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Key to the City

Claire’s Guide to Having an Awesome Time in Tulum, Mexico

Key to the City BY claire 07/02/2013



When my fiancé (handsome dude pictured throughout) and I were planning our trip to Tulum, we asked a lot of friends who’d visited what to expect. Without fail, every single one of them described it the same way: magical. It got kind of annoying. Because what does that even mean? That it’s basically Disneyland? And then we went and saw it for ourselves. You guys: This place is totally magical.





This is the foodie hotspot in Tulum. And you know what? It lives up to the hype. You’ll probably have to wait awhile for a table, so grab a pineapple jalapeño margarita with a Tajin rim and settle into some A+ people-watching.





I agonized over choosing a hotel and couldn’t have been happier I landed on this place. The price is totally reasonable, the hammocks are plentiful, and if it were any closer to the beach, you’d be in the water.





The designer Caroline Hurley tipped me off to this charming juice and health food joint and described it as ‘sitting in the jungle on giant mushroom-shaped chairs sipping delicious smoothies.’ She was not lying. We ate breakfast here most days.





Next-level fresh-fruit popsicles. Like, giant chunks of pineapple melting in your mouth. There are so many flavors, and it’s really hard to pick—so you have to just give in to ordering more than one.





These underwater caves are the only tourist-y thing worth leaving the beach for. For a quick dip, I recommend the tiny but beautiful Gran Cenotes, for a more thorough snorkel tour, check out Dos Ojos. Pro-tip for germaphobes: Buy your own snorkel mouthpiece at the supermarket on your way there.





Like most good restaurants in town, the menu here is written on a giant chalkboard and changes daily based on what’s fresh. Same rules apply for their margaritas—the mango and ginger flavors both blew my mind.





This hotel is sheeeek. We didn’t spring to spend the night there, but we had a delicious breakfast with them—highly recommended. On the way out of town, I bought some of their homemade perfumes and candles to bring home as gifts.





This is the place to go when you’re craving fish tacos and a coconut with a straw in it. Classic Mexican food is not as omnipresent in Tulum as you might think—a lot of Italian transplants have settled there.





Of all the places we ate, this had the most stunning tableside view. Don’t fool around—just get the seafood pasta. It’s for real.




  • Stock up on lots of water and cash at the big supermarket on the highway on your way in. Get more than you think you’ll need on both fronts. There are a few cash machines on the main drag, but they’re unreliable—and a lot of the restaurants don’t take cards.

  • The jungle side of town can be buggy, especially if it’s rained recently, so be prepared with some repellent. Beekman’s bar soap-based repellent and Avon’s Towelettes are both perfect for traveling because you won’t run up against 3-ounce-bottle issues.

  • Almost every hotel lets you rent bikes at cheap daily rates. We biked everywhere, which, besides being fun, lets you feel a little less guilty about your piña colada-consumption levels.

  • Despite that, it’s still worth it to rent a car—if only because it’s so cheap and gives you the freedom to explore the area and make as many pit stops as you please on the 1 ½-hour drive back and forth from the airport.

  • Word on the street is that the ruins are amazing…but mega-hot and a bit of a hike to get to. We skipped ‘em. Doing so made us feel lazy and like we were behaving in a way our parents would disapprove of, which we felt really good about. 


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