Tulum Travel Guide

Tulum Travel Guide I Adorned With Love

Though it’s hardly a hidden paradise now that bloggers, hipsters and celebrities alike are flocking there, Tulum remains a little gem located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula. Because of its close proximity to the equator, it’s far more tropical than other parts of Mexico, and with that comes beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue water. Yet despite its growing popularity, it still feels refreshing secluded and charmingly rustic. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it as a destination for the high-maintenance traveler, but in my opinion, that’s exactly what makes Tulum so special. I finally had the chance to see what the hype was about, and my only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer. If you’re considering a visit, (and you should), be sure to check out the travel guide below for tips on navigating the city.

 

Tulum Travel Guide - Things to do in Tulum, Mexico.

What to do:

  • Swim in the cenotes (natural freshwater swimming holes formed by the collapse of limestone rock). We chose Cenote Dos Ojos based on proximity, but from what I hear, you can’t really go wrong with any of the cenotes.
  • Visit Sian Ka’an, a biosphere reserve with wetlands, lagoons and lots of interesting wildlife. We weren’t able to fit a visit into our schedule this time, but the tours get rave reviews.
  • Take a tour of the Mayan ruins that date back to the 13th century. Directly below the ruins is a beautiful beach that’s open to the public, so bring your bathing suit and a beach towel. (Tip: To avoid crowds, arrive as soon as the ruins open (8am) because large buses filled with tour groups will start crowding the area after 9-10am).
  • Take a yoga class – If you consider yourself a yogi, then you’ve come to the right place. Most hotels offer classes, but there are plenty of facilities within Tulum that cater to yoga retreats, etc.
  • Shop in Tulum centro (the main part of town). The streets are lined with affordable shops that sell leather goods, Mexican blankets and hammocks, embroidered dresses, jewelry, and much more. (Tip: most vendors are willing to bargain, so don’t feel obligated to pay the initial asking price).

Tulum Travel Guide - Where to eat in Tulum, Mexico.

Where to eat:

  • Hartwood – If you’re a foodie traveling to Tulum, then you likely already know about Hartwood. It was started by two American chefs from New York, and has gained the attention of food critics all over. Hartwood is an eco-friendly restaurant (operating only with electricity generated by solar panels), and all of the food is cooked over a wood-fire oven. I had read incredible things about Hartwood beforehand, and it did not disappoint. We had the ensalada de jicama to start, followed by the platillo de pulpo (grilled octopus), and costillas al agave (pork ribs that literally fall off the bone). And the fresh cocktails we enjoyed with our meal with were just as delicious. We topped our dinner off with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. (Warning: The line gets long quickly, so stop by in the afternoon when they open at 3pm to make a reservation for that evening. Doing this saved us from any waiting and allowed us to walk right in at our reservation time).
  • Posada Margherita – A shabby chic beachside restaurant that’s known for their fresh juices, made-to-order pasta, and authentic seafood. Everything from the complimentary baked focaccia and cheeses were noteworthy, but the tomato basil and vegetable pastas were a favorite. We actually ordered so much food on our second visit, that the servers had to borrow the empty table next to us to accommodate all of our plates (true story). The food alone is enough to keep you coming back, but the ambiance is just as special, especially at nighttime when the restaurant is illuminated only by flickering candles.
  • Gitano – Best known for their tasty mezcal cocktails, with food that’s said to be just as promising. We didn’t get the chance to dine here, but we did peek through during the day and thought it looked adorable (see bottom right photo from collage above).
  • El Tábano – I had read great things about El Tábano, specifically the poblano pepper crepes, which, although were very tasty, didn’t live up the hype in our opinion. We also ordered the shrimp tacos and ceviche, both of which satisfied our lunch cravings.
  • Ziggy’s Beach – Ziggy’s Beach is connected to The Beach Tulum hotel (where we stayed), so we enjoyed many of our meals there. The breakfasts were probably our favorite, but I loved stopping by for guacamole and fresh coconut water in the afternoons. The tuna nachos and organic beet and goat cheese salad were also delicious.
  • Street food – Admittedly, some of the best Mexican food we ate were some tacos from street vendors in town.

