Tulum is a place that both Rich and I have had our eyes on for a while now. We usually opt for adventurous trips, but this around a time a relaxing beach trip was looking pretty appealing. Neither of us had been to Mexico before, and it seemed like it was about time to make it happen!
When staying in Tulum you first have to decide either to stay in town, or at the beach. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but we ultimately chose to stay in town for a cheaper and slightly more authentic feel. All of the main hotels are located along the beach strip, which is really convenient if you don't want to rent a car and are a-ok with eating all of your meals at the hotel restaurants.
With all of the money that we saved by staying at this Airbnb rather than a hotel, we rented a Jeep Wrangler and got to drive ourselves to the ruins and have a sense of freedom we wouldn't have otherwise had.
One of our favorite meals in town was at El Camello Jr. They had the most delicious salsas and ceviche, plus live music while we ate. To top it off, the prices are great!
Another advantage to staying in town at an Airbnb was that we had our own private pool! To be honest, our Airbnb set up was so nice that we really had to pull ourselves away to go explore the rest of Tulum. We could have just spent the entire week poolside!
Sunglasses: Garrett Leight
When we did venture out to the beach, we had a few must-see places in mind. The first of which was Hartwood. It seemed to be the most talked about restaurant - everyone was raving to us about the food! It turns out that it takes some advance planning to get in though, because of its popularity. People often go to the restaurant around two or three in the afternoon to wait in line to put their names in for a reservation later that night.
Rich and I were feeling a bit too lazy for so much advanced planning, so we winged it and arrived around 6:30pm to see what was possible. They at first turned us away saying that they were booked for the evening. We decided to walk around and check out some of the shops along the strip and loop back around 7:30pm to check again 'just in case'. Well, I'm glad we did because they opened their balcony seating and we were able to get a table!
The experience felt like Brooklyn in Tulum. Everything was well thought out, and delicious - especially the ceviche and the cheesecake ice cream! The only unfortunate things were that the prices were also Brooklyn style (so expect to pay), and there are a lot of mosquitos so they go through and smoke the whole place every 10 or 15 minutes which can be a bit distracting.
When we told our Airbnb host that we were going to Hartwood for dinner, he scoffed and told us we should be going to Unico instead. We halfway took his advice, and went to both. Unico had delicious food, an amazing chocolate volcano desert, beautiful beach views, similar prices to Hartwood, and no lines to wait in (so that's a plus!). If you're looking for an alternative to Hartwood for a nice dinner out, I would definitely suggest it!
Sandals: Loeffler Randall
Our next must-see along the beach was Coqui Coqui. We thought about getting massages there, but it turned out to be more expensive than we were wiling to pay. (Everything seems a little expensive though after $5 massages in Thailand!) It's still worth stopping by even just to see the beautiful interior design!
Our Jeep adventure day led us to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. There are multiple ruin sites in the area, but we went to ones that were only about a 15 minute drive. We were also interested in visiting Chichen Itza (one of the seven wonders of the world!), but ran out of time since it was about a 2.5 hour drive from where we were staying in Tulum.
One of my favorite parts of visiting the Mayan ruins was seeing all of the iguanas! They blend in so well with the surroundings, but once you start looking closely they're everywhere!
We spent about an hour walking the paths through the ruins which took us on a scenic walk along the sea.
It was incredibly humid while we were there, and when it started to rain it felt amazing! I definitely got the feeling that we were there in the off season, which makes sense because June can get pretty steamy in Mexico.
From what I've heard, Winter is the most popular time to visit Tulum, but late Fall is the best time to visit for great weather and cheaper prices.