Tulum, Mexico is a magical place. It’s filled with beautiful beaches, award winning restaurants and a buzzing beach road full of upscale shops. This post will cover everything from my trip!
I took a direct flight to Cancun from Nashville, which was only two and a half hours. It was a quick and easy trip.
TIP: When you walk out of the airport, there will be a ton of people trying to get you to ride with their cab service or rip you off with rental car prices. Just keep walking and ask someone where the ADO bus is.
Be sure to bring at least $50 USD with you on the flight. You can use this money to exchange at the airport to buy bus tickets if you aren’t planning to use a specific car service to Tulum.
TIP: Don’t exchange a ton of money at the airport – the exchange rate isn’t great there. The main beach road is where we found the best exchange rates, surprisingly.
We wanted to keep transportation cheap, so we rode the ADO bus into Tulum. There are two stops – the first in Playa Del Carmen and the next one is Tulum. The trip will take you around 2 hours or so on the bus.
The bus ticket to Tulum was pretty cheap – around $20 USD (for 1 person).
We stayed in a large house (sleeps 8) located in the Downtown portion of Tulum. The house is called Casa Blanca on VRBO.com. It was super spacious, and the pool was absolutely amazing.
Staying downtown will give you a more realistic cultural experience. If you aren’t looking for that, I recommend any of the boutique hotels located on the main beach strip at Tulum Beach. They all looked so beautiful!
They had the best smoothies I’ve ever tasted. Everything was so fresh and the outdoor restaurant itself was unreal.
Best breakfast hands down. We regretted not stopping here for more meals once we had it on the last day.
Ki’bok Gourmet Cafe
Another great breakfast spot. If you’re a big coffee lover, this place is for you! There’s a really cute clothing boutique right next door as well as a famous mojito bar where they hand press the sugar cane for their drinks. I kept hearing it was a fun place to go at night, but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to make it.
La Eufemia Taqueria
(Tulum Beach Road)
If there’s one place I would tell you to visit during the day- this would be it. If you get to La Eufemia earlier in the day (11AM) you can grab a prime spot on their beach chairs. They will come to you with a menu and you can order drinks, tacos, guac, and my absolute favorite – chocolate milkshakes. Hang out on the beach and be served delicious (inexpensive) tacos until the sun sets. Basically my dream. It has such a laid back vibe and it’s a fun spot where tons of young people from all over the world come to hang out. We met people from California to Sweden to Australia to Virginia. It was such a fun place!
This is a great lunch pick. This place is a local spot – not many tourists visit. It was inexpensive and delicious. It was recommended by the owner of the house we stayed in and they serve phenomenal chicken – super tender!
Antojitos La Chiapaneca
Another amazing taco spot. First of all – they are seven pesos each. SO CHEAP. And their Al Pastor tacos were incredible. We ate here for a quick dinner one night and grabbed gelato next door! Highly recommended.
(Tulum Beach Road)
This jungle restaurant (literally in the trees) had amazing appetizers. Everything was made in their outdoor kitchen and was really fresh. The entree dishes were good, but the apps were phenomenal. I recommend going here for a few appetizers and drinks. (TIP: cash only)
(Tulum Beach Road)
The best dinner spot atmosphere wise. It was an absolute dream. Think candle light, tons of foliage, and a chandelier hanging from a huge tree. The dinner was great, and the atmosphere was incredible. They are also known for their Mezcal drinks – so be sure to try one. I got Stardust and it was delicious!
(Tulum Beach Road)
The best dinner spot food wise. Their menu changes all the time based on what’s fresh from the sea and land. I was visiting in May, and they don’t take reservations during this month. If you’re also visiting during this time, be sure to get there early to get a table. If you show up at 6:30 you probably won’t get seated – it’s an extremely popular spot!
I spent one day just walking around downtown and visiting the local shops. The small markets were neat to visit and I enjoyed exploring the bustling city.
If you have the time in your trip, I recommend renting a car and driving up to Chichen Itza to see the Mayan pyramids. It was a neat experience to see the history and culture in Mexico. We got a tour guide and he gave really great insights that wouldn’t have been obvious if you were just walking around by yourself.
One down side – there were really annoying vendors everywhere. They were trying to sell touristy gifts and it got pretty irritating – just don’t engage with them. However, I did break down on the way out and bought a tiny white cat made of quartz. It reminded me of Pearl – what was I supposed to do!?
Cenote Ik Kil
One of the coolest things I’ve ever done was visit this cenote. Red Bull has held their cliff diving competitions here in the past – and I can see why. Swimming in the fresh water was such a magical experience. Be sure to take a towel with you, because the water is a bit chilly!
Las Coloradas – Pink Lakes
Okay so just to be honest – we were really brave on this trip. Not everyone would feel comfortable driving two hours across Mexico to see these lakes…but we were determined.
a little bit about Las Coloradas…
Las Coloradas is a small fishermen town in the east corner of the Yucatecan coast inside Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, the Yucatan’s largest wetland area. This little known part of Yucatán has picturesque and unordinary landscapes, a giant salt factory and amazing pink lagoons that gives the town its name. There were desolate highways and miles of empty beaches. It was beautiful.
The lakes are not always this peachy pink color, so be sure to research before you make the trip! Sometimes the water is more of an orange color, but when it’s prime season, the water is SUPER pink. You can book a tour to see the lakes here.
When getting cash out of the ATMs, I recommend getting a large sum out at once and putting it somewhere safe where you’re staying. Then just take what you need for the day. I made the mistake of not taking out enough, and I incurred multiple large ATM bank charges.
Before you visit, study up on some easy key phrases. Before getting into cabs, I recommend asking the driver how much the ride will cost. If you can’t speak any Spanish, use the google translate app. We found that most of the cab drivers were really friendly, but most didn’t speak much English. They seemed to be more friendly to us when we spoke Spanish!
I really recommend going to Tulum during the month of May. It’s right before their rainy season begins, and we couldn’t have had better weather.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out!
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