There are a million versions of Tulum--yoga/boot campers/old-school hippies/rock stars + their mansions--and this one is mine. So: restaurants, mostly.
  1. Room 20 at the Be Tulum hotel is the best.
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    Truly: it's closest to the beach, has an indoor huge hot tub and a lovely rain shower, and OH WAIT: your own private rooftop pool overlooking the beach. Plus another shower up there and a daybed for private sunbathing.
  2. Take cash.
    Lots of places don't take cards. I changed about $200 into pesos at LAX and took a chunk of cash with me. Pesos are best for taxis, but most places take dollars too.
  3. Breakfast at your hotel is usually included and totally delicious.
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    Everyone I've talked to says their breakfast was great, whether that was at the Be Tulum, The Beach, Hip Hotel Tulum, Casa Violetta, or Ana y Jose.
  4. Reservations are not super required (unless it's high season)
    And your hotel concierge can sort them out day-of, if you like. Hartwood, which is the hardest/best restaurant in town, takes reservations for parties of 8+ or you can wait in line between 3-5 p.m. to make a reservation for that night. Pro tip: the concierge at Be Tulum will send someone to wait in line for you for $40. It is indulgent and worth it, at least in my silly book.
  5. Go to Posada Margherita
    Super charming Italian seafood restaurant on the beach. There's a pasta with shrimp that might be one of the best things ever.
  6. Go to Hartwood
    Same owners as Eveleigh in West Hollywood, but I think the food is better. Charming design, VERY good drinks, and just a great bet all around. It's tricky getting in (see my note about reservations for a hack) but worth it. #CASHONLY
  7. Go to Casa Jaguar
    Dark and sexy and chill, like you're eating in someone's outdoor living room. #CASHONLY
  8. Go to Casa Banana
    Also on the main drag, on the jungle side, and very cute. A foodie menu, good wine list, definitely a good choice. #PROBSCASHONLY #BUTIDONTKNOW #MEZCAL
  9. Go to Be Tulum for lunch/dinner
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    I know, it's a hotel, but there's no shame. They actually made the best grilled shrimp tacos & guacamole I ate in Tulum! See?
  10. Private tour of the ruins is a good bet.
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    Ours totally lied and pretended there weren't sacrifices (even though I questioned him extensively), but despite the lying, he made the whole thing come alive. And had already handled all of the tickets etc. so it was a super chill/seamless experience.
  11. Adventure Times!
    We went snorkeling with the sea turtles, which sounded great, but was touristy and I wouldn't recommend. We also went snorkeling/exploring in one of the CENOTES/underground caves in Dos Ojos, specifically, one called Pet Cemetery. It was totally cool, but it didn't have any big open spaces, like I'd imagined. The guide was awesome and I'd actually do it again (despite my fear of caves, bats, and dark water) in another CENOTE, because it makes you feel like a Bond villainess.
  12. Bring Avon's Skin So Soft bug-repelling products.
    The bugs are real. The Avon SSS stuff comes in various versions (like with SPF and not), and smells nice.
  13. Take Pepto tablets, hydrocortisone cream, and Neosporin + band-aids
    These will serve you well. About half of the crew I traveled with got sick, ranging from feeling queasy after dinner one night to full-blown stomach and intestinal issues. Also: random rashes happen. And blisters.
  14. Do NOT use the ATMs in town.
    They are scams. There is one in a big grocery store at the edge of the strip that's safe. Otherwise be warned.
  15. Only bring heels/platforms/wedges if you wanna be *that* girl.
    I love heels, but I don't like looking like an asshat, and a friend told me I would look like an asshat in a wedge, so I left them at home. He was right; flats all the way.
  16. It's low-key, so if you're super high maintenance, it might not be for you.
    Most hotels don't have a/c or room service, which isn't a big deal, but worth knowing/adjusting accordingly if that's important to you. Also: you can't flush toilet paper, anywhere. Just saying.