Tulum is one of the most popular tourist destinations, especially among American travelers. If you’re planning to head down there, then you’re probably wondering what to do. That’s why we’ve put together this Tulum 5 day itinerary. Think of this as a loose guide to adapt according to your preferences. Tulum should be a laid-back adventure but having some plans will help you get the most out of your trip.
As one of the world’s best party destinations, you don’t want to miss out on this side of Tulum. However, it’s important to remember all the other incredible nature tours and cultural experiences you can have there. If you only have five days to play with, make sure you’re able to find time for everything.
A trip to Tulum will be utterly unforgettable. Follow the Tulum 5 day itinerary below to ensure you make the most of your vacation and return home with lifelong memories and stories to tell.
Table of Contents
Day 1: Explore the Tulum Ruins
Start your trip by exploring some culture. Tulum may be known as a luxury beach party resort town but there’s so much more to explore. In particular, the Tulum ruins are among the finest historical sites in North America. Many travelers come to Tulum for this alone, excited to explore the ancient history of this deeply spiritual country. This is simply something that isn’t easily found in the USA but something that everyone needs to make time to explore.
These ruins date back to the 13th and 14th centuries when Tulum was a powerful city-state. This area has been inhabited since at least 564 A.D., making it a fascinating archeological site that amateurs can wander among. For many centuries, it served as an important place of religious ceremony, rather than being a residential area.
You can visit the Tulum ruins on any day of the week between 8 am and 5 pm. However, we recommend going on the first day of your Tulum 5 day itinerary. This is when you’ll be the freshest and most ready to take in this historical masterpiece. You can book a tour but these ruins are within walking distance of the beach and the town. That’s why it’s worth making your own way there.
Whatever you do in Tulum, make sure you visit the ruins. They’re an iconic tourist sight within this amazing resort town. Doing this early helps you tune into the spirituality of this amazing city so you can enjoy a magical experience in Tulum. Just remember to take your time and be respectful to this special place.
Day 2: Day Trip to Sian Ka’an
Exploring the Tulum ruins is an important activity but it shouldn’t take too much time or energy. That’s fine – you don’t want to get too stressed out on your first day in Tulum. However, on day 2 of your Tulum 5 day itinerary, it’s worth exploring further afield. You’ve settled in now and you’re excited to explore more of the surrounding area. Outside of the city itself, Tulum is home to some of the most stunning Mexican tropical paradises you can find.
If you love nature, then few trips are as enchanting as a trip to Sian Ka’an. This is a magical piece of land that can build on the feeling of spirituality that you found while exploring the Tulum ruins on day one. Get in touch with the beauty of nature at this wonderful biosphere reserve. Sian Ka’an translates to Gates of Heaven, which just about sums it up.
The best way to get to Sian Ka’an is to book an eco-tour. This helps you explore the best part of this reserve while minimizing your impact on the biodiversity that exists there. This area was visited by the Ancient Mayan people and, now, you’re following in their footsteps. Treat it with the respect that they would have done.
Sian Ka’an is home to some incredible species of animals including monkeys and crocodiles. If you’re lucky – and if you book a good tour – you’ll have the chance to observe these spectacular creatures without disturbing them. This will be a natural adventure that you won’t forget easily. It’s a bit of a drive from the city center, though, so make sure that you set off bright and early.
Day 3: Relax and Soak it All in
Halfway through your Tulum 5 day itinerary, it’s worth taking a break. Sure, there’s plenty to explore, but you don’t want to get burned out. The trip to Sian Ka’an would have been exhausting so why not reward yourself with a break? It’s worth building this relaxation time into your vacation schedule. This allows you to get through all your activities without becoming exhausted and gives you the energy to enjoy your next few days to the fullest.
Tulum is the ultimate relaxation destination. Sometimes, it’s okay just to find a quiet, peaceful spot and simply soak it all in. Go down to the beach at sunset, order a cocktail from a rooftop bar, or take a walk to the edge of town. The best way to enjoy this side of Tulum is to make sure that you’ve booked a high-quality hotel in which to stay. Don’t be ashamed of spending the entire day by the hotel pool.
There aren’t many places in the world as beautiful as Tulum. If you fill your itinerary with activities and try to do everything, then how will you have time to simply stop, soak it all in, and truly enjoy it? These opportunities to simply do nothing in a tropical paradise don’t come along often. Take your chance while you have it.
If you’re not one to sunbathe all day, then consider renting a boat, going snorkeling, or playing some beach volleyball. Tulum has an incredible population of locals, tourists, and ex-pats who will all be more than happy to keep you entertained. Hook up with others and get involved in relaxing local activities.
Day 4: Travel to Chichen Itza
Now that you’ve fully relaxed and regained your energy, it’s time for another day trip. If you have the opportunity, then it’s well worth leaving Tulum and heading to the amazing Chichen Itza. There’s really nothing like this spectacular monument and you may not get another chance to explore it. The main structures here were built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization between the 8th and 12th Centuries.
There’s a reason that this is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It attracts almost 3 million visitors a year, making it one of the world’s most desirable locations. You’ll regret it if you don’t make the effort to leave Tulum and visit the incredible Chichen Itza. The name translates to something like “enchanter of the water”, revealing its spiritual significance.
From the Tulum ruins to the Sian Ka’an biosphere, this has already been an enchanting trip. There’s no better way to cap it off than by visiting the spectacular site of Chichen Itza. If you have a car, then the journey time is manageable in under 2.5 hours. However, you can also get a local bus that connects Tulum to Chichen Itza in around 2 hours and 40 minutes.
You can either make the journey yourself or support the local economy by booking the tour. Either way, this is an amazing opportunity to get up close to one of the world’s most incredible ancient wonders.
Day 5: Kick Back at a Tulum Beach Club
As your time in Tulum comes to an end, it’s time to do the one thing that so many tourists want to do in Tulum: kick back and party. The cultural stuff was fun but now it’s time to let your hair down and find out why this is one of the most famous tourist destinations on the planet. Head down to a Tulum beach club.
The beaches of Tulum are pristine and picture-perfect. That’s why so many tourists head to this part of the world. They’re not just for sunbathing on, though. During the night, the beaches come alive. The DJ blasts the music and tourists descend onto the sand to party the night away. This will go far beyond any party you’ve had in your hometown.
Be careful, stick with people you can trust, and don’t drink too much. Most party-goers in Tulum have an amazing time but it’s important to be aware of the risks of partying too hard in a foreign country. Pace yourself, enjoy the night, and end your stay in Tulum with a bang.
You’ve done so much on this Tulum 5 day itinerary. You’ve visited the world-famous Tulum ruins, explored the stunning nature of the Sian Ka’an biosphere, and even visited the iconic Chichen Itza. Now, it’s time to attend the best beach party of your life. It’s your last chance before heading home. So, enjoy it. You’ve earned it.