TRAVEL GUIDE TO TULUM 2020 by Jocelyn L.
Jocelyn L. is a Global Explorer, Fellow Foodie, and Music Lover. She loves architecture, history, music, art, and food. If you are into these, her travel diary will help you decide where to stay, eat, hang out, and play.
Tulum is the ultimate destination for wellness advocates, music lovers, digital nomads, gypsetters, jetsetters... you name it. It is a place to help us find peace, spirituality, to be more conscious, appreciate nature, unplug, connect with like-minded people, and of course, it is the ultimate winter party destination. Tulum is a truly stunning, beautiful, and special place because it has jungles, lagoons, cenotes, a white sandy beach, clear water (when the seaweed is not overgrown), and Mayan pyramids and ruins. Where else in the world can we find a place like this? Its history and culture are so rich, we sometimes need to be reminded of their breadth and glory.
Tulum has grown more popular every year, and its landscape has drastically changed over time as a result. When a place is that trendy, developers want to expand housing and hospitality, and more tourism means more pollution. Tulum is so special. I do hope we can help save the jungle and nature by being more conscious. This is what Tulum has taught me: be a more conscious tourist. Please take a moment to appreciate other people's land and culture, and follow their rules.
A few facts about Tulum
Tulum is about 1.5h away from Cancun.
"Zamá" (sunrise) was the city's name before "Tulum" (enclosure or wall). It was changed once they discovered the archaeological zone.
Tulum used to be a major Mayan Port.
Tulum once served as an important trading post for both inland and seafaring goods from far away places like Guatemala.
"Tulum was an astronomy school for noble Aztecs, Zapotec, and other ancient cultures reigning in the time of its splendor." (Source: Solera Tulum)
"The city was dedicated to the planet Venus and built around an astronomical tower, with rooms of obsidian mirrors to project the sky and study the stars." (Source: Solera Tulum)
"It is the only protected natural zone in the Cancun-Tulum corridor and the hydrological region that contributes the largest amount of fresh water to the sea with its subterranean rivers and cenotes." (Source: Solera Tulum)
Make sure to withdraw enough cash at the airport. ATMs in Tulum often run out of cash, especially during peak season.
On that note, keep enough cash on you at all times as taxi drivers do not accept credit cards.
Negotiate your taxi fare. There are no meters, and taxi drivers will usually try to make you pay a higher price.
DO NOT drink the tap water or brush your teeth with it. The water is not safe for consumption.
DO NOT flush toilet paper or sanitary products down the toilet; the pipes are not sophisticated enough to handle it. Most importantly, there is no sewage system. Some places will dump the sewage waste in the jungle or cenotes. Let's be more conscious about the environment.
Bikes and electrical bikes are the best way to get around on Tulum beach. Road traffic is always horrible because of Tulum's small roads.
Bring mosquito spray!
Avoid traveling to Tulum in June, September, and October — it's rainy season.
Where to stay
There are so many options but I suggest staying on the beachfront hotels, if your budget allows, as the experience is far better. The commute from downtown Tulum to the beach is not pleasant because of the traffic.
Be Tulum — One of my favorite hotels in the world. All the rooms are hidden in Tulum's lush nature. It also hosts one of the best New Year's Eve parties.
Nomade — Wellness-focused hotel
Casa Malca — Art hotel
Ahau Tulum — The OG of Tulum and an eco-friendly hotel. It hosts an annual NYE White Party as well as Art with Me.
Habitas Tulum — For a glamping experience.
Casa Maya Kaan — Stay in the Sian K'aan ecological reserve.
Naga Tulum — Stay in the ecological reserve with B&B experience and practice yoga with Chaman, one of the best yoga teachers you'll have the chance to meet.
The developments in Aldea Zama Tulum
Where to eat
There are so many gastronomical restaurants in Tulum that serve the freshest ingredients. You simply must take the time to go to one of them.
Hartwoord — Go early to wait for a table
Ocumare at Be Tulum
The Real Coconut at Sanará — For healthy dining
Safari Comedor Zama
Loyal Order Tulum
Where to play
Zamna — Only during New Year's Eve season
Day Zero — festival in January
Art with Me — festival in November
Where to relax
ICBRKR One-Day Retreat for Wellness Advocates (November 2020) — Check the ICBRKR app for more info.
Nomade — They have a daily wellness schedule. Don't miss tantric sex classes with Bibi.
Sanará Tulum — Multi-Vibrational Sound Healing
Holistika Tulum — Downtown
Yäan Healing Sanctuary — Energy healing and more led by indigenous people.
Where to shop
Enjoy the multitude of sustainable fashion and awesome beach chic stores.
Caravana — Special weaved fabric and very Tulum-like outfit
De la Rose
Naia — Super cool Mexico City designers
Arte Sano — For bags, etc.
Map — For accessories
Casa Violeta's shop
Lotita + Lolita — For natural products
Carla Fernandez Tulum
Tuluminati — For hats
Take historical tours of the area, like the Mayan Chichén Itzá — one of the new 7 Wonders of the World.
Visit the cenotes and lagoons.
Do a street art tour in Downtown Tulum.
Visit Azulik Uh May.
Catch the breathtaking sunset on the beach and cotton candy-colored sky every evening.
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