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The laid-back beach town of Tulum has established itself as one of the planet’s principal beach destinations and with good reason. Cliffs, ruins, neon water, and white sand all come together in a storybook vision. Visiting in early December or May are both good options, since it’s warm and sunny, but crowds are minimal. Gone are the days when Tulum’s visitors could expect rustic bungalows without electricity. In less than a decade, the town has remade itself into a very “in” spot frequented by celebrities and socialites. Tulum is now replete with world-class restaurants, high-end boutiques and accommodations. The most ideal way to spend an upscale vacation is in the best villas in Tulum offered by LVH Global.
Throughout their entire stay in Tulum, the dedicated Luxury Vacation Home LVH team ensures the ultimate in service and satisfaction are provided to every guest. LVH can arrange for private chefs, private jets, exotic cars, luxury yachts, and anything else guests require to make their Tulum vacation stay remarkable.
Tulum luxury villa rentals can be arranged through LVH to accommodate families, large groups and are perfect for hosting lavish events. Vacationers seeking the best villas in Tulum have the largest selection to choose from when booking their stays.
There is beauty everywhere one looks in Tulum. These nine areas all have something distinctive to offer vacationers:
Akumal is between the towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Because of its powder white sands, coral reefs, warm water and rich marine life, it’s a popular spot for tourists. With a bevy of things to experience, this area offers snorkeling with sea turtles, jet boating, caverns and caves, and many animal reserves.
Aldea Zama is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Tulum. There are many walking and biking trails that intertwine throughout the jungle. While exploring these carved out trails, it’s not unusual to come upon a freshwater cenote, a Mayan ruin or an exotic bird. There are meditation sites and yoga classes offered amongst the lush tropical foliage. An iconic of this region is undoubtedly the glorious Casa Don Rey, the ultimate hideout for discovering the magic of the jungle-entangled Mayan town and its ethereal coastlines.
La Veleta is one of Tulum’s fastest growing neighborhoods. There is easy access to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido and two turquoise, fish-filled underground swimming lakes nestled in the Tulum forest which attract vacationers who enjoy both swimming and snorkeling. There is a healthy culinary scene which includes boho-chic cafes, and gourmet restaurants.
Playa Paraiso is one of the most important and famous beaches in Tulum. It’s common to find plants and animals in their natural habitat, since Tulum is a place with little pollution and few people. Unlike other beaches, Playa Paraiso doesn’t have many waves, nor is it deep, and the water is as tepid as a warm bath.
Sian Ka'an is one of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse places on earth. It’s home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, and the region became a designated Biosphere Reserve in 1986. A year later, Sian Ka'an was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it remains the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Sian Ka'an is still not very well known, but when visiting travelers should not miss the area since there is no other place like it in the Riviera Maya. Better yet, instead of visiting, luxury travelers might opt to stay on the beachfront of the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve at Hacienda Palancar which pays tribute to the color of the area. One of this home’s most elegant features are its sweeping, wraparound verandas, which connect each of the property’s five buildings.
Tankah Bay is the perfect marriage of rusticity and exclusivity. There’s no lovelier place to settle down for a luxury vacation than Tankah Bay offering luxury travelers privacy and an unfettered and peaceful experience. Popular activities in the area include snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and paddle-boarding.
The stretch of beach in the Tulum Hotel Zone is par excellence. The Hotel Zone is on the town’s main road where visitors will find boutique-hotels of all shapes and sizes, seemingly swallowed up by the jungle and opening onto the beach. These boutiques sell everything from Coachella-ready hats to locally handmade designer threads. Acai bowls, organic coffee, and eateries can all be found in this area as well. And so can the regal Casa Ixchel, one of the most exquisite villas in Tulum. It’s nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the old-growth jungle, so guests have the best of both worlds. The casa offers privacy and seclusion from the busy beaches of the Tulum Hotel Zone, but is close enough for guests to enjoy the wide range of archeological sites and eco-tourism attractions.
Tulum Pueblo is a charming destination with yoga studios, and quaint restaurants around every corner. There’s also the Gypsea Market, a swank grocery store at the end of town. Fill up here with high-end snacks and local produce. An unexpected plus is all the beautiful street art in Tulum Pueblo.
Xpu Ha (pronounced “shpu-Ha”) is a section of beach between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and looks like a scene right out of a postcard. Beachside restaurants offer up some delicious fare and cold beverages. Even during high season, Xpu Ha maintains its kicked-back charm and uncrowded feel. The sand, sedate surf and local restaurants are the draw, the vast beach area is the highlight. Grab a chilled beer and fresh seafood at one of the beach bars just a short stroll from the palm trees and beach chairs.
Tulum luxury villa rentals can come with a private chef, but even so, there may be times when guests would like to step out and experience local culture and cuisine. These six eateries are some of Tulum’s finest, while a deeper dive into the region’s gastronomic offerings may be found here.
