Tulum:  From Pueblo to Playa

After getting acclimated to Mexico in mega-touristy Playa del Carmen, I was more than ready for some tranquility in Tulum. A destination known for its champagne sand, Caribbean beaches, Cenotes (fresh water caves), luxury, boutique hotels, Mayan ruins, and yoga! To get to Tulum from Playa was quite easy. I took the Colectivo (shared taxis in Mexico) and M$60 and one hour later I arrived in Tulum Pueblo.

Tulum is broken up into two different parts, Tulum Pueblo and Tulum Playa. They are about a 10 minute taxi ride away from one another, or a 20-30 minute bike ride. The first part of my stay was in Pueblo, the town of Tulum. It’s small, but has plenty of great restaurants to choose from and a an even better nightlife. Batey had a different band every night playing an eclectic range of music, and often became open mic between sets. The talent that would get up on this tiny, little stage was quite astonishing. Definitely order one of Batey’s Mojitos which is made with fresh pressed sugar cane instead of refined sugar. If you are in the mood for Salsa, like myself, head to the other end of Tulum Pueblo and discover some talented local Salsa bands in the locals’ dive bars. You won’t be disappointed – trust me.

Another thing that won’t disappoint you in Tulum Pueblo is the food! One of my favorite places was Le Bistro, a French restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with delicious crepes, baguettes, and excellent coffee. I loved the Salmon Baguette! My other fave was El Gourmet. I swear, this place has best paninis in all of Mexico! If you are looking for a more economical and local cuisine, on Tulum Ave. you’ll find some great authentic Mexican. Ask a local where the “Mexicana Rojo”, or “Mexicana Verde” is. Both are tasty and cheap. If you like to cook, there’s a fruit and veggie store where you will find just about anything your healthy heart desires.

As far as places to stay, I highly recommend the Kite Lodge. I found it last minute on Airbnb and am so glad I did. Nothing but good people and good vibes on this property. This is the kind of place you stay and make friends you could have for a lifetime. The studio was super clean, spacious, surrounded by gardens, and there was even a puppy living on the property who was great for those afternoon Siesta cuddles 😉

Tulum  Pueblo is HOT.  Luckily, there are plenty of cenotes to cool off in around Tulum.  Hop on the Colectivo to Casa Cenote.  After taking a dip in the crystal clear water, continue your jourey up the dirt road to Chamico.  A hidden gem on a secluded beach with hammocks, tables nestled in the palms trees, and some of the best Ceviche you will have in Mexico.

After a week in Tulum Pueblo, I was ready stay on the playa (beach). The day before checking out of the Kite Lodge, I rode my bike up and down the main strip of Tulum Playa to check out some hotels and cabanas. As soon as I saw the private beach behind Hotel Tulum Bay with a terrace overlooking the ocean (aka my private yoga studio) I knew where I wanted to stay. With a little charm I was able to get 70% off the room too! If time and the season allows it, ALWAYS try to do walk-ins. You are almost always guaranteed at least 20% off 😉 You will want all the discounts you can get while staying in Tulum Playa – it’s not cheap like the rest of Mexico. Expect U.S. prices everywhere you go!

The best thing about staying in Tulum Playa is the laid back beach vibes, the Mayan ruins by the sea, and the yoga studios! I was only able to make one yoga class during my stay here. My last morning here, I went to Tulum’s most reputable studio, Yoga Shala. I’m so glad I went to this particular class too. The teacher was good and all, but what I really loved was ironically practicing next to this Australian girl who reached out to me on social media some months ago about coming to Maui. Unfortunately, we missed each other on Maui, but serendipitously were the only two people in this class on a very rainy morning. It wasn’t until introducing ourselves after class when we figured out how divine that morning truly was.  Certain paths are meant to cross.  We had a lovely chat over fresh juice and coffee at the Yoga Shala’s cafe before I had to leave for my next destination. Again, I met another lifelong friend in Tulum. My new Aussie friend, Sasha, and I will be crossing paths again in Guatemala and Belize next month! Follow Sasha on Instagram for her beautiful, travel photo diary!

Ciao for now, Tulum!  

Next stop: The beautiful colonial city, Merida!