An Idiot’s Guide to Tulum.
Tulum, Quintana Roo. Mexico.
After suffering through a number of days in rural Cuba with a bout of what can only be described as Satan’s work aka food poisoning, arriving on the sunny shores of Tulum was nothing short of euphoric. While a few of my magical days in Tulum were spent sculling Electrolit (what a name, right?) and popping & pooping pills, I was lucky enough to make a speedy recovery and enjoy some of the dreamy Mexican delights on offer. Here goes…
Pictured: fully healthy cretin.
One of Mexico’s greatest natural wonders are its abundance of natural springs or cenotes. As an exceptionally mediocre swimmer with a talent for drowning herself and those around her, I found these stunning natural pools easy on the eye and the swimming skills.
Cenote Nicte Ha.
About 10 minutes’ drive from Tulum town centre, Nicte Ha boasts an impressive selection of different springs, caves and cenotes. A quiet spot for a dip and photo opportunity, just make sure you get your ride to drive you down to the cenote. We, like the bunch of peanuts we absolutely are, sent the taxi away at the gate and enjoyed a brisk kilometre or three jog down a long ass, rocky path. Woe is me.
My advice – bring some damn bug spray, cause boy those mozzies are relentless bastards. Ideally a natural option as not to pollute the beautiful, clean waters of the cenote. Speaking of polluting the waters, no golden showers people. I understand wholeheartedly the level of restraint it requires but ya know, look after that environment and all.
An impressively large and well organised spring, Gran Cenote is one of Tulum’s most popular spots. I’d recommend knocking their doors down at 9am for a smidge of P&Q before the masses invade. There are a heap (score, gaggle, murder perhaps?) of turtles to share the water with so keep an eye out. They’re pretty badass at Marco Polo and will kick yo ass in chasey – watch out punks.
A little further out than many of the other cenotes but well worth the trek, Casa is noticeably without many of the man-made additions of stairs and decks.
My favourite of all of the cenotes, Casa is home to a friendly and very peaceful crocadilly and a metric tonne of fisheys – scientific names only please. Like any cenote, I recommend an early call time to avoid the masses of screamy, smelly tourists. Bring your own snorkel gear or hire some when you’re there, you’d be more than missing out just paddling in the waters. 20/10 mucho love, mucho reommendo.
Playa Tulum is a long stretch of ritzy resorts, shops, spiffy restaurants and nifty beach clubs (participation award for greatest number of Kath & Kim adjectives used in one sentence). Whether you’re staying in town or in Playa, this expanse of shore and shopping is a revellers dream.
World By Hand.
As soon as I walked past this aesthetic, little shop front I was pretty bloody enamoured. Hand-made artesian rugs and pillows generously decorate the walls. WBH has an emphasis on ethical creations and as an added bonus, they ship! Make sure you check out their amazing crowns and jewels and if you look closely, the remnants of my drool can still be seen in-store.
La Eufemia Beach Club.
For those staying in town, La Eufemia is your best bet for snagging a seat shore side. The entire beach is free game but most resorts and hotels restrict the use of loungers for guests only.
La Eufemia has a gnarly set up with mattresses, hammocks, tables and most importantly, guac on tap. Make sure you try the watermelon juices, veggie tacos and guacamole, they’ll have you singing tunes of elation.
Vegans and food lovers, REJOICE. This place is a real knee slapper and this slapper was slapping, i tell ya. The coconut ceviche, local mole, aromatic noodles and lettuce tacos were more than I could’ve wished for. Fresh, skilfully created and original, this spot is worth splashing a bit of cash on. The watermelon, peppermint and ginger mocktail got me happy drunk, I swear.
Tulum town centre is a cluster of artesian shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. For the entirety of my stay I was settled in Tulum town and absolutely adored it. Don’t feel like you’re missing out if you’re not staying on the beach people, no fomo here.
La Hoja Verde.
Specialising in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, this cute lil’ café is nestled just off the main drag. The gorgeous staff were a highlight with a welcoming smile each time we invaded their special spot with our stinkin’ bodies. The watermelon juice and vegan omelette gave me a total lady boner.
De Cicelo Tropical Bistro.
Air con, air con, air con. Choccie croissants, fresh bread and avo on toast, what every tourist comes to Mexico for. Authentic millennial heaven. There’s a diverse range of Mexican and Western fares with a delicious range of tostadas with avo, beans, eggs and goats cheese, an option I revisited a number of times. On our multiple excursions to De Cicelo we tried and scoffed everything, e v e r y t h i n g I repeat.
Hernandez Gallery Tulum.
Crack for souvenir hunters, this place was one of few stores I found Mexico-wide with genuinely usable souvos. I of course, bee lined for the handbags and rugs. Honourable mention to the huge range of aluminium crosses and Frida shrines. The deadset legends at the counter saw the state of my cuticles and chucked a 10% discount my way. What’s not to like?
A street off the main drag you will find the sweet, peaceful and gloriously aesthetic cafe Mercado Candelaria. With an alfresco eating set up, more intimate dining area and quirky bar set up, this spot caters for all. We headed there for a bite of brekky and an oggle at the beautiful surroundings.
The lunch menu had a few more options my icky, picky palette liked the sound of but the cocktails are spoken about around town as if the stuff of myths. My advice, head for in lunch or dinner and grab a bloody cocktail for me.
Viola! There it is boys, my shopping & eating guide to the bees knees town of Tulum. Enjoy, drink too much and do us over here at the guacamole fan club proud.