The Ultimate Travel Guide to Tulum

As you all know by now, I took the leap and quit my retail job! I have been working in retail for over 13 years, and can’t believe this journey has finally come to an end. Retail in general is shifting, and the buying power is all in e-commerce. I am excited for the next chapter, but at the same time I have met so many great people in my retail management career, and have learned so much. With that being said, yo girl needed a break and a chance to just relax after making such a huge decision. Ahmad immediately booked us a trip to Tulum. We had never been, but have heard great things as it has been one of the trending places to go. I have been to Cancun and Cabo, so Tulum was next on my list.

So many of you have been reaching out about our trip, so I wanted to make sure I got this post up as fast as I could since I know many of you are traveling to Tulum within the next few months. I am going to cover as much as I can, but if you have any questions always feel free to leave a comment on the post or send me an email/DM.

TRAVEL

We flew United into Cancun, which was a 2.5 hour flight from Houston.

Our airbnb booked us a car service from the airport to our airbnb. If you are staying at an airbnb I suggest letting them help you with transportation and pay the fee (we paid $120 USD). The car service had WIFI and you got free beers and water. The drive from Cancun to Tulum is usually 45min to 1 hour depending on the time of day. Our drive took 1.5 hours due to traffic, and the driver said it was because we were there during traffic time (9:30am).

If you are staying at a hotel, not many of them offer shuttle rides, so you will have to get a car service on your own (your hotel can recommend a company for you). I also suggest renting a car! My friend, Dawn, rented a car for her and her family and only paid around $50 for 4 days and that included the insurance. This is a great option to avoid the taxi cost during your trip. The con to renting a car is that parking is scarce in town, and everyone is riding bikes. The pro is that you will save money because there are no set taxi fees, they kind of come up with their own prices.

To travel back to the airport, we took a taxi and the cost was $100 USD, which was cheaper than the initial car service (but of course no wifi and beer lol not that you need that).

One night we had a taxi driver that was so good, that we actually kept him the entire time. Thank me later because I got his card and phone number for all of you! Download the WhatsApp app, and you can text him on there to get a ride as well. He was so sweet, and the best driver ever. We would text him anytime of day and he would be there to pick us up in 10-15 min. He would even do multiple stops, and wait on us! If you are going the taxi route I would definitely utilize him, and just let him know how long you will be in town and he will make sure that he can accommodate you. I told him I would be sharing his information with all of you, so make sure you tip him well because he was the BEST!

Contact: Abiazer Alcudia

Number: +52.984.322.5202

When you are in town you can also rent bikes to get around. Unlike other places I have been to in the past, you can literally just go into any hotel you want. The strip is long and there are so many different places that you need to see so riding a bike is a great option, ONLY IF YOU ARE AN EXPERT BIKER. There are no roads or sidewalks to actually ride the bikes on, so if you aren’t good at dodging cars on a bike, then I suggest you just walk or catch a taxi to your next spot.

CURRENCY

There are several different approaches to this because technically you don’t have to exchange money, but I highly recommend. Many of the restaurants claim that they do not take debit/credit cards, but they actually do. So for whatever reason if you run out of pesos, just use your card.

Exchange money at the airport in Cancun. When you get off your flight, and walk through customs, there is a bank right outside the doors after customs. You will need your Passport and can not wear any hats or sunglasses during the currency exchange. You will have to fill out a form, and they will make a copy of your passport as well. Try to exchange as much money as possible that way you don’t have to go to a bank or exchange center in town. We ran out of pesos and ended up going to a local bank in town and there was a long line because all of the locals were at the bank.

We always tipped in US dollars, don’t ask me why… we just did.

AIRBNB/ HOTEL

Our first 4 days we opted to stay in an airbnb, just so that we could get more bang for our buck and be alone. Our airbnb did not disappoint, as you probably seen through the photos that I posted on IG. We rented the entire first floor which included a kitchen, living room, 1 bathroom (open),  two backyards, private pool, bikes, and a guard at night that stands in front of the villa. If you are traveling as a group they do have the option of 2 bed room as well. There are 4 villas, so you can pick on airbnb which one you want (long as it isn’t booked). Ahmad and I already said we will book the house again for our next trip, or get a bigger villa if we go with our family. We only paid $77/night which was a steal!

