ELLE Escapes: Tulum

tulum elle escapes
ELLE Escapes: TulumCourtesy + Design Leah Romero

It’s no surprise Tulum is such a sought-after destination. The beautiful bohemian beach town is nestled between the dense jungle and sprawling Mexican gulf coast, offering a tranquil retreat for adventure seekers, party enthusiasts, and wellness junkies alike. Year after year, Tulum attracts a vast influx of tourists due to its perfect balance of rugged beauty and tropical comforts, rendering it the ideal environment for a sun-soaked holiday—envious tan lines included. Maximize your stay by visiting between December and April— when the pending winter depression hits, Tulum will be here to revitalize you.

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Gitano Beach

gitano beach cove
Courtesy of Gitano Beach

Located in the heart of Tulum, Gitano Beach is a must. The venue sits in the arms of a tranquil cove, offering a private place to swim and, yes, even rest in a refined setting. But be warned: When the evening hits, the restaurant and beach club comes alive, transforming into one of Tulum’s most revered nightlife spots, all under the watch of Gitano’s signature disco ball. Embrace your inner beachcomber and fuel up with a lobster tostada in your private bungalow before deep house music takes over at sunset. Whether you seek a premier culinary experience or beach day with a coastal cocktail (or three!), Gitano Beach deserves its reputation as one of Tulum’s go-to shoreline destinations.

Gran Cenote

mexico tourism destination, gran cenote in tulum

No trip to Tulum is complete without visiting one of its many cenotes. Approximately 20 minutes from the beach is the famed Gran Cenote. The picturesque crater-like swimming hole is surrounded by tropical foliage, where crystal-clear waters are home to an array of aquatic life. Cenotes were once an important water source for Mayan civilization, and have since become popular destinations for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Explore extensive networks of underwater caves, or simply soak in the natural beauty.

Chichen Itza

el castillo also known as the temple of kukulcan or sometimes kukulkan, is a mesoamerican step pyramid that dominates the center of the chichen itza archaeological site in the mexican state of yucatán chichen itza was a large pre columbian city built by the maya people of the terminal classic period the archaeological site is located in tinúm municipality, yucatán state, mexico
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This ancient city is one of the world’s most fascinating architectural marvels. Its towering pyramids display intricate ancient carvings that are an undeniable testament to the brilliance of the Mayan civilization. The grand backdrop draws visitors from all over the globe, trekking to the site to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In recent years, Chichen Itza has even served as a romantic backdrop for proposals. Just don’t try to climb it.

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Meze Tulum

meze restaurant, tulum
Courtesy of Meze

Meze is the epitome of elegant Mediterranean dining. Eat al fresco amidst a tropical paradise as the sun sets with the stars above, twinkling over the courtyard, then watch as the open fires in the kitchen cook the various flavors of Greece, Turkey, and the islands in between. We recommend the grilled octopus marinated in a 24-hour wine, the perfectly cooked 14 oz. rib eye, and tyrokafteri with sourdough flatbread. You’ll be transported to the seaside tavernas of the Aegean, where life is all about good company, relaxation, and plenty of wine...just like Tulum.


hartwood restaurant in tulum, mexico
Courtesy of Hartwood

If you didn’t eat at Hartwood, did you even go to Tulum? The in-demand outdoor eatery is just as much known for its fresh seafood and cocktails as it is for being an impossible-to-get reservation. But if you can swing it, you definitely won’t regret it.

Posada Margherita

posada margherita in tulum mexico
Courtesy of Posada Margherita

With its Italian-inspired cuisine and laid-back vibe, Posada Margherita is the place to enjoy a slice of la dolce vita in Mexico. This shabby-chic restaurant is decorated with terracotta, lush greenery, and white wood paneling. Spaghetti pomodoro tastes a lot better with a view, trust us.

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Gitano Jungle

gitano jungle
Courtesy of Gitano Jungle

Gitano Jungle, only a few doors down from its sister restaurant, Meze, is the prime club scene for anyone seeking a wild and whimsical night out. After you’ve had a relaxing dinner walk over for a Gypsy Disco 75, a bubbly cocktail infused with elderflower, which is sure to set the tone for the rest of the evening. The venue serves creative mixology with a side of salsa, as the high-spirited atmosphere and live entertainment encourages patrons to dance the night away. Featuring a spacious outdoor area, DJ booth, disco ball, and décor that’s as eclectic as its menu, Gitano Jungle will diversify your senses in the best possible way.

Casa Jaguar

casa jaguar in tulum mexico
Courtesy of Casa Jaguar

Casa Jaguar is another beachside gem, known primarily for its unique ambiance and exotic charm. Celebrities and locals alike have been spotted enjoying the food, drinks, and music here. Set in a tropical environment, surrounded by chic jungle décor and fairy lights, Casa Jaguar is a necessary stop in the evening. Make sure to ask for the cocktail of the day.

Naná Rooftop Bar

nanas rooftop bar

Located on the rooftop of the La Valise Tulum hotel, Naná Rooftop Bar offers a wide selection of cocktails paired with a stunning view from above. This bar isn’t located on the water, but is worth the trek into the downtown area of the town if you’re looking to explore.

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The Beach Tulum

the beach tulum junior suite
Courtesy of The Beach Tulum

For serious R&R and a proper dose of luxury, look no further than The Beach Tulum. The intimate, adult-only boutique hotel features 28 newly refurbished rooms—all located directly on the beach—some of which contain a rooftop terrace with a hot tub. The food at the property is not to be missed, including the no-shoes-required Ziggy’s (featured in ELLE’s 30 Places to Instagram in 2022 list) and the slightly more health food-focused Fresco’s. To take care of your body and spirit, there are free morning yoga classes at 9 A.M. every day.

Azulik Tulum

sfer ik museum

Azulik Tulum is awe-inspiring, thanks in no small part to its stunning architecture, breathtaking ocean views, and natural surroundings. The luxury eco-resort is made almost entirely of wood, and has become famous for its treehouse villas, which are built around trees and equipped with modern amenities. The resort also has its own art center, SFER IK, a contemporary gallery boasting a wide range of art pieces, from both local and international artists. Shoes off here folks, as the experience is truly immersive! Inside the gallery you can snap the perfect pic as you climb barefoot around the winding wooden bridges, peering into different experiential rooms.

Amansala Resort

amansala resort in tulum, mexico
Courtesy of Amansala Resort

Need some TLC? Amansala Resort is meant to restore all your senses through wellness. This boutique hotel offers a range of accommodations, including beachfront cabanas, as well as yoga and wellness retreats attracting the likes of Demi Moore, Reese Witherspoon, and Drew Barrymore, to name just a few. One of its more popular ones is Bikini Bootcamp, a six-day retreat combining workout classes and yoga, healthy meals, and even tours to revitalize the mind. Escape the hustle and bustle and focus on self-improvement, with the backdrop of a beautiful beach town.

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