Yes, it’s become the travel destination in the past couple years and today I am going to try and share with you why because I believe there are so many reasons why! Tulum is unlike any place in Mexico…well there is one place I discovered that is similar but I will share that in a future blog post so stay tuned 😉
Back to Tulum. It is like a bohemian, eco-friendly, sustainable paradise. It is filled with boho chic decor, outstanding restaurants with special daily menus that have a “catch of the day” dish and insanely relaxing spas! You will notice the hotels and restaurants pride themselves in using solar panels to power their businesses and preach the sustainable practices they have incorporated in their everyday life.
I loved Tulum so much that I actually went back for another vacation there in the same year, which I never do because there is just so much on my bucket list. I like to dream that one day I might retire and move there but for now I gotta keep hustling!
Where to Stay
Hands down, if you can get an ocean view room at Azulik then you have to go. It is always booked and prices can get insane during high season. I have never stayed at a hotel like Azulik. To me, it isn’t a hotel but rather an experience. The rooms are like beach-y treehouses that overlook the ocean and you get around through open air bridges in the jungle that connect the lobby, spa, yoga studio, rooms and restaurants.
Our room had an incredible deck that faced the ocean directly and the view of the night sky at was to magnificant. So many stars sparkled and you were soothed to sleep with the sound of waves. I just want to go back thinking about it.
The first thing you will notice when you arrive is that there is no electricity at Azulik and that’s because they are an eco friendly hotel and the lack of lights is important to help the turtles find natural light from the moon to get to the ocean. The hotel staff come to your room at night to light candles for you so don’t worry! You can still see, just with more natural lighting.
The rooms are also stocked daily with water bottles of “Jungle Rain” that are filtered and clean for drinking and brushing your teeth.
Their yoga studio is also really unique in my opinion. It’s designed so that you walk through this pond that has stepping stones into an opening of a structure made of all bamboo. They have yoga classes for guests and I highly recommend going! We took an 8am class after it rained and it was still so worth it.
We stayed in Azulik for a couple nights then went to a more boutique hotel called Mezzanine. We loved it there too but it was more of a traditional hotel. The rooms are comfortable and roomy and the staff are so accommodating. We became friends with one of the girls at the front desk because she was always open to answering our questions and she even helped us get a lizard out of our room! The restaurant at mezzanine is so good! It was so convenient to have such an outstanding restaurant right in our hotel and we ended up doing breakfast, lunch and dinner there a couple times because we just loved the food so much!
They also have complimentary beach umbrellas, chairs and towels and they have stairs straight to the beach from the hotel. We would chill on the beach and go swimming then lay out and order yummy drinks from the beach bar.
I like Papaya Playa to visit and grab lunch at. They do parties there with live DJs and the dance floor is the beach with the breeze of the ocean cooling you off but I have to say it’s not my favorite place to stay in terms of a hotel. I think it is overpriced and the rooms are kind of small and not that nice. Getting around at night is not the best because it’s dark and the sidewalk that connects everything is like a maze.
There are so many wonderful places you can rent out in Tulum and because of the demand, the are new construction homes and condos being built everywhere and they come with bikes for easy access to the main straight. We rented an AirBnb the second time we went to Tulum right next to a place called “The Art House” (which is gorgeous) and despite all the construction happening around us we still had a great time. Our AirBnb was in a community that had a couple restaurants and a small grocery store all biking distance. The community our Airbnb was in was called “Aldea Zama”. If you stay there, the restaurant we would go to start our day was “Chacabar”. They had the best breakfast and lunch and we would just bike there. Next door to it is a restaurant called La Colifata Tulum that opens for dinner and is so delicious (I recommend the empanadas). While we are on the topic of food…let me share more places to eat in Tulum!
