Tulum is a tropical resort town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, about 1.5hrs drive from the Cancún Airport. To be honest, before last month I knew nothing about Tulum except that it looked beautiful and was somewhere near Playa del Carmen. So I was beyond thrilled when my friends decided to elope there. A beach wedding in a place I have never been?
Count me in!
After visiting, I learned Tulum is home to the Pre-Columbian Maya walled city that was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries, serving as a major port for Cobá. The ruins are situated on tall cliffs, in the Tulum National Park, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Maya, and it managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise.
Now, in present day, Tulum has become a popular tourist destination due to its magical jungle setting, beautiful beaches, and its array of yoga retreats, resorts, restaurants, bars and boutiques. Carretera Bocca Paila is the happening beachfront street on the juggles edge, where you should stay in order to be walking distance to all of this. In addition to the Mayan ruins in Tulum and Chichen Itza, the cenotes (fresh water pools) have become a very popular attraction, along with swimming with the sea turtles and dolphins, charter fishing and a range of water sports including kite surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
We took Happy Shuttle Cancun from the Cancun Airport to Tulum, which was $175 USD round trip (the currency in Tulum is Pesos but most places take USD as well as credit cards) and stayed at an awesome beachfront villa called Casa Dos Besos. My only complaints about the accommodations are that we could not flush toilet paper down the toilet (this is how much of the plumbing is in Tulum) and there was no air conditioning. However, if you are in one of the rooms on the water, all you need is the ocean breeze, and in the other bungalows, a fan does the trick at keeping you cool while you are sleeping. The rest of the time you will be hot and sweaty so don’t bother packing much make-up and just embrace the heat!
For good eats, be sure to check out Cetli in Old Town Tulum (about a 15 minutes taxi ride from the main part of Carretera Bocca Paila) for authentic Mexican food specializing in amazing sauces – they offer 6 types of mole – all delicious! Kitchen Table, located on the jungle side of the beach road, is a farm to table little place that offers fresh local produce and seriously delicious cocktails. Also go to La Zebra for dinner and salsa dancing under the stars!
Tulum has a magical aura. It is hard to explain but everyone on our trip agreed it is a special place on earth and worth a visit. It is no wonder my friends chose to have their wedding in Tulum. And it is no wonder the Mayans chose this land as a place to build one of their treasured ports and a sacred place of worship.
If you like yoga be sure to take a class at SANARA. They have a beautiful yoga and transformation studio overlooking the ocean. I am not very good at yoga but I enjoyed the atmosphere!
My friends said the beaches in Tulum were not this way last time they visited, but due to a recent storm, there was sadly a lot of trash and seaweed on the beach during our stay.