I recently returned from a trip to Tulum with my boyfriend, and we had a wonderful time. Tulum was a place that was on both of our bucket lists for quite some time, and it did not disappoint. If I could sum up Tulum in one word it would be magical! It’s a place where you can let your inner hippie out. If you see large groups of people riding their bikes, you know you are in the right place. The decor of the hotels and restaurants meshed together one into another so effortlessly. My favorite thing I kept seeing in the souvenir shops were these giant handmade dreamcatchers. They were absolutely stunning. The people were so kind and always referred to us as amigos, and they even helped us learn some Spanish. We ate tacos and guacamole every day, and never got sick of it as it was so delicious. The beaches were beautiful and the cenotes were such a cool and unique thing to see. Overall, I was blown away by Tulum, and it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Transportation & Accommodations
Depending upon the location you are staying, I would either recommend renting a bicycle or taking a taxi to get around. Taxis in Tulum are white with a red stripe across them, and they are designated to that area. Taxis were pretty reasonably priced. Bikes are a great idea if you are staying right by the beach. We stayed closer to downtown Tulum, so taxis worked out great.
We stayed at a new hotel in the area called Hotel Blanco. It’s an adults only hotel, and we loved the open concept of the trees and plants right outside of our balcony. The rooms were spacious, and each night when we got back from a busy day of exploring it was so quiet. We loved that it was a place that we could get a good night rest. There was a pool on the rooftop as well. The staff was very friendly and even helped us make reservations for dinner and for activities.
Cenotes are sinkholes, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes the groundwater underneath. Cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings. They were used as portals to the underworld. There are thousands of cenotes scattered throughout Mexico, and it’s something that is unique to the area. The two cenotes we visited in Tulum were Cenote Calavera and Gran Cenote. Cenote Calavera was 100 pesos a person, and it literally looks like a hole in someones back yard. It was a lot of fun! There is a ladder you can use to get into the cenote, if you don’t want to jump in. We had no idea that cenotes are freezing cold, and I would actually recommend going in by the ladder and getting wet first prior to jumping in. We came to found out that 120 skeletons were found in this cenote!
Gran Cenote was 200 pesos per person. At this cenote they make you shower prior to getting in, in order to preserve the waters. This cenote provided lockers and lifejackets for rent. There was a section where you can swim under a cave and let me tell you holy bats! I was terrified of these critters. If you are looking for some nice pictures at this location go past the main stairwell and down the second set of stairs. This is the spot with the beautiful wooden staircase and blue water where you can snap your instagram worthy photo.
While we visited the Yucatan we went to the following cenotes; Cenote Ik Kil, Oxman Cenote, and Suytun Cenote. Cenote Ik Kil is probably the most stunning cenote we visited. There are these vines that hang down into the water, and a platform which you can jump into the water. It looked like we were in the middle of the jungle swimming. Cenote Oxman had a little Tarzan type swing you could use to jump into the water. It was so much fun watching people do the jump, but I chickened out and didn’t go for it. This is definitely not for the faint of heart! The final cenote was my favorite, it was called Suytun Cenote. We arrived about 30 mins prior to closing time and this was perfect as there was hardly anyone there and we were able to get some great photos. This cenote looks like something right out of a fairytale. It just makes me wonder what sorts of rituals took place here. Remember to bring cash to enter these cenotes.
We visited three ruins while we were in Mexico. The first was the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. You can’t go to Mexico without visiting at least one ruin. What I loved about the Tulum ruins is that they overlook the Caribbean Ocean. The views are incredible and make for some beautiful photos. I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time online as the line to purchase tickets was extremely long. We opted out of having a guide in the park. We both preferred being able to tour the ruins at our own pace.
The second site we visited was the Coba Ruins, and it was my favorite of all three. I loved the fact that you could climb the large pyramid. In order to reach the pyramid you can walk, rent a bike, or hire a bike taxi. I personally do not record walking because the hike up the pyramid is very tiring. We opted for the bike rental and it was such a fun and refreshing ride with the breeze. There are 120 steps to the top and they are very steep and much more challenging then we had anticipated. There is a rope you can hold onto as you climb up. The view at the top of the lush forest beneath is just breathtaking and so wort the climb.
