If you haven't been yourself, Tulum is likely the place all of your friends have been telling you to get to over the last couple of years. The water is a five shades of turquoise and so clear that you can take a kayak or paddle board out to the reef and see straight to the bottom. Everyone that goes turns into a devoted evangelist, and for good reason. We loved it so much that we went back for a short three day trip in June. While it's a region you could explore for a lifetime, you can still pack a fulfilling and relaxing trip in just a few days.
We loved Mezzanine so much that we couldn't imagine looking for another hotel this time. The entire staff of the hotel and restaurant was the same between trips, which in an industry with such high turn-over, speaks volumes about the place. From your amazing two story room you'll get a view of the jungle from one side and a jaw-dropping beach on the other. The design of the exterior spaces of the hotel are absolutely perfect. There are several small vignettes that are connected but seem completely private. The restaurant is, hands down, the best Thai food I have ever eaten and their breakfast and beach fare are on par too.
The sunrises are stunning and absolutely worth waking up for. Mezzanine delivers a basket of delicious coffee to your door every morning which makes the wake-up even easier. I recommend taking a walk up the beach after your sunrise coffee. There is a corner about quarter of a mile north after which you'll see a Mayan temple on a cliff over the ocean. I take that walk several times a day and it never loses its magic.
La Zebra is a hotel and restaurant run by the same folks that own Mezzanine. It's great traditional Mexican food, and I would highly recommend it as a lunch stop. Other noteworthy dining options are Posada Margherita which serves up fresh (as in they start making the pasta when you order) Italian. Our favorite pick for drinks and dinner has got to be Hartwood. Everything is cooked on a wood burning oven or grill in an open air kitchen with local, fresh ingredients.
The height of summer is technically their slow season so if you go in the summer you'll find the beaches absolutely empty (as opposed to mostly empty) and several of the restaurants are closed. Personally I feel like the restaurants that can bring in enough business to stay open during the off season (or still demand a wait like Hartwood) are the ones worth going to anyway.
Day two you'll probably want to check out the Tulum ruins. To be honest, they are pretty underwhelming. You can't really go on or through anything and it's somehow 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the city. But it's close and it's one of those things you feel like you should do since you're there even though I am telling you not to, and it doesn't really take very long, so why not? If you have more than a few days there are some really amazing Mayan archeological sites in the area that are worth seeing.
We were taking a walk along the rocks one day (in January) and met this dude. He is one of the raddest dogs I have ever met. You'll see a lot of sad dogs wandering along the highways and felt like this sweet boy probably had a similar life, but then the next morning we saw him running up the beach with his owner and got the sense that he had a pretty awesome life. He joined us for our walk and I was really excited when we crossed paths again this last trip. If you meet him, say hi for us.
The beach road ends at the Sian Ka'an biosphere. There is one hotel down there, situated on strip of sand between the bay and ocean. They have a roof top bar where you can take in a pretty incredible sunset overlooking the bay.
While everything is off the grid and powered by solar or wind, wi-fi is still surprisingly fast and available. If you are in an industry where you can work remotely it's a wonderful and inexpensive place to change your workplace scenery for a bit. We are already planning a third trip down, maybe we'll see you there.