Why Tulum Should Be at the Top of Your Bucket List
your ultimate travel GUIDE TO TULUM, RIVIERA Maya, mexico
Tulum Pueblo, Pueblo Magico
I love a good beach trip. I dare say I am a junkie for the white stuff crunching beneath my toes.
I had heard, as I am sure is the case for you, of a seaside town with snow white sand, crystal clear blue waters and chilled out beach dance parties. I was 100% intrigued.
However, every time I went to pull the trigger on a trip to Tulum, the lazy/cheap side of me would be reminded one of key fact: the town center of the village of Tulum, Tulum Pueblo, sits around 3 kms from the shoreline, (this distance can vary greatly depending on what spot on the sand you are heading to).
Generally I like to have my bed, the cheapest town centre taco stand, and the sand all within a seven minute radius of one another by foot. So off I went, ignoring this highway side town in favor of other beach front pueblos.
FINALLY AFTER A DEEP INSTAGRAM STALKING OF #TULUM I COULDN'T FIGHT THE URGE ANY LONGER-I HAD TO GO, AND WELL I HAVE TO SAY-
TULUM-I F#CKING LOVE YOU!
A LITTLE ABOUT MY NEW CRUSH TULUM, RIVERIA MAYA, MEXICO
Tulum town is basically one main road that is a section of the 307 Highway. Smaller side streets drip back from each side of the highway making up the majority of the Pueblo. Here is where the more affordable hotels and air bnb's can be found. More luxury and higher price point options can be found on the shoreline.
Tulum has all of the creature comforts: numerous OXXO stores, a large Walmart style supermarket Chedraui,( located on the northern tip of where the 307 meets the Beach road), international bank chains as well as several local ATM's for cash.
There are no Mcdonalds, Starbucks, or other American chain restaurants, (a fact I love), but plenty of other locally run eateries, lots of cheap tacos and friggen tasty meals around every corner.
The vibe in Tulum is more relaxed and quiet compared to Playa and Cancun, although street and beach dance parties are a regular thing and places like Zama's and Papaya Playa Project host weekly events and guest DJ's on the regular.
With a plan to develop a second beach access road Tulum will continue to grow and change.
Don't be like me and hesitate-visit Tulum now before she gets dotted with Senor Frogs, endless all- inclusive's and too many package tourists to count like her still beautiful but over frequented big sisters to the north.
your ultimate guide to tulum, mEXICO
WHAT TO SEE IN TULUM
I'm going to have to start with the real obvious one here-Tulum has a stretch of coastline like no other. Stunning, powdery soft sand, luscious turquoise waters and enough space to find an empty mile to toss down your towel-the beaches here are simply divine.
If staying in town, meander to one of the numerous bike rental shops to find yourself a peddle bike for the duration of your stay. If biking isn't your thing, hail a taxi to find your way to the sand.
***Please note beach bound collectivo's and public buses are mostly reserved for locals. That being said we did hitch a ride on one of the buses after walking way too far from civilization and running frantically behind the bus in desperation.
Expect selfie sticks and don't be shy to pack one yourself 'cause this is one busy hot spot. Although the hoards from resorts all around find themselves here on day trips, it is totally worth creative photo bombing to catch this glimpse of Mayan culture. Seeing the ruins perched above the Caribbean Sea is still absolutely stunning no matter how many fellow travelers are sharing it with you. End of story.
The ruins are easily accessible from the beach road by bike or car. Sweating in the 30 degree plus heat I was a ripe tomato by the end of the bike ride-but stopping to gaze at the sea on the way made it worth it. Pack Water and expect to be sweaty.
Laguna Kaan Luum
Located just south of Tulum on the 307, is Laguna Kaan Luum, and believe me the 40 peso entry is worth the visit. The water is an intense emerald green set in the backdrop of a lush Yucatan jungle. Something different, yet totally memorable, Laguna Kaan Lumm is a totally relaxing swimming hole great for a couple hours visit. The Laguna is also extremely picture worthy, so don't forget your waterproof camera.
