My Not So Secret Spot

My spot was secret for a good 10 years.  Then the Instagram crowd found it. The last few years it's been much busier, but it still speaks to my soul.

Tulum, Quintana Roo is a beautiful place to visit.  I’ve had so many people ask me about it that I figured since it’s so popular, it’s time to fess up and give you all my contacts.  

The first few years I traveled to Tulum I was completely smitten.  It was laid back, totally hippie-slash-yogi and no one took anything serious.   It’s different now, but still beautiful. If you’d like to go, here’s my best advice from over 20 years of visits.

Fly into Cancun.  We used to drive to Orlando so we could get a non stop.  This year we did Southwest to Ft. Lauderdale, had a short layover and flew into CUN.  

The second thing you do after booking your flight is to call or email Cancun Valet.  They will pick you up OUTSIDE the airport and take you to Tulum.  It’s so much easier. Trust me on this. The drivers are always super nice and they will deposit you right to the hotel. Book the round-trip.

I highly recommend Alaya Tulum.  It’s situated down the beach towards the biosphere.  If you walk about a mile down the beach you run into nothingness.  Which I love. If you walk the other way, you hit all the spots.

The staff is lovely, the rooms are upgraded without being too fancy, the grounds are small but lovely.   The restaurant is REALLY good. The maid service - well, let’s say we were all in awe of how tightly the beds were made.  Edwin and Ishmael stood out with stellar customer service.

I loved watching the sun rise and then going to the restaurant and having a cup or two of coffee before anyone was up.  Their breakfasts made us not want to go anywhere else. We have never done that before, we usually scoot around different places for breakfast.

Now, you’ll want to know about dinners.  If you go to the Tulum Ruins, make sure you hit Don Cafetos there or in town.  Ask for a grande margarita.  I personally love the mole enchiladas, but you have to like mole.   Since they have the two restaurants make sure you hit one of them.

From Alaya if you walk to the next property is called La Zebra.  It’s a bit more hip and happening, but they have really good food and drinks.  We tend to hit there for lunch or early dinner. While we were there in March there was a pop up bar called the Mulberry Project and they made beautiful, delicious drinks.

A trip to Tulum isn’t complete unless you go to Posada Margherita.  The owners are italian and they make all their pasta fresh.  It’s delicious and they only take cash. So be prepared. If you get there early you’ll get a seat but if you like a later dinner - definitely get reservations.

Zamas is really great for breakfast or dinner.  They tightened up their menu this year and they don’t have as much.  Still great though and the setting is beautiful. There’s a reason they are in every magazine you’ve ever read.  

A new resort and restaurant on the beach is TaTa Tulum.  The restaurant is excellent.  Get the street corn. It’s delicious.  Another beautiful setting. Make sure to take a flashlight with you so you can walk the beach home.

Mateo’s has strong drinks and great burgers.  Amansala has really great food too.  They have some hippie bowl thing I had and it was delicious.  It’s a good lunch option.

You can always grab a taxi.  This year rates were running $150/200 pesos to town.  Which was about $10.

We always hit the silver shop in town.  They have very pretty stuff and you purchase by the weight.  I’ve always found them to be fair. It’s about 5 stores down from El Mariachi on that side of the street.  

Ana y Jose’s was a place we always went to for breakfast.  We didn’t dig dinner so much but they had a lovely breakfast.  Our friend this year told us it is now buffet, so we didn’t go.  Especially since our restaurant at Alaya was so good.

You can do lots of things like hit some cenotes, which I highly recommend.  Go to Merida, dive, snorkel, do all the things.  We like to go and do nothing. No matter what you decide to do.

You’ll like Tulum.  She sucks you in.

Debbie Marlowe