It’s no wonder why Tulum is one of the most desirable destinations for boho-chic travellers and beyond. It is a village surrounded by luscious plants, pristine beaches, and boutique hotels all complimented with a sustainable living approach—you’d never want to leave paradise.
However, vacations with little ones poses challenges even for the most experienced travellers. But I am happy to share that I found Tulum a tranquil retreat for our family.
There is no need to convince yourself to leave the retreat for a crazy itinerary but rather soak up the intimate moments that Mother Nature is offering you—the infinite beauty. I find with children it’s best to welcome your travels with an open mind and laid back approach.
Coming here with your family gives you a chance to truly enjoy each other in one uninterrupted daydream. After all, it is possible to vacation with the little ones—with a little planning, of course.
I hope you enjoy my honest Tulum guide with kids.
When to go
Tulum is very expensive in comparison to other parts of Mexico. The best time to visit is from February to May, it is a relatively low season with mild weather and attractive pricing.
Where to stay
If you are looking for all-inclusive hotels with multiple pools and restaurants on the premises this might not be the right place for you. However, if you are ready to open up to an eco-friendly lifestyle with occasional AC shutoffs (at some hotels) and an overall peaceful ambience that allows you to reset and connect with nature you will love it.
By the way—if you ask for a straw at the restaurant, be ready to sip on lemongrass or an onion stick, I’m not kidding!
We picked a relatively inexpensive stay at Casa Ganesh that exceeded all our expectations. One thing I loved the most about Casa Ganesh was how private it was. The retreat doesn’t have a restaurant or a beach club on premises and this is what made it so intimate. We felt very secure and taken care of at this little gem.
It’s also located right on the beach, you might even hear some music coming in from the nearest restaurant at night (it is centrally located) but it didn’t bother us at all.
If you aren’t on budget check out Nomade, La Zebra, Ahau very family oriented, peaceful and located right on the beach. If you don’t mind a little drive from the city you might want to check out these cool hotels Una Vida or Aluna Tulum, they are newly built and priced good.
Don’t forget about Airbnb options it is great if you are traveling with extended family or friends. Especially when you are in a place for more than a few days, it’s so nice to be able to make your own coffee and food without worrying about exorbitant room service costs.
Okay, this is important.
Tulum is a village that is developing very fast, it is basically one narrow road with ocean on one side and jungle on the other with opposite driving directions. The road is highly damaged by the amount of traffic and continuous construction. So…basically there are almost no pedestrian routes, most of the time you walk on the same road as the cyclists and driving cars.
We didn’t bother getting our stroller out as I felt I didn’t see a way we could make it work with the road but some families did. If you have more kids you might want to bring a carrier or rent a bike! There were bikes with baby seats available, just request one at your hotel or nearby retreat.
We rented a car at the airport so we could get around easily to explore! Furthermore, the cost of car rental for a week is the same as transfer from the airport and back.
My note – don’t get discouraged by the trouble with the main road, just prepare yourself and you will be fine. You’ll be surprised by the amount of families with kids that were around.
This might be the most concentrated town of sophisticated cousine I know. Tulum is for sure not short on incredible authentic dinning options. Since our retreat didn’t have any restaurants (one of the reasons we picked it as we never eat in) we had a chance to explore what was out there.
Our first breakfast was at The Real Coconut, surrounded by stunning beach views that hypnotized us. We were welcomed to sit anywhere we liked (perks of off season extra perks with a baby). And even though the patio with the lounge sofas looked so seducing we decided to sit inside since it was a bit breezy and requested a high chair. The menu was filled with all the healthy superfood options possible: chia puddings, turmeric lattes, coconut pancakes, endless smoothies, greens shots, you name it.
All in one perfect place.
The breakfast was mouthwatering delicious! We even came back for dinner which (sadly) was not as special as the breakfast but still really good.
Another great breakfast place with lots of menu options and super delicious pancakes was Fresco’s Tulum, the price was way lower than The Real Coconut and the food was great! This place was very simple but very adorable.
