A Ticket To Tulum | Where to Sip, Nibble, Unwind And Explore
With or without realising, I can guarantee you will have scrolled past at least a handful of images on various platforms of this Mexican paradise. With its turquoise water, relaxed aesthetic and lively jungle town, this town has a lot to offer. Tulum attracts a different crowd to the overcrowded Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but don't underestimate it's growing popularity.
IN THE TOWN
The town of Tulum is well worth a visit, we based ourselves here for the first part of our trip and I'm so glad we did. Not only was it really affordable, but the 40-minute cycle to the beach took some of the guilt out of relaxing in the sun- slightly tipsy on mezcal cocktails with bellies full of the daily tacos. These are the places not to miss out on in Tulum town.
Our favourite spot for a morning caffeine fix. Ki'bok offers a wide range of espresso drinks using premium, organic, Mexican coffee. The small food menu offers locally sourced meals and a variety of homemade pastries. Including possibly the best banana muffins.
ANTOJITOS LA CHIAPANECA
Our most authentic meal, and also the cheapest. Antojitos La Chiapaneca is the real deal, busy with both locals and tourists the menu offers a wide range of Mexican street food including tacos, quesadillas and panuchos topped with your choice of meat. Once your dish arrives, you can then go up to a table of salsa and additional toppings. This place can get busy, and only takes cash - it's definitely worth a visit.
A mojito lovers playground. Whilst the well-stocked bar offers a variety of drinks, most go to see Batey's mojito buggy. Watch the fresh sugar cane being pressed for natural sugar syrup the, sugar cane straws are a lovely addition.
The perfect spot to escape the heat, Prieto is very central. Offering colourful acai bowls topped with fresh fruit and all the superfoods. Plus the most delicious frozen yoghurt with more than enough toppings to choose from.
A craft beer and mezcal bar. Take time browsing the beautifully packaged beverages at El Grifo before selecting one to sip and enjoy. A lovely concept tap room.
Other Recommendations: Burrito Amor, Hermanos Republica
BY THE BEACH
The beachfront may not be what you've been lead to believe. The blurred lines between the jungle and the sea are defined by a mixture of hotels, small eateries and boutiques. Whilst public beaches are scattered along this strip of the coast, there are some hidden gems to point out.
Possibly the most beautiful hotel, hidden perfectly from unknowing eyes. Habitas truly is a sanctuary. A beautifully designed space with a friendly none pretentious atmosphere, come here to truly unwind. Speak to the reception and spend the day as a guest lounging on one of the bedside pools- if you're lucky. There is a minimum spend of $50 USD per person if you are visiting, my advice would be to get there early and make the most of it. After ordering breakfast or lunch and a coffee or a cocktail you won't bat an eyelid at the minimum spend; which is grest value for the atmosphere and service alone. My favourite place to spend a day in Tulum.
Carretera Tulum-Bocapaila km 4.5, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Mexico
Based in Hotel Azulik, Kin Toh is a beautiful treehouse restaurant with hammocks and 'nests' offering extra seating. Whilst we didn't eat here, it was the perfect place for sunset drinks. The pricey cocktails were some of the best we had, and the experience is something I will treasure for a long time.
On planning our trip, Hartwood came up on many a google search- and quite right too. You can book a month in advance and this is a must as we saw many disappointed faces turned away whilst we sipped our pre diner cocktails. This was a very special meal. The menu changes regularly depending on what fresh and locally sourced produce are available. If the beef short rib with garlic mashed plantain isn't sold out, I can't recommend it enough. Don't leave without trying a toasted coconut and peanut mezcal shot- the coffee mezcal shot are pretty delicious too!
Other recommendations include: Casa Jaguar, Gitano, Coco Tulum, Be Tulum, Nomade Tulum.
We had planned to do a fair bit of exploring whilst we were in Mexico so we opted for hiring a car. The roads are straight, long and very wide and as a nervous passenger I felt very safe. You can by all means look to go on tours where your transport will be included but for us, we wanted the freedom that hiring a car would bring.
CENOTE IK KIL
Not far from the popular Chichen Itza, you will find Cenote Ik Kil. If you are in the area definitely make the detour. Cenotes are natural, underground reservoirs of water and whilst there are many cenotes around, Ik Kil was my favourite. Swimming under the blue skies, surrounded by the natural beauty of the limestone and greenery was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The earlier you arrive the better, we were lucky as when we arrived the crowds had not yet decended.
LAGOON KAAN LUUM
We had planned to visit Bacalar Lagoon but with it being a 3-hour drive, we didn't manage to make time. Instead, we found Kaan Luun a lot closer to town. In the middle of the jungle, a long pier stretches out into the clearest turquoise water. A lovely place to spend a morning. Locals bring their ice buckets filled with beers- a good idea as we didn't see anywhere to purchase food or drink. It's worth noting; suncream is not allowed as with many of the natural attractions.
Other Recommendations: Grand Cenote, Si'an Kaan, Bacalar Lagoon, Cenotes Dos Ojos