Travel Diary: Tulum, Mexico

I have to be honest, Tulum wasn’t really on my radar long before I decided to pack my bags and partake on a 6-day trip. A friend of mine recently had visited and her pictures were just so beautiful that I knew I needed to check it out for myself. I followed in her footsteps and booked a stay at Coco Tulum, an “eco-chic” hotel that features an old style cabaña village on the beach.

Upon arrival, the staff was just so pleasant and wonderful. On my initial walk to my “hut”, where I’d be staying for the next 5 nights, I was immediately drawn to the beauty of Tulum/the resort. My room was literally a few steps from the beautiful turquoise ocean and each hut has its own hammock and little patio for taking in the views.

My favorite part was the hotel beach club, which has the most beautiful white and light turquoise aesthetic.  Also in the hotel was this amazing Italian restaurant, Juanita Diavola, which churns out fresh pizzas from a brick oven. They also serve non-Italian options like smoothies, fresh juices and fish.

While my hotel stay was as magical as could be, what I also loved about Tulum was how free you were to roam around the town.  My friends and I found ourselves walking right into other hotels to enjoy their amenities like their beaches or restaurants. Everyone was so chill that they never asked questions and happily made your stay an enjoyable one. Below, I’m going to list some of my must see places in Tulum!

Hotels (for day trips + lunch)

  • Coco Tulum (where I stayed); If you’re not staying here, at least walk to the beach club for lunch to take in the beautiful views and delicious food.
  • Ziggy’s; We stumbled upon this place during a walk on the beach and decided to go back for dinner one night. The food was amazing (get the tuna nachos) and the ambiance was beautiful! There was a live band and fire pit.
  • Papaya Playa Project; A must see! We walked here one day (what felt like a mile-long walk, if not further) and we were so happy we did! The beach is beautiful, but what I really loved was the outdoor seating during lunch time. There was live music and amazing fajitas.
  • Zamas; The New York Times recommended this colorful hotel. While we didn’t stay long and just passed through, I love the energy and colorful environment. I’d recommend going for drinks/lunch.

Restaurants

  • Juanita Diavola (restaurant in Coco Tulum)
  • Gitano; My favorite restaurant by far! While most of Tulum is low key, this place is fun! The atmosphere is beautiful (think lights and disco balls draped under lush trees) and the food was delicious too!
  • Hartwood; I’m kicking myself because we actually didn’t even make it to Hartwood (we tried, but it’s closed on Monday’s so keep that in mind). However, I’d still recommend it because EVERYONE you talk to will tell you it’s the best restaurant in Tulum.
  • Celti; This is located in the heart of town (will need to take a cab) and is true authentic Mexican. You feel like you’re dining at grandmas house.
  • Mateos; The best taco joint in town! Go for drinks and a good time.
  • La Zebra; We didn’t make it, but people go here for salsa lessons and dancing!

Things to do

  • Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins); A must see! These are considered 1 of the 7 “new” wonders of the world. Recommendation: we didn’t get a tour guide and instead just read up on everything prior to going. We were able to walk through in about 1 hour vs. being stuck on a 2 hour tour. We arranged a car from the hotel for around $250 USD (for four people) that took us to the ruins and cenotes.
  • Cenotes; These are a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. The natural mineral water is amazing for your skin, plus they are BEAUTIFUL. We went to the Cenote Kil Il (which is one of the most scenic ones). I’d recommend it!
  • Shop; There are hidden shops throughout the strip of land parallel to the beach (where all the restaurants are). The shops could be a bit pricey, so for the authentic stuff head into the center of town (you’ll need a cab to bring you).
  • Yoga on the beach; Coco Tulum offers private sessions for $20 a head
  • Massages; You can walk along the beach to find one

 

Summer Must Have Products from Hawaiian Tropic

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. 
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It’s officially July and my month-long Montauk share house has kicked off! It’s been amazing to escape the city on the weekends to hit the beach with friends. There’s about 20 of us sharing the house we rented (don’t worry, we’re not all there at the same time), so as you could imagine, we’re always trying to figure out who packed what. Between beach necessities to shower essentials to clothing, we’re always trying to share things so we can to lessen our travel load.

