Despite the fact that many of us are in the throws of a wintery wonderland, we can’t help but look forward to the sweet sun and sand of those mid-year months to come. To feed our beach-starved imaginations, we invited Ana Kamin, the blogger behind Fluxi On Tour, to take us on a mental getaway to Tulum, Mexico. Her words and photos below remind us that, if the need for summer becomes unbearable, the season is really just a plane ride away!
Although I live in sunny California, my daydreams often escape to a more tropical place—Tulum, Mexico, to be exact. Blame it on Instagram, but when I first saw pictures of this serene, Pinterest-perfect paradise on the Riviera Maya, my vacation plans were set in stone. So, my husband and I enjoyed one week in Tulum last March for our anniversary, and I got to spend my time walking on whole-wheat-flour-like sand, nourishing my body with smoothies and fish tacos, practicing yoga in the jungle, dangling and reading in hammocks and just soaking in the beauty and peace of this small, former fishing village sandwiched between a green jungle and a blue ocean.
What can I say? I’m already scheming plans for my return! But until then, I’m taking you on a small tour of Tulum, showing you some of my favorite places. In case you, too, miss summer, this is where you can find it—all year round.
Most of the hotels are nestled directly on the beach, while restaurants and shops are located on the jungle side of the beach strip. No matter what hotel you choose, chances are good that your room will be only a few steps from the blue ocean. Walking barefoot every morning to breakfast is how a day should start. We stayed at Rosa del Viento, which definitely had the best beach section, but I also wouldn’t have said “no” to white, calm Beach Tulum, or colorful, eclectic Ahau.
With restaurateurs from Los Angeles and New York City opening restaurants in Tulum, the food scene is mushrooming, with famous Hartwood leading the way. If you want to try the fresh and innovative cuisine at this open-air spot, which features a fire oven, put your name on the list early. It might take up to two hours to get a table, but it’s absolutely worth it.
An Italian restaurant in Mexico, Posada Margherita, is dishing up fresh pasta in its perfect imperfectly decorated space directly on the beach.
Fish tacos weren’t my thing until I tasted them at Be Tulum, a wellness oasis with beautiful rooms (some of them with swim-up pools directly in front of the patio door!) and a restaurant serving brunch, lunch and dinner. Oh, and did I mention the chandeliers hanging from the trees?
On our first evening, hungry and exhausted, we stumbled upon Casa Banana, which turned out to be an amazing Argentinian restaurant with yummy food and an excellent wine list. My warm octopus salad was a perfect welcome-to-Tulum dish.
My other favorite casa was Casa Jaguar, a mystic voodoo-style restaurant with an outdoor oven and a kitchen stuffed with veggies and herbs. Fish is what you want to order here.
A disco ball hanging from a palm tree? Yes, please! At Gitano, cocktails and tapas accompany DJ tunes for a lively night.
When in Tulum, a kaftan will become your daily uniform. Kaftans experienced a revival this past summer, but if you forget yours at home, there are a few shops that sell them, as well as other proper beach attire. The shopping experience in Tulum is a mix of upscale boutiques and street vendors selling original Mexican blankets and other odds and ends. I loved La Troupe for all things feathery and lacy and for natural colors. It also has a great selection of home goods and cozy bedding.
Mr. Blackbird is filled with beautiful, stylish kaftans and jewelry.
Coqui Coqui is a special experience for all of the senses. The mixture of wood and stone will please every interior designer’s eye, and the perfumes created at Coqui Coqui are already well-known beyond Tulum.
If you feel like you need to stretch your legs, a visit to the old Mayan ruins is a perfect half-day adventure. Get a bike (most hotels have complimentary bikes for guests to use), don’t forget the sunscreen, pack a few bottles of water and hit the road for some history education and, more importantly, sweeping views of the turquoise blue Caribic.
The nearby Gran Cenote is also a nice change to the ocean. You can book a guided diving tour (we didn’t) or you can just swim through the caves and sunbath on the deck (which we did).
Before you return home, make sure to treat your sun-kissed skin with Mayan clay at Mayan Clay Spa. It will rejuvenate your skin and keep the tan fresh for a few weeks longer.
I cannot wait to go back and I hope this small tour inspires you to put Tulum on your bucket list. For an even better travel experience, here are some quick tips to keep in mind when in Tulum:
- Carry cash with you, as most restaurants don’t accept credit cards.
- Bring a flashlight because there are no street lights.
- Mosquito repellent is your friend.
- Cabs are cheap, so a car is not necessary.
- Sunscreen is an absolute must.
- Don’t drink the tap water.
- Don’t brush your teeth with tap water.
- Relax and unplug!