The idyllic Quintana Roo beach resort of Tulum
has been attracting beach-loving travellers for decades and in recent years has become one of Mexico’s go-to destinations on the backpacker trail. However, it’s not just the beaches that draw the crowds, but the excellent nightlife too. Here are the top nine bars in Tulum that you must visit.
Papaya Playa Project
Arguably one of Tulum’s most well-known beachfront destinations, the Papaya Playa Project has something of a legendary reputation and combines the two big draws of Tulum itself – beach and bar. With parties held there most weekends and monthly full moon parties that draw huge crowds even in the down season, it’s an unmissable partying experience in Tulum and one that you’ll want to go back to again and again. Plus, the drinks aren’t as expensive as you’d expect from such a spot.
Papaya Playa Project, Tulum National Park, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 871 1160
Bar, Contemporary, Mexican, $$$
Gitano has really made a mark on Tulum’s nightlife scene in recent years, not least for its extensive mezcal and cocktail menu and laidback ambiance. Definitely make a beeline for the outdoor seating, where you can enjoy the temperate climate, surrounded by verdant plants and palms, which have some very on-trend fairy lights, casually strewn from their branches. Aside from drinks, Gitano also serves some reliably delicious snacks and although it’s most definitely not the cheapest bar you’ll find in the town, this is easily one of the best.
Gitano, Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México
A local favourite in Tulum, Todos Santos (presumably named for the pueblo mágico of the same name on the Baja Peninsula) gives off a very relaxed, welcoming vibe and is particularly worth visiting on Wednesday nights. Known for their well-crafted cocktail and mezcal menu – which it seems are popular in all the town’s top bars – the music is also consistently good, somewhat of a rarity in these overplayed, commercial pop-loving times. If that weren’t enough, the service and décor are both excellent to boot.
Todos Santos, Av. Tulum, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México
Pasito Tun Tun
Mezcal is having something of a ‘moment’ right now, so it comes as no surprise that several of the best bars in Tulum centre around this Mesoamerican spirit; Pasito Tun Tun is just one of them. With an interior dominated by exposed wood and actual, real life swings, you can also enjoy some food alongside your rather reasonably priced drinks in this boutique mezcalería. Basically, if you’re looking to head to one of the coolest bars in Tulum, that serves both food and drinks, then Pasito Tun Tun is the one.
Pasito Tun Tun, Calle Centauro Sur 249, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 688 8550
Perhaps best known for the repurposed, brightly painted old Beetle parked outside, Batey is a stalwart on the Tulum bar scene. Beyond the quirky décor, this Cuban hotspot is known, unsurprisingly, for fantastic mojitos and a buzzing atmosphere made up of travellers and locals alike. Even if you’re not sold on the classic mint, sugar and rum mojito, they have a wealth of variations that are sure to please, including a spicy bitter orange version.
Batey, Calle Centauro Sur, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 143 3616
La Suerte del Coyote
Despite being one of the more off-the-grid nightlife options in Tulum, La Suerte del Coyote is absolutely worth a visit. Arguably more of a restaurant than a bar, the tranquil and laidback atmosphere of the place, bathed in candlelight, make it one of the better spots to escape the crowds and enjoy a romantic evening. Plus, it serves up some amazing artisanal mezcals and prides itself on serving only Mexican produce. If you want a more authentic experience in Tulum, this might just be the place.
La Suerte del Coyote, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km.10, Zona Hotelera, Tulum, Quintana Roo, +52 55 1452 9187
Another location that combines both food and drink, Casa Jaguar is a big name on the Tulum scene and looks set to continue. Under the same management as Todos Santos, it’s popular among both travellers and locals, which is surely the hallmark of a great spot. We recommend getting down there on a Thursday for their weekly jungle themed, under the stars DJ set; although, the lush surroundings, outdoor seating and exquisite cocktails are reason enough to attend any night.
Casa Jaguar, Carretera Boca Paila Km 7.5, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 169 3084
Ethical minded bar-hoppers will be delighted by Tulum’s Curandero bar, given that the décor is made entirely from recycled products and that they believe in reducing the consumption of natural resources and recycling as much as possible. Aside from their ethical approach to business, every night from 7pm you can enjoy some truly amazing live DJ sets from local talents covering genres from afro through lounge and even acid jazz and funk. This is the spot for those with eclectic tastes.
Curandero, Av Tulum 120, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 871 2414
Courtesy of Curandero
Finally, we round off with another excellent hidden gem that serves up some amazing mezcal. Nawal is the bar/boutique of artisanal mezcal brand Nakawé, and while they offer the entire Nakawé range, you can also find a whole host of other smooth and smokey mezcals here, along with a few tequilas thrown in for good measure. If you want a truly Mexican drinking experience, with rooftop seating and views over the town to boot, this petite place is ideal.
Nawal, Beta Sur S/N, Tulum, Quintana Roo, México, +52 984 188 5708
Courtesy of Nawal & Mezcal Nakawé