Riviera Maya, Mexico

Live Tulum

Rates from (inc tax)$135.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD160.65), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Kahlo-influenced casa


Quiet central street

Live Tulum – a turquoise-flecked, Kahlo-admiring bed and breakfast by the archaeological park – encourages guests to linger in this scenic beach break spot, so often used as a pit stop from party-hard Cancun. It’s private and peaceful with apartment-style stays (most with kitchenettes), and a pool in the garden. It’s clearly the owners’ passion project: a smattering of locally acquired paintings and trinkets, one-off furnishings and Talavera-style tiling makes it personal and homey. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of cabernet sauvignon


Photos Live Tulum – Tulum – Mexico

Need to know


Eighteen, including nine suites.


Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in: 3pm.


Double rooms from $135.00, excluding tax at 19 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD160.65), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a buffet breakfast, with egg and bean dishes, and sweets including pastries, muesli, yoghurt and tropical fruit.


From 7.30pm, there’s a daily film-screening by the pool. If you need local recommendations, look no further than the receptionist who has a wealth of suggestions. In-room massages (US$60–135) can be arranged at reception.

At the hotel

Garden, terraces, roof deck, reading room with a small library, free WiFi throughout. Bikes (adult sizes only) are available to hire, on request (guests must pay a deposit of MXN$2,200 a bike). In rooms: LED TV, minibar, free bottled water, air-conditioning and Bio2 bath products. All rooms except the Suites have a fully equipped kitchen, and the Royal Jacuzzi suites have a Nespresso coffee machine and Jacuzzi on a semi-private terrace.

Our favourite rooms

Bubble away your stresses in the Royal Jacuzzi suite; this room also has a peaceful terrace and walk-in access to the pool. We love the wicker-shaded pendent lights, Cath Kidston-esque rose prints and the motto painted on the dining room wall – ‘Always be strong, always love deeply, always give everything’ – is rather sweet. Up to four people can stay, so families will feel at home here, too.


The sun-warmed pool (open 8am–10pm) snakes around the back garden, with grassy sides and a sunlounger-topped wooden deck. It’s a peaceful spot, sheltered by rocky walls, and ground-floor suites have their own terrace just steps away from a cooling dip. By day, palms are reflected in the clear water; by night, candles are lit around the sides and submerged lights emit a romantic glow.

Packing tips

Pack some waterproof shoes for safe cenote exploring. Leave space in your suitcase for a rainbow-striped serape – the shawls are sold in the local market and are best wrapped around your shoulders while sitting on the terrace after sundown.


Head to the gym two blocks away if you're itching for a work out. Alternatively yoga classes, personal trainers and a soothing in-room massage can be arranged on request.


Welcome. The apartment-style rooms are suited to family breaks; under-3s can share their parents’ bed for free, and older children can stay on the lounge’s sofa bed for a nightly charge. The pool has a shallow end for kids to play in.

Best for

Toddlers, juniors, tweens and teens.

Recommended rooms

The Family Condos are the most spacious, sleeping up to six guests in a combined Suite and Master Suite. However, all room categories higher than a suite have a kitchenette or full kitchen and a sofa bed, so broods of all sizes can be accommodated.


 On-site, kids can play in the pool. Beyond the hotel, Tulum is a wonderland for kids, with ruins to clamber around, exciting theme parks and safe sandy beaches.

Swimming pool

The pool is in a quiet leafy garden and the small number of rooms guarantees a peaceful swim. There’s a small shallow area for kids to splash about in, but no lifeguard, so parents will need to supervise.


Only breakfast is served – there’s a limited selection, but  but having a kitchen allows for flexible mealtimes.


A local sitter can be called, on request.

No need to pack

The hotel has little baby kit, so be sure to bring any essentials; gentle mosquito repellent, a cover-up for windy boat rides and sunhats are a must.


Trips to ruins are technically possible with a jogging stroller, but a baby carrier is best.


The water used for cleaning is recycled in the garden, the bath products are environmentally sound, and the hotel recycles where possible.

Food and Drink

Photos Live Tulum – Tulum – Mexico

Top Table

Informally flopped down onto your terrace or balcony’s Acapulco chairs.

Dress Code

Follow the hotel’s lead: go for a plain base with subtle pops of colour, flowers in your hair, turquoise hanging round your neck.

Hotel restaurant

Breakfast is served in a homey shaded open-air alcove leading off from the garden. Hand-painted tables and chairs are laid out on an intricately tiled floor, and trinkets hung on a rugged stone wall. There’s no lunch or dinner, but you can cook up market-sourced goodies using your personal kitchenette.

Hotel bar

Since there's no bar, the hotel has a DIY approach to drinking: acquire some bottles of rum and coke (and fresh limes) from the 7-11 across the street, then sip from plastic cups by the pool. 

Last orders

Breakfast is laid out from 8am–10.30am.

Room service

None available, but most rooms and suites have a full kitchen, and Tulum is filled with tempting eateries. If you're feeling lazy, pick up fish tacos and ceviche from El Camello Junior, along the Chetumal–Cancun highway.


Photos Live Tulum – Tulum – Mexico
Live Tulum
Calle Andromeda Oriente manzana 18 lote 3 esquina Escorpión Sur Tulum, Quintana Roo, 77780, Mexico


Cancun International Airport (www.cancun-airport.com) is the closest, a 90-minute drive from the hotel. From the US, American Airlines, United, Delta and Virgin America fly direct from major cities; from the UK, British Airways arrives with a pit stop in the US and Iberia connects via Madrid and Mexico City. The hotel can arrange private transfers from there for US$125 for two guests.


