Arrival / Day #1
The trip from Cancun International Airport to Tulum is just about 90-minutes by car. You are on the main freeway (Highway 307) for most of the ride, so the drive is quite easy.
After roughly an hour and a half on the road, you will enter the small village of Tulum and will come to an intersection with four stoplights. You will notice a supermarket named San Francisco de Asís on your right, but you will want to make a left. After that, follow the road until you come to a roundabout. A minute after you veer left off the roundabout, you will come to Mi Amor. The hotel is on the right-hand side.
There is street parking before and after the entrance. We found a nice spot right past the hotel. We parked, grabbed our luggage and headed into the lobby.
Once you get to the top of the stairs, you will be able to see how stunning this venue really is. The beautiful pool, bar, dining area and ocean are all visible from the entrance. It's just gorgeous. We learned that most of the decor and artwork is produced locally by the talented artists of Tulum.
Simon was at the reception desk with a huge smile to greet us. He quickly took our luggage off our hands and offered us some cold towels to cool off. He also served us a delicious prosecco welcome drink!
We then received a quick little tour of the grounds to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the property and to learn about all the amenities on offer. The pool and pool bar are located right off the reception area.
As you make your way past the bar, you will find the dining area and, directly behind that, a lounge area with cozy furniture. Here you can sit in a chaise lounge under the shade of an umbrella and relax while you enjoy the crashing ocean waves.
If you look out to the right in the photo above, you will notice a wooden deck platform.
This platform is where you can do yoga on your own or attend a class. You can let the reception know if you are interested in this and they will arrange it for you. You can also choose to have a private romantic dinner for two right on this platform. The property also has several secluded areas located along the water furnished with chaise lounge chairs. These are great for getting away from everyone to get a tan, read a good book, take a nap or just take it all in and listen to the ocean.
Although Mi Amor doesn’t have a sand beach, there are beaches nearby. These are within walking distance, or they can be reached after a really short bike ride, or a few seconds in a taxi or car. For us, it was actually quite nice not having a beach directly in front of our hotel. This layout meant that no one was walking in front of us as we gazed out at the sea.
It almost gives you that “island feel,” where it seems as if you are 100% secluded from any other hotel in Tulum. The other bonus is that the waves crash much closer to the rooms, so you can really hear the sound. This was something that I really enjoyed.
On the left side was their spa, which we peeked our heads into during our initial tour of the hotel.
The spa was lovely. As we looked in, they were preparing a special bath from one of the guests. It looked incredible and smelled great too. There were flowers and herbs everywhere.
We continued our tour by following the wooden path down to the ocean. This was where our spectacular room was located.
Our deck was awesome. It included a jacuzzi, patio furniture and a cool hip-swinging chair. All of the furnishings overlooked the ocean.
Our room was very nicely decorated.
When I opened the curtains, the entire room opened up to the ocean with panoramic views.
Each room at Mi Amor has a mini bar stocked with all the goods you might desire during your stay. They also have a nespresso machine, which they stock the espresso capsules daily.
The bathroom and shower areas are nice. They are open and beautifully designed.
One quick side note about something that I think is important to let people know about:
We did notice a sign in the bathroom that told us to "throw all items in the trash bin located next to the toilet.” This included toilet paper and all feminine products. Yes, you read that correctly: "all toilet paper." I had vaguely remembered reading something prior to our visit about how the plumbing system in Tulum is not up to modern standards.
I figured this most likely applied to certain hotels and wouldn’t be an issue at any of the hotels we were going to be visiting. I have to admit; this was a little shocking. We were staying in a five-star luxury boutique hotel and to be asked to put your paper waste in the trash bin and not the toilet itself was a little off-putting to say the least. We have traveled all around the world: Africa, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, South America.... but this was the first time we had experienced treating our bathroom like an outhouse.
I know this isn’t the most appealing topic, but I think people should know what to fully expect prior to their stay in Tulum. All hotels have the same "bathroom policy" in Tulum. Now you have been properly warned!
And now for a more pleasant topic:
After our tour, we unpacked and enjoyed our room until it was time to get our free cocktails and appetizers in the wading pool with the managers, Remo and Jacqueline.
Every Saturday, the hotel has a "meet and greet" with the managers in the wading pool. There is a fun rule that you have to follow during this event: you only get served your drink when you are actually wading in the pool. This is a great idea, and it’s a terrific way to meet other guests in a causal relaxing environment.
After the wading pool event, we went back to our room to get ready for dinner. We noticed a flyer in our room that mentioned that there was going to be live music tonight. Because of this, we thought we would just stay at Mi Amor for dinner.
