The main draw in Tulum, Mexico, is Tulum National Park and its Mayan ruins, but there is also a quiet inland town and a beach area with laid-back resorts. Most visitors stay in Cancun and join a tour or take the 80-minute drive south on their own.
The Mayan ruins are the remains of a fortress city and the only one that was built overlooking the ocean. The main structure, El Castillo, sits on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean. It is surrounded by lush greenery and sits next to a white sand beach, perfect for swimming. Pathways lead visitors around the complex.
The roadway to the ruins leads past the Mayan pole flyers. This group of native descendants climb up to the top of a tall pole, tie their ankles together with cord, and then leap off, circling the tower in midair. It's close to the parking lot where vendors offer souvenirs, food and drink.
Overnight accommodations are available in the town of Tulum or along the coast. Most of the hotels in town are clustered along Highway 307 and are close to restaurants, bars and shops. Hotels along the coast vary from deluxe but smallish properties such as the Mezzanine to eco-friendly cabanas and casitas at the Papaya Playa Project. The lightly developed coast has a more relaxing atmosphere than busy Cancun.