Travel Guide: Unplug in Lush Tulum, Mexico

Come for quiet Mexican beaches and historical ruins; stay for luxe hotel design and world-class seafood.

Azulik’s “Aqua” villa includes bejuco-vine-covered floors and a private terrace outfitted with a hot tub. / Courtesy photo


Rest and Relaxation

Ready to unplug? It’s easy at Azulik: Designed by Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel, the resort’s treehouse-like villas—outfitted with volcanic-stone bathtubs and hanging Balinese beds—intentionally lack electric lights, televisions, and WiFi hookups. Take in stunning ocean or jungle views from your room, unwind with a private yoga class at the on-site spa, or visit Azulik’s recently opened art gallery. Overseen by Santiago Rumney Guggenheim, the vine- and cement-laden space forms a unique backdrop for viewing works by international artists.

Snag a seat at Gitano’s bar to try the restaurant’s signature mezcal cocktails, many prepared with seasonal fruits and herbs. / Courtesy photo


Pescatarian Paradise

Wander through just about any neighborhood in this coastal mecca, and you’ll find seafood tasty enough to satisfy even the most discerning New Englander. Beach-goers will appreciate the proximity of Gitano, an outdoor restaurant where the jungly ambiance is second only to the small-plate ceviche, prepared with coconut and zucchini. For an off-the-beaten-path option downtown, head to Sabor de Mar. The no-frills restaurant, furnished with simple wood tables and benches, serves up everything from fried-fish tacos to crunchy tostadas topped with fresh tuna.

Flora-filled eatery Gitano takes its name from the Spanish word for “gypsy.” / Courtesy photo

Mr. Blackbird’s beachside boutique features a sand floor and found driftwood. / Photo by Alden Wicker/Ecocult


Local Luxury

After you explore the city’s Mayan archaeological site or snorkel in area cenotes, take a break from the sun with a little souvenir shopping. A far cry from the T-shirt-filled gift shops you’ll find in other tourist towns, Tulum’s indie boutiques celebrate local craftsmanship with an array of handmade wares. Browse copper jewelry and macramé accessories at Mr. Blackbird, or get your design fix at World by Hand—a home-goods store stocked with Mexico-made ceramics, embroidered pillows, and wool rugs.