We had already heard lots of good things about the in-house restaurant, Unico, so we were excited to give it a try.
As we started walking over to the restaurant from our room, we could already hear the fantastic jazz music. The restaurant wasn’t full so we were able to pick our seats. I noticed they had an IPA on the menu, which I knew I had to try.
For our starter, we ordered the house salad. It consisted of mixed greens, grilled shrimp marinated in chili and lime, pickled carrots, cherry tomatoes and a fresh basil vinaigrette. It was delicious!
For our next dish, we tried their grilled Caribbean octopus, which was served with an onion soubise, charred potatoes, and a jalapeno and mint gremolata. The octopus was very tender and so flavorful.
The next dish we wanted to try was tuna tostados, which were served with carrots and a toasted chili mayonnaise.
And for our main dish, we wanted to try the salt-baked fish. This was served with vegetables, baby potatoes and a duo of sauces. This dish packed flavorful, and the fish was so tender.
After our meal, we continued to enjoy the lovely music until their last song. The jazz singer, Theresa, and her guitarist, Paco, were spectacular. Theresa had an incredible voice, and the whole concert was definitely an unexpected treat that we very much enjoyed.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no beach at Mi Amor, so the waves crash a lot closer and result in a much louder sound. I found the sound of the waves very therapeutic. I went right to sleep and didn’t wake up until the sun made an appearance. We live in San Diego, and frequent a lot of hotels on the coast, but the sound of the ocean at Mi Amor was by far the best we have experienced to date!
We got up around 7am, brewed some nespressos with the machine in our room and enjoyed them out on our gorgeous patio.
This was great time to get some work done since the Wi-Fi connection was superb. Once we connected to the network, it worked like a charm throughout the property.
After our relaxing morning and espresso shots, it was time to get our cardio workout in and then head over to Unico for some breakfast. Our workouts in hotels where there is no gym or beach to run on consist of workout videos on our computer (i.e. P90x). Our Mi Amor workout was actually really awesome. It was like having a mobile gym with a fantastic view of the ocean.
After our cardio session, it was time for some breakfast.
We both ordered their egg white scramble with pico de gallo and fresh fruit. They also brought us some bacon and sausage, which would have probably been very tasty, but we don’t eat meat. We also noticed a bunch of fresh juices on their menu and decided to give their “cleansation” juice a try. It consisted of beetroot, apple, hibiscus, Mayan spinach, ginger and apple cider vinegar. It actually tasted great.
For the rest of the morning, we wanted to go explore the Tulum ruins and then visit the town. We wanted to get there on beach cruisers, so we made our way to the front desk to ask Simon what we needed to do to take the bikes out.
We learned that we needed to rent the bikes. I believe it was something like $13 US per day per bike through a 3rd party rental company. This is fine, but I do think it would be a nice touch to include complimentary bikes for the hotel guests. The reason that they don’t offer the bikes to the guests free of charge is that they do not want to assume the liability.
Having a bike is an absolute must no matter where you are staying in Tulum. Every place you would want to go is just a quick bike ride away and riding is so much better than walking. Tulum days are often 95+ degrees and humid, so the breeze you receive on the bike as you head from one destination to the next is quite refreshing. It would have been nice to have complimentary use of a bike, but having to pay a bit extra was not a big deal.
After we took care of the bike rental, we were ready to go exploring and check out the ruins. The great thing about Mi Amor’s location is that they are literally a quick five-minute bike ride down the road from the ruins. So we got on our bikes and headed down the road until we got to an entrance with police officers in front.
There are signs that say "no bikes beyond this point." The police officers, however, signaled to us that it was not a problem for us to take them in. That was a good thing because the main entrance for the ruins was actually a ways up the road from that initial blockade. The tickets were very inexpensive, about $4 US per adult. We locked our bikes up at one of the bike racks, got our tickets and went into the ruins.
It was an extremely hot and humid day (95+ degrees), so the walk was definitely a workout. Once we make it around to the beach side of the ruins, it was picturesque with the water, beach and waves crashing into the shore. It is also much cooler here because of the ocean breezes. We hung out by the water for a good while to cool down.
After about 90 minutes, we had made our way around the entire Tulum ruins, and we were completely drenched with sweat and ready to jump into a pool or the ocean. We got back to the hotel and decided to take a quick dip in the pool to cool off. It was so refreshing.
Once we got cooled down, we were ready for another sightseeing ride.
We got on our bikes and rode down to the main road leading into town. There was a nice bike trail on the left hand side. This was great because we were not riding next to any vehicles. As I mentioned previously, the bike ride to town was very quick. Once we got to the inland section of town, we saw that almost everything was on one street, with a few restaurants and stores tucked away on the small side streets.
