Tulum’s very best beaches—thick white sand, turquoise blue water, gently bending palm trees—are toward the southern end of the Zona Hotelera. Not surprisingly, Tulum’s finest hotels are in the same area, and there are no official public access points.
That said, most hotels don’t make a fuss—or, ahem, don’t notice—if the occasional nonguest cuts through to reach the beach. You can also plan to eat at one of the hotel restaurants and cut down to the beach afterward.
Ana y José Beach Club
Aimed at a mellow crowd, Ana y José Beach Club (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen, 2.4 kilometers/1.5 miles south of junction, no phone, www.anayjosebeachclub.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, free) is located about a kilometer north of the resort of the same name and is open to guests and nonguests alike.
An airy sand-floored dining area serves mostly seafood, including ceviche, shrimp cocktail, and grilled fish, at decent prices and has a full bar. Chaise lounges and four-poster beach beds (US$5–15/day) are arranged a bit too close together, but they are comfy and relaxing nonetheless. Monday and Tuesday are the least crowded.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition