With a warm turquoise sea and sand as fine as powdered sugar, Tulum’s beaches seem like never-neverland. But this Caribbean paradise is very real and makes for a romantic escape from the crowds of resort cities like Cancun and Cabo san Lucas. A popular honeymooner’s destination chock-full of gorgeous beachfront hotels, the town’s relaxed vibe attracts backpackers, eco travellers and celebrities searching for the perfect hammock and yoga fix on the beach. Though lazing away with a coconut under your cabana is a worthwhile pursuit, Tulum’s Mayan ruins are the real draw – and definitely a reason to get up early. Soak up the rich history in the blazing tropical heat and then cool down with a swim. For a bit of adventure, try your hand at paddle boarding, kitesurfing or a 4x4 jungle drive.
Don’t miss a trip to a nearby cenote for some snorkelling and cave diving – these natural sinkholes are packed with underwater life, especially turtles. As far as sleeping goes, you can take your pick from the boutique and budget spots in town or treat yourself to a beachside hotel, perhaps with a wellness or eco theme. No matter where you stay, renting a bike is a great way to get around and enjoy Tulum’s fantastic foodie scene, replete with tacos, seafood, Italian, Argentinian steaks and a bounty of vegetarian options. After a few days of taking it easy, it’s a quick trip to the impressive Cobá ruins or the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, where you can swim with dolphins and drink in the natural beauty of the Mayan Riviera.
When to go?
November and December bring the best weather
Head here in November or December – if it’s safe to do so – for the best of everything. The end of hurricane season brings lovely beach breezes and cooler temperatures, plus you’ll miss the rush between January and March. That being said, hurricane season (Tulum’s summertime) means fewer people and lower prices, so maybe you can splurge on that beachside cabana you’ve been dreaming of.
Where to stay?
Beach views at The Beach Tulum, Mexico
Every room of this luxurious hotel opens directly onto the beach, so you’ll wake up to the lapping of the Caribbean and go to sleep in the glow of the moon. You can expect top-notch service, decor and food. It’s adults-only, so a great spot for a romantic getaway – we’d recommend booking the rooftop jacuzzi room.
The relaxing terrace at Azura Boutique Hotel, Mexico
With near-perfect review scores for its friendly staff and comfy rooms, these apartments (1 or 2 bedrooms) are spacious and equipped with everything you could need to feel at home – even free Netflix. The rooftop has a small pool and lovely views, perfect for enjoying a sunset drink before you hit the town. You can walk to many nearby restaurants, and the beach is just a short scooter or bike ride away.