I first looked into Tulum when I saw all the amazing pictures on Instagram of the urban jungle retreat. It was one of those places where I wondered if it would be as good as it looked online in real life but it didn’t disappoint.
We had a fabulous 5 days away at the beautiful Be Tulum Hotel. When we arrived, we were greeted by the lovely staff and a welcome drink. We were also upgraded on arrival which was such a treat and made our stay so special. This hotel was everything I hoped for – quirky, bohemian and natural. You walk through the botanicals to get to your suite and once we got to our room, we were greeted by an outdoor plunge pool, and the largest bed I have ever seen. We arrived quite late on our first night and after around 14 hours of travel we decided it was a good idea to make our way down to the beach dining area where we sat at a table under the string lights. We ordered a taster menu that allowed us to discover ‘mezcal’ the traditional Mexican drink. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of this as it tasted a bit too much like tequila (Sorry everyone!) however the different bites it came with such as meat & fish were beautifully cooked, and it was a great introduction to our week ahead of Mexican delicacies.
We spent most of our days relaxing on the beach as that was mainly what this holiday was for however for those that are visiting Tulum, I am going to write about our amazing dining & day out experiences.
A little tip – most of the places are outside dining so keeping that in mind make sure you take mosquito repellent. You do find in most restaurants they burn a tree resin called 'Copal' which keeps the insects away and I didn’t get bitten whilst in the restaurants but if you’re prone to bites then keep that in mind.
Be Tulum – Breakfast was included in our price, so we of course took full advantage. This was probably my favourite hotel breakfast EVER and that is a big statement coming from me. You order from a menu so there is no buffet and everything was made fresh. From poached eggs & avocado to acai bowls or both there is something for everyone.
Gitano – What attracted me to this place was the pink neon sign, disco ball & outside candlelit dining. We had amazing steak here and guess what.... We turned them into tacos. Gitano's is also the place to go for dancing the night away.
Hartwood – My tip of the day here is to book in advance. We got recommended this place by a real foodie who had told us he had known of people queuing outside for up to 4 hours and sometimes being turned away. This restaurant is known for its scrumptious fish dishes so be sure to order one of these. The salad is also insane! Throughout the week, the Hartwood team travel to markets and farms in the Yucatan where they collect ingredients that bring a new and exciting taste of a community.
Charley’s Vegan Tacos – A perfect lunch spot and as it says on the tin!
Arca Tulum – A great open air, intimate restaurant with a micro-seasonal menu with small plates intended to be shared. The food here was delicious and flavoursome. It was also great to see the Chefs cooking around an open-fire grill.
Nu Tulum – We stopped here on the way back to our hotel one evening and had a couple of cocktails at the bar. Again a really cool open air space with all the palm trees running through the middle of the restaurant (no ceiling) The cocktails were freshly made and just a really good atmosphere! The food here also looked amazing.
Our day out with Bushman Photography Tours – We went on a private tour with Bushman photo safari and had an unforgettable day with Yosua. We were picked up at 9am and made our way to a Cenote around 30 minutes away. We were able to swim in this cenote (life jackets are provided) and Yosua took us on a tour swimming all around the caves. It turns out that this area of the Yucatan has no over ground rivers so instead they have underwater rivers. 'Cenote' is Spanish for sinkholes and the water in a Cenote is stunning. Our next stop was ‘Cuba’ a Mayan temple where Yosua our tour guide hired us bikes and we cycled to different Mayan ruins along the way. We ended up at the temple where we then climbed 40 metres to the top ( I probably wouldn’t recommend this part if you are afraid of heights) as getting back down is a tad scary but great fun.
This then brought us to lunch time where we were driven to the Coqui Coqui hotel for a three-course lunch. This hotel is an interior designer’s paradise. There are so many beautiful details here and gorgeous pieces of framed art.
After our meal we went to a Mayan family home to experience a day in the life. We were shown homegrown medicines, what the family cook, where they all sleep and what they do for work. This was a fascinating experience and a refreshing reminder that you don’t need much money to live a happy, simple life. Following this we went to a monkey sanctuary which was an open area of the jungle where around 400 monkeys live. We got to see a few of the beautiful, mischievous animals looking super happy in their natural environment. Nearby to this was a lake where we had a sunset picnic for our last bit of the tour. This is a MUST do trip if you are travelling to Tulum. It is a great way to see the area in one day also if you are short of time.
I very rarely say I would definitely go back somewhere after a visit – mainly because even though I have visited some amazing places I feel like there is a never ending list of places to explore on this beautiful planet without going back. Tulum is a little different to this as it provides an amazing homely atmosphere – I half wondered if it was because in my younger years I was brought up in Malaysia and we visited the jungle a lot so if for me it gave me that feeling of being settled. I still feel like there is so much to see in this area so I would definitely like to go back some point in the future.
Whilst I was here I of course thought about what a great place it would be for a bohemian style wedding. Please see a few places below I would recommend for a wedding venue in Tulum.
Casa Malca - The infamous past home of Pablo Escobar. Those looking to dine within the palm trees underneath string lights but have a really chic, stylish wedding then this is your venue. This hip, quirky boutique hotel also has it's own private beach.
Papaya Playa - If you like the whole barefoot, relaxed but yet cool dining vibe with a guitarist then this place is for you.
Arca Tulum - ARCA has a unique modern design while still encapsulating the organic beauty of the lush jungle. The lighting and design is intended to create intimacy while still boasting a warm atmosphere. There is plenty of room here for dining and dancing and the food is amazing (see above).
If you have any questions on planning your destination wedding in Tulum then please get in touch!
Thanks for reading!