This post has been updated as of March 2020.
There are plenty of places to find paradise in Tulum, the chic beach destination located on the southern end of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. But how about an off-the-beaten-path paradise with little to no crowds? Head out of the Tulum hotel zone (via rental car or taxi) and a 20-minute drive southwest will bring you to Laguna Kaan Luum: a magical oasis tucked into the jungle. This hidden treasure is a must-visit for anyone heading to the area, especially since it somehow still manages to fly relatively under the radar.
Open daily from 9am – 4pm, we recommend arriving as close to opening time as possible to minimize your chance of crowds. Entry will run you $100.00 MXN per person. Looking to give your drone some air time? The additional $150.00 MXN drone fee is totally worth it to capture this magical spot from a bird’s eye view. After paying, continue down the wooden boardwalk until you emerge into a literal oasis: a sparkling, emerald-hued, freshwater lagoon.
You’ll see a deck with shaded palapas and a couple of docks where you can leave your things, lounge about and of course – head into the water! (Note there are no lockers here so you’ll want to leave your belongings within eyesight.) You will also see a set of wooden stairs leading to a viewpoint. If you don’t mind paying the extra $50.00 MXN fee, you can head up to a beautiful elevated view of the lagoon and surrounding jungle.
Time for a dip! Take note the water here is very shallow – barely reaching waist-deep – so you definitely do not want to jump or dive in off the dock. As you’re wading through the water you can head over to one of the in-lagoon swings or hammocks sprinkled throughout, where you can relax, soak in the views and of course – snap a pic!
You don’t need to worry about bringing water shoes or anything of the sort, as the only thing you’ll be stepping on is very soft, silted sand. Similar to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, you can even slather the mud-sand mixture on your face and body for beauty benefits. Although be prepared – it does smell like sulfur (a.k.a. stingy eggs).
Another incredible thing about this place is the bulls eye cenote located smack in the middle of the lagoon – plummeting a mere 80 meters (262 feet) below. Swimming is off-limits in the cenote, but you can certainly appreciate it while wading in the sparkling emerald waters of the outer lagoon or lounging about on the docks. Speaking of – if you find yourself dockside, be sure to dip your feet in the water for a free nibbling fish-pedi.
Plan to spend anywhere from 1 – 2+ hours at this under-the-radar jewel. A head’s up that facilities here are limited, so be sure to plan accordingly! As prior mentioned, there are no storage lockers here to leave belongings. There aren’t any restaurants on-site either, although there are usually a couple of small vendors selling things like mangos and coconuts. What about bathrooms, you ask? You’ll be happy to know there ARE bathrooms on-site. They’re located just ahead of the entrance where you’ll need to pay $5.00 MXN to use. (They may not have change so it’s best to bring a few pesos along just in case nature calls.) Also take note that sunscreen – even organic brands – and mosquito repellents are strictly prohibited in order to preserve the beauty and ecosystem of the lagoon.
*All photos & films in this post are courtesy of your favorite pair of @travelinglamas, unless where noted.