Recently mocked in NY Mag for being the "Williamsburg of Mexico," there's no denying that Tulum feels a bit more Montauk than Mexico. Shortly after arriving, we met a group of aggressively on-trend women in jumpsuits and gladiator sandals (subsequently referred to as the "WeHo girls") who were desperate to know what was "going on" that night. Obviously, Hartwood was going on for dinner, and we ran into them later as we were leaving the restaurant. At Hartwood, we learned from our modelesque Spanish waiter (spending the summer in Tulum before moving to London to study) that "everyone" would be at a full moon party later that night at Papaya Playa Project. He heard there was a pre-party at Pablo Escobar's house too, but that the people renting the house this week were a bit douchy. A few hours later, we paid $25 cover to get into the full moon party, where we ran into the waiter from Hartwood along with a bunch of people our age from LA and New York.
Sceney-ness aside, it's clear why Tulum has become a favorite destination of so many cosmopolitan travelers. Along with sunny skies and gorgeous beaches, Tulum boasts mouthwatering food, trendy hotels and bars, and enough yoga studios and spas to keep the juice cleansers satisfied. What's more, there are a ton of fascinating cultural and adventure activities to try (think: Mayan ruins and underground caves and pools). Perhaps at the expense of "authenticity," Tulum truly has it all.
Our itinerary was as follows:
Thursday : We checked into Maya Tulum and walked five minutes down the street to grab fish tacos at Mateo's. The rumors are true: these are the best fish tacos you will ever eat. We spent the afternoon shopping on the main street before dinner at Casa Jaguar. Around 11pm, the lights go down, the music goes up, the rich smell of incense surrounds you, and the dance party begins.
Friday: We woke up to the sound of the waves and took a 9am yoga class at Maya Tulum. After breakfast at Maya Tulum, we spent the afternoon riding bikes up the main street of Tulum to the Biosphere and then to the beach at El Zebra. With comfy beach beds, killer empanadas and plenty of Mezcal, this is the perfect place to spend an afternoon at the beach. Dinner that night was at the jungle-sexy bar/restaurant Gitano, which was named one of the top bars to see before you die.
Saturday: We spent the morning exploring the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba on bike. At the top of the main ruin, we took exhaustive photographs of ourselves in various poses against the jungle backdrop before heading to cool off at the nearby underground freshwater pools (known as cenotes). Afterwards, we hit the beach at Ziggy's beach club for cocktails, guac, and a swim. That night was the aforementioned dinner at Hartwood and dance party at Papaya Playa Project.
Sunday: We woke up to the sound of the waves again, but this time it was bittersweet, because we knew it was the final day of our trip. I had a massage at 9am, which was much needed after all of the previous day's activities. After a final breakfast together, we headed off in a private shuttle to the airport, stopping on the way to purchase one last fruit smoothie for the road.