tulum: a few favorites.
ahhhh, tulum. i have to say that it’s as magical a place as i had imagined, and even surpassed my expectations. i was there last week teaching ace camp with rena tom of makeshift society and i felt like one happy camper to be able to teach in such an idyllic spot. tulum is on the caribbean sea, just two hours drive from the cancun airport and once you arrive you feel as far away from the larger touristy areas as you can get. it’s one long strip of beach with small boutique hotels and wellness spas (nothing higher than two stories tall) and charming restaurants and shops you can easily walk or bike to. we stayed at the hip hotel, a small 22-room hotel smack dab on the beach — cute little beach huts, complete with individual decks and hammocks. be forewarned, there’s no air conditioning so i’m not sure what it’s like it the warmer summer months, but our ceiling fans and the fresh breeze off the ocean was perfecto. it’s just a little slice of heaven.
i want to give a shout out to some great people who provided gift bag goodies for our students — thanks to the always fun ban.do for the cute totes, drink holders and sunglass straps; photojojo for providing us with some fabulous iphone lens accessories; and to the lovely aesop for keeping us safe from the sun!
now let’s talk about where to eat. There’s the go-to spot hartwood, which people line up for every day at noon for evening reservations. It’s well worth the wait. Situated outdoors, under whitewashed pergolas, with a wood burning oven & grill, you can watch hartwood’s chef eric werner and team preparing the evening’s fresh catch of the day, along with other deliciousness like ceviche, plantains, and some of the best fall-off-the-bone pork ribs I’ve ever had. oh yeah, and some tasty signature cocktails, too. it’s a kind of be seen, be seen eating & drinking kinda place, so wear your best flip flops.
My personal favorite was posada margherita, and it’s not named after the Mexican cocktail concoction, but is actually an amazing rustic Italian restaurant (shop and hotel) on the beach. It doesn’t get more charming than this – envision a kind of anthropologie-looking space with walls made from repurposed shutters and windows, tables that sit with the prettiest ocean view I’ve ever seen, under sparkling globe lights and swaying palm trees. I had the best burrata salad I’ve ever eaten and some divine grilled prawns. Oh, and the fresh baked foccacia they bring to the table is irresistible. down the road along the beach we had a really fresh tasting lunch at casa violeta – delicious ceviche, fish tacos and mediterranean platters, too. another favorite meal was at casa banana — a really stunning outdoor restaurant that serves Argentinean tapas and killer cocktails.
as far as the shopping goes, definitely hit tulum centro (the main street in town) — it’s full of wonderfully inexpensive shops (mostly without names that I could find!) but you can find great leather goods, beautiful hammocks, embroidered linens and dresses, jewelry and pottery. most places will bargain, so don’t feel you have to accept the first price. in tulum along the playa, my favorite shop was coqui coqui, which i mentioned last week and a close second was la troupe — which has beautiful home goods, jewelry and clothing. i got some wonderful linen pillows for my new place. another spot for mexican handcrafts and folk art was la llorona – i found some gorgeous handmade table linens here, too. and then, when you’re not shopping and eating — it’s amazing to just lay there and soak up the color. i’ve never seen a lavender sky and aqua-colored water so beautiful, and that was my very favorite thing about tulum above all!