“Vacation in Mexico” used to have a very different meaning. Maybe not; maybe you experience one Mexico when you’re younger, and eventually graduate to this “new” Mexico that enriches the soul rather than steals it… Enter: Tulum.
Tulum has become a widely-known destination, but it’s managed to still maintain it’s charm – and I hope more than anything it stays that way. Because it is something special. I didn’t know much about it, other than seeing photos from people I follow on Instagram, and the colors and food alone made me think it would be worth the trip. And that was just the beginning.
We started in Tulum, spent 4 days there, and then went back up the coast to Playa del Carmen. You can read about our Playa trip here.
Tip: We flew into Cancún and rented a car and drove the hour and a half to Tulum. The rental cars themselves are very cheap, but the insurance rate is higher per day. We used Alamo and I would not recommend them. I heard good things about Enterprise down there and would try to use them next time.
We stayed in a condo about halfway between town and the beach. We spent most of our time at the beach, even though some things at the top of my list were in town. It’s just so hard to pull yourself away from all the beautiful hotels and restaurants near the water, but I would like to explore town more next time!
A car was nice to have for our excursion to the ruins and getting between Tulum and Playa, but once we were in Tulum, we mostly transported by bicycle, which there is a ton of “parking” for, and a paved bike path all the way between town and the beach, which is about a 20 min ride.
Coco Tulum – order a Sol and sit on one of the white swings over the beach.
La Zebra – maybe the best margaritas of the trip and amazing food – make sure and get the chips and salsa and guacamole – separate bar on the beach.
Habitas – my favorite place of the trip. A wellness-jungle-beach oasis. A pool that sits above everything, as well as lounge chairs throughout the sand and on the beach. The seats at the bar are small hammocks; need I say more. Order a fancy cocktail or sip on a juice or smoothie. And if you’re thinking of building a Tulum-inspired home, Habitas is serious design inspiration.
Papaya Playa Project – we only stopped here for a drink before dinner, but it seemed like it would have a fun beach vibe during the day.
Tunich – our first breakfast stop, and it was hard not to go back every day. All-day breakfast, lattes, fresh juice, avocado toast, very friendly people.
Posado Margherita – one of my favorite meal experiences. Shabby-chic, dimly lit. Fresh pasta. And maybe the only time I took a break from beer and margaritas was the drink their wine.
Mateo’s – fun vibe at night. Known for their tacos, but I had a burrito that was very good.
The Real Coconut – part of the Sanara hotel. Chips made with coconut flour + great, fresh guacamole. I had a charcoal lemonade (necessary on day 4 of the trip). Quiet, beach vibe, and you can buy their coconut chips!
Encanto Cantina – on our last night we ventured into town for our meal and found this hidden gem. In the middle of what seemed like hustle and bustle, we walked through the bar area and sat outside in their well-curated courtyard and had just as good a meal as we’d had the whole trip.
Recommended to me, but didn’t have a chance to go:
Burrito Amor – in town – apparently for the sauce connoisseur (which I am) – will definitely have to go next time!
Hartwood – biggest regret is not going here – most highly recommended restaurant. Make a reservation as early as possible.
Batey’s – in town, live music!
Del Cielo – local, organic brunch
Ki Bok – coffee
Co Con Amour – hippie breakfast/lunch spot
Casa Jaguar – party on the beach
Antojitos La Chiapaneca – the BEST tacos (I hear)
*And honestly, just riding your bike or walking or driving down the road you’ll pass about a thousand places you’d like to eat/drink/stay and I really don’t think you can go wrong.
Activities around Tulum – see my post on Playa del Carmen here, which has the things to do in the general area.