Mama’s Home is a colourful, charming and friendly hostel with an infectious social, laid-back, welcoming, and relaxed atmosphere and vibe, located in the small beachside town of Tulum in Mexico’s beautiful Mayan Riviera.
Mama’s Home definitely lived up to its name and the environment and community among the travelers and staff there felt very home-like and welcoming. I have stayed at this hostel two separate times, during both of my solo trips to the Yucatan in 2015 and it is a place that I will continue to return to on my future travels to Tulum.
This is my detailed hostel review of Mama’s Home.
- 1 Trip Details
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Location
- 4 Getting to the Hostel, Arrival and First Impressions
- 5 Amenities
- 6 The Dorm
- 7 Hostel Property, Grounds & Appearance
- 8 Hostel Cats
- 9 Common Areas
- 10 Atmosphere & Vibe
- 11 Cleanliness & Comfort
- 12 Washrooms
- 13 Hostel Kitchen & Breakfast
- 14 Internet/Wi-Fi
- 15 Staff
- 16 Safety & Security
- 17 Recommended For
- 18 Overall
- 19 Practical Details – Mama’s Home
- 20 Ready to Book?
- 21 Pin It!
- 22 Want More?
Dates: May 23 to May 27, 2015 (3 nights) and November 12 to November 15, 2015 (4 nights).
Room: I stayed in the 6-bed mixed dorm both times.
Travel Style: Backpacker, Solo Female, Budget.
Mama’s Home is a charming hostel in Tulum, Mexico with a laid-back, friendly and community-like atmosphere; unique decor; a colourfully painted outdoor courtyard; the most amazing staff members; and a long list of incredible amenities.
The hostel is located in a quiet and safe residential neighbourhood in the town of Tulum, just a couple of blocks south of the main avenue where you will find an abundance of restaurants, local shops, markets, banks, and transportation.
Tulum is an area situated along the gorgeous Mayan Riviera that consists of three separate places – the Mayan ruins, the beach and town. From the town, there are beautiful beaches only minutes away; many gorgeous, natural, freshwater sinkholes for swimming known as “cenotes“; and amazing Mayan ruins to explore (the ruins of Tulum are just 10 minutes north of the town and the ruins of Coba are 45 minutes away).
Mama’s Home is perfectly located in a central area of Tulum’s town. The building was situated along a quiet residential street in a peaceful and safe neighbourhood with friendly locals, just two blocks south of Tulum’s main avenue (Calle Orion between Calles Venus and Sol).
There were restaurants, local markets and shops, banks, pharmacies and transportation options nearby and within short walking distance from the hostel.
From Tulum’s ADO bus terminal, the hostel was easy to find and was a short ten minute walk. Once you start walking down the street that the hostel is located on (Calle Orion), you can’t miss it, as the exterior is painted in a bright blue colour.
Tulum’s beaches, a variety of beautiful cenotes and interesting Mayan ruins can easily be reached via local colectivos (these shared vans can be found anywhere along Tulum’s main avenue), taxis or bicycle.
Getting to the Hostel, Arrival and First Impressions
From Playa del Carmen, I arrived at Tulum’s ADO bus terminal via the first-class bus during my first stay and then via the local colectivo van which dropped me off along the town’s main avenue during my second stay. The colectivo ride was extremely uncomfortable and I was squished into the middle of the van filled with other passengers, while carrying my big backpack and daypack. But it was an inexpensive and fast journey at only 40 pesos and it was an interesting local experience (the young colectivo driver was canoodling with his girlfriend in the front seat while he was driving, so that was the entertainment for the hour long ride!).
I walked from Tulum’s bus terminal along the main avenue to the hostel, which was straightforward and took only about ten minutes. The hostel was easy to find – you can’t miss the bright blue building!
