Tulum: Sun, Sand and a Sea of Tourists

Before arriving in Tulum, I had read so many travel blogs about this place. The overwhelming love and positivity about the crystal blue waters and chilled out town made me excited to spend time here.

We took a long but comfortable night bus from Palenque and arrived about 10 am. We booked to stay at an Airbnb in the small town as the beach hotels are way out of our budget. Tulum, in general, is expensive. While the town is a more budget option and certainly where you find the most backpackers, even rooms here are a little higher than what we’ve paid elsewhere.

Tulum: Famous for ruins and beaches

Our Airbnb hosts work in hospitality and told us that hotels down by the beach can cost anything from $150 – $3000 a night! Mental. Really enjoying our time here so far. Here’s a bit more about our time.

It’s Hot

Well, duh, Helen, you’re in Mexico. The temperature as we’ve travelled has got increasingly hotter as the summer months have etched nearer. As such, Tulum is damn hot. Our weekdays are spent working which is quite welcome when the 30 degree plus heat is beating down hard. When we finally headed to the beach on Saturday, it rained pretty much all day….



The Beach is Beautiful

As mentioned above, it rained, a lot. We visited the famous Mayan ruins which were awesome, even in the rain. Unfortunately, the small beach by the ruins was closed off due to the tide. By the time we’d walked around the busy ruins and agreed that it was a bloody great place for Mayans to build their town (ocean view, after all), the rain was easing off.

Getting a little wet at the ruins

We went to the beach and were greeted by soft white sands and blue sea. Everyone was banging on about the turquoise sea and I can confirm, it is beautiful. The water was clean, warm, and very blue. We had a couple of (expensive) beers before going for a swim and stroll along the beach. I’m not sure if it’s because of the season or the rain but it seemed fairly quiet. I loved it.

Touristy Town

Tulum is a fairly touristy town. The beautiful beach is a big draw and the nearby Cancun Airport serves direct flights to many destinations in Europe and the USA. Walking around town, I hear all different accents and languages, which is cool.

Lots of tourists at the ruins

The tourism means there is an array of cafes, restaurants, and happy hours to suit your needs. The restaurants are, of course, at a slightly inflated price but there are still lots of local spots which serve great food for a cheaper price.

Taking a day trip to Playa Del Carmen

On Sunday we decided to take a trip to the nearby Playa Del Carmen. If I suggested that Tulum was the most touristy part of Mexico we’d been to, then I was wrong. Playa Del Carmen reminds me more of Spain, Greece, or one of the Canary Islands than the rest of Mexico. The beach is full of sunbeds and people selling massages. There is one, super long pedestrian road where people entice you to come in as you walk down. Everything is more expensive, everyone talks to you in English, and everywhere writes the prices in American dollars.

Pedestrian street in Playa Del Carmen

It seemed like a world away from where we were in Angangueo, the small town where we stayed to visit the Monarch Butterflies. However, it’s still Mexico, just a more touristy part of Mexico. I was happy to return to Tulum, which, in comparison, is tiny and much less touristy.

I’ve enjoyed the laid back vibe, lovely beach, and some great food. It’s been a good place to do some work and chill out — but not literally because I’m sweating like Theresa May on election night.

Have you visited Tulum or Playa Del Carmen? Did you like them?

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