Tulum, Mexico. Crystal clear water, lazy beaches, and fish tacos galore, whats not to love? I’d been hearing about this getaway just one hour south of Cancun from several freshly-bronzed, returning New Yorkers, and I was curious. So with packed bags and an empty stomach, we headed south of the border – Viva Mexico!
The town of Tulum is just a one-hour drive from Cancun, and that one hour sure puts a world of difference between you and the Spring Break Cancun is so famous for. The town of Tulum is one main drag lined with restaurants and souvenir shops, but make a left and drive 15 minutes and you’ll be in the middle of paradise. Tulum’s beachfront resorts are where the tourists flock, and for good reason – calm, clear water and white sand beaches. The beachside restaurants are much more expensive than in the town ($6 for a Corona?), but sometimes it just worth it if it means I don’t have leave my lounger.
At the top of the beach, closest to the town you’ll find Mateo’s Mexican Grill. This is like the TGIF of Tulum, they offer a menu with Mexican classics that anyone can enjoy. But don’t get me wrong, what this place serves up delicious – their plate of three tacos topped generously with arrachera, or marinated skirt steak, is a must try.
Across the road from Mateo’s is Zama’s. If you love huevos, you must try the breakfast at Zamas. They do their huevos over a crispy tostada, delicious!
El Tabano is one of the newer, hipper restaurants on the beach. Items like stuffed ancho peppers, pumpkin mole, meatballs stewed in sweet and sour tamarind sauce show the kitchen’s flair for innovation while paying homage to authentic Mexican cooking traditions. Come to el Tabano for a special meal – the rustic decor, homey atmosphere, and enticing scents wafting from the kitchen to the jungle garden make the experience really unique. And when you come for breakfast, which is available all day, you’ll be served fresh bread and fruit preserves.
Like most beach towns, the farther you get away from civilization, the more isolated (therefore, awesome) the resort is. So skip the popular hotels in town and at the Northern end of the beach. Keep driving until you reach Las Ranitas, an eco hotel located on the southern end. Their rooms are clean, bright and spacious, and every one of them faces the ocean.
Las Ranitas serves up delicious, albeit expensive, Mexican classics at their hotel restaurant. The Chilequiles were delicious, but there are much better places to dine in the town and along the beach. Enjoy Las Ranitas for their gorgeous rooms, pristine pool, and friendly staff.
Beach vacations are known to bring about a case of the “vacation lean.”