We booked this trip on a whim, and honestly, it couldn’t have turned out better. Before I get into everything you should do here, if you’re thinking about traveling, stop thinking about it and just do it. It’s quite possibly the most rewarding thing ever, the memories you make and the experiences you gain last a lifetime, so invest in the experience!
How to get there:
Flew out Thursday morning into Cancun. Tulum is about an hour outside so you’ll need transportation. I know people and have read things about people getting scammed with rental cars so we decided to not do that. When you get off the plane and start walking towards the exit there will be multiple companies asking you to get on their shuttle. DO NOT buy a round trip. We did and they never showed up the day we checked out. By a one way trip to get to your hotel and then have your hotel call you a ride on the way home. Also, don’t pay more than $100 USD for the ride to Tulum, it shouldn’t cost more than that.
Where to stay:
There’s a lot to do in Tulum which is why there aren’t many all-inclusive resorts, but we stayed in one and I’ll tell you why. We stayed at Kore Spa and Resort. This place was at the top of Tulum Beach Road so it was a very short bike ride/ taxi away to everything going on. The room was air-conditioned (most places aren’t there) and obviously, food and drinks were included. Every morning we had breakfast when we wanted to stop back between sightseeing we had snacks and lunch, and at night if you don’t want to explore you have dinner and entertainment.
What to do:
We arrived late afternoon so we relaxed on the day beds at our resort, hit the hot tub, watched the “Mexican party,” ate a larger than life dinner, and drank. If your flight gets in earlier that day think about checking out the Mayan Ruins and at night Casa Jaguar which is known for turning up on a Thursday or just bar hop downtown Tulum.
Visit a Cenote, there’s a million so do your research on which one makes the most sense for what you want. We did the Grand Cenote. You can choose to buy snorkel gear or just hop in yourself. You can swim from one side to another which requires swimming through a bat-filled cave. Totally worth it. Bring your own towels and don’t worry about your stuff you can leave it outside of the water or rent a locker.
Afterward, dry off on the hammocks before catching your ride back
Casa Malca- aka Pablo Escobar’s mansion that has been renovated into a restaurant. When you walk in it won’t be self-explanatory on where you should go to see the highlights of where Pablo once lived, so ask one of the servers at the pool or beach to show you Pablo’s Grotto (underground pool) and the watchtower which sits back in a garden with hanging furniture.
Azulik- We came here for dinner and this is basically a treehouse in the jungle. You can sit at a regular table or if you’re looking to take things up a notch like we were, get a round table “nest” above the nets for a $500 USD minimum to eat, drink, and smoke hookah. We were there for six hours and ended up making friends that came and sat with us. It was definitely money well spent.
Gitano- End your night at Gitano, an outdoor Discoteca surrounded by jungle. The nightlife scene in Tulum is a mixture of upbeat people with chill island music. Because everything is mainly outside and off a dirt road, heels won’t be your best option, so grab some cute sandals, a mojito, and dance the night away!
After a jam-packed Friday, we rented bikes from our hotel and took them down to the Coco Hotel. This place has bungalows on the beach that you can stay in and an awesome beach bar. They are most known for their swings looking out to the ocean. We grabbed a seat there, for some chips, guac, and strawberry daiquiris which ended up being the perfect few hours to recover from the night before. On the way home, we stopped in different boutiques and did some shopping.
We went back to our resort for some much needed R&R and got some drinks at the swim up pool bar.
If you are a sushi lover grab dinner at Ukami- voted the best sushi in Tulum. It’s sushi with a Mexican twist. Like most places down there the restaurant was half inside half outside and they had a mariachi band playing. We got the following rolls:
- Ken Pom Po
- Chin China Chan
- Ta Chin Gon
(Pictured: Ken Pom Po)
I would recommend all of them!!
After a couple of busy days, it was finally our last night so we went to the one and only PPP (Playa Papaya Project) this is known for being the place to be on Saturday nights.
Everything will be paid through the wristband that you receive at entry, so once you get in, find a credit card station, there’s one for Amex and Visa and MasterCard. They will tell you the average price people put on their band, Pesos vs USD. You will use this all night so put enough money on it that will get you through. There are no refunds but you can always come back for more, keep that in mind.
There’s a lot of big Dj’s that’s come here, so there will always be someone spinning on a Saturday night. You’re basically dancing on the beach with people from all over the world surrounded by lights and great music! It’s also free to get your body painted so I would suggest waiting in the line to do this as well because, why not.
We had enough time to grab some breakfast and massages at the resort before leaving for the airport.
There is a lot to do in Tulum and although we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time there were still things that we would have liked to see, so if you are going for a long weekend or looking for alternative things to do, here is a list of other highly recommended options:
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve- Nature reserve 1.5 hours outside of Tulum where you can see all type of aquatic wildlife.
- Matcha Mama- Most Instagramable spot ever. Matcha, Açaí bowls, kombucha, etc.
- I Scream Bar- restaurant that has good happy hours and dancing at night.
- Nômade- A boutique hotel with holistic cuisine.
- “Follow That Dream” street sign- Another iconic IG spot. Tulum has a lot of street signs with sayings like this.
- Raw love- Tulum’s #1 Vegan Cafe
Tulum is a must see so I hope this inspires you to go. Feel free to comment below any questions you have about our experience!