Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now?

Why is Tulum so hot right now?  Everyone from Chip & Joanna Gaines to Instagram influencers are flocking to this bohemian little beach town, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.  But what makes Tulum so special?  After spending two months in the Yucatan, I can totally understand the appeal of Tulum: it was one of my favorite spots.  Its beaches are better than Playa del Carmen’s, & more accessible than Cozumel’s.  It’s less touristy than Cancun, with heaps of delicious, organic cuisine ~ & a unique sense of charm, with its relaxed, sand-covered streets. 

Throw in some gorgeous Mayan ruins perched atop the Caribbean Sea, & you’ll begin to see why Tulum is so popular…

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World, Tulum Mayan Ruins

The Mayan ruins are just ONE reason why Tulum is so popular right now…

Tulum = “Barefoot Luxury” + Eco-Chic

Cancun

Tulum

Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Azulik Resort

La Zebra Hotel & Cabanas

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now?

Back in the early 2000’s, Tulum wasn’t really on anyone’s radar except for a handful of backpackers & ex-hippies.  Then, a couple named Francesca Bonato & Nico Malleville (an Argentine model) came along & fell in love ~ with each other & with Tulum.  They opened a little boutique hotel called Coqui Coqui, which became a magnet for their fashion-crowd friends looking to get away from cold New York winters. 

And once the fashion crowd arrived: so did Tulum. 

It wasn’t long before Bianca Jagger, Cindy Crawford, & the Kardashians started strutting theirstuff along Tulum’s picture-perfect beaches.  Hoteliers started catching on & began buying up property, creating one “eco-chic” hotel after another along Tulum’s main, sandy drag.  And with the growing popularity of Instagram, Tulum has grown into what it is today: a laid-back, but very hip vacation destination.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

The couple who “started” Tulum: Francesca Bonato & Nico Malleville.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

The hotel they started is also a perfumeria: Coqui Coqui. Hard to believe this guy is a model, right?! ; )

But is Tulum Too Crowded Now?

I was in Tulum two years ago with friends during peak-season in February; perhaps because the town is so spread out, it didn’t seem overly touristy to me ~ especially compared to nearby Playa del Carmen.  With its low-rise hotels, thatched roofs, & sand-covered streets, Tulum felt pretty much “just right” to me.  If you get near its famous Mayan Ruins, which see over two million visitors each year, it definitely gets more crowded.  The beaches in the southern part of town will give you more peace, quiet, & beautiful people.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

The northern part of town is busier. This beach in front of La Zebra Hotel wasn’t crowded at all ~ definitely worth renting a cabana for the day.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Part of Tulum’s charm lies in its lack of chain restaurants. Instead, you’ll find delightful, beachfront juice bars & barefoot restaurants.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Step into the Caribbean Sea…

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now?

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

The beaches in Tulum are prettier & wider than Playa del Carmen’s ~ with beautiful white, soft sand. Sometimes, the seaweed comes up on the beach ~ you can see some here surrounding my friend, Eileen : )

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Pretty much sums it up…

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Visiting underground cenotes is a MUST while in Tulum & the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Most Instagram-Worthy Hotel in Tulum

The first time I saw Azulik Resort ($450+) was on Instagram.  There was photo of a beautiful young woman suspended in a hammock over the ocean, & it was stunning enough to stop my scrolling. WHERE. WAS. THIS?!!?  I had to know.  And it turns out, Azulik Resort is right in the center of Tulum’s prized beachfront, with commanding views of both the ocean & the jungle.  TONS of amazing photo ops await here….& you get to fulfill childhood fantasies by staying in an upscale tree-house.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

If you’ve seen Tulum on Instagram ~ chances are, you’ve seen a photo of this hotel: Azulik Jungle Resort.

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now? Girl Who Travels the World

Look out towards the ocean…or towards the jungle…

What You Need to Know About Tulum

  • How to Get to Tulum:  Fly into Cancun International Airport, then rent a car or take a bus down to Tulum (two-hour drive). 
  • Getting Oriented in Tulum:  Tulum is divided into three different parts: 1) Up by the main highway, aka not the prettiest part of town; 2) North by the Mayan Ruins; & 3) Beach-front Hotel Row (the most desirable part of town).
  • Where to Stay in Tulum:  We stayed up near the main highway ~ which was a TOTAL mistake!!  This is NOT an attractive part of town.  We should’ve spent a little more money & stayed right on the ocean.  If you want to stay in an Instagrammable tree house, opt for Azulik Jungle Resort.  For great beachfront cabanas, try La Zebra.
  • Where to Party in Tulum: Papaya Playa Project, which is both a hotel & super chic restaurant/bar (check out their “Full Moon Parties”), Gitano (more upscale chic), & Todos Santos for mezcal tastings & craft cocktails. 

What to Pack for Tulum

If you plan to visit cenotes: bring reef-safe, chemical-free sunscreen (required to protect the limestone).  And due to the rapid expansion in Tulum, let’s just say….their sewer system is NOT the best!!  To avoid getting sick, bring activated charcoal & HCL.  I’ve written an entire article on both!

Why is Tulum So Hot Right Now?

 Thanks for reading my thoughts on Tulum.  I hope it helps you plan an amazing vacation to one of the Yucatan’s most happening spots.  If you have any questions, ask me in the comments below!

xoxo Noelia 

Read Next: Where to Stay on the Beach in Tulum?

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