The final installment of my Tulum series will cover all things itinerary, must-do’s, “off the beaten path” Tulum experiences and more.
Day 1 included our travel from the US to Mexico. Check my post on all things Tulum logistics HERE for more information on getting to Tulum from the closest airport, Cancun International Airport (CUN). After a morning of flights and a little less than 2 hour ride from the airport, we arrived at our airbnb, located near the downtown area of Tulum. For a tour of our airbnb check HERE. After freshening up and getting settled at our temporary home away from home, we decided to explore a bit of the downtown area.
Typically, I don’t like to pack much into my travel days to be able to have flexibility for any potential travel delays or jet lag!
Note: We flew into a tropical depression, adding a level of complexity to our travels from the airport to the Airbnb, while also knocking out the power in most of Tulum. Our Airbnb was out of power upon arrival, but our host left us with candles, flashlights, batteries and bottled water, to hold us over until power restored, which happened within a few hours of our arrival.
While exploring downtown our main goals were food and drinks, and with a power outage across most of Tulum, we didn’t have many options. We stopped at a local spot along the strip, not recommended, the food was subpar, there are many, better options in Tulum. (I admittedly, do not remember the name of this place, I should have wrote it down to share back here). Depending on whether or not you stay near the Playa (beach) or near downtown, this will determine what area of Tulum you’ll most likely explore first! Playa is the more popular and touristic area of Tulum, lined with ocean views, beach clubs, shops, restaurants and more. (Famous towering wooden sculpture, Raw Love Tulum, pictured below)
Or downtown, which has more lowkey (and cheaper) shopping options & restaurants. Our Airbnb was located in this area, which is the only reason we were over here, other than that, cheaper shopping options and a few bars are the only reason to need to venture to this area, imo. (Downtown strip pictured below).
We had originally planned to visit either El Pesacador or Mekech Tulum for dinner this night, but the storm brought other plans…
Beach day. I think of of the biggest draws to visiting the Caribbean, besides the amazing culture and cuisine, is the beach! On our second day, after a hectic travel experience (tropical depression), we wanted to spend a day doing nothing but being bums, beach bums. We
Beach day. You’ve spent the last few weeks/months working now it’s time to wind down at the beach, You’ll have several beach clubs to choose from or the “open” area of the beach.
We decided to hit up Azul Beach Club, and I have absolutely no complaints, but if you want even more options, see below:
We spent the entire day at the beach, before heading to walk the infamous strip and then heading back home for dinner.
Dinner was at Rosa Negra on day 2, this restaurant is becoming more and more popular thanks to bloggers and travel influencers (like me) but this popularity is well deserved from the atmosphere they were able to curate, the delicious cuisine, the libations and more, this is a must visit restaurant! Everything was so delicious, relatively pricey $$$, but absolutely worth it.
A full day of pampering at the Coqui Coqui Papolchac Residence & Spa. I wrote in depth about my experience at Coqui Coqui in my blog post HERE. If you are looking for luxury & relaxation and at an attractive price, look no further, Coqui Coqui provided the exact ambiance I needed after dealing with the stresses of life, compounded by Covid-19– some would say, “just what the doctor ordered.”
The spa is located about 45 minutes outside of Tulum, in Coba, Mexico. We used a taxi service to pick us up from our Airbnb and drive us to Coba, spending the entire day with us and even taking us to a local cenote in between our spa treatments, and back home at the end of the day. We paid roughly $118 USD or 2500 pesos for this taxi service, not including the tip we gave for excellent service. Another option for getting to the spa would be to rent a car and drive, Mexico offers several rental car services, so this wouldn’t be too difficult, but the road is not always a smooth one.
The spa has a wide array of services, and again, at a relatively good price, especially for what’s provided. I opted for the 90 minute hot stone massage and with no exaggeration, it was the best massage I’ve had in my life (click here for a video recap) My friends each got something different, trying the other massage treatments and even the various “rituals”, 3 hours long services inclusive of deep tissue massages, exfoliation and botanical baths. The prices ranged depending on the type and length of your service. Check HERE for a full spa menu.
If there are a lot of people in your party, like there were in mine, you might end up spending the entire day here, but fret not. There are gorgeous pools that you can either take a dip in or lounge beside, in addition to the on-site restaurant and nearby cenotes. The spa also doubles as a hotel/resort, though we did not decide to stay over, I would consider this on a future trip.
After getting back from our overly relaxing day, we got dressed and headed over to the playa area to grab a bite to eat! Dinner on day 3 was at Taboo Tulum. Yes, the same Tulum listed above for this awesome beach club, they’re also self-proclaimed as one of the best restaurants in Tulum, I wouldn’t disagree. The ambience and location were everything, drinks great, the food was good, service however, was subpar. There were a few things on the menu that I had interest in trying, but they were out, it was a bit disappointing, but I’d visit again. I’d just skip the dessert, it was subpar at best (and everyone ordered something different).
On what was supposed to be our last full day in Mexico, we decided to have both brunch and dinner catered at the house, while planning to spend the day on a yacht drinking champagne. However, a category 2/3 hurricane decided it would be fun to land in the Yucatan Peninsula, derailing our plans. Our catered meals still went as planned, and were great, but the disturbance in the ocean not only cancelled our yacht day, but we also were stuck in Tulum an additional day.
The company that we had our yacht day scheduled with was the Yacht Boat Rental Playa Del Carmen.
To add insult to energy, in addition to the impending hurricane, I also got food poisoning from accidentally ingesting a bit of the water from the faucet. This left me immobile and pretty much bid ridden the entire day. Thankfully, our Airbnb host allowed us to stay an additional day, for a fee, with the airport closed and all of our flights cancelled. We ended up just hanging around the house, in the pool at moments, as we waited the storm out.
Other Notes: Tulum seemed relatively expensive to me, when comparing to other Caribbean nations or cities within Mexico. A lot of our funds certainly went to transportation, but I would also say that the restaurants along the popular strip were on the pricier end (avg. $50+ for dinners).
Book and plan ahead (sorry to my spontaneous viewers)! With its increased popularity and scaled back operations due to Covid-19, restaurants are often packed to their new reduced capacity and are also running on slightly different hours (curfew).
I will not argue here if traveling during a pandemic is a good idea or not. It may seem irresponsible at best to many, but in these unprecedented times, many are using it as a natural remedy to mental health woes and a way to continue to support economies that are completely hinged on tourism. If you are going to travel during a pandemic, please do the following:
– Get covid tested prior to your trip, whether your destination requires it or not. Don’t unknowingly be a spreader of this virus when traveling, many of the destinations that are currently open don’t have the infrastructure to support another or a worse Covid outbreak- we must still be responsible.
-Wear a mask. Full stop.
-Try to still social distance, limit contact and activities with others when and where possible. Read my post about traveling during a pandemic HERE for more tips.