A Fashion Lovers Guide to The Best Shops and Boutiques in Tulum, Mexico
A beach in Tulum | © Helmut Corneli / Alamy Stock Photo
Tulum has evolved from a sleepy beach town to a bohemian escape for the well-off and the well-known. Here’s our fashionista’s guide to shopping in Tulum.
Hand stitched table runners hang from the trees in a Tulum market © Brian Overcast / Alamy Stock Photo
Maybe it’s the ancient Mayan history, or the calming energy from the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea, but Tulum takes you in and embraces you. The following designers and boutique owners were inspired by Tulum and its tropical sun, swaying palms and boho charm. Read on to find out where the fashion-forward can find unique clothing and accessories, and what is special about each brand and each shop.
Caravana doesn’t consider itself a store, but a tent or a temple, and its patrons a tribe. So called “temples” can be found in Merida, Valladolid and Miami, while “tents” are located in Mykonos and Tulum, the brand’s flagship location. Just steps from the beach where the ancient Mayans traded goods, all Caravana’s products are handcrafted honoring traditional Mayan techniques. Their distinctive designs, from ponchos, dresses, jumpsuits and kaftans to vests, capes, tops, skirts and pants, embody Tulum’s essence. Caravana also offers leather goods, headpieces, bags, belts and hats. Just entering the tent, with its Mayan music and scent of copal in the air, feels like a ritual.
Josa is Tulum’s iconic dress shop. Think one-size-fits-all beachy, flowy dresses in all colors and lengths, that can go from day to night, beach to city. Here, NYC fashion influence (owner Joanne Salt is a New York native) effortlessly blends with beachwear. To complete the perfect boho chic outfit, Josa also sells hats, bags, scarves, jewelry and byJAMES sandals, which are handcrafted in Valladolid. In addition to the main store on the beach road, and men’s and children’s boutiques nearby, Josa now has a location in downtown Tulum.
La Troupe was founded by three Argentinean friends who left their country behind to live a paradisiacal life in Tulum. Their own fashions and designs are merged with Mexican artisan textiles to produce dresses, tunics, kimonos, pants, skirts, shorts, tops and ponchos. They only produce a limited number of each magical garment, all crafted by hand in Mexico by the indigenous Mayan community based on fair trade concepts. In addition to their Tulum location on Boca Paila beach road, La Troupe also has shops in Playa del Carmen, Valladolid and Merida.
CALO by Lulu Leonard is a concept boutique located on the beach road across the street from Gitano Beach Tulum. Their extraordinary gender-fluid pieces are perfect for an endless summer or Tulum getaway. Created in collaboration with Grupo Gitano, which owns bars and restaurants in NYC and Miami as well, makes the ideal attire for their patrons. CALO’s designs are “for the wanderer, the traveler, the seeker. It’s sophisticated and elegant but also free and relaxed. There is no strong distinction between age, gender or season.” The boutique offers apparel, jewelry, shoes and accessories.
A little different from the other boutiques listed here, We Love was created by two strangers who moved to Tulum, met and became friends. They design, create and sell casual, comfortable, graphic tees, tanks and beachwear for men, women and children that are high quality, original and follow fair trade standards. The main idea here is to capture the spirit of Tulum and, well, love. We Love is a great place to buy gifts, whether it’s at their shop on the Tulum beach road, downtown, or on Holbox, so bring a little piece of the Mexican Caribbean home to your loved ones. Oh, and the merch is reasonably priced too.
Hoki Poki Kana
Hoki Poki Kana, located in the upscale residential area of Aldea Zama, is owned by Cécile Herrero-Sanchez, a French woman with a strong background in international fashion. The boutique receives customers by appointment only. In return, patrons get a personal shopper/fashion editor to assist them in navigating on-trend designs, which may be from Mexico, Brazil or New York City. Prices here are a little more reasonable than at other boutiques, and they can adapt to your needs and budget. Appointments are free and can be made through Facebook or Instagram, and customers are not obligated to buy. They also recently added a men’s section. Won’t be in Tulum soon enough? Some Hoki Poki Kana merchandise is available on shoptiques.com.
Arte Sano is a local brand founded in 2017 by two women who are Argentinian born but chose to make Tulum their home, where they could “enjoy, grow and make art in a healthy and loving space.” They consider themselves a family in their hearts and souls, and the shop, surrounded by lush jungle, is warm and welcoming. Their message comes through in their simple designs for men, women and children, which are cool, comfortable and made by hand. If you can’t make it to Tulum, you can shop online at byartesano.com.
Wanderlust is a beach lifestyle brand that was born in Tulum and is located between NEST Tulum and Be Tulum Hotels. The shop sells flowing dresses and kaftans, bags and accessories. They also offer incense, so you can enjoy copal, the Mayans preferred aroma, after you return home. A handcrafted Mexican capsule collection honors the work of Mexican artisans. International shipping is available, as well as tailoring and alterations for items purchased at the store. Bring the shop to your hotel with a complimentary consultation and no commitment. You can even ask them to bring an item you saw on their website or Instagram.
The mysticism of Tulum, a passion for design and the desire to create one-of-a-kind pieces inspired the opening of Mr. Blackbird in 2012. The shop, located in a cabaña and practically an extension of the beach, sold jewelry (especially fantastic rings), accessories and home goods, with the essence of Tulum. Later, sandals and apparel were added. Production is limited so that each piece has special significance. Upon entering the space, created with driftwood, a sand floor, and the smell of copal in the air, patrons are moved to purchase that item or items that will always remind them of Tulum.
Pura Vida Tulum
Everyone’s a sucker for a good love story. In 2008, two friends, Jerome and Sabina, met at school; afterwards, each went their own way and began successful careers. In 2016, they met again and fell in love. Sabina already lived in Tulum, so Jerome bought a one-way ticket, and they designed a collection and opened a shop in downtown Tulum. Pura Vida carries clothing for men and women, accessories, and jewelry, without the pretense you might find in other boutiques. Each season there is a new collection, but the service is always the same: impeccable.
These recommendations were updated on June 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.