Arca is beautiful with its dark wood tables, ambient lighting from barely glowing bulbs and candles. The restaurant was built around rare tree species, because after all, they were there first. The sharing plates make for a romantic meal. They do a shrimp ceviche without the citrus normally used to “cook” the raw shrimp meat. Instead it’s cured in the juice of the xoconostle, the fruit of a prickly pear cactus. The pink cactus fruit juice has a subtler astringency than the normal lemon or lime used, letting the flavors burst. The clean pure flavors at Arca will take diners all the way back to the ancient Maya table.
Atila defines its kitchen as a Yucatecan Brasserie. The menu takes inspiration from classic brasserie dishes, adapted to Tulum’s tropical jungle climate and local, seasonal ingredients. Sauces are the backbone of Atila’s kitchen with almost every meal meant to be finished by wiping the plate clean. They have a fine selection of natural wines to pair with the eclectic dishes such as the grilled sea trout with roasted pimento and coconut sauce, plantain and plantain puree.
At BAK’ the five keepers of the celestial vault come together as a tribute to the Mayan culture and Tulum’s community, presenting the best meat cuts in the world and the most exotic products in the sea. This upscale steak and seafood house offers some of the finest meat cuts in the world, including certified Japanese Kobe beef, Australian black onyx and USDA prime. The tartar tasting platter is a unique offering of tuna tartar with sriracha and fig dressing; salmon tartar with curry dressing, cashew and cherry tomatoes; and hamachi tartare with lemon vinaigrette, serrano pepper and kiwi.
NÜ describes its cuisine as modern Mexican cuisine that’s flavorful, honest and original. The eatery is owned and operated by seven talented chefs, one of whom was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of Mexico’s 10 best chefs under the age of 30. NÜ is located in an impressive jungle setting with lush, green natural surroundings and ambient candlelight. The young group of chefs create such dishes as duck in black mole, reyna clams and sea bass ceviche and sweet endings such as a chocolate tart with cacao dust, passion fruit and avocado.
Posada Margherita is a little Italian restaurant on the beach that is part of a hotel of the same name. The pasta cannot be fresher since it’s made upon order. Posada Margherita is right by the ocean. Diners can sit with their feet in the sand and listen to the sound of the surf. While diners wait for their entrees, they’re brought a complimentary plate with melt-in-your-mouth homemade focaccia bread. The restaurant features traditional Italian recipes from the owner’s mother and grandmother in Genoa. An authentic pizzeria, juice bar and beach bar offer additional options for guests.
The fare here is Latin American cuisine at its finest. RosaNegra’s chef gets inspiration for the dishes from Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and of course, Mexico. The freshest ingredients are used to present dishes with both authentic and daring flavors. Artisanal cocktails are fashioned by hand using exclusive house infusions. The conch green ceviche is a must try as is the spice-rubbed catch of the day. Pair dishes with a key lime martini and a decadent finish with a giant churro with Dulce de leche ice cream, vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, and vanilla sauces.
There is no shortage of galleries and art in Tulum. Here are three artsy things art lovers may want to check out:
Tulum is well-known for having a myriad of art shops and galleries, but one of the most notable is Balam Art on Feathers. The galleries showcase the fascinating craft of feather art painting originated by Maya artists. The pieces are painted using the feathers of different birds as canvases to characterize landscapes, local animals and humans. Each work of art is handmade using oils and feathers obtained from peacocks, turkeys and ducks, all without harming any birds.
Of all the art venues in the area, Sfer Ik Tulum is likely the most captivating. The ethereal gallery is an artwork itself since its design transforms the relationship between the art and its environment. The structure is made of cement and local wood and the lack of hard edges gives it a dream-like quality which has inspired artists such as Ernesto Neto and Artur Lescher to create works that are now a part of a semi-permanent exhibition. Sfer Ik has two locations. The first and perhaps best known is within Azulik Tulum, right at the start of the Tulum Hotel Zone. The second, Sfer Ik Uh May, is northeast of the city, on the way to the archeological site of Coba.
One of the most spectacular and surprising elements of Tulum for visitors who enjoy the arts is its fantastic street murals. Sadly, much of it is hidden from view, but exploring the backstreets off the main Avenida Tulum will transport travelers into a magical realm. More people are beginning to appreciate the talent that goes into creating these works of art. Several of the murals have been painted by renowned international muralists thanks to the urban art collective Tinasah which hosted the first Festival Arte Tinasah in 2019. Leave the Tulum villa rental for an afternoon of bike riding or walking down Calle Sol Ote to spot dozens of these amazing pieces of street art.
For travelers who like to enjoy a night on the town while on vacation, here are five venues which have something for everyone’s taste:
Batey is the soul of Tulum’s bar scene. Best known for its fresh fruit mojitos, be sure to peek inside to watch the pressing of fresh sugarcane in a converted VW Bug. There’s live music most nights. Batey is open almost all day with a chilled-out vibe early and a lively crowd later, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
A trendy, Caribbean restaurant through the week, Casa Jaguar hosts wild jungle parties every Thursday night on the back terrace. Parties begin after 11 p.m. and run late into the night with local and international DJs setting the tone. The venue hosts smaller jungle parties on Tuesdays and some Saturdays. It’s definitely a place to get the party groove going.