I rang the doorbell of the wooden front gate at the hostel and it was opened for me by a staff member. Directly in front of me was a spacious and colourfully painted outdoor courtyard with a tall palm tree providing shade in the centre, lots of tables and pretty hammocks around the edges. I heard relaxing foreign and chill music playing in the background. The hostel was so beautiful and I already knew at that point that I was going to love this place!
I checked in and chatted with a few other travelers and staff members, and I immediately felt comfortable and welcomed and the atmosphere was so cozy and laid-back. The owner of the hostel, Jose, gave me a tour of the place, explained everything and provided me with keys for the dorm and the front gate. He was so warm and kind and had such a sweet personality. After he had finished the tour, he said to me, “Welcome home.”
I organized my belongings, chose one of the lockers inside the dorm to secure my valuables, and headed out to explore the streets of Tulum!
Mama’s Home offered so many amazing amenities! Here is a summary of what they provided:
- Outdoor Courtyard – The courtyard is a brightly painted, colourful and zen-like oasis in the centre of the hostel, with hammocks along one edge, lots of lush green vines climbing the stone wall on the other side, wooden tables and chairs for socializing with other travelers, and a large shaded palm tree growing through the cement floor in the centre of the spacious area.
- Free Wi-Fi – The Wi-Fi internet is free to use and the connection was amazingly fast and always strong during my visits.
- Guest Kitchen – The hostel’s kitchen is small but fully-equipped and has everything you would need to cook up a great meal, including a stove, fridge for storing leftovers, cooking utensils, glasses, plates, cutlery and more.
- Discounted Bicycle Rentals – The hostel offers a 20 peso discount for bicycle rentals at a local shop in Tulum if you mention to them that you are staying at Mama’s Home.
- Free Gourmet Breakfasts – The breakfasts at Mama’s Home are the kind of quality you would expect to find at a 5-star hotel but you will find it at this hostel! The breakfasts are different every morning, they are made from fresh ingredients, and are well-prepared and presented beautifully, like a work of art. They also tasted incredibly delicious and included both sweet and savoury meals!
- Fun Organized Activities – Every evening, the hostel owner organizes fun group activities for guests like movie nights, charades, karaoke, family dinners, pina colada night, BBQs and more. It was a great way to meet new people and the activities were a lot of fun to observe and participate in.
- Book Exchange – The hostel has a small shelf with a variety of books and guidebooks in the indoor common area/lounge which travelers could exchange.
- Free Tulum Maps – There are plenty of free maps available at the hostel reception desk of Tulum and the surrounding area with restaurants, banks and attractions marked.
- Luggage Storage – There is free luggage storage available at the hostel and you can leave your bags in the indoor lounge or locked up if you choose, so that you could continue exploring and using the hostel facilities after checking out.
- Lockers – Both the 6 bed dorm and 10 bed dorm have small to medium sized lockers where you can store your personal belongings and valuables.
During both of my visits, I stayed in the 6-bed mixed gender dorm. The hostel also offered a 10-bed mixed dorm and a variety of spacious and beautiful private rooms (some of them including ensuite bathrooms) which bordered one side of the outdoor courtyard as well as the second level balcony overlooking the courtyard. These would be perfect for couples or friends traveling together or solo travelers who are seeking some additional privacy and peace and quiet.
The 6 bed dorm was located on the hostel building’s main level, and was accessed by walking through the indoor lounge and then turning left down a small hallway. The dorm was located at the end of the hallway to the right with a bathroom right outside the dorm’s door.
The dorm was a decent size and contained three metal bunk beds, which could accommodate a total of six people. One of the beds was slightly creaky in the nighttime when the person sleeping there moved around, but the sound didn’t bother me and it was nothing that ear plugs couldn’t fix. The mattress and pillows were comfortable and linens were provided upon check-in. Behind the door of the hostel, there were colourfully painted wooden lockers against the wall for storing your belongings. They were a good size and would have been able to fit my larger 48-litre backpack, but I chose to only use the locker to secure my daypack with my valuables. You have to use your own combination or padlock for the lockers. I felt safe and comfortable with leaving my main backpack (with only my clothing and toiletries) on the floor beside my bunk bed.
