Being born and raised in the tropical islands of the Philippines, I think it’s safe to say that winter and I aren’t very well acquainted. So in the middle of a bitter cold February, I packed my bags and escaped to Tulum, Mexico with two of my fellow winter warriors to cure our vitamin sea deficiency!
I booked my ticket only a week before departure so I had to make sure I had all my packing essentials covered — and more importantly, the snacks to power me through my travels! However, even the most seasoned travellers can be forgetful…so leave it to me to forget to bring sunnies to a sunny destination. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be travelling with two fashionable bloggers (Darlene and Tania) and was able to borrow one of their sunnies out of their coveted collections of sunnies they brought on the trip (thank you girls!!). Pro tip: travel with bloggers, because they’re always prepared!
We arrived at Cancun International Airport (CUN) late in the evening and went to pick up our car rental. The road signs were pretty easy to read, and it was one highway to Tulum. We stopped by the grocery store (Super Chedraui in Puerto Aventuras) on the way to Tulum before all the stores closed (around 11 pm). It’s always a good idea to do a little search ahead of time before hitting the road, so you know your options (and also to download an offline Google Map)! We bought some essentials such as water, breakfast food, coffee, fruits, chips, and oat milk (yes, they even have oat milk at this location). Since we were staying at an Airbnb, we figured we could cook our own breakfast and make coffee in the mornings. Our Airbnb is nestled in downtown Tulum instead of the beach strip, and it was just before midnight when we arrived because the drive was about 2 hours from the airport including all the errands we ran before checking in. We put away the food, settled down, showered, and flopped on our beds to rest for the day ahead.
The next day we woke up ready for the day and made our breakfast. To me, a good breakfast (or brunch) is the most important meal of the day because it is the source of energy that powers me throughout the day’s activities. I made eggs and oatmeal — and I can’t forget about the avocado! In the afternoon, we headed to beautiful Coco Tulum (this is where I stayed last time I was in Tulum) then we walked around the beach strip before heading to Burrito Amor for dinner.
Our day started with going to Gran Cenote which is really close to Tulum. We made sure to go early to beat the crowd as this is a popular tourist site in Tulum. The water is so clear you can see the water bed, and glimmers when the sun is shining over it. I also made a tiny little turtle friend ?.
After swimming at the cenote, the first thought on my mind was food! (But truthfully, I was already thinking about food after breakfast). A good meal is a must after all the energy burned off after a swim, wouldn’t you agree? We headed to Raw Love Café for some yummy healthy food. I ordered the Turmeric Latte and Coconut Curry. Yum!
Afterwards, we explored more of the beach strip, but this time on bikes! We stopped for a much-needed refresher at Matcha Mama. We then headed to our dinner at Hartwood, making sure to arrive before 5:30 pm for walk-ins to avoid the long wait — reservations are booked up from a month before. This is one of my favourite restaurants in Tulum. The first time I went to Tulum, I wanted to go to this restaurant but didn’t realize I needed to make reservations way ahead of time so we had to wait about 1.5 hours before we got seated, but it was well worth it! That’s why I had to go back a second time, along with some great company. They only take cash, so don’t forget to bring or exchange cash – MXN.
For the first part of our day, we lounged around our Airbnb and made use of the pool. Then we drove to Nomâde Tulum for a late lunch and had some fish tacos. We beach bummed for the rest of the day and did a whole lot of quality relaxation in the sun. I think this is an essential part of any vacation — to sit back and just enjoy the view. In the evening, we went to Les Bains Tulum to watch their Cabaret show during dinner which is part of their new pop up experience. Afterwards, we checked out their beach club party where we met a couple of people who were also from Toronto.
We ate, and beach bummed some more for most of the day at Nomâde – this time we tried their ceviche and of course more tacos and guac. For dinner, we went to Posada Margherita (another favourite that also only takes cash) and ordered my usual shrimp linguine (I tried to recreate this dish when I got back the first time I went and I just never posted it; might try again and link it here if I do, so stay posted!). Oh, and they have the best bread! Their focaccia is freshly made in house daily.
This time around, we had breakfast (or brunch, in this case) at The Real Coconut (their menus are GLUTEN, GRAIN, DAIRY, and REFINED SUGAR-FREE). I ordered their “macho pancakes” which comes with some fruits and berry sauce — another favourite of mine. At this point, you might think I use the term “favourite” very loosely but I absolutely mean it! We then went to
We packed up our pieces of luggage and put it in the trunk of the car. We checked out of our Airbnb, said our goodbyes to our lovely home of six days (total of seven, but we arrived in the evening on the first day so that doesn’t really count) and headed to the beach one last time before heading to the airport. We went to Tata Tulum for brunch and left from there to go to the airport. Adiós and until next time, beautiful Tulum!
- Bring cash, a lot of restaurants only take cash (MXN)
- Download an offline Google Map of the area you’re traveling to
- Bring clothing with light fabric
- Pack comfortable footwear – versatile sandals for walking and for sandy beaches
PLACES TO EAT
- Raw Love Café
- Matcha Mama
- La Popular at Nômade
- Posada Margherita
- The Real Coconut
- Moro at Habitas
We didn’t make it to the ones below, but it’s on my list for next time!