Before we begin, if you’re interested in reading about Tulum TOWN – make sure to read my Tulum Guide, Pt. 1 here! And prepare yourself for intense food fomo (foodmo?), I definitely got some while writing.
Shifting focus now to the beach zone, ie, the sexy, relaxing, white-sand, resort-y aspect of Tulum. We didn’t spend as much time here as in town, but I can’t wait to come back again and bliss the F out. It’s the laid-back, eco-friendly yin to complement the grittier, pseudo-bustling yang of downtown. As I mentioned in my last post, the Playa is about 15 minutes inland from downtown by car. As you turn off the main highway and enter the environs of the beach, the decompression begins to take hold. Tons of sleepy/stylish hotels and palapas are sandwiched between the ocean and jungle along one main road among unique boutiques, inventive restaurants, and nonchalant bars. There’s a big emphasis on eco-friendliness here, with a majority of the properties boasting solar power (and lacking in electricity at certain hours of the night). There’s even an entire “yoga zone”, if that’s your thing… the whole area maintains an atmosphere of supreme chicness without coming off as over-pretentious. Just like me.
Here are a couple must-see’s (must-eat’s, really) while exploring the Tulum Playa:
I love the peaceful, Italian-riviera vibe at this beautiful hotel & restaurant. The friendly and well-informed staff ensures that you feel at home, whether you’re stopping in for a quick coffee or spending lengthy hours over dinner with friends. There’s a very un-rushed, homey attitude here. Their little boutique is very well-curated and it’s also fun to explore the impressive garden. Also, their (HUGE) fresh-squeezed juices are a welcome afternoon reset between al pastor binges.
If you so much as breathe “Tulum” to anyone who’s been there, “Hartwood” is usually what you’ll hear in response. It’s word-association for the wining and dining generation. No bones about it, Hartwood is a pain in the ass to get into. Reservations are only accepted in-person, day-of, and you’ll more than likely need a reservation. But, if you don’t mind lining up in the afternoon to put your name in, the oh-so-fresh, wood-fired fare and vibey ambiance (owner/chef Eric Werner is a Brooklyn transplant) are well worth the trouble.
Contrary to Hartwood, they don’t accept reservations but do invite you to have a seat and enjoy a handmade cocktail while you wait for your table. The influence is Argentinian, think amazing skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and whole roasted fish served with mashed sweet potatoes and local vegetables. Bonus star for the eclectic house music, complete with an acoustic George Michael cover that was all-too amusing after mucho mezcal.
Thanks for reading! What are your favorite spots in Tulum?