Travelers in search of a truly unique vacation will find it in Tulum, Mexico, a quiet town on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Astounding natural beauty, well-preserved history, and some of the world’s finest eco/adventure parks combine with a relaxed, laid-back vibe and eco-friendly atmosphere to make Tulum one of Mexico’s top-rated beach destinations. The area’s lush jungle surroundings, crystal waters, and spectacular white sand beaches create an unforgettable setting for romance, adventure, or family fun.

Local attractions include the Tulum Ruins, a renowned coastal archaeological site where the walled Mayan city of Tulum stood during the 13th and 14th centuries. Tours of the site are among the most popular local excursions, and history buffs can explore the Mayan empire further at the ruins in nearby Muyil, Coba and Chichen Itza. But the past is only part Tulum’s attractions; nearby Xel-Ha and Xcaret Ecological Parks offer lagoons, coves, caves, and cenotes where visitors can explore the aquatic world, experiencing the thrills and excitement of activities that range from adventure water sports to swimming with dolphins and even flying over the treetops on ziplines.

Though prices have risen somewhat over the past several years, Tulum offers accommodations for every taste and price range. Classic beachfront cabanas remain a popular top-end tourist choice, but the town itself is just an easy walk or quick bicycle ride from the beach, and lodgings there are an excellent and affordable option for travelers on a budget.

The food in Tulum is justifiably famous, with scores of eateries catering to every palate and price range; you’ll find fresh seafood, delicious local favorites, and a surprisingly large selection of international cuisines. Most Tulum restaurants have a very relaxed and casual atmosphere where beachwear is fine, fun is the order of the day, and the emphasis is on delicious dining.

Visitors should be aware that the Tulum Beach area has no municipal electric service and hotels must generate their own electricity. For this reason, air conditioning and TV service are limited, and guests are asked to refrain from using hair dryers and other appliances that make a substantial draw on electricity.

  • Encantada Tulum

    This unique and exclusive retreat offers eight luxury suites (four beachfront, two ocean view, and two garden view). All suites feature king size beds, private baths with blue glass walk-in showers, floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, hardwood floors, and large private decks. There is AC in only four of the suites, but all rooms have ceiling fans and are designed to catch the sea breeze. Amenities include a full-service restaurant, complimentary breakfast daily, free wifi, free bicycles for guest use, a spa, concierge service, and fresh water showers. Airport transportation and room service are available. Rooms have no TV or phone, there’s no smoking on hotel premises, and pets and children under 12 years of age are not accepted. A favorite with honeymooners and couples, Encantada Tulum is a one-of-a-kind romantic luxury resort acclaimed for its quiet elegance, attention to detail, and its friendly and attentive staff.

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  • Mezzanine Colibri Boutique Hotel

    A small boutique luxury hotel in a tropical jungle setting overlooking a white sand beach, the Mezzanine Colibri describes its ambiance as “Lounge Chic” and prides itself on offering “a funky alternative for hipsters and New Age travelers with a refined sense of style.” Its nine rooms all have king size beds, AC and ceiling fans, minibars, coffee makers, and nightly turn-down service. Room styles include two ocean view master suites that feature lounge areas, overhead rain showers, soaking tubs, and private terraces overlooking the beach; there are also four deluxe ocean view rooms and three standard or non-view rooms. Amenities include a pool, spa, free wifi, parking, and a Thai restaurant and martini bar. Airport transportation and laundry/dry cleaning services are available. No pets or children under 16, and all rooms are non-smoking. The Mezzanine gets rave reviews for its friendly staff, intimate atmosphere, and popular bar and restaurant, which draws an enthusiastic and eclectic crowd.

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  • El Pez Colibri Boutique

    Like all the Colibri properties, The El Pez Colibri Boutique Hotel is a small and intimate luxury resort with high-end appeal. Located in Turtle Cove, a secluded and exceptionally scenic beachfront setting that’s also a natural sanctuary for turtle nesting, El Pez offers a range of room styles including a fully-equipped three-bedroom beach house, six oceanfront luxury cabanas, and both second floor and ground level luxury rooms. There is no TV, but all rooms have sea views, AC and ceiling fans, mosquito netting on windows and doors, a security safe, coffeemaker, and include a daily American breakfast; amenities include a pool, free wifi, full service restaurant and bar. Children are welcome but pets are not permitted. All rooms are non-smoking, and laundry and concierge services are available. El Pez Colibri Boutique’s attentive staff, luxury accommodations, and secluded, breathtakingly beautiful seafront setting make it a favorite with couples, groups, and families alike.