A huge plus about this dorm, was the fact that it was air-conditioned! The A/C was only turned on in the nighttime and was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity outside. After exploring Tulum and the surrounding area during the days, I soooo looked forward to being able to sleep comfortably and without sweating all night. I did wake up shivering in the middle of the night a couple of times, because the A/C would sometimes get too cold, but a warm sweater fixed that! It was also convenient that the remote control for the A/C was located inside the dorm and we were able to adjust the temperature if it was getting too cold.
There were a decent number of power outlets situated in various places around the dorm. Most of the outlets were located beside the bottom bunks, so if you are staying in a top bunk, an extension cord would come in handy. All of the outlets were two-prong only and the one beside my bunk during my second stay didn’t work, but thankfully, there was another one close-by. I enjoy the luxury and convenience of being able to charge my phone next to my bed during the night, so it was great that I was able to do this.
There was a small washroom and shower located right next to the dorm which was super convenient, especially in the nighttime. I also only had to wait to use the washroom or shower a few times.
The Wi-Fi connection sometimes worked inside the dorm, but when it did, it wasn’t nearly as strong or fast as in the common areas. But this didn’t bother me, and I rarely spent any time inside the dorm except for sleeping.
I met some really welcoming, friendly and amazing other women traveling solo in my dorm and there were more women than men during both of my stays, so it sometimes almost felt like a female-only dorm, which I enjoyed.
Hostel Property, Grounds & Appearance
After entering through the wooden gate at the front of the hostel, I found myself standing in front of a spacious, vibrant and colourful outdoor courtyard with beautiful designs painted along all of the walls and hammocks located along one edge. The rustic-looking but charming reception desk was situated just inside the front gate and had two wooden swings along one side hanging down from the makeshift metal roof covering the desk. It was adorable!
Across from the reception desk was a narrow staircase leading to the second level balcony which bordered the courtyard below. There were a row of private rooms along the balcony and a larger 10-bed mixed dorm which overlooked the courtyard.
At the far end of the courtyard was a short set of stairs leading into the indoor common area and lounge where there were a couple of padded benches for seating, a coffee table, a kitchen table, large luggage storage lockers, a small bookshelf (book exchange), and two desktop computers for guests to use located along one wall. After crossing this area and stepping down a few more stairs, there was a small guest kitchen in a room to the right and a hallway to the left which led to a washroom and shower and the 6-bed mixed dorm.
After climbing the stairs to the second level of the hostel, there were private rooms located along a narrow balcony which overlooked the courtyard. At the end of the walkway, there was the 10-bed mixed dorm which also had a balcony overlooking the courtyard.
The appearance of the hostel was simple but lovely and I enjoyed all of the bright colours and unique decor.
During my first stay at Mama’s Home, there were two adorable kittens living there. I completely fell in love with them and enjoyed cuddling with them while relaxing in the hammocks and playing with them in the early morning when everybody else was still asleep. They were so cute and so much fun to be around!
Sadly, they are no longer living at the hostel but they have been given to good homes.
The hostel had two main common areas – the outdoor courtyard and the indoor lounge.
The beautiful outdoor courtyard was the focal point of the hostel and it was my favourite place to spend time. It was painted in a rainbow of eye-catching and vibrant colours (including the cement floor) and the walls featured a variety of beautiful designs. There was a long communal wooden table and chairs and then a bunch of smaller tables scattered around the middle of the courtyard. Thick and lush green vines grew along one entire wall, from the ground to the top of the wall, which were beautiful. The courtyard also had a tall palm tree growing in the centre, and comfortable hammocks strung between poles along one edge, in front of a row of private rooms. I loved the plant life in the courtyard and it added a natural feel to the space. There was always chill and interesting foreign music being played quietly during the daytime and in the evenings, the courtyard was lit up with candles on the tables. The courtyard had a relaxed, peaceful, welcoming, and social atmosphere which I enjoyed, and it was the perfect place to chill-out and relax, as well as meet and socialize with other travelers over breakfast or in the evenings while participating in the fun group activities.
