Tulum is Always a Good Idea.
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Over the past five years, Tulum has morphed into one of the most Instagram-worthy hotspots in North America. From the treehouse-styled beach bungalows, to the always-present hammock swaying in the beach breeze, to the most mouthwatering cuisines from across the world, Tulum has something – if not everything – to offer to all travelers.
I have traveled to Tulum and experienced it both with friends and a significant other, and it is more than suitable for both. If you are looking for a quiet, romantic, and secluded getaway, Tulum is your spot. If you are looking for a sunny beach vibe, with parties late into the night, Tulum is your spot. If you are looking for a place to heal and connect with nature, Tulum is your spot.
I personally like to stay within walking distance of Hartwood, Gitano, and Casa Jaguar. On my last two trips, I stayed at Nueva Vida de Ramiro, and will likely return many more times. The views are breathtaking.
They have both single rooms and houses available right on the beach. Speaking of the beach, the beach service is catered by Casa Banana, which has some of the best food that I have ever had in my entire life.
Breakfast is also included at Casa Banana daily, or you can opt to have it delivered to your room.
Another option is to stay at Azulik Tulum. This is a very unique property and the Kin-Toh/Nest is amazing for pre-sunset cocktails. This is a bit farther away from the main spots, but with views this pretty, it's hard to leave. Personally, I am not a fan of the food here, and always opt for just beverages.
Speaking of beverages, make sure your ice is always the cylinder-shaped ice. This ensures it was made with clean water and shipped into Tulum for use.
For quite possibly the most mouthwatering pasta experience of your life, head to Posada Margherita. Twirls of spaghetti are made from scratch as soon as they receive your order. The entire wine list is sourced from Italy, and the bread is made fresh and comes out releasing steam into the breezy Tulum night. The only thing that may distract you from your dinner is the breathtaking sunset over the ocean.
Fire roasted beets, seared steaks, and fish will greet you at Hartwood. Right when you step through the gate, you can feel the vibe shift into a high-energy jungle dining experience. You are greeted with a cocktail menu as you wait 15 to 20 minutes for your table*. Once seated, the server brings over the six-foot-tall chalkboard menu with the evening's specials. All items are sourced locally and the menu changes daily. I enjoyed one of the largest beets I have ever seen in my life roasted on an open fire accompanied with goat cheese, and I dream about it to this day. Bring your cash – they do not accept credit cards! I usually dine at Hartwood on Friday night around 8 p.m. and walk over to Gitano for the party after dinner.
*Side note: Reservations are strongly encouraged and open four weeks prior to your visit.
On my last trip to Tulum, I discovered the fish tacos at Hotel Delek. This also would be another great place to stay. The service is outstanding and you can walk right up from the beach, grab a bucket of ice-cold coronas, and eat tacos and street corn within minutes. The chili salt rim on the spicy margaritas will have you coming back to quench your thirst every day after a walk down the beach.
Thursday night is the Jungle Party at Casa Jaguar. I typically head here for dinner (reservation in advance) around 8:30 p.m. By 11 p.m. the entire restaurant is pumped full of people and vibrating with the DJ's jungle house music. The dance floor is packed and everyone is letting loose since it is most people's first night out in Tulum.
Friday night, Gitano hosts an amazing party with live music, and the band will keep you dancing all night. There can be a line to get in, so I usually head there right after dinner. Drinks are expensive, so I recommend pre-gaming a bit before you arrive!
Saturday night is a big night for Papaya Playa Project. This club opens right onto the beach and you can spend all night dancing in the sand to the DJ. I discovered on my last visit that you do not need to buy the drink tickets that they sell right when you arrive; there are other bars inside that accept cash and card. This is also a good spot for a table if you are there with 6+ friends.
If you have time, Casa Malca is a piece of history in Tulum. Once Pablo Escobar's vacation home until his death in 1993, it was recently transformed into a breathtaking hotel. They have a spa and restaurant onsite if you want to head there for a recovery day!
I suppose I have to say that if you have time, you should go see the ruins. It is $6. I was not overly impressed and felt I wasted a couple hours of beach time.
Gran Cenote is a much better option and is about 15 minutes away. It is paradise inside of a paradise!