Tulum Travel Guide - Where to stay in Tulum, Mexico.

Where to stay:

  • After thorough research on hotels in the area, we settled on The Beach Tulum, a charming boutique hotel with 20 rooms (all of which are beachfront). Since this was my first time visiting, I can only really speak for our hotel, but we were very happy with our choice and would love to go back again. The vibe is laid back, yet elegant, and all of the staff were extremely warm and welcoming. We found the most competitive rate through Orbitz, and booked a Deluxe Room, which included a private terrace with a hammock, couch, table and chairs that opened right up to the beach. The rate also includes free wifi (often intermittent depending on the wind) and a complimentary breakfast each morning from Ziggy’s Restaurant (which is also available for room service upon request). Unlike many of the hotels in the area, The Beach Tulum provides air conditioning from 5pm -9am, but the ocean breeze and ceiling fan help keep the room cool during off hours.
  • Other hotels that looked lovely as we passed by: Coqui Coqui (if you’re looking to splurge), Ahau Tulum, and Ana Y Jose, among many others.

How to get around:

  • Upon arrival to Cancún International Airport, you’ll have the option to rent a car or take a taxi down to Tulum (about 80 miles from CUN). We didn’t want the responsibility of having a car (which turned out to be the right decision for us since taxis are so readily available in Tulum), so we booked round trip transportation to and from the airport through SuperShuttle. Most hotels are happy to book transportation if needed, but we found that the price for SuperShuttle matched the price that our hotel was offering (about $200 usd).
  • Tulum is relatively small in size, so we alternated between walking, biking and taking taxis. We found the taxi drivers to be very friendly.

General Tips:

  • Language: Spanish is is the main language spoken in Tulum, but most of the locals speak English fairly well.
  • Currency: The Mexican Peso is the local currency in Tulum. Some places will accept credit cards, but be sure to keep plenty of cash on hand, as many places are cash only. Tipping is optional (if you feel inclined to tip, no more than 10% is customary).
  • Climate/Best time to visit: Rainy season begins in June and lasts through October, while dry season runs December through April. Temperatures average around 28° C (82° F), with strong humidity throughout the year. (Tip: Most of the hotels and restaurants are open-air, so I would advise against visiting during rainy season. We arrived in mid June and were met with a heavy wind and rain storm for the first few days that was no joke).
  • What to pack: One of the things I loved most about Tulum was how casual it was. The blogger in me packed some impractical items that I didn’t end up using, so the less is more saying really holds true in this case. Some things I would recommend packing: bathing suits, hats, breathable clothing, minimal makeup, comfortable shoes, sunblock, bug repellant for mosquitos (thank me later), and a flashlight (the roads are very dark at night, so we used the flashlights on our iPhones to light the way).
  • Arrive early: Tulum is filled with tourist activities, so when visiting these popular sites (cenotes, ruins, etc.), it’s best to arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
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Button-Down Denim Dress

Button-down Denim Dress I Adorned With Love

Dress: GoJane (similar here), Sandals: Mia Cruise, Mexicana Wallet: Cleobella, Sunglasses: Similar here

The first few days of our recent trip to Tulum were met with heavy winds and rain, which meant being stuck in our hotel room with minimal wifi. Needless to say, we got a little stir crazy, so when the sun finally came out, we took full advantage of the weather and spent the first sunny day exploring the surrounding area by foot. One of the things we had hoped to find on our walk was a highly rated Italian restaurant called Posada Margherita. I had read about it before our trip, but the idea of Italian food from Mexico seemed questionable. The decor alone was worth the visit, and after one bite of their fresh made pastas, I was totally sold. I wore this comfortable denim dress with sandals, which was perfect for our spontaneous lunch with a rustic beachside vibe.

