Tulum, Mexico – 3 Day Trip Recommendations

When is a good time to travel to Mexico?? Anytime, especially for a Girls Trip!

After months of searching for flight deals from different cities, I stumbled upon $200-300 Roundtrip flights to Cancun from multiple cities. This was the perfect gift as I was looking to gather as many of my closest friends to celebrate my 30th Birthday! I could’ve easily stopped there and told my friends this is the final destination, but I wanted a different experience. My Birthday landed on Memorial Day this year and as you know, this is prime time for travel along with massive amounts of tourists for popular destinations like Cancun. So, that made my decision to visit a less known city even more appealing.

Tulum, Mexico provides a unique experience from what many would typically expect from a Cancun or Cabo trip. Tulum is off the beaten path and is known for its bohemian style and quaint boutique hotels. Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s known for its beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city.

My goal for this trip was to rest, relax and simply go with the flow each day.

There truly is no wrong way to do Tulum, as there are dozens of hotels to explore, along with miles of streets to ride your bike.

Happy to share what made my recent trip fantastic!

Where we Stayed?

Elements Boutique Hotel – http://www.elementstulum.com

  • Beautiful 4 story hotel that averaged 3 rooms per floor
  • Our stay included:
    • Free Breakfast
    • Free Bike Rentals
    • Easy & Quicker Access to Downtown Tulum
  • Keep in Mind:
    • Further from the Beach – Requires a 8-10 min taxi ride or 20-30 min Bike ride
    • Taxi Ride to the beach cost about 100 Mexican pesos

Day 1 –

Catch the morning sunrise

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We decided the previous evening that it would be the perfect kick off to the trip to begin our 1st full day with watching the sunrise. Considering the distance from our hotel we had calculated the amount of time needed to ride our bikes and catch the sunrise, which meant that we needed to leave at 5:30 am…..well let’s just say somehow I forgot to set my alarm, so we left just after 5:45. We made it just in time to capture the sun hovering over the beach, which still left us all in awe.

After hanging out on the beach, we headed over to a local coffee/smoothie shop to refresh before our journey back to our hotel. We realized how early it was, so we took advantage of the cooler air and time to ride along the coastline and take in the scenery. (FYI – Bikes and taxis are the main methods of transportation for visitors) I wouldn’t recommend a rental unless you have plans to drive to other places within Mexico.IMG_0639IMG_0014

Riding your bike in Tulum is so simple as you are provided with a lock and key, which provides you the chance to lock your bike on the nearest rack or palm tree. So we decided to head back to our hotel to give us time to get ready for the day and take advantage of our free breakfast.

 

Would you believe me if I told you we spent about 5-6 hours at one hotel?? Well, it’s true! We stumbled upon Azulik after viewing some beautiful images on Instagram, let’s just say those images do not do this place any justice. Imagine your ultimate tree house as a kid…..this is 100x better than anything you could’ve imagined as a child.

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When we 1st arrived, it was brought to our attention that the beach area was too full for additional visitors…..So we were a little bummed and easily could’ve walked out to head to another hotel. Thank goodness we stayed!! This was the beginning of an experience that made it on to our itinerary each day in Tulum. We had the most attentive, patient and kind waiter, Carlos! He truly made our experience what it was. At his restaurant, “Cenote Cafe,” we had the BEST CHURROS EVER!!! Probably not the best dish to have before hitting the beach, but I promise you it made the wait even more worth it. After spending time connecting with one another we finally made our way down to the beach! So if you’re like me or any of the women in my group, a beach trip would not be complete without your own mini photoshoot to capture your best, “Living my best life” photo!

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Conversation flowed, hours flew by and by this point we had all worked up an appetite for some authentic Mexican tacos. So we hopped in a taxi and made our way to Antojitos La Chiapaneca! Want inexpensive and delicious tacos? This is the place to go, I recommend the Al Pastor Tacos. It’s pretty simple… order your tacos and once they arrive you can add your toppings– cilantro, onions, fresh lime, cabbage, salsa, or radish.

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After dinner it was time to make our way back to our hotel, which we decided to walk considering how many snacks we had indulged in over the last few hours. I’ll share a disclaimer, always have you bike as a back up, let’s just say this leisurely walk took us a little over an hour to get back. Along the way you will be embraced by many local shops and other great restaurants. We took some time to walk in the stores to buy some souvenirs. (Just a reminder — Pack plenty of Pesos) There were so many beautiful handwoven bracelets, necklaces, hammocks, chairs and so much more!

Day 1 ended with many calling it a night, as it had been a long day out in the sun. If you’re like me and anxiously curious to explore, hop on your bike and take a night stroll! We stumbled upon a late night spot to continue our indulgence in great Mexican Food, check out El Capitan and order anything with shrimp, I promise that you’ll be satisfied!

Day 2 –

Visit the Mayan Ruins 

One of the signature attractions as a visitor to any major Mexican city is to take a trip to the historical Mayan ruins. If you’ve never been to Mexico, a trip to Chichen – Itza would be worth the drive and experience to view one of the 7 Wonders of the World. However, as I had been previously, visiting the local ruins was perfect. According to playadelcarmen.com,

Here’s a few fun facts about the Mayan Ruins in Tulum:

  • Tulum means wall in Maya, however, the town’s original name, Zamá (pronounced zam-MAH) translates as “Place of the dawning sun.”
  • Tulum was one of the few enclosed cities built by the Mayas. With walls on three sides and the Caribbean Sea on the other, Tulum was built to be a fortress.
  • No more than 1,600 ever lived in Tulum at one time, meaning it was more of a religious and ceremonial center rather than a population center.
  • The town served as a major gateway for connecting the Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico with the Mayan peoples of Honduras and modern day Central America.

