Tulum could easily be the winning response to a Jeopardy question asking for “Mexico’s most trendy resort destination.” Located 120 km south of Cancun, the Riviera Maya stretches along the coast, boasting pristine beaches, lush jungles, and ancient Mayan ruins to explore. Indeed, Tulum epitomizes the trendy vacation spot. Yet, it remains the ultimate choice for travellers seeking a relaxed, laid-back experience in Mexico but would rather die than be seen at a generic, all-inclusive resort.
Where we stayed
I love a laid-back kind of holiday, and our accommodations at COCO TULUM didn’t disappoint. However, we arrived late at night, so it was hard to see the lay of the land. But opening the drapes first thing in the morning was all I could do not to squeal with delight. The water, the beach…AMAZING!
Tulum boasts an off-grid and eco-friendly ambiance. Embracing sustainability, hotels rely on generators for power while adopting environmentally-conscious practices, such as disposing of toilet paper in designated bins. It’s a bit of an ewww situation, but you eventually get used to it.
While each resort exudes its unique charm, you’ll find a cohesive and recognizable design across many establishments. That said, I could be anywhere in the world. I didn’t feel that authentic Mexican vibe, which is okay. And, forget about cheap Coronas and Tequilla. But wait! Don’t they make this stuff in Mexico? They have you by the balls, and the price is the price. Thankfully, there’s always happy hour. So load up!
Many restaurant options
A girl’s gotta eat. And I’m here to say there are enough restaurant options to satisfy all cravings, dietary restrictions and food allergies. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that dining in the resort area of Tulum can be pretty pricey, with rates comparable to those in New York City.
Instead, try the local bars. Many options are offering simpler fare. ICE CREAM BAR is one of those options: cheap and cheerful, with delicious tacos, too.
When we arrived late at night, this lovely Italian restaurant, PAROLE RESTAURANT, was thoroughly enjoyed after a long day of travel, regardless of the high prices. A shout out to JUANITA DIAVOLA, our restaurant at COCO Tulum; we were pleasantly surprised every time.
If you have time
CASA MALCA, AKA Pablo Escobar’s Mansion in Tulum (Quintano Roo), grab a $20 cocktail and imagine what might have gone down in the day. You might even spot a few ghosts. Eerily good!
A quick drive into Tulum’s town centre will find you better value. We ate twice at LA HOJA VERDE, serving flavourful vegetarian/vegan food—even better, 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 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!
Decide on a budget and stick to it.
If you’re considering a trip to Tulum, budget and stick to it, as the expenses can add up fast. We went during the off-season, which was fantastic, but I can only imagine how costly it could be during peak season. Plan and be prepared for an unforgettable experience!
We had a fantastic trip, but Tulum is becoming more popular. I loved Tulum’s gorgeous beaches, crystal clear waters, and endless adventures. The charm and uniqueness are truly captivating. However, I came here to experience the authentic Mexican culture, which sometimes gets overshadowed by the tourist scene. Hopefully (fingers crossed), it will stay true to its essence.