Tulum, MEXICO – we were first drawn to the “City of Dawn” for the Mayan ruins back in 2012. Fast forward 8 years and the city has transformed dramatically given it’s fairly recent boom in tourism. Unfortunately, our travel plans were disrupted due to the pandemic. Ironically enough, this lush jungle and remote beach was exactly what we needed after the stresses of this year.
5 days / 5 nights
Originally we booked at Kai Tulum, but due to travel disruptions and rebooking challenges, we landed at Villa Pescadores next door. Eco friendly, quiet, and only 18 bungalows inside of the Tulum archaeological area. It was exactly what we needed to relax and recharge. No TVs, no phones, (and no blow dryers) – 100% disconnected.
M’axanab, Hotelito Azul, and La Zebra are other great choices along the Zona Hotelera. Don’t want to break the bank on the hotel, but still looking for a quality stay? Check out Hip Hotel or Dune Boutique Hotel. Sanara Tulum Hotel, Be Tulum, and Nomade Tulum, are located a little further down ZH and more wellness focused. Looking for a spa day outside of your hotel? Mayan Clay has unique services where they will massage you with clay from head to toe (literally, including your hair) in the jungle. Highly recommend!
Narco’s fan? You can now book reservations to stay at Pablo Escobar’s personal mansion at Casa Malca.
Accommodations in Tulum can be pretty pricey, so you may opt to stay at an Airbnb a few nights and end your stay at a beach side hotel in the Zona Hotelera.
Rosa Negra – Latin American cuisine and steak house. Their complementary house bread is dangerously good, so here is your warning not to fill up before your main course! Portions are fairly large, so it’s best to order a few things for the table and share. Reservations Recommended.
OH, AND PSA: THEY SERVE COMPLIMENTARY CHAMPAGNE IN THE LADIES BATHROOM…evidence below.
Kitchen Table – one of the best restaurants! Do yourself a favor and order at least one of the daily specials recommended by the waiter.
Arca – IMO, the best restaurant and experience in Tulum. Reservations are a must! We like to eat late, so it took some extra planning to have dinner at 6pm. WORTH IT! The soft shelled crab tacos are to die for.
Fresco’s – perfect spot for a chill, nutritious breakfast with fresh pressed juices. You can’t go wrong at the juice bar but my favorite was the Gaia with pineapple, turmeric, ginger, and cucumber.
Ziggy’s Beach Club– perfect spot for lunch, especially if you aren’t staying at a beach front hotel. Delicious aguachile and shrimp tacos, all at reasonable prices. A minimum consumption may be required for the daybeds.
Taboo – Beach club and restaurant with the same owners as Rosa Negra.
Gitano – restaurant and mezcal bar open from 6pm daily. Would recommend heading there for drinks post dinner (vs eating there). Look for the mezcal carajillo on the menu for a nightcap.
Tunich – smoothie bowls, very eco in it’s design. Great spot to have breakfast in the jungle or afternoon coffee. It’s half restaurant and half cabana accommodations, which look pretty cute for a solo/budget friendly traveler.
Mamazzita – this is the newest restaurant concept from the owners of Rosa Negra. We loved the lobster tlayuda and the passionfruit mezcals drinks here. Cocktails will run you $15-$20 (which pains me after living in Central Mexico and paying a fraction of the price), but you’ll get a great vibe and hey, you’re on vacation!
Mezzanine (inside Amor, Colibri Hotel) – the place to go for Thai cuisine inside the archaeological ruins (not too far from Kai Tulum and Villa Pescadores).
Hartwood – Off grid restaurant where their main focus is sustainability – the menu changes daily based on what’s available from the sea and land. Wish we could have eaten here! With limited capacity and the restaurant closing Mondays and Tuesdays, we couldn’t squeeze this one in, but it’s recommended by tourists and locals.
Kaahal Home – my favorite shop in downtown Tulum. Reasonably priced home artisanal pieces. I bought the most beautiful handmade table runner, very boho.
Sergia’s – the cutest purses and hand fans made from palm leaves. I couldn’t locate a Facebook page or website, but this outdoor boutique is not far from Rosa Negra. If you see the Tulum sign with light bulbs from the street, it’s right inside this corridor.
Boonilo’ob – obsessed with their modern design using traditional prints! I bought one of the blouses below for $90 USD… worth every penny. Super unique, you won’t find styles like this anywhere else. In Tulum, majority of fashion is one-size (uni alla) and gender neutral. If you’re a small size like me, it was difficult to find clothes that didn’t have excess fabric and swallow my frame.
Looking forward to returning post covid to spend more time exploring the Coba ruins and the many cenotes around Tulum!