Everyone’s been asking me – how was Tulum?! And I don’t even know where to begin!!
How often do you find yourself waking up to the sounds of crashing waves, chirping birds and a gentle calm? When I decided to pack my bags to go to Tulum, I didn’t know it was going to be one the most memorable trips of my life.
When people think about taking a Carribean vacation, people’s most obvious choices are Cancun or Cabo. However, if you’re looking to get away from the spring break parties and the perenial hustle of tourists, Tulum is top of the list. Tulum has become an incredibly popular travel destination with celebreties who own vacation villas by the beach and of course is home to fashion’s most elite.
Tulum was also recently named the top global destination on the rise by TripAdvisor traverlers.
And you need to visit to know why. The white sand beaches, the turquoise blue clear waters, the host of eco-chic restaurants, clubs and yoga as well as stunning cenotes or visiting the Mayan ruins, there’s just so much about Tulum that makes it one of those hidden gems that’s slowly creeping its way into everyone’s bucket lists.
Did you know everything in Tulum is locally sourced and/or created? Tulum is made for the eco-conscious traveler, whether it’s vegan farm to table restaurants or hand woven designs at local boutiques.. even electricity is a remote concept and romantic candles light the night!
Getting to Tulum:
Tulum is about 2 hrs from the Cancun airport. There’s two ways to get there – either you can catch a pre-paid taxi from the airport that cost about $90 to Tulum beach, or you could take the ADO bus which is an increibily comfortable 2.5 hr journey that takes you to the Playa and then to Tulum for about $16.Either option is quite comfortable. Just keep in mind Uber’s dont show up at the airport so these are your only options… unless you arrange for a shuttle service with your hotel which costs about the same as a taxi.
Not all girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Some of us are made of adventure, fine beer, brains and no fear. I travelled to Tulum to get away to a world far from ordinary.
Where to Stay:
Tulum is filled with eco-chic boutique hotels and private beach homes. There are NO hotel chains so everything is privately owned and loved for. I wanted to experience both – the quiet privacy of a beach front villa as well as the cool eco-conscious boutique hotels of Tulum.
1. Mahayana Tulum
Link: Mahayana Tulum Homes
Click here for more on my stay at Mahayana Tulum Homes.
Sitting at the edge of the tropical jungle, immersed in lush greenery and designed to capture the sea and pristine beauty of the turquoise Caribbean… Mahayana Tulum captures eco-chic Tulum like a dream.
I was excited to take over their 3 story Spanish villa with a private pool – Casa Mandala for a few days. Casa Mandala is part of a small collection of beach front homes on a private beach, in the heart of Tulum’s most captivating part of the strip. The beach property houses 5 homes, each unique in its interiors, but all of them share the same stunning Spanish luxurious aesthetics.
Whether you are a family or group of friends or a couple looking for a quiet oasis in the heart of the beach area, away from the crowds and the hustle of the hotels, Tulum beach homes is the perfect place for you. In particular, if you are a couple, Casa Gaia is the ultimate romantic destination because it is so close to the beach, yet so private. It gives the feeling like you have the whole beach to yourself.
2. LaZebra Boutique Hotel
Link: LaZebra Hotel
After a few days at the Casa, I wanted to experience what Tulum’s exclusive eco-chic boutique hotels have to offer. I took over the spectacular Ocean front Suite with a Private Plunge Pool, one of the BEST rooms at the LaZebra hotel, right in the heart of the most vibrant part of Tulum. The hotel is jiving with energy, young people and families, tons of beach cabanas, live music, multiple bars that showcase unique experience-projects. When I was there, the Mulberry project from NYC was offering house made custom cocktails to anyone swinging by!
The experience of staying at LaZebra was completely in contrast of what Casa Mandala had to offer and I absolutely loved both the experiences. After a quiet few days basking in the privacy and luxury of the Casa, LaZebra felt like a welcome vibrant experience where we got to meet a ton of new people, have cocktails served up to my private plunge pool all day long. The breakfast and their spa therapies are to die for.
Where to eat:
All of Tulum operates completely independently – self serve mode. All ingredients are sourced locally. You can taste the inspiration from the jungle in everything about Tulum.
Casa Malca – Philosophy
Link – Casa Malca – Philosophy
Casa Malca is the epitome of Opulence. From the majestic entrance, the wild and qwirky details in the hall ways, the floors, the ceiling and everywhere you look… the luxury is unreal and the experience, surreal.
“No matter what your travel style is, eco-friendly and art inspired Casa Malca will prove to be a rare combination of unmatched luxury and ultimate privacy in an intimate seaside setting. It provides perfect & private accommodation for individuals, couples & families.” – Casa Malca.
While I definitely want to stay here the next time I visit with my husband, I got to experience some of the finest dining experiences I’ve ever had my whole life.
