Tulum is a laid-back town filled with many tourist spots and natural wonders to explore. Many people who visit this town stay there for their entire vacation. However, one thing to note is that Tulum is near many destinations that are great for exploration. Therefore, this town makes a great starting point for many day trips.
Plenty of nearby destinations are worth exploring if you’re in Tulum. However, we rounded up the best ones, giving you 8-day trip destinations for you to consider. If you’re someone who wants to explore other nearby areas, you may consider one or more of these destinations for a day trip.
8 Day Trip Destinations
Below is a list of the top Tulum destinations, including the travel time and distance, activities, and the kind of Tulum visitor each destination is best suited for. After reading, you’ll know what to expect with each destination and consider one or two depending on your preference.
1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The best day trip from Tulum is always the closest one: the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve tour. A day trip to this natural reserve only takes 20 minutes of travel time, giving you plenty of time to explore the destination.
On this tour, you can enjoy the best views Sian Ka’an Biosphere, with its untouched natural scene and wildlife. Further, you also get to enjoy the Mayan ruins of Muyil.
One of the best things about this Tulum Tour is the exploration of the ancient Mayan Canals. Here, you can ride a boat across an ancient canal that leads to a lagoon.
Further, you can enjoy the wildlife of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a perfect activity for families and nature lovers.
The best time to start this tour is around 8 in the morning. This way, you can always secure an available spot with boats.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 14.3 miles (23 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 20 minutes
- Activities: Boat ride, Nature Exploration, Wildlife Viewing
- Best for: Families and Nature Lovers
Another day trip worth considering if you’re staying in Tulum is the Akumal tour. The Akumal is a coastal town near Tulum that’s best known for its sea turtles. The name “Akumal” means the turtle’s place.
Hence, it’s an excellent trip to consider if you want to do some water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Here, you can enjoy swimming with turtles and snorkeling to see the vibrant marine life beneath the waters.
Also, check out this article: When Can You See Turtles in Akumal?
If you’re not into water activities, Akumal is also a tropical paradise that you can savor by spending some lazy time and relaxation on its beach.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 17 miles (28 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 25 minutes
- Activities: Snorkeling, Diving, Swimming with Turtles
- Best For: Families, Scuba Divers, and Snorkelers
Cancun is the closest city to Tulum, and it’s probably the city you’ll reach first if you travel to Tulum via plane.
Now, if you’re heading straight to Tulum without checking out this city, it makes a great day trip destination.
Here, you can enjoy lots of beautiful beaches as well. However, as a city, Cancun doesn’t offer that laid-back vibe compared to Tulum.
You can enjoy the availability of shops, excellent lounges, restaurants, malls, and other things you’ll only find in cities.
As such, it’s a destination you’ll surely enjoy if you want something fancy, and a laid-back town won’t cut it for you.
The several modes of transportation for you to choose from make it an ideal day trip destination. If you want to know these options, read: How Far is Tulum from Cancun?
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 81 miles (131 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
- Activities: Shopping, Dining, and Beach Exploration
- Best For: Travelers who want to explore a Mexican City and enjoy some Urban Life
If you’re interested in exploring more about the Ancient Mayan Culture, a day trip to Coba from Tulum is the option for you.
On this day trip, you can explore Coba and the tourist spots it has to offer. Some of these are:
- Hidden Mayan Ruins
- Climbable Pyramids
- Lush Jungle
- Underground Cave Cenotes
One tip to enjoy this day trip better is to head out early. Doing so allows you to enjoy the destination with fewer crowds and take pictures without anyone photobombing you at the back.
You can rent some bikes and ride to explore the area more quickly in this place. It’s something worth paying for, especially if you don’t fancy some walking.
Now, if you want more Ancient Mayan Ruins, the ideal destination would be the Tulum ruins, located on the northern side of Tulum. To know more about it, read Tulum Ruins.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 29 miles (47 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 45 minutes
- Activities: Pyramid Climbing, Mayan Ruins Exploration, Underground Cave Cenote Exploration
- Best For: Families and Travelers who are interested in Mayan Culture
5. Playa del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is among the popular tourist destinations in Quintana Roo, and it’s also worth a day trip if you’re staying in Tulum.
