Top Things to Do in Tulum with Kids
Tulum is a beautiful, eco-friendly, bohemian beach town in the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula. It has quickly become one of the best destinations in Mexico and popular amongst luxury travelers, couples, and yoga enthusiasts – but it is also a great family destination.
There are so many amazing things to do in Tulum with kids. Families can play on endless white sand beaches, explore ancient Mayan ruins, swim in crystal clear cenotes, and take Instagram-worthy family photos. All of which makes Tulum well-known.
You may not know that there are also eco-adventure parks, a hidden lagoon, a contemporary art museum, and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. All of these are more fun things to do in Tulum with kids.
My guide has everything you need to plan the perfect family trip to Tulum. It includes family-friendly hotels, best things to do in Tulum with kids, general things to know, safety tips, and more. So let’s get started!
Best Time to Visit Tulum with Kids
If you are traveling to Tulum with kids, chances are, it is during your kid’s school breaks. Depending on the school (based in the United States), that could be spring, summer, fall, winter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
So of those school breaks, when is the best time to visit Tulum? If you are lucky to have a fall or winter school break, that is when we recommend booking a trip.
The best time to visit Tulum is between late October and mid-December. During this time, it is shoulder season. So there will be great deals on accommodations. Furthermore, the hurricane season is over, and the weather is not too hot or humid.
Tulum is also a great holiday vacation (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and NYE) and spring break destination for families. However, it can be more expensive and more crowded.
Although it may be ideal for families, I do not recommend visiting in the summer. During summer, it is extremely hot, the ocean is brown, and the beaches are covered in sargassum seaweed.
How Many Days in Tulum with Kids?
We recommend staying at least 4 nights in Tulum, but 5 – 6 nights is the best. I will tell you why.
If you are flying into Cancun, it is another 2 hours to the Tulum hotel zone. Therefore, you will spend almost two days of your trip getting to and from Tulum. Of course, you will want some relaxing days on the beach, but hopefully, you want to enjoy some activities too.
A 5-night itinerary in Tulum can look like two days of traveling, two days of excursions, and two days of pure relaxation. We had 5 nights in Tulum and would have liked one more night.
Tips on Traveling to Tulum with Kids
Based on our personal experience, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trip to Tulum with kids.
Transportation from/to Airport
One of the most helpful tips when planning your family vacation is transportation to and from the airport. Especially for a trip to Tulum with kids.
To get from Cancun Airport to Tulum, I highly recommend booking roundtrip private transportation. It is safe, convenient, and easy.
You should also be well aware that when exiting the airport to find transportation, you will be immediately bombarded with taxi drivers trying to earn your fare. If you are not anticipating this experience, it can be very overwhelming.
Book a Private Tour
Traveling with kids is fun, but it can be challenging. So the best way to experience Tulum with kids is to book a private tour.
A private tour lets you go at your own pace and call all the shots. You can deviate from the itinerary to skip or add an excursion based on your family’s needs. Most importantly, a private tour adds a sense of security, and you can enjoy the experience without any stress.
Living Dreams Mexico
I highly recommend booking with Living Dreams Mexico. They are rated #1 on TripAdvisor as the best private tour company, and rightfully so. Everything from the planning process to the private excursions, the knowledge, and the kindness of our local guide – Living Dreams Mexico, made our trip to Tulum with kids perfect!
Living Dreams Mexico creates itineraries individually tailored to their guests’ specifications. There are several signature excursions to choose from, or you can customize your day. If you customize your day (like we did), the local guides will help iron out all the small details to optimize your time and create the ultimate experience.
If you decide to book with Living Dreams Mexico, ask for Claudia! Traveling with three under 3, Claudia was attentive and went the extra mile to help our family in every way possible. She made such an excellent relationship with our family that my toddler gave her the biggest hug when we had to say goodbye.
Needless to say, Claudia made a significant impact on our family. I am confident the team at Living Dreams Mexico will do the same for your family.
Taking probiotics for your trip to Tulum with kids is one of the more essential tips. Probiotics help prep and optimize your immune system, strengthen your gut health, and ensure better health for your trip.
There are probiotics for babies, children, and adults. The probiotics should be taken at least a week before, during, and a week after your trip.
If you have any concerns, I would speak to your pediatrician or primary physician. Moreover, talking with your child’s pediatrician for advice when traveling internationally with kids is always a good idea.
Pack Eco-Friendly Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Packing kid-friendly sunscreen and bug spray for Tulum goes beyond the basics. Tulum is an eco-friendly destination. Therefore specific activities in Tulum, such as swimming in cenotes, will require sunscreen and bug spray that is safe for the environment.
