We did Tulum a little different than most. It’s a hot spot but the town of Tulum is actually MEXICO.
We stayed at Xescape which was a lovely hotel on the back streets of town which was a very nice hideaway. Town is hectic and bustling with cars, restaurants and tacos. The best tacos! 8c tacos in fact. We rode bikes everywhere - town, beach and to the near by cenotes. There’s one little street in town that had a ton of gems that we hit up each morning and one night we didn’t go to the beach strip.
Tulum beach is something else. It’s designer. Curated. High end. Aesthetically pleasing. Quaint and quite mind blowing really. The one thing that blew me away the most was the architecture. The hotels that have been built down there are unique in their own right. Beautifully designed boutique hotels created with natural materials, neutral colors and total ease. White hammocks line walk ways and jungle trails with swinging bridges lead you into tree house sushi restaurants and pools on roof tops. We would just stop in for a drink or a cheeky peek and bop to the next.
Our fav spot was a sweet little shack on the beach we were told to go to by an LA friend. La Eufermia. We went on a rainy day, sucked down a couple spicy mezcals and the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. Safe to say we came back a lot. Once the weather changed, this was the IT spot! Where all the backpackers came to hang outside fo fancy hotel land and do MEXICO. It was fun, yummy food and great vibes. Right on the beach ! We also loved I Scream bar for live tunes, great cocktails and locals. There’s a place across the street - dark little bar with couches outside and they made the BEST and cheapest cocktails in town.
The shopping experience in Tulum is unreal. Little boutiques line the streets, shaded by palms and white sand and filled with all things to make the landscape. Linens, straw bags, hats, textiles, rugs, throws, pillow, fine jewels - you name it. A bohem’s dream come true!
The cenotes were really a highlight for us. The beach sadly had mountains of seaweed lining the shoreline which made it near impossible to swim. We hunted down a few off the grid and rented a scooter to get there. Best call! These things are truly wonders of the world. Emerald green, fresh water pools in the middle of the jungle. We bathed like little water babies. Total solitude and tranquility.
We got the whole Tulum experience and more! We really wanted the trip to feel like Mexico so staying town was a great call and it was half the cost. I would probably find a cheap spot near the beach next time to mix it up but we truly covered it all. You can do Tulum on a budget and still experiences all the things.
La Eufermia - BEST Taco spot on the beach. One of the only places you'll get mexican prices not american prices. The vibe here is just so good especially if your over the nicer be tulum/nomade thing. All walks of life go here but theres something about it we loved!! And such good tacos and margs they killit.
Mateos on the strip is bombbbb! Best fish tacos.
These three hotels are all at the end of the beach and are cool to just go see / have a drink at.
You can pool hang at be Tulum for the day for $50.
Azulik!!!!! Go there for drinks at sunset or get a massage it’s an absolute dream. And matcha mama in the am for açaí bowls :)
Go to town for cheappp tacos and great action! Ride bikes to town or taxi at night and eat tacos and get drinks at Batey - see below
El Camello jr - incredible ceviche and tacos ! Great day spot after the cenotes.
Batey mojito - go here for the best mojitos and live music !
Antojitos La Chiapaneca - literally on the street 8 pesos tacos. The pork are the bomb!
Camello - best tacos and ceviche
Antojotos la chiapaneca - tacos - 8 pesos
I'd rent bikes for the whole time you're there. You can get everywhere day and night. You can ride into town and back too. You can always uber if you need be.
Cenotes :: We loved Escondido Cenote. It was at the other end of town and no one was there. It was magical and far less touristy. Make sure to take snorkels here! Casa Cenote and Cenote dos ojos are great too! Great Cenote is the most famous but if you go early, you miss the crowds and it’s worth it. Get a snorkel here!
Ruins :: Good to go see one day ! Take your swim suit and go dip into some cenotes near by. Go early, always! Go to Coqui Coqui in Coba! Get a massage and lunch and you can't leave without getting their perfumes or oils. THE best. It's definitely worth it!!
Yoga :: I'd try yoga shala or amansala but there are plenty of classes and studios
Shopping :: just cruising on your bikes you'll be able to tell which shops are cute. They stores are so special and beautifully designed. They're pricier for sure in comparison to other parts of Mexico but Tulum peeps know what's up so I think it's worth it. Caravana and La Troupe are beyond gorgeous and so is Tienda.
Spa :: Must do the mayan clay at the mayan clay spa!!! The spa by Be Tulum is apparently unreal too. Super pricey though !
Massages :: We got them on the beach by La Eufermia. We just walked down a bit of the beach and there’s a sign saying “massage” - They were amazing. Walking up and down the beach you'd find plenty of other spots.
