This January we had the opportunity to spend a week in sunny Tulum! I had heard such amazing things about this tropical paradise, it only seemed fit that is was at the top of my list of places to see! So naturally, we were pretty excited to experience it for ourselves!
In this post I’m covering all of our favorite things to do, see, and eat in Tulum, Mexico as well as a couple of hard lessons learned on things I wish I had known before we went.
Where to stay:
Two words: Kima Tulum.
If you are looking for the luxury and comfort of a high-end resort for a fraction of the cost – don’t look any further. Dorothee welcomed us into her beautiful AirBnb and we had the most amazing time. I can honestly say after staying at Kima Tulum, hotels just don’t compare! We had such an amazing experience here; from location, to accommodations, and everything in between – I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
You can check out the AirBnb here!
Where to Eat:
There are so many amazing restaurants in Tulum, in a week it’s hard to even scratch the surface! So here is a list of my personal favorites!
This place lives up to every expectation I could ever have. The food is fresh, health minded, and absolutely amazing! We went here twice during our stay because once just wasn’t enough! Both times I ordered something different from the menu, and I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried!
*Note – This Restaurant is Cash Only
The burrito of everyones dreams! My mouth is still watering writing this, and I don’t even like burritos! This place is another MUST! It’s affordable, fresh, and arguably the best burrito you’ll ever have.
This is a great place for dinner and happy hour! The atmosphere is amazing and if you time it right (6-8pm) you can score 2 for 1 Margaritas and Mojitos!
What to do:
Visit the Tulum Ruins
Make sure you go 1st thing in the morning! Crowds and busses start coming in around a half hour after open.
Watch the sunrise on the beach
Climb the Coba Ruins
Again, if fighting the crowd up a 137 ft Mayan Pyramid isn’t your thing – I’d go in the morning.
Swim in Laguna Kaan Luum
Visit the Gran Cenote & Cenote Calavera
Things to know before you go:
Here is where the lessons learned come in. Every trip has it’s bumps in the road, and this trip was no exception!
#1 Use the Safe in your Hotel Room
Before our stay at the beautiful Kima Tulum, we spent the first 4 nights of our trip in a hotel located in Aldea Zama. In this hotel we had the majority of our spending money stolen straight from our room, and even worse – straight from our suitcase!
#2 Rent a Car
Yes, Tulum is considered a “bike town” but this doesn’t mean it is always conducive to bike around from one place to the next! The truth is, most places are roughly 2-4 miles from each other. So unless biking 12+ miles or spending $45+ a day on taxis is your thing – i’d rent a car!
#3 Book the Car In Person
On the topic of rental cars, save yourself the headache and make your reservation in person! We had booked our rental car in advance through Expedia.com. When we arrived at the Agency and presented the confirmation, they had already rented the car to someone else! After speaking with several other rental car agencies, I had found that this is common and there is a lot of miscommunication between sites like Expedia and the rental agencies.
#4 You Should Probably bring your Debit Card
I have always been taught to leave the Debit and travel with Credit. That way, if any unusual charges come up, it is easier to dispute – BUT not having our debit cards had proven to be a nightmare during our week in Tulum. After our cash was stolen on the second day, there weren’t many options to convert our dollars to pesos.
Option One: Pay with Card and be charged a $5 service charge for running the card on top of any conversion fees your credit card already has.
Option Two: Make a Cash Advance at an ATM and pay an additional $10 Cash Advance Fee to the $5 ATM fee.
This is probably TMI – but I’m sharing it because it’s important. So if you are not a girl – you can skip this and scroll to the end of the post!
Okay ladies, listen up! If you are traveling to Tulum or anywhere in Mexico for that matter, and there is the slightest chance your period will hit. Bring. Tampons. With. You. Because chances are, you won’t find them in Mexico.
#6 Understand the area!
There are three parts to Tulum:
- Pueblo Tulum (Town)
- Aldea Zama (The area of Vacation Home & Hotels between the town and the beach)
- The Beach
On the Beach, there is one road that runs along the coast with Resorts lined up for miles on one side, and shops on the other. Anything you’ve found about Tulum on Pinterest is probably on this road! Keep in mind, although this road is fun, eclectic, and full of life – it can be equally chaotic.
#7 Do your research and reduce your impact!
I recently watched an eye opening documentary about Tulum and some of the environmental problems it faces. If you are interested in watching, i’ll link it here!
Ultimately, we had an amazing time exploring the beautiful wonders of Tulum! Our experience was nothing less than an adventure! From sunrises swimming in the warm ocean water, to crystal clear cenotes, and ancient Mayan Ruins!
Until Next Time!
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