Let’s talk where to eat in Tulum! During our week here, we managed to try a range of spots from a fruit stand to a fancy restaurant, so I thought I’d write about each of them to help you decide!

Naturally, one of the things I was most excited about in coming to Mexico for the first time was all the food. I love Mexican cuisine and when I lived in HCMC, I had quite a few taco places I ordered from regularly. (Agave in particular was a favorite.)

Anyway, we ate out every single meal since our hotel didn’t serve breakfast, so here’s each and every spot we tried below!

Quick Tulum Travel Tips

  • Getting in: Chances are you’re flying into Cancun Airport (CUN). I would recommend a private or shared transfer to make your life easier. For public transport, check ADO’s time schedule.
  • Where to Stay: I recommend avoiding the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) and sticking to Tulum Centro (aka Town or Pueblo). This is the list I made when we were deciding, and we wound up at Layla Tulum.
  • Stay in Touch: US plans work in Mexico but are incredibly slow – at least mine was!
  • Getting Around: We walked and biked the whole time we were there. Taxis are crazy expensive and ATVs do NOT belong on any of those roads.
  • Money Matters: Take out at least $100 USD worth of pesos because restaurants are pretty mixed in if they accept credit card or not.
  • Packing & Style Tips: Summer in Tulum is absurdly humid – like worse than monsoon season in HCMC. Most places will not have any sort of A/C and barely have decent air flow from fans, so dress in the looses closes imaginable.
  • Safety Advice: We felt safe over all but obviously weren’t partying or going out late at night. Just keep your wits about you a little more than normal.

Where to Eat in Tulum

Food Stands $

  • Card-friendly? No
  • Need a reservation? No
  • Location: Everywhere

When you walk around Tulum Pueblo, you’ll notice plenty of little fruit and food stands about. I immediately stopped at one to get this mango and lychee concoction and it was both delicious and perfectly refreshing for the insane humidity we were dealing with. Plus Samuel, the owner was very friendly and nice enough to let me practice my rusty Spanish with him. If you happen to see him, show this photo and tell him I say hello!

ARCA $$$$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Zonera Hotelera

During my research on where to eat in Tulum, it felt like every blog, Reddit, Quora, and Pinterest post recommended ARCA Tulum. It’s a fine dining restaurant deep in Zonera Hotelera and was by far our most expensive meal ($170 USD total). While the food is actually some of the most flavorful I’ve had in my life, the portions are practically microscopic (even by fine dining standards) for what they cost.

Plus, I found our waiter to be pretty haughty, and he was judging us hard for only ordering four dishes. It was especially rich when he gave us our a bill and basically asked for a 20% tip.

On top of that, if you stay in Tulum Pueblo like we did, the journey into Zonera Hotelera is not worth it. If you take a taxi, it’ll be like $45 one way and if you bike it’ll take nearly an hour on one of the crummiest dirt roads I’ve ever had the displeasure of biking over. Plus there’s no parking (they rely on sharing parking with some other place). We literally tied our bikes up in a random spot a few feet down the road.

If you’re rich and are staying nearby, by all means, go ahead and splurge on a meal but don’t feel like you have to go out of your way for tiny portions.

Del Cielo $$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Tulum Centro

We popped over to Del Cielo for some brunch towards the end of our trip. It’s got a ton of healthy, organic dishes and we wound up ordering chilaquiles. (Not sure those are particularly healthy or organic, but they’re freakin’ good!)

La Brasa $$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Tulum Centro

La Brasa is another spot that was right by our hotel. We accidentally wound up there for breakfast before we left Tulum since our first pick didn’t take credit cards and we didn’t feel like trying to find an ATM to take out more cash.

It’s a nice little spot, and I’d actually recommend coming for dinner. Breakfast is good but it looks more vibey in the evening. Alyshia got chilaquiles again and I opted for a heartier breakfast plate – both excellent decisions.

La Negra Tomasa $$$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Tulum Centro

On our very first night we went over to La Negra Tomasa pretty much because of its proximity to our hotel and decent reviews on Google Maps. They specialize in Sinaloan seafood, and I remember all of it being quite tasty – especially the ceviche! The restaurant has a cute vibe too.

Matcha Mama $$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Tulum Centro

I have a feeling Matcha Mama has featured on every Instagrammer’s feed – mine included! The colorful, tropical decor is super photogenic and it’s just a cheerful spot for breakfast. Everything is plant-based and gluten- free, and the smoothie bowls are as perfect as you’d imagine. I also really liked whatever coffee I got there.

Papaya Playa Project $$$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Zonera Hotelera

I wanted to check out at least one beach club while we were in Tulum, and we winded up at Papaya Playa Project both for its cost and proximity to Tulum Pueblo. Papaya like most beach clubs have a service minimum to spend the day there. I can’t quite remember but it’s obviously a little pricier than just going to a restaurant in town! The food was pretty good though and I remember everyone being friendly.

Restaurante Estrada $$

  • Card-friendly? Yes
  • Need a reservation? Yes
  • Location: Tulum Centro

Come to Restaurante Estrada for live music and sea food! This was another one we went to simply because it was close to our hotel. The portions are generous, the seafood fresh, and the vibes fun – what else could you want?

Taqueria Anojitos “La Chiapaneca” $

  • Card-friendly? No
  • Need a reservation? No
  • Location: Tulum Centro

La Chiapaneca is like THE taco place you have to visit when you come to Tulum. We actually went back even though it was slightly out of the way just because the tacos were so good. Of everything on this list, it reminded me the most of all the street spots Alyshia and I would meet for dinner in Sagion. If your thighs aren’t sweating where skin meets seat, is the food really all that good?

Taqueria Honorario $$

  • Card-friendly? No
  • Need a reservation? No
  • Location: Tulum Centro

Taqueria Honorario is another really good taco place. From memory I’d say it’s on par with La Chiapaneca and it has the added benefit of having flan for dessert!

And there you have it – a little guide on where to eat in Tulum based on where we went! Any to add? Let me know below!

For more foodie guides, read these next:

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