Whether you’ve been to Mexico’s Riviera Maya a bunch of times, once, or never, this list of the best Tulum restaurants, bars and nightlife will have you feeling like a local in no time on your next visit. Situated about an hour and a half south of the Cancun International Airport, Tulum is home to some of the best beaches in the world and some of the most prime beachfront real estate in the entire Riviera Maya region.
“To say the secret is out on Tulum is quite the understatement,” wrote Travel Weekly. “The once-bohemian, backpacker community has exploded into a magnified version of its former self, where boutiques, galleries and pop-up cocktail bars far outweigh the former bohemian, on-the-cheap vibe.”
Although the Tulum lifestyle is legendary, its party scene is still low-key compared to nearby Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but the restaurants are nothing short of world-class and there are plenty of places to enjoy some nightlife and a drink. Here’s a short list of some great entertainment options, bars and restaurants in Tulum.
Where to Eat Like a Local in Tulum
If you’re looking for ceviche and other fresh seafood dishes, check out El Camello Jr., a popular roadside eatery that also serves tacos until 5 p.m. and a whole fried fish with rice, beans, salsa, veggies and tortillas that is great for larger groups. If a quick lunch is in order, head to Las Quekas, which is a small local chain restaurant that first opened in nearby Cancun and serves fresh ingredients fast. We love the made-to-order tortillas, the quesadillas and sopes, which are all available for 15 pesos or less.
Explore the delicious menu options at Guerrero and Oaxaca at Pozoleria la Mexicanita, which is known for its pozole, or corn stew. The quesadillas and sopes here are also to die for, and best of all the most expensive menu items won’t exceed 60 pesos, so it’s also very affordable. We really like the green or white pozole with chicken or pork (or both!), as well as the cucumber and lime agua fresca to top it all off.
Also, don’t miss the Mercado Comunitario de Tulum for its eclectic food scene that brings together a wide variety of people from local Mayan communities and beyond, including honey producers, farmers, Tulum chefs, fruit vendors and taco stands. Finally, be sure to check out Antojitos la Chiapeneca to satisfy a late-night taco craving – just be prepared to wait a bit for a table when it’s busy and be sure to sample the al pastor tacos!
Where to Drink Like a Local in Tulum
If you’re looking for a laid-back local hangout with excellent beer and tacos by day that becomes an amazing karaoke joint after the sun goes down, Kahlua on Avenida Tulum is the place to go. Although it might seem like something tourists would flock to do, you’ll find mostly locals behind the mic.
If something a bit more sophisticated is more in line with your sensibilities, head to Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar, which (as the name suggests) is known for amazing mojitos and live music in Tulum. A trendy space, Batey is popular among tourists and locals alike, with a rotating art display that keeps both residents and visitors enthralled.
Where to Party Like a Local in Tulum
As you might imagine, the beach party in Tulum can be pretty intense, thanks to a variety of beach bars that offer casual and themed nightly events. We recommend checking out the all night full moon parties at Papaya Playa Project, which are held each weekend on the beach and include a variety of different DJs and other musicians, making them popular among locals who are living in Tulum and visitors alike.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Tulum Pueblo if you want to experience a real local vibe. While the Tulum real estate on the beachfront is dominated by protected zones, boutique hotels and luxury resorts, the town of Tulum itself is home to many locals who work in the tourism industry. Split by the modern Highway 307, downtown Tulum is a fantastic destination for bargain shopping, street food, laid-back nightlife options and ultra-affordable hotels.
Have you ever been to Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen or any other part of Mexico’s Riviera Maya? Share your Mexico travel stories and / or questions in the comments section below!
Thinking about booking a vacation in Tulum? Click the link to read 10 Reasons to Visit Tulum in 2017 and start planning your journey to Mexico’s Riviera Maya today!