Two Sides to Tulum

The magic of Tulum is it offers a true yin-yang travel experience. Thrill-seekers can go scuba diving in turquoise-colored natural caves, explore Mayan ruins, or revel in a vibrant nightlife that features beach parties burning into the wee hours of the morning.

On the flip side, the options for rest and restoration are also endless. Luxuriate in healing yoga classes, participate in ancient spiritual practices, and enjoy nourishing food and world-class spa treatments. Pick and choose for yourself to create the perfect balance for your next dream vacation.


There is no shortage of enchanting, jungle-inspired places to stay in Tulum. The drive from the Cancun airport to Tulum alone is lined with dozens of regal all-inclusive resorts that sit behind giant gates and promise privacy and convenience. But, if you want to truly experience the culture of the city, branch out from the all-inclusive mentality, and stay right on Tulum Beach.

The Dune Boutique Hotel Tulum is a prime example of why. With Instagram-worthy Bohemian design, private plunge pools, a spa on site and an enchanting landscape, it’s also within walking distance of all the beach clubs, yoga studios, clothing boutiques, restaurants and mezcal bars that make Tulum one of the most sought-after spots in the world. You are a few steps from Caribbean waters during the day and the heart of the city at night.

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The beach clubs in Tulum are unrivaled, and you can hear them buzzing at all times of the day and night. From Dune, walk a short distance or bike on the bustling beach street, and you will find Mia Tulum. During the day, rent a cabana and enjoy the curated music that is both relaxing and representative of the local flavor while sipping cocktails, watching the waves roll in, and noshing on fresh food amongst the palms.

But nighttime is when Mia really shines. The club regularly hosts DJs to play intimate concerts with an out-this-world backdrop and international crowd. They have a range of other special events, including wine and mezcal tastings, all year, so be sure to line up your trip with one that speaks to your interests.

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Yoga studios and spiritual centers also abound. You can even participate in a traditional practice known as a temazcal ceremony. Like a sweat lodge or a sauna, the main feature of the temazcal ceremony is heat. During a ceremony, led by a shaman, they will also often incorporate herb burning, chanting, singing and intention-setting into a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. Guests at Dune are lucky in that there is a dedicated site on the property, but you can find similar setups all around the city.

If you need a little more movement with your sweat session, head to the Tulum Jungle Gym. This is a beachfront fitness area that features a
full gym made of tree trunks, coconuts and other beach-related equipment. It is also conveniently located on the main strip of Tulum Beach.

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You can’t take a trip to Tulum without noting the abundance of cenotes (pronounced see-note-tays). There are literally signs for them everywhere, and they are a staple to the native Mayan culture. Cenotes are breathtakingly beautiful freshwater natural pools and underground cave systems, and depending on where you go, you can either dip your toes in or scuba dive into the darkest depths.

Most require a small fee for entry and be prepared to shower off before entering the sacred waterholes. From there swim, explore the gorgeous natural features, and take plenty of photos. Some of the easiest to visit are Cenote Dos Ojos, Jardin Del Eden and Cenote Azul. These are close to Tulum Beach, but it’s best to try and go during weekdays or off-times to avoid crowds.

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There are never enough meals or cocktail hours in Tulum. The options range from five-star sushi restaurants that highlight the abundance of local seafood to the most authentic Mexican street food you will ever find. If you’re looking for clean, fresh dining, WILD features a farm-to-table international menu cooked on a wood fire oven and grill. The food is as spectacular as the tropical ambiance and signature mezcal cocktails.

If you choose to try the street food—and you should—there are a few helpful tips for picking a vendor. Picky eaters or those worried about stomach issues should look for spots with long lines and lots of locals. This ensures the food is fresh. Also, trust your instinct and don’t choose the most adventurous thing on the menu. Go with something simple that you know you will like.

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