#TulumDiaries: Where to Stay in Tulum, Quintana Roo
Let's talk about your arrival.... most likely you will be coming in from the Cancun Airport... and guess what babes... it's far, far away (approximately and hour and a half to two hours by car).
Here's how to get from the airport to Tulum:
- Shuttle bus booked by YOU (try this one!)
- Shuttle bus arranged by the hotel. Call them and book this in advance and make sure you let them know how many people and HOW MUCH LUGGAGE (especially if you are a major overpacker, or are traveling in a big group).
Note: This trip will cost you around $100-150 USD each way. Pull out cash BEFORE you head into the car, and confirm the price you agreed upon before getting into the car. It will make everything easier once you arrive to your destination. Do not expect car services to accept credit cards.
Here's how to get around once you are in Tulum:
- Walk. The streets have sidewalks, and when you walk you're able to catch a bunch of stores and restaurants that you wouldn't ordinarily see if you were speeding by on a bike or in a car. It's completely safe to walk at night, and it's enjoyable to walk around during the day. The plants are beautiful, the air is clean, and you feel like an explorer in this jungle town.
- Rent a bike. This place is PRIME for bikers who are looking for a fun activity. Beware: flip flops are horrible to bike in! Wear slip on sneakers, watch out for cars, and be safe!
- Take a cab. Cabs are a-okay (and perfectly safe)—in fact, they're best way to go according to this US News article. Why? They're a great way to get around at night, or when traveling long distances—and aren't very expensive! Make sure you ask the cabbie how much the fare is before you get in. You can also ask the front desk of your hotel to help you so that you know the accurate fare. Click here to see what Trip Advisor says about cabs in Tulum.
Where should you stay?
Warning! If you are bringing a child on your trip to Tulum, make sure your hotel accepts children. Many hotels in Tulum do not allow you to bring your child (because many people are there to escape their regular adult lives, and feel stressed out by your child when they scream with joy). Hotels will list this restriction in their fine print, but it might be hidden somewhere in their website and you might miss it. Call in advance to make sure everything is a-okay for you and your bebe to stay.
1. La Zebra
La Zebra is part of a larger boutique hotel conglomerate in Tulum called Colibri Hotels. They own about four different properties, and each property has it's own vibe and location.
We were staying at Mi Amor, but per my note above, we had to leave because we were with my beautiful niece who is under the age of 12.
This was the biggest blessing in disguise! They switched our reservation to give us a room at La Zebra—and we couldn't have been more pleased!
The room in La Zebra was HUGE. It has two balconies, one large bed, two twin beds, massive closet space, large bathroom area, and a big shower. It's located right on the beach, and sits right near the shops and restaurants located in the jungle area of Tulum.
The most adorable part about La Zebra is that they give you complimentary tequila that you definitely should drink while you're there! It was a fun way to get in the spirit of being in Tulum, and gave us an extra reason to spend more time on the balcony! (...like we needed another reason, LOL!).
The products that they stock in your room are so natural that you can smell how fresh the ingredients are—the honey infused conditioner actually smells like honey! And the rose body wash hugs your body with hydration (which is just what you need after being under the strong sun).
The staff are so friendly and can help you with everything from recommendations on where to eat to grabbing a cab. They do it with a smile, and are always there for you—it's one of the main reasons to recommend this place!
2. Sanara Tulum
Sanara Tulum is located directly next to La Zebra. It's a fantastic location—and this hotel has a completely different vibe from La Zebra.
Sandra brings in a little more of a traveling hippie feel. It whisks you into the land of yoga and retreat. It too has a beach front area that's available to guests, but the inner area of Sanara felt quieter and a little more like a deserted island.
Who doesn't love that when you're just trying to zen out and re-align with your center?
The rooms have an empty plain feel, and while I didn't stay in them, I did take a creepy peer inside of them. Very bare, minimalistic—and perfect for perfectionists who dislike clutter.
Sanara is more so known for their yoga and boutique shopping—I can say that the yoga, the shops, and the staff within Sanara were very amazing!
I took Asusena's class in Sanara's yoga studio, and I could not have been more pleased. It was a fantastic class that challenged my core, ensured that good form was held, and led me to do my very first headstand (with zero pain in my neck and shoulders, which is a big, BIG deal).
