Tulum had been on my radar for a long time before I finally made it to this Mexican beach paradise. Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Tulum is best known for its picture-perfect beaches and ancient Mayan ruins. So in my mind, this Mexico vacation boasted the best of both worlds – striking natural beauty and a rich history.
Tulum is a tropical paradise, so it was only natural that my mind drifted to Tulum while sitting at home on a particularly cold, blustery Thursday evening. Feeling spontaneous, I searched for flights to Tulum, and I was surprised to find a great deal on a last-minute flight to this Mexican paradise. After calling my significant other into the room, we simultaneously made the snap decision to book our flights. We had been dreaming of soft white sand and aquamarine waters for far too long, and now we had the chance to make our dreams a reality. To wrap up the very brief planning portion of our Tulum vacation, we checked out HotelTonight’s website and booked a last-minute hotel in Tulum. Within minutes, we had our entire Mexico getaway booked, and we started packing a suitcase filled with swimsuits, flip flops and sunscreen.
When I travel, I try to experience cities like locals do, since I feel that exploring a city like a local is one of the very best way to get a beat on a destination. That being said, it can be difficult to experience an area like a local when you visit a tourist hot spot like Tulum. Fortunately, there were still plenty of expats and locals in the area to point us toward their favorite spots. One of the destinations that locals insisted we visit was Playa Paraiso, a lively, popular beach that offers plenty of great activities and entertainment. Sure, there were lots of tourists at Playa Paraiso, but there were also plenty of locals. Plus, this beach is far too pretty to skip just because you want to avoid other tourists.
After spending a fun-filled morning in the Mexican sunshine at Playa Paraiso, we made our way to El Gran Cenote, an expansive underground cavern where you can explore caverns by swimming and diving. Since these beautiful caverns boast clear water and an abundance of marine life, El Gran Cenote is a great snorkel spot. So we slipped on our snorkel gear and got to work exploring these majestic pools.
That afternoon, we headed to one of the must-see attractions in Tulum – the Tulum Ruins. As one of the best Mayan archaeological sights in Mexico, the Tulum Ruins is a spot that history lovers won’t want to miss. Walking among the ruins of this ancient civilization is humbling, and it was definitely a highlight of our Mexico trip. Since you’ll be walking around in the hot Mexican sun, though, be sure to bring extra sunscreen.
The next day, we decided to visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, one of the natural wonders of the Yucatan. This nature reserve is comprised of over 1.2 million acres of diverse natural habitats, from wetlands to reefs. This park offers a number of different tours of the expansive park, and you can see the reserve by snorkeling or by boat. We stayed in the park for nearly half the day and still didn’t come close to seeing all that Sian Ka’an had to offer.
After spending so much time exploring the natural beauty and archaeological wonders of Tulum, we decided it was time to visit the lively heart of the town – Tulum Centro. This charming Mexican village is home to countless great restaurants, shops and bars. While many of the shops in Tulum Centro cater to tourists and offer beach rentals and supplies, there are also several stores and restaurants that feel authentic to this Mexican town. And, of course, if you’re looking for great nightlife in Tulum, this is the place to be. While we were happy to spend most of our time enjoying the beaches and cenotes of Tulum, we were also glad we got to check out this cool, bustling beach town.
Tulum is one of the most beautiful beach destinations I’ve been to, and I left this Mexican beach town feeling rejuvenated and relaxed (and a bit sunburnt). While we only had a few days in Tulum, we could have easily spent an entire week soaking up the sunshine and basking in Tulum’s endless beauty. Even though we couldn’t plan a week-long getaway, we were grateful that we were able to plan an impromptu weekend trip to Tulum. Our spur-of-the-moment beach getaway wouldn’t have been possible without HotelTonight, which made it so easy for us to book a great last-minute room at a beachside hotel in Tulum. So the next time we’re craving a spontaneous beach getaway, we’ll be sure to check HotelTonight for last-minute deals in another beautiful, tropical locale.