With its sparkling shores, lush jungles and thriving wildlife, Tulum is one of the most magical places on Earth. Despite the fact that I’ve been to Tulum several times, I feel a strong urge to pilgrimage back each year. Generally, I rarely visit a destination twice, but there is something about Tulum that makes me fall in love with it even more each time.
Perhaps it’s the laid back atmosphere, the fresh food or friendly locals; but I keep going back for more.
The first time I visited Tulum was in 2000, nearly twenty years ago when it was just a rustic, bohemian beach town. Although the entire beach area still runs on generators and retains its signature boho vibe, Tulum continues to evolve, and is now a world-class travel destination.
Tulum is a coastal Caribbean city located in the Mexican Riviera, the Yucatán Peninsula. If that sentence alone didn’t convince you to visit Tulum, keep reading.
Why You Should Go
If the Caribbean waters and powdery white sand beaches haven’t convinced you, perhaps the unique fusion of historic Mayan ruins, wide range of eco-tourism and exotic wildlife, and various cenotes will. With its thriving and progressive food scene, bustling nightlife and yoga scene, you’ll never be short of something exciting to do or see.
You can do nothing at all and simply enjoy paradise by getting lost in Tulum. Even if you went to Tulum and laid on a beach for a week, you’d love it. There truly is something for everyone in Tulum, which is why you should definitely visit at least once! I have a feeling you’ll go back for more, though. Tulum has a way of sinking its teeth into you and turning you into an addict.
What You Should See
As you’ve gathered by now, there are tons of activities in Tulum. Here’s a look at some of the must-see attractions.
If you’re visiting Mexico, archaeological ruins are a must-see. In Tulum, you’ll have the option of visiting several Mayan ruins. Juxtaposing the splashing waves of the Caribbean are the Tulum Ruins, located just outside of Tulum beach. While there are larger sites scattered throughout Mexico, these beachside ruins make for an unforgettable visit.
Travel tip: The weather can get super hot, so be sure to go early to avoid the mid-day heat and pack a natural insect repellent like Doterra Terrashield!
Ready for a mini road trip? Then head to the Coba Ruins, just an hour and a half drive from Tulum. What makes these ruins worth the trek is that here you’ll find one of the last Mayan pyramid’s that you can still climb up. Climbing the Coba Ruins is an exciting and sacred experience offering insight into the complex and mystifying history of 13th century Mayan civilization.
Tulum is renowned for its water activities, and cenotes are the perfect way to soak in the warm local waters. Cenotes are limestone caves with underwater sinkholes which attract swimmers, snorkelers, divers and adventures from all over the world. Don’t miss the popular Gran Cenote, a huge sinkhole between Tulum and Coba.
Laying on the beach more your speed? You’ve come to the right place! Hit up one of the many plush beach clubs like Beso Beach, Ahau, La Zebra or Be Tulum for a day of relaxing, enjoying libations and music in the sun.
Where You Should Eat
Where do I start?! The food in Tulum is delicious, healthy and oh so fresh. The Caribbean serves as a rich resource of marine life, making fresh seafood integral to Tulum’s food scene. Here is a round up of some of my favorite restaurants that are serving up delicious gluten free meals.
The Real Coconut
If The Real Coconut existed in LA (which it is going to soon!) I would probably eat there EVERY DAY. Everything is grain free, dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free and absolutely delicious! The restaurant is located in the Sanara resort with beautiful ocean views. Sit back, listen to the waves and savor the fresh, healthy food that lights your soul on fire.
Wild Tulum is a beautiful outdoor restaurant where you feel like you are dining in the middle of the jungle. The delicious fare includes freshly caught local fish and meats.
Be Tulum is an ultra modern, chic resort with a delicious restaurant on the beach. They have great fresh seafood and some of the best octopus I have ever had.
A delicious food and mezcal bar, Gitano is an oasis with a vibrant seasonal and local menu. If you love lush outdoor bars, you won’t want to miss the fun, retro vibes of Gitano.
