Although Mexico is on a hop skip and a jump (over a wall) from the United States, it took my over 30 years before I ever made a trip there. As always, we ignore our own backyard because the grass always seems greener over there. In my mind, Thailand, Bali, and the Caribbean MUST have better beaches than lil 'ole Mexico. Boy, was I WRONG!?!? When I walked out onto Tulum Beach for the first time... it was like delayed gratification. I had been putting off going to Mexico for other trips around the world, but Mexico was well worth the wait. We started our trip in Cancun with lots of tequila and trouble... but this blog post is all about Tulum! Tulum is Cancun's Bohemian Little Cousin. It's the perfect place to get away from it all. There are a few upscale establishments but overal its very laid back and rustic.
Here's a little HOW TO guide for making the most of your time in Tulum.
Where to Stay:
You MUST stay in a Hotel that's on the Beach. If you want to save money, maybe split your time between a hotel/hostel that is further "in town." But splurge on a beachfront room for at least a night or two.
View from Dining Room
*Photos from hotel website
We stayed in a beautiful resort called Rosa Del Viento. It's down near the end of the hotel strip, but it was a little cheaper and nicer than the hotels closer to the center (where all of the restaurants are). The best part about being on the end of the strip is that you can walk the beach and not see another soul... it's like having your own private island. And they have the best breakfast that I've ever eaten in a hotel. Also, the dining room looks out onto the beach so you can eat your pancakes while enjoying the phenomenal view.
What to Bring:
I don't need to tell you about the basics... bring a swimming suit, sunscreen, yada yada blah blah blah... but what I will tell you is that you ABSOLUTELY need a flashlight! A flashlight that doubles as a small lantern is an even better idea. The main strip in Tulum does not have streetlights. The road barely fits two cars, and the taxi fly up and down at unreasonable speeds. So in order to see where you are going, and so that the taxi's will see you (BEFORE they run you over) bring your flashlight.
No street lights= no light Pollution which means stars and more stars!
What to Do:
Walk Along the Beach (duh). The sand is white and the water is crystal clear. I loved waking up early and walking along the beach before breakfast. And bring your snorkel because with such clear water... you'll definitely be able to find some little fishy friends swimming in the waves.
Visit a Cenote. ACenote is an underground fresh water reservoir. The water is rich in minerals and calcium. (Little known fact: Calcium makes bones strong, but too much calcium stunts bone growth. So the Mayans would drink this water, get wayyyy too much calcium in their system... and that's why they are and their descendents are so short! Who Knew?!?!) We went on a snorkeling excursion through the Pet Cemetery Cenote. This is one of the least advertised Cenotes, which means that you can enjoy a private tour and skip out on the crowds.
Visit the Ruins. These are Ancient Mayan Ruins constructed in 1200... yeah, that's a pretty long time ago! The best time to visit is sunrise and/or sunset. And bring your swimsuit because the ruins are situatated in front of the beach.
Cliffs in front of Tulum Ruins
Take a Yoga Class. I did not take any classes while I was in Tulum but there are lots of yoga studios and resorts. It's worth looking into.
Where to Eat:
There are a handful of four/five star restaurants in Tulum, but if you want to eat there you must make a reservation at least a day or two in advance. It wouldn't be a bad idea to book your dinner reservations before you leave for your actual vacation. We neglected to do this and ended up eating tacos on the beach each night. But I'm not complaining because La Eufemia, where we ate these taco's was the coolest place in town.
Dancing and Hi-fiving some random Canadian Lady
La Eufemia is named after a shaggy haired bitch.... no an unkept rude patron... but the sweetest cutest dog you'll ever meet. The food is off the charts and it's one of the few restaurants actually on the beach. The prices are down and dirty... along with a few of the waiters. And if you are nice, your meal might come with a side of hash... and I'm not talking about potatoes. The best dish on the menu are the fish Tacos... they are the best tacos that I've ever shoved in my face.
Bonus, La Eufemia has an awesome DJ who will spin until the wee hours of the morning. They also a Beach club during the day. The beach loungers are free and the vibe is always right.
Watch the Moonrise:
One thing that we were not prepared for... was the moon rise each night. If you can travel around the full moon, you should. For one, it will make it easier to see at night because where is very little light pollution in Tulum. But it will also make for a spectacular sight each night.
Moonrising in front of Rosa Del Viento
The first night the moon was bright white and it rose out of the ocean like a beacon. The second, the moon rose out of the ocean like a ball of fire. We were so mesmerized and transfixed that none of us even whipped out of cameras to take a photo. I almost regret this, but it was nice to be fully entranced in the moment. Honestly, we thought that there was a boat on fire in the middle of the ocean... until it rose into the sky (and our high wore off a little... yes we were at La Euphemia when this occured lol).
When to Go:
NOW! If you've never been... stop waiting and go already!
Thanks for Reading!