Papya Playa - we stayed here one year for NYE and loved it. Theres a good vibe and social scene you can get simple/rustic cabana type rooms or pretty nice rooms too. If you don't stay there go for drinks - they have a party every Saturday night that is fun if you feel like party partying.
Be Tulum - this is maybe the nicest of all. If it's in your price range go for it, would be rad to stay there. If not go lounge on their day beds or have brunch one day. The cocktails are DELISH too.
Nomade - if I could stay anywhere it would be here. You can get the vibe from the pics straight away. Super boho eco chic but also really nice, amazing food. Same owners as Be Tulum. Good crowd hangs here in the day, and some nights too. Def check it out regardless.
Ahau Tulum - I would consider staying here next time too. It has a good balance between yogi and party, plus it's in maybe the best location. Day time beach post ups are good here too. If you see a little guy walking around with a HUGE sombrero and a birth chart stop him - he's an astrologist and my favorite!! Kinda burner ish vibes there actually but not in a bad way:)
Others to look into: Casa Violeta, Mezzanine, My Way, Amansala (yoga retreat place but legit), Jashita (really nice but off the main beach road), Sanara Tulum, Azulik Tulum (bloggers freak)
Cheaper end: Hemingways, Aldea Tulum (we stayed here one night, stumbled across it and it was perfect for what we were looking for - cheap, simple and good location)
Honestly you can't go wrong if the pics look legit and it's along the main hotel strip on the beach tho. The beauty of Tulum is you can kind of hotel hop anywhere you want. So if your hotel is whatever just post up at a new one every day, they don't care at all, in fact welcome it.
NIGHT LIFE ::
Gitano :: Disco ball in the jungle. Enough said. It's my absolute fave. The Gypsy Disco SO good! You'll prob get addicted to mezcal drinks while you're there, there's no shortage and they're all amazing. Dont be fooled by what you see…. go explore the whole place - it has so many hidden gems and magic rooms. Drinks are stupidly expensive so drink up before you go ;) I think it's Friday nights that are fun there - but really any night for dinner, drinks and dancing is just the best. Such good DJs !
Hartwood :: you've prob heard of this one. The food and ambiance are unreal.You have to line up REALLY early but it's well worth the wait. I've only been at peak season so we had to go at 1:30 one day, you'd prob be good at 3. Then you wait for like an hour max, they put your name down and you come back for either the 5:30 or 7:30 din time slot (I believe). Just go check in with the workers on your way to the beach one day because it totally depends seasonally. But you HAVE to make sure to go here one night. And I think they are closed Sunday, Monday Tuesday or something so def check it out first day. Trip to Tulum isn't complete without dinner at Hartwood.
** Posada Margerita :: You could ear here daily! They're most known for their dinner (insane handmade pasta - I love the broccoli mushroom one , and the burrata!) but their breakfast is amazing as well and not as busy. Their green juices yum. Cute, quiet beach set up too. They have a shop with a lot of american brands but some local, really cute. Great sandals line called "By James" by a local Tulum lady. The decor of this place is on point you kind of feel like you're in Europe or somewhere else but still Mexico. The owner and his wife are rad chat them up. They live half the time in Laguna. She runs the shop he's the short shaved head tatted guy.
Mezzanine :: suchhh good thai food. Go for din and sunset cocktails!
I Scream Bar :: Super small but hilarious. They only serve ice scream, beer and mezcal. GWEN own this place and the taco spot. AND then she also has this brand new Burger spot! It's on the jungle side of the beach, not far from I scream bar, and it's on a cenote! They only play R&B it's rad, go after dinner on night. Forget the name - just ask around.
Casa Jaguar :: this was one of my favorite spots the last 2 times, but this recent trip it seemed to be much mellower. Might just have on and off nights because the ON nights are a blast a def worth checking out. I heard they stepped up their dinner game too, but I've never been for din!
Casa Banana :: great food and vibe. A lot of the restaurants are really healthy and light so if you're feeling like meat this is your spot.
Secret Garden :: great dinner spot and so so cute! You feel like ur in a different world. BUT it's not called Secret Garden it's called something with a C and I can't find it! But if you ask around for the secret garden dinner spot someone should know. Ask Mama Zama ;)
El Tabano :: classic (ish) mexican so good. Go for din
Raw Love Cafe :: AMAZING raw vegan food in Ahua. Best miso soup I've ever had in my life. Good brekkie lunch spot if you're recovering or just want something light and easy.
Ziggy's :: kinda cheesy kinda great (in the day) they have swings around their bar which is fun and the guac I don't know why was the best I've ever had
La Zebra :: this place is kind of whatever vibes wise but the food is soooo good. If u need to change it up go for breakfast.
The Real Coconut :: never made it but supposed to be amazing healthy food and cute
Mi Amor :: We went for drinks and desert one night. Super modern hotel, pretty new worth checking out.