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  • Cabanas La Luna

    If you like the idea of vacationing in a luxury fantasy village of private beachfront cabanas, open to the surf and sand but isolated from the rest of the world, Cabanas La Luna could be your ideal destination. Located on a quiet 50 meter stretch of beach with views of both sea and jungle, this unique resort offers the choice of beachfront cabanas for two to four people, a penthouse that sleeps six, a garden suite for up to seven, and a private two-story villa that sleeps eight and has a fully equipped kitchen, lounge area, and its own pool. All have private bathrooms, mosquito netting, a security safe, and fans; AC is available only in the penthouse and garden suite and in the lower floor of the villa, and operates only from 8PM to 8AM. Amenities include free wifi, a full bar and restaurant, hammocks, beach beds and umbrellas, bar service on the beach, and a beach shower. Airport transfers, in-room massage, babysitting, and private catering are available. Cabanas La Luna is popular with couples, small groups, and families, but it caters to large groups as well; the entire property can be reserved and can accommodate as many was 37 people.

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  • Hotel Dreams Tulum

    Located on the outskirts of Tulum and set in a 44 acre private property with a secluded white sand beach, Dreams Tulum is a huge, all-inclusive luxury resort and spa that caters to couples and families. Room rates include all meals with no-reservation dining and premium drinks at any of six à la carte restaurants, a buffet, a café, and a grill; 24-hour room and concierge service; luxury spa; complimentary green fees at nearby Riveria Maya Golf Club; two pools; fully supervised activity programs for children and teens; tours and beach activites; pool and beach wait service; nightly live entertainment; free wifi, all taxes and gratuities, and more. A special package featuring free international calling to the US and Canada is available. All 432 guest rooms feature private balconies or patios, marble bathrooms, AC, TV, and stocked minibars. An exclusive adults only section offers gardenview and swimout rooms and suites, and special Preferred Club Hacienda suites provide the ultimate in luxury. This high-end accommodation is close to both Xe Ha eco park and the Tulum ruins, but there is enough to see and do within the resort itself to make your vacation truly memorable.

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  • Las Palmas Maya

    This eco-conscious, pet and family friendly resort is our top pick for travelers on a budget. Located just across the street from the beach, Las Palmas Maya offers four deluxe cabanas and two spacious suites, all with one or more king sized beds. There is no AC or TV, but all rooms have fans, free wifi, private bathrooms, pressurized showers, an electronic security safe, and terrace or balcony. Guests also have access to two fully equipped communal cooking areas with complimentary morning coffee service, and an on-site cafe offers breakfast options from 8 AM to 3 PM. Las Palmas Maya prides itself on what it calls its “seriously eco-friendly” attitude, and a recently-installed solar electic generation system provides 75% of the hotel’s power. Children and well-behaved small-to-medium sized dogs are welcome, but guests should note that the rooms are not designed to be child-proof and the grounds consist of gravel walkways and flower beds, with no designated space for play. Las Palmas Mayas gets rave reviews for its clean, comfortable, and spacious accommodations, friendly and helpful staff, and value pricing.

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  • Posada Luna del Sur

    This small family-run boutique hotel is closer to the town than the beach, but when it comes to great vacation lodgings, Posada Luna del Sur is a triple threat: it offers all the creature comforts that may be hard to find in off-the-grid beachfront hotels (like AC, high-speed internet, Cable TV, and hot water); it’s close to the restaurants, shops, and vibrant night life of downtown Tulum; and it’s exceptionally affordable. Posada Luna Del Sol currently has 12 suites and a penthouse is under construction, set to open in late 2017. The suites are non-smoking and all have either a king size bed or two twin beds, a balcony or patio with outdoor seating, AC, ceiling fans, digital room safe, hair dryer, LCD TV, digital cable with English language programming available, and a mini-fridge. Room rates include breakfast. The hotel is in easy walking distance of shops, bars, and eateries; a taxi to the beach costs from $5 to $10 USD, and for day trips to the nearby archaeological sites the hotel can arrange a round-trip taxi at a discounted rate. If your priorities are a clean, comfortable, and very affordable room that’s close to the action, Posada Luna del Sur could be a great choice.

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  • Posada Yum Kin

    Budget travelers could find a real hidden gem in Posada Yum Kin, a peaceful and tastefully appointed 12-suite boutique hotel that combines affordability with excellent amenities. Located in the town of Tulum, Posada Yum Kin is just a 10-minute walk to the downtown area and about 10 minutes from the beach by car. The suites (all of which are non-smoking) sleep from two to four people, and in most rooms pull-out beds can accommodate additional guests. All suites have ceiling fans, and all but one have AC; all have wifi service, private bathrooms, and kitchens or kitchenettes with refrigerators. Most suites have a private porch or balcony overlooking tropical gardens, and a common sundeck area is available to all guests. Amenities include a pool, spa, free parking, and complimentary continental breakfast. Airport transportation, massage therapy, and bike rentals are available. No pets, but children are welcome and cribs are available on request. Car rental is recommended for distant excursions but local taxi service is convenient and affordable to getting around Tulum. If stretching your travel dollar is a priority, Posada Yum Kin is well worth considering.

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