Why you should go: Tulum is about an hour and a half south of Cancún, down the Riviera Maya of Mexico, but a world away from high-rise hotels and wet-T-shirt contests. The beaches are pristine, and there are still plenty of affordable bungalows steps from the water.
Where to sleep: The most authentic type of room in Tulum is a no-frills cabana on or near the beach; you'll appreciate the ocean breezes, as the cabanas are not usually air-conditioned. Hemingway has garden and waterfront cabanas (mexonline.com/hemingway.htm), as does Tierras del Sol (tierrasdelsol.com).
Where to eat: You can probably eat at your hotel; the owners often cook. Or take a cab into downtown Tulum and eat at Carlos'n Charlie's, which offers live music and plenty of tacos.