Tulum is a natural playground. With one of the world’s largest underground water systems, wellspring exploration abounds. Zip-line through the jungle and rappel into a cave followed by a big jump into a cenote. Fresh or open water diving, snorkeling, and fishing tours are offered by the on-site PADI dive shop. The Sian Ka’an Reserve has premier fly-fishing as well as spectacular bird watching. Swimming with whale sharks and turtles provides a special connection to nature. Kite surfing is the patron sport of Tulum and stand up paddle boarding beckons to surfers and fitness buffs alike. For more refined activities, there is world-class golf nearby, with several excellent courses including one PGA Tour site. Archeology is everywhere with four major Mayan ruin sites and many outcroppings in the area. The colonial town of Valladolid boasts old convents, an authentic mercado, quaint museums and cacao and perfumery boutiques. Catering to the romantic, ZAMAS offers secluded beach picnics, offshore boat tours of the Tulum ruins and private terrace dinners. In-room spa services will make the day complete.
Located on a cliff right above the sea, many say the Tulum ruins have the most beautiful setting of any Mayan site. Known as Zamma (place of the rising sun) in ancient times, its many altars, temples and shrines were associated with dawn. (A 10 minute drive from ZAMAS)
Still a largely unexcavated jungle ruin, Cobá offers an experience of the Mayan world still shrouded in mystery. Its pyramid of Nohoch Mul is the tallest pre-Hispanic structure in the Yucatan. More than 50 ancient clay roads, most still hidden in dense jungle, once led directly into this important center of Mayan culture. (A 45 minute drive from ZAMAS)
Built around a grand central pyramid and two large palaces, EK Balam is believed to have been inhabited for nearly 1000 years, longer than any other Mayan site in the Yucatan. (A 2 hour drive from ZAMAS)
Named "mouth of the Itzá well" for its impressive Sacred Cenote, Chichen Itzá is the most completely restored and among the most important of Mayan archaeological sites. (A 2-1/2 hour drive from ZAMAS)
Fresh water pools located in the jungle or along the beach, cenotes are one of the unique treasures of the Maya Riviera. Perfect for swimming, snorkeling and exploring. Here are just a few in the area, or ask the locals for their favorites:
- Climb down into, and swim through, the water-filled caves. Gran Cenote is great for recreational swimming, snorkeling, and cave diving. You’ll be surrounded by vibrant flora and fauna, small fish, bats, and stalactites and stalagmites. The more adventurous can even take a leap off the side of the cenote, plunging into the refreshing water below.
Feel like you are discovering this cenote for the first time as you trek (or drive) through the jungle to reach this oasis of clear water surrounded by imposing boulders. Dive from the side out into the cool water and marvel at the world around you.
A river cenote, with the sea on one side and expanses of mangrove on the other. Great for an introductory open water dive or to kayak up the river. Rumor has it several manatees frequent this spot during certain times of year.
Spectacular caverns that are part of an extensive underground system of cenotes. The name refers to two neighboring cenote “eyes” on either side of a stunning fresh water cave. Guided snorkeling tours or dives for experienced divers are available. Ask at reception for our favorite guides!
Snorkeling in the cove at ZAMAS offers a colorful variety of fish, many of whom live in a submerged shipwreck about 20 meters out. For more adventurous snorkeling, boat tours can be arranged with our on-site dive shop to visit the reef about 200 meters offshore, local cenotes, or even to see the Tulum ruins from the water! Ask at reception about whale shark tours during the summer months.
The Yucatan offers some of the most spectacular diving in the world. Protected coves, vast underwater caverns, and cenotes offer experiences for every level, from the novice to the professional. Guided dives and tours are available through our on-site dive shop or any of the local dive shops.
Cavern and Cenote Diving
Experts only or with a qualified professional guide. With the region’s vast underground river system, challenging cave dives, thrilling night dives, and exploratory cavern dives abound. For lessons, certification and guided expeditions, please visit our on-site dive shop.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an is prime trekking ground for those who want to experience jungle wildlife amidst pristine rain forest and Mayan ruins. Set aside in 1986, the Reserve was established to preserve vast tracts of coastal and marine habitat, coastal reefs, savannas, mangroves, and tropical forests. It is popular with birdwatchers, beachcombers, and fly fishermen. Jeep and boat tours are available. (A 10-minute drive south of ZAMAS to the Reserve entrance. A 2 1/2-hour drive along dirt roads through the Reserve to the fishing village of Punta Allen.)
