Our family travelled to Tulum, the quaint, seemingly boho town in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera for a second year. I say seemingly boho because that’s how it initially appears with its nomadic, yoga-loving, bike riding tourists; its juiceries and cafes and friendly laid back vibe. By venturing deeper, beyond high walls and lush vegetation, at the ocean, is a whole different Tulum. One, that if you have a lot of cash (or US dollars) buys the most coveted hotel rooms, fresh organic Buddha bowls and breakfasts, hand-rolled pasta, luxurious beach club access and occasional celeb sightings.
Since we don’t have US dollars and budgeted to stay in Mexico for an entire month, we’re fortunate to have been able to hang out in Tulum, again, even if it was a no frills visit.
Instead of paying to eat and lounge at the beach clubs (le sigh), we accessed the equally gorgeous, yet rustic public beaches with a cooler packed full of tequila and tuna sandwiches; we ate in el pueblo (town), outside of the pricey beach area (and had the greatest pizza!) and shopped often at the local Chedraui, the large grocery store in town. Oh, and we almost always book accommodation via Airbnb.
Quaint, quiet and way less touristy than its neighbour (Playa del Carmen) in the north, we love coming to Tulum to basically chill out and do nothing much else.
Depending on your budget, there are many options for kid-friendly boutique hotels on the beach, perfect to keep both kids and adults entertained.
Other than spend the day at the beach, some other things to do in or around Tulum with kids:
When we first visited the Mayan Ruins in Tulum, it was hotter than hot! Since we had about a 20-min walk from the parking lot and then a whole lot of walking through the ancient city, I am so thankful I had a stroller. Actually, it was so hot that I faithfully left the stroller in a random spot and took the boys (ages 4 & 11) down a steeeep staircase to the most gorgeous beach below while hubby checked out the ruins alone. Many families suggest bringing the kids, but aside from all the iguanas, my boys were not all that interested in looking at blocked off, crumbling buildings. The beach was awesome though!
*there are several Mayan ruin sites throughout the area and I have read many positive reviews about visiting with small children. I would suggest reading Trip Advisor reviews for good family options and tips.
Swimming in Cenotes
Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are scattered throughout the Mayan Riviera. There are thousands actually – some underground in caves and some open, above ground. After seeing all the gorgeous photos of cenotes in the Mayan Riviera, it was a bucket list item of mine to experience the beauty! The reality however is that the most popular cenotes are not best for young children as they can be very cold, crowded and the trek is often slippery. For some reason, my family didn’t love the idea of swimming in a cave (dark water, snakes, mosquitos, spiders, etc) however on our next trip, I’m planning day trips to open cenotes! Stay tuned for an update.
*There are so many great cenotes for families to visit. See this great guide here: http://annaeverywhere.com/best-cenotes-tulum/.
Stroll around El Pueblo
Like all resort towns in the Mayan Riviera, we’ve never had an issue with safety. In the main area of Tulum, there are shops and boutiques, restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and pharmacies. It’s lively, colorful and friendly! The town is a great place to have lunch and drinks, browse souvenir shops and buy ice cream. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to find a decent playground for the kids.
We’d love to hear about your ~ off-the-beaten-path ~ experience with kids in Tulum! Leave a comment below.