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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mice Advice: Time out in Tulum

We're back with some fabulous Mice Advice...well fabulous unless like us London Mice, you've used all your holiday allowance for the year, in which case, look away now! 

Some good friends of ours have just announced that they're off to Tulum in two weeks time and seeing as we only just visited ourselves in April we thought we should share our Mice wisdom on the topic!! 

Here's our lowdown on all things required for some Mexico madness...

The first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Tulum is how amazingly beautiful it is - soft white beaches that literally take your breath away, a totally chilled out atmosphere but with a quirky, infectious vibe everywhere! It's impossible not to relax here!


There is one main road called Tulum-Boca Paila road which is where all the hotels, restaurants and bars are located. One thing to note, the road is very dark at night, so if you don't decide to get cabs, you might want to pack a torch! The best way to travel in the daytime is by bike as the road is extremely long - we walked for about two hours one day and were left hot and sweaty with a lot of blisters! Beware though the bikes don't have normal breaks you have to pedal backwards to stop...very confusing!!! As you meander down the road you'll pass through various different patches, some very hippy with lots of campsites, others more jungle like, health conscious areas with bikini bootcamps and so on...however our top pick is the trendy area and it's quite clear when you get to this part - definitely where we recommend that you spend your time! 



There's a general sense of bohemian lifestyle here, with many of the hotels only having limited electricity at certain times! The accommodation is mostly basic but that's the beauty of it, rustic but comfortable and you soon relax into the lazy daily routine with limited phone reception and wifi! 

The majority of the restaurants only take cash so make sure you have enough with you, although if you don't, everyone seems quite happy to trust that you'll come back the next day and pay. There is one cash point on 
Tulum-Boca Paila road (and I'm guessing there is also one at the supermarket but that is about a 20 minute cab journey away), we didn't actually need it in the end as Tulum really isn't too expensive.

I loved the fact that every nook was crammed with quirky little touches creating fantastic photo opportunities! My favourite being the roadside mojito stall located in an old beetle - genius, and a street side cinema consisting of a big projector screen with old car seats lined up for your comfortable viewing...



Daytime really has to be spent on the beach, kicking back and relaxing and absorbing the unreal surroundings. It is quite amazing how quickly you relax and become the biggest beach bum ever! However if you're feeling a little more active Tulum is supposedly the perfect spot for kite boarding, the sea is littered with people giving it a go, which makes for great people watching for the girls whilst we work on our tans!




Onto my favourite part...Restaurants!! 


Despite the rustic, practically horizontal approach to life and accommodation, the same cannot be said about the food! Tulum boasts some amazing restaurants - again totally weird and wonderful in terms of decor but the food was just incredible! Top spots that are a Mice Must visit...

Casa Banana is one of the more expensive, 'smarter' venues for Tulum - we're not talking body con and clutch bags, more a pretty dress and sandals instead of a bikini top and ripped off shorts!! It's known for its steak and lobster, we shared a number of starters including authentic guacamole, chorizo sausages and then Prawn and Steak skewers all round! Perfect evening and all topped off by a great wine list with our favourite Marlborough Savignon Blanc! Strictly cash only.



Hartwood - one of my favourite restaurants in Tulum, we ventured down on our first night - seriously a great way to kick off your holiday. You will know you're then when you see the driftwood sign and can smell the amazing wood burning oven! The owners packed up their New York life and moved to Tulum to open their jungle kitchen! 

Super good BBQ / grilled dishes, I clearly remember honey roasted aubergine, the best ribs I have ever tasted and an incredible prawn rice dish - not a crumb was left!! Only open Wednesday to Sunday 6pm - 10pm, quite a queue can form but not like a English queue don't worry! There is no single file in sight, instead pull up a bench, order one of the bar's KILLER cocktails (ours came served in silver drinking mugs!) and soak up the buzzy atmosphere! Again cash only.


Image via http://indiwoman.wordpress.com

Casa Jaguar - joint first with Hartwood for me, completely different vibe but just as beautiful. The food is Asian-Mexican fusion, all set in a beautiful little courtyard. Lots of wrought iron chairs, fairy lights and menagerie of vintage knick knacks! The flavours were exotic and unusual...everything we tried was just incredible, helped by the amazing staff where nothing was any bother! Cash only again and worth every penny! 



Posada Margherita is a beautiful Italian restaurant - all over sized wooden tables, white decor - simple and chic. Now I wouldn't usually eat Italian on holiday (unless I was in Italy...) however this was something quite special. A short menu with only a few dishes made with the freshest, tastiest ingredients, mostly consisting of seafood, fresh fish cooked in seawater and tomatoes and fresh pasta. Fab setting right on the beachfront and extraordinary food.  

Playa Papaya is super cool, bang on trend and effortlessly becomes the place to be. A pop up hotel and bar located at the start of Tulum-Boca Paila road, a long way up (we got a cab!) but worth the trek! We didn't eat here but hung out for a couple of evenings, it has a strong traveller vibe/crowd, amazing people watching and is set right on the beach! The decor again is up there with the best - basically your Gran's living room on the beach! Oversized lampshades, cuckoo clocks, pianos, vintage velvet sofas...you name it they have it! Must visit for sunset cocktails and apparently they have a spa, legendary beach parties and DJ's. What more could you want?!




A couple of others we didn't get to try but that also come highly recommended are...


Hemingway Tulum


Of course we can't finish without a shopping recommendation (especially for you Lisa - we know how much you love fashion!) it is all about Josa! You may have heard us banging on about them before but if not see our previous posts here and here! The most incredible dresses in beautiful prints, shapes and styles! If you aren't as lucky as Lisa and Dan to actually be able to visit the shop in Tulum, then browse the online site here or head over to The Girl and The Water who also carry the line!

Final and very important tip...make sure you do not drink anything but bottled water - this includes brushing your teeth! And do not swallow shower water...you defo do not want to reenact Charlotte's experience in the SATC movie...!

I am so totally and utterly jealous that you'll be in paradise in 14 days time...can't wait to hear all about your adventures! ENJOY!!

The Mexican Mice x




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