I’m so excited to finally share a little more about my Tulum trip! As some of you may or may not know, I’m currently engaged. I haven’t shared much about my engagement, but we are planning our destination wedding in…you guessed it, Tulum! So, in the name of wedding research, my fiancé and I were forced to spend a week in paradise. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
Tulum is a small town on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is about an hour and 45 minutes south of Cancun. My fiancé and I first fell in love with Tulum about six years ago. I hadn’t returned to the area since then and boy has it changed! There is so much development now! Although we were there primarily to hunt for a wedding venue, we of course made time to eat all the guac, drink all the margs, and explore as much as possible. Keep reading for a guide to this picturesque beach town.
We stayed at Zamas Tulum, a seaside, boho hotel that overlooked the beautiful blue-green waters of the Caribbean. The photo above actually shows one of the beachfront cabanas we stayed in. It was such a dream to step out of our cabana and into soft, white sand. We woke up several times to enjoy our coffee while watching the sunrise from the chaise lounge chairs right in front. It was such a spectacular view and way to start our day!
Zamas is located along Boca-Paila (the main road on the beach side of Tulum). It is the cutest boutique hotel with colorful walls and accents. Everyone there was so warm and welcoming! The service was always the best and our room was turned down every night. As part of this service, they bring down a mosquito net and leave bug repellant candles. You have no idea how glad my fiancé and I were for these extra touches because the mosquitoes in Tulum loved us! The food and drinks at Zamas were also delicious! Their huevos rancheros were the best we had in all of Tulum (and trust me, we had our fair share during our trip).
Arca: Hands down, the best meal we had on our trip and one of our favorite meals of all time. The restaurant is set in the jungle and has such a romantic feel to it. It’s the perfect spot for date night!
Coco Tulum: This was one of those places I had to visit because it looked so beautiful online. It’s all white with swings and turquoise accents (making it IG gold). Not only is the place beautiful, but their food and drinks were delish! They have the best aguachiles we have ever had and their spicy margs totally satisfied my spicy tooth (is that a thing?). We loved this place so much we went twice.
Gitano: Known for their mezcal cocktails and disco ball, this bar/restaurant on the jungle side of Tulum has the best vibe. As a mezcal loving gal, I was thrilled with all of the cocktail options! I’ll definitely be back to this place.
Matcha Mama: After spending the morning visiting wedding venue sites, we headed here to cool off from the heat and humidity and to meet with our wedding planner. I think we’ve both had better matcha lattes (hello, we’re from L.A.), but the drinks were still good and you cannot beat the cute matcha hut.
Mezzanine: Beautiful beach front hotel we cozied up in on our last morning. There was a massive rainstorm the day we left Tulum and we sought shelter at Mezzanine’s (highly recommended) restaurant. All of the food we tried was delicious, but I would highly recommend their french toast with tropical fruit!
Nomade: Another beach front hotel with dreamy Moroccan vibes. I fell in love with the decor of this hotel the moment we walked in. We sat on poufs at one of their low tables while enjoying our Mexican breakfast. The fiancé thought it was a bit uncomfortable, but I loved the whole experience. I also LOVE that they use Mexican barro (clay) plates and mugs. These always bring back such fond memories of visiting my grandmother in Mexico.
Papaya Playa Project: A fun beach club, especially on Saturdays when it turns into a party! We spent the day swimming, eating ceviche, and sipping rosé.
Posada Margherita: Italian food in Mexico? Ordinarily I would be opposed to eating Italian food in Mexico because well, why would I eat that when there is so much delicious Mexican food to be had!? But after hearing rave reviews about this restaurant, we decided to eat here our first night and I’m so glad we did! Their fresh pastas were so tasty-get their ravioli! We ended up having the best time here. After dinner, we took the rest of our bottle of wine to one of their beach beds and finished it while stargazing all night. It was a night we will always remember!
Zamas: As I mentioned above, the restaurant at our hotel had the best huevos rancheros in town! My fiancé also randomly tried their cheeseburger and OMG was it good! The restaurant is beach front with the best views (see photo above) and chill vibes.
Antojitos La Chiapaneca: If you’re like us and have to have authentic tacos when in Mexico, this place is a must! They have the best al pastor tacos and gorditas! The other meats didn’t impress us much, so I would stick to al pastor if you come here.
Casa Malca: The most impressive hotel we visited on our trip. Originally built by Pablo Escobar as his private vacation home, but is now owned by art dealer, Lio Malca. The boutique hotel is filled with contemporary artwork and exudes laid-back luxury! Their entrance (seen here) alone was to die for. We spent an afternoon lounging by the beach. It’s located on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Tulum!
Coba Ruins: A Mayan archeological site about 45 minutes from Tulum. I fell in love with Coba on our first visit six years ago. I love the nearby Chichen Itza and Tulum Ruins as well, but there was something so special about biking through Coba. This girl is typically not one to ride a bike anywhere, however, I begged my fiancé to take me back so we can ride through the site again. Another major plus about this site compared to the other two? You can climb the main pyramid! I have a feeling this will soon end because there were so.many.people this time compared to last. Six years ago my fiancé and I were the only ones at the top of the temple. This time? We had to fight for space to get a decent picture. The climb is so worth it as the view is breathtaking (as you can see in the photo above)! It is an infinite view of the lush, green Yucatan jungle.
Cenote Swimming: Swimming in a cenote is a must! This was high on my fiancé’s list so we visited two. The first one was definitely smaller and off the beaten path. It was nice because there really weren’t that many people. The second one we visited was the Gran Cenote, one of the most popular ones in the area. The cenote was beautiful and had clear blue waters. I’d definitely recommend bringing your snorkeling gear so you can see the beautiful fish and turtles. I think the highlight of our swim was entering the caves and seeing oh so many bats!
Transportation: Since we were going to be venue shopping and meeting with wedding planners, we rented a car. We only used taxis when we knew we would be drinking. Taxis were always readily available and the drivers were all very nice and helpful. I never felt scared while riding in one. Our hotel recommended we negotiate a price with the taxi driver before taking a ride and it was such a smart tip! Rides were typically $4-6 USD.
Bug Repellant: One word: NECESSITY. We carried natural bug spray everywhere we went. We were still eaten alive so I can only imagine how we would’ve ended up if we didn’t use it.
Exchanging Money: Most places in Tulum were cash only and everywhere we went accepted U.S. dollars. While it wasn’t necessary for us to exchange our money for Mexican pesos, we found we got more bang for our buck by using pesos. Most restaurants and boutiques share the rate at which they were taking the USD, so using dollars was not confusing at all.
Needless to say, I was very sad to leave Tulum. Mexico truly is such a special place to visit and Tulum only adds to the magic that Mexico is. I felt that as long as I was beachside having a marg and eating seafood, I was one happy girl! I cannot wait to return next year!