Located 90 minutes by car from Cancún, Tulum, Mexico’s current “it” destination, has all the buzzwords: yoga, bountiful gluten-free and vegan dining, beachfront dance clubs, chic restaurants, and easy ways to get into or away from it all.
The region’s network of deep, freshwater and natural limestone wells is extensive, offering an abundance of swimming holes, caves to explore, and general water adventures. Some of the larger spectacles are just that— complete with busloads of tourists and hefty entrance fees, while others will cost you a few bucks and include snorkel gear. Ask your hotel for the best cenotes near you. No website
If your hotel isn’t oceanfront or you want a change of pace, beach clubs promise you a day with a lounge chair, food, and drink and might also include towels, music, hammocks, swings, and a scene. El Paraiso Restaurant and Beach Club (elparaisohoteltulum.com) and Coco Tulum Hotel (cocotulum.com) are solid options, but you can ask any hotel if they’ll let you set up camp in exchange for food and drink purchases.
La Zebra Beach Hotel & Restaurant
Along with beautiful rooms with huge showers and often plunge pools, this oceanfront resort has an awesome beach club area, a rooftop pool and bar, Saturday night BBQs, and Sunday beach salsa parties. lazebratulum.com
Aqua Viva Experience Suites
More like a communal compound, this set of clean, simple, wonderfully affordable accommodations includes a narrow centerpiece pool, yoga shala, alfresco living room with bean bag chairs, relaxed buffet breakfast at a family table, and beach access five minutes away by car. aquavivatulum.com
Hotel Ahau Tulum
Low-key, beachfront, and loaded with perks, this resort gives you every reason to stay on property. Along with margaritas and chips with guacamole made to your liking tableside at the alfresco, beachfront cocktail lounge, this spot also boasts one of our favorite places to grab a bite (see Raw Love below).
Raw Love Restaurant
This counter-service shack with small tables tucked into the grounds of Hotel Ahau Tulum is a dream for dining healthy, affordably, and gluten-free. All vegan (except for honey), it’s best for breakfast or lunch, where meals are enjoyed right on the sand surrounded by hammocks. Must-tries: organic coffee with fresh coconut milk; açai bowl; smoothie of choice. No website
With an upscale jungle vibe and a menu that focuses on wood-fired meats and vegetables, this seductive alfresco spot within walking distance of the beach is a downright sexy choice for drinks or dinner. Must-try: carnitas tacos with radishes, cucumbers, avocado mousse, caramelized onions and green tomato sauce. casajaguartulum.com