A beautiful, eco-friendly, and heritage rich city.
I have been to five cities (Cozumel, Cancun, Cabo, Playa De Carmen and Tulum) in Mexico, and it is safe to say that Tulum is now my favorite. I was first introduced to Tulum in 2016, when I was planning Joe and I’s first international baecation but opted to visit Playa instead. Although I didn’t visit Tulum then, the things I found while researching it coupled with some of my Instagram friends highlighting their time in Tulum, made it an easy choice this go around. Tulum is the perfect place for those looking for a laid-back tropical setting in relaxing surroundings. The whole of the Riviera Maya has beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters, but in Tulum, you don’t have to share them with many people. Tulum is relatively small and intimate, but offers many attractions. Please be advised that the area is growing so this may change, I suggest visiting within the next two years if you like less touristy vibes.
One of the most frequent questions I receive about my travel is, how do I plan my trips and do I use a travel agent. I do not and have never used a travel agent. I am a planner by nature and the process adds to my travel experience. I always start with the where and then move on to transportation and lodging. I used to be a heavy scheduler pre-trip, but found that often left me exhausted and disappointed if I missed an item on my schedule due to unforeseen circumstances. I know make a small list of activities I am interested in and executing them once I am in country and have felt things out. The purpose of my Tulum trip was relaxation and exploration. Tulum is about 80 miles from Cancun or a 2 hour car ride, Cancun International Airport is where we flew into and so should you if you plan on visiting Tulum.
La Zebra Hotel
We wanted a chill first day, so we spent it on the beach via La Zebra Hotel. La Zebra Hotel was a boutique hotel located about a 20 minutes from our Airbnb. It has amazing food, drinks, and views. If you also walk the hotel you will find it’s design and boho vibes breathtaking.
Local Food Shack
I am an advocate of genuinely experiencing the culture of the city I am visiting and contributing to their local community. There are amazing restaurants with star ratings in Tulum— but the best meals I had were served on the side of the road with a smile.
A few years back when I visited Playa I was hell bent on going to a Cenote, which is a fresh body of water. Unfortunately, the one I went to there was dark, scary, and down a sink hole. Luckily, in Tulum I found another Cenote bear our Airbnb that was the complete opposite. We took a 20 min bike road to Cenote Cristal also called Escondido, and swam and jumped into the beautiful body of water via ropes.
Pablo Escobar’s Mansion
One of the most popular attractions in Tulum, is Casa Malca which was once Pablo Escobar’s Mansion. It is now an art-filled boutique hotel located in Tulum, and a prime beach destination in Mexico. Pablo’s mansion was abandoned in 1993 when his empire came to an end and was restored by Lio Malca (a prominent New York-based contemporary art dealer) in 2012. We spent a few hours roaming the grounds checking out Kaw art pieces, and sipping margaritas in a Bar with Kieth Haring on the walls.
This was by far my favorite restaurant . The food was so great we asked to speak to the chef to personally thank him. Unfortunately, they served $1 Guadalajaran reposado and I was way too lit to take pictures of the food.
Raw Love Tulum
I feel like majority of cuisine overseas is healthy or at least healthier than the states, but if your looking for a vegan friendly or clean eating choice— check out Raw Love Tulum. It is located in the Ahau Tulum hotel and has some great smoothies and açaí bowls.
Azulik is one of the most popular bungalow hotels in Tulum. They are super expensive but if you buy a few drinks or dinner you can roam the grounds. Their bar was closed when I attempted so I just observed the grounds from the door and walked next door to Ik Lab.
Ik Lab Tulum
One of my favorite moments was visiting the breathtaking @iklabtulum , an environmentally conscious design studio, that pays homage to the indigenous and Yucatan heritage. Their current exhibit is entitled, “Alchemistry”, which focuses on alchemic forces that influence art and human evolution. This is a serene place with amazing energy. FYI shoes, bags, and professional cameras are not allowed in.
F ollow That Dream Sign
If you’re looking for an instagramable moment, check out the Follow That Dream Sign. There are two located on the main road but this one was about a half mile hike from Raw Love.
Coco Tulum Hotel
Another popular boutique hotel we visited was, Coco Tulum. It is known for its swings and cabanas. We spent an evening here drinking, getting massages on the beach, and just relaxing.
Found some great eco friendly hand sewn dresses and crystals from a little shop on the main strip.
Once again, fancy eating is cool but really experience the local cuisine is where it’s at. Joe asked one of cab drivers to take us to the best local spot and we ended up at La Chiapaneca, a bright orange restaurant on the corner. The food was great, cheap, and this place had the hottest hot sauce I’ve ever tasted.
Airbnb- Soho Residence Villas
As mentioned I love staying near the community. My bf prefers resorts but we compromised with this modern villa in the jungle. It was $45 a night, secure, and had a private pool. It was about a 20 min taxi ride into the main areas but perfect for our relaxation. If you stay here, please note there is a lot of construction in the surrounding areas.
These photos have nothing to do with nothing, it’s just my King and I being extra on our last day. Enjoy!
Additional Info provided by our Villa host:
Dinning at the beach 🔝🔝
⚫ Rosa Negra 🥩🥗🌮🍤🐟🍖 (Top)
⚫Casa Banana 🐟🍖
⚫ Casa Jaguar 🐟🍖
⚫Mina Restaurant 🍖🍗
⚫ Mezzanine Hotel (best Margaritas) 🍜🍗🐟
⚫ Kitchen Table 🍗🐟
⚫ Posada Margarita (must) 🍝🦐🐟
Drinks at the beach 🍸🍷🍍🍹
⚫I Scream Bar
Lunch and beach day 🌴🏖🍉🥗🍹
⚫La Zebra Hotel (a must)
⚫Casa Malca ( a must)
⚫Taboo beach club
⚫Boa Beach club
⚫Papaya Playa Project
⚫Coco Hacienda Tulum
Public Beach 🏄♂🏄♀🤽♂
⚫Burrito Amor ( Great Breakfast) 🍍🍳🌯
⚫El Camello ( Ceviches, fish etc) 🦐🐟
⚫Don Cafeto (Breakfast) 🥞🥓🍳
⚫Babel (Breakfast) 🥞🥓🍳🍉🍏🍓🍌
⚫Los Aguachiles 🍤🌮🥗
⚫La Barracuda 🦐🐟🐙
At Calle Centauro
⚫La Malquerida (mexican) 🌮
⚫El Milagrito (mexican) 🌮
⚫ El Bacaro (Italian) 🍝
⚫Batey (live Music) 💃
⚫El Asadero (Tacos & Meat) 🍗