What We Love
- Laid-back barefoot-but-sophisticated atmosphere
- Snorkel over a shipwreck 60 feet offshore
- Located near Tulum's Mayan monuments
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Tulum
What To Know
- No air conditioning, but cool sea breezes and ceiling fans keep rooms cool
- Beachfront Rooms are a petite 161 square feet; no phones or TVs
- Beach is rocky in parts and not easily swimmable
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The coastline of the Mayan Riviera stretches south from the resortland of Cancun to the lavish couple-friendly resorts along Playa del Carmen and on to Tulum, a former truckstop town with a relaxed pace all its own. Zamas Tulum was an abandoned coconut plantation until it was bought by a Californian couple in 1993; the story goes that blueprints were drawn in the sand for the local builders to follow. This laid-back spirit persists today and lures east coasters, and the odd celeb, for a no-frills dose of vitamin D and a swing in the colorful, low-slung hammocks.
Bed & Bath
The 20 guestrooms are all unique in layout and shape, and positioned far enough apart to feel private. For families and groups, there are larger suites housed in the two-story buildings. Inside, the rooms are simply dressed in an appropriately beachy style: mosquito nets over the beds and bright Mexican colors splashed everywhere. Tiled bathrooms have all the mod cons and beach or grounds views, but hot water can be temperamental and you won’t get your power shower here.
The resort’s restaurant, ¡Que Fresco!, is justly celebrated and lives up to its name with fresh seafood delivered right to the resort’s beach. Guests from other resorts travel potholed miles to dine on the restaurant’s lobster quesadillas and wood-fired pizzas, which they wash down with fierce margaritas. Although the resort prefers its guests to be off the grid, WiFi is available in the common areas. Zamas fronts a small and somewhat rocky beach with excellent snorkeling (including a shipwreck) just offshore. You won’t find the usual resort suspect – no sea kayaks, no parasailing, no scuba; instead the emphasis is placed on reading books in the multitude of hammocks or playing backgammon under the palm trees.
How to Get There
I was here recently for a yoga retreat. This is not an American style hotel. Essentially the rooms are huts by the ocean and some are partially open to the elements. There is air conditioning but it runs only from 6 pm tp 6 am. Hot water is spotty at best. Expect to share your space with lizards, insects and the occasional iguana. You will be given two only bottles of water, but there are free refills in the public areas of the hotel. The rooms have sliding doors with padlocks and you will carry your key with you on your wrist. If you don’t like nature this is not the place for you. You will be going barefoot on the premises and there are bird baths in front of each room to rinse your feet. Sheets and towels are changed every three days. You cannot use a hair dryer as apparently this will fry the electrical system.
Location is beautiful and there are plenty of hammocks and beach loungers for relaxing. Roberto, the owner, is frequently on the premises to answer questions and chat with guests. The rest of the staff have limited English, but are very nice and try to be helpful.
The best thing about this place is the food. Fresh, healthy and beautifully presented. Each meal comes with freshly made juice. Many vegan options and chicken, fish and eggs for non vegans.
Now that I know what to expect, I would return, but probably not with my family.
I went to Shambala for a yoga retreat and it was exactly what I needed! Roberto and his staff were always ready to help with a kind smile. The food was unbelievably good. Breakfast was same daily, lunch was vegetarian with a salad and a warm dish, and dinner never failed to impress with a delicious dessert. The way it was presented was candy for our eyes. I brought snacks just in case and only needed one of them. Our Casa was small but wasn’t uncomfortable. The open air bathroom kept us close to nature. The turn down service made me feel like a was a VIP. There wasn’t a lot of space for bags so packing light was helpful. I can’t wait for my next trip here!
Tulum beach is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Shambala is beautiful too, but it still need improvement..they have been working on it for over 20 years. The lighting in the rooms is poor, no lite over the bath vanity, and no bedside lamps for reading. trouble regulating the hot & cold water in the shower. The staff is excellent and the food well done.
Me and my boyfriend were here for a week and became totally in love with Shambala. We are very restless during our holidays and go on excursions all the time but here we got a calm we never got anywhere else.
Shambala Petit is thought out in every detail and Roberto made us feel at home from the very first moment.
The breakfast and the food is a unique experience. So healthy and just Perfect.
To our surprise, we also loved the concept of sitting at the same breakfast table as other guests. It created a very nice cohesion and felt familiar in a way that I have never experienced in a hotel earlier. We had the luck to share our days with a truly great american family and two lovely norweigans :)
The staff were also helpful, kind and gave wonderful service. Everything was always perfectly clean.
Thank you Roberto for giving your heart and soul to this paradise...
We will come back for sure!
After surveying my 15 guests after my yoga retreat last week, everyone agreed that it was the perfect setting for a retreat. Roberto and I met in person when I was in town almost 10 months ago and I came to scope out the facilities. We’ve been in close communication ever since and he was always very quick to respond,which makes you fell good when you are wiring them money! The location was great, I’d been to Tulum before so I was familiar with the area and this is set close to a lot of other fan favorites (Raw Love for specialty coffees and vegan treats, just next door closer to the road side) and Ziggy Beach for live music. Im sure some of the heavier meat eaters were concerned about vegetarian and fish based meals for a week, but the food was plentiful,delicious and artfully presented! We had French press Coffee available before morning yoga, then fruit, juices, granola, chia pudding and yogurt as a breakfast “starter,” and then optional eggs / breakfast tacos / avocado toast for a main. Lunch was multi course as was dinner. We were all stuffed, so my concerns of people going hungry were for naught. The kitchen staff and facilities staff were all wonderful and friendly. I felt roberto was very visible and available and attentive to guest needs all week. He made a great partner in my retreat (as many of my guests noted in their surveys back to me). He was vigilant about food allergies / preferences which was very much appreciated. For me, he set the bar very high for future retreat property managers! It’s nice to feel that I have a friend in the area now as well! He also helped set up an excursion for us and made that seamless. The Beach area was well-kept. Plenty of lounge chairs (probably 15 loungers and 5 Adirondack chairs). At least 4-5 hammocks on property. The yoga room was Perfect. Sea views and ocean sounds. I will say that the bugs were a bit of an issue (even with some bug repellent) in there as it was necessary to keep the full length windows / doors open to allow air flow. A ground fan might be a good addition to keep the bugs at bay. Rooms are all adequate for the setting and most have nice individualized decor and touches. My room had a lovely and unique bathroom I truly loved (the one closest to road). The tree house Room is incredible as is Casa Eolo on the front left. Others are more basic but clean and well maintained. All now have AC units that run from 6 pm - 6 am and are a great upgrade. Fans and shades keep the rooms cool other times of day. I loved being barefoot 95% of the trip and the ritual of a quick rinse in the footbaths outside each room, kitchen, yoga room , etc. the highlight of the trip was watching a nest of baby sea turtles who were on property (unbeknownst to us) make their way to the ocean on our last night. What lucky timing and incredible experience. Isreal, the night guard, told us the next morning that even more came out later that night. It was a wonderful feeling to know he was on constant watch and patrol every night, although I never once felt the least bit unsafe. All in all, I’d done all the research and it was still more than I could have imagined. Thank you roberto and all your staff for a magical retreat. I will be back to bring new yogis to your relaxing piece of paradise!! Besos.