Where You Should Stay In Tulum

We are back with part two of our in-depht Tulum guide! (View post 1 here! )Now that you know a little about the area, you're going to need to decide where you want to stay. This part should give you a feel of different options and a look into the places we stayed.

Where to stay

This is probably the biggest question you'll have and probably the most important decision. There are a few things you need to think about when finding a place to stay. Think about what is important to you. Things you'll need to think about:
- Do you want to stay in town or in the jungle area?
- Do you want to be right on the beach?
- Do you want A/C?
- Do you want to stay some place with a pool?
- Do you want to be close to things or do you not mind having to bike/taxi/drive places?
- How important is internet/ phone service to you?
- How many people are you traveling with?
- What is your budget?

For us we wanted to be right on the beach, we wanted to be in the Tulum jungle area (not where the resorts are), we absolutely had to have A/C and we needed 3 separate rooms. This actually narrowed it down for us because a lot of hotels on the beach don't have A/C. Price also narrowed it down for us. If you are just two people traveling who will sleep in the same bed, there are plenty of options at all price points. If you are traveling with a group, like we were, it can be a little more complicated.
We ended up staying at CoCo Tulum and booking three separate bungalows right on the beach. We had to book three bungalows because there aren't many options for groups right on the beach anywhere. We found one place that had multiple rooms in one home, but it was already booked. But I don't mean to make it sound like we only stayed here because it was our only option- this place was delightful. I mean we were literally on the beach.
This was the view from our bungalow porch. We could hear the ocean waves over the sound of a full blast fan. It was magical, but maybe something to consider if you don't like noise when you sleep. The sound of the waves were very relaxing to all of us, but the sound is no joke.

Here are a few more pictures from our stay at Coco.
So. much. hammock. time. Maybe one of our favorite parts of Coco actually! There is a hammock right outside each room and then there are hammocks right on the beach. But don't sweat it if you don't stay at Coco- lots of the hotels, Airbnbs and restaurants have hammocks. It's definitely a thing down there.
This is our bungalow.
The sunrises were to die for. We saw the sunrise every day we were there, as there are some lovely tropical birds that start chirping as soon as light starts to fill the sky. We thought of them as our Mexican rooster friends. This is just part of life down there because you are right in the jungle. If this might bother you, I'd consider some ear plugs!

Another thing to consider is Airbnb (this is our Airbnb). As you may or may not know, we run an Airbnb in our house and fully believe in staying in Airbnbs when traveling. We actually stayed at Coco for 5 days and then moved to an Airbnb in the town for 2 days. I would highly recommend a stay in both areas. As I said earlier, the vibe is very different. If you are looking for the best deal you can get and don't mind not being right on the beach, an Airbnb is going to be your route for sure. There are plenty of fabulous Airbnbs in town with lots of internet and A/C!
Our Airbnb was about 2 miles away from Coco. They had bikes you could use and a little kitchenette in each apartment. We chose our specific Airbnb room because it had two beds and it was adorable.
There are a good amount of Airbnbs with pools, so if that is something that is important to you, you'll be able to find this! You'll quickly find that not too many hotels on the beach have pools. 
Side note, if you do decide to use Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first stay with our code here!

Okay so to sum this section up, to look at hotels on the jungle/beach road you're going to need to look at the map- every one is listed exactly where it is- and then search the internet for each one specifically. Searching "Tulum hotels" won't bring even half of them up and you'll get results of places that are in a completely different area. And if you plan on staying in the city, there are numerous fabulous Airbnb situations, you just have to do your research!

If you liked this post and would like to see more like it, please Pin the image below!

If you missed it, check out Part 1 of the guide here.
xo, Savannah

How To Know Your Way Around Tulum

Well our Tulum vacation has come to an end and we are pretty sad about it. We took so many pictures, acquired a whole lot of information and had a blast! We knew we would want to write a post about our trip when we returned, so we figured we should go ahead and give you all the information we have. Before we went we did a lot of research and honestly couldn't find answers to many of our questions. Don't get me wrong, we loved every minute of our trip and never felt like we were unprepared. We just thought it would be nice if we could give you all of our resources! Originally we were going to put this in one post, but it's a lot of information so we have separated it into 4 parts. (Come back next Monday for part two.)
So if you are planning a trip to the lovely beach town of Tulum, buckle up, here we go!

Knowing the Area

First things first, this map. This map would've been great to have while we were trying to figure out where to stay. It explains where everything is. It is a map after all. Casey and her mom had been to Tulum the year before and stayed in "Tulum" but as we found out, a lot of things are considered Tulum and those places are all over the place. Where they stayed (Dreams Resort) is not where you want to be, I promise. They did love their vacation that year, but knew if they returned that they wanted to stay where we stayed this trip.

The green on the map is the jungle, as you can imagine.  This is where you want to be. When someone says something is "on the jungle side" they mean on the jungle side of the main road. As you can see on the map, there is one road that runs straight through the jungle. This is the one and only road that goes along the beach and on one side you have all the hotels that are on the beach (the beach side) and on the other side you have more hotels and restaurants on the jungle side. It's a small road.
Before we went, "the jungle side" and "the beach side" seemed like they were different parts of town the way people talked about it. But they are actually just a couple steps apart. And when you are on the road you will think "this is strange because there is jungle on both sides." That is correct, but the side that has the beach and the jungle is the beach side.
Okay so the beach is fabulous, but it's not the only part worth seeing. The city part is also very important to experiencing Tulum to it's fullest. Look for "Tulum Pueblo" on the map. The town and beach area are really close to each other, yet they feel like completely different worlds.

