The fourth beach in my beach series is the beautiful Tulum, Mexico, where the water is the bluest in the land. The Ginger Hunk was telling me before we went that all the photos were photo shopped! I am pleased to say that they were not! The water IS ACTUALLY THAT FREAKING BLUE!
Here is the low down on Tulum.
The Beach – In The Shawshank Redemption, when Andy and Red escape to the Caribbean… well I think that they escape to Tulum. That is what Tulum Beach is like in real life in the feature image above. White thin sand, crystal clear water, palm fronds hugging the coastline. It is so nice. I have sat on many beaches, and this is the best beach in the world, or in my world, until I find another one. Unlike other beaches in Asia, Tulum beach feels chilled. Although there are bungalows, ritzy boutique resorts, and beach bars, they are stretched out and no part of the beach is ‘busy’, or at least it wasn’t back in 2012. They have also made it illegal to build over three stories. So you will not get the skyscrapers or the hideous resorts of Cancun in the north. The beach is also public, so you needn’t feel that you have to pay a price tag to sit on it.
Getting there and away – We flew into Cancun from Los Angeles with Aeromexico. In my opinion, you want to get to Cancun and then GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. It probably used to be a very beautiful place, but is not now. Your best friend travelling down the coast is going to be the ADO buses. They go all the way from Tulum, is safe, air conditioned and cheap. Tulum will take around two hours to reach from Cancun airport. One there, buses, colectivos (mini vans) or taxis can take you around. A colectivo is like a little combi van that you get in and out of wherever you like, just flag one down and hit the buzzer when you want to get out.
Accommodation – You have a tough decision when you arrive in Tulum. The beach or the town? There are bonuses of both. If you want to wake up, dip your toes in the sand, and have that beach experience without moving, then go to the beach. But you will pay top price for that. Also the beach stretch is looong, so don’t fantasise about walking to different places to eat. You need to take a car, wherever you stay. We split our time between the beach and the town, and found the town great for doing day tours from, and walking in the evening. Initially we stayed at Maison Tulum, a guesthouse within walking distance to the centre of town. The rooms all face down to a cute little paved courtyard where you can eat or have a drink. Rooms here will put you back $100 a night and are large and spacious.
We loved Tulum so much that we ended up cancelling our trip to Vegas to chill out and chose Las Palmas Maya. This little place is across the road from the beach, a fraction of the price of the beach front and has small bungalows going onto a courtyard.
Food & Bars – I could write more about this. But I have two words to say. FISH TACOS. This trip started our obsession with fish tacos. There are so many good places to eat and drink in Tulum, decent seafood, and fishbowl cocktails. For a special evening, head to Casa Banana on the beach for the Lobster. On Sunday nights, head to Zebra for SALSA DANCING. When we were there they turned off all the lights and I will never forget dancing with The Ginger Hunk under those stars. If you’re ever sick of mexican head to Mezzanine for thai and cocktails, and of course the view.
Activities – There is so much to do here. The best part of Tulum, in my opinion is the cenotes. Parallel to the coast is an underground river system, resulting from the collapse of limestone exposing the water underneath, making for an amazing, swimming, diving, or freediving experience. Some are huge like Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote, and here you will pay a fee and battle with crowds. And some like the one below, will just be you. If you’re going to do the popular cenotes my advice is to go early in the morning before the buses arrive. We took an Extreme Tulum Expedition with Riviera Adventours, which included Mayan Ruins, ziplining over a cenote, kayaking, lunch and snorkelling with the sea turtles. It was awesome and well worth the $100, not to worry about transport. We then picked our cenotes we wanted to visit and organised the other parts of Tulum ourselves.
Budget – You could do Tulum on the cheap, although it would be hard. You can eat and have delicious cocktails and seafood for a fraction of Australian prices. Accommodation can be hit and miss and isn’t always such good value. Basic rooms will set you back around $100, and the more ritzy places on the beach will be $2-300. Simply don’t scrimp on the sightseeing though, it is what you SHOULD be spending your money on in Tulum, and like I said, the beach, the best thing of all is free!
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Check out the rest of our Travel Beach Series.