I finally made it down to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Tulum, to be exact. I must say I am partial to the Baja Peninsula, where I often head to Cabo San Lucas for a little downtime. However, Tulum has been one of Mexico’s premier destinations for year-round sunny and tropical weather. With 2.2 million visitors a year, you can understand my hesitation to visit this popular destination, but a January visit brought cool weather and minimal tourists. Offering beautiful beaches, historical sites, fantastic architecture, I can see why so many people have flocked down to this laid back beach town on the Caribbean Coast.
GETTING TO TULUM is relatively easy and straight forward. It’s best to fly into Cancun airport and either rent a car or hire a shuttle service to take you for the two-hour trek down to Tulum beach. If you are staying on Tulum beach, you may not need a rental car; however, if you’re staying in a rental house on the outskirts, as I did, I suggest renting a vehicle. The cost for taxi’s to and from the main strip can be quite costly.
There are numerous PLACES TO STAY in Tulum, but I will give you two options. Option one is renting a house. There are very affordable homes along the coast that offer private beach access and hard-working staff who will cook and maintain the home for you daily. I was fortunate to stay at Playa Belleza located 20 minutes from the main strip.
The other option is the beautiful 40-room art boutique hotel Casa Malca. Once owned by Pablo Escobar, the property boasts three swimming pools (one underground), modern rooms with floor to ceiling windows, life-size art decor, and the hanging sofa and chairs in the lobby are the showpiece.
There are some cool THINGS TO DO in this small little beach town when you aren’t soaking up the sun on the beach. A popular thing is to take a swim in a cenote – a natural sinkhole. There are many in the area that the ancient Maya once used for their water supply. I recommend the popular Grand Cenote 20 minutes from Tulum Beach. Quintana Roo 109, 77796 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
If you’re looking for a place that’s a little more secluded and less crowded, I suggest heading over to Caleta Tankah Tulum. For 300 pesos you can spend the day at this beach club, swimming in the ocean or cenote, working remotely or just relaxing.
What if I told you that you could explore 13th-century Mayan ruins for five US Dollars? Well, at the top of Beach road, you’ll find Tulum National Park, a walled archaeological site overlooking the ocean. It truly is a breathtaking place. Carretera Federal, Cancun – Chetumal Km 230, 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
One of the most memorable things from my trip to Tulum was participating in a Pre-hispanic Temazcal ceremony at Yäan Wellness. A Mayan healer will lead you through the four doors of a sweat lodge ceremony. At sunset, we chanted, meditated, set our intentions, and of course, we did a lot of sweating. This experience was profoundly healing and purifying.
The Ven a la Luz (come into the light) by South African artist Daniel Popper is a towering sculpture located on Beach Road that is popular with tourists. Made from wood and rope, the female figure is filled with green plants, which creates an archway for people to walk through or, more importantly, to photograph. Tulum Beach, 77500 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Azulik is a pretty expensive resort to stay at but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a wander around the property and admire the art and architecture. Carretera Tulum – Punta Allen KM 5, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Lastly, no trip is complete without exploring the food scene. Tulum has no short of restaurants to drink and dine. The great thing is a majority of them are open-air, taking outdoor dining to the next level.
HARTWOOD is at the top of everyone’s list. The ever-changing menu offers ingredients from local farms, markets, and the sea. The night I was there, I had the best skirt steak I’ve ever tasted. Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila 7-6Km, Tulum Beach, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Bagatelle is the place to see and be seen. Reservations are a must, or you more than likely won’t get past the velvet rope. The restaurant adorned with chandeliers opens out to the beach making for the perfect ambiance. The lobster fettucini costs a staggering 90 US Dollars but melts in your mouth. You’re not paying for the food but the pomp and circumstance. With the combination of beach vibes and great music, most everyone somehow finds themselves dancing on tables by the end of the night.