Tulum has been on my ‘travel list’ for as long as I can remember and it’s one of the few destinations I’ve visited in recent years that truly lived up to my lofty expectations. With it’s spectacular coastline, jade green waters and plethora of beach shacks, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream in every sense.
The relaxed and laid back vibe makes Tulum the ideal retreat for those of you looking for some no-nonsense sunshine and a place to escape the hecticness of modern life, but it was the food scene that really caught me by surprise. Tulum is essentially one long beach road, with beach clubs and boutique hotels on the coastal side and bars and restaurants scattered on the other.
One immediate tip when visiting Tulum is to forget about car rental and instead grab a bike from a local rental company for the week. Cycling is by far the best mode of transport when in Tulum and with all the beach clubs and bars having ‘bike parking’ there really is no excuse not to..!
Here’s a few of my favourite spots from our visit.
Where To Brunch:
When it comes to brunch, look no further than El Pez Tulum, a boutique hotel nestled midway up the Tulum beach road.
With a selection of local, authentic dishes from huevos rancheros to typical classics like eggs benedict, there’s wide array of options to suit all manner of morning moods.
The stand out, although very simple, was the smashed avo on sourdough, I’ve never tasted avocados quite like the ones in Mexico, simply divine! The fresh juices and smoothies were also a fantastic sidekick, the ‘Cereal Killer’ an ideal fuel for a busy day exploring the local cenotes and the ‘Master Cleanse’ the definition of health in a glass!
*Top Tip – El Pez is ideally located on route to the Cenotes, so stop off on route for some brekky before heading onwards.
Discover more about El Pez Tulum here.
Where To Lunch:
A short cycle down from El Pez, Azulik is another stand out boutique hotel in the area. It reminded me of something from Peter Pan, with it’s wooden architecture and tree-house-like structure, a really impressive place to visit and a dreamy place to take snaps!
The food was some of the best we came across during our time in Tulum, locally sourced and freshly prepared, with a focus on sustainability. The stand out dishes were the soft-shell crab skewers (NEXT level!), the burrata flat bread and freshly prepared guac – without doubt my fave lunch during our Tulum visit.
The beach club at Azulik is the ideal spot for a bit to eat whilst taking in the views of the coastline and why not spend an afternoon in the hammocks on the beach there, taking in the Mexican rays.
*Top Tip – Visit in the morning and grab a fresh juice in the tree-house-like bar before heading for some time on the beach. There’s a $40 minimum spend per person for the beds, so be sure to make the most of your time here.
Discover more about Azulik here.
Another cracking spot for lunch is La Zebra, part of the same hotel collective as El Pez. A rather cute and chic hotel and restaurant, La Zebra serves up authentic Mexican grub on it’s terrace overlooking the green waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The menu lends well to sharing and we ordered an array of local dishes including shrimp tacos, infladitas (puff pastry filled with local cheese) and my favourite, the queso fundido, which was a sort of Mexican cheese fondue – seriously scrummy.
*Top Tip – schedule an afternoon here and book beach beds, it’s the ideal place for an after-lunch snooze!
Discover more about La Zebra here.
Where To Dine:
Arca is a restaurant nestled within the Mexican jungle, a real gem of a location and the food here definitely matches the impressive exterior.
The menu is small and changes on an almost daily basis – both signs of a cracking eatery. We shared a couple of the small plates to start, the tartare of roasted peppers and almonds was rather inventive but the definite highlight was the soft-shell crab tacos, the definition of moorish. The roasted bone marrow was also a fantastic dish to kick start the evening and ideal for sharing.
For main, the grilled Octopus was superb, you really can’t go far wrong with the octopus in Tulum, some of the best I’ve ever eaten.
It must be said that the prices at Arca are at the higher end of the scale in comparison to the rest of Tulum, but eating in such a stunning setting surrounded by the jungle really is worth experiencing.
*Top Tip – You can’t book here and it’s an incredibly popular place for dinner, so head out early and grab a drink at the bar to ensure you get a table!
Discover more about Arca here.
As soon as I heard about this place and it’s controversial history, I knew I must visit. Casa Malca was previously home to Pablo Escobar and after his incarceration the house lay dormant and empty for nearly a decade. It’s now home to a boutique hotel and restaurant, owned and designed by a Columbian ‘art dealer’.
Even as you enter through the gates and walk up the winding driveway, there’s an immediate sense of mystery and intrigue sets in. There’s a real feel of extravagance as you venture through the imposing wooden doorway and it’s definitely a place worthy of the ‘gram’.
The menu was once again concise with some very inventive options available. Josie’s guacamole starter came with a side of grasshoppers.. you get the picture (!) My octopus main was cooked to perfection and well worth the rather lofty price tag, but I would say Casa Malca is more about the overall experience as much as it is about the food itself.
*Top Tip – You need to book ahead here as there’s only a few covers in the restaurant and for obvious reasons it’s very popular.
Discover more about Casa Malca here.
Where To Crash:
El Pez Tulum:
Tulum is crowded with boutique hotels and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd, but El Pez Tulum certainly succeeds here. The hotel is an indulgent little hideaway, set back from the often manic beach road, overlooking a beautiful slice of coastline.
The decor is rustic and simplistic and it’s the views from the room that are the most impressive, with the beach just 4 steps from the patio doors!
The hotel itself is ideally located midway up the Tulum beach road and stretches along it’s own private beach front, with views stretching out across the Caribbean Sea. My favourite part of the stay here was the ‘alarm clock’ – waking up daily to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, a truly special awakening.
Taking in the views with my morning coffee – if you are looking for somewhere to be inspired, El Pez is the place.
*Top Tip – Rent bikes from the hotel to make the most of all the amazing places in the surrounding area.
Discover more about El Pez Tulum here.
Have you guys visited Tulum?
Where are your favourite places to escape to?