Best Things to Do in Tulum with Kids (or Without Them) – Tulum For Kids

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Here are the best things to do in Tulum with kids…or on your own. This little town on the Yucatan Peninsula has grown from a speck on the map to one of the coolest towns in Mexico. It’s also a great place for family travel in Mexico. Here we give you some of our tips on Tulum for kids: what to do, where to go, how to get around and where to stay in Tulum.

Tulum beach white sand Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

Coba ruins tunnel

iguana 2 Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

Things to Do in Tulum for Kids

If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere on the Caribbean, then head to Tulum. As Cancun grew into the industrial holiday machine it is today, Tulum evolved at a slower pace.

Transforming from hippie village to hipster hideout, it continues to evolve. Tulum today has beautiful beaches, fantastic food, and accommodation options to fit nearly every style or budget.

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How to Get to Tulum with Kids

Most people fly into Cancun. Then they go from Cancun to Tulum by car or bus.  How far is it from Cancun to Tulum? Usually about a 2-hour drive south. Buses, taxis, collectivos (shared taxis), rental cars and private car hires are all options for going Cancun to Tulum.

When going from Cancun to Tulum, you’ll pass through Playa del Carmen. If you stay here a while, then the journey from Playa del Carmen to Tulum takes about an hour.

Multiple bus companies go from Cancun to Tulum and from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. They make these routes almost hourly, if not more frequent. If you prefer a taxi or a hired driver to take you Cancun to Tulum or Playa del Carmen to Tulum, these are easy to arrange as well.

Getting Around Tulum with Kids

Tulum can be broken into three main parts: the town, the ruins, and the beach. Much of the distance between these three is walkable, but under the heat of the Yucatan sun, the sidewalk to the beach can be a long walk indeed.

Taxis are prevalent and handy — just always agree on the price before getting in. Uber didn’t work for us when we were there last but that could change any day.

Bicycles are possibly the best way to get around Tulum with kids. More on that below.

Things to Do in Tulum with Kids

Okay, now let’s break down all the best things to do in Tulum with kids or on your own. From Tulum ruins to Tulum beaches and cenotes, here’s what to do in Tulum.

Ride Bikes in Tulum Town & to Tulum Beaches

bicycle path to Tulum beach Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

Tulum town has bike paths (with some potholes) and the road between town and the beach has a well-paved sidewalk that’s shaded intermittently.

Once you get down near the beach, however, the sidewalk ends, and you’re riding alongside cars. That said, this is a slow, two-lane jungle road that’s meters from dozens of hotels and restaurants. There are lots of speed bumps, and cars don’t speed through here.

On the other hand, we suggest returning your bikes before dusk, as this road isn’t well lit.

You’ll find bicycles for rent all over, but not every place has smaller bikes or bicycles with kids seats.

Explore Tulum’s Mayan Ruins

tulum ruins Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

The Yucatan has amazing architectural ruins from the Mayan empire. That’s why one of the best things to do in Tulum with kids is to visit a few archaeological sites. There are several to choose from near Tulum town.

REMEMBER: Try to arrive at the ticket gate when they open. The weather is cooler and the huge tour buses haven’t arrived yet. This makes for a much better visit.

Tulum Ruins

Located minutes by car from Tulum town, the Parque Nacional de Tulum and its Mayan Ruins remain perched on a cliff overlooking the azure sea (see above).

Coba Ruins

coba pyramid

About an hour inland is the Coba ruins, another ancient Mayan town, with a large pyramid you can climb. Unlike the ruins of Uxmal and Chichen Itza, the Coba ruins are still being discovered, and the area it covers is huge.

Once you enter, the main pyramid is over a kilometer’s walk. Consider bike rentals here to explore more of the Coba ruins in a shorter time.

Look for Iguanas

Iguana 1 Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

This shouldn’t be too hard. When we were in Tulum with kids, we saw huge iguanas in a number of places. They often hang out on the rocks of the ruins (in Uxmal, too), but you may be able to see some wandering around the beach areas as well.

