Five Ways Tulum Will Change Your Life

This jungle-bound strip of beach is so much more than Instagram can show.

It’s only been on travelers’ radars for a few short years, but Tulum is rapidly growing in popularity as a laid-back yoga, wellness, and beach destination. Dare I say that Instagram has something to do with it? Sandwiched between the Caribbean waters and green jungle, Tulum will charm you with its cottage-style hotels, open-air restaurants, flour-soft white sand, and vibrant color on every corner. I had a tough time not stopping every five steps to take a picture to share with the world. Fortunately, the lack of public Wi-Fi and high roaming costs taught me to be present and enjoy the moment, as is the Tulum custom. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Go now, and let it change your life.

1. You will embrace the caftan…
Back in reality (San Francisco), what I miss most about Tulum is wearing a kaftan every day. This truly liberating piece of clothing—which peaked in the ’70s—is experiencing a huge comeback in the fashion world. With its simple shape, beautiful fabric, and beachy colors, the kaftan is the ideal Tulum uniform.

2. …and the darkness
Due to an undeveloped power system, there are no street lights along the Tulum beach strip. This main street is lit only by cozy string lights that stream from restaurants and hotels, which means at some points you have to walk through very dark jungle. So a flashlight comes in handy. But any initial fears will fade away that very first time you see the sky sprinkled with endless stars.

3. You won’t mind waiting three hours for food
Many of the restaurants are run by chefs and restaurateurs who might also own another restaurant in L.A. or New York, which make them very popular. They serve amazingly fresh, local food made in open kitchens—and its worth every moment that you’ll wait. Tip: Carry cash, as most of the restaurants don’t accept credit cards, and definitely enjoy a drink while waiting.

4. You’ll learn to get up with the sun.
Thanks to a little jet lag during my first few days, I saw some of the most amazing sunrises ascending on the ocean’s horizon. The beach is empty and calm at this time and, once you experience this, waking up late is no longer an option. It’s the perfect hour to kick off your day with morning yoga or meditation.

5. You will have Instagram fodder for weeks after you return.
If you are like me, you will take a zillion pictures of the ocean, the palms, the houses, the pineapples, the beach, the food—and you won’t want your vacation to end. But that just means you’ll just have plenty of images to share with your followers to inspire them to go and see for themselves how magical Tulum is.

Ana Kamin is a San Francisco-based writer and photographer who pens travel and food-focused stories for online publications and her own blog, Fluxi on Tour. Follow Ana’s adventures on Instagram.