I couldn’t visit Rivera Maya without stopping by Tulum, 40 miles south of Playa Del Carmen. Know as an off the beaten path hippie hub, Tulum, is set upon a bluff, carved out of a jungle, and home of the region’s most picturesque Ancient Mayan ruins.
The surge of tourism recently has turned this once sleepy beach outpost into a trending bohemian destination. (It’s been all over my Instagram feed!) And while it may be losing some of its authenticity, I still got a grasp of its quirky, offbeat roots.
My afternoon in Tulum (way too short but none the less), was completely awe-inspiring and enough to leave me wanting more!
Entering the town is like going into a time warp, the tiny one lane main road is lined with open aired restaurants, juice bars, eco hotels, all built around the jungle trees. Everywhere you turn is picture perfect; from bright colored doors, intricately designed casual restaurants, hammocks with million dollar views, and large turtles walking the beach.
My suggestion would be to rent a bike to experience the town, and of course, to get in a yoga class, it’s definitely the thing to do in the capital of Zen!
We had had the best fish taco’s at Ziggy’s right on the beach; beer battered with a chipotle mayonnaise and slaw on top- I haven’t stopped craving them since!
While walking along the main road we were compelled to stop into the stylish Mivida, a Mediterranean tapas bar. Owned by an extremely friendly Italian, this restaurant’s decor is out of a shabby chic dream. It’s worth stopping in to feel the romantic ambiance and don’t forget to walk around back to check out the view.
Another notable mention is the restaurant getting a lot of notoriety lately, Hartwood. Owned by ex-New Yorkers, this restaurant encapsulates the off the grid spirit of Tulum. Powered only by solar energy, dinner each night is cooked over a wood burning fire incorporating organic Yucatan produce and fresh caught fish.
Just outside of Tulum, is the Gran Cenote. Visiting this cenote was one of the highlights of my Riviera Maya trip. Cenotes are limestone sinkholes that are formed by the cave collapsing and overtime they’ve filled with natural spring water from underground. There is believed to be around 6,000 in Mexico; the majority found scattered around the Yucatan Peninsula.
While it’s a little eerie when you learn the history of cenotes, considering the Mayans believed they were entrances to the underworld and once performed sacrifices here. Setting that bit of knowledge aside these swimming holes are an otherworldly experience, to say the least!
The Gran Cenote looks like an underground jungle cave filled with pristine crystal blue water and is open to swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. While swimming in the cave, you’ll see turtles, fishes, bats, stalactites and stalagmites (icicle formations). It’s an experience not to be missed!
So if you’re looking to unplug a little from the hustle and bustle of city life and be one with nature, you will definitely find tranquility in this ever changing small bohemian town.