Gitano is a swanky Mexican restaurant in the front and a sultry mezcal bar in the back. It’s the place to be on Friday nights when the D.J. starts to get going at around 11. Be prepared for all-night dancing under the jungle canopy. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, live bands are on earlier in the evening and the atmosphere is more subdued.
With the best bar design in Tulum, Kin Toh features outdoor treehouse “nests” with sunset views over the jungle and indoor island-like tables surrounded by hanging catamaran nets for lounging. The signature drinks are thoughtfully crafted. Mezcal-based cocktails are favorites. Kin Toh seeks to surprise and create unparalleled and unforgettable sensations for guests. This is an over-the-tree-tops romantic spot to enjoy a sunset cocktail cuddled up in one of the “nests” high above the jungle canopy.
The biggest, most hedonistic party of the week is held on the beach at Papaya Playa Project on Saturday nights, especially during parties held monthly on the Saturday closest to the full moon. Big-name DJs are spinning and dancing goes on until 3 or 4 a.m. The largest bashes take place in December, January, and New Year’s Eve, with crowds of up to 3,000.
For many travelers, a vacation means soaking up as much of the culture as possible and there is no better way to do that than by attending a local festival or event. These four are particularly noteworthy:
Head to Arena Festival, Mexico’s biggest gay and lesbian dance music festival, for an amazing week of house music and circuit parties, renowned DJs and much more. Arena Festival takes over the number one destination for beach and eco-tourism in Tulum and Playa del Carmen. It’s six days of all-out fun with 15 special parties. Actually, this festival is for anyone who loves EDM, and partying and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
One of the top carnivals in Mexico, Cozumel Carnival is a much-awaited affair for locals as well as tourists. The first carnival (or carnaval in Spanish) was held in the 1800s! Week-long festivities include colorful costumes, lively music and dancing, a marathon race, and Fat Tuesday when festivities conclude with dazzling processions along the oceanfront. People line the street, dancing with the performers and catching gifts that are showered on them. The music keeps playing and parties continue well into the night.
Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of lost loved ones. There are altars around the town to honor the deceased where offerings like bread are brought or a passed loved one’s favorite drinks or food. Sugar skulls have become the world-wide symbol for the day. Although there is no formal festival in Tulum, visitors will see people in costumes and masks. Some hotels have festivities giving visitors the chance to witness some Dia de Los Muertos traditions.
This week-long event brings the best of Mexico’s cuisine to Tulum. Foodies will revel in tastings of artisanal Mexican cheeses, cured meats, and everything else culinary. Couple these delicious bites with wines, spirits and beers. To keep the festival hopping there are a plethora of arts, crafts and performances leaving festival-goers happy as well as satiated. There are chefs’ dinners throughout the beach zone, featuring super star chefs from the U.S. and Mexico who will create their style of cuisine, using local ingredients and techniques inspired by the artisanal culture of the country.
In an area so ecologically and culturally enchanting, it’s easy to find activities and experiences to make memories that will last a lifetime. Here are four amazing adventures:
A cenote is a natural sinkhole. The term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. The Maya referred to them as entrances to the underworld. Cenotes have fragile ecosystems and sunscreen, cosmetics, lotions of any kind should not be used when entering their waters. Most have an onsite shower to rinse any of these away. Cenote diving is magical. Divers will see sea turtles, a myriad of fish and even baby crocodiles. There are 25 incredible cenotes in and around Tulum and a number of experienced cenote divers who will be happy to arrange personal dives.
Travelers who don’t visit the Mayan Ruins in Tulum have missed out on a great deal of history and culture. The old stone structures that make up this archaeological site are surrounded by leaning palm trees, delicate cactus flowers, steep rocky cliffs, and a population of large sun-loving iguanas. The ruins are on 39-foot cliffs overlooking the ocean. Arrive early to avoid the crowds that have gathered by the afternoon. Another good time to visit is the hour before they close at 5 p.m.
One of the most memorable trips to make while visiting Tulum is a comprehensive tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Arrange a private tour which includes guided exploration with a tropical biodiversity expert; a foray deep into the mangroves; world-class bird watching; gliding through the seagrass beds where sea turtles feed; watching bottlenose dolphins roaming free; snorkeling the Sian Ka’an barrier reefs; swimming in the natural pools; discovering an authentic Mayan fisher village and enjoying a delicious Caribbean meal on the beach.
A temazcal ceremony is steeped in Mexican heritage and involves participants sitting in a traditional sweat lodge for health and therapeutic benefits. Ceremonies usually last for two or more hours and are typically led by a shaman or temazcalero. The ceremony is in a sauna or sweat lodge where the shaman gives participants a heated massage using scented herbs. It can be used to heal certain ailments and to improve health. The temazcal has actually become the latest fitness trend for both mind and body!