Long before the days of Instagram and influencers, we discovered a tiny beach town about two hours south of Cancun, Mexico. The town was Tulum, and it immediately captured our hearts. It has since been discovered by the world, but the magic of this place remains the same. Sunny days are filled with ocean breezes, bike rides, yoga classes, fresh food and the feeling of relaxation that only comes with being fully off the grid. Enjoy our Guide to Tulum, from the best spot to grab a mezcal cocktail to the gorgeous cenote only the locals know about.
WHERE TO STAY
When in Tulum, Casa Violeta is where we call home. It feels like an ocean-side sanctuary, the perfect place to recharge and reconnect. Each room is filled with local handmade artwork and fabrics, fresh flowers, glowing candles and the sweet smells of incense that flood the air in Tulum. Post up in a cabana on the beach and enjoy the most delicious lunch of fresh ceviche and fish tacos. Afterwards, head across the street to Mayan Clay Spa for an afternoon top to toe full body massage. We love to bring jars of this ultra healing clay back home to friends and family - call it Tulum in a jar!
Further down the road you'll find Sanara Tulum, a luxury eco chic hotel famous for its breathing taking yoga studio and coconut flour tortilla chips (they're so good!). The Tulum beach road separates the two aspects of Sanara - beach and jungle - and you can't go wrong either way. Inspired by local Mayan culture, each room is beautifully designed and filled with Sanara Spa products, yoga mats, and Turkish Hammam Beach Towels for your daily adventures. We like to start each morning with a Vinyasa class overlooking the ocean, followed by a green juice and plantain pancakes from the hotel's gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free restaurant, The Real Coconut.
WHAT TO DO
The Mexican region where Tulum is located is filled with thousands of cenotes, natural fresh water pools that typically have gorgeous turquoise-colored water. If you're looking to visit one of the larger cenotes (Dos Ojos, Grand Cenote) head there early for some morning snorkeling. If you'd rather stay local, we've got the place for you. Grab your bike from the hotel and head down to Nativus, a "jungle glamping" hotel that offers day passes to those not staying there. A wooden path through the jungle takes you to their private backyard cenote, where we spent hours swimming and paddle boarding. It's one of Tulum's best kept secrets and definitely worth checking out.
The perfect day in Tulum involves an early morning trip to the city's Mayan Ruins, followed by an iced matcha latte from Matcha Mama. We get our matcha latte to go, and head straight for the beach. The beaches are gorgeous in Tulum, so you really can't go wrong no matter where you chose. Some of our favorites include the cabanas at Be Tulum and Nomade, where you can post up on a day bed and spend the afternoon sun bathing, swimming in the ocean and ordering lots and lots of guacamole and margaritas!
We love Tulum for its shopping. The main road which separates the beach and jungle is filled with small boutiques - each one better than the next. Inside you can find everything from crochet dreamcatchers, to Mexican blankets, embroidered pillows and more. Our favorite place is Caravana, which alongside small leather goods and sandals sells their collection of coverups, entirely handmade by local artisans. The design, fabric and quality of each piece is truly fantastic, and will have you making room in your suitcase to bring several home.
WHERE TO EAT
At first thought, eating Italian food in Mexico may seem like a bad idea. Until you head to Posada Margherita, the local spot which serves some of the best handmade pasta and pizza we've ever had. (It also doubles as one of the cutest hotels in town!) Great for both lunch with kids and date night dinners, a succulent and candle lined path guides you from the restaurant's entrance to its beach-front open air dining room. The menu is small, filled with one page of daily specials, and entirely written in Italian. We recommend ordering fresh fish along with your pasta, but be sure to save room, as the focaccia and cheese plate they bring out to start every meal is beyond delicious!
An open air restaurant set in the middle of the jungle, Arca is as filled with candlelight as it is the sweet smells of copal incense. The menu is a unique take on Mexican farm to table, and the small plates make it perfect to order a bunch and share them all. While the food changes seasonally, our favorites include the grilled octopus, roasted bone marrow and "The Whole Squash." Head to Arca on a Sunday night and follow dinner with "Salsa Night" at La Zebra. The live band is amazing, and there's nothing better than a salsa lesson overlooking the ocean.
Hartwood is arguably the most popular restaurant in Tulum, and it's no surprise why. Reservations fill up a month in advance, and the daily line outside for walk-ins is always down the block. Their menu changes by the day, and is all based on the seasonal harvests from both land and sea. It's mostly seafood heavy, but the slow cooked pork is not to be missed! Think of it as the perfect mix of local cuisine meets culinary adventure, with a great chance of a celeb sighting. Afterwards, make your way to Gitano next door for the most delicious mezcal cocktails and late night dancing under the disco ball.
Until next time, Tulum!