A QUICK GUIDE TO TULUM
Although we planned our trip to Bali for my 30th birthday, we couldn’t make it there due to unforeseen circumstances. I believe the best kind of trips are the spontaneous ones! We decided to go to Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
HOW WE GOT AROUND
We arrived from our flight to Cancun and drove 1 1/2hours to Tulum. There are no airports in Tulum.
Since they don’t have Uber or Lyft in Tulum, we found it best to rent a car vs taking a taxi everywhere. We used Easy Way Car Rentals. For 6 days, we were charged only $175 including their highest insurance. We got a Fiat for $5/day, but we did have to fill the tires once because the road to our AirBnb was extremely rocky!
My boyfriend did a lot of research with car rentals in Tulum. The ones we thought were trustworthy like Enterprise, Avis, Alamo, etc had the worst reviews.
Easy Way was able to pick us up from the Cancun Airport in the Friends & Family area. Cancun is like the Philippines where there is a swarm of people trying to get you to ride with their company - so just act like you know where you are going! Upon leaving Tulum, we dropped off the car at Easy Way and they were able to take us to the airport.
WHERE WE STAYED
Since this trip was last minute, I was very nervous to get a shitty hotel or Airbnb. Tulum has several options for Airbnbs! They’re more affordable than the hotels on the strip by the beach. We stayed at 2 different Airbnbs and it was coincidentally by the same owner, Diego! One was called The Green House and the other one was called The Wooden House. Both had similar features internally. We personally liked The Wooden House more because we were on the 2nd floor and it felt like it had less bugs than The Green House where we stayed on the first floor and lacked privacy. Both places are apartment complexes! So you will see other guests there but you have your own place even with a kitchenette! We didn’t see much guests, just when we initially got there.
*Both places were minutes away from Pueblo (in town) and a 10-15 minute drive to the strip along the beaches. We liked it because we were close to the tourist areas and the local areas.
$43 USD/Night as of 5/1/2019
$42 USD/NIGHT as of 5/1/2019
WHERE WE ATE
DEL CIELO - So good we went here twice throughout our trip even though we didn’t want to eat at the same place twice. They play GOOD music here like SZA & Daniel Caesar.. would have never guessed lol. Vibes are amazingly chill too! Every dish was pretty good, but definitely try the breakfast croissant sandwich! They do NOT accept credit cards, so bring cash!
KI’ BOK - Great spot for breakfast! Their guac and chips are amazing and a great appetizer for your meal. The outdoor area is very quaint with the plants, community table and also has an open kitchen. Good Americanos as well!! They also have smoothies and such. It’s in the heart of the Pueblo, so you’ll see more restaurants in that little street. They do accept credit cards!
LARA & LUCA (PLAYA DEL CARMEN) - Chances are, you are driving from Cancun to Tulum. Please pass by this gem! We declared this the best breakfast throughout the whole trip! Their Luca Breakfast sandwich was the best and their Americano is good too! I’m sad we didn’t get a photo of it. lol Definitely a must coming from & to Cancun airport. They are bilingual here and they do accept credit cards!
TUNICH - This is on the strip along the beach. They have a lunch menu but we only came here for breakfast. Mexican Egg in a pot is definitely a must try! They also have good iced Americanos! We would stop by here almost every day for their iced Americanos! CASH ONLY
LA ONDA - This spot was the only one we found on the whim and didn’t check the Yelp reviews. Very cute and open Italian restaurant next to the IG famous “Matcha Mama”. Pizza was amazing and the pasta was DELICIOUS!! Since it’s near the “jungly” area, we were most bit here in this restaurant even though the server gave us complimentary bug spray :( Service was amazing! CASH ONLY
KAY NAH - Best steak and seafood spot we’ve ever been too. We were craving something other than Mexican & Italian, so a steakhouse was perfect for us. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! There’s entertainment as well and the drinks were delicious too. The mashed potatoes were amazing and I’m salivating just thinking about it again. CASH ONLY
ANTOJITOS LA CHIAPANECA - Best cheap tacos in town! It was about 63 cents a taco? Al pastor meat was the highlight! Definitely a must have in Tulum! Place can get hot inside so be prepared. Try the green sauce too, it’s amazing! CASH ONLY
EL CAMELLO JR - BEST CEVICHE EVER. They’re known for their seafood. We also got the shrimp plate too, which was grilled to perfection. Black beans were amazing. You will also want to try their margaritas. They are super delicious! CASH ONLY
PIZZERIA MANGLAR - ITALIAN FOOD IN MEXICO? Bruh, this spot is so underrated. We had pizza for like $8USD & pasta for $5.83USD. Coronas were under $2 and my sangria was less than $5. The food itself was absolutely TASTY with large portions! Try the Amatriciana Pizza and the Bolognese pasta :) CASH ONLY
WHAT TO DO
IK LAB - An amazing art gallery that is very aesthetically pleasing. It’s free to enter! No professional cameras and you have to take off your shoes at the revolving glass door. Be careful, floors get a little slippery! We used Google reviews to see when is the best time to avoid crowds!