A few things to keep in mind if you do book the same airbnb, it is a new build and they are building new condos and units around the property. The road to get to the street that the villa is on is horrible! A very bumpy ride with tons of potholes. It wasn’t a deal breaker for us as we knew that the area is under construction. Also, keep in mind that if you leave the patio doors open, bugs of course will come in the house so make sure to keep the screen doors closed at all times.

Our last day, we stayed at Mi Amor Boutique Hotel. It is on the opposite side of the strip which is quieter. It was an adult only resort, so be aware that some people may be nude at the pool. We had no idea, and was filming content for the blog and we stopped because we turned the corner and a lady was laying out by the pool naked. Talk about awkward, but other than that the resort was beyond my expectations. They do not have beach access, but instead ocean view! We wasn’t complaining because the beach is full of seaweed right now (everywhere) so you can’t really enjoy the water anyway.

Other hotels that I wanted to stay in but were booked:

Be Tulum (TOP ON MY LIST)

Nomade

Casa Malca

Habitus Tulum

WHERE TO GO

CENOTES: There are a plethora of cenotes you can pick from in Tulum, but our taxi driver recommended Cenotes Casa Tortuga. The cost was around $45 per person. They are open 9am-6pm, and offer 4 cenotes to go through. You get a life vest, goggles, and a tour guide. I would say if you are clostaphobic, this is not the tour for you. You are literally going in caves, and there are bats as well. I don’t know how I made it through it with my scary self. I am not going to spoil the fun on how each one if different, but just keep in mind you may have to jump off a cliff to get in one (they also have stairs to climb down), the water is super deep in one, and two of them are more like a cave.

They have outdoor changing areas where you can put on your swim suit. I recommend bringing swim shoes as you will be walking throughout the park and then getting in and out of the water. If you want to bring your cell phone along to take pictures make sure to bring a water proof phone protector.

If you decide to go with the taxi option, the driver that I mentioned previously will drive you there and wait on you the entire time to finish the tour.

MAYAN RUINS: I suggest going early in the morning as it gets packed and it extremely hot! If you like history I recommend going, but if you can care less then you can easily skip it! We opted out!

THE MAYAN CLAY SPA: Ahmad and I actually had a boat tour scheduled, and road a taxi 40 min to get to the boat dock and they had canceled the tour. So, this is how we ended up going to get a couples massage. When I say this was the best part of my entire trip, I am not lying! We opted for the 90 minute massage, and they massage you from head to toe. They rub clay all over your body (including your hair), and give the best messages. They then have outdoor showers where you can go and rinse off all of the clay. They book the massages out where you will be the only ones in the showers (which are covered by bamboo sticks) so you don’t have to worry about people seeing you. The spa was $127 per person, as they were having a special the day we went.

HOTELS / RESTAURANTS / BARS YOU MUST VISIT

Casa Malca: Everyone knows it as the Pablo Escobar hotel! It is beyond gorgeous, and is known for the stunning couch and chair swings surrounded by the dreamy wedding dresses. They also have XXL statues around the property which were pretty cool too. Many of you were asking about my bathtub photos, and the phenomenal floral tub is on the property as well. They were doing a lot of construction when we were there, so be mindful of that. If you are wanting to go to the beach, this would be a great place to go because they actually pay people to remove the seaweed. There is still seaweed there, but not as much as all the other hotels. We ate dinner here as well on the beach, and the short rib was AMAZING!! The food and drinks were expensive, and maybe not as worth it, but still go just to check out the property. I would also taxi to Casa Malca as it is towards the end of the strip.

 Azulik: This is an adult only property that will have you feeling like you are in the jungle. The entrance to the property is beautiful bamboo tunnel that leads you to the front desk of the hotel. Ahmad and I went to have drinks there at the restaurant so that we could enjoy the jungle. Drinks were expensive, but the views are unbelievable. If you go ask them to escort you to their beach, and you can swing while you sit at the bar there. They also have outstanding views from the top of the property, and they will escort you there as well.

Nomade: If you are looking for an instagrammable moment, then Macondo at Nomade is it! If you are into vegan food then this will be the place for you. I can honestly say that even though I am not vegan, the food was great. I was out of my food comfort zone, but I don’t regret it because the zucchini pasta was beyond amazing. They also have great homemade sweet potato chips with 3 different sauces that were all great as well. You are able to sit on the floor and eat, and or they have a long low couch you can lounge at and eat. They also have a bar as well, and if you are traveling as a group they have table seating.

