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Travel Guide - The legend of Tulum, all you need to know!

Located approximately two hours south of Cancun and one hour from Playa Del Carmen lies the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which is where you'll find the magical town of Tulum. Known for it's warm sandy beaches, Cenotes and post card-perfect #instagram photos. Tulum has become as some say, " the Bali of the Americas" having been to bali ( clink on the link to read that blog) I simply had to visit and see for myself; not once but twice in 6 months.

Full Discloser- What you don't see on social media

Before we get into the fun stuff, I want to be fully transparent with this post, Please do your research! The Tulum you see on Instagram is an allusion; this highly celebrated "eco-friendly" is not so eco at all. If your visit is to simply chase influencers Instagram photos, just ignore this part of the blog. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from traveling there. I love Tulum but It's important for people to go there with an open mind especially if you're expecting Southeast Asia vibe; I say that because Tulum is a complicated, overly expensive and yet very fragile place. I also want bringing awareness to the affect tourism and mass construction of roads/hotels are having on Tulum's striking biodiversity. So again, PLEASE do your research and inform yourself before going. Organizations like #savetulum and #RecycleTulum will help in your research.

Things you need to Know

* Climate- Hello Hot and Humid! Tulum is in the middle of the jungle and the average temperature remains around 85-90 degrees with minimal breeze--- basically leave the heavy materials/fabrics home. Most people visit during dry season (December- April) but it's also peak season. If you're trying to avoid the crowds, aim for June-October months, the weather and crowds are much more tolerable. *Language- Spanish- I always advise to learn some basics words in the native tongue of the country you're visiting. Being able to greet the locals in their native tongue always makes them smile and it's the polite thing to do. *Currency-Mexican Peso. While almost all the restaurants/beach clubs and shops on the beachfront accept all major credit/debit cards and US dollars, note that its not the same in town center, so your best bet is to carry cash.

What to pack-

  • Bug Spray, Sunblock

  • First aid kit, Wet wipes

  • Cool, loose fitting dresses/skirts, flat sandals, (leave your heels home)

  • Denim shorts, One pair of nicer shorts, Hat, Sneakers (for the adventurers)

  • Beach coverup, Bathing Suits, Sunglasses, Beach bag or small backpack

Getting There

Tulum Is about 1 hour and 40 minutes ride from Cancun International, I suggest booking your transfer ahead. I usually use to book private transportation to Tulum. Once you arrive, Tulum itself is a rather small town separated into 2 main sections about 3 miles apart.

Tulum Town ( Pueblo)

The good- This small and vibrant town is without a doubt my favorite place to stay. Pueblo maintained its small town vibe despite being flooded by tourists all year around. It is definitely the most authentic part of Tulum because it's also where the locals live; you'll get to interact with the wonderful and welcoming people in the aria.

The bad- There's one main road with all the "touristic " things such as shops and restaurants; that's it. Once you step off that main road, reality hits! You get to see the divided world between what you see on social media and how the locals are really living- and the gap is only getting bigger.


Tulum Beach (Playa)

The good- Imagine beautiful white sandy beaches with overpriced /overrated hipster looking shops, restaurants and beach clubs. Well that's playa in a nutshell! You'll find your social media pictures here for sure.

The bad- It has to be the most expensive place I've ever travel too. The beach road is a total rip off. I just don't see the hype🙄. The road is terrible, traffic is terrible, especially when it rains and at night.

Getting Around

You can pretty much walk/bike to many spots depending on where you stay. I walked everywhere and when it was too far, I simply hailed a local taxi. Be mindful, the taxi drivers WILL overcharge you if you don't bargain. So, if they say 300 pesos, the real price is probably 150-200 pesos.

~~~~~ I know you're probably thinking, Sis, did you even like Tulum? stay with me the good stuff are coming 😂 and well, the answer to that question is complicated. Yes I loved my time in Tulum, It's a fantastic place and by far my favorite destination in Mexico. However, the more time I spent there, the more questions I had. Like I said, complicated.

Okay, the fun and Drinks

Del Cielo- Great brunch spot but its really popular so go early.

La Hydra by GIGI- Best pizza in Tulum, PERIOD!

La Hijas de la Tostada- Favorite bar in Tulum.

Good Burger- Best vegan/Vegetarian burger in Tulum, love that place.

Villa las Estrellas - When I tell you the best pasta and marguerite in Mexico, I mean it.

La Hoja Verde- Favorite breakfast spot very underrated in my opinion. P.S. it's a vegetarian spot.

El Camello Jr - Local spot with fresh seafood and authentic Mexican cuisine. Super cheap!

Taboo- The food is delicious - But I refuse to ever step foot back into this Overrated/grossly overpriced beach club (but to each their own 😎 do you Sis)

Where I stayed In town

Copal Tulum- This gorgeous hotel tucked in the middle of the jungle is absolutely beautiful; I stayed for about 3 days. It has everything I needed, a great restaurant, one main pool, one infinity pool, great customer service and staff. It's about a 5 minutes drive to Tulum Town and 15 minutes from the main beach area ( well that's if there's no traffic)

*What I didn't like*

  • It's a popular spot for young and LIT travelers so it gets loud

  • location, walking to places is not ideal

Xscape Tulum- I love this place! From the moment I arrived, I was bewitched by its charm and extended my stay an additional 4 days. Its a very international spot, you'll meet people from all over the world there. The location, staff, privacy, experience in general, fantastic!

*What I didn't like*

  • No WIFI in rooms but again, that's much of Tulum

Hotel Latino- My absolutely favorite hotel Tulum! Its a cute little hotel with modest Mexican hospitality. Now this place is my favorite because it accommodates all my travel needs. I'm a sucker for authenticity, mingling with the locals, great staffs/service and comfortability. Hotel Latino provided all that and more; To me, It's a GEM right in the middle of Tulum Town. I loved everything!


Where I stayed in Playa

Rosa Del Viento- This beautiful little resort in Playa is a bohemian dream, absolutely stunning. Its further down on the strip therefore its not for the LIT crew, but for those who crave a very chill spot to spend some beach time without breaking the bank. It was just what I needed those 2 days, gorgeous beach, great staff and free breakfast.

*What I didn't like*

  • No WIFI in rooms but again, that's much of Tulum

*Honorable mentions - These are some places I stayed in just for one day and I think are worth checking out.

Papaya Playa Project- great beach club with delicious food

La Zebra- another great vibe

Villa Las Estrellas- I have nothing bad to say about this place, the best food/ drinks I had in Tulum. The atmosphere can be both relax and lit it depends on the day.


Must visit

  • Tulum Ruins- It's right in town, you can't go wrong.

  • Ka'an Biosphere Reserve- A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Going will help you understand why tourism is actually harming Tulum

  • Coba- Magical town with spectacular pyramids, cenotes and a rich ancient Maya culture.

  • Any Cenote- There are thousands in the area pick one or two- worth every peso.

Well, that's it for this post folks, Just remember there's really no right or wrong way to do Tulum, just go with an open mind 🤗

Drop any questions you have about Tulum in the comments below!


Stephanie Taina


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