Last Christmas, my best friend surprised me with a note that listed a few destinations for our annual girls trip. "Pick a spot" she said. Um, okay! New Orleans, Chicago, and Seattle were all potential locations, but after going back and forth, we decided to leave the states. She had Tulum on her wish list, and undoubtedly it's become really popular over the last few years. I didn't know anything about it, but after some quick research I knew that it would be the perfect area to explore. Katie has a close friend that recently moved to Mexico City, and he insisted that we also include Playa Del Carmen in our plans since it's nestled between Cancun (the airport we had to fly into) and Tulum. We thought Playa Del Carmen would be a fun stop for a night...then it turned into two nights...and we went back again the day before we left Mexico. It was completely unexpected! Tulum was supposed to be our crowning jewel, and don't get me wrong, it really is stunning! But Playa Del Carmen stole my heart.  

Playa Del Carmen: 
It's forty-five minutes south of Cancun. You can take a shuttle, ADO bus, collectivo, or taxi from the airport depending on how much money you want to spend. It cost us about 50 USD for a taxi but we didn't have to make any stops along the way so it was definitely worth it. I will note that cash is king at least in that part of Mexico and exchanging dollars for pesos is the way to go for both parties. I barely used my debit card at all. Reception was spotty so having a good amount of pesos on hand made everything much easier (and cheaper in the long-run). 

Playa Del Carmen is a vibrant, colorful town. Street art and painted murals are everywhere. I found it to be so inspiring. 

The nightlife is amazing, and I'm not even talking about bars or clubs. Simply sitting at a restaurant or on a street bench makes for fun people watching, and live music was consistently in the background. We walked everywhere we went so getting around was easy. 

Contemporary, friendly staff, and in the heart of Playa's tourist area. We loved it.

The rooftop was our favorite part of the hotel, and we had dinner and drinks there twice. The view was spectacular!

Zenzi is a beach bar and restaurant that we spent way too much time in! It just felt comfortable, the bartenders were helpful and extremely friendly, and what's better than dining on the beach? I highly recommend visiting if you're in or near Playa Del Carmen.

After two days in Playa, we took a taxi to Tulum which is about an hour drive. We stayed in the actual town of Tulum at an airbnb for the first night, and then stayed at the beach for another night. The airbnb was adorable! Our hosts were also very accommodating. However, we wanted to see the difference between staying in the town versus the beach so we again changed plans last minute so that we could do that! One thing about traveling with Katie is that she is super spontaneous. It was cool to just go with flow rather than stick to definitive plans. Of course, I think it also caused some anxiety for me...but I dealt with it!

Overall, Tulum really is as gorgeous as it looks in photos. The white sand beaches, signature bohemian style, eco-friendly hotels, unique shops, world class cuisine, endless areas with swings and hammocks, plenty of outdoor activities...there's something for everyone! Our only gripe the entire time we were in both Playa AND Tulum was the seaweed epidemic. Normally the water is clear and turquoise; but since late 2014, seaweed has plagued the shoreline. We avoided going in the ocean because we really didn't see anyone going in either and there definitely was a smell present. I'm sure this time of year, with all the storms that pass through, added to that. I think most of the locals have gotten used to it and swim past the murky waters, but we weren't as brave. The cenotes however, are beautiful and clear for swimming! 

Again, we walked but bicycles are the preferred method of transportation in Tulum

Shopping in Tulum was such a cool experience! Sadly, nothing came home with me (I found a lot of things I loved but they were quite expensive). Of all the times to have sales resistance!


Other Notes: 

Pack lightly, especially if you're staying less than one week.

If you aren't accustomed to humidity like myself, be prepared to sweat. A lot. My hair has never been frizzier, hence the lack of pictures of myself - that I will willingly share. 

Remember insect repellent! Katie and I both came home with some major mosquito bites. We forgot to wear some the night we went to Papaya Playa Project. Big mistake.

Pesos are king, and many places in Tulum do not take cards. 

Have some understanding of the language. We encountered many people who did not speak anything other than Spanish, so knowing basic words and phrases saves a lot of time and effort. Plus, it's a beautiful language :)

If you have any specific questions, feel free to send me or Katie a message! Her Instagram is @mrsktclark. She mostly posts travel related content that's really fun! 

 So my one question now is...where to next year? We shall see, but this will be tough to beat.


  1. So glad you and Katie had such a great time on your trip! That outdoor boutique looks like my kind of shopping experience! Also the swings at the bar!!! How fun! Can't wait to see where you all go next year!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  2. I love that you plan a girls trip every year! That is such a wonderful and fun tradition. Everything looked so beautiful, and I'm glad you decided to be a bit spontaneous and spend extra time in the place you fell in love with.
    Chic on the Cheap

  3. Love your pics, so happy you and your bestie had a great time.

    Hubby and I loved Playa del Carmen more before we had Sofia too. We used to go every year, we even went for our babymoon. But after Sofia we felt we preferred Tulum. I don't know maybe it's just more chill for families with kids. Mexico is just an amazing place.

  4. This trip was so amazing and happy belated birthday Noelle.



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