Tulum sounds like it should be the answer to a Jeopardy question, “What is Mexico’s trendiest resort?” Tulum is a region in Mexico, 120 km south of Cancun, known as the Riviera Maya, a stretch of coast that includes beaches, jungles, and Mayan ruins. Tulum is the ultimate spot for those seeking an easy, cost-effective trip to Mexico but would rather die than be seen at some theme park all-inclusive.
When it came time to book a last-minute sun getaway, Tulum ticked a lot of boxes. It was a comfortable 6-hour non-stop flight from Vancouver to Cancun, with just under a two-hour drive to the coast of Tulum. Having never visited, I really didn’t know what to expect, other than what I’ve read on various travel blogs and word of mouth from friends. With this, I had already determined Tulum was a super laid back destination, hammocks, massages and yoga on the beach and definitely no shoes required. Keeping my expectations to a minimum, I was prepared to live in my swimsuit and flip flops. I love a laid back kind of holiday, and our accommodations at COCO TULUM didn’t disappoint. We arrived late at night, so it was hard to see the lay of the land, opening the drapes first thing in the morning, at first glance, it was all I could do not to squeal with delight. The water, the beach…AMAZING!
Tulum is off the grid, eco-friendly, with a cohesive, slightly manufactured look, meaning, hotels are running on generators, toilet paper goes in the trash, not the toilet, and every resort seems to be channelling similar styles. It’s fine, but honestly, I could be anywhere in the world, it’s not giving me that Mexican vibe, which is okay? Forget about cheap Coronas and Tequilla, WAIT, don’t they make this stuff in Mexico? They have you by the balls, the price is the price; thankfully, there’s always happy hour, load up!
Girls gotta eat, I’m here to tell you, there are enough restaurant options and then some to satisfy all cravings, dietary restrictions and food allergies. If you’re dining in the resort area of Tulum, expect to pay NewYork city prices, instead, try the local bars, tons around, they offer simpler fare, ICE CREAM BAR is one of those options, cheap and cheerful, delicious tacos too. When we arrived late at night, this little gem was open for dinner, PAROLE RESTAURANT Italian food, which was thoroughly enjoyed after a long day of travel, regardless of the sticker shock prices. A shout out to JUANITA DIAVOLA our restaurant at COCO Tulum we were pleasantly surprised each and every time. AND Just because, CASA MALCA AKA Pablo Escobar’s Mansion in Tulum, or, Quintano Roo, grab a $20 cocktail and imagine what might have gone down back in the day, you might even spot a few ghosts? Eerily good!
A quick drive into Tulum town centre will definitely find you better value. We ate twice at LA HOJA VERDE which serves vegetarian/vegan food, it was shockingly good, especially washed down with some yummy margaritas, now we’re talking!
For something entirely different, why not check out the ruins? The MAYAN RUINS are approximately a 45-minute bike ride give or take a few minutes depending on where you’re staying. This 13th-century, walled Mayan archaeological site at Tulum National Park has beautiful views overlooking the sea, it’s a quick visit, 80 pesos entry and expect to spend an hour or so. Easy!
If you plan to visit Tulum, prepare to spend more than you bargained for, decide on a budget and stick to it, otherwise, it can go sideways very easily. We were visiting off-season which was ideal, I can’t imagine what it might be like in high season, yikes! Unfortunately, I fear that Tulum has grown beyond trendy proportions, with its busloads of travellers and Instagram posers. It would be sad to think, Tulum, another unique destination, discovered by many, will at some point become just another Mexican city.
Tulum, you’re gorgeous, I loved the great weather, your beach and the plethora of options you offer the traveller. Whatever you do, don’t lose your identity, I craved a little culture which has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. Stay true to yourself.
” Will you return to Tulum?”