If your idea of a good vacation is an all inclusive resort, you're probably reading the wrong travel site. But if you share our love of low key beach towns and the culinary depth of the Yucatán peninsula, then we've found the perfect vacation destination for you: Tulum, Mexico. It's hard to limit the seemingly infinite list of reasons why Tulum is practically perfect in every way, but a few stand out above the rest.
Picture a sky blue Caribbean sea and a white sand beach. Now picture nobody on that beach but you. If there's a better beach out there it's on one of those private islands you're not invited to.
Whether it's the Mayan-influenced cuisine native to the Yucatán peninsula or the ubiquitous Mexican dishes you already know and love, you'll be hard pressed to find a bad meal in Tulum. For brunch, we started almost every day at Zamas for a seaside meal of huevos rancheros and agua fresca. For the freshest seafood in town visit El Camello Jr., a local-favorite owned by the local fisherman's union. Take a cue from the townies and order the mixto ceviche for the whole table.
For a more upscale dining experience, make a reservation at Cetli. Chef Claudia Perez honors Mexico's culinary heritage by sticking to traditional recipes. Rich moles, hand-pressed tortillas, and crushed grasshopper are just a few of the offerings we enjoyed. You'll be remiss if you don't try the restaurant's namesake, a sticky, sweet corn pudding.
Cocktails made with fresh-pressed sugar cane? Got it. More local mezcals than you knew existed? You better believe it. There are a lot of places in Tulum to imbibe, but our favorite was Batey, a bar with fresh, seasonal ingredients, top notch bartenders and a hip clientele. Remember, though, you've been out in the sun all day and you should probably drink some water!
Visiting Tulum is surprisingly affordable. Most airlines offer off-season deals to Cancun. From Cancun it's a cheap shared taxi or bus ride. Unless you plan on doing some serious sight-seeing, skip renting a car. The most enjoyable way to get from the beach to town is by bike, though taxis are plentiful and affordable.
So Much More
We haven't even touched on Mayan ruins, cenotes, scuba diving, or boutique shopping, But if you're not convinced to book your tickets by now, you're beyond hope. Just don't forget your sunscreen.