Tuesday Travel

Tulum

As promised, today I’m excited to share all the details of our trip to Tulum, Mexico. This boho-chic beach town located on the Yucatan peninsula has been on my wanderlust list for quite some time. After last winter’s snow, I knew it was time to finally check it off the list.

Getting to Tulum is quite easy. Being a loyal  JetBlue flier, I was thrilled to see they offer a direct flight from Boston to Cancun. Once in Cancun, we arranged for a car to take us on the hour and a half drive. Tulum was much larger than I expected. Upon turning onto the beach road, our hotel was a good twenty minutes down the road. It’s funny, one side is beachy. One side is the jungle. And the temperature  changes just crossing the street.

While in Tulum, getting around is a breeze. There are plenty of cabs and it’s an easy walk on the beach or the main beach road to get to many a destination {except the ruins and cenote}. Several hotels offer free bikes. Sadly, ours was not one of them but there were several bike rental spots along the beach road. One word of caution: there are few lights on the beach road at night so a flashlight is a must.

As for money, plan on having pesos or American dollars on hand as several restaurants do not take credit cards.

Stay

CoquiCoqui

After much debate, we decided to stay at Coqui Coqui. Every detail of this 6-room hideaway is perfection.  We stayed in Room #5 with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea, a hammock, a giant tub and one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. Coqui Coqui is an eco-friendly resort, which basically means no air conditioning. At night, we fell asleep to a gentle breeze coming through our windows and the sound of the ocean. It reminded me of those nights sleeping on the beach in my late teens. And the sunrise from our room… there are no words. The Mayans originally called this beach town Zama or The City of Dawn, which was evident on our first morning!

Coqui, which opened in 2003, is certainly more than a hotel. Founded by Italian designer Francesca Bonato and her Argentine model partner Nicolas Malleville, Coqui Coqui is an experience for all your senses. These two thought of every detail when creating this oasis and used the coconut trees and the white sand beaches as their inspiration.From the limestone stairs leading to our room to the scent of coco in the room, Coqui Coqui embodies all that is Tulum. Even if you don’t stay here, I recommend you take a walk down the beach and experience this little piece of heaven.

I should note they have a small dining area and offer breakfast and lunch till about 6 pm. I recommend the morning granola and for an afternoon snack, ceviche. Their place settings are everything. I wish I could have bought a bowl to bring home with me.

Do

Cenote

Before Tulum, I had never heard of a cenote. If you haven’t either, allow me to provide a brief definition: A cenote is a swimming hole in the jungle that is formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. All the locals we talked to said a visit to a cenote is a must.

We decided to visit the Grand Cenote, which was a quick 30 minute cab ride from the hotel. The Mayans believed a cenote was a place of worship and used these sacred wells as a way to communicate with the gods. After snorkeling throughout these caves, I completely agree it is a spiritual experience. A perfect place to escape the jungle heat.

There are literally hundreds of cenotes in the area so do a little bit of research and decide which one is the right one for you.

ruins

The second thing the locals told us not to miss… a visit to the ancient Mayan ruins. One piece of advice: pack your swimsuit. There is a set of stairs to the right of the ruins that take you down to the beach where you get the most incredible view.

The one thing we didn’t have time to partake in was a spa treatment. There is a beautiful spa at Coqui Coqui but we also discovered The Yaan Wellness Center. Should I ever find myself back in Tulum, I assure you I will schedule a relaxation session here.

Shop

latroupe

The shopping in Tulum did not disappoint. A few places not to miss include:

La Troupe – Pictured above, this was my favorite boutique along the beach road. Their selection of hand-embroidered pillow cases made it nearly impossible to leave with just one.

LOL – A tiny boutique tucked inside the restaurant Posada Margaretia. This is the place to find the perfect beach cover-up or the softest t-shirt to remember my favorite place in Tulum.

Coqui Coqui Perfumeria – The ultimate sensory experience. We were first introduced to the amazing scents upon check-in at our hotel. Our room was filled with their diffusers and as a welcome gift, we received an assortment of perfumes, lotions and shampoos. With thirteen scents to chose from, it made it quite difficult to decide on a scent. K chose the ever popular Tabaco and I chose the Neroli Negro. A visit to Tulum isn’t complete without visiting this perfumeria on the beach.

Eat and Drink

Hartwood

Tulum was made for food lovers! With each meal, we were more blown away. Not only was the food amazing but every detail of the experience: from the wooden menus to the tables and chairs.  The inspiration was endless. Our favorites include:

Hartwood – Pictured above, this was the one place everyone said not to miss. Since they don’t take reservations, our one and only time to go was Sunday night. So, after quite a bit of research I decided my tactic was this. Get in-line at 12 noon {patrons typically line up at 1 pm for reservations} to be the first in-line to get our names on the list. Within 30 minutes, one of the line cooks {Austin} came over and said “typically people do line up for another hour or so.” To which I replied, “I know. Tonight is our only chance to eat here and I really want to so I am ok waiting.” A few minutes later he said, “how many are in your party?” I said two and he said we will see you at 5:30 pm. Let me tell you, I would have waited three hours for the meal we had. The jicama salad, octopus, robalo fish and cheese gelato were worth all the hype. In my top five dining experiences!

posada

Posada Margherita – This place, which is pictured above is a place I’ll remember forever. Go and you’ll see why. We loved breakfast so much we went twice. Although we didn’t make it to dinner, all the reviews are outstanding. I’ve missed the pink flamingo juice since we’ve been home.

gitano

Gitano – A bar in the jungle with amazing craft cocktails and a huge disco ball? How could you not want to go here. Gitano is literally across the street from Coqui Coqui so it is easy to stumble home after a few too many mezcal cocktails. Their chocolate mint sorbet is also quite delicious!

Taqueria La eufemia – Tacos on the beach. Need I say more. A quick 5 minute walk from Coqui Coqui, my only regret was that we found it on our last day.

Be Tulum – Be Tulum was our second choice of lodging for our trip. We knew we wanted to experience the hotel and thus decided to go for breakfast before visiting the ruins. The restaurant, set on the beach, is picturesque. We both had a delicious juice and I decided on the eggs benedict. One of the best I’ve ever had.

We also enjoyed Casa Jaguar and Casa Banana and a little taco stand MI Tierra.

Tulum was everything we hoped it would be! The perfect place to unwind. Planning a trip there, do let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help. And if you’d like to see more pictures from our trip, feel free to visit my Instagram page.

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