Traveling with kids to Tulum, Mexico, was one of the best family vacations. We got to experience a small-town feel, white-sand beaches, warm weather, local ingredients, craft cocktails and a wonderfully contagious “chill” vibe that made us all want to stay much longer. Thankfully, I started this travel post weeks after our vacation so I can virtually relive Tulum before another super-charged school year begins.
Highlights: family-friendly staff, beautiful and well-maintained surroundings, uncrowded, rustic-chic mixed with modern Mayan design, in-room fridge stocked daily with complimentary bottled water and other refreshments, the front desk team is amazing | lazebratulum.com
Highlights: soft white sand, long walks, baby turtle nests, friendly iguanas, thatch roof umbrellas
While we were there, a good glob of kelp washed up to the shores every day. And every morning, an army of men would remove the green invader. I’ll admit, there was quite a bit. However, that didn’t deter any of us from swimming, boogie boarding and enjoying the water.
Starred Photos: Private Tour Guide Kay
Highlights: early risers beat the crowds, historic landmarks, bicycling through the forest, Mayan Red Bull (homemade juice with bee pollen)
Highlights: turquoise water, sea turtles, stingrays
Photos: Private Tour Guide Kay
Highlights: most breathtaking ancient sinkholes, underwater caves, clean bathrooms and showers, nice picnic areas, peaceful, underground river
Photos: Private Tour Guide Kay
Highlights: fishing in the Sian Ka’an biosphere, catch & release bonefish, permit fish, snapper, and puffer fish, spotted a barracuda, incredible water color and clarity, having an amazing guide who found this spot (thank you Kay!)
Places to Eat
Highlights: stone-tablet menus (yes it felt a bit religious), handmade pasta, good wine recommendations, staff sits with you to explain menu | posadamargherita.com
Highlights: Argentine cuisine in the jungle, Argentine foosball table, cool mixologists | casabananatulum.com
Highlights: familiar dishes with local twist, staff treats you family, fresh coconut water, Cochinita Pibil (pulled pork), personal touch: when I felt sick (not from La Zebra) the staff made me a special chicken broth that was not on the menu
* We didn’t have a chance to visit Hartwood Tulum, but friends have told us it’s a must for food lovers.
Coqui Coqui Perfumerie
Highlights: locally-designed clothing, accessories and perfumes, beach-access boutique located in a lovely residence & spa, discovered a new favorite scent Coco Coco for summer, my daughter found her first perfume Rosas Secas – a soft floral that can be worn everyday, unique craftsmanship | Coqui Coqui Tulum
– Bring Florastor Probiotics for children’s florastor and adults. Start taking it before you leave and everyday on your holiday. You never know when a family member might encounter nasty bacteria from food, water or ice cubes
– Bring lots of mosquito repellent and sunscreen. If you plan to go out in the evening, don’t forget to put on repellent as most restaurants are outdoors.
– Use the most reliable ATM at the Chedraui, near the entrance of Tulum. We had some trouble taking out cash with the smaller machines scattered throughout Tulum.
– For a very personalized tour of Tulum and the surrounding areas, hire a knowledgeable and trustworthy tour guide. We LOVED Kay (pronounced Kie, rhymes with pie) whose expertise added so much depth and fun to our family visit. And he had a great sense of humor! You can read more about his work at Private Tour Guide Kay.
– I really wanted to love Aktun Chen. With the zipline, underground river and animal conservation, I really wanted to love this place. When we arrived, it was crowded with visitors. While we waited for the next available staff person to help us, we saw Sammy. Sammy is a monkey who, according to a sign next to his habitat, is under recovery. One of the keepers told us that Sammy has been there since birth, four years now. I watched Sammy carry his own chain, which was wrapped around his neck, so he could simply move around. He could barely reached his food and water. I felt sad knowing he wasn’t under any shade, and that day was extremely hot. As I stared through the glass, I wondered why Aktun Chen didn’t give him a bigger habitat or longer chain or some shade. Sammy just kept pacing back and forth. Call me emotional but I gathered everyone, got into the car and drove away (sobbing). We never went inside the park so this really isn’t a fair and fully informed critique. That being said, there may be happy jungle animals inside (I hope).
All images taken by Lizelle Green unless otherwise noted.