The Caribbean Sea has long been a draw for couples who are looking for romance and entire families that are anxious to get away together for some fun and bonding time under the sun, and Mexico's lovely Tulum is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the entire country. Tulum offers clean beaches, exciting water activities and an abundance of excitement for every age group, and there are also many things to do and see just a short distance away. These are just a few of the great day trips from Tulum that you may enjoy during your trip.
Tulum houses its own spectacular and well-preserved Mayan ruins that are not to be missed, but those who love history will want to make the easy 27-mile trip over to Coba as well. Archaeologists believe that the ancient Mayan city of Coba was originally settled at some point between 50 B.C. and 100 A.D., and it's thought to be the largest Mayan city to ever exist in history with more than 50,000 residents in a settlement that once took up some 50 miles of jungle.
Plan to spend at least four hours exploring these ruins that boast several ancient residential areas that are carefully connected by elevated walkways and showcase many engravings and sculptures that depict important life events from that time. Be advised that Coba is a climbable ruin, and you'll need to be in decent shape to climb the portion of the ruins that houses the Nohock Mul Pyramid. This area requires you to climb some 137 feet up some very steep steps, but there is a rope that will help you pull yourself up to the top. It's definitely worth the climb for both the pyramid itself and the amazing view.
Land of the Turtles (Akumal)
Less than a 30-minute drive from Tulum is the beautiful beachfront community of Akumal. It's the very best spot in Mexico to swim with the giant green sea turtles in their natural habitat, and it's easy to see the turtles because the water is extremely clear. Bring along your snorkeling gear to enjoy this rare experience, and please remember to be respectful of the wildlife by swimming alongside the turtles without interfering with their natural progress in any way. These turtles are endangered, and this is one of the very few areas where they are beginning to thrive once again. When your time in the water is done, you'll enjoy taking some time to explore this small community to enjoy its unique shopping opportunities and eateries.
While this is a commercial theme park that has been entertaining both children and adults for more than 30 years, it's much different from other theme parks because it offers a natural experience in a spectacularly beautiful setting. It's less than a 20-minute drive from Tulum, and you'll definitely enjoy a full day filled with many opportunities for fun, excitement and relaxation. A natural inlet and lagoon centers the park and features clear water that is filled with an abundance of brightly colored tropical fish and other types of marine life, and the park also houses a turtle preserve.
You may spend the day swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving through the underwater caverns or even swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat, and there's no worry about sharks either because a shark fence protects the entrance to the lagoon. You may even enjoy tubing thanks to the natural current, and all necessary equipment will be provided for any activity that you choose. Other activities in the park include cliff diving, access to well-maintained hiking and biking trails through the jungle, rope swings and an exciting zipline course. A single admission charge per person covers almost every activity, but there may be an extra charge for select attractions.
The Island of Cozumel
This may be a bit far for a regular day trip, but it's truly more than worth the hour drive and the 45-minute ferry ride, which is fun and picturesque all by itself. There are still undeveloped areas of this beautiful island, so you can expect a natural experience that boasts clean beaches and clear waters as far as the eye can see. You may also spend some time at the natural park of Chankanaab, which allows you to snorkel or scuba dive in clear waters that are filled with underwater caverns, submerged statues, huge schools of tropical fish, a gorgeous reef and many other forms of marine life such as giant sea turtles, manatees and dolphins. The park also offers massage services next to the lagoon, a performing sea lion, an excellent crocodile exhibit and an onsite restaurant. Those who enjoy museums may also want to check out one of Cozumel's 11 unique museums, which include an excellent planetarium, one devoted to all things chocolate and several excellent art museums.