- 1 Introduction
- 2 Natural Attractions
- 3 The Maya City of Tulum
- 4 Activities in the Park
- 5 Conservation and Sustainability
- 6 Practical Information
- 7 Events and Festivals
- 8 Beyond the Park
- 9 Photo Gallery
The Tulum National Park, with its ancient history and marvelous landscapes of the Riviera Maya, is one of the most captivating natural tourist destinations in Mexico. With a blend of ancestral history, natural beauty, and adventure, this heavenly paradise promises to be the getaway you’ve always dreamed of. Join us on this journey to discover every corner of this incredible park.
Brief History of Tulum National Park
Tulum, with its history dating back to the time of the Mayan civilization, was declared a National Park on April 23, 1981, under the name "Parque Nacional Tulum" in Spanish. Tulum National Park spans an area of 664.32 hectares and is home to unparalleled biodiversity, ranging from dense jungles to stunning white sand beaches.
Location and How to Get There
Tulum is situated on the Yucatán Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo, municipality of Tulum. It’s easily accessible by car from Cancún and Playa del Carmen. The most common ways to arrive are by bus, private car, or taxi.
Opening Hours and Access Fees
The park is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day. The entrance fee is reasonable, with reduced rates for children and seniors. It’s advisable to arrive early to avoid crowds.
Flora and Fauna of the Park
Tulum National Park shelters a variety of flora and fauna, characterized by the regular presence of green iguanas. It’s challenging to stroll along the park’s paths and routes without having to dodge some of them as they are a predominant animal in the area.
Species such as howler monkeys and ocelots inhabit its jungles, while crocodiles, though hard to spot, inhabit the mangroves. In its waters, you can find sea turtles and tropical fish. The vegetation includes ceiba trees and palms, among other plant species.
Beaches and Marine Landscapes
Tulum’s beaches are renowned for their white sand and crystal-clear waters. Moreover, the views of the Caribbean Sea are spectacular, and the coral reef located off the coast is an ideal spot for diving and snorkeling. The beaches have direct access from the Tulum archaeological ruins, so during your visit, you can take a swim to refresh from the stifling heat of the area.
Cenotes and Underground Caves
In Tulum, you’ll also find numerous cenotes, natural freshwater pools created by limestone erosion, and underground caves, which are a true paradise for spelunkers, and some of them allow tourists to swim.
Located approximately 4 kilometers west of Tulum, the Gran Cenote is one of the most popular cenotes in the area. It offers crystal-clear waters and the opportunity to swim, dive, or snorkel. It also features areas for sunbathing and exploring underwater rock formations.
Cenote Dos Ojos
This cenote is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tulum. Its name means "Two Eyes" due to the two circular pits connected by an underwater cave system. It’s famous for its clear waters and the opportunity to snorkel or dive among its fascinating rock formations.
Cenote Calavera (Temple of Doom)
Situated near Tulum, this cenote gets its name from its skull-shaped entrance. It’s a small but beautiful cenote (small sinkhole), perfect for diving or simply enjoying a refreshing swim.
The Maya City of Tulum
Historical and Cultural Significance
The park houses the ruins of an ancient Maya city, one of the last places constructed and inhabited by this civilization. Its historical and cultural significance is immeasurable, and the remnants of the rich Maya culture can still be appreciated.
Among the most prominent structures is the Castle, situated on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, and the Temple of the Frescoes, known for its impressive interior murals.
Guided Tour: Suggested Route
We recommend a guided tour to better understand Maya history and culture. The suggested route starts at the main entrance, passing through the Temple of the Frescoes, the Castle, and ending at the beautiful beach at the foot of the cliff.
Activities in the Park
Snorkeling and Diving
Tulum National Park is an ideal location for snorkeling and diving, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and marine biodiversity. Visitors can explore the vibrant coral reef and closely observe sea turtles and other marine species.
Hiking and Bird Watching
The jungle trails offer opportunities for walking and bird watching. With a variety of endemic species, Tulum is a paradise for bird enthusiasts.
Water Activities (Kayaking, Paddleboarding, etc.)
In addition to snorkeling and diving, the park also offers other water activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. Visitors can rent the necessary equipment at the park facilities.
Photography and Picnicking
The panoramic views and abundant wildlife make Tulum an ideal photography spot. There are also designated picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the park’s beauty.
Conservation and Sustainability
Ongoing Conservation Efforts
The park is committed to conserving and protecting its unique ecosystem. This includes sea turtle rehabilitation programs, monitoring the health of the coral reef, and implementing sustainable tourism policies.
How Visitors Can Help
Visitors can help by following park rules and participating in environmental awareness programs. This includes respecting wildlife, not littering, and using only biodegradable sunscreens.
Accommodation and Restaurants
In the vicinity of the park, there are numerous accommodations catering to all budgets, from luxurious all-inclusive resorts to simpler lodgings. The region is also renowned for its delicious and diverse cuisine, with many restaurants and food stalls offering local and international dishes.
Tips for Your Visit
To make the most of your visit, arrive early to avoid crowds, use sunscreen, and bring enough water. Don’t forget your swimsuit to enjoy the beach and snorkeling gear. Remember that it’s important to respect the park’s rules to protect the fauna and flora.
The climate in Tulum is tropical, with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round. The area enjoys good weather most months, with temperatures ranging between 24°C and 32°C. The months from December to March are considered high season, with more moderate temperatures and lower humidity. During these months, you can expect sunny and pleasant days for exploring the park and enjoying its beaches.
The rainy season in Tulum spans from May to October, with September and October being the rainiest months. During this time, intermittent rains are common, usually in the form of intense but short-lived tropical showers. It’s important to note that there may be a higher presence of mosquitoes during these months, and humidity can be high.
If you’re planning a visit to Tulum National Park, we recommend wearing lightweight and breathable clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, and an umbrella or raincoat in case of rain. These are also recommended for sun protection, as the sun can be quite intense, and combined with the high humidity, the visit might be uncomfortable if not during early hours.
Make sure to stay adequately hydrated during your visit, as the high temperatures and humidity can be exhausting.
Remember that the weather can vary, and you might encounter different weather conditions during your visit. Always check the updated weather forecast before your trip and follow the park’s safety recommendations in case of adverse weather conditions.
Health and Safety in the Park
The park is generally safe for visitors, but it’s important to stay on marked trails and follow the instructions of the park staff. In case of emergencies, medical services are available at the park entrance.
Events and Festivals
Annual Events Calendar
Tulum National Park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including music and art festivals, as well as cultural and ecological events.
Cultural and Ecological Festivals
The most notable festivals are the Sea Turtle Festival, which celebrates the nesting of turtles, and the Festival of the Sun, a cultural event that commemorates the spring equinox. These festivals attract visitors from around the world and offer a unique perspective on the region’s culture and ecology.
Beyond the Park
In addition to the park, the Tulum region offers many other attractions, such as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the ruins of Coba, and the numerous cenotes and beaches in the area.
Day Trips from Tulum
If you have extra time, we recommend a day trip to the famous city of Chichén Itzá or the beautiful island of Cozumel. Both destinations offer a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.