Crazy how it feels like our trip to Tulum was months ago and we got back a little over a week ago. So much has happened since then and with all of the renovations in full swing I’ve basically completely lost track of time and any sense of normalcy, but I digress! In all honesty this travel diary is not quite like the others in the sense that our trip to Tulum was purely for work. Of course almost all of our trips involve work but this one in particular was for the sole purpose of creating content for Summersalt. That said we packed a lot in during our short time there so I definitely have some great recs. Read on for more…
What to Pack
I didn’t share a “What to Pack” post for Tulum like I normally do for a lot of my travels because for the most part, the only thing in my suitcase was all the swimwear we had to shoot. But quite frankly, that’s really all you need in Tulum. I probably spent about 90% of the time in a bathing suit. I felt like a bit of a guinea pig for the Summersalt bathing suits because I really put them to the test wearing them all day swimming, biking, etc. I’m a one piece girl and my absolute favorite was the one shoulder style. Ironically I didn’t think I’d like it, but after trying it on I loved the fit and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was all day. The overall vibe in Tulum felt pretty casual. I basically wore denim cut-offs, bathing suits and flat sandals the entire time. For dinner I brought maxi dresses (this one that I absolutely love from French Connection and this one I styled here from Donna Morgan). It’s pretty hot so you definitely don’t need any warm layers, we never went anywhere that had AC and was cold inside. Of course bring lots of sunscreen, I swear by Coola for my face and Supergoop (I love the spray for body). And I packed a ton of hats because I love them, though the beach can get pretty windy. Last but not least, bring bug spray! The mosquitoes can be brutal at night.
What to See & Do
Full disclosure, we only had two full days in Tulum and most of that time was spent shooting. That said, it’s really pretty easy to get around. We rented bikes on the first day so we could go to each location quickly. There are plenty of places to rent them around town. It felt a little like a death wish riding bikes but we managed to make it out alive, haha. There are also tons of cabs driving around at all times so it’s super easy to get around that way. Obviously the main thing to do in Tulum is go to the beach. The ocean there is beautiful. The temperature was perfect and the water was crystal clear. There’s a few public beaches along the main road and then each resort and restaurant has their own area on the beach side. Most resorts let you hang out there on their lounge chairs if you’re ordering food/drinks which is what we did most of the time. There’s a ton of great shopping though we only got to explore one section of it. Right along the main road (in between the beach and the jungle side) is a whole row of little shops with clothing, souvenirs, blankets, etc. We got a blanket and a rug for our house on our last day. One thing we didn’t get to do was visit the Tulum ruins. I definitely recommend doing that if you have time as it’s not far and apparently it’s really beautiful. Tulum is all about unplugging and unwinding and they’ve definitely created an atmosphere for that.
Where to Eat
We managed to fit in a good number of meals given our short trip. We based most of them on recommendations from people who’ve already been to Tulum or from reviews. There’s a ton of great places to eat and all different types of cuisine. A lot of places recommend reservations but making them can be tricky. If you’re like Craig and I and eat early you probably won’t have an issue. We never had trouble getting a table but we also eat around 5:30-6. Also most places are cash only but everyone takes USD or Pesos. The first day I couldn’t find an ATM that worked and we had to take a cab into town to use the grocery store at the ATM so bring cash!
Papaya Playa – Craig and I are early risers and this resort was next to the one where we stayed. They start serving breakfast pretty early so we’d go here every morning. They had really yummy cold pressed juices, fresh fruit and pancakes. This is on the beach side.
Coco Tulum – We loved this place and actually went twice for lunch. Their margaritas are really good and the tacos and guac don’t disappoint. You’ve probably seen photos from this place on Instagram (the white chair swings).
Gitano – We had dinner here one night. Great small plates and tapas, the food was really drink. We got eaten alive by mosquitoes though you really need bug spray here.
Posada Margarita – An adorable little restaurant on the beach side serving Italian food. They have a good cocktail menu too. Seems odd to get Italian food in Mexico but it was really yummy.
Hartwood – Sadly we didn’t get to visit Hartwood because they’re only open a few nights a week and it didn’t overlap with out trip but this place came highly recommend from basically anyone who’s been to Tulum.
Mateo’s – It kind of looks and seems like a tourist trap but we popped in here one night for apps and drinks and it was really good. They have a little rooftop type deck that’s nice to watch the sunset.
Where to Stay
There are so many different options for lodging in Tulum. From small boutique hotels to big resorts and everything in between. We stayed at Azulik which is a resort on the beach. There’s basically just a long road of resorts on the beach in Tulum and they all offer different experiences. Azulik is an eco friendly resort that is really beautiful but also bare bones in some ways. Staying there for a work trip probably wasn’t the best idea but if you’re truly going to Tulum to get away from it all you can do that at Azulik. Our room had no wifi, no electricity (no lights, etc.), no AC, and no shower. None of the rooms at Azulik have showers they have tubs instead. They do have wifi in a few areas of the resort including the beach and the spa reception. When looking for a place to stay I recommend looking very closely at what your room offers (wifi, electricity, AC, etc.). That said I definitely recommend staying at a resort on the beach, if you’re in Tulum, that’s where you want to be.