Tulum, Mexico Travel Guide

Hello, welcome to my Tulum, Mexico travel guide!

I live in South Dakota where it gets extremely cold in the winter time (-20F kind of cold). While my husband, my in-laws, and I were all in the middle of winter, we decided we wanted to escape the cold for a little while (or forever). After some back and forth on where to go, we ended up deciding on one of my in-laws favorite places: Tulum, Mexico! They had been to Tulum numerous times in the past, and my husband had been there a couple of times, but it was going to be a first for me. I was very excited to relax and get some much needed sun. 

Tip: Tulum, Mexico is a couple of hours south of Cancun. We rented a car and drove ourselves to our villa, but you can also reserve a shuttle to transport you. 

Where we stayed:

Casa Cavu was a pretty house that was about a 10-15 minute drive from the town of Tulum. It has three bedrooms, a clean pool, and a private beach. Also, it's located at Tankah Bay so the water is still enough to take one of the kayaks out for a paddle or to go snorkeling near the reef. There's also a beautiful cenote nearby the house (three minute walk). A very kind couple lives in a small house next to the property, and they clean and maintain the property on a daily basis. Overall, it was a really nice, private, quiet home. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet retreat! 


What we did:

  • Cenote Calavera

As we were driving around one day, we saw the entrance to Cenote Calavera and decided to stop for a swim. This cenote was small and wasn't very crowded. At one point, I was the only person in the cenote (great photo opportunity)! To get down to the water, you can use the ladder or just jump in! It definitely doesn't have the scale of some of the other cenotes in the area, but it was still a very enjoyable experience. 

  • Casa Cenote

Casa Cenote was a short three minute walk from our villa, so of course we had to stop by and check it out. This cenote is interesting because it feeds into the ocean and is therefore a mix of fresh and salt water. The combination results in many more interesting fish swimming around! We snorkeled the entire cenote and enjoyed seeing the diversity of fish as well as the surrounding mangrove trees. 

  • Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is very popular and offers great amenities on site such as wooden walking paths, showers, bathrooms, and more. I really enjoyed the sights of the underwater rock formations, caves, and turtles. The drawback is that this cenote tends to be crowded, but it was definitely worth visiting. This cenote is quite spectacular! 

  • Cozumel

To get to the island of Cozumel, we took a short 40 minute ferry out of Playa del Carmen. If you get to Playa del Carmen early, you can walk around and do some shopping or grab a bite to eat. 

Once we arrived at Cozumel, we did a jeep tour and explored most of the island. 

What we did in Cozumel:
1. San Gervasio Mayan Ruins- These ruins were interesting, and there were very few people there which allowed for an intimate experience. We hired a guide to walk us through the ruins which ended up being a waste of money for us (there are information signs throughout the ruins). It was still nice to walk around and see an interesting piece of history. 


2. The beach- The beach on the "wild side" of Cozumel was awesome! It was not crowded, the beach was nice, and the water was beautiful! If we ever go back to Cozumel, I'll be spending my day at the beach.


3. Blowholes- We made a quick stop at a couple of blowholes by the beach which sprayed ocean water about 10 feet into the air. It was a really fun, quick stop! 


4. Ocean snorkeling- Our final stop of the day was ocean snorkeling. We were a tad disappointed since we really didn't see many fish, but it was still a fun experience. Our snorkeling guide was great and would regularly dive to the ocean floor to pick up shells to show us. 

  • Tulum Mayan Ruins

As a Tulum first timer, I'm glad I stopped to see these Mayan ruins. They were large and situated on a beautiful cliffside next to the beach. Although it was crowded, I was still wowed by the structures and the gorgeous cliffside/beach view. It was a good first-timer experience, but I would not go there a second time. 

  • Beach time

Most people who go to Tulum are there to relax on the beach and soak up some sun. We were no exception! We made sure to dedicate an entire day to relaxing on the beach, and we loved it.


Where we ate:

  • Don Cafeto

Don Cafeto is a delicious go-to spot! We went there two times and were very satisfied. They have a nice variety of food options. Make sure to get their limonada, it's amazing. 

  • El Asadero

This restaurant was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was great, the service was good, and the food was delicious. They specialize in meat, so if you are a meat lover, this is the place for you. I would recommend getting the arrachera! 

  • Campanella Cremerie

Yeah, we had ice cream pretty much every single day. This place was our favorite. It's ice cream, so what more can I say?

  • Mateo's Mexican Grill

Oh Mateo's... I still crave this place on a regular basis. The fish tacos here are the best fish tacos I have ever had, and I don't say that lightly. If you go to Tulum, you must go to Mateo's. You must eat the fish tacos. You must put the tamarind sauce on your tacos. I promise you will love it, and you'll probably end up going more than once. 

  • Zamas

This place was pretty good, but it was nothing spectacular. It's right by the beach, so the view was quite nice. We ended up exploring the beach area just outside the restaurant. However, the food wasn't anything to rave about. I did have a yummy virgin pina colada, though. 

  • Taqueria Honorio

This place was definitely the dumpiest place we went to, but the tacos were delicious and cheap. People rave about this place, and it seems like it's always packed. It definitely wasn't my favorite, and I didn't like how crowded it always was, but it was still very good. 

Have any questions or comments? Comment below or contact me! I'd love to hear your thoughts.