This trip was not only my first time in Tulum but also my first time in Mexico in general.
I’m an East Coast girl so our vacations always revolved around the Caribbean, it was never even a thought to go to Mexico unless is was for Spring break ( a bandwagon I never hopped on). I have to say for my first time in Mexico, I am SO GLAD I chose Tulum. It has a small town vibe which differed dramatically from our small stay in Cancun when we were heading back to the airport.
I loved that Tulum was small enough that you could ride your bike pretty much everywhere (something you saw a lot there) and every hotel I encountered offered bike rentals and you can rent bikes on the main road as well. We stayed at Howlita Tulum which was in the city side a little away from the beach but I really loved that we were more emerged in the culture of Tulum. Most people stay on the beach side and never see the city so I’m glad we got to see both. BONUS that the city side is much cheaper than the Beach side. On the beach you are definitely paying close to LA prices for everything.
Our hotel was close enough to the main road that we could walk most places and definitely bike pretty much anywhere. We often walked to lunch or dinner and to go out at night.
There are a ton of clubs on the main road (Avenido Tulum). We remembered passing a place called Infinito which had a live band and plenty of salsa music so we knew the night light was in that area. The night we ventured out it was actually quiet there so we went around to the MANY bars surrounding it. A lot of the places closed at 4-5am and the DJ’s were soooo good. Better then some I’ve encountered in LA. I’m not sure if that’s always the case or if we went on a good night (It was a Thursday night) but we were pleasantly surprised. We went into small little bar towards the end of our night that was playing Caribbean, reggae music and we danced for hours. We even danced battled the most amazing man. We didn’t get his name or even speak to him but his dance moves will stay in our hearts forever. Lets just say they were more than entertaining.
You’re going to encounter the same drunkenness you would at any club. People were getting it IN and we were there during off season so I can’t imagine how crowded it gets during high season. The bars were also filled with tourist from around the world which was really cool. We met so many people from so many different countries even some I’ve never heard of![dahz_framework_row][dahz_framework_column width=”1/2″]
Coco Tulum is a popular spot in Tulum it’s a day bar right on the beach and has swing seats that over look the ocean. I loved it’s clean vibe and it was definitely one of the prettiest places we visited.
This place is tucked in on the beach side so it’s easy to miss. If you want some fresh and delicious tacos, this is the place. You have the option to sit on the beach or up in the restaurant which just a raised wooden room with open walls so either way you get an ocean view. The tacos are plainly served and you have to get up to choose your own toppings. We missed that part and didn’t notice the topping stand until after but I think that’s a testament to how good the tacos were, they didn’t even need anything extra!
Wild is an exotic restaurant located on the beach side. The menu is eclectic and the ambiance is really cool. We went at night and the only light was from the candles on the tables. I ordered the octopus which was yummy even though I was a little weirded out by the tentacles. I have to say the service is not that great though. In general if you can avoid splitting the bill in Tulum it’ll make your life easier. At every place we went no one wanted to give us change, I’m not sure what that was about but not splitting the bill will save you a lot of headache. The food was very exotic though so if your feeling a little pretentious it’s def a spot to hit up.
This was probably the most American-like place we went to in Tulum, located in the city it def has cool vibes as all the waiters are young and hip even the patrons had such a cool vibe. Tulum is known for hipsters and this place definitely embodies that feel. We went here for drinks and burritos to go one night ( I got the vegan one which was yummy) and then we came back in the morning for breakfast burritos.
We went here for breakfast on our first day, we were originally looking for another restaurant that ended up being close so we were pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon Coco Hacienda. We ordered chilaquiles, the food tasted every fresh especially the juice and the decor was so adorable. I love how each place in Tulum has it’s own character.
Campanella Cremerie: I’m kind of in shock that the best ice cream I’ve had has been in Mexico. I feel like you would never put Mexico and ice cream in the same sentence but ooh man this place is good. So good I had to come back a second time before we left. I got the biscotti cookie flavor, I can’t remember the exact name but I tried most of the sample flavors and they were pretty much all good, it’s win win no matter what flavor you get!
Batey is a Mojito bar in the city that was recommended by the owner of the hotel we stayed at. They are know for their mojitos which are made with pure cane juice. There’s even a guy outside squeezing the sugarcane with this cool little contraption. The night we went was packed with people, they have live music and places to sit if you can stalk a table.
We basically drank mojitos the entire trip and I can’t speak for every place but of all the places we got mojitos, the Rosa Del Viento hotel had the best ones! Their watermelon mojitos were so delicious.
If you go to Tulum , you have to see two things, The Mayan Ruins and Grande Cenotes. They are both very affordable. The Mayan Ruins are 70 pesos which is about 4 dollars and the Grand Cenotes is $10 for the day. The Cenotes are really cool because they are caves you can swim in, you can rent snorkel gear and look at the fish and turtles in the water. It’s a little scary in the caves as there are bats flying overhead but we had so much fun and the under the water is just breathtaking. If you have time during your stay I recommend visiting the other Cenotes as well.[dahz_framework_row][dahz_framework_column width=”1/2″]
The Mayan Ruins are a must too and a great piece of history of the city. The area the taxi drops you is a full of outdoor market places and shops, Melissa and I got some bomb pina coladas made right in a pineapple. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the ruins from the drop off spot so bring comfy shoes. The day we went was super hot, but it was totally worth the treck.
It get’s pretty dark on the streets at night. Once you hit the main road on the city side there are street lights but if you are in the side streets there are not any. Same for the beach. We used our cell phones for light at night so cars would be sure to see us. If you want to get a taxi and you’re staying on the city you will have to walk through dark streets until you get to the main road. It was only a 5 minute walk to the main road for us but we were a little on edge as we were not used to the area but I have to be honest it did feel really safe. But always be extra cautious when traveling an use the buddy system.
Keep your hotel address on you. The taxi drivers don’t necessarily know EVERY place on hand so you may need to direct them. I had to use my google maps a couple times.
Brush up on some of your Spanish. Most people will speak a little English but some restaurants we went to and taxi drivers didn’t really speak English so you either have Google translate ready or get your basic Spanish together. I understood way more Spanish then I thought so I’m not as rusty as I believed and it also helped that Melissa speaks Spanish too.
If you’re American, get out of your own head! We had to put ourselves in check a couple times because service is slow in Tulum. But after all, don’t you go on vacation to slow down and enjoy it? So don’t expect anyone to bother you for the check or check in on you a million times while you eat. We definitely had to adjust to that but I like that it forced us to slow down and enjoy our food and company.
I can’t wait to visit Tulum again! I always feel like the very first time you visit a place you’re just getting your bearings so next time around I’m ready to hit the ground running!
Te amo Tulum!