Where to sleep, eat & go in Tulum

Where to sleep, eat & go in Tulum

I’m baaack!! I’ve been silent on the blog for a while, but if you’re following my Instagram you know what I’ve been up to already. I have been enjoying the Mexican sun for a long week. Funny story, we (a.k.a. mr. lover lover and me) didn’t really plan on going to Mexico. But on one of those typical Dutch rainy afternoons I received a text from Scott saying: “just found return tickets to Mexico for €240 a person, shall we book it?”. Obviously my response was “hell yeah, let’s do it!”. Turned out Scott forgot to mention it was a return ticket to Cancun: the ultimate spring break destination for American teenagers and definitely not a place I want to visit.  So I started researching places near Cancun and stumbled upon blogger paradise Tulum. After googling loads of gorgeous pictures of white beaches the decision was made, we were going to Tulum!

Tulum can be reached by bus or taxi from the airport, the bus is very cheap but takes a bit longer. If you love an easy beach holiday, with healthy food, cool restaurant and just enough activity options to keep you from getting bored of lush beach views Tulum is the place for you! Tulum is divided over Tulum beach and Tulum town and I highly recommend to stay in the beach part, because this is where the magic happens 😉

Where to sleep

There are plenty of options to stay in Tulum, so it might be hard to pick a place! I tried out two different experiences for you (and me obviously) and stayed at Tunich Tulum jungle cabañas and Maya Tulum Resort.


Tunich Tulum, www.instagram.com/tunichtulum

We started off our trip by visiting Tunich Tulum, where we were welcomed by the lovely Brandy & Blaine. They have been great hosts throughout our whole stay. They even helped out with *emergencies* like icing my eye which was very swollen after a mosquito bite and booking an extra night when we were almost left without a roof over our head after I made a mistake in our itinerary. We stayed in one of the jungle cabañas, which was a very charming and authentic experience and a not so expensive option if that’s what you’re looking for. Besides having the cabañas, Tunich is a brunch place too. It’s one of the few places in Tulum to have breakfast and they do it very well! I really loved the coconut and chocolate fruit bowl and had poached eggs every day.

Maya Tulum Resort, www.mayatulum.com

We concluded our stay in Maya Tulum, which was a completely different experience than Tunich. This resort is heaven for yoga lovers that like to have it all: healthy food, being pampered by healers and spending lazy afternoons alongside the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. We stayed in one of their Beach Front Cabanas and could walk straight onto the beach. Their policy to have no  wifi other than at reception and the restaurant was something I had to get used to, but turned out to be perfect for me to be able to really chill out! I spent a full day on the beach and read 1/3 of a book I’ve been wanting to read for months. Unfortunately we booked a day trip on the other day – there were no other dates available -, so we couldn’t enjoy all other things Maya Tulum had to offer. I was really looking forward to attend one of their yoga classes or get a spa treatment based on ancient Mayan specialties. Oh well, guess I have a reason to go back next time!

Where to eat (or drink)

Tulum is heaven for foodies, it’s filled with cute beach bars and jungle restaurants, all with cool decorations and good menus. There’s not a lot of authentic Mexican food, but then again if you want to experience the real Mexico you shouldn’t go to Tulum. I did get the feeling that there were some authentic places in Tulum town though. We visited loads of restaurants and we never had terrible food and loved the service everywhere. It’s a shame we went to Tulum during “winter”, I can imagine it being really cool to dine outside when it’s still light. Here’s a list of the restaurants we enjoyed most.

Gitano,  www.gitanotulum.com

I saw this place being recommended on a lot of blogs and fell in love with their huge “interior”.  If a place has a disco ball and neon lights I just have to go there, sorry not sorry, I’m a walking blogger cliché. As a main dish I picked a pepper filled with lentils and sweet potato, which was really delicious. We shared a very tasty cheesecake and had some really good cocktails with mezcal, a popular Mexican spirit.

