For the past few years I’ve made it a point to go somewhere or do something for my birthday. I don’t want to let the day pass and not celebrate me! This year I had no idea what I wanted to do and since we are living during these crazy times of Covid, I really couldn’t decide on a place or activity. Eventually I settled on Tulum, Mexico. Tulum was not my first choice but I had such a great time and I’m definitely glad that I spent my birthday in Mexico.
In order to get to Tulum, Mexico you have to fly into Cancun and then take a transfer (i.e. taxi, shuttle, bus, or hotel shuttle) 1.5 hours south to arrive in Tulum. You could also rent a car from the Cancun airport to make the drive south. I would suggest either getting with your hotel to see if they have a shuttle (for a fee of course) or you can use the service that I used (https://www.cancunairporttransportations.com). This company is always at the airport and once you get to the shuttle pick up area your private shuttle quickly arrives and you are off to start your vacation. I arrived in Tulum around 2pm local time and checked into the hotel. I didn’t want to stay at a big resort style hotel on the beach and I wanted something with more of a relaxed jungle/bohemian vibe. So I ended up booking a pretty cool boutique hotel called Amaka Riviera Tulum (https://www.amakarivieratulum.com). This is actually 1 of 3 hotels that I stayed in during my time in Tulum. Yes that’s right 3 hotels!! I chose to get 3 different experiences by staying in 3 different locations and I’m glad that I did it! Tulum has plenty of boutique hotels and Airbnb’s to choose from and with a little research you can find a property that fits your needs.
Amaka Riviera is a beautiful boutique hotel that is close to the center of Tulum. The hotel offers 17 condo like rooms and each room has a balcony or terrace with a view of the jungle or customized decks looking out onto the gardens. Some rooms also have a private pool. This hotel has a very nice outdoor pool to relax in that’s lined with hammocks and the property is very peaceful and serene. The hotel has bikes for guests to use so that you can tour the city of Tulum or go to the beach. Although this hotel is nice it does not have a restaurant which was fine for me because I had so many things planned that I only came back to the hotel to sleep and rest up for the next days activities.
On my birthday I went scuba diving in a cenote called Casa Cenote. Check out my other blog post for more scuba diving info (https://bucketlistbrandy.com/2020/12/08/__trashed-2/ )
After scuba diving I went back to the hotel and changed and headed out to tour the city and the beach. There is a public beach that you can go to or you can pay for a resort pass at one of the many resort that line the beach so that you can have access to their amenities.
The next day I got up early and checked out of the hotel and got a taxi to Casa Malca (https://www.casamalca.com). Casa Malca is a boutique style hotel that was once a mansion owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Yes you read that right The Pablo Escobar! I am a fan of the TV show Narcos so it was a no brainer when it came to scheduling this visit. The mansion was abandoned after he died in 1993 and subsequently bought by New York art dealer Lio Malca in 2012. Malca’s private collection of art is scattered around the hotel and the hotel also has 2 bars and a restaurant. The hotel property leads out onto a long stretch of beach with plenty of places to relax. Casa Malca is about a 30 minute taxi ride from city center of Tulum (well that depends on the time of day and weather conditions). If you are not a guest of the hotel, you can pay a fee to tour the property which includes a meal or beverage credit. Casa Malca has other Instagram worthy pictures but those areas are only for guests residing on the property. After lunch I headed back to Tulum to check into my 2nd hotel for this trip.
I arrived at my 2nd hotel which was Hotel Bardo (https://www.hotelbardo.mx) and it was everything that I’d seen online! Hotel Bardo is another boutique hotel in Tulum and it is absolutely stunning. I had seen many pictures on social media about this property and I knew I had to stay here. Secluded in the Mayan jungle, Hotel Bardo offers loft style villas with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, outdoor shower, private jungle garden, and private pool. This set up is for every villa on the property. Hotel Bardo has a restaurant, bar, and in room dining available. I walked the property of this hotel and I was simply amazed at the attention to detail and the staff were amazing. There are several activities to do at Hotel Bardo such as yoga, temazcal, and sound healing.
Una Vida (https://www.unavidatulum.com) was the last hotel that I stayed at before my departure back to the states. Una Vida is the sister property to Hotel Bardo and they are actually connected which was super convenient because I was going to be out sightseeing before check in and the staff at Hotel Bardo took my luggage over to Una Vida for safekeeping until my 3pm check in. Also, you can bounce back and forth between each property and enjoy the amenities that each offer. Una Vida is a vibe just like Hotel Bardo! The ambience is so chill especially at night time. My room came with an outdoor pool and with all of the trees I definitely felt like I was in the jungle! I have nothing but good things to say about my stay here.
Overall my birthday trip to Tulum, Mexico was more than I could have asked for especially since it was last minute and not at the top of my list. I feel like I missed out on seeing some of the other dope places to visit in Tulum but what I did see has definitely left a lasting impression on me and I’ll be back! Thanks for the memories Tulum✌.
Below are just a few tips to make your arrival in Cancun and vacay in Tulum go a little smoothly.
🔹️Have your transportation from Cancun to Tulum booked before you arrive in Cancun. Once you clear customs and exit the airport it is super chaotic with people trying to get your attention.
🔹️USD is accepted in some places but I would suggest that you do a currency exchange for Mexican Pesos. Also, be sure to get some small notes for tipping! I did my currency exchange with my local bank branch before I left.
🔹️If you plan on going to a cenote or mayan ruins and want to avoid the crowds get there early! Let me say that again, 🗣GET THERE EARLY
🔹️If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to leave your hotel and want to order food from a certain restaurant you can use (https://www.Tomato.mx) which is like the equivalent to Uber Eats! I used it one time when the weather was getting bad and I had no issues! You can track your order online and they are pretty quick!
🔹️It rained alot at night time during my trip and the mosquitos were out and about! I bought a few insect repellent bracelets from my local sports and outdoors store before I left for the trip and it really helped.
🔹️Montezuma’s Revenge is still in effect! In other words 🗣 Don’t drink the water 🤣
🔹️And last but not least…..enjoy yourself
FYI Tulum is definitely a vibe!
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it!! I have many more pictures but hopefully I’ve given you enough to inspire your travels to Tulum if it’s on your vacation list. If you’ve been to Tulum feel free to share your experience below.