Tulum Travel Guide

Hi everyone-

As you may have read in my previous *detailed* post, Ryan and I just got back from Tulum, Mexico. Below you will find a quick and easy read of our recommendations if you are planning a trip to Tulum.

Where to Stay:

There are two main areas that travelers stay in – Tulum Town and the Hotel Zone, the area directly on the beach. There are not a ton of chain hotels in the city of Tulum or beach area (in fact, there may be zero chains). There are many hostels, boutique hotels, and smaller properties in this area. Unless you travel outside of Tulum (towards Cancun), you will not find “all-inclusives” around, and honestly I don’t know why anyone would want to stay in one given the spectacular food readily available!

Tulum Town: We stayed in AirBNBs each time we have gone to Tulum so honestly didn’t look into hotels here. There is no shortage of available AirBNB listings and they range from super cheap to moderately priced. Each area of Tulum town has amazing restaurants and bars. I would look for somewhere relatively close to the center of town.

The Hotel Zone (the Beach area): We have never stayed in this part of Tulum (so take my suggestions with a grain of salt) but we are thinking of staying here the next time we visit.

Budget:

  • Diamante K – We met a fellow traveler at breakfast (basically The Dude incarnate) who mentioned he had stayed here on a previous trip and highly recommended it. 4.4 out of 5 stars on google.

Moderate:

  • Ahau Tulum – We had breakfast here and the food was beyond delicious and fresh. The hotel itself looks beautiful and fades into the jungle behind it.
  • Mi Amor –  See above – great reviews, moderate price point. It’s on our list!
  • El Pez – When I was doing research, I read a lot of great reviews about this place.

Fancy AF:

  • Nomade Tulum – Have heard amazing things about this property. It has 4.4 out of 5 stars (same as the budget option).
  • Cabanas Tulum
  • Sanara Tulum
  • Be Tulum – We randomly went here on our first trip for beachfront drinks and received very nice service and delicious cocktails to boot. The hotel looked beautiful but clocks in at around $900/night in high season. Yikes!

Where to eat: It is almost impossible to come up with a list of places to eat, because everywhere we went was delicious. Here is my best attempt!

Breakfast:

  • Ki’Bok Cafe ($) – Our go to spot! We love everything on the menu. Recommend the fruit plate, molletes, huevos divorcados. Their espresso is some of the best I’ve had anywere. We had lattes every morning.
  • Hunab Ku ($) – Another great breakfast spot discovered on this trip. Delicious bowls of tropical fruit and coconut cream coffee. Offers a mix of Mexican and European cuisine. Friendly staff and service.
  • Raw Love ($$) – this is a cafe with two outposts- one in town, and one on the beach. We got smoothie bowls (super authentic lol) full of fresh tropical fruit and coconut. This was one of my favorite meals, hands down. Not cheap (for Mexico) but about the same as a smoothie bowl in Cleveland.

Lunch/ Dinner:

  • Arca ($$$)- We enjoyed an incredible dinner here. This restaurant is set in the open jungle near the beach and is mainly small plates. It was an experience that I will never forget. You could not get this food anywhere else in the world. Amazing cocktails too.
  • Hartwood ($$$)- Right next door to Arca and very similar. No reservations and long wait times but the OG of the *foodie* scene in Tulum.
  • La Chapanecha ($) – Casual taco place. Tacos al pastor literally had me drooling and scrounging for scraps on our plates. Tacos are 10 pesos each🤯. They also serve empanadas and other delicious items.
  • El Camello Jr. ($) – Another casual (and delicious) option. We had sea food here (shrimp and octopus) and it did not disappoint. Our huge dinner was about 15 USD total.
  • Don Honorio ($) – We didn’t make it here, but my sister and her husband did and HIGHLY recommend it. We tried going but it closes very early, so we missed out. Amazing tacos.
  • Posada Margherita ($$$) – If/when you need a break from tacos, I highly recommend this restaurant. We shared pizza and home made pasta on the beach. Delicious cocktails and friendly service. Can’t beat the view either.
  • Burrito Amor ($/$$) – Amazing burritos. This was actually one of my favorite meals while we were there even though it’s more Tex-Mex. I had a vegetable burrito, filled with beans, delicious grilled veggies of all sorts, and fresh melted cheese. Ryan had carne asada which was delicious. I think they were $5.00 each. Great chips/guac also. Kinda trendy vibes but delicious and totally reasonable.
  • Chamicos ($$) – About a ten minute drive from Tulum, this casual restaurant is on a secluded stretch of beach called Soloman Bay. We had amazing ceviche and shrimp tacos. Recommend for both the food, view and the laid back atmosphere. Enjoy some fresh seafood and then go lay in a hammock- what could be better!
  • La Barracuda ($$) – Another good seafood place in town.
  • Bateys – Although they serve food, we came here for the mojitos. They are seriously the best mojitos you will ever have, anywhere, hands down.

What to do:

  1. Go to the beach! Playa Paraiso is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to in my life. The water is crystal clear, fairly warm, and calm. Walk, ride your bike, drive your car, or grab a taxi and head out with a towel and some sunscreen.
  2. Swim in the cenotes. There are literally hundreds within an easy driving distance from Tulum. I’ve never seen anything like them!
  3. Walk around town. No matter where you end up staying, take time to walk around town and look at the murals, eat some street tacos, and stop in some shops.
  4. Eat, and eat often (see list above). Seafood, tacos al pastor, etc.
  5. Visit the ruins in Tulum (very picturesque and well preserved) as well as in other areas close by (Coba, Muyil, etc.). If you’re up for a day trip, head to Chichen Itza.
  6. Ride bikes along the beach road. It’s a beautiful and fairly smooth path (a welcome respite from the very bumpy roads we frequently encountered!).
  7. Catch a sunset on the beach. It never gets old.

8. Sample some Mezcal. Smoky and smooth, it’s a delicious agave liquor from the Oaxaca state. We each had a few delicious cocktails with Mezcal and they did not disappoint. I don’t see it very frequently on menus in the states.

9. Relax! It can be hard to do these days, but it’s much easier when you’re in a beautiful environment filled with sunshine and ocean breezes.