Tulum Guide & What Influencers don’t tell you about Tulum

Like millions of others, I got influenced to go to Tulum. Tulum is definitely a vibe and I love the aesthetic of it, but I don’t think it is adequately represented on social media by bloggers and influencers. There are two areas to stay in Tulum – Tulum beach and City Center, all that you see on social media is Tulum Beach, the city isn’t as aesthetically pleasing. I decided to spend 3 days in Tulum Beach and 2 in City Center. I wish I stayed in Tulum for only 4 days altogether, and did 3 in City Center and 1 in Tulum Beach.

My biggest issue with Tulum is how much it changed from what bloggers explained it once was. Tulum used to be very affordable for many Americans, back when it was a hidden gem. Now that it is super well known, Tulum beach is expensive, touristy, and gimicky, with no real substance or any business being that expensive. For what you are getting, it just wasn’t worth it, for me. Some example of pricing – $10 for a small water, $35 for 3 small tacos, $35 for a taxi for 1 mile. The hotels/ airbnbs are minimum of $350 a night (with no AC), none of which are nice resorts. I would have no issues with us paying those prices for an actual luxury experience or at a resort. But in Tulum, you are paying pretty much resort prices in the middle of jungle without any luxury experience. Out of all the places that I have been to, Tulum has been the most misrepresented on social media. I don’t understand why no one touches on some of the very important aspects of Tulum, so I felt like I should.

What no one tells you about Tulum

  1. Everything you see on social media is of Tulum beach, so most people stay in Tulum Beach. However, if you stay in city center, you will save hundreds of dollars. But, Tulum city isn’t at all as nice, it is just a regular city, there’s not as many bars and parties, or much to do. Also the taxi from the city to the beach are about $35 each way for 1 mile, and it is a single lane road, so you will be sitting in traffic.
  2. The slow season is the summer, the beach clubs and everything else are completely dead but the price is all still the same. So you are paying the minimums of $150 per person to party at beach clubs with 10 people in there.
  3. Tulum is very eco friendly and not a single restaurant or other establishment has air conditioning. A lot of the hotels don’t either, and if they do, they limit the air conditioning time. For example, one of the hotels we stayed at was $350 a night but air conditioning was only available 6pm- 10 am and the heat is unbearable in the summer.
  4. One restaurant group owns almost all of the most popular restaurants and beach clubs in the area. They felt like carbon copies of each other, so if you went to one, you went to them all.
  5. The beach is full of tons seaweed in the summer, in the 5 days I was there not one person was in the water. Don’t go to Tulum if you want a beach vacation.
  6. I didn’t have one amazing meal in Tulum beach, and we went to the top, most expensive restaurants. The food is all catered to tourists and is just mediocre.

With this being said, Tulum is still nice and I did have a good time, but Tulum beach isn’t worth the trip for me and I just wish everyone showed all sides of it! Below are some of the top recommendations, and what I liked and didn’t like about each.

Photo Worthy Spots

Azutuluk Nests – These are located at Azulik hotels and the nests were designed to create a peaceful atmosphere and bring nature to you. The views here are absolutely stunning. You can book one of the nests but getting a reservation is tough and there is a $1000 minimum per nests. I’ve heard you can try getting there early like at 4 pm and sit at the bar if you don’t want to pay the minimum.

Kanan – Kanan is a lush tropical eco-friendly spa hotel, located right on the Tulum beach strip. We didn’t stay here but stopped here for breakfast to eat in one of their beach front nests. Their minimum per person for breakfast is $60 but the breakfast was really good, so I would recommend it. This is a Insta-grammers dream photo spot!

Literally anywhere in Tulum beach (minus the beach because it’s filled with seaweed) – All of Tulum Beach is an influencer’s paradise. There is a lot of greenery, giving a jungle feel.

Where to eat

DelCielo – DelCielo is a Tropical bistro located in city center, focusing on breakfast and lunch. They are known as one of the top breakfast spots in Tulum and are a bit more reasonably priced compared to the rest of Tulum.

Mama Matcha – You can’t go to Tulum and not stop at Mama Matcha. It is a fun and tropical Matcha bar in Tulum and they are completely plant based and gluten free. Mama Matcha has smoothies, bowls, kombuchas, juices and more.

Ilios restaurant –  A really fun dinner party in Tulum beach with decent food. On weekends they have fire shows and belly dancers. We got the mezcal margarita and the old fashioned which we loved. We weren’t too hungry when we went, so got just got some appetizers – the Baba ghanoush, hummus, and chicken gyros. Midway through dinner, they handed everyone plates and told us to all get up, dance, and smash the plates, Greek style!

Rosa Negra – This was probably my favorite dinner party in Tulum beach, you definitely need to go on a Saturday night. They had tons of music and were playing drums. Mid way through dinner they turned of the lights and had everyone get up on their chairs and gave everyone sparkles, it was so much fun! Like most of the food in Tulum it is geared towards tourist and quite expensive. We got the shrimp tacos and burger. The shrimp tacos were okay and the burger was actually pretty good.

Mamazita – Mamazita is apart of the same restaurant chain as Rosa Negra, Bagatelle, etc so it is a similar fun dinner party, type of vibe. Here they had a singer and dancing performance. They probably had the best food here, compared to the other restaurants in the same group.

Beach Clubs

Tatich  – This hidden gem just open and is one of best beach clubs in Tulum, it is a lot more luxuries than the other beach clubs. I ordered 5 different drinks and every time I asked them to surprise me. Each drink was better than the next and these were some of the best drinks I found in Tulum. For food, we got the shrimp empanadas,  chicken nachos, burger and chocolate mouse for dessert.

Bagatelle – This is one of the most popular beach clubs in Tulum. It is nice, but was personally my least favorite, I don’t understand the hype around it. We went on a Saturday, which should be the most popular and fun day, but everyone was just hanging around the pool, it wasn’t really a fun party, like I was expecting.

Rosa Negra – I liked Rosa Negra for dinner and for their beach party. We went on a Monday, and in the summer, so it was dead, like everything else in Tulum beach, but they still had people dancing.

Things to do

Go to a cenote – There are tons of cenotes near Tulum, but one of the most popular ones is Gran Cenote, which is a 10 minute drive out of city center. It is 25 USD per person and you can stay as long as you want. They give you snorkeling gear and you swim with turtles, fish, and in the cave the bats hang over your head, its really cool!

DIY food and mezcal tours – When in Tulum city center, I highly recommend you doing a DIY taco and mezcal tour, it is super easy to do. I just researched some of the best authentic taquerias and then just walked around the main strip for bars, all of them serve mezcal. We stopped at Taqueria La Chiapaneca, Tropi Tacos, and Tamales Don Taco – all of which were great, but Tropi Tacos were my favorite.

Have you been to Tulum? If so, did it live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments!


Finding Francesca

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