Travel Guide: Tulum Part 2
Just returned from one of my fave spots in Mexico and wanted to give you guys an update to last year’s Tulum Travel Guide. Make sure to check out that one for serious Tulum 411 (transportation from airport, exchanging money, bugs, etc.) plus my OG fave restaurants. We hit most of those restaurants and MORE during this recent trip. Keep scrolling for new spots to checkout, my thoughts on Tulum safety, and the current algae bloom situation. Also don’t forget to check out my TULUM IG Highlight for vids and room tours from our trip.
Since it was Andy’s first time to Tulum I wanted to make sure we stayed ON the beach. We stayed at two different hotels: Coco Limited + Chiringuito. Both were great, the biggest difference is location and vibe. Coco Limited is all white wood and palm trees and very eco friendly (sink/showers are salt water) whereas Chiringuito has a more modern boho feel with concrete features. I highly recommend both! The reason we stayed at two places is because were were there for 5 days and I like experiencing a few hotels on vacay if I can.
Re getting around: It’s pretty easy via taxi or bikes, so it’s not that big of a deal. I highly suggest “investing” in electric bikes to get around. They are roughly $25 a day (one stand is right outside Coco Limited) and are MUCH more efficient than regular bikes. There’s so many potholes on the street that I honestly don’t know how people get around on regular bikes without seriously injuring themselves.
This time around I really wanted to checkout the cenotes (we’ve done the ruins as a cruise stop in the past) but we were there for a wedding and the timing didn’t work out. TBH, Tulum can be as adventures or as chill as you want it to be. I like to take a more leisurely approach: enjoy the beach, cocktails and the delicious food. Some new spots we visited and loved:
Coco Limited: beach front hotel that is a sister property the famous Coco Tulum (hotel/beach club with swings)
Origami Gelato: great place to get gelato + paletas. They also have free wifi!
Mur Mur: cute little restaurant on the jungle side for midday drinks. Stop by after exploring the boutiques nearby.
Rosa Negra: new restaurant (since last time I was there) and SO awesome. It gets kind of wild at night but the food and drinks are quite delicious. They start you with these amazing pop-over bread things that are to-die for. If you can’t have dinner there stop by for a drink + an app (you’ll get the popovers, too!).
Nomade: prob one of the most gorgeous hotels in Tulum. It’s a must stop just to walk through and see the property. Grab a midday cocktail and play on the beach.
Casa Malca: this is Pablo Escobar's old mansion now turned hotel. If you’re a fan of Narcos you’ll definitely want to stop in. It’s probably the farthest spot on the road that you’ll travel but totally worth. They have hanging couches, underground pools, and some unique features. We went for lunch and they gave us a day bed; it was lovely!
Casa Jaguar: restaurant that has a late night jungle party after 10pm. We didn’t eat here but it sure looked yummy. The party scene gets started around 11:30ish with a DJ and dancing.
Chiringuito: boutique hotel that we really enjoyed staying at. Breakfast came with our booking (through their website) and the food was AMAZE. It’s pretty centrally located to the bigger hotels: Nomade, Nest, Be Tulum and some of their rooms have private pools.
Nest: another fab hotel. This is where the wedding was. Food and service was great. The property itself isn’t that huge, especially the beach area but and it’s walking distance to all the other great hotels on that part of the road: Nomade, Be Tulum, and Chiringuito.
A few things to note:
You can explore most hotels and enjoy their beaches as long as you eat or drink at their restaurants. The first day we were there we had breakfast at one hotel, smoothies at a second, and a late lunch at another just so we could check them all out! This is especially a great strategy if you happen to be staying in town or at an Airbnb.
Drinks are HEAVILY watered down. Last year I legit saw a bartender pour water in my cocktail. The consensus was the same this past trip among the entire wedding group we traveled with: delicious cocktails that have no alcohol in them. Even straight shots were not doing it. I opted for wine towards the end of our trip because you can’t mess with that. My suggestion would be to either buy a local bottle of tequila or mezcal at the airport (to add a little umph to your cocktails) or maybe stick to the wine family.
Two spots I can’t forget to mention AGAIN (they are on my OG guide) because they are that good:
Posada Margherita: insanely delicious pasta. Is it weird to go to Mexico and possibly have the best pasta you've ever had? Like everything in Tulum, this restaurant is SO picturesque and I almost wanted to go back for lunch to see it in the daylight. The portions are generous - get the shrimp pasta.
Hotel Be Tulum: beautiful beach front hotel with INSANELY good food. We ate here on our last day and I wanted to kick myself that I didn’t eat every meal there. Their menu is pretty expansive especially with fresh seafood and ceviches. Definitely have lunch here if not a few times.
There’s been a lot of news around safety in Quintana Roo, the state that Tulum, Cancun, Myakoba and Playa Del Carmen are in. I realize it’s a very personal decision, but having been in the state twice this year I can say with confidence that as long as you make smart decisions you will be totally fine. The news greatly exaggerates what’s happening in addition to the fact that 99% of it is drug related. As long as you’re not caught up in anything like that, you are not the target. TBH I think it’s scarier traveling in the US or Europe because tourists spots are very much targeted. Tulum itself is very much secluded compared to Cancun, so if anything I think it’s the safest among all of the travel destinations in Quintana Roo. Some things to remember:
Always book airport transfers via your hotel
Vet excursion spots on Trip Advisor and ideally get recs from friends that have been there
Carry small bills especially pesos for taxis (no need to be waving 100s around when you get out of taxi)
Don’t be dumb ie: gals don’t take a taxi by yourself, don’t walk alone at night, leave your fine jewelry at home including your engagement rings)
Algae Bloom Issue
Technically called Sargassum, a brown seaweed that lives in the open ocean, has washed up on beaches across the Caribbean, trapping sea turtles and filling the air with the stench of rotting eggs. This is something the entire coast is experiencing (we battled it in Belize on our honeymoon). In previous years it came and went in a matter of weeks but this year it has lasted for MONTHS (hello, global warming!). Most high-end hotels will have people cleaning it up daily but it is a never ending battle.
At this current moment it’s not very bad and from talking with locals in Tulum they say it will only get better until about April when it starts all over again. Definitely something to be aware of as it can affect your beach experience which is basically 95% of your time in Tulum!
Hope you enjoy your trip! Always happy to answer any Qs you have. xx - Ashley