Exploring Tulum, Mexico

Wearing: 1/ Glamorous off shoulder top, Mango denim shorts, clutch from Marrakech markets, Converse sneakers, Prada sunglasses.  2/ Show Me Your Mumu romper, K. Jacques sandals, Bop Basics raffia clutch.  3/ Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini (or in Mint here).  4/ MICHAEL Michael Kors off shoulder dress, K. Jacques sandals. 4/ Asos full piece swimsuit.

If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen my recent visit to Tulum, Mexico. It was an extremely last minute trip (even for me) being booked the day beforehand to escape a freezing NYC. I needed a few days offline and away from my thoughts, immersing myself in the colour, food and simple goodness of exploring foreign towns on a bicycle, and happily getting caught in the down pouring rain while doing so.

It was such a short trip for three nights only that I preferred to enjoy it rather than carry my heavy SLR camera around, so I apologise in hindsight that this post consists of my Instagram photos. Dozens of readers have reached out asking where I stayed and which Cenotes I visited, so I have listed them all below. Please let me know if there is anything else you might want to know, or if you have any tips to leave myself or other readers!

How to get there: I flew return to Cancun from JFK New York, with American Airlines. I personally find that Cancun is an American tourist trap but acts as a decent middle base for access to both Yucatán and Quintana Roo states. I suggest pre booking a car or shuttle bus to your accommodation in Tulum before arriving to Cancun airport as they become significantly more expensive, or booked out. The trip takes roughly 1.5 hours and cost $150US for a private shuttle bus, which includes a return for your departure flight.

Make sure to bring some Mexican Peso’s with you if possible. All ATM’s within Cancun Airport weren’t working nor the ATM’s in the streets of Tulum.

Where to stay: As I booked my accommodation the day before arriving I had limited choice. Fortunately a hotel I previously spotted on Instagram still had availability… Hotel Azulik. I absolutely loved this hotel, but know that it is not suitable for everyone. Do not book if you are after a resort experience, but rather to get offline and more in touch with the nature around you. It is made up of 33 treehouse cabins looking out over the ocean in Tulum. No electricity, no fridge, no room service. Just the ocean, stars, a hammock and candlelit baths. The hotel is adults only, with clothing optional on their private beach. I would go back to this beautifully rustic corner of the world in a heartbeat.

How to get around: I think the best way to explore the local streets of Tulum is by bike. Hotel Azulik had them available to rent per day, otherwise local tourist shops have them lined up outside. Visiting the Cenotes or Mayan ruins is usually by organised tour (if not staying close enough to walk or bike) who supply a driver and shuttle bus.

Where to eat:

La Fonda Chiquita is perfect for an authentic Mexican experience. Hidden down a little walkway of boutiques, the restaurant is nothing fancy but good, cheap food that also boasts an incredible ocean view. If you’re lucky to get the seats perched on the cliff top it makes for a stunning sunset, while eating fish tacos and drinking margaritas.

I spotted Tunich Hotel’s breakfast thanks to its fresh juice sign out the front. It has a gorgeous and simple courtyard area, serving egg dishes and fresh fruit for breakfast. I had at least two juices every morning and used their wifi to check in with my mum.

What to see and do:

Cenotes are my absolute favourite thing about Mexico. Being Australian I am naturally and confidently a water baby, but rather than the ocean that I’m used to these incredibly deep caves seem more vast and bewildering to me. Plus, I love bats. I visited two Cenotes on this visit, Cenote Dos Ojos being better to spend hours snorkelling between the caverns. Diving is meant to be amazing here but unfortunately I can’t due to bad ear pressure. Cenote Nicte-Ha was beautiful from above, with a feeling of Fern Gully overlooking a worn down ladder to lillypads covering the surface. Make sure to visit the Cenotes as early as possible (I left at 8am) as hoards of tourists can arrive all at once, wearing fluorescent life vests. If you have more time to visit other Cenotes, I suggest Ik Kil Cenote and Gran Cenote from my last visit to Mexico a few years ago.

You cannot visit this area without exploring the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. The ancient ruins are the only ones by the sea, attracting more tourists to the beach as well as historic site. I personally avoid guided tour groups, but make sure to read while walking through. The street connecting the local town is also lined with colourful market stalls selling Mexican products and souvenirs.

If you’re coming to Tulum to relax by the beach I suggest reseaching the weather beforehand. Due to strong winds and currents there was a significant amount of seaweed along the beach and shoreline.