A private home turned yoga hotel, Yoga Shala Tulum (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 4.4, tel. 984/157-5101, www.yogashalatulum.com, US$25 pp shared bathroom, US$40 s/d) offers simple but comfortable rooms on a jungly plot on the inland side of the Zona Hotelera. Although all different sizes, rooms have whitewashed walls, polished cement floors, and good beds with high-thread-count linens. All have a bit of boho flair, too. Outside, surrounded by tropical trees, is an impressive open-air yoga studio with a high palapa roof and gorgeous wood floors; dozens of yoga classes are offered here weekly. It’s a soothing place to stay in a lot of ways.
Another screaming deal by Zona Hotelera standards are the bungalows at Coco Tulum (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 7, cell. tel. 984/157-4830, www.cocotulum.com, US$55–75 s/d with shared bath, US$120–140 s/d). Set on the beach, Coco’s cabañas are a simple affair (and a nod to Tulum’s past): small bungalows with palapa roofs, cement floors, a comfy bed, and a hanging bookshelf. And that’s it. Bathrooms are shared and actually quite nice, with modern basin sinks, rain shower heads, and hot water 24/7; they’re cleaned three times a day, too. There also are two more-luxurious rooms in a three-story tower; if you can swing the price, the 360-degree view from the highest one can’t be beat.
Dos Ceibas (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 10, tel. 984/877-6024, www.dosceibas.com, US$75–170 s/d) has eight comfortable bungalows set on a beautiful stretch of beach. Bungalows range from a top-floor honeymoon unit just steps from the beach to a bargain bungalow with a detached bathroom (and near enough the road to hear passing cars). Most have polished cement floors, brightly painted walls, and firm beds with mosquito nets hanging from the palapa roof; all but the two breezy oceanfront rooms and budget rear unit have ceiling fans (electricity available at night only). The restaurant serves tasty albeit pricey meals in a sand-floor dining area. At night, a profusion of candles set in niches along the back wall light up the restaurant area, while more glow in paper bags to mark the path to the beach. Children welcome.
Guest rooms at Hotel Nuevo Vida de Ramiro (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 8.5, tel. 984/877-8512, www.tulumnv.com, US$95–350 s/d) range from well-appointed suites with gorgeous ocean views to simpler family-size bungalows, including some with kitchens, nestled in thick palm forest. Suites have modern touches, like pillow-top mattresses and glass-walled showers, and all guests can make use of lounge chairs on the wide clean beach. The hotel’s restaurant, across the street, is recommended for tasty affordable meals. The hotel works with local groups to protect chit palm and sea turtles, in addition to using solar power and natural wastewater treatment, yet has none of the pretensions of other so-called eco-chic hotels. All in all, it’s a lovely and friendly place to stay. Children 12 and over welcome.
Accommodations at the lovely and well liked Cabañas La Luna (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 6.5, U.S. tel. 818/631-9824, Mex. cell. tel. 984/116-1208 [urgent matters only], www.cabanaslaluna.com, US$130–195 s/d, US$260–300 2-bdrm beach house, US$3500 per week 4-bdrm villa) range from cozy beachfront bungalows to spacious split-level villas but share essential details like comfortable mattresses, high ceilings, bright colors, and artful decor. The beach is stunning, of course, and isolated enough to feel as if it’s all yours. The live-in owner-manager is attentive and accommodating, and also is the chef at hotel’s recommended restaurant, Las Estrellas.
Tita Tulum (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 8, tel. 984/877-8513, www.titatulum.com, US$150–180 s/d) has a lovely beachfront and low-key atmosphere—a great option for families and travelers who prefer modest comforts (and a lower rate) over boutique-y eco-chic embellishments. Ten guest rooms form a semicircle around a sandy palm-fringed lot; they’re a bit worn around the edges but have polished cement floors, clean bathrooms, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas, plus fans, Wi-Fi, and 24-hour electricity. Tita is a charming and attentive proprietor, and prepares excellent Mexican dishes in the hotel’s small restaurant.
Posada Lamar (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 6, cell. tel. 984/106-3682, www.posadalamar.com, US$115–165 s/d) has eight comfortable and beautifully decorated bungalows. The painted cement floors with inlaid tile and stones, the salvaged-wood detailing, and even the exposed water pipes all lend an appealingly artistic flair. The hotel runs on solar power, which means no fans or air-con (oceanfront rooms have the best sea breeze) and limited hours of electricity (6 p.m.–6 a.m.). The main complaint here is that the bungalows are too close together, diminishing privacy, especially since you often need the windows and doors open. That said, the beach here is beautiful, kept clean by hotel staff and supplied with plenty of chairs, beds, and palapas. Continental breakfast also is included in the rate.
Artful, spirit-minded decor is nothing new in Tulum, but Sueños Tulum (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 8.5, tel. 984/115-4338, www.suenostulum.com, US$150–260 s/d) takes the theme further than most. Each of the hotel’s 12 bungalows is decorated according to an essential force—Earth, Rain, Moon, etc.—and Maya-style figures and paintings adorn the stucco walls, inside and out. Most have ocean views, and two units are reserved for families; a small clean pool is an added bonus, even with beaches as gorgeous as these. Located at the far southern end of the hotel zone.
Ocho Tulum (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 8, tel. 998/282-8299, www.ochotulum.com, US$275–720 s/d) is a demure upscale resort located near the edge of Sian Ka’an reserve. Spacious guest rooms have polished cement floors, stucco walls, ceiling fans, and slatted windows and doors for maximum ventilation; brightly tiled bathrooms have freshwater—a rare and pleasant feature. Rooms occupy either modern two-story structures or are freestanding cabañas. All have a patio or balcony, with partial or full ocean views; decor is uncluttered, with some to the point of being somewhat plain, especially for the price. Still, the beach here is stunning, a massive expanse of gleaming white sand backed by stands of soaring palm trees. An on-site spa offers massages, facials, and other treatments. There’s a free continental breakfast and Wi-Fi, too (in common areas only).
Beachy and hip, Posada Margherita (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 4.5, tel. 984/801-8493, www.posadamargherita.com, US$208 s/d) has just eight rooms, each with unique layout and decor, but all boasting stone-inlaid showers, private patio or terrace, and intriguing art from around the world. The beach here is lovely and well maintained, and the hotel has a restaurant and lounge area just steps from the sand; in the morning, waiters circulate the beach area bearing fresh fruit—a nice touch. Posada Margherita is run on solar energy, which means 24 hours of silent electricity, unlike the generator noise that mars some resorts here. Above all, don’t miss eating dinner at the hotel restaurant—it’s pricey but one of the best in Tulum.
Perfect for a romantic getaway, Azulik (Carr. Tulum–Punta Allen Km. 5.1, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/681-9537, toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 866/471-3472, www.azulik.com, US$330–355 s/d) has 15 spacious villas set on high rocky bluffs overlooking the Caribbean. The palapa villas are luxurious, soothing, and private—with floor-to-ceiling windows, a large deck with lounge chairs, two tubs each (a dugout tree indoors, a mosaic tile one outdoors), and hanging king-size beds. Electricity only runs from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.—the moon and candles rule at night—and access paths lead to a nude-friendly beach below. The two end units lend a bit more privacy, while three others are on the beach itself. Waiters come by in the morning to take your breakfast order (not included in rate) and deliver it for you to eat on your patio, a perfect way to start the day. This is an adults-only resort.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition