Chile Tulum

Been a little busy with my real life as a mom of 3 and full time real estate agent, so it only took me 2 weeks of making notes here and there to get this blog written about our epic ladies only trip to Tulum! Huge shout out and Happy belated birthday to our Tulum party planner, Brooke Erickson, my very tan soul sister who researched for months and laughed when I started looking up Tulum blogs … after we had arrived in Mexico. 🤣

We all agreed on one thing…to make this trip as affordable yet boujee as possible.  Flights were cheap to Cancun, we all pitched in on a rental car (clutch!), and booked super chic and affordable accommodations ‘not far from the beach’.   Tulum, here we come!

Day 1: After a long travel day, we rallied to find a money exchange and get our grocery shopping done for the week at the Super Aki.  We were sure the cartel was after us at every corner 😂, but it was worth the evening grocery run into Tulum town … we spent roughly $50 each and had breakfast, snacks and drinks covered for the week! 

Our Airbnb was new construction and super comfortable and chic… and also 900 miles from the beach.  We were deep in the jungle at Kaana Tulum in Aldea Zama, and I definitely had a couple of sleepless nights a little concerned for our safety, but we loved our roof top private pool, full kitchen and all the space!  We made it a point to be home by dark (or just after if driving), which I would recommend just to be on the safe side.  Next time, we all agreed we would stay a little closer to the main road and not so deep in the jungle.

Day 2: After biking the 900 miles to the beach on our first full day, I was certain I was coming home in a knee brace.  After 45 minutes of biking, lots of sweat, and a few near death car collisions, we eventually just stopped at the next beach club we saw, which happened to be Chile Tulum.  It ended up being the perfect kick off to our week… super cute, friendly staff, and no one there but us most of the day. Brooke had been looking for Coco Tulum, and we died when we realized it was right next door and packed 😂. Entry at Chile was just $10 and the drinks were great!  We left in time to hit the happiest hour in Tulum at Zamas, which ended up as one of our favorites for amazing cheap tacos and margs, and the best ceviche I have ever tasted… all with an Oceanfront View and no crowd!

If you are headed to Tulum anytime soon and find a pineapple bag full of pesos, cash $, a credit card and Courtney’s ID between Chile and Zamas, please let us know. #day2 🍍😆😏

After the sweaty bike ride home, we were super stoked to have the rental car.  Parking was actually very easy and also cheap by the beach, if not free.  We drove almost everywhere after that and really did not need the bike rentals at all! We did also hear that the cabs are V expensive.

Day 3: We went big and threw down some $$ to go to Ziggy’s (free parking, though!) There was no entry fee, but we each had to spend a min of $70 towards food and drinks. That ended up being easy peasy, and we felt totally worth it for the fun but chill bar scene and gorgeous beach setting.  This beach club had no music, which ended up being nice and the food and drinks were 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼 . It was also one of most well kept beaches we went to (in terms of seaweed cleanup, which was everywhere). Our private roof top pool made the perfect sunset hang for us that night!

Day 4: We had to mix it up and adventure to some cenotes.  This is a must if you go to Tulum, and again made the rental car all the more handy.  We stopped at the Gran Cenote first, which had a $25 entry fee that included life jackets (required) and snorkel gear (pretty sure had never been cleaned but we went all in).  This was definitely a touristy cenote but so beautiful and worth the visit.  Next up was Cenote Crystal, which was way more mellow, no life jackets required, and clearly no one cared if you drowned because they even added a rickety man made jumping platform that we immediately tried and loved 😆.  This was a smaller cenote with a more rustic vibe, but still beautiful and super relaxing.  I think $15 to get in.  Last stop was Laguna Kaan Lum, which was clearly a local and tourist fave spot and 💯 worth it.  The water was an insane clear green/blue, and it had all the things from swings to a lookout tower to hammocks to a long dock over the water to huts for shade. Definitely one to visit even though it was crowded!

We got all dolled up to check out a chic roof top bar for some cocktails that night at Azulik.  You can either make a dinner reservation, which would have been amazing and you sit in these cozy floating rotundas, or pay $50 pp just to get entry to hang on the roof top bar and have drinks with Ocean and sunset views (get there before sunset…so gorgeous!!). I’m the most frugal B around, and even I was all in to pay for this experience.  Azulik was probably the most beautifully designed restaurant/bar/hotel I have even seen.  The roof top had huge nets everywhere for lounging (I would not recommend a mini skirt or dress here and don’t drop your phone), and the most incredible views. The people watching was also top notch. 

