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Tulum Itinerary: Tips & Travel Guide

Hey guys! Wow, it’s been a WHILE since my last blog post. Since I received quite a lot of DM’s over the past week about my trip to Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, I thought it might be helpful for my friends, and you (whoever you are,) if I compiled a detailed travel itinerary for everyone to follow. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I will not go into detail about how much money we spent in Tulum, because honestly, I do not know. We booked our hotel using points, and my boyfriend booked the flights. Most of our trip was split between the two of us, so if I had to guestimate, overall we spent $2000 each.

Pre-trip planning

 

Lodging

Hotel: Alea Tulum

Alea Tulum is a boutique hotel that opened in 20. There weren’t a lot of reviews on Trip Advisor, but I took a leap of faith and booked it anyway through the Chase Travel Ultimate rewards site (split with points and money), and let me tell you, it was the best decision we made.

This hotel is everything you’d want in a lil boutique hotel: amazing complimentary breakfast, great staff, FREE “rentals” for snorkel gear, life vests, kayaks, etc., amazing amenities which include bottled water every day and a great location in Tulum.

Flights

We flew into the Cancun, Quintana Roo airport. For some reason when we arrived, the customs line was EXTREMELY LONG. We’re not actually sure why it was as busy as it was that day, perhaps other flights arrived at the same time as ours? IDK who knows. It took us a full hour of waiting in line just to get through customs. Tulum is about 1.5 hours driving from Cancun Airport.

Ground Transportation

Transportation from the airport was pretty easy. I emailed our hotel and reserved a private shuttle. Was it pricey? YES. It was $198 USD roundtrip. Was it worth it? ALSO YES. The last thing I wanted was to spend more time traveling, hence the PRIVATE shuttle.

There are other shuttle options you can look into here. This is a lot cheaper than ours because since our hotel is fairly new, not a lot of more well-known shuttles travel to our hotel.

Initially, we were planning to just taxi around town but quickly realized that we were spending an exorbitant amount of money the first two days on travel, so we decided to rent a car from the local Avis instead. ANOTHER GREAT DECISION. I cannot stress this enough, RENT A CAR IN TULUM. Not only do you eliminate the hassle of bartering for a low cab fee, but you also have transportation freedom to go anywhere in town. If you plan on exploring the cenotes, having a car is super convenient. Trust me.

 

Packing List

  • Passport (duh)
  • Pre-ordered pesos from the bank – $450 USD
    • You absolutely need cash in Tulum, and there aren’t many ATMs
  • Bug repellent
  • Eco-friendly sunscreen – if don’t want to kill the coral while you snorkel, buy some eco-friendly sunscreen. The fish and ocean life will thank you later.
  • Check your international mobile roaming plan. If you have T-mobile, you have free roaming in Mexico and Canada!
  • Packable parachute beach blanket (didn’t end up using it, but would’ve been great to keep some of our stuff dry during the occasional rainstorm)
  • Umbrella – great for rain or shade
  • Dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, and two-piece sets. Best way to pack light, but still pack instagrammably cute, is to make sure that the pieces you bring can be mixed and matched. Jumpsuits and dresses are great in general because you look cute even when you didn’t put much thought into your outfit (plus, it’s hot so the extra breeze is a plus)

Social Media Lurking

Before our trip, I looked up the locations I wanted to visit on Instagram, found people who visited, and DM’d them about their experience and some tips they’d recommend for me. I highly suggest you do this too. Don’t worry, most people won’t think you’re creepy. The worst they could do is just ignore your response.

Our Tulum Itinerary + Tulum’s hottest Instagram spots

Day 1

  • Arrive in Tulum – Customs took an hour because all of the international flights arrived at once.
  • Shuttle to the hotel – Tulum is about 1.5 hours away from Cancun
  • Dinner at Mereva Tulum, the sister hotel of Alea Tulum

Day 2

  • Breakfast at Alea Tulum
  • Spent the day at Xel-ha
    • Xel-ha
      • If you want a fun day without any fuss that’s good for the whole family, Xel-ha is a man-made water park that features snorkeling, zip lining, cave swimming, etc. It’s all-inclusive and entrance for an adult is $99 USD. Food and drinks (including cocktails), are included in that price. You get a cool souvenir snorkel and an overall fun day at the beach.
  • Dinner in Tulum Center Pizza

