Mexico Family Travel

The Ultimate Tulum Itinerary: 10 Top Things To Do In Tulum With Kids

July 27, 2023

Tulum has become something of a hotspot for people considering a vacation in Mexico. For families, a Tulum itinerary is sure to make your vacation to Tulum with kids perfect and memorable.

Despite being best known for its party scene, Tulum has plenty to offer families looking for a beach vacation on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Whether you're visiting Tulum on its own, or as a part of a bigger Yucatan itinerary, you'll find countless things to love about this destination.

The beach in Tulum, photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

Read on to learn more about the fun things families can do in Tulum.

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This post was written by Cassie Pearse from Mexico Cassie Goes International.

Where to stay in Tulum

If you’re trying to decide on where to stay in Tulum with kids, consider the type of vacation you want. The Zona Hoteleria (Hotel Zone) is great if you want a beach vacation. It’s located along the Tulum beach strip, but it’s far from many of the restaurants and shops in the city. 

Tulum’s Centro neighborhood (the main central area of Tulum town) is a great option because of its close proximity to great restaurants, shops, and art galleries. However, it’s located 4km inland from the beach. If you’re trying to figure out the best spot for staying in Tulum Mexico, consider whether it’s more important for your family to be close to the beach or close to restaurants.

For places to stay in Tulum with kids that’s close to Centro, book one of these top-rated hotels:

Villas H2O

Located in Tulum Centro, Villas H2O has rooms and apartments that can accommodate families of up to 6 people. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, refrigerator, and private bathrooms. The apartments come with kitchens, for families who want to cook on their vacation.

Villas H2O has an outdoor pool, and breakfast is provided for free. Childcare is available for families for a fee. Additionally, bike rentals and tours for your Tulum itinerary are also available to book through the hotel. Several restaurants are located within a 5-11 minute walk from Villas H2O.

Casa Don Diego

Families looking for a colorful, kid-friendly, and jungle-vibe hotel to stay in Tulum Centro during their Tulum itinerary will enjoy Casa Don Diego. This hotel has rooms that can accommodate families of 4. Rooms come equipped with air-conditioning, WiFi, and an outdoor patio with a hammock for laid-back relaxation.

Casa Don Diego has an outdoor pool, a small lending library, and an on-site restaurant called Brew Tulum. Breakfast is available for a fee. Several restaurants are within a 3-9 minute walk from Casa Don Diego. And two cenotes are within a 3 minute drive from the hotel.

Niik Tulum

For families looking for a more upscale, yet still jungle-like, lodging option, consider Niik Tulum. This hotel, located close to Tulum Centro, has spacious and modern rooms that can accommodate families of 4. Rooms come with air-conditioning and WiFi, as well as on-demand entertainment, a mini-fridge, and microwave.

Niik Tulum has a beautiful outdoor pool and breakfast is available for a small fee. There are two restaurants located within 4-6 minute walk from the hotel, but other restaurants in Tulum are at least a 15 minute walk away.

If you're planning to stay at Niik Tulum, you might want to consider renting a car to get to places. Fortunately, the hotel has free on-site parking.

Use this map to find the perfect lodging for your stay in Tulum

Top 10 things to do for the perfect Tulum itinerary 

There are so many amazing things to do in Tulum! Taking a vacation to Tulum Mexico with kids will surely give your family many unique travel memories. If you’re looking for ideas of things to do in Tulum with kids, take a look at these great suggestions.

1. Visit beaches in and around Tulum

In Tulum you’ll find the perfect azure sea and powdery white sand that is never too hot to walk on. The tides can be strong and the waves can be choppy but that shouldn’t put you off even with the smallest of children. Everyone will love these beaches. 

Snorkeling in the Yucatan

The Costera road can be crowded so plan your day if your Tulum itinerary is going to include a visit. Playa Paraiso is a free beach area. Here you can show up with a beach towel and umbrella and park yourself for the day. Santa Fé beach, a little further north, is slightly quieter. 

If you do want to use facilities at the Tulum beach clubs (pools, showers, loungers) know that while the prices can be high, often the price is offset against food and drink purchases. Spending an afternoon at a beach club is a great hack if you want a beach vacation in Tulum with kids but still want to stay in Centro!

Top Tip: Stop off at the supermarket, Chedraui, for an umbrella, cool box and snacks if you don’t already have them. 

2. Explore the town of Tulum

Tulum is a strange place in that the town and the beach are separated by a three kilometer long road. The town itself, Tulum Pueblo, began as not much more than a truck stop. But over time it has grown into a trendy place to stay full of great restaurants, bars and artisan stores. 

