Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Tulum!
In honor of my one month anniversary of being married and it being one month since we were in Tulum, I finally finished my extended Tulum post! I could literally write for DAYS about all the wonders of Tulum, but I will do my best to keep it concise. There is something for everyone in this magical, beach-side town that's tucked away in the jungle. Whether you're a foodie, a yogi, a backpacker, a fashionista, or simply are there for the sea views - you're in for a treat.
Knowing that our week would be full of activities when friends and family arrived, James and I decided to go to to Tulum a few days before anyone else so we could spend some time together and see all the sites. We stayed at multiple different hotels and airbnbs during our stay to get a good feel for the different options Tulum has to offer. My biggest struggle while traveling is wanting to take pictures of everything while simultaneously not wanting to take away from the experience by feeling like I HAVE to take pictures of everything (particularly since it was my wedding week). So apologies, I got as many as I could - the rest I have provided links so you may take a look at their respective websites!
A couple quick tips about hotels in Tulum:
Most hotels in Tulum run on a generator or solar panels, so they usually only offer AC at night. Electrical plugs in your room can also be hard to come by (although they usually have plugs in the main lobby and plenty of wifi) and the current can be stronger/weaker than US plugs. My poor phone fried the first day upon arrival.
Be forewarned, when a hotel says they "don't have AC", they're not messing around. If you're into a little "glamping", then I highly suggest you pay for the room closest to the beach so you can enjoy the sea breeze at night. You will often see businesses mention being on the "beach side" or the "jungle side" - the beach road in Tulum is literally a two lane road with the beach to your right (west) and the jungle to your left (east). Pick beach side if you don't have AC.
La Posada Del Sol - Great spot if you're on a budget and don't mind going A/C free! The grounds are small and quaint but very clean and the staff is super friendly. They make a delicious but simple breakfast every morning which was a huge selling point for me. I love being able to wake up and not worry about where I am going to eat first thing! They share a small strip of beach with just a few other hotels, so if you're looking for some privacy - this is a good spot.
Azulik - Very Swiss Family Robinson in style (but way cooler). Their walkways are about 30 feet in the air and their rooms overlook the expansive ocean up high on the cliffs. If you're looking to unplug entirely, this is for you. They don't have any electricity/wifi at all. They also don't allow you to keep any food in your room so as not to disrupt animal's natural foraging. I love that this hotel takes proactive measures to ensure that their footprint on this delicate area is small. It's worth grabbing a drink here (or getting a mayan spa package).
Coco Tulum - Some of the best A/C I felt my whole trip. They have little cabana style rooms that are all separate (which is nice so you don't have to hear your neighbors upstairs/beside you). Very clean and has a great beach bar that throws a Sunday Funday party every week.
Amansala - Most of our wedding guests stayed at Amansala, as this is where all of the wedding festivities were held. Breakfast, yoga, and bikes are all included in your stay - which is a PHENOM deal if you ask me. They have gorgeous grounds and clean, beautiful rooms. I could write a whole different post about how much I loved our wedding experience at Amansala but I will leave it for another time. They do have A/C at night, but don't expect it to be super cold. Grab a room that's beach side and it'll be perf. We hosted our wedding welcome party at Tacolum on the jungle side of the resort and guests raved about the food (pics below). I may do an entire post based on my wedding experience here because it was just that great.
Coral Tulum - The next three hotels listed are some of the more bougie and expensive places in Tulum - however they are fantastically designed and provide all of the creature comforts of home along with the extravagance you would expect at resorts worldwide. Coral is owned by the hotel group, Ana y Jose and they do not disappoint. Their restaurant, Cilantro, on the premises is equally yummy.
Ahau Tulum - Ahau Tulum is environmentally conscious (which I love) and provides GORGEOUS beach front cabanas, yoga, a Raw Love food bar (grab an incredible coconut milk latte and thank me later), paddle-boarding, etc.
Be Tulum - Be Tulum is absolute luxury and has a phenomenal beach club. Their Yaan Wellness Energy Spa is truly one of a kind providing guided meditation, massage, Mayan healing herbs, facials, etc. for their guests.
Hotel Jashita - This was my sister's favorite place as she is super bougie (self-proclaimed). It is gorgeously designed and has a rooftop pool that overlooks the bay. They have a restaurant on site, Sahara's Cafe that is sure to please as well.
Villa Soliman - My whole family (13 of us in total) stayed at Villa Soliman before the wedding festivities. Soliman bay is just about 8 miles north of the main Tulum strip - not bad if you rent a car. It's tucked away in a gated community and has the most beautiful bay I have ever seen. The house was immaculate, housekeepers were helpful, and we hired Chef Antonio for the week to help us cook (cooking for 13 people 3X a day is no joke) which was incredibly helpful since we had lots of festivities and events to attend. Gotta keep everyone fed and happy! Kayaks and SUP boards are included with the rental - seriously an amazing experience in the bay. Chamico's restaurant (casual outdoor eatery but with delish food) is a short walk down the road too if you'd like to eat out.
Not kidding, Tulum has some of the best food I've had in my life. I am a self-proclaimed foodie with family from south Louisiana, so I have high standards for fresh seafood. Living in Austin has turned me into one of those hipsters who cares about the whole "farm to table" movement and Tulum is right there with Austin. I typically find it difficult to find restaurants that are diet friendly (i.e. gluten free, dairy free, etc) while traveling but not to worry fellow travelers with diet restrictions! Tulum is the JAM when it comes to organic, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan goodness.
