stunning nature and laid back atmosphere.Planning your vacations in Tulum or already here? Then the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary team is happy to share some information and tips on the top 3 Tulum tours.
Tulum tours to the Ruins
It goes without saying the landmark of Tulum is its ruins. In Mayan language word Tulúm means a fence or a wall. Tulum used to be the only coastal fortification of the Mayan Empire and the last stronghold of the Indians until 1554.
The town was protected by walls of 3-5 meters high and up to 8 meters thick and steep cliffs. Nowadays we can see only the fragments of these walls, some houses, watchtowers and the fortress.
The highest and most famous monument of the ruins is the Castle (El Castillo), which has become a symbol of Tulum. It served as a fortress and a lighthouse for sailors. The second famous building is the Temple of Frescoes.
It is dedicated to the Descending God and is decorated with sculptures and frescoes. On some specific days like Equinox, you can witness some ceremonies held by the locals on front of the temple.
The archaeological complex is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. It is less crowded in the morning and before closing. The ruins are located 3km (1.8 miles) from the downtown. You can get there by bicycle, taxi or by car.
Note: If you go by car, you have to be aware of the local grifters at Tulum ruins parking zone. They will approach showing or telling you with vim and vigor that you can not park there. Don’t worry, ignore them, park and go to the entrance.
These people just want to confuse the tourists and sell expensive tours to the ruins. In case if you need a guided tour, it’s better to book it at some travel agency in Tulum downtown.
Under the cliff of the ruins, there is Paradise beach (Playa Paraíso), which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya. This beach is a starting point of another Tulum tour – snorkelling in the Mesoamerican Barrier reef. We recommend you to do the ruins and snorkelling in different days as two tours at once can be quite overwhelming.
Snorkelling in Tulum
It’s hard to imagine, but a few feet from the Paradise beach there is a mysterious underwater world of the Mesoamerican Barrier reef. This reef is home to 65 species of corals, 350 species of molluscs, and over 500 types of fish. Tulum shore constitutes only a small part of the reef system.
The reef stretches over 1000 km (621 miles) along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
At the Paradise beach the certified guides offer snorkelling tours. You will be provided with the equipment and instructed on the safety rules. After 10 minutes boat ride and you will see bizarre-shaped corals, angelfish, parrotfish, barracudas, groupers. Moreover, if you are lucky you can meet a green turtle, which size can reach 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).
Note: If you are not a good swimmer the guide has a safety ring you can cling to. Thus, you will be the first one to meet the fish and corals he is showing to the group.
The reef belongs to the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. However, visit to the reserve is a separate complete tour in Tulum where you can meet Mexican jungles, mangroves and their inhabitants.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Another Tulum tours that you can’t miss is a visit to the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. It occupies 528,148 hectares and represents different types of landscapes: from beaches, coral reefs, to rainforests, dunes and cenotes (here you can make a reference link to the article about Cenotes).
In Mayan language Sian Ka’an means “the place where the sky is born”. The site was established in 1986 to preserve local nature. Nowadays it is in UNESCO World Heritage List. The reserve’s wildlife is presented by jaguars, ocelots, howler monkeys, crocodiles, manatees, tapirs, pelicans, ibises, flamingos and much more animals.
Thus, a visit to Sian Ka’an is the best activity for those who want to spend time in wild nature. You can get to the reserve from Tulum hotel zone by car (Punta Allen direction) or you may take a tour.
If you go by car, you may observe animals, have a picnic at deserted beach, and witness the crabs’ migration. If you take a tour, several activities may be offered. Among them are ATV rides, swimming or kayaking at the lagoon, crocodile and bird watching boat trip. Some of the agencies also offer a visit to Muyil ruins and a Mayan village.
Note: Don’t forget to take the repellent with you as along with butterflies and dragonflies 310 species of mosquitoes inhabit Sian Ka’an.
Akumal Monkey Sanctuary is always happy to help finding the best Tulum tours
Of course, there are some other places to visit in Tulum, but today we’ve focused only on the no-regret Tulum tours. Follow the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary blog and find out more travel tips in Riviera Maya. Because our mission is not only to protect the rescued animals, but to help our guests to make the most of their vacations in Mexican Caribbean.