Curated by: Lucas Santos & Ben Dumas
Travel Period: November 2018
Traveled With: Just Us Two
Typical Weather: Hot, sunny with mild nights, cool mornings
Getting There: NYC - Cancun direct in only 4 hours. Rent a car to get from Cancun to Tulum, it's very affordable (as low as $9/day)
Getting Around: Once you're in Tulum, you can bike around or walk anywhere on the main beach strip
This was our third time visiting Tulum—the first was with a group of 12, the second was with a group of 6, but this one was just us two. We stayed, again, at Casa Violeta, which is quickly becoming our home away from home. We arrived in Tulum the Friday after Thanksgiving and we were very excited to be staying here for 5 nights with no real agenda other than a few dinner reservations here and there. Tulum is our go-to beach getaway and, despite its growing popularity as a destination for birthday, bachelor, and bachelorette parties, it still retained its special vibe that we fell in love with in the first place.
Casa Violeta - In our opinion, this is the most magical boutique hotel in Tulum. It is situated right on the beach towards the south section of the main strip and features authentic rustic design elements that bring to life the true essence of Tulum. Karla has been managing this property for over 15 years, evolving it year after year with design enhancements and renovations. This year, we stayed in Magnolia, which is a two-floor room that can fit up to four guests with a king bed and two twin day beds. It is their biggest room and the one closest to the water. The rooms do not have air conditioning, but it never bothered us because the breeze from the beach kept it cool throughout the day.
Be Tulum - One of the best spots in Tulum. Definitely on the pricier side, but most rooms have private pools and the rooms are air conditioned. Even if you're not staying at the hotel, you can make a dinner reservation and enjoy the night there.
Posada Margherita - Super cute and well-manicured boutique hotel run by an Italian couple in the beginning section of Tulum road. We absolutely love their restaurant and it’s always a must-go for us on any trip to Tulum
Nomade - A larger hotel complex on the beach right next to Be Tulum towards the south section of the main strip. They have perhaps the best beach set up and vibe with daily DJ’s and bands playing right on the beachfront restaurant.
Chiringuito - New 12-room boutique design hotel right on the beach, in between Casa Violeta and Be Tulum. The hotel is small enough that it feels like its an escape, but decked out and well-designed like Nomade and Be Tulum where it’s inviting to the point where you never want to leave.
Azulik - The famous Tulum tree-house hotel. It is one of the most unique hotels that we’ve ever experienced. One of the most expensive options, if not the most, but most of the rooms feature a private plunge pool/jacuzzi with beach-front room deck. If you can splurge and don’t mind sticking around the hotel for the majority of the day (closed off access to the main beach), then stay here for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Habitas - Beautiful, beach-front boutique hotel with an infinity pool and amazing restaurant on the northern most section of Tulum. If you’re staying here, you’ll most likely hang out at the hotel all day because you can’t walk up and down the beach from here.
Casa Malca - Pablo Escobar’s mansion turned into a quirky art-filled beachfront hotel. On the southern-most tip of the main hotel strip on the beach, with a shared pool for guests which is a nice touch not typical in Tulum.
NEST Tulum - Eight room hotel, right on the beach with cute bohemian vibes.
See & do
Gran Cenote - This is the main snorkeling cave that is an easy drive from Tulum. The water is crystal clear and its such an amazing spot to enjoy a few hours of your day.
Ruins - The Tulum ruins are the only ones built by the sea, so wear your swimsuit and head down to the beach for a beach break. There are a few other options too that are a little more inland and a little more of a drive away.
Beach - The Tulum beach is picture perfect, with something for everyone. The beach itself if basically a pedestrian highway lined with small hotels, restaurants, and beach bars that you can pop into while taking a stroll. Our time is Tulum is always spent almost entirely on this amazing beach! You can also rent bikes if you prefer to use the actual road to get around.
EAT & DRINK
Gitano - Great after dinner spot. Think jungle disco - incredible live music, vibe, people, and drinks. Try the Jungle Fever drink - they are known for their mezcal. This was also the only place that took reservations over the holiday week.
Hartwood - One of the best restaurants in Tulum, if not the best. They now take reservations which can be made up to 30-days before which is such a treat. If you’re in Tulum for the first time, you cannot miss this place!
Mur Mur - The most flavorful authentic Mexican restaurant in the jungle side of the main strip. We walked here based on a recommendation from our hotel owner and boy did it not disappoint. Best ceviche in Tulum.
Cenzotle Secret Garden Restaurant - This really cute spot has an amazing setting (think candle-lit open-air gardens) with amazing traditional Mexican food.
Mateos - Chill vibe, further north up Tulum road. Great tacos and micheladas.
Papaya Playa Project - Very cool beach club literally cut out of rock. It's really great and they play awesome music. Don't eat there though - the food is weird.