When you live far away from your bosom friends, it is crucial to plan annual trips that are a) not where either friend lives b) do not require too many logistics c) create opportunities for side by side time. Tulum is an excellent option because it is cheap to fly to Cancun (a mere 1.5 hour away) from anywhere in the US, there are less awful people there than many beach locations, and once you are there, the cost of the vacation is totally scalable. Your super poor friend can stay in a hotel room (sans AC, so heads up) for less than $100 a night. Or sleep together in a room so that you can wake up your friend at 7:00 am for yoga and pay only $50 per person. I also like the chance to gently stroke my friend’s hair while she sleeps.
Here are my (updated) top spots for Tulum:
1) Rosa del Viento–relatively unknown and filled with Italians rather than the hipper Casa Violeta. Splurge on an ocean-front room. Their beach is the most far away from town so it is quiet, but that means you have to go further for other restaurants.
2) Ahau–super beautiful “balinese style rooms.” I have only seen Eat Pray Love, so I can’t vouch for the Balinese aspect, but the idea of having a totally open wall of the room facing the ocean is great. Downside: it is more like $200 a night.
3)Casa de las Olas –They have AC and in room refrigerators. I would stay at this place solely for the option of storing my own water in the fridges, but according to my mother the owner is also super nice and the breakfasts are great.
1) The Mayan Ruins–I like that these ruins are an easy bike/car ride (5 min. away in a car) away, so I can be back on the beach by lunch and feel like I “did something” before I fall asleep on my Vogue magazine.
2) Yoga Shala for yoga. The instructors are absurdly good looking and they offer the most classes during the week of any yoga spot in Tulum.
3) Hartwood. It is insanely delicious and you are required, I mean required, to try the grilled octopus. It is expensive, but hey you just saved a ton of money on your hotel.
Renting a car is super easy, and you should do it if you have any other aspirations other than sitting on the beach. If not, just book a shuttle with http://www.usa-transfers.com.
For more suggestions, Fathom has the best guide.