Tulum was one of my favourite places that we visited on our Mexican honeymoon.
Take the healthy lifestyle and beautiful people of California, add some jungles and guacamole and you get a pretty good picture of what Tulum is like. Boutique hotels, high quality restaurants, pristine beaches and more yoga retreats than you can shake a biodegradable, locally-sourced eco stick at, it felt peaceful, healthy and luxurious.
As Marc and I can get bored if we stay in one place too long (MTV generation right at ya) and love exploring, we decided to spend just three days in Tulum and it was actually the perfect amount of time for us. If you are the sort of person who loves ultimate relaxation and beach holidays, then you could probably enjoy your whole trip here.
We had so many wonderful recommendations of where to eat, drink and stay in Tulum that I wanted to share them below. Do leave a comment if there is anything I have missed out that you think is worth sharing!
WHERE TO DRINK
You could pretty much choose anywhere along Tulum beach front for a picturesque drink but one spot that really blew our breath away (as well as the whole of Instagram) is Coco Tulum.
Coco Tulum is a hotel with beachside cabanas but it is their white wooden bar with swinging seats which really draws people in.
We went for a sunset drink and had never seen a sunset as incredible as this before. It turned the whole sky, sea and beach into a beautiful explosion of hazy pink and purple colour. The drinks were average (Marc had a bottle of beer and there was no Prosecco left for me) and the bar did close just after sunset but this makes my list because of the stunning views and relaxed atmosphere.
And for that all-important Instagram pic of the swing seats, of course.
As soon as I saw the Persian rugs on the beach on Pinterest, I knew I had to visit Nomad Tulum.
We stopped off for healthy smoothies during a hot afternoon of exploring and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the rustic wooden tables, swinging love seats and hessian cushions scattered across the beach. It was quite quiet when we went but it was around 3pm and people were probably hanging around in their hammocks digesting their tacos at this point. It was still beautiful and romantic and I would definitely recommend a visit (especially if you are into healthy ingredients), although this was probably the priciest bar that we went to in Tulum.
Mateos is not in the main beach area where most of the well-known restaurants and bars are but that does mean it is much cheaper and much more relaxed in comparison. I loved the hearty portions of food, Balearic music and fun atmosphere here but most of all, I loved watching the sunset from their rooftop terrace.
It lies at the top of their treehouse style bar so one late afternoon we headed to the top to grab a couple of Mojitos (they were nice and strong) and watch the sunset over the jungle. We heard monkeys just as the sun was setting which sounded a little eerie but also made it feel pretty special.
Definitely come here if you fancy a more relaxed night, cheaper prices, hearty grub and strong drinks but just make sure you bring mozzy spray. The mosquitoes love tourist skin.
WHERE TO EAT
Now we were sent SO many amazing restaurants to try and they all looked and sounded so good that I wanted to list them below. (Plus I was too busy eating the food to take pictures of it for bigger reviews. Bad blogger).
Out of all the below, my favourite was Del Cielo (in Tulum town) for their incredibly tasty, healthy, colourful breakfasts and lunches. You must try their coconut pancakes and any one of their smoothies. I crave them every day.
Del Cielo – This healthy restaurant is in Tulum town (where it tends to be cheaper) and serves such incredibly delicious, healthy brunches and lunches that we went twice! The coconut pancakes and banana smoothies are a must. Plus it has air con (a lifesaver in Tulum).
Taqueria La Eufemia – a very popular beach taco hut with the famous ‘relax and eat some f*cking tacos’ sign outside. The service is pretty poor here but it is super cheap and casual. Ideal for a fun afternoon snack.
Be Tulum – cool beach setting, often have dj playing. I have heard that the shrimp tacos are amazing here!
Casa Malca –this used to be Pablo Escobar’s villa and is now a quirky art hotel. (The entrance has a hanging sofa surrounded by draped curtains made out of Mexican wedding dresses). I have it on good authority that the 3 course brekkie is amazing here (just make sure you book) and you can swing it off afterwards on their beach swing.
Hartwood – THE place that everyone talks about (especially their ceviche)! It was sadly closed during our visit but when it is open, it is best to book in advance or queue from 1pm until it opens at 3pm to make a reservation that night. Sometimes earlier reservations can be the best as dishes can run out the later it gets.
ARKA – next door to Hartwood. We had heard such good things about this place and it was very stylish but for us, the portions were too small for the price tag. Everyone else seems to love it though so have kept it on the list!
Casa Banana – a popular Argentinian Steak House. I was told that the dulce leche crepes for pudding are phenomenal.
Mivida – Super adorable Italian beachside restaurant, near Mateo’s.
Mateo’s – a casual treehouse style restaurant that serves affordable lunch and dinner. Big portions, often live bands play there and usually there are sports games shown on the TVs downstairs. Plus, a great rooftop terrace to watch the sunset over the jungle.
Posada Margarita – This place has mixed reviews from my friends but we had the most delicious pasta and wine here and loved the pickled cauliflower and bread starter that they bought us complimentary. It is on the beachfront near Coco Tulum and was so stunning. Bit on the pricey side though.
Gitano – we never made it here but apparently it is a great cocktail bar for pre/post dinner drinks. They have disco balls hanging from palm trees and according to a contact of mine, ‘awesome margaritas’.
WHERE TO STAY
There are two main places to stay in Tulum – either the beach road or the town. We stayed in both and each has its own pros and cons; the beach road hotels are generally more luxe, boutique and beautiful but come at a higher price point, whilst the town offers much better value for money but is a taxi ride away from all of the most popular, romantic restaurants and bars on the beach road.
MARIA DEL MAR
The boutique beach hotel that we stayed in was called Maria Del Mar. We had a lovely, clean, eco-friendly room but the roofdeck was where it was all happening. There were such incredible views over Tulum beach (and the popular Azuliki treehouse hotel). It was such an incredible feeling being just us two, looking out over the glittering ocean, watching a pelican swooping around the cliffs and only hearing the sound of the waves.
Like most Tulum beach hotels, it was quite small and we only saw one other couple there. Great for couples who love peace and quiet but may be too small and quiet for more sociable types.
Live Tulum is a family run hotel in Tulum town, about a ten minute drive away from the most popular stretch of the beach rode. The rooms were simpler and felt less honeymoon-y but were much cheaper. There were plenty of cute touches, including books on artist Frida Kahlo, white benches and a pretty outdoor pool, plus, it was only a few streets away from my favourite cafe Del Cielo.
There were plenty of affordable bars in Tulum town and it generally did feel busier and more bustling here compared to the more peaceful beach road, especially at night. We would often go to the beachside restaurants for a romantic dinner and then finish off in the town for more of a lively atmosphere.
I’m pleased we got to stay in both areas and did enjoy being in the more bustling town but if it is that real luxury, honeymoon feel you are looking for, then the beach road wins every time.
More on what to do in Tulum coming up next…
If you liked that, you might also like: