Hola! I got back from Tulum last weekend after after a full week of recovery, I’m excited to share a little recap of our trip. But before I dive into my favorites, let me just say – if you were thinking of booking a trip soon, go to Tulum. Just do it. It was my first trip to Mexico and I was blown away by every aspect of it, from the food to the culture to how stunning it was. I’d also recommend doing at least 5 days in Tulum if you’re planning on going – the trek from the west coast was a long one and my only regret is that I wish I had more time to explore and unwind before heading back to San Francisco. It would have been nice to have a few more days to explore and relax, but I wanted to share our favorites from the trip:
To Stay: After exploring the various hotel options in Tulum, we ended up opting to stay downtown in an Airbnb instead since we were more interested in exploring rather than staying put in one place. Our Airbnb was in the absolute perfect location downtown, right next to some amazing bars and restaurants, but still central to the beach areas with a short taxi ride (they were available everywhere). If you’d prefer to go to the hotel route, I’ve heard amazing things about Be Tulum and The Papaya Playa Project!
To Eat & Drink: I joked on our first night that we should eat tacos every day while in Mexico and… we did exactly that! Every meal we had in Tulum was excellent thanks to lots of great recommendations from friends and readers, and some good old research on Foursquare (I use it all the time when traveling!). A few of our favorite spots:
- Batey: Our Airbnb was right around the corner from this bar and we actually met our host there to pick up the apartment keys right when we arrived in Tulum. We immediately knew our apartment was in the best location downtown when we realized it was so close to Batey – the bar was always packed with a mix of locals and tourists. Their cocktails are incredible and they have live music nearly every night; don’t miss their mojitos and margaritas (they were SO good!)
- Ki’Bok: Sam and I are both coffee addicts and snobs and were so happy to have Ki’Bok right near our Airbnb – their lattes could hold their own against the fanciest coffee shop in the U.S. and their breakfast was also really good. Stop in for breakfast and eat outside in the back garden, grabbing an iced latte to go for while you browse the local shops.
- Raw Love: After the most amazing massage ever (more on that below!) we popped into Raw Love for a bite to eat and while a bit expensive, their acai bowl was really delicious and the perfect way to cool down on a warm day. Raw Love has a completely vegan menu and is right off the beach so you can get your healthy food fix with your feet in the sand.
- Casa Jaguar: Per the recommendation of our Airbnb host (and actually a few guys on Tinder/Bumble), we found ourselves at a ‘Jungle Party’ at Casa Jaguar which was quite the experience. If you’re looking for a night out, Casa Jaguar is the place to be with a crowd that was a mix of locals and tourists from all over the world and live music + dancing.
- Panna E Cioccolato Gelateria: If you’ve been reading for awhile you know I’ve got a serious sweet tooth and the sorbet at Panna E Cioccolato was SO GOOD that I might have visited twice in one day. The fresh fruit flavors are a great way to cool down after spending a day at the beach – try the raspberry, mango and
- Encanto Cantina: On our last night in Tulum we were both craving seafood and headed to Encanto Cantina for a nicer sit down dinner – they had some really great ceviche, interesting tacos and awesome mezcal cocktails with a really cute back garden area.
- Pasito Tun Tun: After walking past this bar a few times (they have swings out front!) we stopped in for cocktails on evening and the atmosphere was really fun. The back garden area had a DJ and their cocktail menu was pretty impressive with lots of mezcal and tequila options (I may or may not have had 3+ palomas!)
- Antojitos La Chiapaneca: Best. Tacos. Ever. Seriously. This is a no frills local spot with dirt cheap (under $1 each) tacos that are the best I have ever had in my life. Order at least 3 carnitas tacos and get ready to have your mind blown! The only bummer is that they don’t serve any alcohol, so grab a drink elsewhere before you get your taco fix.
To Do & See: One of the best things about Tulum is that there’s plenty to do besides lay on the beach, although we did plenty of that! I will admit that I’m still bummed that we didn’t get to swim in a cenote – it was the #1 thing I wanted to do while in Mexico, but the perfect excuse to plan a trip back ;)
- Mayan Clay Spa: I booked Sam and I massages at the mud spa spontaneously and guys… it was one of the best experiences of my life. Although not for the modest, we did a 2 hour treatment that involved being massaged with mayan clay, then taking an outdoor shower followed by another oil massage. It was the best massage I’ve ever gotten and the most relaxed I have ever felt in my life – could not recommend it more!
- Playa Paraiso: After hitting the beaches to the south of downtown, we headed north to Playa Paraiso and loved that it was much more laid back with plenty of public beach access since there weren’t hotels around everywhere. Playa Paraiso has a great beach club so you can easily rent towels and grab a drink and the water was stunning.
- Snorkeling: We hopped in a boat to snorkel off the coast at Playa Paraiso and it was pretty incredible – there’s a large coral reef just off the shore where we were able to see tons of sea turtles, sting rays and fish. While we skipped the official ruins tour due to long lines, the boat ride out to the reef also offered some incredible views of the ruins which was a fun added bonus.
One thing I’d also recommend is bringing your debit card so you can easily grab pesos at the ATM – very few places in Tulum accept credit cards but it’s easy enough to get pesos while you’re down there instead of worrying about bringing a bunch of cash with you.
Have you ever been to Tulum? What are some of your favorite spots?