Jose, the hostel owner, organized a different group activity or event during most nights of the week. Every morning, there would be a small whiteboard posted at either the reception desk or in the courtyard which displayed that the night’s or week’s activities were going to be. Some examples of the activities included: pina colada night, chiles rellenos (communal dinner), paella (communal dinner), movie night, karaoke, charades, BBQ, flamenco dancing and much more. Every morning you would be able to find a small whiteboard either at the reception desk or in the courtyard which displayed what that night’s activity was going to be.
Participating in these activities was the highlight of my evenings, and it was such a great way for me to meet and connect with some of the other travelers staying at the hostel while also having a lot of fun. I was able to meet some really cool people in the evenings. I took part in the movie night, pina colada night, chiles rellenos dinner, and karaoke. After the pina colada night (where we paid 50 pesos for unlimited pina coladas in the hostel courtyard), we all walked a few blocks to a nearby and well-known local mojito bar at 11 PM, when the hostel’s quiet time began, to enjoy a couple of mojitos and continue socializing before heading back to the hostel. My favourite “activity” was the chiles rellenos dinner. A local woman, who also worked on the hostel’s housekeeping team during the daytime, brought a bunch of local ingredients to the hostel and cooked everybody a delicious, homemade and traditional meal of chiles rellenos. We all ate at the communal table in the courtyard and I can honestly say that it was one of the best meals I ate during my entire trip to Mexico. It was absolutely scrumptious and tasted so flavourful! The movie night was a good way to relax and unwind and it was projected onto a screen in the courtyard.
On the nights when there wasn’t an activity planned or when I came back to the hostel during the afternoons, I enjoyed simply relaxing in the courtyard while meeting, chatting and sharing food or a local beer with new friends, writing in my journal, lazing in the hammocks, or calling my family at home. There was always chill music playing in the courtyard and it made the atmosphere feel even more relaxed.
The hostel enforced an 11 PM quiet time, which is great for introverts and non-party people like me, who enjoy sleeping in peace. At 11 PM sharp, the evening activities would shut down for the night, the lights would go out and everyone would either have to go to sleep or leave the hostel and go to a bar or restaurant if they wanted to continue socializing and/or drinking. Even though bringing your own alcohol and drinking was allowed at Mama’s Home (and some of the activities involved alcohol too), I would not consider Mama’s Home to be a party hostel. There was always chill and relaxing music playing and everybody just enjoyed having a few drinks while socializing with one another. It wasn’t anything crazy, which I loved because I am not a party person.
The second common area at the hostel was the indoor lounge, which was located inside the hostel building. There were a couple of benches, a coffee table, book exchange, kitchen table with chairs and two desktop computers with internet for guests to use. This area was usually quieter than the courtyard in the evenings and it was the perfect place to relax and read. It was also a great place to spend time when it was raining outside.
Atmosphere & Vibe
I would describe the atmosphere and vibe at Mama’s Home to be cozy, comfortable, laid-back, relaxed, chill, social, friendly, welcoming and charming – yup, I know that’s a lot of adjectives but this hostel definitely lives up to all of them!
I felt like I was a member of a community and family at this hostel, among the staff and other travelers. The other travelers who were during both of my stays were so friendly, fun, and easy-going and even as an introvert, I found it to be easier than I initially thought it would be to approach and meet other people and make new friends there, which was awesome. I met a lot of really great people who accompanied me on day trips and excursions around Tulum and we made a lot of memories together. When I was sitting alone in the courtyard or indoor lounge, I was often approached by another traveler or staff member to chat. I also gained the courage and confidence to approach other solo travelers and small groups by simply introducing myself and asking to join their table. It was a lot easier than I had initially imagined.
