How to Spend a Week in Tulum, Mexico
Ahhh, Tulum. This town in Mexico made me fall in love with it so easily. And why? Not only is it beautiful, but its full of amazing food, has fantastic beaches, is easy to navigate, and is the perfect vacation spot. After spending a week there, I am ready to share how you can craft a trip to this town on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Where to Stay
The nice thing about Tulum is the range in accommodation it offers. You can ball out and go fancy, or stay in an extremely cheap hostel.
If you’re not a luxury traveler, but also don’t want to rough it too much, my suggestion is to stay at Hotel Luna Maya in the town center. This lovely spot was super affordable and so central. Many people think you have to stay on the beach to visit a tropical place, but it was easy to rent bikes or hail a taxi from here to get to the water and other locations. It was also walking distance to great food and the main bus terminal. If you want a fancy trip, then you might look into Azulik or Arthouse.
Where to Eat
Mexico is full of… MEXICAN FOOD, which is one of the best cuisines in the world. And honestly, anywhere you get food in Tulum will be pretty spectacular, but here are some spots I suggest.
For the fanciest tacos you’ve ever eaten, head to the famous Gitano. It’s a bit of a splurge for tacos, but it’s a nice restaurant and the food is great. Their hummus appetizer is also AMAZING. If you want to go the exact opposite and get cheap tacos that are just as great, head to Antojitos La Chiapaneca in the town center. But basically, any eatery you stop into in Tulum will feed you great tacos, so try them all.
My favorite breakfast spot had to be Tulumski. For a beautiful meal straight out of a hipster cafe in Brooklyn, but for half the price, I suggest this spot. Their dishes are tasty, pretty, and affordable. Their coffee and smoothies are also great.
And you can’t visit Tulum without going to the famous Matcha Mama shops. There’s one near the beach and one in the town, and both are equally pretty. Their matcha is great, and they also serve other healthy dishes.
If you’re just looking for a quick coffee or frozen yogurt, I’d suggest Prieto. This cafe is right on the main stretch in the town and looks straight out of an aesthetically pleasing Brooklyn hotspot.
For a more dive bar type experience, I really like El Milagrito. This restaurant has a totally different vibe from day to night, so I’d try visiting there twice. Their food is great, they have a good happy hour, and it’s on a street where you’ll get some free performances from the musicians who play as you eat.
Where to Go
You won’t get bored in Tulum because there is so much to do and see. While a week is not nearly enough time to explore it all, here are some places that you can definitely fit into that time span that will enhance your journey.
The Tulum Ruins are the main highlight of the city. These Mayan grounds are a treat to walk around and view what still stands to this day.
If you can fit it in, I highly suggest you take a day tour to Chichen Itza. This new world wonder is a must-see while you’re on the Yucatan Peninsula. Most tours will also take you to the Cenote Suytun and Valladolid as well, so take advantage of this full day adventure.
It’s not a trip to Tulum without heading to the beach. There are so many beaches to explore, and really any of them will be great. There’s public ones, but there’s also private ones that belong to hotels that with just a cocktail purchase, you too can enjoy. Just rent a bike and cycle up and down the beach road until you find a spot you want to explore.
If you were wondering what Pablo Escobar’s old villa looks like, you must visit Casa Malca. It has since been transformed into a very fancy hotel, but anyone can come in and take photos in their beautiful courtyard and take a walk on the beach. The bar and restaurant inside is also something to enjoy, although quite expensive for drinks. It’s definitely an Instagram heaven.
To find the iconic “Follow That Dream” sign you see in every Instagram girl’s feed, locate Lolita Lolita on the map. It’s the perfect Tulum shot.
And perhaps the most wonderful part of being in Tulum is the many cenotes that are nearby. A cenote is a sinkhole with fresh, clear water inside, making it perfect for swimming. The most famous one in Tulum is Grand Cenote, but there are many more you can go to if you have the time. They do cost money though, so choose the ones you want to visit the most and make a day out of cenote hopping.