Where to Eat
It’s an experience but I think it is getting a bit overhyped. The first time we went to the hardwood, we had the best time and we ate the best grilled octopus! The second trip we did to Tulum, we tried to go back and now it’s gotten so popular that you need a reservation. The only way to get a reservation is to go to the restaurant really early in the day and try to get on the list. What is notable about Hartwood is that it is an “off-grid” restaurant that is open air and eco friendly meaning that they use solar panels to power the electricity they use and all of their cooking is down by open fire with a hand made wood burning oven and grill. The food tastes so good because of that I swear!
Cenzontle Jardin Secreto
This is hands down my favorite place to eat dinner. The people that work here are so cool and kind. They never rush you and they are so laid back. Aside from their impeccable food, I really loved the ambiance of this restaurant. They have the best music and the layout of the place at night is so cozy and just makes you feel like you are in this fancy, chill little corner in the jungle. I even love their entrance.
Aldea Zama – La Colifata
I already mentioned this place earlier but if you happen to be staying at an Airbnb in Aldea Zama, bike over to this place for incredible empanadas!
Gitano is so delicious and has such a cool vibe at night. They have nights with live DJs and dancing. The service isn’t the best so don’t have high expectations.
If you ever randomly crave pizza in Tulum, you have to go to Coco! I ended up craving pizza and that’s why we wandered here and we loved it. The food here is perfect for lunch and it is on the beach. It also has cute swing seats at the bar! Coco Tulum is also a hotel.
Another place I love to go to for lunch that is also in a hotel! I don’t even know where to begin with Nomade…there are just so many things I like about this place! We wandered here after our spa appointments at the Yaan Wellness Center because it was just walking distance and we were starving. As soon as you walk in you will notice the morrocan vibe it has. I just love the design and ambiance of the place. The food is also really good. We always got the guac, smoothies and bowls.
Another wonderful place to eat and relax for lunch. I love the beach beds they have here if you want to relax a little after you eat.
Aldea Xama – Chacabar
I already mentioned this place earlier but if you happen to be staying at an Airbnb in Aldea Zama, bike over to this place in the morning for breakfast or in the afternoon for a quick yummy lunch!
What to Do
A denote is a natural pit or “sinkhole” that results from the collapse of limestone bedrock and there are many underwater caves and caverns in the Yucatan Peninsula so you will notice there are a couple of cents you can go to in Tulum.
Many people go to the Gran Cenote but I personally wouldn’t recommend it because it is way to buy and crowded. It was very family friendly though and they have lockers there and rentable lifejackets!
But I gotta say, if you are looking for a more adventurous experience go straight to the Sac Actun “Pet Cemetery Cenote! Even the taxi drive to the cenote was pretty memorable, I just felt like we were on an adventure and had no idea what was waiting for us once we got there. I still can’t believe I even went because little did I know it was a closed centote that had BATS in the cave!! I was so scared but I got through it because there were kids in our tour group that encouraged me. Honestly though it was so beautiful and calming and the water is so refreshing despite the fact that it rained the day we went.
Tulum is such a bike friendly city and everyone there bikes! You can always grab a quick cab but for the most part everything is pretty accessible by bike to be honest. There is a huge bike sidewalk that many people use to go to the main town too!
If you have time, go checkout the Mayan temples. It is just so beautiful there and the view of the ocean at the top is really memorable. We actually walked to the Mayan Temples from the beach while we were staying at the Mezainne and it didn’t take us that long.
Yaan Wellness Spa
This place can be a splurge but boy was it worth it! The staff totally pampers you and you feel like you have the whole place to yourself. There are hot tubs, cold tubs, steam rooms with amazing herbs that the stuff refreshes for you, saunas, and refreshments.
The staff even bring you some hot tea and fresh fruit while you soak and wait for your spa appointment.
The massages were also amazing! They use essential oils to relax you and my husband and I got to be in a couple room which was large and beuaitufllyp designed. Once thing I wish I got to experience was the “temazcal” which is an ancient mayan ceremony that are supposed to cleanse and heal you.
Many hotels like Papaya Playa and restaurants such as Gitano have live DJs in the weekend. It really fun to dance the night away in the jungle or on the beach!