Aquamarine bodies of water and Mexican ceviche await your arrival at Tulum, along the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Ditch the metropolis of Cancún, and opt instead for the quite Mayan ruins that sit rooted in Tulum. Between mariachi and moonlight, we’ve got a handy guide to Tulum, thanks to Brown Paper Bag founders Kanika and Mansi, who’ve listed the best possible use of our time when we’re there next.
There are a ton of water-facing hotels lining Tulum’s Beach Road, ranging from super fancy to affordable tent-housing, the most popular of which is Coqui Coqui. It fills up fast, though, so book well in advance or try instead Mr and Mrs Smith, a fun, slick boutique hotel. We also like Ana y José, with its pretty thatched-roof huts, and Zamas Hotel, which has a cheery restaurant, but not that a great beach.
Eat and Drink
Tulum has many great restaurants, including some that need reservations and waiting lists. The most talked-about of these is Hartwood, which takes dinner reservations only in person, and only at 3pm for the same day. If you don’t manage to line up in time, you won’t even get on the waitlist. Comfort yourself, as we did, with Casa Banana up the street, a very good restaurant with a chill vibe and big wood-fired oven that produces some of the freshest fish and asparagus you have ever tasted. Also, good Whiskey Sours! Lunch should be at Zamas, with its fun tacos and many vegetarian options, or at Antojitos la Chiapaneca, widely considered to be the best Mexican restaurant in the area. Dancing should be at Gitano’s, where disco balls are strung off palm trees and hot bartenders serve beetroot tacos and pricey cocktails.
Shopping the Beach Road in Tulum can yield some surprisingly non-beachy treasures, including creamy lace dresses and red leather boots that we found at La Troupe, and some haunting tropical scents from the perfumery attached to above mentioned Coqui Coqui. If you are in the market for fun jewellery or a beach bag, try Mr. Blackbird.
Drink margaritas on the beach! For those of you with itchy feet, the Mayan ruins here are touristy but still interesting, complete with temples and shaman-shacks, and the cenotes, or reefs, are crawling with gorgeous fish, perfect for snorkelling and diving. You can also visit the very famous “Bat Cave” or make like us and drive 45 minutes to the more commercial and tequila-soaked Playa Del Carmen for a night of debauched drinking with 19-year-old spring breakers.