By Tiffany Mead
Paradise found…and it should be no surprise that I found it in Mexico. No, I’m not talking about wasting myself away on cheap margaritas at some kitschy all-inclusive resort in Cancun. Though on certain days, that doesn’t seem too bad of a plan either. Even better, with a markedly bohemian chic style and laid-back chill vibes, Tulum offers a careful balance of indulgences. Enjoy boutique lodging, rich culinary experiences, eclectic shopping, and thrilling outdoor experiences. Or, meditate under a secluded palm, master your yoga moves, and foster friendships as you stargaze in the sand. No matter how you have it, the result is, well…bliss.
If you’re into this idea, consider planning a trip. This little slice of heaven, a 2 hour drive south of Cancun, is blooming as a top destination. The time to go is now as you can still enjoy the area in relative peace, even swimming in secret cenotes all by your lonesome if you care to.
Enjoy these recommendations:
Where to Stay
In Tulum Town
Hands down one of my favorite lodging experiences of my life. This is a quaint boutique hotel tucked behind the main strip in Tulum town. It offers a pristine resort pool, palapa terrace, and thoughtful minimalist design. Honestly, the hotel was a paradise in itself and you may find yourself never wanting to leave.
On Tulum Beach
Staying here feels like a dream. This is a small oceanfront resort offering luxurious private cabanas surrounding a lovely communal outdoor space. Delightful drinks and great conversations with friends await. In the cabanas, think plush white linens, canopies and terraces with hammocks. On the beach, catch up on your favorite reads or soak in the sun on the outdoor bed-style lounges. This place is great for couples, but groups can also enjoy booking together for an exclusively great time.
Where to Eat:
Possibly the most charming little eatery in town, this Argentine grill serves up a nice farm-style breakfast in a beautifully decorated, rustic courtyard. From morning pastries to evening steak, everything is well-crafted! Mains from $6 USD.
In Tulum Town
Taqueria La Eufemia
Fish tacos…need I say more? Just do it…and also do get those margaritas. They’re cheap in price, but not in flavor. Go for the passion fruit margarita and enjoy the ocean views from the deck. Tacos from $1.50 USD.
It’s fairly impossible to highlight just one or two activities in Tulum. There are so many incredible options. Of course, the Tulum ruins are the third most visited archaeological site in Mexico…so, they must be worth viewing. Personally, I prefer water activities and focused my time on enjoying the pristine cenotes (natural limestone swimming holes) and beach-combing. Here’s how to maximize your day:
Visit Sac Actun
With so many cenotes in the surrounding area, it can be hard to prioritize where to go. I recommend this place, because it is a bit off the beaten path and offers spectacular swimming and snorkeling in an underwater cave system. Admission is roughly $350 pesos, or $20 USD per person.
Rent bikes, cruise, and shop
A must do while you’re in Tulum. Ride the 1.7 mile bike path from town to the ruins, or hit the beach strip stopping for tacos and iced matcha along the way. Definitely stop by Boutique Mexico for a great selection of hand-woven bags, chic embroidered tunics, and pom-pom accessories. A great selection of locally crafted hammocks and dreamcatchers fill stores nearby too! Bike rentals start at around $7 USD per day. As with everything, cheaper rates are found in town, though many beachside hotels offer free or low-cost rentals to their guests. In town, try iBike or Kelly’s Bike Shop.
Paddleboard the coastline
What better way to end the day. If biking and swimming didn’t work you out enough, paddle in the pristine, blue waters. Or, if you need a break, lay back and let the gentle waves lull you. Paddleboard rentals start at $20 (per person, per hour), available at Tulum Kitesurfing School on Tulum Beach next to Duna Boutique Hotel.
What you should also know is the town of Tulum maintains a “local” feel, offering incredible deals on lodging, food, and handicrafts, while the beach area is a more popular destination for travelers. The beach is only about a 15 minute drive away from Tulum town and has a much more exclusive boutique feel. Personally, I enjoyed both, but Tulum town won me over with its traditional, local Yucatan feel and its affordability. Even in town, there was no shortage of boho influence. So no matter what you choose, you’ll surely uncover that free spirit of yours when you travel to Tulum.