You can only take photos with your camera at Nomade as their are tons of celebrities that stay there and they don’t like cameras to be out. The property is super nice, and we originally wanted to stay here but it was booked.

CoCo Tulum: Ok, so this is the spot that you have probably seen everyone on Pinterest talk about, and or your favorite bloggers post about. I will be honest I was not that impressed. It was a typical beach club (like any other hotel). It is more modern with a beach twist. They do however have a great happy hour, and you can do different water activities from this location as well. They also have the white swings that you see posted everywhere. Definitely go, but it is a total different vibe than all the other places I have listed.

Gitano: Ahmad and I randomly found this place as we were walking after dinner one night. I was so glad we decided to stop and go in because it has so many hidden gyms. They have a live band, and 3 bars. I recommend going to the bar in the back. You won’t be able to see the bar because it is all the way to the back, but it is beyond gorgeous! I told Ahmad I wanted to get married there. They also have an additional outdoor patio which was really nice and romantic. I highly recommend going here and drinking. I am not sure if the food is good because we didn’t eat, but the drinks were very good! (Sidebar: apparently I am not hip to the game because I just passed this place last night in NY, so obviously they have more than one location. I am going to go there tonight!)

Rosa Negra: If you have a day where you want to splurge, then I highly recommend this place for dinner. It was the best steak I have ever had! I also tried their artichoke soup, and it was to die for (its enough for 2 people). They also have great drinks, but like I mentioned this is a $$$ restaurant, but totally worth it. Their customer service is beyond me. Funny story, Ahmad accidentally dropped his glasses and glass went everywhere. They cleaned it up so quickly that I forgot he even broke anything. I would definitely go for the steak and to partake in their dining experience.

Other places we ate at:

Comarade: cutest bar!

MUR MUR: you could skip this place if you don’t have time, nothing major!

El Milagrito: Great dinner spot! There is also a mojito bar two doors down that has live music that was pretty cool.

Burrito Amor: breakfast

Babel: breakfast

Ahmad and I literally went to so many hotels, sorry I didn’t get the name of them all, and just wanted to see the decor. I am in the process of redecorating some of the rooms in our home, and I think that traveling always inspires me and helps me create a mood board. I suggest just walking the strip and going in and out of hotels, and going to the different beach clubs. The beach club foods were not the best, so make be particular about where you want to eat each day for your meals.

You can also go into town, and this is where I recommend buying all of your souvenirs. If you buy them on the strip they are more expensive for the same exact crap. You can also negotiate in town to get the price down to what you want.

WHAT TO WEAR / PACK

Swimsuits

Beach towel

shorts

summer dresses

sandals

water shoes (if you are going to the cenotes)

sun block

beach hat

beach bag

Keep in mind it is very hot in humid, similar to Houston. They have tons of Copal everywhere which keeps the mosquitos away, but still bring bug repellent because Ahmad still had a few mosquito bites (which never itched after our clay massage).

The entire trip I went make up free, and took care of my skin with a few of my favorite Colleen Rothschild beauty products. I have been using these since I went to the Rewardstyle conference, and am now a huge fan. I did a video showing my steps, and will share on my IGTV and stories once I’m done editing the content. I just wanted to share with you because the Face Oil is perfect for vacation. It is a great moisturizer and hydrates your face while you are out in the sun.

MY LAST THOUGHTS ON TULUM

I would definitely book another trip to Tulum! I think I would go about it the same way and do some days in airbnb, and a few days at one of the top hotels on the strip. I really wanted to have a beach experience and get in the ocean, and the seaweed kind of mess up that plan. We were still able to get in the water, but you could feel the seaweed.

If you are looking to vacate and just relax, Tulum is that place. There are not a lot of kids, and most of the hotels are adult only. Unlike other tourist places, Tulum is quiet and we had no problem getting our own cabanas. Most beach clubs the cabanas are free, the only place that mentioned a charge was Nomade.

There is tons of construction going on there, and so many new condos that are being built for that airbnb experience. If you are into realestate I highly recommend looking into some properties there as they are super affordable.

Please reach out if you have any additional questions, and let me know how your vacation goes!!!!

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