With its turquoise water, powder white sand, giant sea tortoises and iguanas, Tulum’s uncrowded beaches are some of the world’s most pristine and unspoiled. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler recently dubbed them “The Most Beautiful Beaches in the World”

In addition to its beaches, Tulum is renowned for its first-rate kite surfing, its ubiquitous yoga and spa culture (proclaimed to be the next “Yoga Tourist Hotspot” by The New York Times), and its breathtaking cenotes (you can swim, dive or snorkel in these crystalline fresh water limestone pools, which connect a vast system of underground caves and rivers, and which are unique to this region).

For nature-lovers, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve offers nearly 1.3 million acres of protected jungle, wetlands, mangroves and plains that are home to hundreds of bird and animal species.

Tulum also boasts the Tulum ruins – celebrated for their spectacular location overlooking the Carribean Sea – and myriad pre-Columbian Mayan architectural sites. You can also “float” down ancient Mayan waterways once used as canal systems between the Sea and the vast freshwater lagoon located in the Biosphere Reserve.

With just one traffic light, and hand-written signs asking you to drive slowly to avoid “tus hermanos” (your brothers, the crabs), Tulum remains a friendly and welcoming town with a low-stress vibe. Add to all this the colorful people and fabulous food of the Yucatan and your vacation is sheer heaven.