Why go glamping when you can go to Tulum? You can get the same luxe-meets-roughing-it experience, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the US in this coastal Mexican town, where wifi is spotty, ‘air conditioning’ is a ceiling fan, and flashlights will guide you home after nightfall – yet you don’t have to give up running with a cool crowd to a hot spot. In fact, it’s most often compared with gypsy chic places on the opposite side of the world, like Goa and Phuket. Just 90 minutes down a sometimes dirt road, and you’re in the hippest enclave of boho beach cool, south of the border. Overworked urbanites practicing their consciousness come to this paradise to decompress, lured by the glorious beaches, mystical Mayan ruins, fledgling food scene and sustainable (Tulum is literally off the electrical grid), wellness-centered mindset. In fact, some never leave, permanently decamping to Tulum to open even more lifestyle-based small businesses, from boutique hotels to stylish restos. However, even with this recent influx of expats and an uptick in tourism, Tulum maintains a small town charm that is the clincher in its magic. The village is really one modest road, which divides the jungle from the beach. On your way through, you might run in to notable New Yorkers in search of rejuvenation (Amanda Hearst, Amy Sacco), makeup-free models enjoying the sun (Daria Werbowy, Carolyn Murphy) and more red carpet A-listers than you can count (Kate Bosworth, Jared Leto, Rene Zellweger, Sienna Miller, Reese Witherspoon), happily holidaying. Tulum draws those in the throes love (a hot Heidi Klum and her much younger beau were recently spotted), and those on a soul-searching rebound (Demi, with daughter Rumer, got over Ashton; Orlando Bloom moved on from Miranda Kerr). No matter your status, you are sure to find something to take pleasure in, as Tulum is a treat for the mind, body and soul.
A typical Tulum day might start with a sunrise yoga session, followed by a tropical juice breakfast on the beach. Relax in the shade of a palapa until lunch, when you’ll enjoy super fresh guac and tangy ceviche in a laid-back cafe. If your energy is up, you could take an exhilarating swim in a cenote (a sinkhole which leads to underground caves flush with gorgeously clear water), which are more prevalent on the Yucatan than anywhere else in the world. You still have time to make a quick pit stop at Coqui Coqui’s jet-set chic shop before heading to Hartwood for dinner. A round of margaritas (or mezcal, if you dare) is the perfect ending to the night. Other not to be missed excursions include a visit to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, where you can wade through a mangrove forest and spot wildlife, and the nearby ruins of Muyil, Coba and Chichen Itza, where the ancients Mayans converged and created civilizations, leading their still mysterious lives.
In a place where solar panels are preferred to electricity, you can feel free to leave your complicated cocktail wear at home. For a Tulum trip, you can never pack enough colorful prints or gauzy neutrals. Details such as fringe, tassels and beading will look right at home. At the beach, a Mara Hoffman bikini covered with a Roberta Freymann sarong would be a good match. In the evening, its Stone Cold Fox dresses and flat gladiator sandals all the way...plus mozzie repellent. Floppy straw hats and woven ethnic bags are all the accessories you’ll need, but adding some local Mexican jewelry will complete your look.