Did you know that sunscreen can harm the overall health of our beautiful ocean and its sea life? It’s true. Most sunscreens contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which hurt coral and contribute to coral bleaching. Therefore, most places in Tulum require eco-friendly (reef-friendly) biodegradable sunscreen.
One of our favorite reef-friendly sunscreens is by THINK. THINK has reef-friendly sunscreen for babies, kids, and adults. Highly recommend!
The mosquitos are fierce in Tulum due to the tropical climate and proximity to water. So you will want bug spray for your family. Again, most places in Tulum will require eco-friendly bug spray.
We recommend the All Terrain Herbal Armor and Bug Bite Thing. When combined, your family should be able to enjoy an itch-free trip in Tulum.
Is it Safe to Travel to Tulum with Kids?
As always, safety comes first. Especially when you are traveling with kids. So is it safe to travel to Tulum with kids?
Truth be told, I cannot answer that for you. However, I can provide some safety tips and information to help you make the best decision for your family.
In general, safety in Mexico has always been a concern for travelers because of negative headlines in the media. It was also a concern for us. So we did our diligent research and found (at the time of our trip) that the risks were not higher than anywhere else in the Caribbean or the United States.
The best resource to stay updated on any risk of traveling to Tulum is the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory (Tulum would be in the Quintana Roo state).
Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling or living abroad to help keep travelers up-to-date on relevant security updates.
STEP will provide you with updated travel advisories, emergency messages, or security threats that may occur at your travel destination before or during your trip. And in any emergency, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate will assist you.
Use General Safety Precautions
One of the best ways to stay safe in Tulum is to use your best judgment and general safety precautions.
I do not recommend traveling at night in Tulum with kids. I would also watch your surroundings because petty theft can happen (like anywhere else). Stay in popular areas such as the hotel zone, and do not wander around any abandoned streets.
This should be obvious – stay away from drugs and drug-related activities. When there are cases of violent crime, it is usually in drug-related areas.
Book a Tour
Again, We recommend booking a private tour when traveling to Tulum with kids, but booking any tour is still a better option than doing a self-guided tour.
A group or private tour is so easy and convenient for families. A tour will provide transportation services to pick up and drop off your family at the hotel, have a knowledgeable guide, and, overall, allow you to relax and enjoy the experience. More importantly, a tour will provide safety and comfort to you and your family.
Do NOT Post on Social Media
When you are traveling, we recommend not posting on social media for any trip. I know, I know. You are excited and want to share where you are with friends and family. Trust me, I understand.
So hear me out. When you post about your travel whereabouts on social media, you invite people to break into your home or find/stalk you at your destination. Yes, this does happen! Do not go live, do not share where you are staying, and do not share where you are going that day.
Enjoy your trip. Be in the moment! Then when you return home, you can share everything!
Where to Stay in Tulum with Kids
Tulum is well-known for its luxurious boutique hotels along the coast, primarily catering to adults, but there are a few kid-friendly hotels in Tulum too.
Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya – All-Inclusive Resort
It is no secret that the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is lined with all-inclusive hotels. However, keeping with the boho theme, Tulum does not have all-inclusive hotels. The closest one is Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya Resort, and it is an AMAZING place to stay in Tulum with kids.
The Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya Resort is a playground for adults, kids, and kids at heart. There is no adults-only section except one adults-only pool, but a specifically designated family zone exists.
An epic waterpark with four water slides and a water bucket at Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya Resort. The family zone has an epic water park, a playground, and a kids club. There is also a pool, buffet-style restaurant, and bar. As a family of five, we LOVED our time at the family zone!
Every day the hotel hosts cultural activities and nightly entertainment for adults and children. Additionally, the Kids Club will host special nightly activities such as a disco party, movie nights, and more.
The Kids Club has a creativity corner, a two-story trampoline, books, and board games. There is also a toddler room (a parent must be present) and a designated Teens Club. The Teens Club has foosball, video games, a movie room, and more. The Kids Club also offers certified babysitters for an additional cost.
Although the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya Resort is located in Tulum, it is outside Tulum’s hotel zone (the beach town). Therefore, you will need to find transportation or book tours to enjoy excursions and reach the beach town. Nevertheless, this is one of Mexico’s best (kid-friendly) all-inclusive hotels.
La Zebra Beachfront Hotel
If you want your family to be in the heart of Tulum, then I highly recommend La Zebra Beachfront Hotel. La Zebra Beachfront Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant perfectly suited for a romantic getaway and family vacation.
