Dec 1, 2017 Travel

This Is Exactly How to Vacation in Tulum Like Meghan Markle

by Julia Millay Walsh
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Meghan Markle may be engaged to Prince Harry and preparing to become the newest addition to the royal family, but she's been making a name for herself in her own right for years now. She's starred in a wildly successful TV show, proven her interior design skills, and continues to serve as a lifestyle inspiration for all things fashion and beauty to food and travel. On her former blog The Tig, Markle provides an insider guide to one of Mexico's hottest destinations: Tulum. In Markle's own words, these are the hotels, activities, restaurants, and shops to know in the warm Central American city.

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Fashion Me Now

“White-washed in linens and natural fibers, this stunning boutique hotel and minimal beachfront retreat is surrounded by palm fronds and bougainvillea—a perfect gem to nestle into for your Tulum vacation. Stay in room six or seven for an oceanfront view, and order cocktails on your private patio. Try the mixed ceviche and a ‘refreshing water’ (blended with cucumber, mint, and chlorophyll), and enjoy it as you lounge on a sunbed and watch the Caribbean sea lap at your feet. I was quite the happy camper here.”

“While I didn’t stay here, my friends who have rave about it. Be Tulum has Caribbean flair and creature comforts like air-conditioning (which, thanks to 90-degree weather in August, you will be incredibly grateful for) and a fantastic spa. Tuck in for a Mayan clay treatment or buy a jar of their clay, which comes with minerals and incredible healing properties, for $30 to do it yourself. Here’s how: Rub the clay over your face and body, let it dry in the sun for 20 minutes, and go rinse off in the Caribbean Sea.”

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Yoga Shala is hippie-dippie paradise—the mecca for yoga in the beach stretch of Tulum, where classes are taught throughout the day in a jungle setting. Flow through several variations and chat with their absolutely lovely staff about getting your daily zen on.”

“I opted to check out the ruins in Coba (also called Chichén Itzá) as they were said to be the oldest and tallest of all eastern Mayan ruins. You can also visit the ruins in Tulum, which are closer and in a beach setting—not a bad plan B. Explore the sacred areas from palaces to observatories and then climb the largest ruin if you dare.”

“When we were told we had to explore one of the multitudinous cenotes speckled throughout the area, the resounding question was, ‘What is a cenote?’ And while at first, I thought my Spanish language skills were failing me, it turns out it’s just a difficult thing to describe. You go to the jungle and see a stairway into the ground. After spiraling down a few minutes, you’ll find yourself in a large, dark cave with the stillest fresh water quietly awaiting your arrival. It really is quite special and absolutely worth the exploration.”

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This is the foodie destination that gourmands from all over the world flock to. Chef Eric Warner serves up legendary agave-sweetened ribs that fall off the bone, skilled preparations of ceviches, and cocktails laden with fresh fruit and indigenous flavors. People begin lining up at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. opening of this now legendary locale—and for good reason. This restaurant is on par with the best in New York City and worth a visit for your first (or last) meal in Tulum.”

This new spot is directly across the street from Coqui Coqui and next door to Hartwood, so it’s a no-brainer for dancing the night away with amazing music, a stunning open setting, solid drinks, and—wait for it—the largest disco ball in the Yucatan. Trust me: It’s not nearly as cheesy as it sounds, and it casts a beautiful glow across the dimly lit jungle scape.”

“Authentic Italian food in Tulum? Yes, indeed. Posada Margherita makes its pastas fresh, poaches its fish with sea water, and serves a cucumber and gin cocktail that I would order time and again.”

This is a great spot for lunch or dinner, with its wood-fired oven, super-friendly staff, and jungle seating. I ordered the seared ahi tuna tostada, which was a perfect snack after a day of exploring Tulum.”

“Dine on delicious and authentic Mexican food just across the road from the beach at El Tábano, where the jalapeño stuffed with banana and shredded chicken is a revelation. It was easily one of the most interesting bites I had on the trip, and they also serve classic Mexican dishes like chicken in molé sauce, albondigas soup, and spicy shrimp with nopales.”

This juice bar is next door to Yoga Shala and offers fresh-pressed juices, quinoa salads, fresh sandwiches, and smoothies. It’s a nice respite from some of the fancier (and pricier) dining spots in Tulum and is ideal if you’re looking to detox or simply change up the copious amount of tortilla chips you’ve been eating.”

“Over in Tulum town, called ‘pueblo,’ you’ll find this hidden foodie gem, run solely by chef Claudia in a small space that looks like an eclectic home. Her chile en nogada is a poblano chile stuffed with beef, pineapple, and raisins and topped with a blended cashew sauce spiked with coriander. It is worth the adventure across the jungle to delve into her amazing home cooking—and to support a local restaurateur.”

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This is a new addition to the very stylish shopping strip in Tulum. Think linen wrap dresses, leather sandals, Panama hats, and sarongs, all in a neutral palette that you can transition easily into your wardrobe at home and not just as chic beach attire.”

This wins the prize for the most adorable setup, with its pop-up-in-casita feel. Clotheslines hang with beautiful skirts and linen shorts, and homewares—such as embroidered pillowcases with beautiful quotes in Spanish—are plentiful. It’s a great place to shop for gifts for friends, or a couple little additions to your personal wardrobe.”

“Even if you don’t find yourself staying at Coqui Coqui, definitely make a trip to the hotel’s boutique, which houses the brand’s incredible home fragrances and candles as well as a bespoke collection of très-chic frocks, hats, and jewelry. The taste level is very high here—after all, it’s owned by a former model.”

Which spot are you dying to visit first? Share in the comments below.

This post was originally published in December 2015 and has since been updated.