This destination only requires an hour of travel time from Tulum, which means it’s not too far and not too close.
Here, you can enjoy that boho vibe slightly more developed than that of Tulum, but not as much as Cancun.
It is an excellent alternative if you enjoy urban life but don’t want a long travel time to Cancun.
It’s also a great destination if you want to explore more areas but you’re a digital nomad or someone who needs to work remotely from time to time.
Here, you can enjoy a stronger internet connection in cafes while relaxing in a new environment.
More to read: Top Places to Scuba Dive in Playa del Carmen.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 40 miles (65 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 55 minutes to 1 hour
- Activities: Shopping, Dining, and Nightlife
- Best For: Digital Nomads, Shoppers, and Urban Life lovers
If you’re up for some island adventure, Cozumel is a worthy day trip destination from Tulum. Cozumel, or San Miguel de Cozumel, is a beautiful island near the Riviera Maya coast.
Since it’s an island, you need to ride a ferry from Playa del Carmen, and the travel time will only take around 20 minutes if you don’t mind riding an expensive ferry.
If you’re saving money, you can always take a cheaper option, but it takes a longer travel time of around 45 minutes to an hour.
On this island, you can enjoy water activities and explore a different unspoiled beach. However, most people who go on a day trip to Cozumel are the ones who are staying long-term in Tulum.
Still, it’s a perfect destination if you want to maximize your time and explore a different beach and a remote island.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 50 miles (80 kilometers)
- Travel Time: Around 2 hours, including sea travel
- Activities: Beach Activities, Water Sports, Island Hopping
- Best For: Beach Lovers, Island Explorers
7. Chichén Itzá
If you want the most popular day trip from Tulum, it’s the Chichén Itzá. This destination holds one of the incredible wonders of the world, so it’s not surprising that it makes one of the most popular day trips if you’re staying in Tulum.
As a popular destination, the Chichén Itzá can attract many crowds. An early start is best if you’re planning this trip.
To give you an idea, the Chichén Itzá already gathers a long line even before it opens at 8 in the morning. Thus, it would be best to be in this line before opening.
Due to its popularity, most travel companies offer a tour package to this spot. As such, it can be a convenient thing if you don’t want to have a DIY day trip.
You might want to check out this article: Can you climb Chichen Itza?
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 95 miles (153 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 2 hours
- Activities: Chichén Itzá exploration (and some cenotes along the way if you avail of a tour package.
- Best For: Every traveler
8. Punta Allen
If you’re up for exploration, Punta Allen is a worthy destination for a day trip from Tulum. This destination is an easy spot to reach because it’s at the end of Tulum Beach Road.
One thing to note is that the destination isn’t that far from Tulum downtown. However, the travel time can be longer since the southern end of the beach road is a single-lane dirt road.
Still, if you don’t mind the longer travel time, you can enjoy what Punta Allen offers, and it’s a beautiful view of sandy beaches and a small Mayan fishing village scene.
Due to the rugged terrain, you’ll need to ride a heavy-duty 4×4 vehicle to reach your destination. You’ll also need a full gas tank with backup gas since there are no gas stations in the area.
Punta Allen is within Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and it’s only one side of this spot.
If you don’t want to go through such a hassle, you can always go for the Boca Paila beach, where you can enjoy the visitor’s center and climb the watchtower. You can also rent a boat and see the wildlife of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.
- Distance From Tulum Downtown: 34 miles (55 kilometers)
- Travel Time: 2-3 hours
- Activities: Nature & Wildlife Exploration (through a Boat Ride)
- Best For: Nature Lovers
Each of these eight-day trip destinations offers different activities, vibes, and areas. As such, at least one or two would suit the preference of every traveler who visits Tulum. But, of course, if you’re planning a long-term stay in this town, checking out each destination will always be worth it.
Now, if you’re only in Tulum for a limited time, it’s always best to do some Tulum excursions instead. This way, you don’t get to spend your limited time traveling. Instead, you can explore the best of Tulum within a short period. If you want to explore more of Tulum than the surrounding destinations, you can check out: 24 Things to Do in Tulum.