Relax on the Best Beaches in Tulum

best beach in tulum Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel

The best beaches of Tulum are some of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen, with white sand and blue seas as far as the eye can see. One of the best things to do in Tulum with kids is to frolic in the turquoise waters.

Playa Ruinas is located next to the archaeological site. This is easily one of the best beaches in Tulum and all of Mexico. Few beaches in Mexico have a backdrop like this. That said, you must pay to get into the archaeological zone to reach it.

Heading further south you’ll find Playa Paraíso, another of the best beaches in Tulum with white sand and blue water.

Head further south and you’ll reach Las Palmas Public Beach, but long stretches of white sand continue for miles.

These are just three of the best beaches in Tulum, but the entire area has amazing water and sand.

Beach Clubs

I won’t say much about Tulum’s beach clubs because I don’t fully understand how they work, but essentially a beach club is usually a hotel & bar with loungers and umbrellas out front. You pay for the privilege of sitting under the shade of those loungers and then pay for drinks and food.

In Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, we were given seats as long as we ordered drinks and food. I think in Tulum the rules vary by the place. In fact, some places are for hotel guests only.

In light of this, you can probably guess we skipped the beach clubs in Tulum. Instead, we found shade under a nearby palm tree and brought our own food & drink.

Swim in Cenotes

The Best Cenotes in Mexico - Swimming in the Yucatan Peninsula

One of the absolute best things to do in Tulum — or anywhere in the Yucatan — is to swim in the cenotes.

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are part of a complex freshwater system that runs underground in the Yucatan Peninsula. They’re amazing, refreshing and one of our most favorite thing to do in Tulum with kids.

We like beaches, but the sticky, scratchy nexus of sun, saltwater & sand isn’t great for my pale, freckled skin.

Cenotes are like dipping into clean river water, but often in a cave or other Indiana-Jones-like setting. Some of the best cenotes in Tulum have both cave-like and open-water settings.

REMEMBER: none of the best cenotes in Tulum allow sunscreen or mosquito repellent, as they poison the fragile ecosystem that lives in them. With this in mind, make sure to cover up accordingly.

Here are a few of the best cenotes near Tulum:

gran cenote Tulum for Kids — Things to Do in Tulum with Kids — Mexico Family Travel
Gran Cenote

Possibly the best cenote in Tulum due to size and distance from the city. Gran Cenote is a large complex of several swimming holes. Some are so deep that you’ll see scuba divers entering them.

Dos Ojos

Another of the best cenotes near Tulum with shallow areas for kids and deep areas for experienced scuba divers.

Cenote Car Wash & Casa Cenote

Both of these are also easily reachable from Tulum by car and work checking out. Both are more open-water and with less shade, which increases your chance of sunburn.

Cenote Azul, Cenote Garden of Eden & Cenote Cristalino

These three Cenotes near Tulum are about a 30-minute drive away but close together and large, clean and beautiful. If your kids are older and like jumping into water from high places, then the platform at Cenote Garden of Eden will keep them entertained.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

sian ka'an dolphin

sian ka'an biosphere

Now a UNESCO Heritage site, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is home to a dizzying array of flora and fauna. The name “Sian Ka’an” in the original Mayan means “Origin of the Sky,” and it’s home to crocodiles, dolphins, turtles, hundreds of bird species and more.

WaterParks Near Tulum

There are some really amazing waterparks near Tulum. Part natural, part artificial, these waterparks blur the lines. The snorkeling here can be outstanding, but many kids may prefer the ziplines and other thrills.

Tickets are expensive: starting at USD $80 and up, depending on your package. In addition, many of them still have dolphin shows and pricey, exploitive “swim with dolphins” add-ons. We didn’t visit these parks, but I know many others who enjoyed their visit.

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Have You Been to Tulum with Kids?

Where did you go? What did you do? Where did you stay? We’ll update this post regularly to make sure it has the best tips for things to do in Tulum with kids, so let us know in the comments below!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find things to do in Tulum with kids or on your own. We sincerely hope that this helps you find the best beaches in Tulum, the best cenotes near Tulum, the best hotels in Tulum and the best Mayan Tulum ruins to visit. All of these are some of the best things to do in Tulum for kids and everyone else!. 

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