You will find lots of convenience stores, restaurants, bars, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores to purchase gifts and souvenirs.
We not only wanted to explore the village, we also wanted to get something to eat. We were told by several locals about a must-visit restaurant called El Camello’s.
When we visit different countries, we like to eat the authentic local food at hole-in-the-wall places that are not the typical touristy venues. We seek out the real deal: those places that the locals go a day off. Apparently, El Camello’s was once such place.
We were told the restaurant was on the main street on the left-hand-side so we didn’t bother writing an address down. We just assumed we would see it since there was just one main street. It was on the main street, but it was very far down. We were just about to turn around as it felt like we were entering an industrial area of town and leaving the restaurant area behind. Right before we were going to call it quits, we saw El Camello’s. It was absolutely bustling with people inside and outside.
We locked up our bikes outside on their bike rack and headed to the front to get a table. The place was filled with locals. There wasn’t a hostess or anyone out front, and I had watched another couple snag a table right after a group had finished and gotten up to leave. I presumed this was the tactic to get a table. We immediately noticed another group about to leave and swooped right in after them to snag the table. We later confirmed that this was normal practice. Good thing we didn’t just wait in the front to be seated, as we would have probably been standing there was quite some time.
Once we sat down, we were immediately greeted by our server who asked us what we wanted to drink. Our choice: a few refreshing margaritas with no sugar/salt.
When we took a look at the menu, everything was extremely inexpensive when compared to all the prices on the oceanfront side of town. It was three or four times cheaper here.
So keep in mind that making the trek into town will save you a lot of money on your meals (and I mean a lot). While we were waiting for our drinks, we took a look at other orders being delivered, and we kept seeing massive plates of food. It appeared like ceviche was the popular dish. We ordered a small pulpo and a medium fish ceviche. They also brought their complimentary fresh salsas and chips too. This turned out to be a ton of food (and we only ordered two things, one small and one medium).
We could barely finish and knew we wanted to come back at some point during our stay to try out other items on the menu. We just didn’t have any more room in our stomachs at that time.
On our way home, we stopped off at one of the main supermarkets, which was on the left hand side of the road about half way in-between the ocean and the town as you make you way back to Mi Amor. We grabbed some waters and a few snacks to have on hand in our room. This supermarket is huge and sells just about anything and everything. It was actually very similar to a Costco experience.
When we got back to Mi Amor, it was definitely time to relax back at our room. With the heat and humidity, it felt as if we were biking around in a sauna all day long. It felt incredible to be back in our room with our feet up watching and hearing the waves crash into the shore.
For the remainder of the afternoon that pretty much what we did.
For dinner, we knew we wanted to drive to the beach side of town and try out one of the restaurants. The USA vs. Japan World Cup soccer game was playing, and I wanted to watch that first before dinner. Several locals mentioned that Mateo’s was the go-to place for any sports, so that’s where we headed to watch the game and enjoy some happy hour beverages before dinner.
Mateo’s is a lively joint, and one you cannot miss as you enter the village. It is located on the right-hand side of the main street, and they have a parking lot just behind the restaurant. We parked and headed in. Good thing we got there a little early as the bar area where the TVs were located were filling up fast. We snagged the last two seats at the bar.
During the game, we sat next to a very nice gal, Fran, who has been frequenting Tulum for over 15 years. She told us about one of her favorite places to eat, Zamas, and asked if we wanted to join her for dinner. We took her up on her offer. It was rather convenient because Zamas is kitty corner very near Mateo’s.
Fran knew several of the staff, and they guided us out to a terrific seat over looking the water.
We had a great evening discussing all the local hot spots and top things to do in Tulum (as well as those that were overrated or overhyped).
For dinner, I noticed that they had grilled fish tacos with jicama tacos. This was something that I had to try.
Jamie ordered the grilled fish of the day with black beans and slaw.
I also ordered some ceviche to share with the table. I just couldn't get enough of the fresh ceviche in Tulum. Every chance I got, I had to order it.
When we got back to Mi Amor after dinner, we decided to enjoy a nightcap at their very hip bar.
It was definitely a cool bar and the perfect setting to enjoy a cocktail or two.
We got up a little earlier (6:30am) because we had plans to meet up with Jeff, the owner of Adventure Tour Center Tulum, at around 9:00am to explore the Coba Ruins and check out one of the cenotes. We brewed some coffee to enjoy on our patio and then followed that up with our in-room "cardio session with a view." We noticed that the Adventure Tour Center’s office was right next door to Mateo’s, the restaurant we went to the night before for the game. They also had a juice bar, so we planned to have a fresh juice of some sort for our breakfast before our tour.