 

One thing that I especially try to coordinate sharing with my friends is beauty products and hair tools. Why would we all bring a blow dryer, when we can just use one? The same goes for heavy beauty products like lotion, hairspray and sunscreen. That said, I’ve been in charge of bringing the sunscreen and I have to say – I finally found a favorite line from Hawaiian Tropic.

 

The new Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Seriously. The breathable formula has a light, airsoft texture for protection you barely feel. I especially love this because I hate being sticky on the beach. This formula left my skin feeling so smooth. Plus, the hydrating ribbons of luxurious silk protein and shea butter provide up to 12 hours of moisturization. It comes in UVA and UVB SPF 15 and 30. I went with SPF 30!

 

Even with protective sunscreen, being out in the sun all day definitely takes a toll on your skin. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of using after sun lotion to hydrate my skin after a day in the sun. The Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance After Sun Moisturizer is one of the first after sun lotions that soothes, softens and leaves skin radiant – hence why I’m a fan. Like the sunscreen, the formula features shea butter, plus mango extract to leave skin feeling pampered and noticeably soft and luminous. You can check out the brand Facebook page to learn more!

 

Ps. Even my favorite girl Shay Mitchell is obsessed (but not as obsessed as I am with her). She’s going to be featuring the sunscreen in 7 episodes of her YouTube series, Shaycation, so you must check it out!

 

 

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How to Master the Perfect Staycation

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You don’t need to purchase a pricey plane ticket or reserve a room in a 5-star hotel to feel like you’re on vacation. In fact, you can stay put in your city of choice and still have what feels like a long getaway.

Recently, my friends and I did just that. We planted our roots at my friend’s parent’s apartment here in NYC for a two-night stay away.  It was the perfect setting to make us feel like we were somewhere different vs. in one of our own familiar apartments.

We stocked up on rosé, played our favorite summer tunes, whipped out the board game ‘Headbandz’ and had some quality girl time. Below, find my tips for mastering the best staycation yet.

  • All About the Activities – What do you enjoy doing with your friends? Binge watching friends, laying out in the sun working on your tan, playing board games? Whatever it may be, find it and make sure you make the time for it.
  • Yes Way, Rosé – Our drink of choice was rosé (we sipped on Summer in a Bottle Rosé 2015 & Miraval Rosé 2014), but choose your poison and stock up. It’s not a girl’s trip without a few cheesy toasts and endless laughs.
  • Build the Perfect Playlist – This is a must have! Music sets the tone for the day/night, so choose wisely when building out your perfect playlist. Our staycation theme song was ‘Capsize’ by FRENSHIP.
  • Less is MORE – Seriously! Don’t over-pack and don’t overthink. Wear what you’re comfortable in and leave your anxiety triggers at the door. This weekend is all about relaxing!
  • Capture Each Moment – As much as I’d love to tell you to “unplug” 24/7, you should still make time to capture each moment. These are the memories you’ll be able to look back on years down the road.

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Desirelist: From the City to the Sea

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For those of you that don’t live in a city, can I just take a moment to remind you that you’re so lucky you have the ability to get in a car and hit the road. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in NYC, but I miss that feeling of having the music blasting, windows down, driving to an unknown destination. Instead, almost every single weekend of my summer is already planned, with train tickets already purchased. As New Yorkers, it’s basically our duty during the summer months to clear out and let the interns use the city as their playground for a few months while we enjoy nearby beaches.

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What’s in my cosmetic case?

If you follow me on Instagram (@publyssity) or Snapchat (alyssaamoroso), it’s clear to see that I’m always traveling during the summer months. In fact, my suitcase has doubled into a closet and my cosmetic case has become home to all of my essentials – like my makeup, personal care items, etc.

That said, I’ve actually found this method to be really helpful. I load my cosmetic case with everything I’ll need to get through the week, weekend or workday. I like having one case with everything vs. a million small bags with just some of my items. It’s easier for me to make sure I’m not forgetting to pack anything when I’m switching between carry-on luggage to tote bag to gym bag.

Keep reading to see some of the essentials I keep in my cosmetics case at all times:

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