Ultimate 3 Days in Tulum Itinerary for Families

Iguana sitting at the beach of Tulum, Mexico
Image by depositphotos.com

Planning on visiting Tulum, Mexico with your family? Then you’re in the right place because this article has the epic itinerary for spending 3 days in Tulum with your family.

In it, you’ll discover all the family-friendly places in Tulum that you won’t want to miss — including the beaches where you’ll find the best snorkeling in Tulum, Mayan Ruins, cenotes (natural jungle pools), and of course, where to find the best tacos in town.

With 3 days to explorer, you can cover a lot of ground in Tulum itself, as this is a small town. However, on Day 3, you’ll be venturing just outside of town on a day trip. The best way to do a day trip with your family is by renting a car in Tulum, and you’ll find some tips for that within the “Day 3” section of the article.

Read on to discover our 3 Days in Tulum Itinerary for Families so you have an unforgettable vacation. 

3 Day Tulum Itinerary for Families, Day 1

Tulum Ruins and Beaches

Tulum Ruins
Credit: Shelley Marmor

Want to sample the top tacos in Tulum? For those, you’ll want to head to Taquería Honorio, located in Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum). This is a no-frills taco joint, beloved by locals and visitors alike — so you know it’s amazing. 

Taquería Honorio is only open for breakfast and lunch, so you’ll want to stop here for breakfast because they often run out of food by midday. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but some standouts include the cochinita pibil tacos (pulled pork) and lechon tacos (roasted pork with crispy skin).

From here, head to the beach, but before jumping in the Caribbean Sea, don’t miss the Tulum Mayan Ruins first. This is one of the coolest Mayan sites in Mexico because it is located right on the beach on a cliff overlooking the sea. 

Coba Ruins
Coba Ruins. Credit: Shelley Marmor

Tulum Ruins site is on the smaller side, so you can tour the whole place in about one hour. The entrance is only 80 pesos ($4 USD) so this is an economical and fun activity the whole family will love.

After seeing the ruins, you’ll want to check out the beaches. Tulum is known as a party town, and many of the beach clubs may not be suited for kids, but you can skip the beach clubs themselves, and just enjoy the beaches.

One of the best free beaches in Tulum (where you don’t need to be a beach club guest) is Playa Santa Fe. There’s also Playa Punta Allen and Playa Boca Paila within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, if you like venturing off the beaten path — and also have a rental car. 

3 Day Tulum Itinerary for Families, Day 2

Cenotes and Lagoons

Descending in cenote
Image by depositphotos.com

Besides the beaches, there are other places to swim in Tulum, like the cenotes and lagoons. For most, no visit to Tulum Mexico is complete without visiting the cenotes (pronounced sen-no-tays), which are sinkholes or natural jungle pools.

If you’re looking to do some snorkeling, don’t forget to pack your mask. There are some amazing snorkeling cenotes that the kids will love. There are also cenotes with ropes swings and play areas perfectly suited for families.

Located just minutes from Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum) don’t miss Cenote Zacil-Ha. It has ropes to hold onto going across the whole cenote, in case anyone in the group can’t swim. There are also regular swimming pools here, a restaurant, restrooms and more.

A few more options include Cenote Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote (AKA Cenote Manatí), Cenote Tankah and Cenotes Casa Tortuga. These are all especially great for snorkeling.

In addition to the cenotes, there are also lagoons in Tulum and near Tulum.

Within Tulum itself, there’s Laguna Kaan Luum. This is a spot popular with locals that’s only recently become on the tourist radar. It is a shallow water lagoon with swings and hammocks in the water, and a cenote in the center of the lagoon.

If you rented a car, you could drive to Yal Ku Lagoon, located near the small town of Akumal. This lagoon is known as the best place for snorkeling that’s not actually in the Caribbean Sea. It is popular with families, and you can easily spend several hours here.

3 Day Tulum Itinerary for Families, Day 3

Take a Tulum Day Trip

Shelley Marmor Mexico travel Tulum solo
Credit: Shelley Marmor

On the final day, you may want to visit a few of the places near Tulum. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is full of options, all within just 1-2 hours of Tulum.

If you don’t mind driving a bit further, head to Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins. It is about three hours from Tulum by car, but it is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, so many find the trip worth it.

If you want to see some ruins closer to Tulum, head to Coba Ruins, which is only about an hour from Downtown Tulum. Unlike at Chichen Itza, you can climb the pyramid at Coba. Coba is the tallest pyramid you can climb in the Yucatan.

El Castillo pyramid at the Maya archaeological site of Chichen Itza
Image by depositphotos.com

Another option is to visit the colorful, colonial town of Valladolid, one of the pueblos magicos (Mexico magic towns). If you want to experience a more authentic side of life in Yucatan, this is the place.

There are historic sites to see, like the Ex-Convento de San Bernardino de Siena. This is a 16th Century Franciscan monastery, and the Valladolid Cathedral in the Zocalo (Town Square). You can also sample some authentic food from the Yucatan Peninsula, which isn’t always easy to find in more touristic towns like Tulum.

Tips on How to Rent a Car in Tulum

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you get your rental car in Tulum:

  1. You need Mexican driving insurance, and your policy from any other country will not cover you in Mexico. Full coverage insurance costs about $20-$40 USD per day.
  2. Tulum is a small town, and rental options are sometimes limited. If you’re visiting during the high season (November to March), make sure you rent your car online before the trip so you don’t end up struggling to find a rental car when you arrive.
  3. Take photos and even video of the entire car, both indeed and outside, to document any pre-existing damage.

Wrap Up: Ultimate 3 Day Tulum Itinerary for Families

There’s a lot to do and see in Tulum — and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular destination in Mexico.

With three days, you can cover a lot of ground, but also enjoy some leisure time just swimming and splashing around at the beach. This itinerary covered all the Tulum must-see sights, so you’ll really feel like you’ve experienced this beach town in a short amount of time.

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Shelley Marmor
Shelley is a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world. She visited Mexico City in 2018, fell in love at first sight, and never left the country! To date, she has traveled to half the states in Mexico, and now lives in Oaxaca. She runs four Mexico sites, Travel Mexico Solo, Travel To Merida, Travel To Oaxaca and Tulum Travel Secrets, to help visitors plan their bucket-list Mexico trip.