Day 3

  • Breakfast at Alea Tulum
  • Matcha Mama – Mid-morning smoothies + snacks
  • Hangout and explore Tulum Beach
  • Lunch at
  • Zona Archilogeque
  • Dinner + Drinks at Azulik
    • Azulik
      • When I posted the Azulik bar and restaurant on my story, I kid you not, I received the most DM’s I’ve ever received in the span of 8 hours. Azulik was probably one of my favorite places to visit in Tulum because it’s just stunning.  The architecture is absolutely gorgeous, and the creativity of the designers still amazes me.What’s great about Azulik, is that you don’t need to be a hotel guest to visit. They have a bar and restaurant where you can chill, and eat some great food. We chose to go to the bar (not the sunset bar, the regular bar with the DJ and the nets.) It is $565 Pesos to get in, but $500 pesos are credited back to you. You can use these on drinks and food. IMO, worth it 100%. The bar opens at 5:30pm, and I would recommend going right at open, so you can take the best photos before a crowd of people comes in.

Day 4

  • Breakfast at Alea Tulum
  • Explore the Coba Ruins
    • Coba Ruins
      • The Coba Ruins are an hour away from Tulum. Thank God we had a car to take us there.
      • You can climb up the pyramid and take some sick pics if you want
      • RENT THE BIKES
        • Yes, I know you can just walk, but you get a better lay of the land when you rent the bikes. You have more freedom to explore in a shorter amount of time.
  • Lunch at Alea Tulum (and change clothes since they were so sweaty after visiting the ruins)
  • Visit Casa Malca and Nomade Hotel
    • Casa Malca
      • Pablo Escobar’s mansion is now a luxury resort that’s quirky and is great for instagram photos.
    • Nomade Hotel
      • I’d love to stay here one day. It’s so magical, and they have great places to take cool pics here, including this cool robot.
  • Drinks at Camarada
    • SUCH A CUTE BAR. Please visit, the vibes are awesome.
  • Watch the Warriors game at Mateo’s
    • Mateo’s Mexican Grill
      • This is where our hearts broke in two, but congratulations to the Toronto Raptors (I guess lol). Mateo’s was one of the only bars with TV’s in the restaurant, and the only one that we knew of that would play the Warriors game. They have great drinks and food, and FREE PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS. I kid you not, make sure you save this location so you know where you can park if you decide to rent that car.

Day 5

  • Breakfast at Matcha Mama (Tulum Centre location)
    • Matcha Mama – Location #2
      • Like I said before, Matcha Mama has 2 locations. There is one in the city, and one in Tulum Beach. We went to the city location. It’s just as cute, and has the porch swings, but I think Tulum Beach has a better location in general.
  • Explored the local Cenotes – Cenote Calavera and Gran Cenote
    • If you want some cute ass instagram photos at Cenotes, you need to go the minute they open. This way, you have the entire Cenote to yourself to take as many photos as you please.
    • All the Cenotes are really cool, pick a few, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
  • Lunch at Hashtag Poke
    • Hashtag Poke
      • Great poke and awesome interior design. There’s a super cute instagram wall that you can take a pic of for some cute I wish I were still in Tulum posts.
  • Hangout at Ziggy’s Beach Club remainder of the day
    • Ziggy’s Beach Club
      • Okay, one of the greatest tips I can give you: Even if you aren’t staying at a Beachfront resort or hotel, you can still live that luxe cabana life. Ziggy’s Beach Club has parking (OMG YES), great food and cocktails, and most importantly, you’re literally on the beach. Compared to the $80/hr cabanas in Hawaii, you don’t even need to order drinks or food to chill here (although, it will be hard to resist since all of their food is great).
  • Dinner at Alea Tulum

Day 6

  • Breakfast at Alea Tulum
  • Shuttle back to the Cancun airport to get home

What I wish we visited + did

Jungle Gym

If you’re looking for a unique workout while on vacation, you’ll have a great time here.

Coco Beach Club

A classic Tulum Instagram shot. Beach bar with swings, and black and white decor? HELL YES. When we went, they were closed for the day and that made me sad. I’d totally go here again if I had a chance.

What I’d do differently

  • Rent a car from the start – save some coin and rent a car.
  • Agree on cab prices before getting into a cab. lol.

 

 

 

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