For Christmas, the boyfriend and I decided to do a trip together instead of gifts. Chicago is an amazing city but winters here are long so when choosing our travel destination the sunshine and the beach were our main priorities.
We looked into a bunch of all-inclusive resorts but after some research, agreed they weren’t really our thing. We prefer a unique location where we can explore on our own and soak in a new culture. After some digging Tulum, Mexico kept popping up and quickly became our agreed upon destination.
This place is the epitome of boho chic. Completely obsessed with all the vibes this beach town has to offer!
Highly recommend this trip and hope my quick 3-day guide helps in planning your getaway!
How to Get There:
After a flight into Cancun international airport, Tulum is about a 1 hour and 45 min drive. If you plan to stay along the beach strip of Tulum, I’d honestly recommend skipping the rental car. Once you are on the main strip everything is in walking distance or just a quick cab ride away. Bikes are also all over the place and are a great option for exploring as well.
Ground transportation options from the airport include taxi, bus or pre-arranging a service with your hotel. Our flight got in around 10:30 am and the next bus wasn’t until 1 pm so we decided to grab a taxi so that we could get our day started. This method ended up being super easy and was about $50 USD per person (just slightly cheaper than the hotel transportation I looked into).
Quick tip, there are two cab companies on your way out of the airport (yellow company on left, red company on right), tell them where you are going and they will show you the prices before you agree to anything. Ps, Grab a beer for the road, it’s vacation time!
Where to Stay: There are two sections of Tulum, the town and the beach. I highly recommend staying as many days as you can on the beach strip, this is where all the restaurants and music are, plus waking up to the ocean is pretty hard to beat.
To save a little money on the overall trip, we did one night in town and two nights on the beach. Our first place was awesome but wish we would have stayed one additional night on the beach because it was to die for.
Night 1: Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum – Location: in town
- Miami Beach meets mid-century modern aesthetic. Obsessed with the entire design and tropical landscape!
- Rooms were clean and comfortable and the staff was friendly and extremely helpful in giving recommendations on the area. They ordered all of our cabs and called in late night delivery food for us.
- They have a small bar next to the pool which I highly recommend making a stop at! We had two different bartenders during our stay, both were superb. The drink preparations were top of the line and everything was super fresh! The cucumber-gin drink was delicious and they whipped up one of the best Old Fashions I’ve had.
Night 2 & 3: Ahau Tulum Location: on the beach
- Love, love, loved our stay here! Upon arrival we were greeted at our cab by two guards who took our bags and checked them into our room for us. We were then taken to the check-in area and handed two welcome drinks (which were amazing) that we sipped on as they walked us through the hotel amenities and some of their local recommendations.
- Our room was amazing and right above the Raw Love cafe which serves delicious smoothies and coffee, perfect for an early breakfast before hitting the beach.
- The walk to the beach is seconds away where there are plenty of cabanas and umbrellas to use for laying out (first come first serve). Drinks and food are also served to your cabana which makes it pretty hard to leave.
- They also have live music in the lobby and awesome outdoor dining in their restaurant section that overlooks the beach and ocean. We ended our first night here watching the waves roll in.
- One thing I’ll note is that Thursday through the weekend gets pretty loud from all of the live music and DJ’s off the main strip. Wasn’t a huge issue for us but if you are a light sleeper you may want to bring some noise canceling headphones.
Where to Eat:
- Breakfast: Raw Love, Matcha Mama,
- Nomade – One of my favorite stops! Great tuna tar tar and quinoa bowl. Heard they have good breakfast as well.
- Casa Malca – Pablo Escobar’s old mansion turned into a hotel and restaurant. Super cool venue, perfect for lunch to enjoy the ocean view! Great Tacos!
- HashtagPoke –
- The Real Coconut –
- Casa Violeta –
- Casa Juagar –
- IScream Bar – During happy hour we got 2 margaritas and ice cream for $8 USD!!!
- Rosa Negra– Awesome food! We went for an early appetizer dinner and got so full we unfortunately, couldn’t fit a main course. Recommend the octopus and the empanadas!
- Gitano – Super fun vibes, live music at night, great tacos and ceviche! Is a good stop for evening drinks as well!
- Posada Margherita – Heard raving review about this place but unfortunately was one of the stops on my list we didn’t make it to. We walked down to find it for dinner our last night and were a little boggled as to where it was. We stopped and asked a couple of times but unfortunately ended up giving up because we were getting a little hangry from being in the sun all day and waiting so long to eat. For sure on my list for next trip! (We ended up ordering room service from our hotel restaurant at Ahua and ate on our balcony listening to the waves and breeze of the palm trees- can’t say I was too upset by that backup plan.
- Be Tulum – Live jazz and sunset drinks on the beach!
- Hartwood – Very popular so put reservations in early, they fill up quick!
Where to Play:
We only did one cenote while we were there but there are tons to explore! Highly recommend picking one and doing this early in the morning when they first open to avoid tons of tourist. Super cool way to start your day!
The Mayan Ruins are also a hot spot to explore in the area. We decided against it because this trip was all about the beach and relaxing but I’ve heard good things.