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top five guide: tulum, mexico

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


Mayan Ruins Tulum Beach Sunny Day Mexico

Tulum is a magical place that feels a bit like a millennial playground, and my guess is that feeling is very intentional. Everything about this place feels curated to my generation: beautiful açai bowls, sunrise yoga sessions, trendy beach clubs, craft mezcal cocktails...all set in a certain natural aesthetic that draws us in like flies to honey. Truly if I could describe this place in one word, it would simply be *vibes,* which I think says enough.


We spent a month living and working remotely from the very luxe Artia Condos in Tulum's Aldea Zama neighborhood, which is a newer master-planned development with beautifully designed eco-friendly buildings and chic cafés. It's ideally located smack in between the beachfront hotel zone and the town center, which allowed us the opportunity to explore beyond the most touristy parts of the city, getting a great feel for the best of what Tulum has to offer. If the massive resorts and chains of Cancun are off-putting to you, consider venturing further south to a more bohemian paradise in Tulum.


Here are my top five tips for your next trip to Tulum:


Grand Gran Cenote Tulum Mexico

1: cenotes


Cenotes (pronounced SUH-NO-TAYS) are a unique and plentiful natural feature of the Yucatan region. These sinkhole water pits come in many variations: some are small swimming holes, some are wide open lagoons, and others are partially or completely inside caves. Regardless of which you choose, you must fit in a visit to at least one cenote during your Tulum trip. One of the most beautiful and most popular options is the Grand Cenote (pictured; be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds). We also loved the underground Tamcach-Ha cenote in the nearby town of Coba.


Papaya Playa Project Beach Club Tulum Mexico

2: beach club


It's worth noting upfront that Tulum’s public beaches are actually quite wonderful, so you don't have to stay at a beachfront hotel or pay for beach club access to enjoy the beautiful shoreline here. That said, I still think it’s worth treating yourself to a beach club visit at least one day of your trip. These clubs typically include your own daybed and involve a minimum spend. They also range in level of luxury and how "club-like" they are. We loved the chill vibes and aesthetic of Papaya Playa Project (pictured), though if you're looking for more of a party, Taboo Tulum is your bet.



Margarita at bar in Tulum Mexico


3: mexican spirits


What's a vacation without a good cocktail (or several)? When in Mexico, it's only right to drink tequila or mezcal at every possible opportunity. Of course you will find classics like margaritas and palomas just about anywhere, but you will also find more inventive (and delicious) cocktails at Tu Tulum, Encanto Cantina, and La Condesa Tulum.


Taqueria Honorio assorted tacos Tulum Mexico



4: tacos and other cheap eats


There are plenty of trendy (and pricey) dining options along the beachfront hotel zone that are certainly worthy of visiting. But I won't spend time talking about them here. Far too many people miss out on the food in town, which is significantly cheaper and more authentic. For the best $1.50 lunch ever, get the pork tacos at Taqueria Honorio (pictured). To sample authentic Mexican and Mayan cuisine, grab dinner at outdoor food hall Xaman Ha (try memela!). End your night by stopping by the food stalls behind City Hall for a truly Yucatan treat: marquesita, a uniquely cheesy treat.


Lief's vegan sandwich food truck Tulum Mexico

5: all about wellness


Tulum is very much about *wellness* and there are plenty of ways to treat your body right in between all the tacos and mezcal. From actually delicious vegan food from the adorable food truck Lief's (pictured) to the (free!) outdoor beach gym at Playa Las Palmas, we tried out quite a few healthy activities while we were in town. My favorite of all was practicing yoga on the beach at sunrise. You’ll be in good company (this is a popular activity in Tulum), plus you can get a delicious beachside breakfast at Mezzanine (also good for dinner) or Raw Love as a reward.



Have a great trip! Feel free to leave a comment with your own favorites. You can also find these recommendations (and more!) in map format by following me on the Out of Office app.

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