Why Tulum and not an all-inclusive resort with more food and drink then you can handle?
Tulum is nothing like its spring break neighbor Cancun and its mega resort filled beaches of Playa del Carmen who lie just north in the Mayan Riviera coast of Mexico. Mexico is getting it’s butt kicked tourism wise by the actions unruly public officials and drug cartels of the northern and central regions. Basically, stories like ones related to crime, murder and drugs sell papers to the press is having a field day.
Those pesky drug cartels and corrupt government officials
Well, Tulum is about the distance from San Francisco to Boston from where the real problems, however big or small they actually are, so it’s pretty safe. Unfortunately, many would be travelers haven’t taken this huge distance into account and have stayed away as they are reporting a huge slump in tourism this year in Mexico.
Fortunate for me because I tend to avoid areas which get inundated with tour buses and the large drone like groups of people who funnel in and out of must see sites like Chichen Itza and the ruins at Tulum to name a couple. I had been one of those day trippers some 15 years ago and had no intension in revisiting the area but did remember that it was very beautiful and most importantly warm. I decided to take advantage of the bad situation, find a deal on airfare and hotel and take a break from the cold Northeast.
Do I stay on the Beach or in town?
When looking for a place on the Mayan Riviera and particularly in Tulum, there is a huge savings if you stay off the beach. But, you have to ask yourself, “Why I’m I going? Is it for the ruins or the beach or both?” For me it was both but if I had more time and less money the hotels in the center of Tulum would have been just fine. This one looked good online and it’s called the TeTotum. They have a small pool on the roof and it looked clean and kind of funky. Then I found a place that was right on the water, was actually a little less because they were offering their low season rate (deal!) on the cabana due to low numbers and we had friends who had stayed there a few months prior. It’s called La Via Laktea or The Milky Way.
Of course I obsessed over the reviews of those two and others near them with comparable prices. I found that the beach is far south is the sandiest and on the edge of the Sian Ka’an Biological Reserve. This means possible sea turtle and bird sittings and option to do a day kayak trip through the park. My husband and I were lazy and passed but it was nice to have the option. Other resorts on the water were closer to the town center and cheaper for a reason. They had very little beach. Not close to the vision of myself and my husband taking long walks on soft warm white sandy shore. Cutting my feet up while walking on volcanic rocks and trying to find some was not in that vision.
I couldn’t have imagined a more relaxing place then this 5 kilometer beach at the tip of Tulum. My husband and I spent four days seeing Mayan ruins, swimming in the blue water as we were looked over by a very demanding and cute yellow lab and his shy or just introverted Chow sidekick. We never got their names but it was your typical transient relationship. I hope to see them again soon.
There are very few complaints of the trip as a whole. It was a bit chilly and it did rain on the first day, but it all worked out. It was 58F at night and 75F during the day…but in NYC it was 15F at night and 25F (brrr) during the day mixed with snow. It’s understandable…I like to think that the Rain God Chaak was just doing his job and giving the area much needed rain for spring crops.
Where to stay on the Beach: La Via Laktea 9.5 Kilometer on the beach road south. The road to Sian Ka’an is 10 kilometers long so just about there. Expect to go over about 12 speed bumps before you see in on the left or beach side.
Where to eat at on the beach least one night or more: La Slowteria (review) La Slowteria (Facebook) about the 5 or 6 kilo mark on the Tulum Beach Road…look for the signs since you can’t go too fast here anyways.
A must try: Cocos Frios or cold coconuts sold at stands along highway. Just look for signs along the way from Tulum to Coba.