Tulum

TRAVEL | NATURE

We’ve always chased experiences and have never been ones to think twice or plan too much when it comes to spontaneous getaways. So it was business as usual for us when on a cold December day in 2014 we got the unshakeable idea that we had to spend New Year’s Eve at the Young Turks concert near Tulum, Mexico. Still unfamiliar with this part of the country, we ended up staying at Playa del Carmen and had to catch a one-hour bus to our concert in Tulum. We were so enamored with this magical place that we kept taking that one-hour bus ride every day thereafter...

 

It has since become a bit of a tradition for us to return nearly every January, and we’ve come to appreciate how special Tulum is around this time of the year. New Year’s Eve and the first couple of weeks of January find Tulum inundated with good music (the kind of soulful / tribal / downtempo house that we love), all-night parties on the beach and interesting (if sometimes sceney) groups. It’s a top destination for entrepreneurs, (new age) hippies and music lovers alike.

This time I (Ani) went right after all the fanfare had subsided and Tulum was easier to navigate and explore. With the nightlife dormant, I could focus on the town’s other draws: food, design and beach life. Apart from the daily dose of fish and shrimp tacos (Mezzanine’s might have been my favorite, though it’s hard to tell!), I had my fill of whole roasted fish (try ARCA), various coconut based delicacies at The Real Coconut, and an endless supply of passionfruit cocktails (Casa Jaguar is a must in the drinks category). Determined to defy my tendency to keep returning to the same old places I love, I told myself I wouldn’t go to Posada Margherita this time. Yet, my love for this gorgeous Italian restaurant serving fantastic handmade pasta and owned by a charming, tan Italian expat was stronger than me yet again…

 

The gods of accommodation were gracious - we managed to snatch an Airbnb house right on the beach, smack in the middle of the long beach strip that defines Tulum. Rustic, wooden and breezy, tucked in between two beachfront hotels, walking distance from our favorite restaurants,  this was the perfect Tulum home base. We woke up every morning to the sound of the waves and lazily strolled to one of the many beautiful hangout places in our vicinity. Our favorite spot was a bench right in front of the house where we sipped our morning coffee, courtesy of our lovely local Airbnb hosts.

 

Where Tulum stands out the most in our minds is the incredible design. A very “Tulum” aesthetic pervades the majority of restaurants and hotels - lots and lots of candles, fairy lights, wooden elements, thatched roofs, potted plants, calming aromas and a jungle-like vibe. It’s hard to pinpoint a single place, but two stand out in particular from this latest trip - Be Tulum, a surreal hotel where we had lunch, and Maxa Camp, a glamping spot that is located in arguably the best part of the beach and offers dreamy tunes and a more down-to-earth, hippie atmosphere. Brace yourselves for some jaw dropping beauty as you stroll from one establishment to the next along the beach strip!

Tulum, Mexico
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