Looking for ancient Mayan ruins and crystal-clear cenotes in Mexico? We’ll tell you how to beat the crowds in this popular Yucatan destination, and where to get the best tacos.
For bike & snorkel rental: Iguana Bike Shop
Located just across from Taqueria Honorio, this place will rent you a snorkel (for cenotes) and a bicycle. The owner speaks English, and all you have to remember is to bring a real ID like a driver’s license or a passport. If you bring a paper copy of either of these, the owner will tell you that he can only give you a paper copy of a bike (true story!).
Swimming in the cenotes
We chose to go off the beaten path down to Cenote Cristal and Cenote Escondido, where you can buy an entrance ticket that allows you to visit both. We biked down the highway to the south, and after about 30 minutes had to keep our eyes peeled for signs. Cenote Escondido will be to your right, if coming from Tulum, and Cenote Cristal will be on your left. Both were not crowded, had docks for jumping, and not many people at all! This was an awesome way to cool off after biking in the heat. Alternatively, you could take a taxi from town.
Top pick: Tacos for lunch
It opens early (6am) and it closes early (by 1:30/2pm): it’s Taqueria Honorio! This place is perfect for afternoon/brunch/lunch tacos, tortas and agua frescas. We also went there twice. Everything on the menu is perfection. Go early if you want to get there before they run out of ingredients for the day. We went twice around 1pm and they were already out of some types of tacos.
We were so busy eating tacos that we forgot to take photos!
Top pick: Tacos for dinner
This is the taqueria of all taquerias: Antojitos la Chiapaneca. If you’d like tacos that cost $0.40 (USD) each and you can stand for a 20-minute line before you get seated, go here around dinnertime for late-night. It’s in a location near the ADO bus station, and you can find it by looking for the line of people on the street waiting for a table. Try the horchata. Beware of the salsa picante - that is some serious stuff.
Top veggie pick
A memorable spot was La Hoja Verde for nice vegetarian food and good smoothies/juices. English/Spanish menu available. We ordered smoothies, which were delicious, and staff brought us complimentary sweet potato chips with a homemade salsa. WiFi available!
Backpacker vibes at Mama’s Home, Tulum
Mama’s Home gets a 10 out of 10 from us. Located on Calle Orion, in between the centers of all the action in Tulum (the main strip and the bar street), the location is ideal. A private with an ensuite bath ran us around US$40 per night for a private 2-room suite.
Upon arriving, we were told not to miss the amazing breakfast, which lived up to expectation and was included, along with coffee. we recall someone saying to us, “You’ll want to Instagram this.”
In addition to the colorful wall art, great tunes, long tables in the main social area that are great for meeting other travelers and good security, the staff is truly awesome and want you to have a memorable time in Tulum. Staff recommended us where to rent bikes, where to rent snorkels, which cenotes to visit, where to get the ultimate cheapest tacos in town and more.
Early adventure to the Ruins of Tulum
Learn about the history of the Maya in their beachside past home on the shores of Tulum. What makes these ruins different from Chichen Itza is that they’re more modest in size, and the beach-side makes for gorgeous scenery. Go early (8am) to beat the crowds, and wait on the line in order to be one of the first tickets sold for early morning entry. You will not regret it, as tour groups start coming in bus-loads by 9am and it starts getting hot as well.
Pro Tip: bring swimsuits so that you can take the stairs down to the water and go for an early swim to cool off! The water is perfect there.
Leaving Tulum. Adios, Mexico 👋
We left on a ADO bus direct to Cancun airport for US$12 per person, or around 225 Pesos per person. Pro Tip: If you plan to take an ADO bus, buy tickets a day or two beforehand, as soon as you can, because they do sell out and seats are assigned. The airport bus only runs three times per day from Tulum and takes two hours.
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