The decor of the restaurant on the grounds, Philosophy, echoes the same opulent theme all across the resort. Walking into Philosophy, you get transported to a different time, a different era as you experience the most exquisite meal under the starry night sky! In my case, I got even luckier as it was the night of the Super Moon! Under the spectacular moonlight, I got to experience an exquisite 5-course meal starting with Amuse-bouche, followed by each course made with the bountiful and fresh ingredients of the Yucatan Peninsula, conjured to create a contemporary cuisine celebrating the art of food, and concluding with multiple delicious desserts.
Ziggys – The beach club
Link – Ziggy’s Beach Club
You can tell I’m a sucker for fine dining under the stars. Ziggy’s is a sight to catch at night! With candle lights, lanterns and tiki torches marking the spectacular grounds of Ziggy’s, you feel like you are in a dream.
As you walk under the tall thatch roof into Ziggy’s round bar with tall swings all around it.. pick up your favorite cocktail from the sweetest bar tenders and dip your feet in the sand to get the evening started.
We got their house favorites and walked back out to the dinner tables by the beach. The wind feels refreshing and the dim hazard lanterns and candle lights all around create the most romantic mood. The chef was fantastic and came out to meet with us as he described to us the inspiration and thought that went into the wonderful 5 course meal which was a fusion of Mexican-Italian cuisines. The service was absolutely amazing with extremely attentive staff! We were served different courses with different wine pairings, and even multiple cocktails to best suite our taste buds! The entire experience was magical and I highly recommend getting a table at Ziggy’s around 7pm so you can catch their live music along with watching the sun set before you as you sip one of their fine cocktails!
Raw Love Tulum
Link – Raw Love Tulum
Talk about the cutest lil spot for the yummiest Smoothie bowls and fresh coconut water to kick start your day.
Raw Love is nestled by Hotel Ahau by the beach, with a host of hammocks to chill in while you wait for your smoothie bowl or just spend the afternoon soaking all the beauty around you in.
Frescos – The beach club
Link – Fresco’s Tulum
Looking for the most fresh ingredients, all locally sourced and created in front of you, Fresco’s has one of the best breakfast and lunch to offer. Not only is it located by the beautiful Ziggy’s beach club, Fresco’s menu has a host of wonderful options for the farm-to-table conscious traveler.
I chose to try their unique salads that come in a tall jar with the ingredients laid out in layers. The service was impeccable as well.
The Real Coconut
The best Avo toast with the best view – you cannot miss the Real Coconut. I was not going to leave Tulum without tasting the best Avo toast I’ve ever had! Do not miss this spot!
Link – Gitano Tulum
Looking to party? Tulum is dripping boho vibes. Trippy house music and the best mezcal in the heart of the jungle, Gitano is wild! Serving the best cocktails I’ve had in Tulum, designed like the jungle lit with only candle lights, combined with the pumping Gypsy Disco tunes, there’s no place else like Gitano.
Where to Shop
Not that there’s a derth of boutiques in Tulum, but there are a handful that truly stand out. Tulum has stayed off the grid for decades now, with no electricity and hence no large chains – whether its hotels, malls or retail. And that is why you see a host of super boho-chic boutiques, each with unique designs but all echoing the overall boho-chic theme of Tulum.
Link – Calo Tulum
Adjacent to Gitano is this gem of a boutique – Calo Tulum. Following the same streamlined modern architecture of Gitano with local hardwood, white washed walls juxtaposed against the whimsical jungle as a backdrop, Calo is Gitano’s first Concept Store showcasing some of the most unique designs that epitomize Tulum at its best. From boho kaftans, fine silks to gold accented accessories and silver bracelets, Calo is for those with wanderlust in their hearts. I got to shoot couple of their cutest outfits and they were so kind to gift me the most Tulum’esq piece so I take a piece of Tulum with me everywhere I go!!!
Link – Josa Tulum
Josa is the cutest store housing clothes for both men and women – from unstructured pieces in earth tones to contouring dresses in delicate fabrics, Josa is a must-stop! Wearing their Michelle dress custom made in tulum in this gorg fabric of my choice!
Known for their jungle rituals and the breath-taking views as you experience healing through yoga by the beach, Tulum has a bunch of spiritual yoga-ashrams for you!
I had an 8:30am yoga class to attend at Amansala’s spectacular beach front resort followed by fine breakfast and spend the rest of the day at their beach club! that was the plan, however I injured my foot and couldn’t make it to the class on time…but I highly recommend the experience and I’ll be sure to attend the session next time I’m there!
For those looking for adventure, Tulum’s cenotes are an absolute must see.Of course step into town to check out how the locals get about their day.Visit the Mayan ruins during your time there.
Tulum is your escape to a world far from ordinary. I traveled to an exotic land In search of adventure, looking for a life less ordinary outside of my mundane life. Brought by circumstance and some hard work, I hope you enjoyed my story of an incredible week in Tulum.