We have shot many weddings in Tulum over the years ( see links below ) and I recently partnered with a few NYC / Tulum vendors ( Tulum-based Kerry Beach Events, Schone Bride, SB Beauty, and Archive Mexico ) to create a few inspiration shoots to see what the vibe is like for weddings at some new locations. ( vendor collaborations links are at the bottom of this post )
Here is a list of some of my personal recommendations based on experience as a vendor for getting married at in Tulum, along with some favorite places to eat, stay, and hang along the way.
Sanara Tulum - Clean and modern architecture, but still soft. The rooms very comfortable, they have great cabana beds, and hands down the tastiest, freshest vegetarian menu I’ve seen in a while. I could eat there forever. We did a styled shoot here to feature the rooftop locations and I just loved all of the different perspectives that I could get as a photographer. It was one of my favorite spots for photos for sure. See our styled shoot here.
Casa Malca - The history is rich. It used to be Pablo Escobar’s home so…. yeah. Malca is pretty secluded and filled with rich textures, great art and lots of options for photos. It is a big place so you could definitely have a large wedding here with lots of rooms to stay in. We photographed Pao + Nics wedding here.
Ahau Tulum - This place is Wow. My first love. Huge cathedral-like palapas all over. Super chill, yoga- centric, great food, loads of hammocks. It can be a bit hipster due to the price range of rooms but don’t hate on trendy travelers, cause everyone deserves Tulum. :) At Ahau, ou can go all fancy pants and get a big beachfront palapa or you can bunk up in a cozy tree house with a nice bed and share a community bathroom. If you wander around you’ll find a massive 2 or 3 story staircase that takes you to a nice big wood planked porch to get 360 views of Tulum. They also have a proper sweat lodge room if you really want to get spiritual.
Casa Violeta - Intimate and quaint. It's tucked away and quiet. Great food, sweet staff and they showed us a lovely little circular outdoor space they use for weddings. We were there in Aug and they did not have a/c, so it's def a winter place to go! Maybe they have updated this feature.. not sure! Either way, Id def go back for some quiet time. See our styled shoot here.
Papaya Playa Project - We shot Brittany + Jason’s wedding here last Feb. They rented the Casa Palapa, which is great for big weddings and it is definitely a personal favorite of mine aesthetically to shoot at. The beautiful, massive Palapa faces the ocean for ceremonies and has a seamless flow for moving into a beachy cocktail hour and another beautiful, open but covered space for the reception. The house itself is gigantic and perfect for secluded dance parties. It also has a really great rooftop patio with a swimming pool on top with a clear bottom so you can actually see down into the master bedroom. Insane!! However, when we were there in early 2016, the pool was sadly empty of water, so that was a bummer for the couple. So definitely check to make sure that everything is up and running for you. The house itself is about a 5 min beach walk away from the main PPP property which is great for full privacy.
Private Casa on the Beach - See Kerry + Max’s real wedding here and contact me for an intro to Kerry get access to this property because it's not online! Large, private homes on the beach in the heart of Tulum are rare. This one was very roomy, bright, breathtaking, comfortable, and was a great size for a proper house party style wedding. It also has a private fenced off front beach yard with a pool that is great for a catered welcome party or an after hours party.
Villa Pescadores - A sister property of Ahau, but way more secluded on the north end. I love the vintage fishing boats all around the beach and they have great cabana beds to lounge on. If you want a nice and quiet place, this is it. Super friendly staff and the rooms are very comfortable. You can see our styled shoot here.
Azulik - I'm not sure if they do weddings, but this is by far my favorite place to stay in Tulum!! Its quiet, romantic, and the architecture is unique and natural. It's like nothing I've seen before in Tulum. The beach is semi-private thanks to surrounding boulders, but it's nestled in the thick of Tulum "town" so you have easy access to everything else.
Tulum in the City - The actual small “city" of Tulum is not to be missed. We overlooked it the first time around because the beach seems to have everything. But know that we know, we always spend a day there. Cheap local eats off the beaten path. I really really love taking photos here because of the colors, textures, and the true Mexican vibe it has. You need to get off the main drag and take turns down the neighborhood streets where the locals live to see the real Tulum and eat some cheap tacos. I did a portrait session and a wedding day shoot in the city (scroll down a bit) and I just loved it. Take me there anytime.
Ok so before I get into sharing my other favorites, I want to say this and it's pretty important for weddings. As New Yorkers, were used quick response times, emails all day, phones always on.. you get it. In Tulum, they are not on this train. "Tulum Time" is real and it's slow. If you're planning a wedding there, you're not going to get things done the way you are used to here. If you're a go-with-the-flow-type and are able to go back and forth to check things out, then do it. But if you can't get there, for your own sanity, hire a wedding planner. Kerry Beach (yes that's her real, given name) is a true Tulum - New Yorker. She's back and forth to Tulum more than anyone I know because it's literally her second home. (She's building her house there). She is a part of the community and she knows everyone in Tulum, and how to handle "Tulum Time" vendors.
Other great hotels :
Be Tulum, Nomade, Habitas, Casa Malca, Le Zebra, Sanara, Casa Violeta, Ahau, Nest.
Taqueria La Eufemia - BES.T CHEAP BEACH TACOS + its always poppin' with great music and a fun social scene. PERIOD. GO. GO. GO.
La Zebra - I love hanging out at this hotel beach. They have a pop-up cocktail bar called The Mulberry Project on the beach and really great food. Great place to camp out for the day.
Gitano - Mescal bar with great food and nightlife scene.
Casa Jaguar - Cocktail bar with great food and nightlife scene. They have dance parties every Thursday night in the back bar.
Hartwood - Everyone talks about it but I haven’t been simply because I refuse to wait in line for NY food while in Tulum....
Shiva Tulum - Incredible. Please go!! It's Indian food but it's not heavy at all. It's light, super fresh veggies, and the place is so beautiful and spacious. It would be perfect for a welcome party or a large dinner. They also have a giant rooftop patio for private parties. The owner is just the sweetest. We always go there!
Charley’s Vegan Tacos - So damn good and so many options. Vegan but all my meat lovers swear by them and that's actually how I heard about it... from a pork lover! The last time I checked, they were stationed outside of Papaya Playa project. It's a taco truck.
Tulum City (about 15-20 min drive from the beach) :
Los Aguachiles - My favorite low-key Mexican restaurant. Get the smoked fish tostadas!! It's cheap and has a great vibe. I crave this place all the time.
Batey - Good eats, cocktails, and fresh fruit popsicles!
Celti- Like eating at Moms house. Literally. Its a cute little cozy house turned restaurant. Known for their mole. Email them for a reservation or you won't get in. Cash only.
A big thanks to these crazy talented wedding vendors, All are available in NYC and Tulum.
Kerry Beach Events on design+styling // Schone Bride on gowns // SB Beauty on Hair + Make-Up // Hushed Commotion on accessories // Archive Rentals on furniture/decor // Nuage Design on linens // Alpine Creative on stationary