Tulum, a coastal town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico… where do I begin? It’s so wonderful!
I just spent a week in and around Tulum with my husband Scott Solary for my birthday, and it was the best vacation we’ve had in a long time, if not ever.
To me, it’s the perfect vacation place: the beautiful turquoise water and white beaches (even during this time of unusual amounts of kelp), the warm weather, the history and exploration of Mayan ruins, the amazing food and cocktails, the fascinating wildlife (iguanas, coatis, iguanas, frigatebirds, iguanas, pelicans, iguanas, toucans, iguanas…), the friendly people, snorkeling with turtles in nearby cenotes (cave sinkholes) and the access to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. I even found street art!
Actually, we only spent half our vacation in Tulum and the other in Sian Ka’an. I’ll be releasing separate videos about Gran Cenote, Sian Ka’an and a few other experiences in the coming weeks.
Everything else, you’ll see in the video – including shots from Tulum Pueblo (the town a few kilometers away from the waterfront) and the charming canopied street of Zona Hotelera where you will find great restaurants, bars, shops and cabana hotels (small houses, instead of big resort buildings) both on the jungle and on the beach side. This is a place for foodies not just because of the Mexican food, especially the street tacos, but also because of chefs from around the world opening up farm-to-table and other high quality outdoor restaurants.
While in Tulum, we stayed at the Los Lirios Hotel Cabanas and enjoyed our big balcony with hammock overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Conveniently, that place comes with 24-hour electricity, your own bathroom and excellent breakfast and dinner included. We still kept venturing out for food, and I can now highly recommend Arca and Casa Banana (Argentinian food) and El Pez, Mezcal Monk and Zamas for cocktails on the beach. By the way, we couldn’t be bothered to wait for an hour in the afternoon to get a table in the evening at Hartwood. Vacation time was too valuable for that.
I’ve already mentioned the never-ending array of iguanas. But it’s the frigatebird (fregata) that was most captivating – looking like a pterodactyl as it soars above the sea.
Another special image that will remain with me is the street sign “Stay Present” along the Tulum Zona Hotelera road. A wonderful reminder that may not be necessary while you’re on vacation (when it’s all about being in the present), but a good image to take with us when we are back in our normal everyday life.
Of course, you can’t talk about Tulum without talking about the ruins of the Pre-Columbian Mayan wall city perched above the sea. While we had heard that it’s best to go early or late in the day, we had great luck with finding the place not too crowded right in the middle of my birthday.
Other tips I’d like to share:
If you do rent a car (to drive the 1 1/2 hours from the Cancun airport to Tulum and beyond) do not rent from EZ or any of their affiliates (like America Car Rental). They seem to be in the business of rip-off, if not actual fraud (not actually being at the airport, giving you a lesser car than you reserved and charging 3 times the amount you had originally booked). I’m very proud of us keeping a cool head, going through their BS process and then returning an hour later with the jeep we had rented at Alamo (which is in the airport) and dropping off the silly car EZ had pushed on us.
Bring your own koozies to keep your caned beverages cold! They apparently haven’t made it to that area of the world yet. Instead of adding fun new local koozies to our collection, we had to settle for Ed Hardy koozies, the only ones we found at a souvenir shop after searching for a few days. Oh, and ice is called hielo. Last but not least, go have some street tacos.
Over the next few weeks/months, I plan to release videos about the following other places I visited on this Yucatán trip:
… and possibly a few other collections.
Also, I plan to put together a longer slower version of this video and publish it here. That 1-minute rule can be quite constraining… UPDATE: here you can finally watch the longer, slower Tulum video with never-before-seen footage: “Tulum, Mexico (extended video)“.
The song in this video is called “One Fine Day” and was written and performed by Jason Shaw, who made this song available via the CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you for all your great (and free) music, Jason!