The final ruin we visited was Chichen Itza, and this one was a drive for us as it is located in the Yucatan Peninsula. We hired a tour guide named Señor Cruiz and we gave him an itinerary of things we wanted to see and do, and he planned the day for us and drove us to all the locations. He is able to customize just about any type of day trip. You can find him on instagram at senorcruztours. One thing I wasn’t aware of is that Chichen Itza is still being worked on in order to renovated it to it’s original state, whereas the other two ruins were completely untouched. I was amazed at the sheer size of the pyramid and the fact that it was one of the Seven Wonders of the World was amazing!
This was an unexpected stop on our day trip with Señor Cruz and we both loved it. This town is so charming and a true hidden gem. I loved the small colorful buildings of this colonial town they reminded me of Puerto Rico. The cathedral (Iglesia de San Servicio) is an iconic symbol of this town, and the main square had live performers. I would actually recommend an entire day here to fully explore the area as there is so much to see and do.
All Tour Native
Our hotel had a deal with this tour company, and we booked the Discover Coba Maya Encounter. What I liked about this tour company is they are committed to preserving the natural resources of Mexico. They provide a better quality of life for the locals by providing them with jobs and by keeping their culture alive. This was an all day activity packed with adventure. We started the day off by going to a Mayan village where we kayaked, zip-lined, and repelled down into a cenote. The cenote repelling was one of the highlights of the day, and such a unique experience. We were served a very delicious and traditional Mayan lunch. They served this Mayan spinach lemonade, which I know sounds disgusting, but it was so delicious. After lunch, we made the drive over to the Coba ruins and spent the last two hours here touring the place at our own pace. Transportation to and from our hotel was provided. Our tour guide was great and kept the group entertained the entire day. I loved the entire experience of this tour company and I would highly recommend them.
Many of the beaches in Tulum are privately owned or they require you to pay a minimum fee in food for the day. We opted to go to the public beach called playa pocna instead. This beach was absolutely stunning. It even had a small outdoor gym and many different restaurants lined the beach so it was easy to find a bite to eat when we got hungry. There are umbrellas you can rent for the day and many people come around with souvenirs and snacks for sale as well. Since we weren’t staying right by the beach, we took the last day to walk the beach strip and explore. There were so many cute shops, signs, and murals. I highly recommend checking out the beach strip of Tulum.
Eating healthy in Tulum was never a problem. There were many options to suit any dietary restrictions. The first evening in Tulum we ate at Heartwood and this restaurant is rated as the top restaurant in Tulum, and for good reason the food was incredible. Their menu changes daily based on the catch of the day. I highly recommend making a reservation one month in advance as they fill up quickly.
Teetotum was a place we went for breakfast as it was right down the street from our hotel and it was very affordable. Each time we went we ordered the chicken tacos with sprouts, and we still talk about them they were that delicious.
While we were on the beach we ate at the Pocna Beach Club and Restaurant. Their tacos and potato wedged were delicious and they had these really fun swings you could sit out on as well. La Coqueta had delicious Pina Coladas and Fajitas. What I loved about this restaurant is that it was very small and intimate. They had live music and I loved the art work and decor. The Real Coconut was one of my favorites. Everything on the menu was gluten and dairy free. We loved their extensive drink menu, and their pancakes and hash browns were absolutely delicious.
Raw Love Cafe is a raw vegan restaurant. The food was so light and refreshing. I loved that the restaurant was surrounded by trees and you could hear birds chirping. We ordered the pizza and carrot cake.
Yerba Buena was the restaurant we had lunch at in Valladoid. This was such a charming restaurant full of character. I highly recommend the tamales and one of their fresh juices. If you are looking for some authentic Mexican tacos then you must eat at Taqueria Honorio. This little gem is located in Tulum’s city center. Not only is it very cheap but the tacos were amazing. I still dream about those turkey tacos they were that delicious!
Tulum is the perfect getaway for couples. We loved the mixture of relaxing on the beach and the adventure of discovering ruins and cenotes, and we can’t wait to go back one day! Thank you for reading and I hope you guys enjoy this blog post 🙂