tulum travel guide

8 Things to Do in Tulum That Are Ultimate Instagram Bait

Where to eat, stay, drink and play.

By: Noah Lehava
Photography: Noah Lehava

Tulum is having a moment. OK, so technically it’s been having a little ~more~ than a moment. Mexico’s chic, more chill sister of the spring-break-obsessed Playa del Carmen has its porcelain-white sand and evian water beaches, jungle blanketed eco-hotels, and tree house restaurants to keep drawing in a crowd. And I hate to say it, but it’s true: This place is ~made~ for Instagram. Grab your Cult Gaia and head to a few favorite places to eat, drink, stay, and play in Tulum that will fill your camera roll.

 


STAY


Maria Del Mar

Tulum can be hectic during high season, but Maria Del Mar’s 18-suite boutique hotel is the ultimate escape from the Kiini-clad crowds. Each room is filled with natural finishings—most of which are upcycled from old fishermen’s homes—and locally hand-painted tiles you’re going to want to rip off for your own home decor. The true highlight is the private beach, tucked in its own rock-walled alcove—you’ll have the turquoise water all to yourself! As the sun sets, pull up a seat at Mina and order a “Garbage Girl” (full disclosure: It’s an off-the-menu item my friends and I coined while visiting in October, and it’s boozy, coconutty deliciousness!), and have a hilarious conversation with the ultra chic Argentine manager, Uki Hepe.

 

Casa Malca

Netflix enthusiasts, unite! Narcos’ OG drug lord, Pablo Escobar, built this secluded beach-front home IRL back in the ’80s. Now NYC-based art dealer Lio Malca has given it an eccentric makeover fitting of an art gallery. You’ll shuffle your sand-coated feet past a weeping Kaws statue and guzzle your third spicy margarita beside oversized fiberglass ants by Rafael Gomez Barros. NBD. Make sure you don’t miss the best sunsets in Tulum at Casa Malca’s rooftop deck.  

 


EAT


INGREDIENTS 1 suckling pig (or a bone in, skin on pork... Read More

grand electric

Taqueria La Eufemia

Leave the wedges and heels at home, honey! Flip-flops or barefoot is the only appropriate footwear for a beachfront taco night at La Eufemia. Go hungry (the tacos are some of the best in Tulum!) and ready for two-for-one margs (I’m pretty sure this is a nightly special). You might just stay there till morning.

 

Tunich

Not to sound too clichéd, but Tunich is as cheap and cheerful as it gets. Tulum can get quite pricey, so finding a spot with tasty and fresh eats that are affordable is like scoring a pair of Balenciaga Triple S’s without the resale markup. Make sure to snag a breakfast muffin before they sell out!

 

Cenzontle

If you’ve had your fill of fish tacos (is there such a thing?), Cenzontle offers up a whole menu of really tasty Mexican dishes that go a bit off kilter. In the best way possible, of course. Think piquillo peppers with goat cheese, chipotle perfume and avocado mousse, and fresh octopus cocktail with ginger mayo and jicama juice. It’s a candlelit jungle meal to remember.

 


SHOP


KM33

You won’t find technicolor cartoon-lizard-emblazoned tourist garb here. Sara Galindo and Gael Deboise’s impeccably curated boutique is a must-visit if you’re looking to do some credit-card damage. Flowy linen dresses, tasseled bags, and only the chicest selection of straw hats in sand-blasted color palettes are just a few of the pieces you’ll find inside.

 


DO


Tulum Ruins

While this isn’t the most off-the-beaten-track recommendation, you can’t *not* see the Mayan city perched on its limestone cliff while visiting Tulum. Go early to beat the crowds, and snag some alone time at the pristine white sand beach.

 

Akumal

Just a short 20-minute drive from Tulum, you’ll find some of the most jaw-dropping beaches (gridworthy for sure) and stalactite and stalagmite caves.

 

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