Tulum Travel Guide
Vamos A Tulum!
Tulum is somewhere I have been trying to visit for awhile now, but the timing has never worked out! I have seem Tulum all over Instagram, as one of the most Instagrammable Spots in the world. Tulum is an interesting place for sure, but is it worth the hype? Keep Reading to find out!
All locations mentioned in this blog post are tagged below!
Take A Seaplane to Tulum!
Taking a seaplane to Tulum with our group was the best decision ever!
It makes packing, customs, and covid screening 1000x easier. Not to mention... it's so fun!
We took a private charter from Trident Expeditions out of Fort Lauderdale. I highly recommend! They can come directly to you and give you an amazing experience. Unfortunately we couldn't do a water landing in Tulum (I am dying to do this one day) but there are so many other options for water landing virtually anywhere in the Caribbean.
The closest airport to fly into is Cancun. Tulum is about a two hour drive from Cancun, so make sure you have lots of snacks. It is best to arrange a driver before hand with a group to cut costs. The drive goes by pretty fast, and look... we even got some churros on the way. :)
Covid-19 Restrictions in Tulum
Traveling amidst the Covid-19 pandemic brings added stresses to travel, and Tulum now follows with the much of the world on restrictions. Read my Travel During Covid-19 article here for basic knowledge and understanding on how this works. Always check International Travel Restrictions by Destination before your trip along with CDC updates. Some things have already quickly changed since I wrote my Travel During Covid-19 piece, such as the fact that you know need a negative covid test not only to enter another nation but now to return to the U.S. I personally think this is a slippery slope and is unconstitutional (for U.S. Citizens. Foreigners I can understand) but that is just my personal opinion. :) Luckily, since Tulum is a hot destination for American tourists, you can get a rapid PCR test on every corner. It was super easy and affordable, so no worries here.
Reasons Why You Should Visit Tulum
Tulum is such an interesting place to visit and see. People say that since the pandemic, (Mexico always stayed open) that Tulum is the new Ibiza- everyone goes here to party. That is not really my speed, so trust me, it is so much more than that. There is something for everyone here. I came here on a modeling trip for Heather Leigh Swimwear, and many influencers and models come here for photoshoots and promotion because of how neat the location is. Others come here for a relaxing vacation on the beach. Many come here to practice yoga, or to find themselves or their spirituality. Whatever your reason is, Tulum has something for everyone. Tulum does cater more towards a younger crowd, and it can be noisy at times. However, if you stay more towards the northern end of the beach, that shouldn't be much of a problem. Tulum is very unique in its design. Most things are made out of wood, and the design and architecture is really quite incredible. It is a unique experience of candle lit dinners, a connection with the jungle, fresh coconuts and the smell of incense burning everywhere.
Photo edited using the "Sunshine" Preset from the TULUM Preset pack
Where to Stay in Tulum
Where you stay in Tulum may look a little different than your average hotel. Most of the places to stay are villas, or rooms with no electricity made entirely out of wood. Many places in Tulum are candle lit. They are all about saving electricity and being one with the earth here. I recommend that you make sure the unit you are staying in has AC and electricity, however some prefer the experience. No AC isn't all that bad if you are on the beach, however! There is always a consistent breeze that feels wonderful. For example, rooms at AZULIK, one of the most famous places to stay in Tulum, have no AC. Yet people spend thousands of dollars per night to stay here! This trip is definitely one to be open minded. There are lots of really neat Airbnb options in Tulum as well.
Ballin on a Budget:
We stayed at Piedra Escondida (above) which was nice. It was superrrr affordable and right on the beach. Our room opened up to the ocean, so we kept the windows open often for a nice breeze. We also had electricity and lighting, which was nice. :)
Above are photos from one of the Ocean Suites at Azulik. They were superrrr dreamy and gorgeous. One of the most amazing hotels I have ever seen! The only downside is that there is no electricity, AC, or lighting, but I think it is worth it! Most of the rooms also have only a bath and not a shower.
I HIGHLY recommend both Azulik and Papaya Playa Project for dinner. You will need to make a reservation. If you get the chance, reserve a nest at Azulik Kin Toh or Karma for an incredible experience you can only get in Tulum. It is what it sounds like... you eat in a tree house nest! I would recommend Kin Toh nests for a large group of people (8-12) and Karma for 2-5. The food at both restaurants is incredible. Kin Toh is definitely on the higher end side when it comes to cuisine and cocktails, but they are both great choices.
There are dozens of great restaurants to choose from here, especially on the strip. I recommend making a reservation for a nest one night and then just go with the flow the rest of the nights for dinner. When you walk around you can find some amazing places, see what the vibe is like, and find dozens of hidden gems. If you walk behind other restaurants on different paths, you will find some really amazing places. For example, we found a few restaurants among the strip when we walked pretty far back that had GORGEOUS cenotes attached to them. There a dozens of them!
