Tulum is one of those magical places where you feel you could maybe stay forever! Firstly it has an amazing, long, straight stretch of a heavenly beach with fine white sand and gentle rolling waves! The most beautiful, crystal clear, turquoise water we have ever seen makes for a breathtaking walk along that front that goes on forever and, is quite frankly, perfection!
And that is just looking out to sea as you stroll along because if you look the other way to the shore it has jungle cascading right on to it! Which would be amazing enough as it is but nestled between all of that lush greenery are high end, high fashion, super stylish, eco, gorgeously designed stunning hotels and eateries! Hard to explain but it is the coolest place we’ve ever been … but in a calm laid back way as the vibe is all wellness and chill out which is great as we are not in to the posing scene – here it’s all relax and anything goes!
We particularly loved lunch at The Real Coconut with its lovely decor, sunny deck, divine food and views … definitely worth a visit! We also enjoyed drinks at Coco Tulum and the novelty of its all white decor with a long row of swings which set against the unreal blue of the sea made for a fun way to enjoy a cocktail or two! It is annoying and hard to mention now that there is a slight negative to this wonderful beach are of Tulum and that is that it is difficult to get on to the beach ?!? To explain, the actual coastal road is set back off of the beach and is cut through jungle – so you can’t actually see the beach itself – the only breaks in the thick greenery are the luxury hotel entrances and here comes the issue : if you are staying at a beach front hotel you obviously have access straight out onto the beach.
But if you are not staying at the beach then the hotels won’t give you access at all or they command a minimum spend at their beach club / restaurant / bar … and we can tell you it isn’t cheap!! So a TIP (little trick!) is to forget the hotels and go for a drink or breakfast or lunch at one of the independent cafes, bars or eateries on the coastal road as they all have open back entrances onto the beach which no one had a problem with us / everyone using once you’d drank or eaten something!
Places on the beach that we have to mention are as follows : Casa Malca isn’t easy to find as you can’t see the entrance at all – there is just a kiosk where they will take your name and signature if you agree to their minimum spend and then you and let in an unassuming wooden door in the fence! All very cloak and dagger and you may not like this type of dealing with customers but this place is so popular that they have to have some kind of control and/or choice in who actually comes in and why! Anyway we made it through and it was worth the wait as it is spectacular and we had wanted to visit it for ages and see it for ourselves. One of Pablo Escobar’s old homes which has been added to and landscaped into a jungle & beach paradise!
Now owned by Leo Malca, who is a New York contemporary art buyer and curator, and who obviously knows exactly what he is doing in terms of dramatic design, beauty and luxury! Some of his own art collection is permanently on display throughout the public spaces of the hotel which was an honour to see if you are in to any type of modern art! The sofa and armchair swings at the entrance truly set the theatrical tone to the rest of the place with a bijou, dark intimate bar with a ceiling full of chandeliers for example. And going out side on to its private beach, which in our opinion is one of the most beautiful and cleanest parts of that stretch of coastline at the far end – is extraordinary!
Next up is Azulik where we quite frankly feel as if we fell totally into a tourist trap and we should have known better! It is popular! It is for that Instagram shot! It is for posing! It is for being seen! And if you are into any or all of those things then this is the place for you as it is unique, interesting, beautiful in parts … but it is also overly expensive and more than a bit pretentious!! We queued to get in for sunset, had an average cocktail in a plastic cup and witnessed a jungle sunset … but thinking back we shouldn’t really have bothered and fallen for the hype as have spent ‘free’ amazing sunsets elsewhere – but we can say we’ve been there but won’t be going back!
On a different note if you are fancying a smoothie or fruit bowl then the cutest of places to go is Matcha Mama on the roadside. Lots of healthy options on their menu – it is only a long hut which they serve out of so you can either prop up the bar and drink/eat or if you are lucky to find a swing free you can hang out as it were!
TIP : the very best way to get around to all of these places is to forget about a car, if you are staying local, and just rent a bicycle as definitely the way to go and so much fun too! You’ll get to see so much more around he town, back streets and coastal paths and you don’t have a problem parking up as the whole area is geared up for cyclists along with no end of rental places to choose from. And that brings us onto the town of Tulum which is set well back from the beach … there is basically just one very long road that links the two, beach and town, together with a great cycle path running parallel!
As expected the hippy, cool, laid back vibe very much continues up into the town with cute little shops of lovely interior items and a never ending stream of really good food places … many of which are vegetarian / vegan! We also had some of the very best ice cream we’ve ever tasted outside of Italy and that is saying something!
If you are staying long enough and want to go further afield then the ‘cenotes’ are always a good idea as these natural sink hole pools are fascinating and beautiful! Our favourite one by far is Suytun which is in a cave with a small hole over head that lets in a shard of light as the sun moves around … an incredible atmosphere inside there and a wonderful sight to experience which is well worth the one and a half hour drive there!
So all in all Tulum is a dream and a place we could return to time and time again. It is naturally stunning, the mexican food is incredible, the locals are super friendly and we couldn’t of had a more relaxing yet also interesting a trip as this … we will be back!