Tacos in Mexico

If you’re visiting Tulum with kids, it's worth exploring both the main road (but be aware of traffic) and heading into the streets that most tourists don’t see during your Tulum itinerary. It might even give your family a glimpse into Mexican culture. Just wander around, see what’s what, and get a feel for life in a Mexican pueblo.

Book one of these walking food tours of Tulum with a Tulum travel guide to experience the local cuisine:

Tulum Local Walking Food Tour

The best Taco Tour in Tulum

Brush up on some Spanish travel phrases for your trip to Tulum.

3. Visit Tulum archeological site

There are many Mayan archeological sites to visit if you’re traveling to Tulum with kids. You want to make sure your Tulum itinerary includes day trips to at least one of these Tulum Mayan ruins. The first is the Tulum archeological site, itself.

Tulum archeological site, copyright Brianna R. on Unsplash

These Tulum ruins sit on the site of an ancient Mayan city that had great prominence in the 13th to 15th centuries. Tulum’s magnificent cliffside Maya ruins will knock your socks off. The kids will love the little train ride from the carpark to the entrance almost as much as they’ll love the site itself. 

Head in, marvel at the views, and don’t forget to pack the swimming kit as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world is accessible from this complex (note access is restricted when turtles are laying on the beach but otherwise it’s open). At the entrance there are many souvenir stores, cafes and even a voladores display - be sure to watch this traditional Mexican ‘flying’ display, the kids will be wowed. 

If you only have one day in Tulum to spend, a visit to the Tulum archeological site is an absolute must.

Book one of these guided tours of Tulum archeological site:

Tulum and Cenotes Tour

Tulum Day-Trip Mayan Ruins With Cenote Swim

4. Visit Muyil archeological site

Just out of town in Muyil is a gorgeous jungle Maya ruin where the kids’ imaginations will run wild as they explore, run and play. Muyil is thought to be one of the oldest settlements in Quintana Roo and is a great spot for a visit during your Tulum itinerary.

If the kids can be quiet for a moment or two you’ll hear howler monkeys in the trees above you. It’s truly a unique experience to have in Tulum with kids! Carry on walking along the jungle pathways to the Sian Ka’an mirador (viewpoint). 

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    5. Cobá archeological site

    If you have a car or a driver during your Tulum itinerary, Cobá is a forty-five minute drive away and is a fun day trip option for families. Cobá Archaeological Site is an enormous jungle Maya site that is home to Nohoch Mul, the region’s highest pyramid (at time of writing still climbable). 

    Coba archeological site

    The Coba ruins is big enough that it’s best explored on bike or with a bike-taxi if your kids are too small to cycle themselves around. There are great cenotes just down the road from the entrance too. If you’re looking for active outdoor experiences to do during your vacation in Tulum with kids, then you’ll definitely have to include this one! 

    6. Take a tour of Chichén Itzá

    A modern wonder of the world and only two hours from Tulum, why not visit the incredible Chichén Itzá if you aren’t ‘ruined-out’ already during your time in Tulum with kids? This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see for any visitor to Mexico! 

    Chichen Itza

    Be sure to go early to avoid the crowds if you decide to visit Mexico’s most famous tourist attraction and Mayan archaeological site during your Tulum itinerary. 

    El Castillo (the main pyramid) is a sight everyone will recognise. But there’s more to Chichen Itza than just El Castillo. Be sure to explore the enormous site as best you can because there is so much to see here, including the largest pok-ta-pok court in Meso-America.

    Book this top-rated Chichen Itza guided tour, which includes a cenote trip and a visit to Valladolid:

    Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour

    7. Venture into Yucatán’s cenotes

    The Yucatán Peninsula is covered in cenotes. In fact, there must be between 7-8,000 of them and while you’re in Tulum with kids, you absolutely must take them to a cenote or two during your Tulum itinerary. 

    Dos Ojos Cenote - Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

    A cenote is a natural limestone swimming hole. They’re considered sacred spaces to the Maya, as both a source of water on a riverless peninsula and as the entry point to the underworld. 

    There are four types of cenote: cave, part-cave, partially open and fully open. Some cenotes are more suited to experienced swimmers and divers but there are plenty that the whole family can enjoy.

    For all cenotes, get there early to avoid crowds and be sure to put your kids in life-vests as cenotes are wild swimming holes and the water is often very deep.

    Cenotes to consider:

    • Cenote Azul
    • Gran Cenote
    • Dos Ojos
    • Zacil-Ha
    • Aktun-Ha (also known as Carwash Cenote as taxi drivers used to wash their cars here)

    Also consider Laguna Ka'an Luum: in the Sian Ka'an Lagoon, the middle of which is an enormously deep cenote - you just paddle around on the shallow edges. Trust me, Laguna Kaan Luum is gorgeous.

