This page may contain affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission for products purchased through my link.
Hola! If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I was recently in Tulum, Mexico. You probably also saw all of my stories of the amazing food we ate, and the beautiful hotels we stayed at. It was an absolute paradise, with tropical weather, lots of yoga, incredible spiritual energy, eco-friendly principles and all the vegan food you could ever want.
Today I’m sharing a healthy vegan guide to Tulum–a full list of everything we ate, did, saw and recommend because I personally do a very extensive amount of research before my travels. Not only am I vegan and gluten-free, I’m also always on the hunt for picturesque moments as a photographer. I also love to support local artists and shop handmade local items, so I’ll be sharing a few shopping suggestions too. Overall, it’s not hard to have an amazing experience in Tulum, but why not reap the benefits of my research and first hand experience, am I right? 😛
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Azulik hotel the first few days of our trip and it was absolutely stunning. It’s a boutique hotel, with a focus on eco friendly design, and lots of natural elements. It’s located right on the beach, and is an experience unlike most hotels. We really enjoyed our few nights there BUT it was definitely less of a functional stay. What I mean by that is there was limited electricity, no light in our rooms (candlelit nights were beautiful though), no wi-fi in rooms and spotty wi-fi in common areas, and no A/C. That being said, it forced us to really disconnect, and we stayed in the room with a beach view and private jacuzzi.
There are a couple restaurants in the hotel, as well as yoga (complementary for guests, but the class I took wasn’t great), spa treatments, and an art gallery. The restaurants are very pricy, and there are vegan options available, with food presented beautifully and unbeatable views, but for what you get, I’m not sure if I could say it’s worth the price. I’d recommend staying here for the experience alone, but there are far more affordable and functional places to stay. You could also stop by the restaurant for drinks and the view, instead of full on dinner!
After our first few days, we moved to Holistika, located in town (away from the beach). I can’t even begin to explain how magical Holistika is. From the moment you arrive, greeted by a sign that reads BE HERE NOW, you feel the energy of the grounds. We checked in, were handed positive affirmation cards, and took a jungle stroll to our room.
The hotel is beautifully designed, has a stunning yoga shala with great yoga classes as well as breathwork, sound baths and other energy healing offerings, a restaurant and even an “art walk”–9 installations and murals on the grounds. Although there is no beach, there are two large pools and lots of hammocks as well. There is A/C and wi-fi in rooms, but Holistika has a very down to earth vibe. It’s calm, quiet and we actually ended up spending more time on the grounds than out and about town because there were so many things to do.
My absolute favourite thing about Holistika was the restaurant, Tierra, but I’ll talk more about that in the WHAT TO EAT section below. Holistika also offers dorm style stays, as many guests actually come to Holistika for yoga or yoga retreats. Also, there are 4 friendly cats that roam the grounds–long story short I was very sad to leave and loved every moment I had at Holistika.
Other places to stay: Nomade, Amansala, Ahau, Papaya Playa, Airbnbs
WHAT TO DO
There’s absolutely no shortage of yoga in Tulum. You can find it offered at most hotels on the beach, and there are several shalas in town as well. I recommend the yoga at Ahau and Holistika! You can visit most hotels just for the yoga they offer, and both sunrise & sunset yoga classes are popular in Tulum.
SPA + ENERGY HEALING TREATMENTS
In addition to yoga, most hotels also offer a variety of not only spa treatments, but also energy healing treatments like crystal work, reiki, bodywork, energy work, a local cacao ceremony etc. It’s so rare to find such an abundance of healing offerings, so I’d recommend taking advantage of it! Tulum is also such a spiritually charged place.
TRADITIONAL CLAY TREATMENT
One popular and traditional treatments is a Mayan Clay treatment. There are several spas that specialize in full bathing days, and while we didn’t have the change to experience it ourselves, almost every person I had chatted with in Tulum recommended it to us.
Temzcal is a local sweat lodge treatment, widely popular and said to promote general well-being. It’s not too far off from doing infrared sauna in terms of feeling. Again, everyone we crossed paths with recommended we try it out.
TOUR THE RUINS/CENOTES
Two things I highly recommend you see while in Tulum are cenotes, and ruins. You can visit Mayan ruins, which are gorgeous, as are the cenotes (underground pools/caves). There are a few cenotes you can choose to visit, and I’d recommend consulting the locals about what time its best to go during the day/week. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find a day with clear weather to go to either, but I’m already planning another visit back and it’s at the top of my to-do list!
CHILL OUT ON THE BEACH
Pretty self explanatory, but enjoy the beautifully blue waters if you can. Most of the beaches offer convenient seating and umbrellas, but you can really travel along the beach to find your preferred spot. Azulik’s beach is 18+, nudity permitted, and I believe it’s open only to guests, but policies differ at each hotel so you might just want to explore different parts of it. We spent a day in the sun at Ahau, even though we weren’t guests, and we spent the rest of our sunny days at the Azulik private beach.
BIKE & EXPLORE
Since neither my boyfriend nor I have our driver’s license, biking was our main mode of transportation. There are bike rentals available at most hotels, and also independent bike rental shops all along the roads. We rented bikes for two days and it was very affordable and convenient. I loved being able to explore on bike and hop on or off at any time. Biking is common, but on the beach road in particular there are a *lot* of potholes and speed bumps, so stay alert!
When we were staying at Azulik on the beach, at night it became so dark that we could see stars in the sky (a rare sight in NYC truth be told), and even saw a couple of shooting stars. We spent about 2 hours in our oudoor hot tub just watching the stars and it brought me to actual tears! Definitely put it on your to do list to look up at night.
