I guess nowadays it rings a bell for many travel savvy people as it seems to be a new hipster trend destination. Tulum truly is a paradise and dream beach of the Caribbean- like you know it from postcards. The sand is whiter than in Thailand’s best beaches and it is finer than you could ever imagine the water is as clear as tap water and of light turquoise colour and feels like photoshopped.
Within the last two decades, Tulum turned from a secret jungle paradise into a fancy destination with hipster vibes for hippies, boho-lovers, alternative seekers or yogis, but also rich and pretty people coming from California dressed up like coming from a runway show can be spotted here.
Why is Tulum the dream beach of the Caribbean?
All people visiting Tulum have one thing in common: you can see true happiness and relaxation on their faces. That’s what this place makes out of you. It makes you forget all your problems and gives you the chance to enjoy only the bright side of life.
Tulum forms part of Riviera Maya and hosts approximately 15-kilometre long beach with very beautiful accommodations, fancy restaurants and a bunch of interesting shops selling organic products, bio skin care or yogi accessories. And I didn’t mention all the great boho-style cafés with healthy fruit bowls, smoothies or avocado bagels and the beach bars where you can enjoy some fine wine, barefoot in the sand in the evenings. Or the yoga terraces which offer sunrise sessions! Or the super delicious nachos variation. Or Papaya playa, an eco-friendly complex of beautiful huts and relaxed beach club which has one mission: to lead sustainability and social responsibility projects and reach zero emission and zero contamination community – very inspiring! Or the treehouse villas of Azulik resort. Or the delicious mango smoothie at Il Barino.
Wow now that I think about my experiences at this wonderful place, Tulum is just heaven – a fancy hip heaven! the dream beach of the Caribbean!
But what Tulum makes so precious is that no huge hotel skyscrapers, no chains, no big brands settled down there (yet), all accommodations are hidden a bit in the jungle of course along the beach front, but most places are wide and spacious and give you a kind of intimate feeling.
How did my perfect Tulum day look like?
I slept in in my little hut till the birds and the first sun rays woke me up. Still sleepy, I slipped out of bed, put my bikini on and had a refreshing swim in the pool to wake up, then I let myself warm-up by the first sun rays and took my time on a sun lounger to completely wake up and arrive in the present. After that: time for breakfast! Slowly I floated through the little garden of my accommodation to the breakfast area which was located on a little terrace outside, barefoot the whole day, feeling the powder sand between my toes. After a delicious healthy breakfast with many tropical fruits, I already needed a little nap on the beach in one of the big comfy beach beds till it was time for a lunch snack which I ordered to my beach bed, nachos with guacamole, salsa and cheese – waw so delicious (good that I didn’t care about calories in this travel)!
As the sun becomes really hot at the beach in the early afternoon I decided to change location and switch to my hammock in front of my hut in the chilly shadow of the palm tree garden. After reading a good book there for a while, having some naps in between, it was time for a little walk along the beach which amazed me every single time. I strolled along the beach, checking out some little eco-friendly stores from other hotels while sipping my passion fruit papaya smoothie. After another chill time at the beach, an unhealthy Mexican dinner I was super exhausted from the day, I fell in my bed every night and fell asleep truly happy and relaxed. Tulum is truly the dream beach of the Caribbean!
This is the one part of Tulum. But there are so many beautiful places to discover at Riviera Maya which stretches from Cancún to the south of Tulum. So in between all the relaxing at the dream beach of the Caribbean, don’t miss out to visit the following places.
On Mayan tracks: Ruinas Mayas de Tulum
This impressing stone fortress is located on stunning cliffs approximately 15 meters above the sea overlooking the turquoise blue of the Caribbean sea. It is the only remaining Mayan site being located at the coast and one of the best preserved in Mexico.
This Mayan city disposing of a fort was utilized during the Postclassic period around 1200-1450 CE. There are different stories about the origin and history of Tulum. But what is sure is that it was a Mayan town being protected by huge walls which were between 5 and 8 meters high.
Tulum served as major crossroad from land and sea, transferring goods from Honduras to Mexico. This was proven by a huge amount of artefacts from all over Mexico which was found here.
As the ruins are very popular among tourists and also big buses of tourists I recommend to visit the ruins in the early mornings before the crowds arrive.
Snorkel in the mystique Cenote Dos Ojos
In Yucatan, many freshwater sinkholes appear, called Cenote. Cenotes were believed by the ancient Mayan to be the entrance to the underworld. And as dramatic as this sounds, these cenotes really are: mystic and stunning at the same time. It is estimated that there are around 6000 of these limestone sinkholes all over the Peninsula of Yucatan.
I visited Cenote dos Ojos which is located approximately 22 kilometres from Tulum. It is an enormous underwater cave system and with a length of 57 kilometres the third largest underwater cave in the world. You can swim, snorkel or dive there. Initially, I wanted to dive here but when I realized that the divers are just a few meters more down than the snorkelers I went for the snorkelling guided tour which was the best option in my opinion. The snorkel was a very fascinating experience – and btw a welcome refreshment to the hot climate!
Also worth to visit and on your way to Chichén Itza (see next paragraph) is Cenote Ik Kil:
Visit one of 7 world wonders: Chichén Itzá
Or “Chicken Pizza” as the American girl on my bus was always calling it.
These ancient Mayan ruins were named one of the new seven wonders of the world. Even if this place is crowded at every time of the day it will really impress you. The most iconic part of Chichen Itza is the massive El Castillo pyramid. Unfortunately, it is not possible to enter or climb it. This ancient city was built by Mayas and abandoned for unknown reasons in the 9th century. It was one of the largest Maya cities and it is believed to have been one of the mythical great cities referred to in later Meso-American literature. The exact meaning of this Mayan town is still unknown.
Diving in Cozumel
The best dive in my life – I promise! One nurse shark, two turtles, one eagle ray, one moray eel, in one dive of approximately 45 minutes, just to mention few. I think no more words are needed. The 65 reefs around Cozumel belong to the world’s most popular diving spots and offer great experience and good visibility the whole year. A destination very worth it to go!
Of course, it won’t beat diving spots in the Maldives but for me, it was the best dive I ever had. I guess snorkelling must be worth it as well – at least to see turtles. You can do a day trip to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen or Cancún. I chose Deep Blue diving school and was very satisfied – except for the part when a Chinese couple of my dive group started taking selfies with the nurse shark and wasted 6 minutes of my precious diving time. But that’s not the fault of the diving school of course.
Relaxed get-away: Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is located just 13 kilometres off the coast of Cancún and a welcome get-away from the touristy beach of Cancún. We just went there to relax at the beach but you can dive or snorkel there as well or discover the island with a golf cart.