Located just south of Tulum, Kaan Luum Lagoon (“Laguna Kaan Luum” in Spanish) is a secret swimming hole that makes for a fun excursion from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or the Riviera Maya.
After I first moved to Playa del Carmen, visiting Laguna Kaan Luum was one of the first Riviera Maya excursions that I went on with some local friends and still remains one of the best hidden gems in the region. Read on to learn everything you need to know about visiting Kaan Luum Lagoon.
Where is Kaan Luum Lagoon located?
The lagoon is located further inland from the Caribbean coast and just northeast of Sian Ka’an.
Why visit Kaan Luum Lagoon Tulum?
Meaning “Yellow Earth” in the Mayan language, Laguna de Kaan Luum is a less well known attraction and definitely a hidden gem in the Riviera Maya.
Its most notable feature is the naturally sharp contrast in the color of the water in the center of the lagoon, where the depth of the water changes drastically into the deep Kaan Luum cenote.
The lagoon is not a commercialized attraction and offers a unique opportunity to swim, hang out, and relax in a shallow natural swimming pool.
If you want to visit a naturally beautiful place in Riviera Maya that is not overrun with tourists, then visiting Laguna Kaan Luum is right for you.
Kaan Luum Lagoon Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for Laguna Kaan Luum is $100 pesos (~$5 USD) per person. After you pay the entrance fee, it’s just a short walk through a tree-covered area until you reach the clearing of the lagoon.
How to get to Laguna Kaan Luum Tulum
The easiest way to get to Kaan Luum Lagoon is by renting a car. Take the main highway 307 directly south from Playa del Carmen for just over an hour.
Be on the lookout for a sign marking the main entrance on the left side of the highway. It can be easy to miss so it’s best to track your location with GPS on your phone if you can.
Once you turn off the highway, you’ll have to drive down a bumpy road and then there is a large parking lot on site.
By Public Transportation
If you don’t have a car, you can still get to Kaan Luum Lagoon by taking a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The main bus depot in Playa del Carmen is located at Avenida Juarez and Highway 307 (underneath the highway overpass) and you’ll want to make sure you get on a colectivo headed towards Tulum.
Once you arrive in Tulum, you’ll then have to transfer to a colectivo going from Tulum to Felipe Carrillo. Keep in mind that these colectivos do not run very frequently so you may have to wait a while for one to drive by, and it will be harder on the return trip.
If you have trouble getting the colectivo to Felipe Carillo, you could also consider grabbing a taxi from Tulum to Kaan Luum Lagoon, which is only about 15 minutes away. From the entrance at the highway, you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes before reaching the lagoon.
On a Tour
You can also visit Kaan Luum Lagoon on a tour. Aloha Paddle Club in Playa del Carmen offers an amazing standup paddleboarding tour, which includes transportation and a couple hours paddling at the lagoon. I’m a member of Aloha Paddle Club and highly recommend!
Kaan Luum Lagoon is the perfect place for standup paddleboarding beginners since the water is so calm. There are also many incredible Kaan Luum Lagoon tours available, which offer all-inclusive options with hotel pickup and visits to nearby cenotes.
When to visit Lagoon Kaan Luum
The best time to visit Kaan Luum Lagoon is on a weekday as it can get very crowded with locals and Mexican families on the weekends. It is open daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm but you’ll want to arrive early to beat the crowds.
What to do at Kaan Luum Lagoon
There aren’t too many things to do at Kaan Luum so once you arrive you’ll mainly just be hanging out in the water around the wooden pier in the middle of the lagoon.
Sunbathe on the pier
One of the only structures at Laguna Kaan Luum is a narrow wooden pier, which is usually covered with visitors. You’ll have to use your towel or belongings to claim a spot on the pier if you want to sunbathe or sit on the edge with your feet in the water.
Swim in the shallow water
Laguna Kaan Luum is a massive natural pool, almost perfectly circular in shape, with a dark and deep center. The shades of the water vary from emerald green to the darkest blue.
Swimming in the center is prohibited but the depth of the water around the pier ranges from about waist to shoulder deep, so it’s easy to stand freely, swim around, and enjoy the lagoon.
Treat yourself to a clay mask
Kaan Luum Lagoon is layered with soft sand and there are particular areas near the edges of the lagoon with soft brown clay that can be used to treat yourself to a natural clay mask for your face and skin.
It’s actually from this soft sand that Kaan Luum got its naming meaning “Yellow Earth.”
Take pictures on the wooden swings
There are also some wooden overwater swings near the side of the lagoon where you can take some fun photos while swinging and splashing around in the water. Arrive early for the best photo opportunities.
What to Bring to Laguna Kaan Luum
There are very few amenities at Kaan Luum Lagoon so you’ll want to bring everything you need with you. There are bathrooms on-site but no other amenities or places to buy food and beverages.
Here are a few items I would recommend bringing with you:
- Biodegradable sunscreen: Regular sunscreen is prohibited at Kaan Luum Lagoon so you’ll want to bring biodegradable sunscreen or wear a rash guard if you need sun protection. Once you’re on the pier, there is no shade.
- Towel: Don’t forget to bring a beach towel to dry off after swimming in the lagoon. These microfiber beach towels are a great option as they are lightweight and dry quickly.
- Snacks and drinks: Food and beverage is not sold at the lagoon, so if you plan to spend most of the day there, I would recommend bringing some snacks, drinks, and a cooler to enjoy on the pier.
- GoPro or waterproof camera: Bring a a GoPro or waterproof camera to take some fun pictures in the water.
With not many activities to offer, the Tulum Kaan Luum Lagoon experience is not flashy or opportunistic, but offers a simple retreat to admire the natural beauty of the region.
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