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City Guide: Tulum

How do I explain Tulum?

Amazing food. Conversational cabbies. White sand beaches. Plenty of opportunity for adventure.
A place I'll be returning to soon.

It's not your typical Mexico beach resort town. It's not Cancun or Playa del Carmen or Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas. It's touristy, for sure, but I would consider it the Aspen of the Yucatan. A little exclusive, a bit pricey for Mexico, a curated experience. Expect to run into other millennials or hip ad-exec types from New York or San Francisco, or vacationers from various parts of Europe. You're not sticking to your resort. Instead, you're hopping from beach club to beach club, driving out to cenotes for a cool, mid-afternoon dip, and taking dinner in the jungle.

I met up with some of my favorites folks from Texas and we stayed in the neighborhood of Aldea Zama, about midway between the town of Tulum and the beach resort road. The Airbnb was a part of a beautiful apartment complex with a saltwater pool, and each unit had an outdoor shower and private plunge pool.

Each night, we dined out at some of the must-visits of Tulum: Hartwood, Arca, Posada Margherita and Gitano. Each morning, we started with yoga and smoothie bowls, or avocado toast and pool time, or an early beach club arrival to stake out prime lounging chairs. Afternoon activities varied from cenote hopping to a spa visit to bebidas at a new beach club.

Scroll for photos, and keep scrolling for Tulum recommendations.

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Where to eat:

  • Delcielo Tulum – local coffee and breakfast spot in town
  • Hartwood – it's amazing, lives up to all expectations, fresh ingredient dinner, if you eat at one place in Tulum, this is it.
  • Arca Tulum – great jungle spot, perfect dinner for two, definitely order dessert
  • Taqueria La Eufemia – tacos on the beach, can hang for awhile
  • Gitano – mezcal bar and restaurant, we ordered one of each appetizer and recommend this plan of attack, turns into a dance party on Thursday night so get ready to stay out late
  • Raw Love – the best smoothie bowls to get every morning, especially after ocean-view yoga. get rid of the bad toxins from all those beach club drinks and have a juice shot and smoothie bowl each day
  • Matcha Mama – super into matcha? if yes, then you have to stop by for drinks and the swings
  • Kin-Toh – modern mayan + mexican fusion, the restaurant is in a treehouse so major highlight, recommend for drinks and sunset-watching, dinner is a bit pricey
  • NĂ´made Tulum – we didn't get to eat here but it's a hotel with floor-seating
  • Casa Jaguar – we didn't eat here also, but it's supposed to be great and turns into a party on Friday and Tuesday nights
  • Posada Margherita – sometimes you're craving Italian food when in Mexico... handmade pasta you'll love
  • Chamico's – a local spot at Bahia Soliman, get a HUGE plate of fresh ceviche, chill in some hammocks

Where to beach:

  • Papaya Playa Beach Club
  • La Zebra
  • Coco Tulum – the bar has swings, are you convinced yet?
  • Hotel Be Tulum – probably the best beach in Tulum
  • Ahau Tulum – favorite place to do yoga, home of Raw Love

Where to venture:

  • Ruins at Coba
  • Ruins at Tulum
  • Dos Ojos Cenote
  • Sian Ka'an
  • Parque Xel-Ha

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