    Book this cenote tour during your Tulum vacation to experience Gran Cenote with a guide:

    Cenote Triple Adventure Tour in Tulum

    8. Take a Sian Ka’an Canal Floating Tour

    Sian Ka’an means “Entrance to the Sky” in Mayan. This UNESCO biosphere has tropical forests, mangroves and a reef. Head here during your Tulum itinerary for a tour of the canal system, a perfect outing with children. 

    Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, copyright jkraft5

    Small boats take you across the water to the start of the Mayan canal system. Jump out the boat (life jacket on) and let the gentle current carry you through the canal as you gaze at the clouds, marvel at the birds and consider how wild it is to be floating down ancient Maya trade routes. 

    Once you’ve floated for a while you’ll reach a set of steps onto a boardwalk, exit here and walk back to your boat to be returned home again.

    If you want to experience Sian Ka’an with a guide, book one of these tours for your visit to Tulum with kids:

    Sian Ka'an and Muyil Archaeological Site Tour from Tulum

    Sian Ka'an Adventure

    Kayaking and Snorkeling Experience through Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

    9. See the Turtles in Akumal Bay

    Akumal Bay is a secluded and calm bay, and is a fun snorkeling Tulum Mexico place for families. In fact, it’s a perfect Tulum itinerary option for snorkeling with kids of any age. I took mine when they were two and four during a trip to Tulum with kids, and they both managed perfectly well. 

    Sea turtle in the Yucatan Peninsula

    While all beach access is free by law in Mexico, because of the turtles, this beach is more strictly controlled. In fact, it’s an officially protected area. 

    If you want to swim close to shore, you can, without being charged, no matter what anyone tells you (correct as of 2022). But if you wish to head further out, to the official snorkeling area then you’re required to pay a guide and wear a life jacket. 

    It can be hard to figure out who is a licensed guide, but it is worth trying to do this correctly, especially if you’re there with small children. Our guide helped us with our kids enormously, making this such a rewarding experience in Tulum for kids.

    Book one of these kid friendly Tulum turtle tours for your vacation:

    Hidden Cenote Swim, Snorkeling With Sea Turtles and Beachside Lunch

    Tulum Ruins Private Tour with Turtle and Cenote Snorkeling

    10. Tour the Rio Secreto

    While you’re in Tulum with kids, why not incorporate some adventure? A forty-minute drive from Tulum is Río Secreto, one of the most incredible underground river and cave systems you can imagine. Hike and swim with a guide through stalactites, stalagmites and beautiful fresh, clear water. 

    Rio Secreto, copyright adkana

    Although pricey, this is a truly unforgettable experience and should be included in your Tulum itinerary. The cost of the tour includes safety equipment and a buffet lunch afterwards. Suitable from four years old.

    Book one of these Rio Secreto tours for your vacation to Tulum with kids:

    Rio Secreto Plus Admission Ticket with Transportation from Riviera Maya Hotels

    A secret river adventures tour. Explore the nature wonders of the Riviera Maya

    Bonus: Spend the day at an adventure park

    There is no shortage of adventure parks within an hour or so of Tulum. So if the kids need a break during your Tulum itinerary, or if the beaches are covered in seaweed (as does happen from time to time) take them to Aktun-Chen Natural Park, Xcaret, Xel-Ha or another waterpark for a break. 

    Snorkeling in Xcaret, ©kmiragaya/123RF.COM

    The parks are full of fun Tulum kids activities to keep your kids entertained. But they’re mainly aimed at international visitors and can be expensive. If you’re not keen on spending a fortune on a water park during your time in Tulum with kids, another option is to consider a local one such as Balneario zhuna’an-ha.

    Prepare for your trip with these Mexico travel tips.

    Recommended itineraries for short stays in Tulum 

    To fully experience all the activities listed in this post, and build in plenty of time relaxing on the beach, you’ll need at least two weeks in Tulum. But even if you don’t have a lot of time in Tulum with kids, you can still make your vacation worthwhile and memorable. 

    Whether you have one day in Tulum or seven days to spend in Tulum, take a look at these suggestions for a multiple day Tulum itinerary to create a family trip to remember! 

    2 days in Tulum

    If you only have 2 days in Tulum, you’ll want to make sure you pack in as much sight-seeing as you can. Include at least one archeological site, and an afternoon at the beach. Plus, don’t miss out on a cenote trip as well!

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 2 days:

    • Day 1: Start the morning with a visit to Tulum archeological site. Have lunch in Tulum Centro, then spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach
    • Day 2: Take a morning swim with the turtles at Akumal Bay, then spend the afternoon at Laguna Kaan Luum

    3 days in Tulum

    If your Tulum itinerary allows for 3 days in Tulum, you can incorporate more archeological sites or beach time. While visiting Tulum in 3 days is still a pretty quick visit, you’ll be able to experience more of what this area has to offer!