Even though the hostel had a social atmosphere, it was definitely not a party hostel, and quiet time began promptly at 11 PM sharp, which I enjoyed and it allowed me to get a good night’s sleep.
The hostel attracted a diverse crowd with travelers from young (20s) to older (40s), both male and female.
Cleanliness & Comfort
The hostel was cleaned daily by two local women, who both worked hard every day to ensure that the hostel facilities were spotless and sparkling clean. Although neither of them spoke English, they always gave me a warm and friendly smile when I saw them and I returned the gesture. Their cheerful, positive and happy attitude was contagious!
In terms of comfort, the mattresses and pillows were very comfortable and the entire hostel had a home-like, cozy and comfortable feel.
There were more than enough washrooms at the hostel and I only had to wait to use one a few times. Conveniently located directly beside the 6-bed dorm, there was a single washroom and shower, which was usually pretty clean.
Four more single washrooms with showers were situated inside the 10-bed dorm on the second level of the hostel, which were open for anybody to use (not just those staying in that dorm).
The water pressure was decent (although a little on the weak side, but this is typical in Mexico) and the temperature for showers was almost always very hot.
Hostel Kitchen & Breakfast
The hostel had a small and fully equipped kitchen for guests to use on the main level beside the indoor lounge area. It was equipped with a fridge, stove, utensils, pots and pans, glasses, plates and everything you would need to cook a great meal. The fridge could be used for storing any leftovers, snacks or drinks. I didn’t use the kitchen for cooking anything but for those who enjoy doing so, or for long term travelers, this kitchen would be great.
The breakfasts at Mama’s Home were one of my favourite things about this hostel. They were absolutely amazing and far exceeded my expectations for a hostel breakfast! Every morning, the same woman who took care of the housekeeping at the hostel, along with the owner of the hostel would create a unique, traditional and spectacular Mexican dish in the kitchen. The breakfasts were different every day and I looked forward to the surprise of finding out what was being served. The dishes were well-prepared using high quality fresh and local ingredients, and they ranged from sweet to savoury. Many of the dishes were healthier variations of traditional Mexican meals. The hostel was very accommodating for diet preferences or allergies and I requested vegetarian versions of the breakfasts. Some examples of the breakfasts that were served included: crepes topped with a savoury sauce and vegetables; chocolate cake with ice cream; and Mexican tortas (sandwiches) just to name a few.
After waking up in the morning, I sat down at one of the tables in the courtyard or in the indoor lounge and minutes after sitting down, was personally served a plate of breakfast from one of the staff members. The service was top-notch and I felt like I was eating at an upscale restaurant! The breakfasts were always presented so beautifully and they looked like art. Everything tasted incredible and the food was so flavourful and delicious.
Breakfast was served starting at 8 AM and lasted until 10 AM.
If you are a foodie, Mama’s Home is definitely the perfect hostel for you!
The Wi-Fi connection at the hostel was almost always very strong and super fast. It was available for free in the outdoor courtyard and the indoor lounge. The internet at Mama’s Home was by far the fastest and best connection that I experienced during both of my travels to the Yucatan.
The Wi-Fi was even fast enough for me to make Skype phone calls to my family at home in Canada, with only a few delays or dropped calls, which was fantastic.
There were also two computer terminals in the indoor lounge area with internet for guests to use.
The staff at Mama’s Home were so incredible and this hostel would definitely not be the same without their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for helping travelers to have amazing memories.
Jose, the hostel owner, was almost always available to answer any questions about Tulum or just chat about anything, and he was the one who welcomed me to the hostel upon my arrival during both of my stays. He was so sweet and had a warm, generous, helpful and kind personality. He was such a hard worker and his dedication to the hostel and in creating such an amazing community, was very admirable. Jose was very approachable and was always working hard to make sure everybody felt included in the community and the group activities and that everybody was having a good time. He was also the one who organized the nightly activities and events and he, along with all of the other staff, participated as well and didn’t just stand back and watch everybody else. The staff were always mingling with the guests and chatting with everybody and getting to know people individually. The staff would greet people warmly (by name) when they returned back to the hostel and ask about how their day had been.