Charlie’s Vegan Taco’s, www.charlysvegantacos.com

This was one of the coolest dining experiences we had, as all chairs and tables are literally placed in between palm trees, with light strings everywhere. We kind of missed the fact that this was a vegan place, but being a vegetarian this was no problemo. Scott was a little less happy as he likes a chance to have meat, but still enjoyed the food. I have to add that finding food as a vegan or vegetarian in Tulum is super easy, there are a lot of options on every menu!

Mateo’s, www.mateosmexicangrill.us

Mateo’s was very close to Tunich Tulum and we went here a couple of times for lunch, diner and drinks. The place is quite big, has a roof terrace and live bands playing a lot, plus they make really easy food. It’s a grill restaurant so not necessarily the best choice for a veggie, but I really loved the laid-back atmosphere here.

La Zebra, www.lazebratulum.com

We spent an afternoon on the beach here and really enjoyed their cocktails. We also bought a bucket with Coronas for only €8(!) and some fresh coconuts.  You can find fresh coconuts in any place, which I loved.

Mina, www.facebook.com/minatulum

We went here on our first night because it was close to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised. Great service and food. I especially loved their chocolate (!) avocado (!!) cake. Sounds like a weird combination but it was incredibly tasty.

Where to go

Of course you can spend every day on the beach at a different beach club, but we soon found out this isn’t our thing and we like to get active too. I’ve listed my fave activities below.

Rent a bike

My first advice is to rent a bike to get around. You can find bike rentals everywhere along the beach road. You can also get a taxi to get around – they’re not expensive and easy to spot: they honk every time they pass you by to get you in their taxi. I prefer to be outside though, especially when the weather is as good as it is in Tulum!

Ruins of Tulum

So Tulum is great for chilling on the beach, but it’s also a very special area because this is where the Mayans once lived. If I’m visiting a place I love to get to know more about the history too, so we decided to visit the ruins, which was very interesting. They are located at the end of the beach road, which was a 30 minute bike ride for us. If you plan on going here it’s best to go in the morning when it’s not so crowded and hot.

Tulum Town 

We went to Tulum town twice: once to explore it and the second time to take out money. There’s loads of ATM’s down the beach road, but at the bank in Tulum town the exchange rate was better. The town isn’t very beautiful, but it’s a good place to get your souvenirs!

Playa Paraiso

On the beach road on the way to the ruins you’ll find Playa Paraiso. This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and that’s not a lie! The beach is super white and clean and there are loads of palm trees. One of the palm trees (not the one pictured above) can be found on post cards all over the world, so people were actually standing in line to pose with it! On Playa Paraiso you can find beach club El Paraiso, where we spent an afternoon on one of the beach beds. If you do this you always have to pay a small fee for the bed, but that was totally worth it to us.

Day trip: Chichen Itza, Cenotes & Valladolid

On our last day in Tulum we planned a day tour with Mexico Kan tours, which was recommended to us by Blane of Tunich Tulum. If you want to do this too it’s best to book it in advance, to make sure you’ll be able to take this amazing trip! We got picked up at our hotel super early, to make sure we made it to Chichen Itza before it was busy. Chichen Itza is one of the biggest Mayan cities and incredibly impressive to see. We were really happy we got a tour guide telling us all about the history of the Mayans, painting a vivid image of what life must have been like.

After Chichen Itza we went to visit a cenote. I never heard of cenotes before visiting Mexico, but apparently a meteorite once hit the country, creating this underground cenote system. Many of the cenotes are connected and they’re all filled with natural water you can swim in. It really is unlike anything I’ve seen before.

We ended our trip in Valladolid and Scott and I immediately regretted not going on a day trip here as it’s so pretty. This colonial town is filled with colourful houses, a.k.a. Instagram heaven. We spent most of our time eating a very tasty Yucatan style lunch and only had a few minutes to take pictures.

If you are planning a trip to Tulum this has to be on your to do list!

Hope you enjoyed today’s post! This has been an incredible experience to me and I can recommend Tulum to everyone. Would love to hear if any of you been here too.

More Mexico posts:

Tulum & Valladolid in pictures. 

How to spend 24 hours in Mexico City.