Tulum is about an hour’s drive down the coast from Playa Del Carmen. We took a bus from the Playa Del Carmen bus station, located next to the pier. It was modern and efficient and cost 70 pesos, just over one pound a ticket.
Our hotel in Tulum was a ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ hotel called Live Tulum. Located in the town of Tulum next to a similar looking hotel, it looked to be one of, if not the best hotel in the centre of town.
Tulum is famous for its Mayan coastal ruins, which are about 5 kilometres away from the town. Bikes were available to rent from plenty of shops, luckily our hotel provided us with free bikes (these looked beautiful, but took some time to master as they didn’t have gears, and your braked by peddling backwards). Around the coastal ruins many bars and restaurants have developed next to the sea, making a mini tropical high street with Happy Hour signs and as much guacamole and tacos as you can manage. This street is followed by a long stretch along the coast with endless large up-market hotels. You can pop into the hotels for a drink at their beach bars, and although pricey compared to the prices in the rest of Tulum, the quality of the decor and the views out to the sea are really special.
We ended up spending a lot of time in Mateo’s, a large restaurant and bar in the centre of the other bars near the beach. Along with a happy hour on cocktails, Mateo’s had a Sunset Lounge, which was a couple of stories up what looked like a wooden treehouse (think Peter Pan!). From here you could watch the sun set over the jungle, so from 5pm to 7pm this part of the bar became really busy. Once the sun has set, the stars you can see in Mexico are spectacular, with so little light pollution there are thousands to see.
The Tulum Ruins didn’t quite live up to my expectations, with most of the ruins there being a little too ruined, so it’s hard to imagine what the fortress would have looked like. Though it is beautiful to see the remaining ruins next to the beach as the Caribbean wind blows the sea into the bay.
Tulum was probably my favourite place in Mexico. The bars and restaurants were high quality and had great atmosphere’s. It was nice to be able to cycle everywhere in the sun or in the night under the stars. Tulum felt safe, and was much calmer than Playa Del Carmen, although there weren’t any water sports and there is definitely less to do than in Playa.