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It was blisterring hot during our time at the ruins, so I suggest packing water, sunscreen, a hat and be prepared to sweat. In addition, only Mexican pesos are accepted for entry (70 Pesos). We spent the visit having a private photo session as a way to commemorate the experience, plus this day was my Birthday! So, it was fun to bask in queendom, while both individually and collectively having our personalities captured.

HOT & BOTHERED would be an understatement so we swiftly made our way to the Casa Tortuga Cenotes to help us cool down! At this point we had all ran out of Mexican pesos, so we paid our entry fee in USD – $21. When you do your own research about the Cenotes, you’ll quickly find that Grand Cenote is top of the list as the main tourist attraction. Our concierge and taxi driver both recommended Casa Tortuga to have a more relaxing, less crowded experience! They were right, this location included 3 Cenotes in 1, you truly can’t beat that. In addition, you have the opportunity to swim through a few caves….Don’t be alarmed you may see a bat!

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Once we left the Cenotes, we made our way to the infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobars Mansion. If you’re a Narco fan, this will be right up your ally. This mansion has been transformed into a boutique hotel with picturesque ocean views and plenty of preserved items from Escobar’s time in this home.

If you notice, I hadn’t mentioned food yet…. that’s because we truly had not eaten yet! We made our way to Burrito Amor, which was a delicious, fresh restaurant with numerous options from chips and guacamole to freshly made tortillas wrapped around there burritos. It didn’t take us much time to devour our food. I enjoyed the Al Pastor burrito!IMG_1443

With my Birthday coming to a close, I had a simple request…. Go to Azulik and enjoy their Churros! So, yes after refreshing ourselves at the hotel we went right back to our favorite spot with our favorite waiter, Carlos!

Day 3 –

Be a Beach Bum!

That was the only activity on the itinerary. We rode our bikes and made our 1st stop at Coco Tulum – a very cute spot to grab some drinks. We didn’t stay long as we were in search of a place to have lunch and this was just a pit stop to snap a few photos on these adorable swings.

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Coco Tulum 

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Our next stop was truly heaven sent!! Free Umbrellas, chairs, hammock and tables right on the beach! The majority of our day was spent lounging, eating, drinking and yes sleeping at Villa Las Estrellas.  It was perfect! And the perfect location to get the rest that each of us needed. When you visit, order their device and the guacamole!!

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Day 3 ended with our Grand Finale dinner at El Capitan and a ladies night at the hotel!

You truly can customize your Tulum experience to meet your needs. This trip filled all of my buckets and I cannot wait to head back and see more of what I missed in this short 3 day trip. I’ll share a list of each of the restaurants below + a few additional helpful tips.

Where to Eat?

  • Burrito Amor
  • Antojitos La Chiapaneca
  • Flor De Michoacan – Fresh Fruit + Popsicles
  • La Coqueta
  • El Capitan
  • Azulik (Cenote Cafe) – BEST CHURROS EVER! – Ask for Carlos
  • Villa Las Estrellas – (Try the Ceviche & Guacamole)

A few tips to make your trip smooth:

  • Bring more Pesos than USD!!
  • If using a Credit Card many places may charge an upfront 6% or 7% processing Fee
  • If using USD, be mindful of the conversion rate, Each location will vary.
    •  15:1, 16:1, 16.50:1, 17:1 – represent the different conversion rates we received
  • Pack Mosquito repellent (Thank me later!)
  • Stay on the beach

I highly encourage you to add Tulum to your travel list! Feel free to share your recent trip suggestions or ask any questions that you may have. Adios!!

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Chicago – 2 Day Trip Recommendation

Where to Stay:

London House –  LondonHouse Chicago Riverwalk

  • Beautiful views of the Riverwalk
  • Picturesque rooftop bar with a great variety of drinks
  • Walking distance or quick Lyft ride to all major attractions

Where to Eat:

  • Tiffany’s Restaurant & Cafe – (3 Miles away from O’hare Airport)
  • Giordanos
  • The Gage
  • Garrett’s Popcorn
  • Molly’s Cupcakes
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The Gage
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Giordanos Deep Dish

What to do:

  • Catch a game at Wrigley Field
  • Navy Pier
  • Millennium Park
  • Route 66
  • Magnificent Mile
  • Oak Street Beach
  • John Hancock Observatory
  • Willis Tower – formerly known as “Sears Tower”
  • Chicago Theatre
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Wrigley Field
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Route 66
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Oak Street Beach
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Hancock Observatory
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Willis Tower
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Willis Tower Skydeck

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Cloud Gate – “The Bean”

New Orleans, Louisiana – 3 day Trip Recommendations

Where to stay:

St. James Hotel http://www.saintjameshotel.com

  • Charming Boutique hotel within walking distance to all major New Orleans attractions

Where to eat:

  • Ruby Slipper Cafe (Download Nowait App, Thank me later!)
  • Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster House
  • Willie Mae’s Fried Chicken
  • Acme Oyster House
  • Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Cafe Du Monde

What to Do:

  • Explore French Quarter
  • Visit Armstrong Park
  • Hop on the Natchez Steamboat
  • Explore Jackson Square
  • Enjoy Frenchmen Street
  • Rent bikes from Buzz Nola

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Ruby Slipper Cafe

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Acme Oyster House
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Willie Mae’s Fried Chicken
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Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
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Cafe Du Monde

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