Situated on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is known for its coastal and jungle archaeological ruins, charming beaches, reserved areas, and dream cenotes in the Riviera Maya. Here is a list of seven day trips from Tulum you can’t miss.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. This protected natural area of 528 thousand hectares is shared by the Quintana Roo towns of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. The reserve is located 31 miles from Tulum, and it’s worth admiring for its archaeological ruins, islets, sandy areas, cenotes, mangroves, and other environments, among which are settled more than 20 Mayan communities that live in perfect harmony with their natural habitat. The islets are beautiful, comprised of trees measuring up to 100 feet high that rise between the wetlands and constitute almost unique ecosystems in the world.
Valladolid is a beautiful city that was designated as a Magical Town in 2012. In addition, being in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, it is a great base to tour the area. Valladolid does not have a beach, but it has beautiful colonial-style houses and churches and is surrounded by cenotes; there is even one downtown! With a population of 50,000, it’s one of the most populous municipalities in the state. Other attractions include the cenotes Zací, Ik-Kil, Saamal and Samula as well as the natural reserves Rio Lagartos and Punta Lagunas.
Thirty miles from Tulum, the archaeological site of Coba is nestled in the jungle of Quintana Roo. This archaeological site in which the Pyramid of Nohoch Mul stands out, measuring almost 140 feet in height, it’s the highest pre-Hispanic construction in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Pyramid of Nohoch Mul has 120 steps, and from the top, you have spectacular views of the immense green carpet of the jungle, embellished by the blue waters of the lagoons. Some architectural details of Coba suggest that it maintained close relations with other pre-Columbian communities of the central region of Mexico, particularly with Teotihuacán.
Chichen Itza is the second most visited archaeological site in Mexico and is the most famous Mayan city in the world. The enclosure is located in the town of Pisté in the state of Yucatán. Undoubtedly, the pyramid of Kukulcan is the most important construction of the archaeological zone and the most attractive. The Pyramid of Kukulcan stands out for its imposing size and symmetry. It sits on a 180 feet platform and is 79 feet high. In the building, you can see certain decoration elements related to astronomy, geometry, and mathematics. The symmetry of the temple represents the Mayan calendar. This is one of the true wonders of the Mayan civilization you must visit.
This coastal strip of Quintana Roo, located 18 miles north of Tulum, was the second runner to Cancun in the competition to select the place where a holiday complex of grand proportions and high standard was going to be developed. In the end, Cancun won, and Akumal was left with its wild and undisturbed beauty, which now constitutes its main attraction. The coast of Akumal is formed by caves and caverns in which the corals have a particular morphology, creating wonderful environments for diving and snorkeling. The Akumal area is also dotted with cenotes of great beauty, such as El Azul and El Eden. At the same time, archaeological tourists can admire a Mayan shrine located in the cove of Xaac.
Tulum and its surrounding areas are dotted with cenotes, the wonderful aquatic bodies formed by the slow dissolution of the limestone surface mantle by the effect of the waters. The Mayans believed that the cenotes were the entrance to the underworld or world of the dead, but beyond mythology, in these magnificent sites, life bustles, as can be attested by the thousands of tourists who go to dive and swim in them. The Cenote Dos Ojos is named for its two cavities that look like the eyes of a stony and colossal monster. It’s integrated into a system of underwater caves more than 38 miles long, making it a true paradise for divers.
White and smooth sand, warm and crisp waters with incomparable blues, radiant and hot sun, and the best Caribbean cocktails are what awaits you in Playa Paraíso, for many, the most spectacular sandy area in Mexico. This natural jewel of the Riviera Maya is located 4 miles from Tulum. It has all the services and entertainment for you to spend a splendid day sunbathing, resting, swimming, reading, or sharing with friends while parading margaritas, ice-cold beers, and piña coladas.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com