Tulum is famous for a lot of fun water activities. Catching a wave, however, is not one of them.
Surfing in Tulum isn’t the most ideal. According to surf enthusiasts, strong waves and winds are needed to make a great surf spot. The gentle waves in Tulum, although great for swimming, are not ideal for surfing. The wind in this part of the Mexican Caribbean is usually calm, too.
Other Activities To Do on Tulum Beach
So Tulum isn’t ideal for surfing, now what? Well, this coastal town offers plenty of other activities that are just as fun (perhaps even more amusing). Here’s a rundown of other experiences you can enjoy in Tulum.
- Hit the Beach. Tulum’s ten-kilometer coastal path stretches along the eastern front of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Most tourists visit this coastal town because of its white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. If you’re in Tulum, you definitely shouldn’t miss its sun, sand, and sea!
- Tour Archaeological Sites. You can also wander around the archaeological sites in Tulum and Coba. Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the Tulum Archaeological Zone is one of the most visited ruins in Mexico. This ancient walled city was an important trading port between the 13th and 15th centuries. If you want a larger archaeological zone, you can also visit the Cobá Ruins just 30 miles from Tulum.
- Visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Sian Ka’an means “gate of heaven” in Yucatec Mayan. Indeed, this protected natural reserve looks like a place where heaven begins. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Known for its complex biodiversity and beauty, this reserve is home to thousands of flora and fauna species. There are wide sandy beaches, small bays, and mangroves along the coastal part of Sian Ka’an. The coral reef here is the second largest of its kind, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
- Explore Nearby Cenotes. Cenotes are large pool-like pits that have formed over centuries due to sedimentary limestone rocks collapsing. There are approximately 6,000 cenotes in the entire Yucatan Peninsula, and Tulum is home to some of the most popular ones. Cenotes are great for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. If you’re interested to learn more, here’s a guide on the best cenotes in and near Tulum.
- Attend Yoga Classes. Tulum has an abundance of studios with amazing yoga instructors from around the world. Yoga shalas nestled between Tulum beach and the jungle offer spaces to flow and connect with nature. Some enthusiasts even consider Tulum as home to the best yoga retreats. Read more about yoga in Tulum here.
- Treat Yourself to Spa and Mayan Healing Treatments. Tulum is an excellent destination for rest and rejuvenation. World-class spa hotels and yoga resorts make it the perfect setting for wellness retreats. Here’s a list of the 5 best spas in Tulum.
- Dance the Night Away. Tulum is also known for its lively nightlife. Various beach clubs and several bars in Tulum Town throw epic dance parties.
- Enjoy Fresh (Sea)food. Tulum has plenty of top-notch restaurants offering Mexican, American, and other international cuisines. Some of which are even led by Michelin star chefs. Sample the catch of the day or indulge in delicious fish tacos, guacamoles, ceviches, and many more.
Alternate Water Activities and Surf Lessons in Tulum
Although not the most ideal in surfing, Tulum is still great for several other water sports. Here are some activities that can get you active in the water.
- Kitesurfing. Kiteboarding (a.ka. kitesurfing) is a great alternative. You’re basically also surfing while holding on to a specially designed kite, using the wind for thrust. A sunny, cloudless day with side-shore winds blowing in the 15 to 20 knots range makes good kiteboarding conditions. Wind strength in Tulum goes from 12 to 25 knots, making it a pleasant spot for kitesurfing. The best time for kiteboarding in Tulum is between November and May. Pair the pleasant weather with Tulum’s beautiful scenery, you’ll surely have a great time kitesurfing!
- Foil surfing. This activity requires a good amount of balance. It’s a sport where you ride a surfboard that has a hydrofoil attached to it instead of a fin, allowing you to fly above the water. Book a surf lesson with Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf. They teach the basics of foil surfing at Ahau Tulum. Board and gear rentals are available.
- Standup paddleboarding (SUP). Standup paddleboarding is a water sport that offers a way to play on the water while working out your whole body. You stand at full height on a board and use a paddle to propel you through the water. It gives you a stance for looking at what’s under the water and out on the horizon. Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf offers private tours and various kinds of SUPs in different locations. You can try the Cenote SUP in Casa Cenote, Lagoon SUP in Kaan Luum Lagoon, Reef SUP in Soliman Bay, or Ruins SUP in Tulum Ruins.
Where To Surf in Tulum (if You Really Want to): The Best Surf Lesson in Tulum
So we’ve already established that Tulum Beach is not exactly a surf destination. However, in windy conditions, Tulum can also get wavy enough for you to learn the basics of surfing.
If you really don’t want to leave Tulum without surfing, you can sign up for a surf lesson on the beach of the upscale beach resort Ahau Tulum. You’ll be taught by local surfers how to paddle on the board, what the correct position is to catch the wave, and more surfing tips and tricks.
Great Surf Spots in Mexico
Generally, the Pacific coast of Mexico is more ideal for surfing than the Caribbean side. With a coastline that stretches over 4,500 miles, Mexico’s west coast offers plenty of spots you can surf on.
If you’re looking for the most ideal surf conditions in Mexico, here’s a list of some of the best spots to catch a wave:
- Sayulita, Nayarit. If you want to learn how to surf, then you should head to Sayulita in Riviera Nayarit. Home to some of the best surfers in the world, this small fishing village is a famous surf spot for beginners.
- Ensenada, Baja California. Just 70 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border, Ensenada in Baja California is another popular spot where both beginners and professionals can surf. The waves here are suitable for extreme sports. So if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, consider going to Ensenada.
- Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Oaxaca in southern Mexico is another recommended area by surf enthusiasts. The beach town of Puerto Escondido is great for those who want to surf without the vast crowds. The waves in this region are big, so advance-only surfing is usually offered here. If you want more beginner-friendly waves, you may head to San Agustinillo or Playa Carrizalillo, Oaxaca.
Tulum isn’t exactly a surf spot, but it still doesn’t fall short in entertaining its visitors. With plenty of activities, you’ll surely still have fun in this quaint little Mayan town. If you’re looking for great spots to surf on, Mexico has a lot of other beaches that have stronger winds and waves.
In case you’re wondering when the best time to surf is, it actually depends on where in Mexico you plan to go. Surf season starts in April and ends around October. Take note, though, that hurricane season is from June to October. However, November to May are the best months if you plan to do water sports on Tulum Beach.