Fly into Cancún International Airport (www.cancun-airport.com), which is about a two-hour drive from the hotel. Take your pick of airlines that fly direct from the US, including JetBlue (www.jetblue.com), American (www.aa.com) and United (www.united.com). From London, British Airways (www.britishairways.com) and Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) have non-stop flights out of Gatwick (www.gatwickairport.com).
Plan on planting yourself in Tulum? If so, a car isn’t necessary. The hotel can arrange an airport transfer and Tulum itself has one main road. Catch a cab to local restaurants and bars, or cruise there on a bicycle. However, if you’d like to take a day trip to colonial Mérida or to explore the ruins in Cobá, your own wheels would be ideal. The hotel has free on-site parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
Beyond the beach, Tulum is an archaeological and geographical wonderland. The ruins of Tulum stand on limestone cliffs and date back to the 13th century. Wander the grounds and snap shots of an ancient castle, an old-world temple and loads of sunbathing iguanas. Your adventures at Aktun Chen Natural Park will be of the subterranean variety. There, you can snorkel in an underground river (bonus: legend has it the waters have youth-enhancing powers) and hike through an underground cave. Or, venture to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, where you can go fly-fishing, as well as bird watching from a kayak.
Back in town, hit up the shops along the main beach road. Forgot your favourite kaftan? Josa Tulum (+52 984 108 3625) has enough silky garbs for your entire trip. Over at Coqui Coqui (+52 984 168 1602), browse perfumes with hints of coconut, orange blossom and tabacco. You can even pick up a fashionable bottle of mosquito repellent in a citronella scent. Next door, pop into Mr Blackbird (+52 984 114 3796), a tiny jewellery shop with sand for floors and raw gemstone accessories.
Tulum is quickly becoming a food-focused destination. Just look at Hartwood. They don’t have an electric appliance on the property, but they do have lines of up to two hours. This haven for sustainability, which does all its cooking by wood-fired grill and oven, serves spear-caught fish and an all-organic menu.
Another see-and-be-seen eatery is Casa Jaguar (+52 998 222 2749). Come for the garlic butter camarones, stay for the bohemian forest decor. For old-school Tulum, stop by Zamas (+52 984 877 8523), which was one of the first restaurants in town. Order their specialty – juevos rancheros made with a crispy tortilla.
It’s impossible to visit Gitano (+52 984 188 2184) and not be mesmerized by the shimmering disco ball that hangs beneath the palm trees. In fact, this bar/restaurant/dance destination has a boozy nod to the 70s-inspired sphere on their cocktail menu. The Gypsy Disco – a mixture of mezcal, white rum, lime and basil grenadine – will make you want to boogie.
Further down the beach, hotel Papaya Playa (+52 984 116 3774) hosts another swinging jungle party. From Tuesday to Sunday they have live DJ sets at their beach club, plus delicious margaritas. On Friday nights they have live bands, and once a month the Papaya crowd throws a bash to celebrate the full moon.