Why not break up your beachgoing with a trip to the city? “Which city?” you may ask—the answer is, you have a few to choose from. Any of these cities within driving distance of The Beach Tulum Hotel will make for a charming visit, and each has its unique appeal.
The city of Valladolid is a 100 km (62 mi) drive from Tulum, Mexico. It’s 45 minutes away from the Chichen Itza ruins, and close to a number of other popular ruins and cenotes. The city is nearly 500 years old, built by the Spanish 1545 from the stones of the Mayan town of Zaci. Visitors can enjoy the antique architecture in the old town, particularly its many old Spanish-style mansions. The Mexican government named Valladolid a “Pueblo Magico” (“Magic Town”) in recognition of its rich history and culture that survive into the present day.
A bit farther out is Tizimín, 150 km (93 mi) by road from Tulum. This charming town’s main landmark is the Parroquia Los Santos Reyes de Tizimín (Church of the Holy Kings). The church is named for the biblical kings who visited the infant Jesus, and the town itself has gotten the nickname “King’s City”. Tizimín holds a yearly festival in honor of the kings, la Fiesta de los Reyes Magos, from December 28 to January 7.
Izamal is 210 km (130 mi) from Tulum by car. The town was once a dedicated to the worship of the Mayan god Itzamná. With a prominent Franciscan monastery built in 1561, and a number of statues of Catholic saints, the town remains a center of spiritual significance today. Some locals believe the many statues perform miracles—as a result, Izamal has become a place of pilgrimage for many faithful.
Like Valladolid, it has been named a “Pueblo Magico”. You can still find horse-drawn carriages on the streets of this quaint town. Many of the old buildings here are painted yellow, earning Izamal the nickname “Yellow City.” Mérida is the capitol of Yucatán and the largest city around. It’s a 263 km (163 mi) drive from Tulum, making it more than a mere day trip away from The Beach Tulum Hotel. However, because of its size, Mérida is a cultural and tourist center, well worth a look.