Many of the highlights in this remote jungle town are low-impact by virtue of their wild location, with peaceful cenotes and earthy vegan restaurants to explore.
On the Caribbean coast of Mexico‘s Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum has gone from sleepy backwater to hyped tourist town in just a decade, though its hotels are still very much of the bohemian, barefoot variety. While it’s undeniable that Tulum’s seaside Mayan ruins, palm-fringed beaches and protected Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve are spectacular, all this rich natural beauty means it’s especially important to tread lightly here. Luckily, with community farms, reefs and mangroves to explore, an ecofriendly trip to Tulum comes easy.
Wondering where to find the best vegan eats in Tulum? Created by the minds behind Tulum’s trendy alcohol-free bar, Elysium, Laylo Tulum Vegan Lounge serves up a vibrant, plant-based menu that’s good for both people and the planet. Eco-conscious meals have never looked (or tasted) this good – try their smoothie bowls, beet burgers and Baja-style tacos to see for yourself.
Just an hour north of Tulum, Palmaïa goes the extra mile when it comes to sustainability. The solar-powered property uses 50 percent less energy than the average Mexican resort and is ultimately aiming to achieve carbon neutrality. They’ve eliminated plastic bottles and put plant-based dishes – think vegan tacos and soy-marinated watermelon poke bowls – front and center in their restaurants. The swim-up and ocean-view suites are thoughtfully designed with cruelty-free furnishings: no feathers, no leather.
Many of the herbs and vegetables served at Verdant are grown at its urban community farm, and the rest are sourced from local producers. The kitchen is almost 100 percent zero waste, with scraps used to make condiments or – if they can’t be turned into something tasty, or composted – cooking fuel. Treat yourself to the ever-changing tasting menu to enjoy the likes of Caribbean grouper and coal-roasted Bacalar cabbage.
What’s more ecofriendly than a lazy day at the beach? The Tulum coastline is trimmed with broad stretches of white sand and impossibly clear waters, but they do tend to attract crowds. Playa las Palmas is one of the quieter, more laid-back options, especially come sunset. The usual advice applies: take only pictures, leave only footprints – and bring your reusable water bottle.