I appreciated the fact that all of the staff members took the time to get to know the names of the everybody staying at the hostel and they were interested in chatting about our lives, stories and travel plans. I really loved and appreciated their personable approach and their efforts to connect with people on a deeper level. I had good chats with the hostel owner Jose as well as another staff member named Craig. Craig was so friendly and he gave me a great recommendation for a locally known and somewhat secret cenote. I visited the hidden cenote on my own and had such an incredible and magical experience while having the entire cenote to myself, and it was one of the most beautiful cenotes I have been to. When I returned to the hostel later that day, Craig greeted me warmly and asked me about how I enjoyed the cenote and how my day had been. I really enjoyed chatting with him and he made me feel very welcome. I thought it was great that some of the staff had remembered my travel plans and then wanted to chat about them afterwards. It just felt like we were all really good friends – travelers and staff alike!
All of the staff members were really knowledgeable about Tulum including how to get around to various places, where to go, things to do, and places to eat. They had great recommendations and there was always someone available to answer questions or chat with. All of the staff were helpful and friendly.
Safety & Security
Tulum itself is a very safe and peaceful town along Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, where crime in general is rare.
As a solo female traveler, I felt comfortable and safe walking throughout the streets of Tulum during both the daytime and evening. During the late evening, I was almost always hanging out with other travelers from the hostel and we would walk together back to the hostel after eating dinner or going shopping.
Mama’s Home itself also felt very secure and safe, and the atmosphere was comfortable and home-like. It felt like a community and family among the travelers and staff and I was not worried about at all about my belongings being stolen (although I was still cautious and smart and kept my valuables locked up when I wasn’t using them). I felt comfortable and safe about leaving my large backpack (filled with my clothing and toiletries) on the floor beside my bunk bed during the day when I was out exploring. The hostel had a wooden gate at the front entrance to the street which was always locked and the door to enter the 6 bed dorm was always locked as well. Guests were provided with keys upon check-in.
I would recommend Mama’s Home for budget-conscious independent travelers who enjoy hostels with a welcoming, social, laid-back and chill atmosphere and vibe and delicious food.
I felt welcomed as a member of the traveler/backpacker community while staying at Mama’s Home and this hostel truly felt like a second home to me. I loved the cozy, comfortable, and relaxed vibe and the ease of meeting fellow travelers in a social, friendly and welcoming environment. Mama’s Home was such a charming place and I enjoyed the vibrant colours everywhere and the unique decor as well. This hostel was definitely a special place and the staff went above and beyond what I would expect of a hostel. I had an absolutely amazing time staying at Mama’s Home during both of my solo travels to Tulum and I am thankful for all of the wonderful people that I met there and friends that I made.
I look forward to returning to Mama’s Home on my future travels to Tulum!
Practical Details – Mama’s Home
Location – Calle Orion between Calles Venus and Sol; Tulum, Mexico
Phone Number – +52 (984) 871-2272
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Languages Spoken – English and Spanish
TripAdvisor Reviews – Click Here
Reservations – Hostelworld
Rates – 200 pesos per night (6 bed mixed gender dorm); 340 pesos per night (deluxe twin private room)
Other Things to Note – Check in time is 2 PM and check out is at 11 AM. The hostel does not accept credit cards so bring cash or remember to visit the ATM before you arrive.
Disclaimer – I was provided with a complimentary stay during my second visit to Mama’s Home which was completely unexpected and was offered to me by the hostel owner when I checked out (Thank you, Jose!). I paid for my own stay during my first visit.
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If you are interested in reading reviews from other hostels that I have stayed at, click here. To read more posts about my experiences and adventures in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, click here and for posts about Tulum specifically, click here.
Have you traveled to Tulum? Have you had the opportunity to experience staying at Mama’s Home Hostel? Would you consider staying at this hostel on your future travels to Tulum?
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