La Zebra Beachfront Hotel has one of the best white beaches in Tulum. Moreover, it has everything you need for a relaxing and fun family vacation.
The luxurious beachfront resort has six different room categories, all with epic views of the Caribbean Sea. The suites either have a private plunge pool or an expansive balcony. With that said, the resort does not have a public pool. So if you do not have a plunge pool, then the only place to swim is the ocean.
La Zebra Beachfront Hotel has an authentic Mexican cuisine restaurant on-site, handcrafted cocktails, a luxurious spa, a kid’s corner for daily arts and crafts, a small wooden playground, and family movie nights. It is also one of the most family-friendly beach clubs.
Explore Ancient Mayan Ruins
Mexico has been home to several indigenous tribes over the centuries, but the Mayan civilization is the most well-known. There are incredible ancient Mayan ruins throughout Mexico, but the best ones are in the Yucatan Peninsula. And of those, three are located in and near Tulum.
A trip to Tulum is only complete with a visit to the Tulum Ruins. This ancient walled city dates back to the 13th century and sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean.
One look from the cliffside overlooking the ruins and turquoise waters, and you will understand why the Tulum Ruins are among the most popular places to see in the Yucatan Peninsula. The views are breathtaking.
The Tulum Ruins are one of the smaller ancient cities compared to other Mayan sites. Nonetheless, you can expect to spend at least two hours exploring the ancient city. So bring plenty of water, take breaks in the shade, and wear sunscreen.
In addition to exploring the ruins and soaking in scenic views, you can swim at the beach cove below the site. Tulum Ruins Beach (Playita Tortugas) is one of Mexico’s prettiest places to swim. Where else can you swim in turquoise waters with an ancient Mayan city in view?
We recommend visiting the Tulum Ruins at 8 am when the Tulum National Park opens to beat the crowds and the heat. You can bring a stroller for young children at the Tulum Ruins because the site is handicap accessible. However, we sometimes had to carry the stroller over steps because of specific paths. In this case, a baby carrier might be your best option to explore the Tulum Ruins on any path.
The Coba Ruins are another wonderful ancient city nestled in the jungle, just 45 minutes from Tulum. It is one of the oldest settlements in the ancient Mayan world and is considered one of the least excavated sites.
Our visit to the Coba Ruins is one of my favorite Tulum experiences because you can walk or ride the sacbe, one of the most advanced roads in the ancient world. The main attraction of Coba Ruins is Nohoch Mul Pyramid, about one mile from the entrance.
We recommend hiring a bike taxi for 100 pesos (plus a tip for the driver) to get to the pyramid with the kids. If you have older kids, another fun option is to rent bikes for 50 pesos. Either way, a bike ride through the jungle on the sacbe is an incredible experience in Tulum with kids.
Coba Ruins has several structures to discover, but the highlight is Nohoch Mul Pyramid. Nohoch Mul stands 137 feet high and is one of the most beautiful pyramids in Mexico.
Before 2022, you were allowed to climb 130 steps to the top of Nohoch Mul. Today, visitors can no longer climb the pyramid to help with its preservation.
The Muyil Ruins might not be as famous as the other ancient city sites in Tulum, but they are still some of the most magnificent ruins in Mexico.
The Muyil Ruins structures are known as Peten architecture, steep-walled pyramids similar to the Tikal Mayan Ruins found in Guatemala. Of all the structures on site, you cannot miss the Castillo – one of the most beautiful ancient Mayan structures in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a towering five-tiered pyramid with a small temple on top.
Another highlight of the Muyil Ruins is navigating through the jungle to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Visitors can pay an extra fee of 50 pesos to walk on the raised boardwalk to the Muyil lagoon. Here you can experience beautiful flora and fauna with incredible views of Sian Ka’an.
Moreover, one of the best ways to visit Muyil Ruins is with a combined tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. (More information on Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is below).
Play in the Sand at La Zebra Beach Club
A family with three kids wearing matching swimsuits on the beach at La Zebra in Tulum.
As one of the best beach town destinations in Mexico, a visit to Tulum is not complete without stepping on the soft white sand and enjoying the gorgeous turquoise Caribbean waters. Thus, one of the best things to do in Tulum with kids is to play on the beach.
While there are public beaches, going to a trendy beach club is one of the most popular things to do in Tulum. Yes, most of the best beach clubs in Tulum are for partying. However, La Zebra is one of the most laid-back beach clubs, making it appealing to families. La Zebra Beach Club has an eco-friendly playground, a kid’s activity center, and family-friendly movie nights.
