I traveled to Tulum back in January for four weeks. It wasn’t my first time going to Mexico, which I love and find quite similar to Morocco, but it was my first attempt for remote work.
By booking an apartment for a full month, it was the perfect way to learn about Tulum which is made up of 3 different areas: the pueblo (town), the public beach & ruins and the private beach. Each part of Tulum has something different to offer so even if Tulum is a small town, I could never get tired of it! Why did I leave really?
If you’re planning a trip to this magical place, here are a few places you might want to stop by by area!
A lot of people visit Tulum but never set foot in the actual city which is a huge mistake. Most of what is proposed by the public and private beaches is owned by rich developers from either New York or Paris. If you want to discover and support locals, then you have to make a stop in town.
Coffee Shop/Restaurant: Babel Café
Babel was my daily stop to get some work done and have breakfast or just a coffee. The staff is super friendly, there are 2 solid wifi hotspots and local musicians come by to sing everyday. The breakfast burrito, avocado bagel and chilaquiles are all delicious!
Batey is loved by all the locals. They make some delicious (& muddy) mojitos with fresh cane sugar. The bar also hosts local musicians every night in the back. It’s the perfect place to make some new friends!
Sometimes, all you crave is a good burger. If you’re like me, then make sure to check out Romaira on Jupiter Sur. This solid women cook team makes burgers and fries with love.
This gelato place hasn’t been open for long but it got everything right on the first try. Amazing flavours and a very cool spot to chill at.
If you can only eat once in town, it has to be at Sabor de Mar. I literally ordered everything from the menu and had one of the best seafood meal of my life. My favorite was the shrimp ceviche, with spicy cucumbers!
Juice Bar: My Juice Spot
I looked hard but couldn’t find the name. You can find this amazing juice counter at the corner of Jupiter Sur and Mercurio Pte. Either the father or daughter will serve you any type of fresh juices. I recommend going in the morning while there’s plenty of green juice.
There are tons of gelato places but I would make a detour for this one daily to check if they have a fresh batch of peanut gelato. Yes, it’s amazing!
A few more mentions for lack of pictures:
- Antojitos La Chaipaneca makes the best al pastor tacos period. I went there at least 15 times on 30 days <3.
- Elements Tulum Boutique Hotel is one of the newest hotels in town so the rates are lower but the installations are on point.
- Piola makes a really delicious Margherita pizza and also serves some of the cheapest margaritas in town during happy hour.
- Kibok is THE hipster coffee shop in town and has a pretty big backyard. They also have a wine bar on the rooftop at night with live music but I’m not sure if it’s daily.
- Del Cielo is really popular for breakfast. If you don’t mind slow service, it’s a cool spot to try for brunch.
Public Beach & The Ruins
To reach the beaches from the pueblo, you must drive or ride to the end of Coba. If you turn left, then you chose to go towards the public beach!
First off, let’s talk about the public beach. It’s beautiful, clean and quiet and you should not miss out on it! You will not find long chair rentals so just make sure to bring everything you may need for a perfect beach day. There is a booth that sells snacks, drinks and fresh coconuts. You will also bump into local vendors with more snacks and drinks.
The ruins are just a short bike ride away from the beach and can both be done in the same day. The entrance is about 60 pesos unless you hire a guide which will cost way too much (about $75US). Visiting the whole area takes about one hour. The ruins also have a direct access to a beautiful beach but it won’t be worth it if it’s too windy on the day of your visit.
Mezzanine is an awesome thai restaurant that also hosts happy hour daily from 1 to 4pm. It took me a while to try it even if it’s sharing the entrance to the public beach. Once I did though, I could not stop going back. The food is AMAZING and so are the smoothies! It’s a must try.
To reach the beaches from the pueblo, you must drive or ride to the end of Coba. If you turn right, then you chose to go towards the private beaches! This is where all the cool hotels and restaurants are if Instagram made you discover Tulum 😉 On top of these places, it’s fun to simply walk around and discover the shops and restaurants all around!
All the private beaches require you to spend a lot of US money to eat & drink while enjoying their installations. La Eufemia is the only spot that does not require a minimum amount and all prices are in pesos. They also happen to make some solid fish tacos and coconut iced coffee! It’s definitely where the locals/expats from the city come to hang out.
I love Charly’s Vegan Tacos but not even for the tacos. Their selection of appetizers and juices are what makes this place exciting, on top of the beautiful outdoor setup they have!
Restaurant/Juice Bar: Raw Love
If you’re craving the biggest salad ever or a pick me up that’s not coffee, Raw Love is the perfect stop. Located in the middle of a hippie hotel, the vibe is super chill and there’s even a few swings for your photoshoots, eh!
I stayed in the city for whole stay in Tulum but with just a few days left at the end of the trip, we decided to splurge on one of the cool hotels in Tulum. Nest was definitely the best choice we could ever make. The design of the whole place, including the beds on the beach, is amazing. The staff is even lovelier. On top of that, there is a daily free happy hour (yes, they have Mezcal!) from 5 to 7pm and a 3-course breakfast is included every morning. That is, if you can make it out of your beautiful bedroom!
A few more mentions for lack of pictures:
- Hartwood is the number 1 restaurant people mention when they think of Tulum and for good reasons. Make a booking before your trip as it takes at least one month to reserve a table.
- Ana y Jose is the only beach club I found worth paying for. The drinks, food (ceviches!) and even the towels are high quality.
- Casa Jaguar is the place if you’re looking for a dance party after dinner (which is a short walk from Hartwood). They always seem to have some cool dj around and there is no line up to get in.
- Maxa Camp is the hipster glamping spot if you’re into that. (Ends April ’17)
That’s it for my 2017 list of Tulum. I really hope I’ll be back next winter to share more with you 🙂 Let me know if you end up going and what places you got to try!