Deep water sportfishing
The Yucatan is justly famous for its sportfishing. Turquoise seas of dolphins and turtles lend themselves as the backdrop to your journey. Tours can be arranged at our on-site dive shop and at Punta Allen in the Sian Ka’an Reserve (2 1/2-hour drive from ZAMAS)
The fresh water lagoons in the Sian Ka’an Reserve offer some of the best fly-fishing in the world. The Boca Paila Lagoon is 25-45 minutes from ZAMAS. Tours can be arranged at our on-site dive shop or at Boca Paila.
ZAMAS supports sustainable development of the Riviera Maya. Please be conscious of your footprint as you visit the incredible natural habitats that surround us. We’d be delighted to tell you more about the efforts of businesses, parks, and natural sites in the area that support this goal for a bright future.
The largest entertainment development on the coast. Great for the traditional Mayan and Mexican shows and dancing from many areas. (A 45-minute drive from ZAMAS)
The "world's largest aquarium", this natural lagoon is impressive and offers a full day of exploration. Activities include snorkeling, trail excursions, and swimming with dolphins. (A 15-minute drive north from ZAMAS )
Explore the huge cave and zip line over a half mile of jungle canopy. Stalactites, stalagmites, flora, and fauna abound in this natural adventure park just 20 minutes north of ZAMAS.
The lagoon is nestled within the area of Akumal and is a smaller version of Xel-Ha; it's a nice afternoon excursion. (A 25-minute drive north from ZAMAS)
ZAMAS offers weekly guided tours of the burgeoning local art scene. The tour winds through the streets of Tulum and offers a new perspective to visitors of the area on the town’s Mayan history and modern evolution. It ends with margaritas at ZAMAS in front of the restaurant’s famous beachfront view.
The tour features murals by renowned artists from around the world that have shown work in New York, London, Miami, and Costa Rica, to name a few locales. They include prominent contemporary artists such as Jorge Tellaeche, whom GQ Mexico called “one of the most important artists of the moment.” A believer in the power art can wield in a community, Tellaeche said his mural was “inspired by Tulum, its wind that I feel can heal your soul.” Dedicating her work to “all the colorful Mayan women of Mexico,” Maria “Toofly” Castilla recently completed a mural on the wall of the Sirena, an all-female hostel and art gallery. An unquestionable highlight of the tour is Giorgio Casu’s modernized image of the Mayan Vessel outside the Mayan Church, where the traditions of the local Mayan community continue to be celebrated today.
Upon request, hotel guests will be provided with a self-guided tour of the murals, in English or Spanish.
Kayaks are available for rent in the Sian Ka’an Reserve and at Laguna Kaan Luum, which is also well known for its paddleboarding offerings and relaxed local vibe. Kiteboarding and paddleboarding abound on the beaches of Tulum and on day trips to Progreso, Yucatán. Rentals, lessons, and tours are available at local dive shops. Please ask at reception for information.
A spectacular 45 kilometer stretch of beach runs south of ZAMAS through the Sian Ka’an Reserve. Perfect for strolls of any length, trekking, sunbathing, body surfing and romantic sojourns. To the north a 5 mile hike through protected beach coves and over coastal bluffs ends at the majestic Tulum Ruins.
There are several on-site shops at ZAMAS. Mixik is full of colorful Mexican folk art and gifts; it has another location in Tulum Pueblo. Shalom, which also has a second location in town, offers trendy women’s clothing and accessories from Mexico and Europe. Josa Tulum is just down the road from ZAMAS, selling high-end beach dresses and totes. In Tulum Pueblo our favorite stores are Las Joyas de Adelita and La Llorona, which feature stunning handmade jewelry and local crafts.
The Mayakoba course, which will host Mexico’s only PGA tour event in 2013, is a 45 minute drive from ZAMAS. The Riviera Maya Golf Club is just 20 minutes from ZAMAS and boasts the 3rd best course in Mexico according to Golf & Spa Magazine. Another great course on the Maya Riviera for serious golfers is Playacar Golf, an 18-hole, par 72 championship course.