If your MO is admiring the handiwork of the Maya followed by beach lazing, you’ll get by without a car. However, if you’re after a tour of Cobá, plan to check out party towns Playa del Carmen and Cancun, or just fancy a quicker way to reach the shore, a set of wheels will come in handy. There’s a car-hire booth at Cancun International; from there, take coastal route 307 for unforgettable shoreline views. There’s free parking at the hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

Few beaches can boast of scenery as spectacular as Tulum’s – a headland topped with 13th-century Maya castillos and deity-carved temples soars above pristine white sands, with the Caribbean Sea beyond. The town was formerly called City of Dawn, for its sunset views, which are especially spectacular from the clifftop. The archaeological park is a five-minute taxi ride from the hotel (or a half-hour walk), and there’s a steep staircase down to the beach if you’re craving a sunbathing session. The hotel’s concierge can arrange trips to the other famed ancient settlements in the region: Cobá’s crumbling pyramids set between picturesque lakes, Chichén Itzá’s pyramid of Kukulcan, and the large ruin complex at Ek’Balam. Snorkel with dolphins, spy alligators in a scenic lagoon or float past the Xlahpak temple (built more than 1,000 years ago) in Sian Ka’an Biosphere (+91 512 308 1111), a 40-minute drive south of Tulum. Cenotes reveal a magical underwater world as you swim through crystal-clear waters in deep stalactite-studded caverns. Don’t let their ominous names, (the Pit, Pet Cemetary, Temple of Doom) spook you – it’s a magical experience. If you’re claustrophobic, snorkel or dive off a boat from Cozumel island instead. Tulum’s theme parks tend to be quite splash happy, so pack swimwear for trips to Xcaret (+52 800 292 2738) and Xel-Há (+52 800 009 3542). Ride a trajinera (brightly painted boats) along Xoximilco’s canals – a ride that ends in feasting and Mariachi music, or try to catch baby turtles hatching in Akumel, from July to October. Locally, borrow one of the hotel bikes to explore the town there’s a farmers’ market every Sunday, just off Calle Okot, where you can gather cooking supplies. Turn your wheels downtown to hang with ageing hippies, snap eye-catching graffiti murals and shop in cool craft shops; La Llorona’s intricate jewellery and rugged furnishings are a favourite. 

Local restaurants

Dining in Tulum is as informal as cutlery-free adventures in wolfing down flavour-packed tacos and quesadillas made in ramshackle stalls, or the full five-star experience by a transplanted Michelin-star-awarded chef. The hotel has enough eateries nearby for guests to dine diffferently each night: La Nave (+52 984 871 2592) pizzeria, a 10-minute walk, is an unpretentious, locally loved spot. Cetli (+52 984 108 0681) on Calle Polar Ponte serves up authentic Mexican dishes with a modern spin; diners can try the variations on mole before deciding which they’d like to pair with their meat or fish. Appetisers (house-made bread and local cheese) are paired with tamarind-infused margaritas. Sharing platters and paella pans are bountiful at La Gloria de Don Pepe (+52 984 152 4471) on Calle Orión Sur. Head downtown (around 15 minutes by taxi) to dine in the jungle at Casa Jaguar, or join the queue outside Hartwood to try their daily changing dishes, cooked over an open fire. 

Local cafés

Tulum best street-food joints are usually the least showy, so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled. It’s easy to overlook corrugated-iron-fringed joint Antojitos La Chiapaneca (+52 1 984 114 6386) on Carratera Chetumal-Cancun, but it’s well-renowned for its zingy, heavily filled tacos. El Camello Jr (+52 1 984 871 2036), along the same street, has gained a reputation for its ceviche – the large portion is saucepan sized, so order the small if you’re after a light(ish) lunch.

Local bars

Todos Santos is a stylish, moodily lit bar with an ivy- and palm-bedecked terrace. Their locally inspired cocktails – the hibiscus- and cinnamon-laced Jugo Jaguar and Tikal, with guanabana and coconut cream – will fuel you till the 2am closing time. Gitano Tulum mezcal bar has equally talented mixologists, shaking up concoctions such as Kisses in the car, with mezcal, passionfruit, tangerine and habanero chilli pepper. And, they have a fairylight-strewn courtyard to enjoy them in.


Photos Live Tulum – Tulum – Mexico

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this warm and welcoming bed and breakfast by the Riviera Maya and unpacked their Day of the Dead nicho and ironic lucha libre mask, a full account of their cultured beach break will be with you. In the meantime, make yourself at home inside Live Tulum in the centre of Tulum town…

The Riviera Maya’s vivacity and carefree spirit are the building blocks of sweet, centre-of-town bed and breakfast Live Tulum. The apartment-style stays are close enough to the Mayaruin-surveyed shore for a beach break, but far enough from the resorts and well-trodden hotspots to feel like an authentic Mexican pied-à-terre. The owners opted for cosy familiarity over five-star bells and whistles: their collection of one-off furnishings and Kahlo-inspired artwork make the residence feel authentically lived in. Guests are made to feel welcome – come sundown, they can get comfy poolside to watch film screenings, and the library room is set for meditative afternoons. Apartments entice guests to stay with bouncy beds, balconies overlooking the greenery-flanked pool, and most have a full kitchen – so you may as well stay a little longer. 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Live Tulum’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Service and Cleanliness were outstanding. Really friendly people. Free to use beach towels were a nice touch. Our room was huge. Very quiet and peaceful. Just use the public (free) beaches. Check out Zine in town.

Don’t expect

5 star treatment, this place has more of an authentic feel.


Stayed on 13 Sep 2016