Every winter Nate and I try to take a long weekend trip somewhere warm to get away from the cold. This year we picked Tulum, Mexico! It’s less than a 3 hour flight from New York, and it seemed like everyone and their mother has been going, so we figured we would check it out! I also wanted to see Tulum before it got TOO touristy, since it’s famous for it’s uncommercialized feel, aka hipster-ville. We were there 4 nights and 4 full days but easily could have stayed a week! There were so many more places I wanted to eat and explore, I wish we had more time!
In case you don’t already know, Tulum is a little beach town about 2 hours south of Cancun. It’s always been known for it’s Mayan Ruins…and now it’s popular for a two mile beach front stretch of eco friendly boutique hotels and restaurants that you would expect to find in Williamsburg, rather than Mexico. That being said, it’s basically a millennial’s dream. It’s filled with vegan friendly tacos, farm to bar cocktails, organic gluten free everything…and all to eat on your personal hammock or chair swing. I didn’t even mind that I was a stereotype, because every other person there was too, and it was so fun! It’s also really refreshing to have a nice beach vacation that isn’t at a resort, and to stay in a city that is safe and has a lot to do and explore outside of your hotel!
Here are the things we did, tacos we ate, drinks we sipped, and places I recommend to stay.
Activities In & Around Tulum
- Eat 500 meals. This is the most important thing in Tulum, eat as many meals as possible, all the food was the best part of the trip.
- Gran Cenote…there are lots of cenote’s around Tulum, but this is the only one we went to.
- Tulum Ruins, I would go right in the morning when it opens or in the evening around sunset.
- Coba Ruins, we rented bikes there to explore the ruins and it was a REAL good idea, it would have been hours of walking if we hadn’t.
- Bike ride up and down the beach or into town to explore (your hotel will most likely offer bike rentals)
- Shop at all the cute boutiques by the beach, one of my favorites was Mr. Blackbird
- Go into town for any meal, I’ll list our favs that were downtown Tulum
- Spend a day at Casa Malca, you can get a day pass there and use their pool and grounds and it looked AMAZING. We will definitely do this next time we are there.
- Drink on the beach as much as you possibly can, there are way too many amazing bars right on the sand!
Eats By The Beach…
Tips & Tricks
- Stay on the beach strip if you can, this is where most of the good food and cool hotels are that you’ll be going to everyday.
- Tulum is really really expensive. Just, everything is. You can find some cheaper meals in town though. It was all worth it, but just be prepared to spend some $$!
- A lot of the hotels don’t have air conditioning or filtered shower water. Make sure to check this out before you book and read lots of reviews. It’s very “earthy” which is great, but if you’re going in the middle of summer, just know if you’ll have AC or not. Also, the water thing was hard to avoid. Our hotel didn’t have filtered water, which basically means it’s a bit salty and it’s hard to feel clean to be honest.
- Bring LOTS of cash, almost no where took credit card.
- Rent a car, we were glad we did and it gave us so much flexibility, especially if you’re going to go to any ruins or cenotes. I will say though, it wasn’t totally necessary, there are lots of taxi’s and you can rent bikes too, it was just nice to have your own car.
- It felt really safe, and everyone was super friendly! Also, I didn’t get bitten by many mosquitoes and no I wasn’t afraid of zika.
- Don’t brush your teeth with the water or open your mouth in the shower. Use general water safety rules…I didn’t because I thought I was too cool to get sick, and then I spent 8 days on the toilet. Not worth it, LOL. Also, we bought huge jugs of bottled water the first day which was really helpful.
- The best places to stay are Sanara, Nômade, Casa Malca, or a cheaper option Dune Boutique Hotel.
- So, this is a big bummer, but I’m gonna go ahead and say it…there’s a serious seaweed problem in Tulum, but also most of this side of Mexico. I won’t go into it, but you should definitely google it before you plan any trip to the Caribbean or Mexico. We basically couldn’t swim in the ocean and didn’t really have a ton of beach time because of it. The good thing about Tulum though, is there’s so much more to do other than the beach, so it was fine! But just be aware.