Cristina Villegas first visited Tulum seven years ago, when her youngest daughter was two years old. Since then, she's made regular trips, flying down for vacations with the kids and for yoga and wellness retreats on her own. We totally crush on her travel style (check out all the killer kids' clothes you should be packing at her West Village boutique Yoya), so we hit this Colombia-born NYC-based mom up for some real-deal Tulum advice. Read on to see where she stays, eats and plays in our favorite Mexican beach town. Cristina, we'll be hiding in your suitcase next trip.
Favorite Hotel: For the perfect mixture of luxurious and low-key, I always stay at Casa Violeta. It is simple but has beautiful ocean front rooms. I always stay in Jasmin, as it is only steps away from the sea. My good friend Karla owns this charming hotel, and it feels like a home away from home to me. Plus, their restaurant has amazing brick oven pizzas and Nutella crepes—always a PLUS when traveling with kids.
Favorite Eats: For mid-day snacks, Sanara has great healthy choices (juices, smoothies) for the family. Without the kids, try Be Tulum. For a romantic dinner, get a table at Hechizo, and, if possible, Hartwood, but for dinner with the kids, we always hit Posada Margherita. My absolute favorite is the fish cooked in seawater, although for breakfast, Posada has the best espresso and eggs in a hole, and they open really early (always a plus when traveling with kids).
Cloudy Day Activity: It’s actually a nice change of pace to spend a day inside reading and lounging—a family favorite activity. If we must get out in less-than-perfect weather, a visit to the Mayan Ruins is always enjoyable even when it’s cloudy.
Get adventurous: We love diving and snorkeling at the Dos Ojos and Gran Cenotes, which are underground limestone caves filled with water and considered by the Mayans to be sacred entrances to the underworld. My girls also love the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, where we get to swim or float the fresh water mangrove channels, which feel like a natural lazy river. (Tip: wear your life preserver like a diaper. It might feel a bit silly, but you can float even higher in the water.)
Local Secret Weapon: I adore my masseuse, Carolina, I always make sure to escape to Yaan Wellness Spa for a day of healing and relaxation. For shopping, don't miss Hacienda Montecristo. I always buy their fringe leather necklaces and oils. Fashion tip: Leave the heels at home. They're never necessary in Tulum.