I wanted a quick and easy beach trip to escape the grueling Toronto winter so on a whim my bestie and I booked cheap flights I found to Cancun and decided to finally give Tulum a try. I had heard such mixed reviews about Tulum I did not quite know what to expect, but I didn't prepare to be positively blown away. The beaches are pristine with powdery white sand and water in unimaginable shades of turquoise. The entire area is just a beach strip, consisting of one barely maintained dirt road providing the only way in and out. While jam packed with an abundance of eclectic and stylish hotels, restaurants and boutiques, its feels unobtrusive as everything is built into the landscape embracing the natural surroundings, at a first glance I found it hard to understand why so many locals blame recent years of commercialism and mainstreaming for Tulum's apparent demise. Never once did it feel overcrowded, overrun or overbearing, in fact I found it quite the opposite. I feel Tulum can be what you make it, there is always a party to be found, yoga to be done and a quiet corner to relax in, and for that, I think I will be back soon! 

STAY

Casa Malca - famed for once being Pablo Escobar's private home, now a stylish boutique art hotel doubling as a museum, I may even be inclined to say resort. The hotel is beyond unique with its massive rooms decorated in a baroque-modern like fashion and its location at the southernmost part of Tulum ensures few onlookers will be gawking at you while you enjoy its expansive and pristine beachfront.  

The dramatic entrance at Casa Malca
The art-forward beach at Casa Malca

Be Tulum - located on the southern end of Beach Road, embodies the true essence of what Tulum was meant to be with its unassuming luxury boho-chic and sustainable approach. The rooms are so perfectly designed, and the beachfront is lush.

Casa Pueblo Boca Paila - is a small and intimate open-air boutique hotel located in the heart of Tulum, Boca Paila. Its busy and small beach front is a tradeoff for its simply stunning fresh decorum of natural materials and sun-drenched colors, cute pool and price point.

EAT & HYDRATE

Gitano - this place is THE place to be on a Friday. Dine on a modern Mexican menu at your table outside in the sand then come late night when the DJ starts, head to the beyond stylish "jungle room" in the back for dancing and cocktails. 

Casa Jaguar - for traditional Oaxacan food and the best cocktails in a lush and stylish jungle setting. Expect to carry on late night here as well.

Hartwood - dine outdoors under the light of the massive wood-fire grill on a farm/sea to table menu that changes daily - probably the best culinary experience in Tulum yet massively unassuming

Matcha Mama - makes the best coffee and delicious acai bowls, plus it is probably the most instagrammable place in town so you'll need a reason to sit on the swings and snaps some photos. 

Matcha Mama's Instagram worthy decor

Papaya Playa Project - holds its famous full moon party every month on the Saturday closest to the full moon, so plan accordingly if you are looking to indulge in this hedonistic and extremely cool event. It is a must!

SEE

Chichen Itza - one of the 7 wonders of the world, is an easy 2hr drive from Tulum, and easy to do as a self-guided tour.

Tulum Ruins - are also quite impressive as they are set among the vibrant ocean so provides for much better photo opts :) 

Cenotes - The most famous, but also touristy, one is Ik Kil and I would say it’s definitely worth a visit and not far or hard to find from Chichen Itza

Left: Chichen Itza Right: Cenote Ik Kil

TRAVEL TIPS

Rent a car - they are relatively cheap in Cancun. It makes the easy 1.5-2 hr drive to and from the airport much better and it allows you to drive and see the sites on your own terms and time frame. Plus, in the end it's cheaper than the cost of tours.

Carry cash - some stores, restaurants etc are cash only, including Hartwood

Hope you enjoy!

Katherine xo

Casa Pueblo Boca Paila pool and beachfront
Art on display at Casa Malca