GIRLS GETAWAY IN TULUM, MEXICO: TRAVEL GUIDE
If crystal clear turquoise waters, earthy jungle backdrops, eco-friendly vibes, and impeccably chic designs are your jam…you MUST visit Tulum, Mexico. Located about 1.5 hours south of Cancun, this secluded gem is like being transported to another world. Here are some tips and recommendations for visiting with your girls, a bachelorette party, or really any group!
Our trip was 5 days long and we traveled with a group of 8 ladies! We’re all wedding photographers and decided January was the perfect month for a getaway. Turns out January is the PERFECT time of year to visit Tulum.
Temps in the 80s, very little humidity, low mosquito count, and we didn’t encounter any of the seaweed issues some friends have seen in other months!
This trip was planned alongside my dear friends Lauren & Jessa. I am so thankful to have this wonderful creative community and so honored to know each of these ladies! May your girls’ trip be filled with just as many tacos, bike rides, dance parties, mimosas, inspiring moments, and perfectly posed instagram photos!
Where to Stay in Tulum
The ultimate debate: to stay in Town or to stay on the Beachfront. My vote: BEACHFRONT.
The beachfront is like a choose your own adventure book!
It can be upscale & jungle-chic or curbside acai bowls.
It can be barefoot & beachy or wear-your-best-dress.
It can be loud & exciting or calm & relaxing.
And it can somehow also be all of those things at the same exact time.
Did I mention Tulum is magical?
The town area has some adorable cafes (like Ki'Bok Coffee) and lovely shops for souvenirs, but it did feel slightly unsafe. I am a pretty experienced traveler having visited the remote villages of Nigeria as well as having lived in both Brooklyn and Miami. I recommend sticking with your friends and not exploring alone. We rode our bikes from our villa and I don’t recommend that. The roads were full of potholes and stray dogs which forced us to walk our bikes on the very tiny streets with normal-sized fast cars. All this said, if you LOVE to see the truly local atmosphere and experience the heart outside of the resort - then maybe the town is for you!
Once you’ve settled on beachfront or town, you’ll likely be choosing between a hotel or private villa. We traveled with a group of 8 women and knew right away that we wanted a private villa. We wanted to create memories together in the common areas and have a place to retire together at the end of each day - over margaritas of course! After swooning over house after house, we fell in love with Villa Miramar Tulum.
Tip: When you find a house you love, find & compare the house on all the popular booking sites to find the cheapest rate: Airbnb, FlipKey, VRBO, etc. Some sites charge higher fees to the villa owners and are therefore more expensive for you.
Villa Miramar met every requirement on our list: a private pool, beach access, king beds so sharing doesn’t have to be quite so snuggly, bike rentals, large common areas, and a kitchen! Villa Miramar took it one step further and included daily housekeeping. This was a HUGE benefit that we didn’t even know we needed!
Tip: Buy some fun pool floaties when you arrive! Trust me, they won’t disappoint!
Getting Around in Tulum
If you stay on the beachfront, you’ll likely end up somewhere along the blue path in the map above. We explored Tulum entirely via walking, bike riding, and taxis. I highly highly recommend bike rentals! Not only was it good for burning off tacos, but it was SO MUCH FUN!
Tip: Hug the edge of the road and be very alert! The roads are incredibly narrow and the taxis don’t mess. Also, do NOT ride your bike at night…because the taxis. don’t. mess.
We typically saved taxi rides for the evening. Taxis travel up and down the beachfront regularly, so we were always able to find a ride easily. Once again, 8 is the perfect number of people as you can fit 4 passengers per taxi!
Where to Eat in Tulum
First, if you’re staying in a villa - stock your house with groceries and alcohol. You’ll want late-night drinks by the pool, quick breakfasts so you can start the day, and mid-day snacks because y’all are likely to be on different eating schedules. OH, and however much champagne you THINK you need - buy more! ;)
As for restaurants, here are my top 3 daytime and evening spots! I’m sure there are others, but these are some of the best that we tried and LOOOOVED!
Where to Gram
While the ENTIRE town of Tulum is an insta-influencer’s dream, these six places seem to have been designed with Instagram in mind! The best part? They’re all fun in REAL life too!
What to Pack for Tulum
Most of Tulum has a boho-chic vibe. You’ll fit in with flowy dresses, white or cream linen outfits, and sandals that are easily tossed off for beachy bars and restaurants. Bring at least one nicer outfit with accessories for a fancy dinner. Here are some other items you might want to pack that wouldn’t be on your essentials list!
Wet Bag: So you can change at hotels and go right to dinner without worrying about a wet bathing suit.
Beach Hat and Sunglasses
Underwater Phone Case: I got this one on Amazon.
SPF Lip Balm: The sun is strong and your lips are weak!
Stomach Relief Pills: It’s Mexico and Montezuma seeks his revenge!
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Cortisone Cream: Because your bug spray will fail at some point!
Backpack: For easy bike riding.
Like a thousand bathing suits!
Card Games: For the drinking games of course!
Pesos: This is actually the only thing I suggest you DON’T bring. You usually get the best rates at the Cancun airpot ATM. I also used the ATM at a bank in Tulum because I underestimated my cash usage. Most places in Tulum are CASH ONLY.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful as you plan your Tulum vacation! Special thank you to these amazing ladies for the best week ever and for letting me include some of their photos along with mine for this post! Go give them a follow: Lauren Fair / Jessa Schifilliti / Mekina Saylor / Asher Gardner / Magi Kernan / Denise Weaver / Julie Murphy / and yours truly, Cassi Claire.
Check out the video below if you haven’t had your fill of Tulum yet!
Cassi Claire is a New Jersey, California, and Destination wedding photographer that creates joyful, romantic, and timeless photographs.