For unique, Mediterranean cuisine in the Caribbean, head to Beso. Not only is the food fresh and delicious, but they have health-conscious options for those with dietary restrictions and allergies. I also love the atmosphere, which is bustling with live music and amazing architecture did I mention they have Paella with fresh seafood?
Raw Love Cafe
Raw Love Cafe is a completely gluten free restaurant in Tulum. If you’re gluten free like me, you understand how amazing it is to go to a restaurant and be able to eat anything on the menu. Not to mention its all so tasty!
If you need a morning or afternoon pick me up, a stop at Matcha Mama is required. This cute little bungalow is serving up delicious matcha to keep you going. Not only is the matcha delicious, but it’s a great photo op as the bungalow is so photogenic!
After a day full of beach lounging, yoga and relaxation, get ready to hear some amazing beats in the jungle! Tulum’s nightlife is a fusion of energetic beats and rhythms full of energy you can’t help but dive into. Enjoy the electricity of Tulum’s nightlife as you sip on delicious mezcal cocktails with fresh ingredients.
Gitano has the absolute best Mezcal cocktails in town and always a fun crowd and great music. Whether it’s your first or last stop for the night, you have to make an appearance at Gitano.
Casa Jaguar is another delectable cocktail stop with great music. Stroll to the back to find DJs playing the best house beats late into the evening. This is definitely one of the quintessential stops for late night vibes.
Papaya Playa Project
Papaya Playa Project is more of a large venue that you most often need to book in advance. The acts are usually quite large and they play right on the beach. I was lucky to see Thievery Corporation on their beach side stage at the Art With Me Festival in 2018, which was absolutely amazing.
Photos at Tata Tulum
Where You Should Stay
I have stayed at Tata Tulum twice now and absolutely love it. The hotel is clean, new and very modern and most rooms have an ocean view. The beach is stunning with a pool and restaurant right on the edge. The restaurant serves delicious food all day and the staff has always been very accommodating to my allergies. If you’re heading to Tulum, I highly recommend making Tata your haven.
Sanara is a beautiful resort that is also home to my favorite restaurant, The Real Coconut. It can be a little pricier but has great amenities including daily yoga and meditation classes. Sanara is more of an experience and if you’re craving a resort getaway, it’s a great option.
Be Tulum is a chic botique hotel featuring private, ultra modern villas. If you crave luxury in an exotic beach setting, Be Tulum is an excellent choice.
Casa Malca used to be one of Pablo Escobar’s homes and is now a chic hotel. This whitewashed modern hotel is located close to the Tulum ruins, and offers visitors a unique, local’s perspective of Tulum.
Ahua Tulum is one of the most iconic hotels on the beach stretch, and is recognized for its signature thatched roofs. With its prime location serving as the central point for nearby bars and restaurants, Ahua is the perfect hub to access all of Tulum’s finest.
When You Should Go
High Season: The best time to visit Tulum is Jan-April, when the weather is best. However, be prepared for costly accommodations and crowds.
Shoulder Season: If you’re not into the crowds and prices, head to Tulum in May, right before rainy season hits. Fall is a great time to go because it’s like a ghost town and you feel like you have the beach to yourself, but be advised it’ll likely be rainy.
How To Get There
The easiest way to get to Tulum is to fly into Cancun Airport. From there, you’ll rent a car or take your hotel’s ride service. Tulum is south of the airport, and takes about an hour and a half but the drive is safe and easy. You can even stop and spend some time in Playa Del Carmen on your way there!
Once in Tulum, getting around is easy. Rent a bike, take a taxi or walk to and from attractions. Tulum is a highly walkable place but riding a bike is a fun adventure and great way to get the lay of the land.
Ready for Tulum?
With summer right around the corner, its the perfect time to book a trip to Tulum. I can’t recommend visiting Tulum enough. Whether you want a quick getaway to paradise, an adventure trip or chic resort experience, Tulum has it all. Safe to say you’ll be going back for more, which is great because every time you visit you will experience something new. It’s easy to see why everyone loves getting lost in Tulum!
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