Plant-based Eating in Tulum

August 29, 2018

This summer I spent a month in Tulum pueblo, taking Spanish courses at a language school and realizing my dream of teaching yoga classes in Spanish! It feels like I was in Tulum just yesterday, but actually, 6 weeks have passed, and family and friends have been asking to find out more about what I ate in Tulum!

I eat a plant-based diet and always choose fresh, local, and organic fruits and veggies whenever possible. Writing up a plant-based eating guide for Tulum is the most gratuitous exercise, because one would really have to go out of the way to avoid eating a plant-based diet while there. Tulum’s restaurants and overall bohemian vibe cater to vegan, earthy, and plant-forward lifestyles, so if these descriptors apply to you, book your flight and go! (I was there in June / July = extremely hot and humid, but no crowds! If you go November and after, you’ll have gorgeous weather but lots of crowds!)

The food was one of my very favorite aspects of a month spent in Tulum. Everything I ate was amazing, so it was hard choosing only the very best experiences to share with you. To help get us organized, I’m grouping this blog post into Drinks, Snacks, Mains, and Dessert. Keep reading for my top picks, and please comment below on your favorites!

DRINKS

Yep, while strolling Tulum’s beaches, it’s as simple as getting yourself a coconut to enjoy while strolling the water’s edge. How’s that for plant-based for ya!

Every day during my mid-morning break at language school, I would get myself an agua fresca or jugo natural. In the pueblo, almost all restaurants and cafés offer these fresh squeezed natural fruit juices. These cost about 1-2 dollars, and keep in mind I did (most of) my eating in the pueblo, not down in the hotel zone at the beach where prices are more like San Francisco.

It was also easy to find macerados, a drink made with fresh ginger, lime, mint, and sparkling water.

Delicious macerado at Deli Fresh on Calle Jupiter Sur, close to Meztli language school.

Again, an amazing accompaniment to your seaside stroll.

After that stroll, you might feel like you want to sit and chill, because you’re in the warm sun, and you’re on Tulum time, after all.

SNACKS

There’s not much to say other than GUAC. Every day between my Spanish classes I had a break from 2 until 5. This was enough time to head down to the beach, have a snack, and relax. I got into the habit of falling asleep in the hot sun for about 30 minutes after eating an entire guacamole platter. Pure joy. Almost all of the hotels on the beach sell really delicious food, and you can use their amazing beach furniture as long as you are ordering something. It is very rare that hotels try to charge you (more European style) to use their beach furniture, so if this is the case, choose a different place. I was eating out there on the beach every afternoon, and this only happened once or twice. Keep in mind I am talking about public beaches more on the north side, closer to the ruins. As you go farther south, the beaches tend to be more privately owned by the luxury hotels.

MAINS

Let’s get down to business. In between my classes I ate often at Burrito Amor on the main avenue. This is a vegan burrito stuffed with brown rice and nopales– cactus, and of course, a sandía watermelon jugo natural alongside.

I often popped into Deli Fresh two blocks away from my language school since it was so close. I often ate these veggie tacos. I liked these because the veggies were sauteed and warm.

When I had more time, I ventured to more sit-down lunch restaurants. I noticed food takes a little longer to arrive in Tulum, versus what I’m used to at home, which is fine, since I felt so relaxed studying Spanish, teaching yoga, and eating such healthy food!

A favorite was La Hoja Verde, where I often enjoyed this melon gazpacho. Their homemade tortilla chips are served with a housemade roasted red pepper hummus, to die for!

On my last day in Tulum, I discovered Farm to Table Tulum, and I’m so glad I got to eat here before leaving. It’s always the last day that you find a gem, right?!

Here I’m doing a slow-mo pour of spicy peanut butter sauce on top of their “Milpa bowl” with sweet potato puree. Their produce is locally sourced, and they support local farmers and food businesses.

DESSERT

By this time you can hardly squeeze anything else in! Paleterías or ice pop shops, pop up on every corner in Tulum. Be sure to ask, but most of the options I tried were fruit and water based instead of using milk. If you have a real hankering for something sweet, don’t be afraid to start back up at the top—for a fresh fruit juice, a piece of fresh tropical fruit from a street vendor, or drink from a coconut on the beach!

These are not necessarily the high-end sampling of restaurants one might expect in a food review of Tulum, but my recommendations come from my daily diet while living an everyday life in Tulum over one month, so it’s definitely different than the typical tourist experience spent down in the hotel zone. Always make the effort to get out of touristy areas to experience the true flavors of a place!

Thank you, Tulum! You filled my belly and my heart.

Have you traveled to Tulum? What was your favorite part about your visit? Was it the food? The beaches? The Mayan ruins? The people? The weather? The cenotes and nearby natural wonders? Ahh! The list is endless. What a place! What do you want me to write about next from my month in Tulum? Let me know your requests and your own experiences in the comments below!

September 26, 2018

Marisa LaValette

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