Yahoo! Travel recently sent award-winning writer and Managing Editor Jo Piazza down to explore what’s really going on in the suddenly hip but once forgotten ancient Mayan seaport of Tulum,which lies at the southern tip of Mexico’s Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Sea,about an hour and a half south of the Cancún International Airport.
“Tulum has long been a favorite of the cool kid set from New York and Los Angeles,” Piazza writes. “A bohemian paradise that remains largely untouched by the large chains that dominate this part of Mexico,Tulum truly is a special destination.”
Perhaps its exactly that – Tulum has close proximity to all things modern and familiar,yet manages to remain worlds away from the vibrant nightlife and constant buzz of other larger towns along the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Yes,Tulum still offers a completely different,totally wondrous and yes – even magical – experience for all travelers to enjoy,despite the gorgeous models,jetsetters and other members of the fashion elite you may see strolling on its perfect,powdery white sand beaches.
When summing up the “can’t miss” places to eat,drink,shop,work out and explore,here’s a quick rundown of what Piazza’s friend Susan Bohlken,expat,Tulum resident and co-owner of the local Zamas boutique hotel,had to say.
“We’re lucky to have evolved into quite a foodie town – so there are lots of great dishes in Tulum.”
She recommends sampling the now world-famous cuisine at Hartwood,where everything is about sustainability and all cooking is done over an open fire on a handmade wood burning grill and oven. (Just be sure to show up early to get a seat!) Also,Bohlken says the newest restaurant and bar in Tulum that’s making waves,Arca,is a “San Francisco-style jungle restaurant with fresh ingredients and spectacular cocktails.” Finally,she recommends trying the achiote shrimp tacos with jicama tortillas at Zamas (“I can eat them every day!” as well as the fresh guacamole at Casa Banana and the coconut seviche with yucca chips at Restaurare.
If a night out sampling the local adult beverage scene is on the agenda,Bohlken recommends Todos Santos,which is great for a round of laid-back casual drinks or a lively evening. With an indoor-outdoor bar,she recommends sampling the Mojito Jaguar,which offers a new take on this classic that includes infusions of cucumber,rosemary and a sugarcane twist.
Shopaholics also won’t be disappointed in Tulum,with places like the Shalom Boutique bringing in new merchandise weekly,with a gorgeous collection of carefully selected bohemian-style pieces that are perfect for wearing around town. Also,check out Mixik for nicely crafted souvenirs and artisan-made home décor.
Inside Scoop from Investment Properties Mexico: Click here to read more about Shalom and Mixik in our special article,the Top 10 Places to Shop in Tulum!
When it comes to exploring the Riviera Maya’s many archaeological and ancient sites,Bohlken recommends starting with the Mayan ruins of Ek’ Balam,which are often overlooked but quite stunning. Also,because the ruins of Ek Balam are lesser known,they are also better preserved and visitors are still allowed to climb on all of the structures. The location is less than two hours north of Tulum and also not far from Chichen Itza,one of the peninsula’s best-known ancient Mayan sites. Of course,Tulum itself is home to the only Mayan pyramid overlooking the sea,so in reality you don’t have to go far at all to get in touch with the region’s rich ancient history!
Finally,no travel article about Tulum would be complete without some mention of its status as a major mecca for yoga enthusiasts worldwide. In fact,one could even argue that its popularity among bohemian travelers is what originally put Tulum on the map,but that’s for another time. While here,Bohlken recommends Maya Tulum,which pretty much is responsible for introducing yoga to Tulum and offers several classes each day,as well as Sanará,which boasts fantastic views of the Caribbean from its oceanfront studio.