Ah, Tulum. One of my favorite places in the world. With year-long temperate climates (although it can get pretty warm in the summer time), beautiful beaches, incredible food, eco-chic hotels and stores, breathtaking mayan ruins, yoga retreats and spas…I could go on and on. If you’re planning on taking a trip to Tulum soon, you’ll want check out this ultimate guide to Tulum, so you can ensure you don’t miss out on anything. As always, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Mayan ruins: Situated just outside the main area of “town”, this is a site of the pre-Columbian (as in Christopher Columbus) Maya people, serving as a port city for Coba which is located inland. Make sure to check out all of the ruins, including the majestic castle or lighthouse that overlooks the ocean. You will not be disappointed.
Sian Ka’an: a biosphere reserve, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site that focuses on sustainable environmental practices to preserve the vegetation and animals that inhabit the reserve. Make sure to rent a jeep and head that way (regular 4 door sedans typically can’t cut the dunes), and enjoy kayaking and laying out on the beach knowing you are in a pristine place.
Cenotes: cenotes are a system of underground river caverns that are prevalent in the Yucatan peninsula. There are several in the Tulum area, and used to be sites of daily life for the Mayans. They served both as a source of fresh water, as well as sites for religious practices, sometimes serving as locations for sacrificial offerings.
Oh gosh where do I start…well for starters, I will tell you that winter time (December through February) is typically high season in Tulum and although you may run into some celebs or fashion designers, you will also be paying prices they’re willing to pay for an eco-chic hotel room with potentially no air conditioning and no amenities, so choose carefully.
Coqui Coqui: most likely the one boutique hotel that everyone wants to stay at. The epitome of bohemian chic, this hotel boasts a lovely spa along with their own perfumery.
Ana Y Jose is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels that I’ve seen, it offers luxury while at the same time practicing sustainability. Make sure to check out their spa as well.
Casa Violeta: literally translates to “Purple or Violet House”, the beautiful Karla Gutierrez opened this hotel in 2003 as a way for people to be able to recharge and to inspire the essence of one’s spirituality. The hotel’s restaurant offers health-conscious food with quality, fresh ingredients. They also have a brand new yoga pavilion where guests can strengthen and deepen their yoga practice.
Be Tulum: sister hotel to Be Playa in Playa del Carmen, Be Tulum is another gorgeous boutique hotel and spa offering eco-chic luxury amidst a tropical jungle and the ocean. This is another great place to have lunch and drinks, and to enjoy the view of the beach and the ocean.
A tip when it comes to dining in Tulum is to make sure you always have cash on you, as many places do not accept credit cards. In some cases there may be an ATM outside some of the restaurants, but a lot of time the connection is really poor, which makes it difficult to get cash in a pinch.
Hartwood: this place is my number one recommendation, thanks to my friend Lauren from The Weekender Travel. This rustic, open air restaurant, set in the middle of the Caribbean jungle serves mind-blowingly delicious plates and refreshing cocktails. Be ready to enjoy a meal that is cooked over an open fire by their hand-made burning oven and grill. They’re only open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 6-11, and will only take reservations via email for parties of 8 or more, so get ready to wait but I promise it’s 100% worth it.
For great places to have lunch during the day, be sure to check out Casa Violeta, Posada Margherita (italian food on the beach), and Be Tulum.
Casa Jaguar: Another open-air restaurant in the heart of the Caribbean jungle, they use fresh, seasonal produce so the menu can change daily. Regardless, you can count on getting some of the most fresh seafood paired with colorful ingredients sourced from the land.
El Tabano: another great place to count on some of the best seafood, mixed with local and regional flavors. Although all of these places are quite rustic, the food far exceeds any of my expectations at every single place.
Casa Banana: if you’re looking for an extra memorable and romantic dinner in Tulum, Casa Banana is where it’s at. Illuminated at night by the candles lit at each and every table, here you will enjoy a fusion of Argentine and Mexican flavors under the light of the moon.
Other places to check out for dinner are Simple, Cetli, and you absolutely can’t miss Gitano for unique after dinner drinks.
Hacienda Montecristo: This store was opened by two friends with a passion for flea markets, souks, antiquities, and more from their global travels. You can find beautiful leather goods here, along with women’s rebozos: beautiful pieces of cloth (can be made from silk, cotton, linen, or rayon) that women use to protect themselves from the sun, to be used for mourning, and to carry children or goods.
Coqui Coqui: This is a great place to check out to get beautiful home scents via candles or linen sprays, along with beautiful perfumes
La Troupe: if you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, or home goods, La Troupe is a great option and a little past Hacienda Montecristo.
Josa Tulum: Josa is a lifestyle clothing brand inspired by Tulum and New York city, mixing casual comfort with sophistication. Here you will find beautiful cover ups, and caftans that are beautiful for the beach and chic enough to wear out to dinner at night. They also sell beach blankets, beach totes, scarves, hats, and other beach essentials.
Other boutiques worth checking out are Mr. Blackbird and CARAVANA.
Now you have my ultimate guide to Tulum, what do you think? Make sure to fill us in on your favorite places in the comments below, and I’ll make sure to check them out next time I’m in that neck of the woods.