Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a hippy, nor does the whole ‘hippy thing’ especially appeal to me. So I was a little apprehensive about going to Tulum. Except, Tulum isn’t very hippy at all. That’s really in its backpacker’s past. Instead, it now seems to attract glamorous beach babes and all the New York cool kids (and a fair few celebrities). It’s main selling point is its incredible white sandy beach and beautiful, warm sea, as well as offering fantastic restaurants, bars, boutiques and plenty of outward bound activities (snorkelling, paddle boarding, cenote swimming).
There are so many hotels and beach shacks to choose from in Tulum, it’s hard to make a decision. I’d read about Tulum’s newest opening in Conde Nast Traveller: Nomade, Be Tulum’s sister property right next door. With its laid back vibes, stunning (and quiet) stretch of beach, wellness focus and Indi vibes, this has quickly become a Tulum favourite. I’d definitely only opt for their Sea View or Ocean Front Suites – the other rooms can feel a little dark ( and I wasn’t a fan of their brown mud-like walls at all). This is place for the young and lively, with chilled music constantly playing in the background.
Fashion bloggers seems to adore the eco-resort Azulik, with some of the most amazing Tree House Suites overlooking the beach and open air baths. This adults only resort is super private and exclusive. While I didn’t stay there, I personally loved the feel of Sanara, a small and quiet boutique hotel (19 rooms) with wellness at the forefront, daily yoga and a top restaurant Coconut.
One thing you’ll do in Tulum (apart from never want to leave), is eat well. There’s a different restaurant or cafe to choose from every step you take along the Tulum strip. Signs for ‘healthy food’, ‘cold-pressed juices’ and ‘tacos’ are everywhere (as well as ‘Margaritas’, of course).
‘Hartwood is by far the most famous restaurant in Tulum. Open only for dinner, this buzzing restaurant is the place to be for fish and meat lovers (all food is cooked on an open fire). Good news is you can actually book now (just send them an email). But we found Arca a close contender, not just in location (it’s right next door) but also in terms of the quality of the food and experience. The design of the restaurant and bar was beautiful.
If you’re looking for traditional, outstanding Mexican food, then El Tabano is the top spot. Super affordable, with a large menu scribbled on the black board, we had one of our favourite meals here (and they served our favourite Mexican wine: Casa Madero). If you need a change from Mexican cuisine, then Posada Margarita (possibly nearly as popular as Hartwood) serves the best Italian food in Tulum. Their fresh pasta dishes were incredible, and one of their salads for lunch on the beach works very well too.
For other lunch options, Mur Mur is an Ingrammer’s dream – all green and white furniture, big pot plants and a great brunch menu. There are some lovely (if very expensive) boutiques down the little lane where Mur Mur is too.
Finally, Zamas is worth a stop, if not for the quality of the food (average tacos, but great avocado and goats cheese tostados) or the service (below average) but for the colourful terrace and beautiful views of the ocean. But our favourite lunch place? Most definitely Nomade’s Sea Grill restaurant on the beach La Popular: the best seafood we had and the most incredible setting.
You’ll never be short of alcoholic beverages in Tulum. While it’s super laid back and finding a nightclub is close to impossible, there are plenty of bars, and plenty of relaxed beach club parties to be found (if you want to find them). Gitano was one of our favourite bars, and certainly the swankiest (and most expensive) one out there. Not so rustic or beachy, more polished and suave. Phenomenal cocktails for about £7 – £8 a pop. La Patrona (right next to El Tabano, if you’re having dinner there) is much more low key, with a very limited cocktail and beer menu (all $8) and good Margaritas.
If you’re looking for a place for a good sundowner though, then health-focused hotel Sanara’s Coconut Bar & Restaurant is ideal: with a lovely terrace overlooking the beautiful sea and beach. Their herb-infused cocktails were delicious and if we’d had time I would have returned here for lunch.
But the best way to enjoy a cocktail in Tulum? Ask Nomade’s beach bartender for a ‘Margarita to go’ (i.e in a plastic cup) and walk the stretch of the beach, cocktail in hand, at sunset.
More detailed blogs to follow about Tulum: keep an eye out.