There isn't a lot of taxis or buses frequently going by the entrance to the Laguna, so plan your ride home in advance so you don't wind up hitch hiking like we did.
WHERE TO VENTURE-DAY TRIPS FROM tULUM
One of the seven wonders of the world Chichen Itza was well worth the car ride through the somewhat straight and rather uneventful highway 10 from Tulum town all the way to the site. We also stopped on route to visit the majestical town of Valladolid.
soliman bay for snorkling
Unlike the fin to fin scene at Akumal to the north, Soliman Bay has a totally chilled out vibe. Turtle friends, bull sharks, and Nemo fishies, (aka clown fish), hang out here, so come prepared to hit the water.
A less overcrowded vibe also means no rentals, so plan ahead and grab your snorkle gear in Tulum town before you hit the road.
To get to Soliman Bay follow the 307 north towards Playa Del Carmen, take a right turn when you see the sign for Jashita hotel. Follow the road to the end where you will find Chamico's restaurant-bring your peso's 'cause you won't want to miss this beach side treat.
The PICTURESQUE town of Valladolid
Valladolid is a charming town well worth visiting. Fusing the beautiful details of colonial architecture and the lush Mexican climate it's one of those cities that steals your heart as you wander it's streets.
A city known for it's traditional Yucatan cuisine, Valladolid is a fantastic place to enjoy a day of site seeing and grazing. Snacking on delicious local treats and taking in the beautiful town plaza pictured here.
The calle's surrounding the plaza are all colorfully painted making it a photographer's dream.
To read all about the lovely town go here.
To get to Valladolid from Tulum Follow Mexico 109 North towards Coba. At the Coba exit turn left onto Cancun-Valladolid Mexico 180 westbound. Continue to follow 180 until you reach the signs for Valladolid. Total trip distance is 102 kms or one hour twenty minutes drive.
WHere TO EAT IN tULUm
Ceviche at Chamico's on Soliman Bay
Even looking at this plate of Ceviche now I'm drooling. Fresh seafood piled high on a plastic plate, this is the largest portion of this dish I had ever seen. Not only that but it was a flavour sensation worth salivating over.
Plastic chairs in the sand, worn yet totally lounge-able hammocks, friendly/ efficient staff, super delicious guacamole and cold beer. You had me at hola.
DEEP FRIED, QUESO FILLED JALAPENO'S AT LA EUFEMIA
They say a picture's worth a thousand words, or in this case a thousand stomach rumbles. Need I say more?
Can we take a moment to appreciate the wonder that is Chipotle mayo? Smeared all over these babies it was just enough of a juicy finish to make me super happy I look good in one piece bathing suits.
EverYTHING AT LOS AQUA CHILEs
All of the food was so good I couldn't even manage to snap a picture of the dishes at Los Agua Chilies. The Octopus and Tuna Tostadas were heaping with fresh veggies and delicious sauces. The fish tacos were crispy and satisfying and the margaritas were some of the best we had in town. Los Aqua Chiles is located on the very South end of the 307 on the east side of the highway.
mojitos at Batey
If you are like me, and are a lover of all things mint, lime, and fresh sugar cane you will most definitely be ordering a double. The Mojito dude strips and cut down the sugar cane right before your eyes in this very VW.
A total tourist hit, I can't argue with the masses. This place has fresh drinks, fast service and a fun vibe.
HOW TO GET TO TULUM:
From Cancun International airport:129 kms or two hours by car or bus
From Playa Del Carmen: 76kms or one hour by car/bus.
Well kids there you have it! Please let me know your favourite places in Tulum, or if you visit any of these amazing locations.
I cannot wait to get my feet back in that sand sometime soon. Thanks for stopping by and happy traveling.
Get Your Feet in that Tulum Sand and Please tell me about it Below, you know you wanna...