LOOK FOR THE SIGNS
A bit of a fun one, but look for the signs! They’re all over Tulum and they make for great photo ops. There is one (now graffiti’d over), that said EMBRACE THE MYSTERY, another that said KNOW THYSELF, and even a series of three signs that said IF NOT / NOW / WHEN?. Oh and of course, can’t forget the Holistika sign–BE HERE NOW.
WHAT TO EAT
Tierra is the restaurant/cafe at Holistika. It’s fully vegetarian and mostly vegan, open for breakfast and lunch. The menu is incredible and I tried a few different menu items, all of which were delicious. Try the smoothie bowls, the lentil tostada and the tofu scramble! I also had a matcha latte every morning (and afternoon…) and while you’re there, try to resist picking up one of their ceramic pieces. They’re custom made and sold at the hotel. Each piece is unique, with some kind of positive affirmation. I picked up a few (7….) pieces myself.
We stopped at Meow’s Cream twice for dessert, and in part because the woman managing the shop was so kind and sweet. Meow’s Cream is an all vegan ice cream shop, where you pick 2-3 different flavours of fruit to mix together. It creates sort of a sorbet like ice cream, and it was a little icy, but it’s a fun concept if you’re in the mood for something cold! I Scream Bar is another spot that apparently also serves vegan ice cream, but I haven’t been myself.
I unfortunately didn’t get to visit this spot, but they offer vegan tamales, and on weekends I believe they offer vegan friendly pancakes for brunch too! They have a hibiscus iced tea that caught my eye as well.
This little cafe serves coffee and smoothie bowls in adorable ceramic mugs. They also have a super cute mural on the wall which is very Instagrammable. Great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Burrito Amor is a great spot for burritos of course! It’s not all vegan, but they offer 2 vegan menu items (a bowl and a burrito), that are flavourful and delicious. In addition to that, they have grain free and gluten free tortillas (made from coconut flour).
I ordered the vegan burrito, but if you’re vegan and dining here, please be sure to remind your server 2-3 times that you ordered vegan, not vegetarian. The first time I ordered sans cilantro and received a cilantro-ey burrito, and then the order came back with cheese in it. So just be careful before you take a huge bite because it’s a very busy spot at night and they were a little careless with dietary restriction issues. Nevertheless, it’s a great option and perfect if you’re traveling with others who aren’t vegan.
LA HOJA VERDE
We weren’t able to make a stop here but we did take a peek at the menu and it looked (and smelled) amazing. We were between this restaurant and Fruto Mistico, which was highly recommended all over the internet, and sadly picked the wrong restaurant to eat at! I would recommend against going to Fruto Mistico–go here instead for a similar ambiance and much better menu/quality of food.
Raw Love is a restaurant and smoothie bar located at Ahau, with an incredible menu and beautiful raw vegan food. While I was on a mission to try a variety of vegan spots while in Tulum, I really wanted to come back to Raw Love multiple times. I ordered a smoothie bowl, we also tried the alfredo zoodles, and we ended with a raw white chocolate cake. This was really wholesome, high quality food and the servers were really kind. Definitely make a stop here!
We biked down to Matcha Mama (there are 2 locations) for breakfast and I had one of their smoothie bowls. This is a great place to stop if you’re missing matcha while in Mexico, and missing your blender back home! They use sustainable/eco friendly coconut bowls, and have an extensive menu + drinks. It’s also super cute! Great for photo ops.
THE REAL COCONUT
The Real Coconut is an all gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free restaurant. It has a variety of vegan options on the menu, and is locatedat Sanara hotel. We came for dinner and shared the yucca fries and golden cauliflower (both of which were incredible), and I ordered the flatbread as my main course. I would recommend *not* ordering the flatbread because the coconut cheese is not palatable, but definitely end with the cookie skillet + ice cream! The golden cauliflower alone was delicious enough to make me want to come back.
CHARLY’S VEGAN TACOS
Let me start off by saying I have never really been a taco kind of girl, and with that said, Charly’s Vegan Tacos was one of my favourite dining experiences in Tulum. The location has a great outdoor seating area, and you can order a platter of their famous 3 tacos, or mix and match to create a platter of your own. They have salads, bowls and other dishes on the menu, but we shared the grilled corn, ordered the famous trio, and then we actually ordered another course each and I got the emmoladas poblanas. Everything was absolutely delicious and I also had a hibiscus kombucha. My non-vegan boyfriend kept talking about this spot, and even said it was much better than some of the regular tacos he had while on our trip.
This beautiful restaurant was recommended to me by Jess (Choosing Chia), but we ended up not having time to try it out. The restaurant is at the Nomade hotel, and is plant-based with beautiful options.
Others: DelCielo Cafe, Farm to Table
WHERE TO SHOP
Tulum’s beach road has a great selection of boutiques that also stock local designers’ work. There were a few shops I had taken a peek in, and a few designers/brands I was excited to check out while local.
KM33, La Tienda, Naia, Wanderlust, Wildsea
Mapache is a brand of locally, handmade hats. The designs are absolutely stunning and they’re also vegan (no leather or suede involved!). You can order a custom one when you visit if there’s a particular one you have your eye on, otherwise head to some of the boutiques listed above to grab one! Just a note–you may want to contact the owner far in advance, as I never heard back after organizing a pick up time, and left without a hat </3.
Amara is a swimsuit brand that is not only beautifully designed, but also eco-friendly. You can find Amara suits at a variety of boutiques, or find them online and they offer both one pieces and bikinis.
This is a brand of recycled silver material jewelry with beautiful designs and crystal integration as well!
All in all, Tulum is an incredible place, and absolutely vegan friendly. I highly recommend you visit, and I would go back in a heartbeat!