I'm so excited to be sharing my Mexico adventures here with all of you!
First I think I should start with how I got here...my boyfriend, Colin and I, knew that we wanted to go somewhere...anywhere over the holidays to get out of Toronto's -30 degree celsius temps.
Cost was a big factor here as this was a last minute trip planned for the busiest travel time of the year December 26th (boxing day) to January 3 (staying for New Years Eve). I did a generic search for the cheapest flights worldwide and was pretty surprised when Cancun came up as a destination for $500/person round trip.
Toronto, Canada - Houston, Texas (24 hr layover - YAY love layovers) - Cancun, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico - Denver, Colorado (9 hr layover) - Toronto, Canada
*If you don't enjoy layovers you probably won't enjoy this flight option but we had a great time in Houston and loved walking around Denver for the day!
You need to visit TULUM if you….
Love friendly people
Love smoothie bowls
Love healthy foods (SO many veggie/vegan options)
Love Mexican food ie. tacos, guac and burritos galore
Love meeting new people (tons of Australians, Brits, and French people)
Love exploring ruins, cenote's (more below)
Love the outdoors - stunning landscapes everywhere you look
Love crystal blue water and white sand
Where to Stay:
We opted for an Airbnb but saw so many amazing boutique hotels that would be perfect if you're willing to spend a bit more!
Sanara (pictured below - has the most gorgeous lounge area on the beach and a beautiful patio restaurant overlooking the ocean - more pictures a bit further down)
Nomade (more pictures below - a more splurge worthy hotel offering spa and fitness services with a stunning dining and ocean front area)
Azulik (Absolute Goals - google it and you will see...we could only see from the beach and far away as a large part of it is private but the rooms are insane and very exclusive it seems so good luck trying to get a room!)
Morning: Arrive at the Cancun, Mexico Airport
*Take a shuttle to your destination (sharing a van/shuttle is much more affordable than a personal taxi.
Afternoon: We settled into our AirBnB and set out for lunch on the beach. Reviews for our AirBnB said that the beach was a 5-10 minute walk but I'm pretty sure the people who wrote these reviews were crawling to the beach because it was absolutely tops a 60 second walk. We instantly fell in love with the clear white sand and crystal blue water!
NOTE: Before you settle into Tulum / Before you get on the plane to Mexico - BRING CASH!
Everything is Cash Only on the beach and even though there are ATM's they only dispense American cash and did not have any available the entire time we were in Tulum.
Lunch: We enjoyed lunch on a beach bed - ordered guacamole, fish tacos, mojito's & beers. You can find many places to soak up the sun on the beach as long as you spend a minimum of 400 pesos/around $25 for the day on food and drinks. We did not have a problem finding amazing food and even better drinks on the beach every day!
I think this option of going to different beach areas is a great way to enjoy the beach! Often we would start our day with a long walk down the beach to decide where we would relax after our morning activities or before our evening adventures. This option (opposed to staying at a beach front hotel/resort) was also much nicer because we could go wherever we wanted without feeling like we had to stay at one spot for our entire trip.
Dinner: Endless options! The Beach Road (that we were lucky enough to stay on) had SO many options..Mexican, of course, vegan restaurants, Italian etc.
Here are a few suggestions of dinner restaurants/bars that I didn't get shots of because of the darkness of the jungle at night. (All restaurants listed below are outdoor seating only, which made for beautiful jungle vibe dinners with string lights, often live music and incredible food!)
Casa Banana - A cute jungle vibe bar with beautiful string lights and all outdoor seating. This spot offers your first drink for free if you follow their Instagram account so this was really a no brainer for our first stop and we quickly realized how popular it is! I actually saw a man give the hostess a $100 bill and she said ok I can seat you in an hour...and that was the best she could do for him HA We went back a few nights later and put our names down and then went back to our AirBnB and relaxed, got ready and an hour and 45 mins later our table was ready - pretty crazy!
Hartwood - Arguably the best restaurant in Tulum. This spot has line ups every night when it opens at 5:30pm, which is crazy to me because it was still bright at this time of the day. I made reservations two months before we arrived and had no problem.
Gitano - Jungle vibes again set back a bit from the road with a neon pink sign to help you find it! This spot was great for drinks and food and had such good energy!
Casa Jaguar - Popular spot to splurge, set in a beautiful garden like dining area.
Arca - Great for drinks, set in an outdoor area with beautiful lights and a stunning bar!
Simple - This seafood restaurant has crazy amounts of fresh fish (we literally watched them catch the fish in the ocean and unload the fresh catches at the restaurant one day) I'm not a big fish person but was so cool to see how fresh it actually is. Side note there mojito's were out of this world good and they have great live music in a cute setting.
Mur Mur - Another high end spot that we didn't try but looked lovely if you want to treat yourself!
Rosa Negra - Beautiful seating area with massive overhead dim lighting and a great bar.
Morning: We decided to head to my most saved instagram pic for this trip from other travellers who had visited Tulum, Matcha Mama. This spot was so adorable & served the most delicious acai bowls, which in my opinion is the best way to start any day!
After breakfast we took a stroll through some of the boutique hotels!
Afternoon: Beach Time!
Some of my beach essentials...
- A Beach Cover Up! Or a cute little skirt/scarf that can double as a wrap like the one pictured above that I'm pretty sure I got for $2.00 at Value Village ten years ago.
