Just a few years ago, Tulum wasn’t even on the radar of many travelers. South of Cancún on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Tulum is far enough away from the Cancún craziness to be a haven for relaxation with fewer crowds and locally run hotels and restaurants.
After spending a week in this beach meets jungle locale, I totally get why people are obsessed with this place.
Pristine white sand beaches, Mayan ruins atop a cliff overlooking jade-green water, cenotes with clear, cool water, balmy breezes, luxurious spas with ancient rituals, rustic cabanas, and Mezcal bars with twinkling disco balls that signify the start of a night filled with dancing.
And, if you want authentic Mexican food, a perfectly spiced margarita or great Italian, you can find it in Tulum. Whether you’re in town or on the jungle road, there are dozens of places to enjoy good eats.
Where to Eat in Tulum
Hartwood: People line up at 3 pm for reservations for a reason- dinner at Hartwood is a must. Like many of the other Tulum eateries, they cook everything over a wood-fire oven. We ordered a few things to try off the menu & a couple carafes of habanero pineapple margaritas. Nothing disappointed. So, so good.
The story behind Hartwood is really interesting and makes you appreciate the effort of having dinner there even more. The friend that I traveled with bought me a copy of Hartwood as a trip-planning thank you gift and I’m loving it.
Posada Margarita: An Instagram dream on the beach side of the road with the best Italian food in Tulum. We came here one night to watch the sun set over the waves, enjoying tasty pasta and fresh fish cooked in lemon and olive oil.
Casa Banana: Fun place for dinner, serving up Argentine dishes and great cocktails.
Casa Violeta: The perfect place for lunch on the beach. We stopped here one afternoon while wandering the shoreline for fish tacos and basil margaritas.
Casa Jaguar: This was one of my favorite meals in Tulum, second only to Hartwood. Fresh seafood and vegetables cooked over an open fire and refreshing fruit cocktails, so delicious. The vibe here is cool- a jungle setting with bars and tables nestled in the trees. The scene is better later in the evening, but we came early to snag the table on top of the bar. Dinner atop the jungle? Doesn’t get much better than that.
El Tabano: The chalkboard menu is a bit overwhelming, but the wait staff are happy to tell you their favorite things to order. Loved the avocado soup, stuffed jalapeños, and coconut rice with shrimp.
Don Cafeto: Cafe in Tulum town with great breakfast.
Flor de Michocan: If you’re in town and need a snack, stop here for one of the paletas (popsicles). I tried the chile mango and my friend tried the strawberry kiwi, both got thumbs up reviews.
El Rincon Chiapaneco: They say locals always know best, and this restaurant in town was packed with locals when we visited. 1) Order the green juice (it’s Mexican kale and pineapple juice), 2) Start with potato empanadas, 3) Order either the cheese enchiladas in verde sauce or anything with their mole sauce. Out. Of. This. World.
Antojitos la Chipaneca: A local place in town, known for its pastor tacos. I didn’t eat here, but my friend swears the tacos were amazing. They cut the meat off a giant slab right in front of you and there’s a salsa bar in case you want to add a bit of flavor to your tacos. Also, the horchata is incredible.
Where to Drink in Tulum
There’s no shortage of great drinks in Tulum. From bars on the jungle road mixing up craft cocktails to local watering holes in town, you can enjoy a drink whenever you’re in the mood for one.
- Gitano: Mezcal is one of my favorite spirits and Gitano is a Mezcal bar. Enough said. If you’re here, the spicy drinks are a must-try, and if you want a sweet cocktail for dessert, try the Stardust (mezcal, dark rum, pineapple, papaya, coconut cream). In addition to having great drinks, this place is the cutest- it’s on the jungle side of the road and decked out in bohemian decor. On Thursdays, they turn the disco ball on and the music up to get the party going
- Casa Jaguar: I’ve already raved about the food, but the hibiscus & cinnamon margarita was also perfection
- Hartwood: We loved the drinks here so much, we ordered carafes of them 🙂
- Ziggy’s: We came here a few times since it was next to our hotel and we enjoyed the casual vibe. At night, this place gets rocking with live music
- Mateos: Head here to watch the sun set on the upper deck level with a cold beer or margarita
- Batey: If you’re in town, stop here for a mojito. They make the best ones in Tulum with pure sugar cane juice and fresh fruit combinations. We came here one afternoon to sip a few mojitos and watch soccer with some locals & had the best time
If you’ve ever been to Tulum, what were your favorite eats and drinks?
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