Being vegetarian sometimes means a little extra homework when traveling. The first time we visited Tulum we were still meat eaters and I remember having some tasty tacos at the red taco shop on the main road in Tulum Pueblo. But all that is just a distant and fuzzy memory. Clearly, there is plenty of good eating in the Yucatan for carnivores. But for the sake of my fellow vegetarians this post’s goal is to get you set on the right path for some memorable and delicious meals, too. Tulum and nearby communities offer a diverse mix of eclectic restaurants including Mexican, Italian, French, South American, Thai, Chinese and more so you can always find something new to taste.
Good for lunch & dinner
Tulum Pueblo – on the right side of the road
La Nave is one of our trusty favorites. We tend to arrive in Soliman in the early evening, drop our stuff off and head over to Tulum Pueblo for grocery shopping and dinner at La Nave as the official start to our vacation. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us. Tulum Pueblo is a laid back but colorful and interesting town with a mix of touristy shops, produce markets and restaurants. Italian food is actually quite good in Tulum and La Nave can be considered the best. They do handmade pastas and artisan pizzas with many vegetarian options.
Good for lunch, dinner & drinks
Tulum Beach – turn left from the main road to Tulum beach and it’ll be the last hotel on your right.
Mezzanine has nice service, tasty food and a beautiful view from their restaurant deck. We’ve had different variations of their veggie curries, noodles and spring rolls. Can’t seem to go wrong. It’s ever so slightly more formal dining, plus happy hour and nightlife.
Good for lunch, dinner & drinks
Tulum Beach – turn right, go a ways and it’ll be on your left with a free parking lot on your right.
La Zebra is super casual, and has a cozy wood deck right on the beach. Jump in the ocean before your food arrives. Big wooden tables, nice tunes, swings and a bar. Your standard Mexican menu with plenty of vegetarian options, nice variety of salsas (mango is my fave), juice bar, and a sugarcane hand cranked press for mojitos. It’s even a nice place to go for just some guacamole, chips and a drink. Plus happy hour and nightlife.
Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery
Good for breakfast, lunch & dinner
Drive into the main gate at Akumal from the highway and follow the signs for Turtle Bay Cafe (or just ask someone).
Paid parking lot (cheap).
Turtle Bay Cafe is a bit off the beaten track, but can be a nice stop if you’re up near Akumal and need some good grub. Typical cafe menu with several vegetarian options for salads, wraps, sandwiches and even a lentil burger with hummus. It’s also good chance to pick up some nice baked goods… we suggest the banana bread. Outdoor seating on their patio or under the palapa. Not much of a view of anything but adjacent to a few boutique shops. Akumal also has a decent size grocery store and a farmer’s market if you need to stock up.
Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner
Soliman Bay – just a quick walk up the beach
Sahara is the one restaurant on Soliman Bay (located at the one hotel on our bay) and while it’s a bit spendy there is something quite nice about walking along our beach just a few minutes to a really nice meal. Great flavors and fresh ingredients. The restaurant has outdoor seating on the beach with palapa shade and a glass outdoor fire pit, plus cozy indoor dining and lounge. The menu changes but there tends to be a vegetarian option or two.
Mexican (on a whole new level)
Good for dinner
Polar Norte St | one block north of Avenida Tulum, Tulum
Cetli is high-end authentic mexican in a cozy, almost hacienda-like setting with antiques and eclectic decor. The food is outstanding, friendly service, and they offer a variety of vegetarian options.
Los Agua Chilies
Good for lunch and dinner
Venida Tulum Manzana 40 Lote 1, Tulum, Mexico
On the south end main road in Tulum Pueblo, east side, just past El Camilo Jr.
Not open late.
Los Agua Chilies is an open air patio restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere. Not high on the list for vegetarians but one of the best places for fish tacos, and we’ve heard you can get lionfish here which is invasive and encouraged to catch. Be sure to get the crunchy fried onions on top.
Next up on our list to try…