When in Tulum

Tulum. Chances are you’ve seen this place pop up on your newsfeeds lately, and I’m here to confirm it is definitely as wonderful as it’s made out to be on the ‘gram.

Tulum beach is a long strip of soft, bright white sand that runs down the coast of Mexico on the impossibly bright blue waters you’ve probably scrolled past on your social feeds countless times already this year.
Just about every spare foot of Tulum’s beach has been claimed as a boho hotel, unique vegan restaurant, health food café, or eclectic store. The aesthetic of Tulum’s hotels and restaurants all seems to be an agreed upon beach-boho meets minimal Mayan meets you-def-already-pinned-this-on-Pinterest. You really won’t find many places that fall out of those categories in this pocket of the Riviera Maya.

Tulum is mainly known for it’s healthy food, happy vibes, and yoga-loving atmosphere. For the majority of the year, Tulum is all yoga classes and sound baths and basking in the sun… all in the most picturesque place imaginable.
However, there are a few weekends of the year where a little more nightlife inhibits Tulum. To be specific, in this case the two-week span of January 5th – 14th.
Although it was not my first time to Tulum, I’d never quite experienced it like this before. We’re talking something similar to the Burning Man crowd, but the Tulum-edition (a liiittle more my “scene”). DJs like Solomun, Damian Lazarus, and Santori orchestrating jungle or beach crowds all covered in body paint and jewels, dancing well into the next day, usually followed by an after party around say, 3 or 4pm. Quite an experience.
We too saw the sunrise a couple times on this trip and not because we were up early for a yoga class or meditation.


Strangely enough, the two worlds (wellness and party) didn’t seem to clash as much as you might think. I’m sure everyone who was trying to get an early night while deep house beats were dropping non-stop throughout the night would have a differing opinion, but in my experience the energy of the music and the people enjoying it almost felt as special as Tulum’s other beautiful practices and way of healing and restoring humans, however sleep deprived they may be.

Not that I can maintain such sleeping patterns for more than a weekend, I must say that having a great group of friends with us and getting a taste of this small window of time in Tulum where crowds of people come together to dance and celebrate being alive was an unforgettable experience.
I also have those crowds to thank for filling up just about every last hotel in Tulum, making my spontaneous decision to meet Zack in Mexico extra difficult (Zack had been on a family trip in Cancun for a week prior and decided to stick around and head to Tulum with me).

Just when it looked like we were going to be sleeping under the stars, I came across an absolute gem of a hotel that may just be one of the best new hotels in Tulum. La Valise, a brand new boutique hotel situated in the heart of the action, just newly opened and therefore not (yet) at full capacity. This place was a dream.

Somehow both in the jungle and on the beach, this place has been beautifully transformed from what was once a beachfront mansion into an incredibly characteristic modern tree-house bungalow style hotel with 9 rooms.
Each room has it’s own character with charming details and beautiful quirky beach décor but all the amenities of a 5 star hotel.
We spent our first few nights in one of the a-frame style rooms upstairs that boasted a breathtaking view of the beach (“upper level beachfront suite on their site).

Upon extending our stay for another couple nights we moved to one of the sand-level jungle rooms (“jungle bungalows”) and it was just as wonderful. See for yourself, I took an unnecessary amount of photos of both the rooms mostly because I couldn’t help myself… this place doesn’t have a single corner that isn’t photogenic.

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And a quick but important shout out to La Valise’s food. If you come here, you must try the mushroom tacos, fish tacos, and the ceviche (and margaritas are obviously mandatory).

I could have easily taken up residence at this place, but that wasn’t really an option so instead we’re already thinking of excuses to come back, especially as all of La Valise’s staff are now good friends. Huge thank you to La Valise for having us during Tulum’s busiest, loudest weekend. We had the best balance of party and wellness I think I’ve ever seen co-exist, and I can’t wait to be back.

  1. nononemeth

    17 May

    great post, amazing pictures 😍😍😍 i can’t wait to go to Tulum in October

  2. annasophievg

    31 March

    You and your boyfriend are so cute and Tulum looks amazing!!

  3. Natalee G

    26 February

    You and your boyfriend take amazing photos
    I was wondering what camera equipment you guys use

  4. Arley

    16 February

    Me and my husband booked La Valise in January for a stay this March, your photographs offered the perfect glimpse and I am so excited to go! We’ve been to Tulum once before, but I know the scene changes regularly. Any particular restaurant recs for nearby the hotel? Thank you!

  5. Mile High Dreamers

    16 February

    We’ve been struggling to pick a spot to head for a little sun and sand… Tulum is definitely on the options list now! I love that you got a little downward dog AND dancing in. You can’t beat a balance like that! And I’m loving the treehouse vibes at the hotel. Looks like a perfect getaway! Glad you guys had fun!

  6. Martin Ellard

    14 February

    What a stunning place, A perfect honeymoon destination too. As a photographer i really appreciate your attention to detail and the quality of your travel photography.

  7. Paige

    13 February

    Helen! That backpack in a few of the photos is so cute! Who makes it?

    Love the blog :)

  8. Erik Høgsveen

    13 February

    Hello, Helen! You’re SO amazing ! My girlfriend have ONE dream. She bought the iPhone X (same as you) and she talks all the time about have it same on the inside aswell.

    Can you please upload pictures to me how you have organized your iPhone? (All of your sides) Or please send it to me @ email. So i can suprise my girlfriend, your fan. She would have love that so much!!!

    I hope you read this and can use to seconds and so this for me 🤞🏼❤️ Will mean the world.

    Love from Norway.

  9. Kristina

    13 February

    Tulum is my favorite vacation yet! Can’t wait to go back!

  10. Helen Oh

    13 February

    Hi Helen! Amazing photos. We are in the early stages of planning a trip to Tulum in June so I appreciate the hotel inspo! What camera/lens do you and Zack use for your stunning photos? I’m such a fan of you & all of your travels! xx

  11. Kate

    13 February

    Hi my name is Kate Mawhinney! I am 16 and the CEO of my non profit organization for underprivileged kids and rape victims in Mexico. I would love if we could talk and see how you could get involved with the amazing platform that you have!

  12. Lauren Sandy

    13 February

    Sounds sooo fun! I can’t wait to go!

  13. I LOVE Tulum! You’ve made me want to go back! Thanks for sharing 😁

    • Helen Owen

      13 February

      I love it too! I’ve already been twice this year and it’s only February… so happy I reminded you how much you love it too! x

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