When Laura and I decided to head to Mexico, we opted to split our time and head to the small town of Tulum for the first half of the trip.
I managed to find this great place in downtown Tulum called Maison Tulum. (I also managed to forget to take pictures of it). It is an awesome little bungalow style building with a little built in café, rooftop lounge area and the nicest people. The downtown area is located about a 10 minute drive from the beach. We knew our time in Cancun would be beach side, so I wanted something with a little more of a local vibe. And we got it.
I would absolutely stay here again instead of the on the beach.
There are tons of little bars/restaurants/shops on the main strip. Our hotel was 2 blocks of the main road in a very residential area. Nothing sketchy at all, just very local. It was great. We walked around the town several nights and never felt uneasy.
Most bars in the area have a beer/shot special for about $5 USD. We had some really weird mezcal and lots of ‘under the table’ tequila. We stopped at a place owned by a Frenchman with a dog named Tequila. One of his booths in the front was a boat, so of course that was the only acceptable seating option.
Our beach time in Tulum was spent at Papaya Playa Project. It’s a really great public beach just a little ways off the main resort and bar area. They are part of the health corridor and help foster creativity of local artists. White sand beaches, little palm shades with loungers and beachside bar service. All things winning in my book.
On our last night we were sitting at a bar eating tacos (of course) and kept seeing this neon flashing trolley/bus thing go by blasting club music. It stopped at the public square across the street and I instantly decided we were getting on it.
We walked over, spoke to a family on the bus and paid 20 pesos each to some kid (I’m guessing 16?) and headed to the open upper deck. We had no idea where it went and didn’t care. It drove around parts of town we hadn’t been to for 20 or 30 minutes, blasting music, before dropping us back at the square. It was random and totally worth it.
A few other notable things that happened:
-We picked up some very nice British hitchhikers when leaving the beach area during a midday rain storm and got them back to their hotel safely.
-There was a late night drunken shopping trip to the local grocery store. Not the modern one near the resorts, but the one downtown where no one spoke English. There was also some dog snuggling on the way out.
-Keep an eye out on Wanderlove World for my post about the Tulum Taco Challenge we embarked on. 22 tacos in total and 100% worth it. It should be out late next month!
Can I go back to Tulum now?
It sounds like you had a great time! I love people watching, and that Frenchman’s restaurant looks like a great place for it (and jumping aboard the trolley sounds like so much fun). The beaches look amazing, and it’s awesome that you were able to combine both beach and town on the trip.
Mexico looks like so much fun! I love this. Really want to visit and have just as much fun!
Looks like you had an awesome time!! I want to do a multi-month Mexico trip at some point in the near future. There’s so much to see there, but Tulum is definitely a top spot for me.
Great to hear that you felt safe there. The news always finds the bad stories. Love the randomness of the trolley tour! haha
Love Tulum so so so much!!! Jess and I stayed at this little place called Tubo Tulum where they converted old pipes into little bedrooms. It was halfway to the beach so we could just ride our bikes! Also hadthe best tacos of my life in town… can’t wait to see your post about the taco challenge!!! Xx
I heard of that place! I wish we had rented some bikes, but my friend doesnt have the best balance (her words, not mine!). I have been craving those tacos since I left!
What a fun trip you had!!! Love the shot of the beach and Corona 🙂
Haha one of my favorite moments too 🙂
Haha, that trolley trip sounds awesome. Must have been fun!
It was a TOTAL blast!
So nice to see coverage of the Maya Riviera that’s neither about Cancun nor the ruins. That trolley must have been a great reminder of what spontaneity can do for your travels!
Yes I agree! I did go to 2 ruins and Cancun, but there is sooooo much more in the area too!
Any story that starts with “When we decided to head to Mexico” is sure to be a great one! Haha! We will be visiting Mexico this winter, and I must find that trolley!!!
You definitely should! It stops at the main square in downtown Tulum! Plus, you can’t miss those flashing neon lights 🙂 Have fun!
This beech looks very calm and empty! I really like it!
It was so quiet and perfect!