A long-time favorite of those looking to escape the chaos of cancun, the beachside town of Tulum is no longer the secret hideaway it once was. There is, however, still a laid-back barefoot vibe and few loud-partying crowds.
What to Do: The Tulum Archaeological Site, an oceanfront Mayan ruins complex, is one of MexicoÕs most popular attractions and houses El Castillo, The Temple of the Frescoes and The Temple of the Descending God. Less than an hour northwest, however, lies the smaller ancient site of Coba, the untouristed, jungle-enveloped home to Nohuch Mul, the Yucatán's tallest pyramid. It's fun to explore the site by bike.
Where to Eat: On a quiet backstreet in Tulum’s center, Cetli offers inspired takes on classic Mexican dishes — most notably the adventurous and exquisite moles (chocolate-based sauces). Mexico City-born Chef Claudia Pérez Rívas has traveled the country perfecting regional recipes, and from the intimate dining room you can watch her ply her craft via the open kitchen.
Where to Stay: Papaya Playa Hotel is a collection of 80 rustic-thatched cabanas and casitas that open onto a quiet and secluded northern stretch of Tulum’s spectacular powder sand beach. The hotel’s beachside Sensorial Spa offers a selection of physical and spiritual treatments, including traditional temazcal (sweat lodge ceremonies), performed by local therapists and the resort’s resident shaman (rooms start at $165 a night; papayaplayaproject.com).
Photo Credit: Undine Pröhl