There are two main roads that intersect so it's pretty simple finding things, but addresses aren't really a thing in Tulum. It's more like "pass the second speed bump and turn right." For real. We learned pretty quickly that you just really have to pay attention when looking for a place because putting an address in your phone isn't really going to help much. Especially with the internet/phone service near the beach. I mean you wouldn't even have an address to put in, you'd just have to search and hope that business is on google. This is only the case if you are driving- we rented a car (we recommend renting a car. It's pretty cheap- like $150 for a week). If you are using taxis, they will know where they are going and if you are biking, you won't be going fast enough to miss something...probably.

Other Random Tips

Exchange your money to pesos before your trip if you can. If you give your bank a week you can get the best exchange rate. If you don't do that, then just get money out of an ATM. We did this at the airport. You can use American dollars in Tulum but you will get the worst exchange rate that way and it's also a lot easier for people to rip you off- especially cab drivers. 

Be prepared to have spotty internet and phone service. Even at our hotel, it was in and out. We had better internet in town in our Airbnb. Embrace the disconnectedness. I'm not going to lie- that was one of the most frustrating parts. Also, add an international cell phone plan to your phone so you can use data when there isn't wifi. 

Things to remember before you head to Tulum:
1. Mosquitos and the protection against them will be a part of your life.
2. Sunblock will also need to be a part of your life.
3. The speed bumps are pretty disguised and plentiful.
4. A little Spanish will go a long way, although not required.
5. Seaweed could definitely be a part of your life. (We used these days to explore other areas.)

Okay this is a great start. Come back next Monday when we'll be talking about where you should stay! (You can now check out post 2 here!) If you'd like to see more posts like this, please pin the image below!

xo, Savannah

renovation: how we made our tiny bathroom seem bigger

Guys. This is the tiniest bathroom in the world. Okay.... maybe not in the world. But it's extremely small. Like 37.5 sq. ft including the closet small. Here is another photo for reference...
It was definitely a tight squeeze. I'm not saying it is extremely spacious now, but it's a lot better. There were a lot of design problems in our bathroom before. The door opened inward and took up so much space. Trying to get to the toilet between the sink and the door was always a treat. Having a shower curtain closed off almost half of the space and the tile on the floor was broken and stained. There was a wall behind the door that was actually a closet that opened up into the room behind the bathroom. Plenty of things that needed an upgrade, but we knew this bathroom wouldn't be renovated for a while after moving in.
But then one day the ceiling fell in.
We apparently had some plumbing issues in the upstairs bathroom and it had been dripping into the ceilings below. One night we came home around midnight and the ceiling in the bathroom looked pregnant. There clearly was a problem, but we couldn't do anything about it that late at night. Around 5 in the morning the ceiling fell in. Cue bathroom renovation time!
The bathroom ended up having to be gutted. The floor had to be rebuilt. New walls, new window, new bathtub, toilet, sink, hardware, plumbing, tile, and the list goes on.
One of the greatest updates is that the closet now opens to the bathroom! We didn't have any hidden storage before, but now we have the cabinet under the sink and a whole closet. It's a tiny closet, but it's perfect. We searched for a sink that 1) had a nice design and 2) had a smaller depth than the one we had before. We wanted to open the space up as much as possible.
Our bathroom was like a dark hole originally. There was one light and a small window. Our goal was to have a brighter bathroom, which was not hard to do.
We got a new door which now matches our other doors in the hallway. The door now opens into the hallway which frees up some space in the bathroom. We thought this would be hard to adjust to, but it wasn't an ordeal at all.
In the bathroom before there was no outlet, so we definitely had to add one. We knew we wanted our hardware and shower head etc. to be gold. If you've ever looked for these things in gold, you know they are very pricey. Casey found the Delta Trinsic collection that has a color called "champagne bronze" and it was affordable and a gold-ish color that wasn't yellowy. We found a spray paint color that matched pretty well and we painted our mirror (because it was really yellowy) and soap pump.
Another favorite thing in the bathroom are these little nooks for shower things. Originally we had this three layered metal caddy that things always fell out of. Plus it was ugly. Every time I take a shower now I admire these built in shelves. Everything has place and nothing falls out.
The glass door was really important for this renovation. We wanted to make the bathroom seem larger and having a barrier, like a shower curtain, seemed like it'd be working against that. Plus we had the tile laid in this fun herringbone pattern and it needs to be seen. You don't want to do all that work and then cover it up! 
Casey's stepdad had put up a wood ceiling to close off what had fallen down. (After the plumbing had been fixed of course.) It had to be pulled down during renovation, but we decided to keep the same situation. It really adds character to the space.
Okay other favorite thing of the bathroom- the tile. This was THE biggest dilemma of the bathroom. The tile held up a lot of the renovations. Originally we wanted black and white tile. There weren't too many good options in black and white, but we found a few. When we finally decided on one it was this one but in black. Then of course, we couldn't get it for 8 weeks. We needed the tile ASAP so we had to choose between a gray color and this blue color. I feel very anti-gray in most situations so the blue seemed right. Everyone agreed that the blue would work great and it was settled. We also had to decide if we wanted light or dark grout. We had our tile guys special mix a gray that was the same darkness of the blue. We saw some examples of people using white grout and it really changed the design.

Anyway, here it is! I feel like we've been talking about this renovation forever, and it's finally done! And we love it. I'm going to try to tell you where everything is from below!

Things that came from Amazon- Cabinet knobs, mirror, bath faucet, sink faucet
 // Sink and cabinet- Ikea // Tile- Mission (via Stone Source) // Hand towel- Anthropologie // Soap Dispenser- Target // Light fixture  // Contractor- Justin Adams in Nashville 

xo, Savannah