Tour de Tulum

TripStylerTulum

[trip style = beach + sun + glamping + food/wine] 

Juice shacks line the street. Kite boarders dangle over the ocean blue. Yoga retreats occupy every second hotel. Every cab has sand on the floors. This is Tulum. 

Located 1 hour and 40 mins South of the Cancun Airport {CUN}, Tulum is an impossibly cool eco- retreat planted where the Yucatan jungle meets the Caribbean Sea. Stretching from the Tulum Ruins down to the Sian Ka'an arch along a narrow road following the shore, you'll find a wind-swept complexion, nature-infused physique and Swiss Family Robinson-styled abodes soothing you into a slow-going rhythm set by the endless beach's crashing waves. 

Out for dinner one night, I overheard someone say "we love this place so much, we've stopped going to Hawaii." While you won't find me giving up my obsession with aloha, this comment confirmed Tulum is gathering a large clan of converts ranging from European families to fashion bloggers to wellness gurus (and the occasional free-spirited yogi who practices the downward dog topless). The result? A fetching fusion of gorgeous, groovy and granola neatly wrapped into one 10km package.

Stay
Papaya Playa Project: See my Roam+Board review here. While I didn't rest my head at the following boutique hotels, these also come highly recommended by my colleagues: Coqui Coqui and Be Tulum

 Papaya Playa Project 

Papaya Playa Project 

 Coqui Coqui

Coqui Coqui

 Be Tulum

Be Tulum

Do
Rent a bike. Go to a juice bar. Visit the Ruins {bring your bathing suit, there's a gorgeous beach onsite}. Shop at the boutiques. 

 Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins

 Beach at the Tulum Ruins

Beach at the Tulum Ruins

 Shopping — make that buying perfume — at Coqui Coqui

Shoppingmake that buying perfumeat Coqui Coqui

Eat
I ate at a number of restaurants in Tulum. These are the most trip- and food-styled choices:
Hartwood: Easily the top recommended restaurant in Tulum, Hartwood wows with every glance, every texture, every bite, every sip. Shaded by palm fronds and lit by the stars, servers carry local food outfitted in jeans, Ts and canvas aprons, making you wonder if you're suspended in a food nirvana somewhere between Brooklyn and Mexico. The white pebble- and canopy-clad environs is enough to make me drool, but it's the cuisinedisplayed like a high-end food market and prepared in a two-walled kitchen sans electrical appliancesthat made want to return every night. 
Gitano: If I had a backyard, and I built a restaurantor simply a place to entertainin said backyard, it would look like Gitano {with a splash of Hartwood}. Strings of lights hung from marine rope light the open-air space setting the secret jungle garden aglow. The hub, an A-frame bar made of reclaimed wood, is inspiring enough to say "I'll have another" more than once. Add in the Mexican minimalist foodtortilla soup served in a clay bowl or fish tacos neatly placed atop a wooden boardand you'll be sticking around for...another round and some dancing under the disco ball. 
Casa Jaguar: High on the romance-meter, Casa Jaguar is an intimate eatery with enough private quadrants to kiss between every course. It's look, hovering somewhere between the pages of DWELL and House Beautiful, creates a country-meets-modern take on jungle dining, serving up fresh Mexican dishes with an Italian disposition.    

 Hartwood {make advanced resos, or if you're a walk-in, arrive early or late}

Hartwood {make advanced resos, or if you're a walk-in, arrive early or late}

 The scene

The scene

 The menu

The menu

 Hartwood's open-air kitchen

Hartwood's open-air kitchen

 Heading into Gitano

Heading into Gitano

 The scene

The scene

 The drinks

The drinks

 The food: Tortilla soup

The food: Tortilla soup

 Casa Jaguar

Casa Jaguar

Trip Styler Tips
- Most hotels, restaurants and shops in Tulum sit within 5km of each other on Boca Paila Road. A cab up or down the road costs between 50 and 70 pesos. Don't catch a cab in front of Hartwood, it will set you back a minimum of US$10. Walk a little up the road to avoid the surcharge.
- Ninety-nine percent of Tulum restaurants and cabs only accept cash (Pesos or USD). 
- It's not easy to find a bank machine in Tulum, and they all charge ridic extra fees. This said, we found one in the entrance to the Ahau Hotel which was pretty reliable and didn't charge an insane fee. Bring money, or grab it in the nearby town of El Pueblo at Scotiabank or HSBC.
- If there's been a recent rainfall, the bugs can be bad at night. Bring mosquito repellant. {If you forget, most restaurants have a courtesy bottle.} 
- Getting to Tulum from the airport via cab will cost a minimum of US$100. The way back should be about US$80.
 

More Mexico
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[photos by @tripstyler except for Be Tulum and Casa Jaguar via each website]