When the winter gets tough, many New Yorkers seek salvation in the Carribbean, but Mama went to Tulum, a hippie town that’s about an hour and half drive from the Cancun airport and has exploded past few years w/ a robust food and health/wellness scene. So many New Yorkers went to Tulum to develop the area, some say it’s the Brooklyn of Mexico. The area has grown not into the typical American holiday spot with big chain hotels and all you can eat buffets, but instead, it has a great balance of luxury, sensibility, sustainability and yes, there are hipsters.
Since the last time I visited Tulum 5 years ago, the area has added a few more miles of accommodations, restaurants, and retail boutiques, so I had to begin my travel research all over again. I lucked out with my choice of the hotel Nomade. It’s a sister hotel to the super popular , Be Tulum which is almost always sold out. The decor and vibe of Nomade is Morocco meets Mexico… the epitome of Boho Chic. Our room had 3 queen size beds inside but other less expensive glamping tents were available throughout the resort. When I came 5 years ago, a lot of hotels didn’t ofgfer AC, but that seemed to have changed.
Our best meal in Tulum was the lunch at Nomade. Grilled fish and lobsters were pricy but worth every peso. The ever popular Tulum restaurant Hartwood was closed so headed to the other town staple, Posada Margarita for their homemade pastas. Fish tacos at the Coco Tulum(bar with swings) was also excellent. The vegan scene is also thriving in Tulum, so much so that a Vegan Festival is held once a year.
My friends and I spent our first 2 days in Mexico driving around like maniacs to the wondrous pink lakes of Las Coloradas (click here for a review) and also to Chichen Itza, so by the time we got to Tulum, we just lounged by the blue ocean and caught some sun. Once you have children, laying out in the sun becomes replaced with non-stop activity thus, on this childless trip, it was such a treat to lay out with girls talking about life, drinking some green juice, and taking the occasional salty dip in the ocean.
Tulum remains a paradise despite the bustling traffic during American holidays.
Cenotes – Cancun/Tulum have the largest underwater worlds w/ caves connecting in and out
Shop – so many beautiful arts and crafts
Juice – fresh green juices to rejuvenate
Drive outside to Copa (1 hr drive), Valladolid (2 1/2 drive), or Merida (4 hour drive), Las Coloradas (4 hour drive)
Nomade (lunch and dinner)
I often get asked, how do you know where you want to travel? I feel like the clues are everywhere! I pick them up from Tripadvisor, Conde Nast Traveler, sometimes word of mouth, and lately I have been finding inspiration from Instagram. I have found a few people who travel like me, so I always check out where they’ve been.
One day I spotted this beautiful pink lake in Mexico’s Yucatan area that looked like heaven and I was sold. I researched the lake, in a small town called Las Coloradas, and found out it’s about 3 hours away from the Cancun airport. Since I was heading to Tulum with 2 of my girlfriends, I convinced one of them to go with me to this heavenly location (with a quick stop over at Chichen Itza on the way there). I have been to Tulum 2 times prior to this time and Cancun 5 times and each time my experiences were little different. I’ve since branched out to other parts of Mexico.
This time my mission was to check out Las Coloradas. I found out that Mexico is a big producer of high quality salt and the lakes of Las Coloradas harvest the salt. The vibrant pink color of these lakes is due to red-colored algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that thrive in the salty environment. As the water evaporates and the salt becomes more concentrated, it glimmers pink in the bright Mexican sunlight.
We arrived in Cancun and began our long drive. There isn’t really much to see on the way and it’s about 2 and 1/2 hours from Valladolid, a big town with my favorite perfume brand, Coqui Coqui. The drive wasn’t hard though, just a straight paved road and a few random military checks. Once we arrived, I questioned if it was worth the drive but any doubt I had disappeared when I saw a giant pink lake reflecting the blue sky and white clouds. It was so magical, it felt like a Unicorn would fly over us any minute. I have never seen anything like it!
I dipped my feet in – it was super salty and spiky on the bottom – and was told by a local Mexican that going inside isn’t allowed any more. I found out later that if you take a tour boat to Rio Lagartos, where you can see 100’s of flamingos in their natural habitat, there is an area where you can float on the pink lake.
The pink lakes of Las Coloradas was one of the coolest spots I traveled to!
They used to conduct human sacrifice in this building behind me. I am just acting it out.