After Tulum, we travelled northwest and inland on highway 109. Destination Valladolid, to see some of the ruins and colonial architecture . A little before the halfway mark from the coast to Valladolid, you’ll hit a rotary on 109. Take the rotary around to the third exit (essentially turning left, or southwest) to get to Coba.
A trip to the Riviera Maya wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the little beachside town of Akumal. Travelers make their way to Akumal for those very same beaches, not to mention the turtles. I’m happy to report that we weren’t disappointed with either.
Akumal is about a 30 minute ride north of Tulum on highway 307. The entrance on the south side of 307 leads you straight down to Akumal Bay. Akumal is really made up of three parts: Akumal Bay, Half Moon Bay, and the Akumal Pueblo.
I know you’re sick of RadPad, but this one is just a quick public service announcement in case you haven’t heard yet. Although I’m sure you have heard,it wouldn’t feel right not to cover this. I figure if I’m toting RadPad so often this year, I need to make sure the 0.000003% of humans that actually take my advice get the latest updates.
Between tacos in Tulum, we had our first opportunity to really explore the beautiful Yucatan peninsula. Just a few miles south of the beachside town lies the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve.
Floating through a canal carved by the Mayans to facilitate trade between the coast and the inland settlements. Who said learning couldn’t be relaxing?
Designated a world heritage site in 1987, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve hugs the gorgeous Caribbean coastline on the Yucatan’s east coast. We didn’t have time to fully explore the Reserve, but we were able to do small trip into some of the lagoons and float through a canal carved by the Mayans. I’ll explain below..
But before we got to the Sian Ka’an, we had the opportunity to explore the Muyil archaeological zone, just off highway 307, south of Tulum.
Total trip, we were in the Yucatan for 8 nights, and the first 3 of those we spent in a great AirBnB in the town of Tulum. On a tiny side street, it was quiet enough to get some sleep or plan out our next day, but still close enough to walk into town and sniff out whatever smelled best for dinner.
Although the beachfront is dominated by hotels, similar to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, the town is pretty slow-paced. Staying in town allowed us to feel at least a bit more local, which I love. If you want a spot to take it slow for a bit while traveling the Riviera Maya, Tulum is a great option.
If going slow isn’t your thing, still stop by Tulum. It has some great ruins, beaches, and is in the perfect spot to explore other nearby sites.
If you didn’t guess from those three words, it was a fantastic trip! My son’s first international trip was a huge success, and we all had a great time exploring. I couldn’t have asked for a better weather, which made the trip even better. Before we went, forecasts were reading hot, with thunderstorms every afternoon. Luckily, we only got one torrential downpour, and only one day in Valladolid was it uncomfortable hot.