Since we spent all of our money on entry and a few fancy drinks, we were on the hunt for some cheap pizza after Azulik to keep it real, and ended up at the cutest pizza place for dinner, Cafe Sofia.  We topped it off with a rooftop swim at our Airbnb…Amazing day! 

Day 5: We were adventuring again thanks to party planner Brooke who had us booked for a boat day with Los Chichos boat tours for some snorkeling and Mayan ruins site seeing by way of water (highly recommend!). We were early for our noon tour and wanted to check out the ‘public beaches’ on this side of Tulum, which ended up being the most seaweed packed beach and required paid parking, but was still fun and worth seeing.  We were hanging down by the seaweed in front of a cute club called Cinco, and a manager took pity on us and personally invited to come hang at Cinco while we waited, and for free! It was actually just free in general for all people 😂, but we felt special and decided to come back for happy hour after our boat tour. 

The boat tour was super affordable and did not disappoint with multiple snorkeling stops, sea turtles, a gorgeous ‘secret’ cenote and the best view of the ruins without the crowds, including some ruins that you can actually only see by water.   True to our word, we came back to Cinco for happy hour, and 8 super tasty margs later 😜 had gotten the full tour of this super chic and cool glamping beach club.  I’m not sure I could do a tiny tent for a whole week, but it would be super cool for a few days! 

We had sushi in mind for dinner and ended up closer to our Airbnb for dinner at the Safari taco bar. Sushi is only on Mondays, btw, so we went for the tacos which looked amaze!  I love spicy food, but this place took it to the next level + one of us may or may not have gotten the wrath of Mexico that night. 😳

Day 6: Brooke and I were craving one more adventure and had heard of another Cenote called Vesica from a couple we met on our boat tour.  So rad, and so worth the hype and 20 min drive. Parking was $15, and we each had to spend a min of $25 on food/drinks, which was well worth it. We got there early and luckily got right in, but best to make a reservation.  It was the perfect chill vibe, great music and service, and even better people watching…clearly I love people watching.  

Side note, we were all so proud of ourselves for only packing a carry on, and we really just stayed in bathing suits and coverups and barely needed any real clothes.  We got ‘dressed up’ for the 2nd time on the whole trip and ended up at Norita’s for dinner.  This place is caaauute and the outdoor seating overlooks a moody lit up pool at night.  The food was the fanciest we had the whole trip, and delicious.  The waiter asked us to leave a review on Yelp, so I left my first review ever and had to give him a special shout out.  Just look for the ‘ridiculously good looking waiter’ comment on yelp … He looked just like the police office boyfriend in the movie bridesmaids. Im pretty sure it was actually him. 😂

Day 7: Our last day before we had to head home, so we decided to go big with one more trendy beach club and opted for Vagalume.  We parked close by for 150 pesos, and did not have an entry fee before 1pm (a little pricy after that). The minimum suggested spend for food/drink was $50 per person.  Let me just add that we had also been bringing our own snacks and extra canteens of pre-made drinks ALL week, EVERYWHERE we went and no one said a thing about it, except for Vagalume.  We are not sure if it was because certain locals were there that day 😳, but we had to empty or leave all bottles at the door and got our bags searched like we were entering the Outer Banks waterpark…IYKYK. However, also worth the experience!  The DJ was super loud, but it was a very cool vibe.  We noticed a lot more security here than at any other club, and it just seemed to increase as the day went on and so did our suspected local crowd. They even had security guys down by the water and all around the beach front, and eventually we were uncomfortable enough that we decided to leave and flee to safety. 😂 Lucky for us we left just in time for one last happiest hour at Zamas!  The tacos and margs were seriously the best and it was the perfect spot to say our goodbyes to Tulum. 

Pro tips: Don’t overpack, do some pre-trip research (thanks B.!), pack your tiniest swimwear (like if you think it’s tiny, go tinier) – promise you will fit right in, get a rental car, go to the cenotes, don’t forget about happy hour (like everyday), be aware of your surroundings and home early, and carry a bottle of tequila with you at all times … it’s a great weapon or bribe if you get in a tough spot. 😉 Until next time, Tulum, you were SO FUN! ✌🏼

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