We just got back from an amazing trip to Tulum and wanted to share a few of our favorite spots in case you ever find yourself going! This jungly beach town is packed with cool sites, so we limited this to just our must-est must-dos.
- Deer Tulum - Lovely space featuring artisans from around Mexico making everything from dresses to mugs to furniture
- AvF Artisanos - Tiny little shop for the handmade huaraches brand
- Ki'bok - An institution in town. It is the go-to spot along the main drag in town for what one would think of as craft espresso drinks.
- Quentin Cafe - Located inside Deer Tulum, this spot is fantastic by any coffee shop standards. A whole range of pour over options and they even do cuppings on occasion.
- Tulum Arts Club - Part coffee shop, part art gallery, part de facto co-working space. If you're looking for a break from coffee and booze, the kombuchas they have are phenomenal.
- Teetotem - Really could put this place under tacos or upscale or created a whole new category - it deserves it. It's located along the main connector road between town and the beach so you'd be forgiven for overlooking it. You'd also be missing out if you did. It's technically a hotel but the restaurant/bar in front is fantastic and fantastically designed. One of our all-around favorite spots.
- La Chiapaneca - This is the place you are picturing when you imagine an "authentic Mexican restaurant." The tacos are made even more delicious by the fact that they are about $0.60 each. Very easy to wash down with a $1.50 Corona too.
- Taqueria Honorio - Basically an elaborate roadside grill and tent just off the main drag so obviously fantastic.
- Encanto Cantina - Perfect if you're looking for good tacos in a chill spot in town with delicious cocktails, especially in the evening.
- Burrito Amor - If you want to be in Mexico but feel like you're in Austin, this is the place for you. Jabs aside, the burritos are great and the vibe is very relaxed. If you're in Tulum for more than a few days I'd definitely put it on your list.
- Taqueria La Eufemia - I've intentionally saved the best for last. La Eufemia defies its location along the bougie beach road by serving up cheap, fantastic tacos overlooking a great stretch of beach with a non-Tuluminista vibe. If you're lucky, you may be there during a traditional Mayan moon ritual demonstration as well.
- Gitano - Eat your heart out, Los Angeles. Gitano is absurdly well designed and branded. We didn't have any food (we hear it's great) but the cocktails were inventive and delicious.
- Mur Mur - Best meal we had on the trip. You've probably heard about Hartwood by now. If you want Hartwood but don't want to have to deal with all its Hartwoodiness, there are a couple other spots ready for you: Kitchen Table, Arca, and Mur Mur to name a few. We only had time for one and picked Mur Mur. It was everything we hoped and more: wood-fired and delicious.
- Posada Margherita - Every Tulum list that includes Posada Margherita begins the same way, "Why would I go to Mexico to have Italian food..." They all go on to answer it convincingly and now we can answer too: After several days of eating tacos for every meal your palate will want a counterpoint. I don't know what my favorite part was: the hand-made pasta, the carafe of Rose, the view of the beach, or the second carafe of red wine we drank over the course of a couple hours after dinner in one of their cabanas.
- Safari - Self-proclaimed "campfire food" cooked on an open campfire in front of the kitchen, aka airstream trailer. Very close second to Mur Mur for our favorite meal of the week. Definitely the best dessert.
- Papaya Playa - We had a pass included with our Airbnb and were very glad we did. Great cabanas, good music, delicious food and drinks, and the best pool overlooking the ocean of anywhere we saw.
- Hotel Zulum - We stopped by for one good reason and one good reason alone: An adorable burro named Sancho lives here!
- La Zebra - This is a great place to start your evening along the beach road a little early. The cabanas right on the beach are really nice and the cocktails are great. The Mulberry Project was doing a pop-up so we ordered a pitcher of "mezcal + watermelon + refreshing" and spent a delightful several hours in the shade of a thatched hut.
- Cenote Azul - There may literally be more cenotes than you can count around Tulum so it's easy to get overwhelmed trying to pick the best one. Exhausted from searching, we finally settled on Cenote Azul b/c it sounded good and is close to two others just in case it was disappointing (Cenote Jardin de Eden and Cenote Cristalino). It was the opposite of disappointing. It's about a 30min car trip North from town and has a trio of little pools to bounce around between. Water shoes are recommended if you have them (we did not) but not necessary. TIP: Get there as early as you can. There were only a few people when we got there about 9am but by 10:30 it was becoming a madhouse.
- Tulum Ruins - The ruins are actually pretty amazing in their own right - it's not just amorphous piles of old stone - but they are made even more amazing by the location along a cliffside that drops straight down into the ocean. Plus there are a ton of iguanas keeping watch and if you're lucky you'll see a Coati or two. What are those, you ask? Imagine an incredibly adorable combination of racoon, monkey, anteater, and puppy.
- Kaan Luum Lagoon - You really have to see it to believe it. The color of the water in pictures is even better in person. It is amazing to swim around in and the bottom is a nice sandy texture, not a weird, slimy lake floor like you'd expect.
Secret spot ;-)
- The best cocktail we had was at a place we stumbled upon completely by accident that seems almost intentionally off the radar. It is so precious that we aren't including it in our guide but will tell you about it if you ask nicely...