Tulum is found nearly halfway down the Caribbean Riviera of Mexico. Surrounded by Yucatan jungle and bordering the huge Sian Ka’an nature reserve, this ultra laid-back town boasts perfect blue ocean and soft fine sand. Despite the increase in tourism over the past 30 years (it’s rivalling nearby Cancun with tourism revenue only without the battle for sunbeds), Tulum remains the perfect balance of authentic Mayan culture and Californian bohemia – traces of Tulum’s past as a 1970s hippie haven.
Eating & Drinking
The town centre of Tulum is where you’ll find the locals eating. It’s a sleepy place with an urban edge. Every third or fourth building is painted with vibrant colours or street art and it feels relatively untouched by the soulless mark of gentrification. As you investigate the town, you can’t miss El Pollo Bronco. This BBQ chicken restaurant is decked with plastic garden furniture, packed with locals and emenates aromas of BBQ into the streets. The busyness says all you need to know about the food – it’s delicious.
Just around the corner is Roraima Burgers, a heavenly spot with silky milkshakes, chunky cheesy chips and dips to die for. And all for the price of a pint in a London pub. Take a super cheap taxi ride or twenty-minute cycle to the beach and you’ll find a collection of slightly more pricey, tourist-targeted restaurants. However, we’re not telling you to avoid these places. Quite the opposite.
Hidden in a cluster of twinkle-lit trees, before you reach the beach, sits an airstream caravan whipping up damn fine vegan tacos catering to the conscious traveller. Gorge guilt-free at Charly’s Vegan Tacos or you’ll live to regret missing out on this delicious, authentic Mexican dish.
Standing 200 steps up on the ancient Mayan ruin of Ek-Balam, with dense jungle as far as the eye can see, you could easily miss them. But deep within the heart of the Yucatan lies an intricate and breathtaking labyrinth of freshwater caves, better known as cenotes (pronounced sen-oat-ee).
It’s hard to believe this tropical paradise could exist beneath the beguiling canopy. Some of these cenotes are run by locals and have been opened up to travellers. Some are keener to capitalise on their Instagram factor.
However many remain undeveloped. They’re instead run by a couple of guys sat on deckchairs, sipping on coronas, awaiting your arrival. It’s at these Cenotes where you can truly experience the peace and beauty of the former hippie paradise.
The town has an emphasis on ecotourism due to its symbiotic relationship with the surrounding ocean and wildlife. Whether that means the banning of plastic straws to protect the turtle population or using locally reclaimed materials to make as little impact on the environment as possible. Tulum has a healthy range of eco-conscious resorts, covering a broad price range. See our growing collection here.