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Paradise has a huge price. In the early 90s, Tulum was a sleepy pueblo on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, a day trip from a hotel in Playa del Carmen or Cancun to see the ruins and walk around downtown. But by the end of the 20th century, Tulum was well on its way to becoming a global destination, first for hippies seeking yoga and meditation, then for celebrities, and then for developers. International investors, hoteliers, restaurant groups from Mexico City and chefs from all over the world flocked there and ultimately created an expensive tropical playground by the sea.
These days, you can throw a rock out of your hotel and head to a trendy alfresco restaurant on decomposed granite with a wood-burning stove that cooks local, eaten ingredients – exactly the kind of restaurant you would expect from a place with Tulum’s reputation. But in recent years, new chefs from across Mexico (often recruited from restaurant groups in Mexico City) have increased competition and brought other regional cuisines and specialties to the city. And there are even some affordable old Tulum stalwarts who survived the region’s economic development.
Even so, eating out in Tulum is mostly expensive. If you’re spending more than $ 300 on dinner and drinks for two, make sure your meal is well worth it. The best restaurants offer all of the magic, romance, and aesthetics that the trendy beach destination promises. They serve dishes shaped by the local flora and fauna and cook using techniques inherited from the Maya. These often include recaudos (colorful herbal marinades), especially grilled squid in a recaudo negro, a dish made iconic by the Arca of chef Jose Luis Hinostroza.
Here are the best places to find outdoor grills, street food, Mexican and Yucatan, and even a little bit of old Tulum.
Price per person without alcohol:
$ = Less than 200 pesos (less than $ 10)
$$ = 200-400 pesos ($ 10 to $ 20)
$$$ = 400 – 800 pesos (USD $ 20 to USD $ 40)
$$$$ = More than 800 pesos (more than USD $ 40)