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Tulum, Mexico: Travel Guide

It may no longer be Mexico’s best-kept secret, but the jungle paradise that is Tulum is still one of the most beautiful destinations you’ll experience.

The beach town has a laid-back vibe (think no streetlights and cash only bars) and the dazzling blue waters in the many cenotes dotted around the outskirts will leave you feeling restored.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to an unforgettable getaway in Tulum…

What to see/do:

Boca Paila:

A beautiful strip of land with white sand beaches and turquoise waters, Boca Paila is packed with boutique hotels, globally acclaimed restaurants, and bohemian stores.

Grab a bicycle from your hotel and cycle down the lengthy road, stopping at Matcha Mama for Tulum-esque coffee on the way.

Cenotes:

Did you know there’s over 7,000 cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula? These bright blue natural pools with limestone hangings were worshipped by the Mayans and are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Dos Ojos, Cenote Azul, Grand Cenote, Rio Secreto, and Cenote Ik Kil are the most well-known, but head early to avoid crowds.

Beach:

You can’t visit Tulum and not spend at least one entire day sipping fresh coconuts on the white sands. The beach at the well-preserved Playa Ruinas site is one of the best spots to soak up Tulum’s Mayan history.

Playa Paraíso, which translates as Paradise Beach, is another of Tulum’s most Instagram-ready spots while Secret Beach is worth the hour’s cycle.

Puebla (Downtown Tulum):

A 20-30 minute drive from Boca Paila, downtown Tulum is where the locals hang out. It’s also home to inexpensive restaurants and mojito rooftop bars, as well as quirky boutique hotels.

Don’t miss out on a fresh fruit popsicle from Flor de Michoacan.

Pablo Escobar’s Mansion (Casa Malca):

Once the home of infamous drug baron Pablo Escobar, Casa Malca has been renovated by a prominent New York art dealer into a five-star hotel and art gallery with an amazing collection of contemporary works.

Where to eat:

La Zebra Restaurant:

Authentic fresh, local cuisine (and incredible blue corn tortillas) await at La Zebra, a boujie beach restaurant that specialises in fish tacos.

Hartwood:

Possibly the most famous restaurant in Tulum, it’s worth stopping by Hartwood where all the cooking is done by open fire within their hand made wood burning oven and grill.

El Camello Jr:

Owned by local fisherman, El Camello Jr is the place to go for fresh seafood that can be ordered literally by the boatload.

Order the ceviche and you’ll fall in love with this roadside eatery instantly.

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When in Tulum, no doubt get seafood! This coastal Yucatan city has so much seafood available that it’s a mariscos heaven. Every local I talked to with my broken Spanglish has recommended El Camello for seafood. Here is the Ceviche Mixto – shrimp, fish, and octopus all tossed in tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and lime. Take a chop, scoop up some ceviche, add some salsa, and chase it down with some beer ? #patrickinmexico . . El Camello | Tulum, Mexico . . #patrickinla #travelmexico #exploremexico #exploretulum #tulum #tulumrestaurant #elcamello #traveltulum #discovertulum #tulumfood #tulumruins #letsgosomewhere #mexicanstreetfood #ceviche #mexicaneats #lafoodblogger #lablogger #travelblogger #travelblog #laphotographer #travelphotographer

A post shared by Patrick Manalo | Los Angeles (@patrickinla) on

Where to drink:

Gitano:

The place to be in Tulum on a Friday night, Gitano throws legendary parties in its lush jungle setting. A trendy Mezcaleria, their cocktail menu features the best smokey concoctions in town.

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Tulum vibes Tulum, México. 2017

A post shared by Abdull Mondesir (@annunfromtulum) on

Casa Jaguar:

Live DJs and a fun atmosphere makes Casa Jaguar a hit with visitors to Tulum. They do a great Thursday jungle party night with a bonfire and delicious drinks.

Batey:

You will find this eccentric Cuban venue by spotting the colourful converted Beetle outside which is now a mojito bar and sugarcane juice extractor.

Where to stay:

Looking for luxury?

NEST Tulum: 

Rustic comfort and insane beach vibes mean you won’t want to leave here.

NEST’s beach front collection of individual-styled bungalows and its private four room villa are among tropical foliage and walkways. Pure heaven.

On a budget?

Tubo Tulum:

Tubo Tulum Hostel boasts an original and eco-friendly concept of creating its facilities using large concrete tubes as chambers.

Sounds strange, but they’re surprisingly comfy and less than $20 a night. A tropical garden surrounds the hotel and there’s a large kitchen for guests to cook their own meals.

Have we left out one of your favourite places? Let us know in the comments below!

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