Beautiful Tulum, a little piece of paradise situated on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. I first visited Tulum in 2006 and fell in love with its laid back vibe, picture perfect beach and crystal blue sea. It's definitely grown a lot over the past 10 years, but so far it has managed to keep its eco chic charm. Surrounded by lush jungle, this little beach town has become a hot spot with the stylish pack. The coastal road is where it's at, boasting some very hip boutiques, top notch food and drink and an array of stylish places to stay. Below are some of our favourites.
WHERE TO STAY
Rancho San Eric - We usually like to book a house or studio when visiting Tulum. It gives you the freedom to prepare some of your own meals and also the kind of privacy you don't get with a hotel. One of our favourite places is Rancho San Eric, a tranquil spot with several houses and studios to rent ranging in size. Situated near the entrance to the Sian Kahn reserve you really get to unwind and enjoy the quite end of the beach, which most of the time you have practically all to yourself. Heaven!
Sanará - Sanará is a a beautiful luxury eco boutique hotel and wellbeing centre situated on the beachfront. The hotel features spacious rooms and serene decor, it also has a spa, a yoga centre, a small boutique and a highly acclaimed restaurant (more about that below).
Nest - This sweet boutique hotel opened its doors in December 2015. We love the fact that it doesn't have many rooms and is surrounded by tropical foliage. The design is modern and simplistic, making use of locally sourced products and furnishings.
WHERE TO EAT
The Real Coconut - This became our new favourite spot when we visited in January, dishes are mainly plant based dairy and grain free. We literally could have eaten there every day, Co Founder Daniella Hunter has come up with so many unique ways to use coconut it's amazing. They also have a large menu of juices and smoothies, great for an energy boost first thing in the morning or after a long day at the beach.
Hartwood - The fist time I ate here, I was really impressed, the food is delicious, especially the sustainably caught fish. Everything is cooked by an open fire on their handmade wood burning oven and grill. The cocktails are pretty good too. Open for dinner only, it's best to arrive early as the queues get rather large, it's worth the wait though.
Hechizo - You'll find Hechizo tucked away on Rancho San Eric. It's a quiet, romantic restaurant where talented chef Stephan Schober creates deliciously flavoursome high quality food. The experience is memorable and very personalised with the Stephan himself visiting each table to explain the menu. Dishes are seasonal, definitely worth a visit.
Posada Margherita - The place to visit for Italian food, Posada Margarita has a great atmosphere. The fish dish was my favourite, but they also do several good pasta dishes and good wines.
Tres Galeones - Great for a more casual option, Tres Galeones offers fish tacos, burritos and drinks all served out of a very cool Airstream trailer.
Gitano - A great place to enjoy cocktails.
WHERE TO SHOP
Caravana - Created by the owners of Coqui Coqui, Caravana offers a unique range of beautiful light, handwoven clothing, which perfectly fits the gipset vibe of Tulum.
Josa - Josa is definitely the place to stop by if you are in need of a kaftan. They also have a men's and kids shop around the corner so the whole family can get kitted out. Look out for By James leather sandals, handmade in Valadollid.
KM33 - Facing Caravana Montecristo. New boutique featuring Mexican designers, luxurious leather bags and accessories
Wanderlust - Sweet little boutique with a boho vibe
Coqui Coqui - Delightful perfumes and scented candles
WHAT TO DO
Pamper yourself at Yaan Wellness Energy Healing Spa.
Take a yoga class, there are may on offer, try Sanara or Yaan Spa.
Visit a cenote - Take a refreshing dip on one of Tulum's beautiful cenotes. Gran Cenote, Cenote Dos Ojos and Cenote Manatee/Casa Cenote are all good options.
Take a day trip to Valladolid - If you fancy a break from the beach and a little bit of culture, take a day trip to the charming colonial town of Valladolid. Take in the pretty pastel painted low rise buildings whilst you stroll the cobbled streets.
Visit the Ruins - Learn a little about Tulum's history by visiting its famous ruins, which look out over the ocean. Visit early in the morning, or late to avoid the crowds and heat.
OTHER TRAVEL TIPS
It's a good idea to carry cash as many of the restaurants don't accept card payments.
Be sure to pack insect repellent, remember Tulum is surrounded by jungle.
Bring a flash light, the coastal road is quite dark during the evening, so it comes in handy on the walk home.
If visiting in December or January be sure to pack a light cover up or shawl as it can get a little chilly in the evenings.