- Sunscreen! I have learned my lesson in the past with burning my skin and am now an avid sun screen user.
- Sunnies! A great pair of sunglasses can make your whole look feel so much nicer and put together (I stole these from my sister who got them at Topshop)
- A cute bather! This one is also courtesy of my sister and was a steal from H&M.
- Jewelry! This was never on my list before but ever since I started following @lishomsy her beach look with tons of gold jewelry inspired me to step up my game! I started with simple gold earrings and a layered necklace also from H&M.
- A good book! This trip I brought Eat, Pray, Love: Made Me Do It! and devoured it on the beach. Real stories about readers of Eat, Pray, Love whose lives changed dramatically after reading the book.
We vowed to wake up early and beat the crowds at the Mayan Ruins but on our way, while biking, we both realized we would be super hungry and cranky if we didn't eat before we went out on our adventure so we stopped at Raw Love and are SO glad we did!
After breakfast we did ride our cute little bikes (courtesy of our AirBnB) to the Mayan Ruins and were with a million other tourists but I genuinely didn't mind because we had the nicest breakfast in hammocks in the jungle! I got the passionfruit smoothie bowl and a little rawnola brownie and Colin got an acai bowl!
Romper & Pink Bather Under - Topshop (this trip should have been sponsored by Topshop because I bought so many things on major sale when I booked this trip back in November)
Necklace - H&M
Head Scarf - Honey Stores
Sandals - Old Navy
After the Ruins we biked back on the Beach Road and stopped for lunch at I Scream Bar, also where we rang in the New Year with an amazing band and a crazy amount of young awesome people!
For lunch I got roasted cauliflower YUM and of course guac...I think we had avocados almost every single meal on this trip. There was also an adorable gelato shop beside I Scream and the I Scream Bar itself had a cat house, the bar was an old blue truck and was just the cutest spot!
After lunch we spent most of the afternoon on the beach!
Coco Tulum was a fun spot with white swings and beach beds!
During our walk back along the beach to our AirBnB we spotted Posada Margherita and quickly realized it was a must eat at spot for dinner (since we were full from lunch!)
Here are some pictures of this adorable spot during the day! I wish we ate lunch here so I could have photographed the beauty of the food! (Pasta Pasta Pasta)
I know it seems odd to have Italian in Mexico but this restaurant was incredible and clearly a lot of people agree because at 8pm that night we waited about an hour for a table. Not a problem because you can grab a drink, sit on a beach bed and gaze at the stars while you wait! It was so romantic and special at night!
We started out the day by grabbing our cute little bikes and heading to Nomade for breakfast! I had heard that this hotel was beautiful and that the restaurant had a cool vibe and I would totally agree. The hotel grounds were perfect and had signs for yoga and meditation everywhere and the restaurant was full of pillows to sit on while you eat. I ordered the vegan pancakes with coconut yogurt, vanilla gelato and berry compote and LOVED it! Colin got a spicy egg dish and a smoothie to start the day and had so much energy!
After breakfast we jumped back on our bikes (had a quick outfit change) and then headed to a Cenote that we saw a sign for not too far from our AirBnB the day earlier. We were debating between Grand Cenote or Dos Ojos but decided on Cenote Caoe Ha because we hoped we might have it all to ourselves...and we did!
Top: Aritzia Tank & Winners (a steal!)
Bag: My favorite Christmas gift from Mimic Designs
Bathing Suit: J Crew
Hat: My Sister's Farmers Market Find
We arrived at 10:00am, paid the cute little man 100 pesos for entrance and began to walk along a laid out path to get to the cenote. Once we arrived (5min walk) we found two lawn chairs on a beautiful dock and the most crystal blue water in the middle of nature. At first, I was a bit hesitant to swim because we saw 3 massive fish but once Colin jumped in they disappeared and I pretended like they were never there haha. The water was refreshing but not cold by any means and it was fresh water, which was such a nice break from the salty ocean. We spent our morning snorkeling, watching little fishies swim around, floating in the cenote and listening to the prettiest birds chirp. Such a nice way to start the day.
After our perfect morning at the cenote...you guessed it...we headed back to the beach!
This time we spent the day at the Arena Blue hotel beach front and enjoyed guac (duh!) fish tacos, drinks and fresh coconut!
After a super great sunny beach day we biked into Tulum City for dinner! Decided not to bring the camera but would highly recommend going to Batey Mojito for the BEST mojito's! Passionfruit was my fave and you can watch them freshly squeeze sugar cane in the coolest car machine (you have to see it for yourself. This main street was super busy and fun and had mariachi bands playing all over!
This morning we woke up slowly and headed to Sanara, The Real Coconut for breakfast with a view! They seriously have the most beautiful patio overlooking the ocean. We loved spending our morning here and would definitely recommend it!
NEW YEARS DAY! Happy 2018 friends!
We spent New Years Day exploring the shops along The Beach Road. So many bags, paintings, pillow covers, dishes, cups and hammocks! Hammocks everywhere! Makes me want to get rid of all the furniture in my apartment and just have hammocks and swings like Tulum! Haha.
Our final day in Tulum was spent at on the beach relaxing, eating, tanning, swimming, reading, drinking. Probably the only full day that we totally relaxed and didn't have some sort of activity plan. Such a perfect way to settle into the new year!
This trip left me feeling like I have to FOLLOW THAT DREAM! (the travel dream that is - anyone else's travel bug alive and well?) Booking 2018 trips start now!