In addition to playing on the beach, our son had the best time playing on the eco-friendly playground and exploring his creativity at the arts and craft table. As an adult, there are also fun places to hang out and get that “Instagram-worthy” photo on the adult swings and hammocks.
La Zebra Beach Club does not have an entrance fee to enjoy the beach and its amenities. However, if you want to rent a daybed, it is $60 per person, which goes towards the food and beverage tab. The day beds are a great deal if you plan on spending several hours here. There are also towels available for $10.
If enjoying the pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters is your primary reason for visiting Tulum, do not visit during sargassum season. You will be severely disappointed if you do. The best time to visit Tulum beaches in its prime is from November – April.
Swim in a Cenote
A cenote is a natural limestone sinkhole filled with crystal-clear water – a beautiful result of cave ceilings collapsing over 60 million years ago.
There are three types of cenotes: open-air (a lagoon or natural pool), semi-open (half cave, half open air), and closed cave cenotes (underground). Each one has unique characteristics but is just as majestic as the other.
The Yucatan Peninsula has over 6,000 cenotes! Of those, some of the best cenotes are in Tulum. Thus, swimming in a cenote is one of the best things to do in Tulum with kids. Here are some of the most family-friendly cenotes in and near Tulum.
Most cenotes offer lifejacket rentals for adults and older kids, but if you have young children, you will most likely need to bring your own. If you need a recommendation, we love our lightweight toddler life jacket. It was perfect for swimming in the cenotes.
Make sure you research any cenote you want to visit because some cenotes have reported cases of E. coli.
Cenote Zacil-Ha is one of the more developed cenotes with lots of amenities. There is a restaurant, lounge chairs, additional swimming pools, and a zip line. Yes, a zip-line!
Therefore, it is a popular cenote to visit in Tulum and one of the best family-friendly cenotes. The open-air cenote is also a great family cenote for those with younger children because the waters are shallow (about 10 feet deep) end enclosed with rocks.
Cenote Aktun Ha (more commonly known as Carwash)
Cenote Carwash is a peaceful, open-air cenote about 6 miles outside Downtown Tulum and en route to Coba Ruins, which makes it the perfect place to stop after a morning of exploring an ancient Mayan city. It is also next to Cenote Zacil-Ha. So if you have time, you can visit both cenotes.
There are several fun things to do at Cenote Carwash. You can enjoy a peaceful swim, jump from the diving platform, jump from a rope swing, and scuba or snorkel with sea turtles and colorful fish.
When you combine its remoteness, laid-back atmosphere, and fun rope swing – Carwash is one of the best cenotes to visit in Tulum with kids.
Gran Cenote is the most popular and Instagrammable cenote in Tulum. If you plan to visit Gran Cenote, you should arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
Despite the crowds and popularity, the cenote is gorgeous. The semi-open cenote has two crystal clear pools connected by a series of wooden boardwalks. Caves, caverns, and a lush jungle also surround the natural pools.
One of the pools is pretty shallow, which is excellent for families with younger kids. The other pool is fantastic for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Swim in a Hidden Lagoon
Kaan Luum Lagoon is one of the best-hidden gems in the Riviera Maya. It is a secret swimming hole, almost perfectly circular, surrounded by the jungle. Due to its remoteness (15 minutes outside of Tulum’s beach town), it is more popular with locals than tourists.
In the center of the lagoon is a cenote with a deep dark blue color. Encompassing the dark blue circle, the color of the water turns into lighter shades of blue and turquoise. Thus, making Kaan Luum Lagoon undeniably one of Tulum’s most beautiful natural attractions.
Most people visit Kaan Luum Lagoon to escape the crowded cenotes, swim in shallow waters, and relax on the Instagram-worthy wooden pier and hammocks. You can also enjoy more adventurous activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and even lathering yourself in a Mayan mud bath.
With fewer crowds and shallow waters, the Kaan Luum Lagoon is one of Tulum’s best places to visit with kids.
Sunscreen (even eco-friendly biodegradable sunscreen) is not allowed at Kaan Luum Lagoon. So bring your sun hats and rash guards to protect yourself from the sun.
Find Wildlife at Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
If your kids want to see and experience wildlife, you must visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is just south of Tulum, about 20 minutes away but because it is a large reserve and not easily accessible, consider this a day trip.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one of Mexico’s most beautiful and protected natural areas. Moreover, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site home to turtles, land crabs, manatees, dolphins, crocodiles, pink flamingos, jaguars, pumas, and so much more.
