27 November 2018

Travel Guide: Tulum (and We're Engaged!)


It's been a very exciting few weeks! We spent a week in Tulum, and much to my surprise WE GOT ENGAGED! That's right, while enjoying apps and drinks at La Popular beach bar (part of the Nomade hotel) Tyler proposed. I was so shocked and since then my mind has been going 100km/hr. thinking about wedding planning. So much so I almost forgot to write this blog.


First of all, we loved Tulum. We are already planning on going back in 2020! We met some amazing people (read more about them later on), ate at so many amazing restaurants, went on a few adventures through Mayan ruins and the Grand Cenotes, and RELAXED on a perfect, sandy beach.

Where to stay:



We stayed at Kore Tulum Retreat and Spa Resort, an adults-only all-inclusive RIGHT in the heart of Tulum. It's the perfect hotel for a beach bum or adventurer. The resort is small enough you never have to worry about not getting a seat by the pool, and close enough to beautiful beaches you can ride your bike or walk to a beach playground! Kore Tulum is located right on the water, with beautiful cliffs overlooking the ocean. The sun rises over Kore so if you wake up early you can catch a gorgeous sunrise. We made a few notes about things we loved (and didn't love!) about Kore... there is no Wifi in the rooms. If you need to use Wifi you have to go to the Lobby or Bar. Not a big deal since we were not there to be on our devices, but we thought it was important to let people know about this. Also there is no Beer stocked in the room fridges - something Tyler was quite upset about. The resort offers the use of free bicycles until sunset. We had read reviews that the bikes were poor quality prior to arriving, but when we got there we didn't see an issue with the bikes - we used them everyday, and went quite the distance with them with no issues. We even rode into Downtown Tulum to the grocery store to buy cheap beer - haha! The food was a big one for me. I found it pretty hard to find gluten-free options, so I ate a lot of yogurt, fruit and granola. Tyler loved the food though, so I wouldn't say it was BAD, it was just hard for me to find a lot of options. That being said, Kore is so close to so many amazing restaurants and Tulum is so health-focused, we were able to walk, cab or bike ride to eat at other places.

What to do:



The Grand Cenote is a 200-peso cab ride away - and only about a 7 minute drive. It is SO beautiful but go early. We went right at opening and were the only ones swimming. As time went on it got busier and busier, but we still left before the crowds! The water is warm, and crystal clear. You can swim with the cutest turtles, and swim beneath caves of bats. It was an amazing experience and so nice that it was so close. If the weather wasn't so warm, we could have rode our bikes there. That's the nice thing about Tulum - so many things to do are accessible by bike! The Grand Cenote cost 90-pesos per person for entrance.




The Tulum Ruins are an even closer adventure. Our resort was located right in the centre of Beach Road. If you ride North you venture towards the Tulum Ruins, and if you ride South you are greeted by beautiful hotels on white sandy beaches. We loved the location of our hotel because we could easily access everything! The ruins were definitely an adventure. We tried to go a few times but every time we went it was SO busy. Finally on our successful attempt we woke up early and got there for open. It was already HOT out, and there were already tons of people - including large groups of tours that had obviously been bussed in from Cancun. I will say the ruins were not a highlight of the trip for me, but I am glad we saw them. Their history was lost on me since I was so hot I thought I might faint. I quickly toured through the entire park before landing at the beach where we went for a swim and then quickly continued through the rest of the park. The views are absolutely stunning from the top! I am glad we saw it, but to be clear I won't go back to the ruins on my next visit to Tulum. The ruins cost $10 USD per person for entrance.

Where to eat:





Nomade Tulum has 2 amazing restaurants on site; Macondo and La Popular. I am biased to say you NEED to eat at La Popular because that is where we got engaged, but I am sure both are amazing. Macondo is Moroccan-inspired, and would be a great place to enjoy in the rain - when it rains it POURS in Tulum, and this roofed restaurant is the best place to hide from the rain. La Popular on the other hand is a seafood restaurant right on the beach. The drinks at both are absolutely amazing; I would highly suggest trying the Cucumber Margarita at La Popular.



The Real Coconut is the place to go if you have food allergies or sensitivities - like me! All items on their menu are gluten, dairy and sugar-free. It is located on the Sanara Tulum property, right on the beach. I was sad to see they removed Empanadas from their menu ... I have been dying for Empanadas ever since my gluten sensitivity was discovered! But the rest of the food is amazing. Our one complaint was the expensive beer...

Mateo's Mexican Grill offers authentic Mayan and Mexican fare. Mateo moved to Tulum and started his journey into the restaurant business with a tiny food stand on the side of the road. He hired a local to do all of the cooking while he squeezed fresh juice. Today Mateo's is one of the most popular restaurants for authentic cuisine in Tulum. A must-try for anyone visiting Tulum!



Le Zebra Beach Hotel has an incredible restaurant on site - with free wifi! They also have "the best tacos in Tulum" according to Tyler. I won't lie, I had a bite and he is probably right. They were amazing! The guacamole was also delicious, and served with plantain and corn chips. The best part about Le Zebra though, is the view. Located right on the beach, I now only eat at places with beachfront views...






If you are in need of a quick breakfast, or a midday snack you have to hit up Matcha Mama. We had spent hours walking along the beach one day when I suggested we go for Nice Cream at Matcha Mama. It's called "nice" because it's nice on the tummy. Made with a coconut base, their Nice Cream was perfect for both Tyler and I, and our dairy sensitivity. I enjoyed a bowl of coconut nice cream, while Tyler had chocolate. I tried both - and they were both to die for!




If you want a really awesome evening experience, along with great drinks, explore Azulik after dark. The restaurant and bar are suspended up in the trees, with nets for you to lay in. The drinks aren't cheap, but they are phenomenal and worth every penny. They also have an impressive wine cellar!

Shopping:

Tulum has some of the most incredible shops, many of which are owned by expats - jealous! Here are some shots from my favourite shops...





What we saved for next time:



Be Tulum - Our next trip to Tulum, we will definitely stay at Be Tulum. The grounds are so tropical and beautiful, and it is central to many of our favourite spots.

Pasha Tulum - a Cypriot-inspired mediterranean restaurant. It looks amazing, and I love mediterranean cuisine, so we will definitely try this place out next time!


Gitano - I got so many recommendations for Gitano but we didn't have time to go on this trip. They are known for their live music on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, and party vibe on Friday and Saturday nights.

We had the most amazing time in Tulum, and met the most amazing couple - Betti and Ryan - who happened to be wedding photographers. The morning after we got engaged they offered to take some engagement photos for us to commemorate such an incredibly memorable trip! On the last evening of our trip we climbed over a retaining wall and had photos taken on the very sharp and dangerous cliffs of Kore Tulum. When I saw the final photos all of the risk was worth it. I'll post a few here, but check out their website and Instagram for more of their incredible work! Thank you Betti and Ryan!






As always, thanks for following along. Check out my Instagram for more photos from our trip!

xo,
Sera
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