We left Mexico a little over a week ago and are currently in Guatemala. More on our experience here later but my great friend aka awesome girl aka one of the loves of my life Sofia is going to Tulum in January and I have promised her a list of things they should check out, in my opinion. So here it goes – my very subjective list on things to do in Tulum area. Sensitive readers should be aware that there will be lots of Kombucha, smoothie bowls, healing sessions and other predictable hippie stuff in here.
Stay in Tulum town
While the beach area is awesome and wrapped in the jungle I prefer to rent a place and live in town, about 10 min drive or 20 min by bike from the beach. Why? Less mosquitos, more and cheaper food options, grocery stores so you can cook some meals yourself and maybe most important – to see something else than only the bohemian chic boutique hotels and crowd by the beach. It’s easy enough to get down to the beach with rental car, bikes, taxi or even hitch hiking.
Experience the local life
One of my favorite things to do in Tulum is taking a walk on the more local streets when it’s getting darker and watch the buzzing life. The more time I’ve spent in Tulum the more I’ve started discovering the streets that might not be obvious to enjoy. Walk west along Calle Sol Oriente from Avenida Satelite until it reaches the main road and eat at some of the local taquerias or food stands.
Get your organic local products
Visit the small store in the corner of Calle Sol Oriente and Orion Sur if you crave kombucha, home made granola bars, natural mosquito repellent and sunscreen. I have a feeling you’ll love it Sofia.
Three restaurants you shouldn’t miss
Finding places to eat is the least of a problem in Tulum. Go find your own favorites among taco stands and juice bars. Don’t miss the mojito bar Batey and the other nice restaurants that are gathered on the small stretch of Calle Centauro Sur, on the block below the main road. It’s almost unfair to list some over others but here are three options that we have enjoyed a lot:
My favorite place since before quickly became Isa’s number one choice for food in Tulum. Burrito Amor has excellent burritos (vegan choice with nopal, vegetarian with veggies and beans and lots of choices with meat) made with coconut tortillas. Egg burritos or chia pudding with banana was our choice for breakfast. Please promise to say hi to warm hearted human being and waiter Tomás from Isa and Eva and tell him we miss him!
Burrito Amor is on the main road towards Baccalar, just where Calle Sol Oriente comes out.
Breakfast/lunch place to die for. Banana pancakes, oatmeal, a healthy version of a big Mexican breakfast or plenty of other choices. I would be surprised to see anyone leave here disappointed. And absolutely don’t miss the Wild Forest smoothie with bee pollen!
Del Cielo is on Satélite Sur, half a block from the main road.
3.La hoja verde
A vegetarian restaurant that has been growing on us. Good products and excellent juices. Very cozy in the evenings and always a new choice of the day.
On Calle Beta Sur, just below the main road.
Hang out at the beach
The beaches in Tulum area are truly beautiful. Palm trees, white silky sand and warm turquoise water. As mentioned you can go by bike, rent a car or take a taxi down to Tulum beach. When you reach the roundabout – go to the left for a bigger public beach and to the right to enter the hotel zone with more restaurants, beach clubs and little shops. We have most often been at the public beach because it’s easier to park and access if you have a car and I usually prefer a blanket in the sand over paying for sun chairs. If high season the small beach road is usually packed with traffic and getting a parking spot can be tricky. But there is one major thing you mustn’t miss on the hotel area side:
Smoothie bowls you’ll dream about for a long time as well as raw food dishes, ice creams, juices and sweets. You’ll find this gem tucked away under the palm trees of Hotel Ahau. Enjoy your food on a swing with your toes in the white sand.
Raw Love also has a sister café in the outskirts of Tulum, on the main road, sharing space with restaurant Primitivo. The only downside to Raw Love might be the prices that definitely reflects the location among the hip hotels. But still worth at least three visits.
Wether you have a car or not there are lots of day trips you can do in the area.
Cenotes are fresh water holes that connect to underground streams covering a big area of Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Some are big canals that you can swim and snorkel through the jungle in while others are deep holes that you access through staircases or caves. The water is colder than the ocean and really nice on a hot day. You can find many in the area by a quick google search and many travel blogs have listed their favorites. Bring a snorkel to explore the life under the surface or arrange a diving trip to the bigger ones.
A visit at at least one of the ruin sites is highly recommended. If one – like me – is truly fascinated you could spend several weeks visiting Mayan ruins in the area. If I had to recommend one I would say Cobá. It’s easy to get to from Tulum (40 min by bus or rental car) and is bigger and less crowded than Tulum ruins. Plus you get to climb the tallest pyramid. Rent a bike or ride with the bike taxi after entering the site, it’s worth not having to walk the whole site which is spread out and you’ll save a lot of energy for the climb. Trust me.
Float in canal in Sian Ka’an biosphere
Take the bus or car to Muyil, 20 minutes south of Tulum. There you can visit the ruins and go through a jungle path down to a dock. For around 600 pesos per person you’ll get to go into Sian Ka’an biosphere by boat. Going through two big lagunas to be dropped off and slowly float with the stream down a freshwater canal.
You’re floating in life vests and with some help from parents this would work for smaller kids too, as long as they enjoy being in the water. On some places the canal is shallow and you can stand at the bottom. Go mid-day on a warm and sunny day since the water is colder here than in the ocean. Bring a snorkel to look at the company under the surface.
This was an awesome experience that you don’t want to miss!
Tulum has a big spiritual community and lots of things to experience if you’re interested. Yoga, meditation, ceremonies and healing are things that are easy to find both at hotels and with private practitioners. Adam Trope is a yoga teacher, healer and owner of infinitelovehealing.com that I can highly recommend after several sessions with him and results that has been of great value. He also does Soul Plan readings which was a great way to bring clarity and inspire – both for myself and for guiding Isa in her life.
And with these few personal preferences of Tulum so far I leave you to explore this caribbean jungle paradise on your own!