You can hear all about our day with Jeff of Adventure Tour Center Tulum here.
After our fantastic tour, Jeff dropped us off at our car in the Mateo’s parking lot, and we decided to drive through town so that we could see how far down our next hotel, La Zebra, was in relation to Mi Amor. There were so many cool restaurants and shops along the way. It seems like we would need to stay here for over a month to tackle them all. I would gladly sign up for that mission.
After our quick drive down the main beach road of Tulum, we headed back to Mi Amor to relax before dinner. We also needed to do some work, so we located a few chaise lounge chairs out on one of the points and set up shop for the remainder of the afternoon.
There are absolutely zero distractions, other than the crashing waves.
For dinner, we had been told about this place called Posada Margherita, which is an Italian restaurant located on the beach side of the main road. We were quite excited to give it a try because this restaurant kept coming up in our conversations with the locals and also online. After our afternoon work session, we got ready for dinner and headed five minutes down the road to Posada Margherita.
Posada Margherita has wonderful decor that you can appreciate as you walk through the front of the restaurant to the hostess stand.
We were quickly seated and the owner came over to review the menu with us (in his charming Italian accent). This was a nice touch. The menu was quite small. It consisted of about four homemade pasta dishes, two seafood entrées, and a salad or two. Our waiter came over and asked to take our order. We asked for a wine recommendation and told our waiter that we had narrowed down the entre choices to the shrimp pasta or the mushroom pasta and then the fish with mushrooms or the fish with lemon and garlic. He recommended that we go with the mushroom pasta and the fish with lemon and garlic. We also ordered the caprese salad. After that, we never saw our waiter again. The food runners delivered our first course, which was not salad, but an appetizer sampler with assorted bread, cauliflower and some cheese. It was just fine, but it was just not what we thought we ordered, and our waiter never came back for us to ask him if this was correct.
The rest of our food came with our wine. (We never got our water).
The food was okay, but not amazing like we were expecting. It was also a tad overpriced in my opinion. The mushroom pasta dish converted to something like $22 US and the fish dish was around $27 US. Also, keep in mind that most restaurants here only accept cash, so your credit cards and other payment options won’t work. The restaurant itself was beautiful. I absolutely loved the décor, but the food and service were lacking. It was not a terrible experience by any means, just not what I had envisioned.
After dinner, we were actually still kind of hungry. Okay, I was pretty darn hungry still. We ended up stopping off at hole-in-the-wall place across the street from Mateo’s. The hostess asked if we wanted an ocean view and took us all the way out to the beach to a fantastic table looking out over the water. We ordered a few grilled pulpo tacos and a pulpo ceviche. Both dishes were great and just what our stomachs were craving.
Morning / Day #4
We got up around 7am, brewed a few nespressos and enjoyed them out on our beautiful patio for our last morning at Mi Amor.
We followed that caffeine blast with a quick cardio workout to get our blood completely flowing for the day. After that, it was unfortunately time to pack up and check out. The good news was that we were only going a short distance down the way to Mi Amor's sister property, La Zebra.
Mi Amor is a great place for getting away and relaxing in paradise. The fact that it doesn’t have a beach directly out front is a positive in my book. The waves are louder, and you don't have to deal with passers-by on the beach. Like I mentioned earlier, the feeling you get once you enter Mi Amor is that "secluded island feel."
The minute you make it to the top of the steps you see the beautiful lobby, the gorgeous pool, the restaurant/bar and of course, the ocean in the background.
This is a hotel where you could literally unpack and not need to leave at all. You have everything you could possibly need: a full restaurant, a bar, pool, the ocean, a spa and plenty of places to spread out and relax throughout the property.
Another aspect that is really nice about this venue is its location. This is definitely the quieter side of the strip and is also just a short bike ride to the Tulum Ruins as well as to the inland side of the village.
Mi Amor is part of the Colibri Hotel Collection. They have three other sister properties in Tulum: Mezzanine, El Pez and La Zebra. Having the opportunity to stay within a "family" of properties was wonderful, and something I would highly recommend to anybody considering Tulum. The Mi Amor and La Zebra combination was terrific. It allowed us to experience both ends of the strip with two completely different venue styles (but with the same level of exceptional customer service).
We are looking forward to experiencing the other Colibri properties on our next visit to Tulum: Mezzanine and El Pez. There is a 5th property in the collection called Yamaya. It is located in Nicaragua.
Until next time Tulum and Mi Amor…see you soon!