Getting myself to write this Tulum re-cap has been painful. I’m not quite sure why I’ve been avoiding this one, but I’m thinking it has to do with denial that the trip is officially in the past. Tulum exceeded my expectations and the fact that Tulum is only a cheap and direct flight away (plus a hour and a half ride from the airport but it’s so worth it I almost forgot about that part) means that I am constantly tempted to say “See ya!,” grab my swimsuit and make a quick getaway. I’m mainly writing this blog to make my friends and family so unbelievably jealous that they too start making last minute plans and then I’ll obviously have to come too.
Where we stayed:
Hotel Tunich – Closer to the beach, I found Hotel Tunich on Air BnB, and it’s basically like a big treehouse. It’s quite open, with a mosquito net surrounding the bed and a fan as the main source of cool air. Amanda and I fought off some unidentified insects, but it was all a part of the experience! The staff was so kind and the breakfast was fantastic. I definitely recommend staying here if you’re looking to feel one with nature and keep the budget low.
Hostal Chalupa – Located near town, Hostal Chalupa had the basic necessities we needed. I found it via Hostelworld and we paid ~$50 a night for a private room and ensuite bathroom. The AC unit ran from 9pm-9am and we tried our best to stay out of the room during other hours. The majority of action in town was about .4 miles away, so I’d recommend staying farther into town if walking is your main mode of transportation.
While on the subject of transportation, I plan on renting a car next time around. I’m glad we split our stay between the beach area and town, as walking between the two isn’t realistic. However, cabs are easy to hail and pretty cheap. They don’t use meters so make sure to clarify the cost before you get in. We didn’t do this and were overcharged once, but when we did the math from pesos to dollars…it ended up being $2 more. I can live with that. Also – most restaurants are cash only, but they accept dollars or pesos. There are designated ATMs that dispense either currency and are easier to find than exchange offices.
Shoutout to Emily and her blog A Time to Kale, for sending me to a number of these delicious restaurants.
La Coqueta – Local, legit Mexican food
Sal & Pepe – Surprisingly good pizza
Batey’s – Live music & top-notch mojitos
Ki Bok – Thai food & must have iced coffee
El Alma – Argentinian steak (2 fancy meals + 2 sangria’s = $27!?)
Zamas – Shrimp anything with a view
Posada Margherita – Italian seafood YAASSSS
Mateo’s Mexican Grill – 2 for 1 Coco Loco’s with a sunset view (Thanks Emily!)
Gitano’s – Apparently where the Miami/Cubano style partying happens
As far as activities go, we wanted to make sure we did as much relaxing as we did exploring. In my opinion, a day spent motionless on the beach is a day well spent. We managed to make it out to Akumal for turtle snorkeling (stay tuned for a nice little GoPro video of life under the sea) and spent another day with Altournative at the Jungle Maya Park.
Amanda and I also had the opportunity to visit and film a workout (see the final product here) with Bikini Bootcamp at Amansala Eco-Chic Resort. If you’re interested in the idea of a fitness retreat, definitely check it out. They are located right on the beach with gorgeous facilities and there are a full day of classes to choose from. It’s for women of all ages and fitness levels and is something I could see myself signing up for in the future. We met Jeff, our trainer, here and he was kind enough to take us out to Gitano’s for dinner and then to Antojitos Chiapaneca for a second dinner of seventy cent tacos (because that’s a thing on vacation). He is also the owner of the Adventure Tour Center, which is located right next to Mateo’s Mexican Grill. We so wish we would have met him before booking our other activities, but it’s all the more reason to return!
While there are all-inclusive resorts in the area, Tulum itself is amazing because it hasn’t (yet) been fully developed. The jungle is still untamed and the locals can still afford to live where they were born. Hurry down before the margaritas are watered down to control all of the wild gringos!