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Embroidered Dress

Embroidered dress I Adorned With Love

Dress: American Eagle (see bottom of post for similar options), Chambray button down: Similar here, Sandals: Mia Cruise, Purse: Forever21, Sunglasses: Similar here, Bangles: Madewell

I had been eyeing embroidered dresses for a while, but a planned trip to Mexico gave me the incentive to get serious about my hunt. I ordered a few different styles online, both pricey and cheap, and surprisingly, the affordable ones ended up being my favorites. Not to mention, the loose and breezy fit of this one became a lifesaver in dealing with the intense humidity of Tulum. I wore it into town here, and then to dinner, which led to nearly falling asleep in it because it’s just that comfortable.

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Shop similar styles here:

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Cleobella

Cleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With Love

Dress: Cleobella, Belt: Kohl’s, Mexicana Wallet: Cleobella, Sandals: Mia Cruise, Bangles: Forever21, Rings: Forever21

I stumbled across Cleobella a few months ago while scrolling through my Instagram feed, and was so excited because their designs were exactly what I pictured myself wearing on a recent trip to Tulum. Not only do they do incredible things with fringe, embroidery and crochet detailing, but all of their designs are handmade and produced by local artisans in Bali, Indonesia, so each piece feels unique and special. What initially caught my eye were their bright Mexicana clutches and wallets, but the aesthetic behind their clothing is just as impressive. Tulum’s dress code is very casual, but because our last night included a reservation at Hartwood, one of Tulum’s trendiest restaurants, I decided to get a little more dressed up, while still retaining the laid back bohemian feel that’s so prevalent along the Yucatan coast.

Cleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With LoveCleobella Iman Maxi Dress & Mexicana Wallet I Adorned With Love

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Floral Votives

DIY Floral Votives I Adorned With Love

There are few things I love more than having fresh flowers around the house. Normally I pick them up at the local farmers market or grocery store, but when I have the time, I’m happy to make the extra trek to the Los Angeles Flower District in downtown LA. It’s where all of the florists and wholesalers gather early in the morning to stock up on fresh flowers, and fortunately for the rest of us, it’s also open to the public. I could spend hours (and I have) perusing through their huge selection of flowers. And since most of them come with reasonable price tags, I always seem to leave with my hands full and more flowers than I know what to do with. This time I put some of my leftovers to good use with this simple DIY, which turned out even better than I had envisioned. The process is a breeze and you’re left with a gorgeous outcome that smells amazing. These floral votives look great no matter where they’re placed, but with summer ahead, I love the idea of incorporating them into a rustic, outdoor table setting.

Items used:

Instructions:

  1. Secure elastic band around the base of the vase.
  2. Trim flowers to size.
  3. Arrange flowers and trim excess stems as needed.
  4. Tie jute cord over elastic bands.
  5. Place tealight candle in vase to light.

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Button-Front Denim Skirt

Button-Front Denim Skirt I Adorned With Love

Shirt: Madewell, Skirt: ASOS, Purse: J.Crew, Sandals: ASOS, Sunglasses: TOMS, Bracelets: Forever21

Back in high school I was obsessed with denim skirts (namely those from Abercrombie & Fitch), which, of course, had to be fashionably paired with Ugg boots. Like most trends, though, they were replaced with something new, and even I was happy to retire them. But they started popping up everywhere this spring, returning with all kinds of variations, which is making me love them all over again. I picked this one up a few weeks back (last worn here), but wanted to get one that felt even more casual for everyday wear. ASOS has a ton of great options, and I’m particularly drawn to those that button down the front like this one, giving them more of a bohemian/’70s vibe. And instead of Ugg boots, I’ve paired it with another fresh take on a ’70s trend, lace-up sandals.