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 3 days:

    • Day 1: Begin your Tulum 3 day itinerary with a guided tour of Tulum Pueblo. Take the second half of the day to relax at a beach club.
    • Day 2: Spend the day visiting archeological sites! Begin the day at the Coba ruins, then continue to the Tulum ruins. End the day at Laguna de Ka’an Luum or a float through Sian Ka’an Canal.
    • Day 3: End your 3 day Tulum itinerary with a day trip to Chichen Itza. Alternatively, splurge on a visit to one of the adventure parks, like Xcaret or Xel-Ha.
    Aerial view of Tulum, copyright alicenerr

    4 days in Tulum

    For families planning to spend 4 days in Tulum, take your time savoring all the things to do in Tulum. While you can still squeeze in multiple activities into one day, you’ll have a lot more flexibility to build in relaxing time in Tulum in 4 days.

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 4 days:

    • Day 1: Start your 4 day Tulum itinerary with a tour of Rio Secreto. End the day with a tour of Tulum village.
    • Day 2: Take a day trip out to Chichen Itza. Spend the second half of the day at the beach.
    • Day 3: Visit Tulum archeological site and Muyil archeological site, then spend the afternoon at Laguna Ka’an Luum and Sian Ka’an
    • Day 4: Swim with turtles in Akumal Bay in the morning, and then an afternoon swim at Cenote Dos Ojos. In the late afternoon, relax on the beach or spend time exploring Tulum Pueblo on your own.

    5 or more days in Tulum

    When you have 5 days in Tulum to spend (or even more), you can take even more time exploring the area and finding off the beaten path gems! Make sure your Tulum 5 day itinerary includes plenty of beach time as well!

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 5 days:

    • Days 1-4: Use the suggested itinerary for 4 days in Tulum.
    • Day 5: Spend the day at an adventure park.

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 6 days:

    • Days 1-5: Use the suggested itinerary for 5 days in Tulum.
    • Day 6: Spend the morning at Coba archeological site. Spend your final afternoon relaxing at the beach.

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 7 days: Spread out the 6 day itinerary across 7 days.

    Suggested Tulum itinerary 10 days: Do one activity per day in the morning, then spend the afternoons at the beach!

    Having fun in the Yucatan Peninsula

    Other things to know for a Tulum itinerary 

    As you’re putting together your Tulum vacation itinerary, take some time to learn about how to get to Tulum, how to get around Tulum, and where to stay in Tulum. Here are some helpful logistical tips for your vacation to Tulum with kids.

    Getting to and from Tulum

    Tulum is located in the Yucatan peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. It’s located about an hour south of Playa del Carmen by car, and two and a half hours from Cancun

    Traveling to the Yucatan?

    Get this must-have guide, Yucatan With Kids by Cassie Pearse, to plan your trip to the Yucatan.

    If you’re traveling to Tulum with kids, you’ll likely want to fly there. The nearest airport to Tulum is the Cancun International Airport. This airport services many international destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Orlando in the United States, and other cities like Toronto, Canada or Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    You can use Expedia to find affordable flights to Cancun for your Tulum itinerary.

    Getting around Tulum

    If you’re traveling with kids, especially if you’re traveling to Tulum with toddler age kids or traveling to Tulum with baby on board, the easiest way to get around the area is with a car. You can pre-book a rental car through Expedia to pick up at the Cancun airport.

    Rental cars range from $20 to $150 per day, depending on the size and model of car. You’ll need to make sure you are properly insured too. So make sure you accommodate those costs in your Mexico travel budget. If you’re going to Tulum with a toddler or baby, you’ll also want to bring along a car seat.

    Another option for getting around Tulum is to rely on taxis. Keep in mind that because Tulum is a popular tourist destination, taxi rates are notoriously high. A 5km ride can be as high as 500 pesos (roughly $25 USD). If you’re planning to rely on taxis during your visit to Tulum with kids, make sure you take account wait times in your Tulum itinerary.

    Check out more places to go in the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Making memories with a Tulum itinerary

    Tulum is truly a beautiful place to spend a vacation in Mexico with kids! These Tulum itinerary ideas are sure to make your family vacation Tulum Mexico experience memorable and fun.

    The Ultimate Tulum Itinerary: Vacation in Tulum With Kids | Mexico Family Travel | Pinterest image of Tulum ruins in Mexico with text overlay

    Looking for more Mexico itinerary ideas? Take a look at these posts:

    Best 10 Day Mexico Itinerary For Families: 4 Ideas For The Perfect Mexico Family Trip

    15 Safest Cities in Mexico To Travel: Safe Places in Mexico For Your Next Vacation

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