The cherry on top was Raw Love, this vegan jungle restaurant will keep you in awe with endless choices on their menu. My recommendation is to try their creamy mushroom risotto!
We also really liked La Zebra beach club and restaurant, overall this hotel had a very kid friendly vibe. We spent the afternoon at La Zebra enjoying the company with another family.
The restaurants ceviche is a must try!
Now, you are probably wondering where are the tacos?
But beware – most of them are just unreasonably expensive and worth skipping. Between Casa Banana and Matcha Mama on the jungle side of the road you’ll see a food truck park with a bar and a seating area in between, it’s very hard to miss. There is a guy who makes incredible juicy tacos ask for added mushrooms and onions (my preference) and don’t forget to scoop up some cabbage, salsa and guacamole for added flavour.
Enjoy a delicious ice cream at Origami Gelato during the day or sip on some Masala Chai at Chai House. Also make sure to check out Gitano in the evening for some live music and cocktails, it has an incredible atmosphere.
Things to do
Enjoy the beach
Period. One of the main things you probably came here for.
Look up at night. You will be blown away by the spectacular sky full of stars. I was a loss for words the first time I saw it.
These magical water holes are mostly made of Limestone and there are over 5,000 cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula. They’re made from underwater cave systems filled with fresh water (most of them) and from absorbing rain water too.
Derived from the Mayan word ‘tz’onot’ meaning ‘abyss’, mayans used them for rituals, ceremonies and royalty.
Cenotes are now popular for diving or snorkelling, up to you. There are cenotes for different activities, some are even good for free dive (if you are feeling adventurous).
We went to a beautiful one called Yax Kin, we picked it mainly because it wasn’t very touristy, had some shallow areas for kids to play in and it is gorgeous. We spent a few hours there and I wish we could come back. There are daybeds available too!
If you get inspired by architectural designs, unique spaces and decor you might want to visit a few hotels while here, like infamous Casa Malca (check out their observation tower for incredible views) or atmospheric Nomade (have a dinner on the beach to enjoy the sunset).
Biosphere Reserve – Sian Ka’an
Sian Ka’an (Origin of the Sky) a UNESCO world heritage site. Located 40km South from Tulum beach strip this Biosphere Reserve is a must to visit. Get ready to explore mangroves, snorkel in a coral reef, see dolphins, turtles, crocodiles and manatees in the wild. Also a note, be sure to bring a biodegradable sun-screen since a regular one isn’t permitted here (and in cenotes too).
Keep in mind that this likely to be a full day trip, especially for those travelling with a baby.
If you haven’t been to Mexico yet you probably would want to check out the ruins. Instead of going for a full day excursion to Chichen Itza just have a short ride to the Tulum Ruins. Located on a cliff by the sea with a spectacular view and a nice breeze. Hire a guide to drive you into a history of the Mayan culture.
If you are ready to reset your body and mind don’t miss a chance to do yoga on the beach. This is truly an unforgettable experience which is accessible to anyone! Check out Sanara for a gorgeous oceanfront yoga class, or go to Ahau for a more budget friendly yoga experience by donation with incredible views of the ocean too.
You will adore all the artisan shops and markets supporting the locals and finding unique treasures.
If all of the above wasn’t enough and you want to take you kids elsewhere check out the Monkey Sanctuary is only 25 mins away by car!
Tulum felt like a utopia of endless beauty in a very natural environment. The energy is intense with this ‘I am free’ mantra that children can relate too. It gives you the sensation of feeling like a child again yourself.
Everything is on the water, you can explore freely no need for shoes when your home is on the beach. I would come back again with my family and learn more about the endless history—From reading this article I hope you feel inspired to travel with your little ones whether it be in Tulum or somewhere else on your bucket list. I want you to know it’s doable and helps our children develop and experience culture in a more traditional sense.
Photographed by Inga Avedyan