Drew…Reese…Cameron…Alessandra. If you’ve followed any celebs or models on Instagram in the past five years, chances are you’ve seen at least one of them post a glamour shot from the white-sandy beaches of Tulum, Mexico.
So where exactly is this superstar paradise—and why does everyone from Hollywood seemingly want to be there?
Located about an hour and a half south of Cancun by car (rental car, shuttles, and taxis all go there from Cancun airport), this “eco-chic” destination located along the narrow strip between the Mayan Jungle and the Caribbean Sea was once mostly populated by backpackers and adventure travelers. In fact, many of the thatched-roof lodges along the sands didn’t even have electricity.
Now it’s a luxurious locale that draws A-listers for it’s laid back yet high-fashion vibe. The destination also prides itself on being committed to sustainability, making it a popular spot for celebs (like Leonardo DiCaprio) who are actively eco-conscious. Most people ride bikes around, the bars and restaurants are often open-air and lit by candles or low-energy lights.
But don’t let its low-key vibe fool you. Some hotels can go for up to $4,000 a night, and one of its most popular draws, Amansala Resort‘s Bikini Boot Camp, can cost up to $4,000 per person for the week. (But don’t worry, there are plenty of affordable options when it comes to visiting the area.)
Below, a look at where the stars stay and play while in town.
Stars like Paris Hilton have stayed at Habitas, which are luxury tented rooms right on the oceanfront that take the term “glamping” to a whole new level. Celebs like Kristen Cavallari have also been spotted at Azulik, which is sort of like a modern day Swiss Family Robinson treehouse where the adults-only, thatched-roof lodges start at roughly $800 a night. Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon have all done yoga retreats at Amansala Resort & Spa, where rooms start at $375 per person a night.
Make sure to try and snag a reservation at Hartwood, where the menu changes daily and everything is cooked over an open flame. (Entrees priced from $15-$30.) Then stop for an after-dinner drink at Casa Jaguar, where the mixologist will whip up a cocktail for you based on your “energy.” ($11 average.)
The name of the game in Tulum is mostly “nap on the beach,” or frolic in the waves, but it’s also a huge yoga destination with gurus flying in from around the world to teach classes and retreats. Amansala’s Bikini Boot Camp is one of the most popular—it’s a mix of exercise classes, yoga, and spa treatment and draws in celebs like Drew Barrymore, who has called Tulum her favorite place to visit.
Explore For Less!
Don’t miss the nearby Tulum ruins ($3) of a former Mayan port city. Check out the public beach Playa Paraiso to the north, which is free to the public. Here, the lodges are a little less luxe but still incredibly chic. Stock up on fresh fruit, tequila, wine and warm, freshly made corn tortillas at the nearby supermarket, Chedraui.