My best memory of Tulum is biking down to the beach in the morning breeze wearing my swimsuit and just pair of shorts, snacking on an apple I stole from the breakfast buffet at the hotel, and spotting iguanas and geckos by the side of the road. Tulum is a place of contrasts: you'll find hipsters sipping on elaborate cocktails and random drunk men dozing off on the side of the street, chic restaurants next to your friendly neighborhood strip joints, glam beach babes on bikes riding by militarized police vehicles... and the list goes on. But I think this is where it draws its authenticity and its now uber renowned charm. Let me just put it this way: you'll never get bored in Tulum.
Where to stay. The beach is definitely the fashionable place to be, but it will also leave you high and dry in the cash department. Just a couple of years ago Tulum was a backpacker's dream, but now it boomed into boutique hotel heaven and boutique hotel heaven doesn't come cheap. A more budget friendly alternative, yet not any less instagram worthy, is staying in town. Elements Boutique Hotel will check a lot of boxes (amazing staff, delicious breakfast, cleanliness and style), while leaving you with some extra $$$ to spend at those fancy beach clubs.
Where to "beach". While there are amazing free public beaches in Tulum they lack shade. If you're a vampire, like me, you might want to avoid getting cooked in the Caribbean sun and head for the shady palapas of beach clubs. The one we enjoyed most was Ziggy's (the food and service was amazing and the water the calmest), but I also highly recommend parking yourself for the day at Posada Margherita. It's a little bit more high end, but beautiful and totally worth it.
Where to eat. Do go for dinner downtown! Try the pizza at La Malquerida, the fish at Don Cafeto, the tacos and fried bananas at La Coqueta and the ice cream at Panna e Cioccolato. La Coqueta is in a weird location on the side of a busy street in what seems like the middle of nowhere, but just go with the flow...and the reggaeton.
What to visit. Book a small group tour to Sian Ka'an where you can see crocodiles, dolphins, turtles and manatees, snorkel on the reef, swim on the most pristine beach you'll ever see and sample some delicious local food. Once you're done with that, plan a day for the Casa Tortuga cenotes and find your inner explorer. You might notice that I left out the ruins...Yeah. Don't. It's crowded and hot and crazy. Unless you're into that, in which case adventure away.
Have you ever travelled to Tulum or do you have any plans to go? Let me know in the comment section!
Have a brilliant day!