Photo edited using the "Follow Me" Preset from the Tulum Preset Pack
All of the beach clubs in Tulum are amazing and so beautiful. I enjoy walking around and finding new ones, but here is a list of some of the Top Beach Clubs in Tulum:
Must See's In Tulum
There are so many amazing excursions you can do, including diving, snorkeling, cenotes, ancient ruins, and more. I recommend 100% that you visit at least one cenote! This is what Tulum is known for. There are lots of cenotes in town that you can walk to, and there are some other world famous ones that you can taxi a taxi or group tour too. Here are some must sees:
Best Cenotes in Tulum:
The Suytun Cenote was simply incredible. You may have seen the photos of this above water. It is currently underwater, but it is still just as neat. The sun peaks in through a tiny hole in the ceiling of the cave, and it looks heavenly. Here I am, living out my H20 dreams. :)
Photos edited using the "Suytun" preset from the TULUM Preset Pack.
The Mayan ruins are only about a 10 minute drive from most hotels. It is definitely interesting to see!
Chichen Itza is about a two-hour drive from Tulum, but we made a day out of it and stopped at Suytun Cenote on the way (90 min drive) and visited the Mayan Village. Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World- so of course we had to go see it! I have now seen 2/7. :) Chichen Itza was built by the Maya people sometime around 800-900 AD.
Most Instagrammable Spots in Tulum
Tulum is world renowned for its Instagrammable spots and Pinterest worthy snapshots. However once you get there, it is almost impossible to find what you have seen on Instagram by just wandering around! Don't worry- I've got you. I searched every nook and cranny to find the top most "Instagrammable" spots in Tulum and I've got it all mapped out for you. Warning: Don't plan on bringing a professional camera into anywhere unless you want to pay a big FEE! Literally everywhere does this, even many hotels (even if you have a room). If you were thinking about packing all of your camera equipment... it may be best to just stick with iPhone!
1. Follow That Dream Sign
Find the Follow that Dream sign right next to Lolita Lolita Boutique! It is towards the very end of the strip. It is about a 5 minute walk from Matcha Mama.
I was so excited to get these bikes to rent (it was only$12 for 24 hours) but I'll just let you know now- all of the bikes here are rickety, raggedy, and hard to control. It was too dangerous with how much traffic there is on the road. I think that Tulum should outlaw cars down the strip and just stick to bikes and golf carts so that it can be much safer and more enjoyable! Photos edited using the "Follow Me" preset from the TULUM Preset Pack.
2. Matcha Mama
I have been dying to go here!! There are 3 different Matcha Mama's, however the one on the strip is my favorite. You cans stop here for a matcha on your way to the Follow That Dream Sign! They also have açaí bowls and snacks. :)
Photos edited using the "Follow Me" Preset from the TULUM Preset Pack
Photo Edited using the "Matcha Mama" preset from the TULUM Preset Pack
3. Raw Love
Yes, this is where you can find the infamous "Ven A Luz" art statue by Daniel Popper. There is always a huge line to take photos here, but come by at night and there is no wait! Grab a refreshing açaí bowl or healthy snack at Raw Love inside!
Wearing a Heather Leigh swimsuit coming soon!
4. Kin Toh at Azulik
Kin Toh is a Mayan-Mexian restaurant at Azulik. This is where we got our nest on night 2, but we also stopped here for drinks and apps as a break from our photoshoot during the day. I HIGHLY recommend coming here for amazing photos during the day. There will be less people, and a better chance you can get a great photo. You have probably seen this photo in the jungle laying on the netting all over travel blogger/celebrities Instagram's and thought this was some sort of bungalow. You can take pictures right there when you eat at Kin Toh! They will tell you that you need to spend at least $100 to eat here, but honestly- its worth it. The food and drinks are amazing too. However, a fair warning: they will not let you wander around Azulik taking photos just because you eat here. You have to pay a fee of $250 per hour to do that (crazy, I know.)
Sferik is the museum at Azulik. This area is AMAZING for photos. It is only about $10 to get in, and you can get tickets at the door or online here. If you are wanting to take photos, it is best to go RIGHT when the open or a little before and wait at the door. They won't let you in until the minute they are set to open, but at least you will be first in line. You will have to take off your shoes at the door and wear a mask, but you can take it off briefly for photos. We went on a week day right when they opened, and we were able to get all of these amazing photos. However, after people start walking in it gets to be a little more difficult. There is a bathroom in here, so I brought a couple outfits to change to get content. However if your goal is not to take pictures, I wouldn't really waste your time here. It is only one big room. It is super cool but there really isn't much to do other than look at it and take photos. Remember you can only use iPhone for photos here. Professional cameras are not allowed.
All photos edited using the "Treehouse" preset from the Tulum Preset Pack
6. I-Scream Bar
Okay, not only is the I-Scream bar SUPER FUN but it's also super cute for pictures- AND the Ice Cream is vegan and gluten free. :)
7. Casa Malca
Casa Malca is famous for being Pablo Escobar's old mansion. You can stay here in the hotel or pay a fee to visit. It is dressed with gorgeous art work and is supposed to be really amazing. Unfortunately we didn't have time to come here this trip, but next time I will definitely make it a priority.
8. Coco Tulum
This is where that really bright and airy ocean swing set is that you might see all over Pinterest. We didn't have time to visit here, but next time for sure!