Lace-up Sandals I Adorned With LoveButton-Front Denim Skirt I Adorned With LoveIMG_1437Button-Front Denim Skirt I Adorned With LoveButton-Front Denim Skirt I Adorned With Love

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Effortless

Effortless Style I Adorned With Love

Jacket: Similar here here, Tank: American Eagle, Bralet: Eberjey, Jeans: DSTLD c/o, Sandals: GoJane c/o, Purse: Similar here here, Sunglasses: CRAP Eyewear, Bracelet: Gorjana c/o

It’s funny – there are days when we put so much thought and effort into what we wear, and then there are days when we grab a few favorite basics and walk out the door without giving the outfit much thought at all. Ironically, for me, it’s usually those days where I end up feeling the most confident in what I’m wearing. I love an outfit that not only comes together effortlessly, but actually feels as comfortable as it looks. And this one is just that.

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Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Popsicles

Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Popsicles I Adorned With Love

Along with warm summer days comes cravings for fresh fruit, refreshing popsicles, and of course, ice cream. Unfortunately only one of those is healthy, but Martha Stewart recently featured a recipe for Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Popsicles that combines two of my favorite foods into a healthy alternative to the store-bought fruit popsicles that lack valuable nutrients. I hadn’t made popsicles before, so I ordered these popsicle molds on a whim with the hope that they would turn out to be a useful investment. Not only were the popsicles delicious, but they were so easy to make. And with endless recipe possibilities, I intend on making them all summer. Instead of using Greek yogurt mixed with honey as the recipe calls for, I used Mountain High’s Original Style Plain Yoghurt as the foundation for each popsicle. I prefer its lighter texture and flavor to Greek yogurt, and it’s packed with tons of protein and calcium, making it an equally healthy option. These popsicles might be intended for breakfast, but they are more than sweet enough to satisfy dessert cravings, making them a great substitute for the ridiculously indulgent choices I normally make. They’re the perfect grab-and-go item if you’re rushing out the door, but I’ve been slowly savoring mine while dreaming up ideas for my next batch.

For more inspiration and healthy recipes using Mountain High Yoghurt, visit their Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

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Pink & White

Cara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With Love

Short sleeve sweatshirt: Shop Sincerely Jules, Jeans: J Brand, Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Bracelets: Madewell, Sandals: Seychelles, Sunglasses: TOMS

I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore pink. I love it as a color (pink lipstick, pink sunsets, and pink tulips here), but it’s never been my first pick when it comes to clothing. I guess it’s always felt a little too feminine to me. Spring got the best of me, though, and before I knew it, I was adding this sweatshirt to my shopping cart in “rose” (over grey, black or olive). My mom is always telling me to wear more color, so I know she’ll be happy to see me introducing pink to my mostly neutral closet. This is my second purchase from Shop Sincerely Jules, and I would love to own all of her collection. I’ve always admired Jules’ effortless style, so it’s exciting to be able to wear one of her designs.

Cara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With LoveCara Short Sleeve Sweatshirt by Shop Sincerely Jules - Adorned With Love

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Lob Love

Hair Inspiration: The LobCutting your hair is a funny thing. The logical side would tell you it’s “just hair,” that it will ultimately grow back. But there’s an undeniable emotional attachment to hair that serves as a security blanket for many women, myself included. A few years back, I told my hair colorist I was thinking of ditching the blonde I’d had my entire life in exchange for a dark brown. His immediate response was, “Did you and your boyfriend break up?” I couldn’t help but laugh because I knew exactly what he meant. A breakup wasn’t what triggered my interest in a change at the time, and I never actually went through with dying it brown, but I have watched numerous girlfriends change their hair to signify a fresh start in their lives. I’m not big on change in general, but after years with virtually the same cut and color, I’m finally ready for something new. And because finding a flattering cut can be challenging, I’m leaning toward one style that seems to work on everybody lately, and that’s the “lob” (aka, the long bob). When I’m finally ready to make the change, I’ll be using inspiration from these stylish cuts.

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