Travel in Style

TULUM, MEXICO

ECO CHIC

Tulum is an ancient wonder turned eco-chic haven for travelers, expats, and locals. It’s a vortex of mystique, natural beauty, upcoming trends, adventure, and history. Set on the Caribbean side of Mexico, Tulum’s coastline is spectacular! Small palm trees line the white sand beaches, the turquoises ocean is almost bath water, and it is all situated next to an ancient Mayan ruin. It has become a jet setters hot spot, and one of the most spiritually abundant beach towns I have had the pleasure of visiting.

HISTORY

Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Mayans, able to survive 70 years after the Spanish occupation of Mexico.

GETTING TO AND AROUND

Fly into Cancun international airport. Tulum is a 90-minute drive from here. I suggest renting a car from a respected well known rental company. You will have to purchase insurance in Mexico at the rental company, so I wouldn’t bother purchasing it beforehand.  If you do not want to rent a car, USA transport is a reliable safe service that will drive you from Cancun airport. It is typically $175USD round trip or $100 one way.

The best way to explore is riding your bike from your hotel, but bring a bike light! There is a lot of traffic and no street lights so if you are walking or riding a bike you need to be well lit. No one wants a hospital trip while on vacation.

HOTEL GUIDE

There are so many great boutique hotels in Tulum it’s hard to choose which one you like best. Here is a run down:

  • Suenos: this is a posh boutique all hand designed and built over 8 years.  It is beautiful, it is perfectly mellow, and near all the cool stuff.  Look into the Temple Suite. Downside is no AC.
  • Alaya: For price, amenities, location this is a great place to stay.
  • Pescadores: Closer to the ruins, remote, and quiet.
  • Be Hotel: Definitely on the jet setters trendy list of cool kids who stay in Tulum.  It is boutique, it does have AC. Pricey but food/scene/vibe is worth it.  It is definitely one of the coolest hotels in Tulum.
  • Papaya Playa: Mid-range price, more stripped down, no plugs in the room, only a light that comes on at night.  Very hippie chic.  But PP is known for its great DJ’s and parties that go until 6am.  It is one of the best if you are partying but I wouldn’t recommend it as a hotel unless you’re looking to party. Saturday night is their big party. Go early.
  • Casa Malca: Formerly Pablo Escobar’s house. A bit far down the beach but an amazing hotel. Definitely a top high-end pick. Cool adults hotel.
  • Nomade: Very new hotel, same owners as Be Tulum, great location.
  • La Zebra: Fun spot, good part of the beach, great beach set up.
  • Sanara: Has a beautiful yoga studio and private reserved beach beds.
  • Azulik: A cool clothing optional hotel built into the trees with romantic couples, adult only environment.
  • Ahau: fun burner vibe.
  • Nest: A great boutique feel, breakfast included, amazing suites with rooftops and beds and hammocks on the beach.

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK AND BE MERRY!

  • Hartwood: This is THE spot! People line up at 4pm for a 6pm name drop.  They do not take reservations, they are closed on Tuesday.
  • Gitano: THE spot for Friday nights! Great vibe, dancing, drinks, and food.
  • Casa Banana: Excellent all around for drinks and food. Takes a while to get seated so be prepared to have a drink before sitting down.
  • Arca: Good food, great environment.
  • Fumaria: (aka Eat Fucking Tacos) Not visible from the beach road. Very visible from the beach. Good for lunch or dinner. Very hidden local spot.
  • Mateo’s: The best sunset spot! Check out the sundeck. This is a cool casual bar closer to town on the beach road.
  • Casa Jaguar: Thursday nights around 11pm they have an awesome party in the back that goes until like 3am. Great cocktails! Food was good but very pricey and Cash only! Keep in mind ATM’s around the beach are expensive and many are broken.
  • Posada Margarita: Great atmosphere, AWESOME Italian food! Try the fish poached in seawater. Cash only!
  • Real Coconut: Mostly for breakfast and lunch. A must go. Healthy, light, with a beautiful ocean view.
  • La Suerte Del Coyote: Mezcal bar. Good party and great drinks. Just before Be Hotel on the main beach road.
  • Coco: Day party on Sunday is good.
  • Mezzanine: Great Thai food and drinks. Perfect to overlook the north end of the beach. Walk north past the bend and see the ruins from afar. Party on Saturday night.
  • Batey Bar: This bar is in the city (aka the pueblo). It is a mojito bar. #1 on trip advisor. The hand press sugar cane, they have fresh mint and passion fruit. It’s authentic, usually decent music, good crowd.
  • Curandero: good live music. Downtown right across the street from Batey Bar. Super fun little block party out front.

TIPS AND LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

Banco Santander is a Bank of America affiliate. There is no fee for taking out money. There is an ATM at the superstore on the left when you turn down the road to get to the beach from town. Only go to ATMS in town, the ones at the beach will not work and charge ridiculous fees!

WHAT TO TO DO IN PARADISE?

 

RUINS

Take your bike or hike to the Mayan beach ruins. The hike takes about 1.5 hours. Get there before 10am to avoid the morning rush.

CENOTES

Cenotes are freshwater swimming holes that the ancient Mayans believed were portals to the Gods. There are thousands of cenotes around Tulum. Some are best for snorkeling, some for diving. All cenotes charge admission fees and are open between 8am and 5pm.

Sac Actun Cenote: Less touristic than others. Bring pesos if you can. The tour is guided, usually with a few others and it’s 1 hour exactly.

Dos Ojos: And underground labyrinth river system. You can snorkel on your own (10USD) have a guided snorkeling tour (40USD) or scuba dive (130 USD for 2 tank dive)

EL Pit: This cenote is the deepest one in all of Mexico at 370ft/110m. You descend through a hydrogen sulfide cloud at 30m. When the cavern floor becomes visible tree branches eerily protrude. There are stalactites of all sizes and laser beams of sunlight. Personally this was one of my favorite dives.   Other cenotes you can dive or snorkel:
Casa Cenote
Aktun Ha
Angelita
Bat Cave
Calavera
Chac Mool
Dreamgate
El Eden
Kukulkan
Pet Cemetery
Tajma Hal
Zapote

SPA DAY

Yaan spa is world famous, located across from the Be Hotel. They offer various wellness services that are not found at your average spa. Bobby Klein is an intuitive at Yaan Spa He holds private session and a two-hour group workshop. Bobby books up so plan ahead the day you arrive. Yaan also offers yoga classes, has  pools both in and outdoors, a steam room with body scrub and a sauna.

YOGA

Sanara has a beautiful studio with classes from 8:30, 10:15, and 5pm every day. Yoga Shala has incredible instructors. Utopia offers ocean front yoga classes. Uno Astrolodge offers ocean front classes.

SHOPPING

When buying gifts I recommend you go into the pueblo to the main strip for small gifts. It’s cheaper than the beach. The beach road is lined with sophisticated boutiques giving you a glimpse of the chic style of Tulum.

Boutiques to Checkout

  • Josa
  • Caravana
  • Blackbird
  • La Troupe
  • Lolita+Lolita
  • Emaito
  • Hoki Poki Kana

Check out this great Tulum Guide to make sure you are completely covered!

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