You also get a direct view into the bright blue ocean from the yoga studio... and really.... what gets better than that? Very few things.
3. Be Tulum
Be Tulum has been recommended by Forbes, has a sweat lodge, yoga center, and organic spa.
The aesthetic is earthy, designed to make you feel grounded, and features lots of wood accents.
Not many planned activities by hotel (ie. no cars to take you to Mayan ruins), but they do give you recommendations of what to do while you're in the area (see here).
Rooms in this spot seem to fill up fast—so if you can, squeeze some time in to go visit!
Yogis, you're going to be in love with this hotel.
It's been recommended by Vogue, and is oh, so yoga centric.
What are the other perks? Breakfast that's included with your room charge, and a vibe that screams hippie chic.
It's located in the heart of Tulum, so you won't feel isolated, and you can expect to be surrounded by a bunch of like-minded, yoga-loving individuals.
5. Nest Tulum
Are you one of those vacationers who lands and gets going with activity after activity after activity after activity?
If so, Nest Tulum is for you!
The rooms at Nest are super simple, and designed to be a great place to pause and regroup after a hectic day.
This boutique hotel has won three separate awards by trip advisor, and states that it aims to give you a "home-like" feeling during your stay.
(located outside of Tulum in Xpu-Ha)
Saving THE BEST for last on this list! Although Hotel Esencia isn't located in the heart of Tulum, it's a must see when you're in the region.
I found this place because it was recommended by Vogue—and man, is it amazing.
This is the type of place that you visit and you say I WANT MY WEDDING HERE (can you tell that I want my wedding here? LOL).
So if it's not in Tulum, where is this place? It's in between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, approximately 40 minutes to an hour outside of the Cancun Airport.
This luxurious boutique hotel was originally the vacation home of an Italian Duchess, and when she sold it they turned it into a hotel—turning the main house into common lounge spaces and built mini casitas throughout the jungle-y property.
What can you expect? A jungle. A kick-ass beach. Fantastic food that's made with ingredients from the garden on site. An amazing spa that's beautiful, earthy, and holistic (head to the spa when it's raining in the rainforest!). A deep connection to the Mayan culture. Friendly staff. Tons of crazy animals including peacocks, lizards, and beautiful birds (for those of you who are scared of animals—don't worry, it's cool).
They have a cold-press juice bar, and have complimentary tea in the afternoon! The complimentary tea comes with a delicious plate of cookies, and it's an opportune time to enjoy the afternoon, and possibly meet other guests staying on the property. The main room has games, and it feels like you are staying in a friend's home.
Every piece of this hotel was very well thought out, and the rooms are TO DIE FOR.
This hotel has been featured in Architectural Digest, and you will want to Instagram every inch of it—which won't be a problem because the wifi connection is STELLAR. It's perfect for anyone who needs to get an hour or two worth of work done before heading to the beach.
The private beach on the hotel's property is fantastic. It's seriously one of the best beaches I've seen in the whole world.
What's even better is that the hotel has water equipment that you can borrow such as surf boards, boogie boards, snorkel gear, and more—just ask the beach attendant to help you!
If you're a yogi, you are in luck. The hotel has daily sunrise yoga, and teachers on call if you're in the mood for a private lesson.
When you step into your room there will be a basket of fruit—eat it!
It's all beyond delicious, and every single morning you will wake up to fresh coffee, muffins, and morning biscuits that are dropped off at your door! You don't even have to leave the room before you get your woosh of caffeine (how amazing is that? It's brilliant).
This hotel was perfectly planned out from the three different restaurants on the property, to the gift shop, to the layout of the land.
There is so much to do here, and it's the perfect place to go if you're looking for an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the living world.
The best part about staying at Hotel Esencia was the staff. They were so kind, so attentive, and recalled so much about you (and your preferences). They are genuinely thoughtful, and help out with anything and everything you could even imagine—like lighting a natural incense outside your room every night before bed that the Mayans used for centuries to keep the mosquitos away!
I hope this article helps you organize a trip that you will soak up and ENJOY.
So much love.