Hartwood - Let's just get the obvious one out of the way. If you get the chance, GO! The food is impeccable, fresh, and creative. Four of us dined at Hartwood one evening and the bill was about 25% less than we usually spend in Austin (and drinks were flowing, mind you). The restaurant has a very cool vibe and is worth the wait, but absolutely get there at 3pm to put your name on their reservation list. You don't get to choose what time you want, they tell you what is available.
Posada Margherita - If you're into coastal Italian food - check out Posada Margherita. We had a large group of about 25 people join us for dinner and the food was incredibly yum. They even have gluten-free pasta for those so inclined. I thoroughly enjoyed my grilled shrimp and gluten free pasta, with some rose on the side.
Amansala Grande - Most of our wedding guests stayed at Amansala during their stay and they all raved about the food. To me they were an unexpectedly delicious delight, as they are most known for their yoga - not their food. Our cocktail hour and reception was held here and I can't speak more highly of the food (and the service). Wedding food isn't known for being spectacular in America, but our wedding party decided that this was the best reception food they had had. They were super accommodating to food allergies as well which was fantastic. All in all I suggest the Arrachera steak, salsa, shrimp skewers, gazpacho, fresh ceviche and their amazing fresh pressed juices in the morning.
Juanita Diavola (Coco Tulum) - Best pizza in Tulum! We went to CoCo Tulum's Sunday funday complete with a DJ and grilling station. If you're craving some great pizza and bumpin' euro jams, you've found your spot.
Mivida - We stumbled upon Mivida as we were walking down the strip and it was surprisingly good food at a cheap price. The view is spectacular and the service was super friendly. Great place for some quick snacks and drinks to beat the afternoon heat.
Arca - With most of their food coming from local gardens and farms, you can expect some amazingly fresh and creative dishes at Arca. Many of our wedding guests said Arca was by far their favorite food on the trip. Try their bone marrow and braised lamb! They have a super contemporary vibe set on the jungle side - this place is not to be missed.
Papaya Playa - Their food is top notch and they have a pretty solid wine list. We took my in-laws here the first night they came to Mexico. The seating is stadium-like in appearance with views towards the beach. There is a great second level bar that is a perfect spot for coffee in the morning (or drinks in the afternoon!) complete with a welcome sea-breeze.
Mur Mur Tulum - We stumbled upon this place while making reservations at Hartwood for the evening. It is ADORABLE and offers local foods and bevvies. We grabbed some green juices and beers (gotta stay hydrated and healthy while we dehydrate and party amirite?) and strolled around their little shotgun style section of jungle. There were some precious shops behind MurMur - more info below about those!
Arca - Arca was mentioned up top for their amaze food - but definitely grab a jungle cocktail here at night. They have great music and their contemporary jungle decor is to die for.
Gitano - We after-partied at Gitano after our wedding reception. I literally went barefoot - still in my wedding dress and it was amazing. The dance party and DJ were on point and I loved their jungle inspired lounges that are tucked within massive trees, underneath hanging edison bulb lights and disco balls. Just go.
Casa Jaguar - Another phenomenal spot to hit up for dinner and drinks. Casa Jaguar has gotten a lot of acclaim recently from fashion and travel bloggers alike. Very cool spot.
Papaya Playa - Come to Tulum to party? Papaya Playa is your spot on Saturday nights. Live music and lots of people dancing in the moonlight - a truly cool experience. Their DJ sets are world renown as are their Full Moon parties.
Cenotes - There are tons of beautiful cenotes around Tulum. My favorite was Dos Ojos as it is close to town and the water is truly spectacular. Dos Ojos, the Gran Cenote, and Ik Kil are some of the top ones in the area.
Ruins - There are two main ruins in this area. The Tulum ruins are rather small but are very close to town if you don't have a rental car. The ruins in Coba are about 45 minutes away but are worth the trip as they are much larger and you can still walk on the ruins (instead of just looking at them from a distance). Either one is worth it to check out, though.
Scuba Dive - My husband and some of his family/friends went to Cozumel to do some scuba diving. It is known as one of the best places to scuba dive in the world. I missed out this time as it was two days before my wedding and I had a lot to get done, but next time I will go and bring back pics/videos!
Bike - There are multiple places to rent bikes in Tulum and highly suggest doing so as parking is limited. The main strip is only about 5 miles long so you can easily poke around town.
Shop - Tulum has caught the eye of bloggers and fashionistas worldwide because of their unique and world-class shops. My personal favorite is Hoki Poki Kana - it is a well-appointed little shop that is owned and run by a super friendly, designer from Paris. She was tired of the stress and atmosphere of the Paris fashion world and fell in love with Tulum. Her clothes are wonderfully Parisian and are crafted with materials perfect for the Tulum climate. You can find her shop as well as Josa Tulum, and Wanderlust behind MurMur (grab a green juice here and let the shopping begin!). Josa Tulum and Wanderlust are adorable and are right next door to Hoki Poki Kana so you can easily squeeze all of these into a quick shopping trip.
There are SO many more amazing places to check out while you're in Tulum. Truly, every nook and cranny of Tulum is filled with some incredibly adorable restaurant, boutique, hotel, bar, etc. which makes it so difficult to want to leave. Tulum = serious eye candy and serious relaxation. My husband (still a new term to me!) and I can't wait to go back, perhaps on our anniversary next year. I would LOVE to hear your recommendations on places to go/stay/eat/see/do - comment below on your Tulum faves!
Kat - Wander Life