GRAN CENOTES - Probably one of my favorite parts of this trip. Nothing beats the purity of the natural waters. I want to say it was around 150 pesos/person. Go first thing in the AM or when they’re about to close (like an hour & a half). It’s not meant to be an all day excursion. FYI - they make you wash yourself in the outdoor showers before getting in! I avoided my face but made sure my face didn’t hit the natural waters. There were turtles swimming with us too! It was absolutely breath taking. I also suggest visiting Cenotes Dos Ojos as well! S/O to Germ for getting in the water with his camera. If that aint love……
YOGA - Papaya Playa Project has the most beautiful yoga “studio” I’ve researched. It’s $15 USD if you are not a guest at the hotel. Imagine practicing yoga with the beautiful view of the ocean?! Another great spot is at Azulik’s Maya Spa. They practice yoga in a spacious dome that resembles a little vibe like Ik Lab. I believe it’s around $18USD if you are not a guest!
MATCHA MAMA - Visit this spot for the best Matcha drinks on the strip. Yes, this is the Instagram famous spot! Their acai smoothies are amazing as well! Take a picture on their swing and enjoy people watching. CASH ONLY.
EL MILAGRITO - BEST MANGO MARGARITAS EVER! We went here almost every night in our stay at Tulum. They make their mango margaritas with fresh mangoes and you can really taste it! The food looked amazing even though we never actually ate it. We literally were there for the drinks and people watching since the night life was wild.
COCO TULUM - For the beach club. You don’t have to be a guest to drink and lay out on the private beach, but they will expect you to buy drinks or food! There’s a minimum! Don’t let them fool you into renting a cabana. Buying drinks will make the bar staff happy. This is deemed one of the most Instagrammable spots in Tulum with the beautiful white swings and delicious looking drinks! We paid our drinks in cash.
LA ZEBRA - Another beach club with an amazing drink menu! They had pop up bar from NY with an amazing list of drink combos. We saw some families here which was weird to me for a “beach club” but the pineapple tequila with cinnamon didn’t stop us from having a good time.
PLAYA PARAISO - Pretty popular beach! This is where you can take a pic on top of the Palm Tree, but shit is slippery so be careful. I don’t think it’s a private beach club, but if you want a cabana, you have to pay for it. You park along the street and you’ll see a huge sign!
WHAT TO EXPECT/TIPS
Cash. Bring lots of cash since most places do NOT accept card.
BRING: HATS, SUNGLASSES, SUNSCREEN, ALOE VERA
Exchange your USD money to Pesos through your bank ahead of time! If not, there’s an exchange spot you can go to across the street from HSBC bank in the town. Do NOT exchange at the airport, they have sucky rates.
ICE at restaurants were ok for my stomach!
Súper Aki - GROCERY STORE where we got our snacks, bottled water and ice!
Bug spray. You’re going to need it. Get the best kind! I got bit all over about 15 times even with bug spray on!
Expect a lot of street performers and street vendors! It’s like the Philippines but not as busy
Cheaper spots are more likely to be in the Pueblo versus by the beach.
Almost all the restaurants are outdoor based
If you choose to take a taxi, agree on a price prior to riding first (they don’t have meters).
Most places have wifi - just ask for the password. My AT&T plan covers Mexico, so check with your phone provider
A week or longer is a good amount of time to stay in Tulum
Brush up on your Spanish because it will be helpful
I never felt like I was in any danger during our stay, but be VIGILANT.
Overall, we absolutely loved Tulum. Would we visit here again? Absolutely! Incredibly blessed to have experienced this with my boyfriend. It’s a special feeling to have someone who can be a home and a vacation to you <3 30 is starting to look brighter! Stay tuned for my next blog post <3
PHOTOGRAPHY: GERMAN VIZCARRA