Although you can visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve on your own, booking a tour is highly recommended. The tours can take you to hidden lagoons, into the mangrove channels, float the ancient Mayan Canals, and out into the open waters around the peninsula.
At Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, you can snorkel in crystalline turquoise waters at the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest carrier reef in the world. You can hike through the lush jungle filled with hundreds of species of birds, flora, and animals. Or enjoy a boat ride among dolphins, stingrays, manatees, and crocodiles.
Take Instagram-Worthy Family Photos
Tulum became a popular destination in the Riviera Maya thanks to Instagram influencers shining a light on the boho beach town.
Before Tulum’s social media fame, there were genuinely beautiful photo opportunities, mostly involving natural attractions and eco-friendly art. Now, there are photo opportunities almost everywhere you look!
Local businesses in Tulum do not shy away from any Instagram-worthy photo opportunity. You can easily find cute rope swings as chairs at a beach bar, hammocks in the water, and colorful TULUM signs to make your social media accounts glamorous – but none are as famous as Ven a La Luz and Follow That Dream Sign.
Ven a La Luz
Ven a La Luz is a famous art sculpture by the talented artist Daniel Popper. The wooden sculpture of a woman opening her chest cavity represents the connection between human beings and nature, which is Tulum’s overall goal and theme. A beautiful meaning to a beautiful piece of art.
Thanks to Instagram, Ven a La Luz is as iconic to Tulum as the Tulum Ruins. It garnered so much fame it relocated to the Ahau Sculpture Exhibition Park.
You can visit Ven a La Luz and capture your Instagram-worthy family photo for a small fee of 60 pesos (about $3 USD). To avoid long lines, we recommend arriving as soon as Ahau Sculpture Exhibition Park opens at 9 am.
Follow That Dream
Another famous Instagram spot in Tulum is a simple green sign that reads “Follow That Dream.” It’s located on Tulum Beach Road in front of Lolita & Lolita Boutique. The street sign is a great family photo opportunity and a fun reminder to inspire your kids to follow their dreams.
Have Fun at an Eco-Adventure Park
An eco-adventure park is essentially an amusement park in a natural environment, and they have become a popular attraction in Mexico. Thus, going to an eco-adventure park is one of the best and most exciting things to do in Tulum with kids.
One of the biggest eco-adventure parks in Mexico is by Grupo Xcaret, and several are located in the most popular destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula. Therefore, one is located in Tulum and is called Xel-Há Park.
If your family loves to be in the water, this is one of the best places to visit in Tulum with kids! Xel-Há Park is an all-inclusive aquatic ecological adventure park that offers fun activities and attractions for the whole family. Ideally, you want to spend an entire day here because there are over 20 attractions at Xel-Há Park.
The aquatic ecological adventure park is a natural aquarium filled with amazing sea life. The crystal clear lagoon has calm waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling to discover tropical fish.
Other popular attractions include zip-lining, sea trekking, floating the river, cliff jumping, and more. Xel-Há Park also has an area for young children called, Children’s World, which has a wading pool, playground, water slide, rope climb, seesaw, crocodile tunnel, water lilies, and more.
Search for Iguanas
Searching for iguanas might sound like a silly thing to do in Tulum with kids, but our son (a toddler at the time) LOVED seeing all the iguanas. And if I am being honest, so did my husband and I.
Iguanas are everywhere in Tulum! We found them always wandering around our resort, but the best place to find iguanas is at the Tulum Ruins. Black Spiny Tailed Iguanas inhabit the ancient city as they are native to southern Mexico and Central America.
You will find the iguanas perched on the ruins or along the coastline cliffs, which make for some picturesque photos. Remember that although these beautiful reptiles are tame and accustomed to tourists, they are still wild. Do not try to touch them.
Admire SFER IK Museum
SFER IK is a contemporary museum that allows visitors to experience the connection between art and nature in an awe-inspiring architectural landscape. By the end of your visit, walking barefoot through the museum, SFER IK will have captivated your mind, body, and spirit.
Like most museums, SFER IK is not the most exciting thing to do in Tulum with kids. However, it is too beautiful to miss.
The museum’s building and interior design is an architectural wonder. Walking on the vine-like bejuco wooden walkway is a unique experience that makes you feel like a part of the jungle just outside the walls.
I hope you have found our guide to Tulum with kids inspiring and helpful. It is a beautiful family-friendly destination that we hope you enjoy as much as we did!