Monday, 12 March 2018

MEXICO: Tulum Cabanas Are Eco-friendly, No Electricity Past Midnight, Toilet Paper Can Not Be Flushed, You Are Advised To Use Water Sparingly.

Tulum was the site of a Mayan port which was supported by up to 1000 residents before the arrival of the Spanish.

The ruin's tropical beach backdrop is the main attraction of this picturesque, much-visited small ruin on the shore of the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city serving as a major port for Coba, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.

Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have resulted in very high fatalities, disrupting the society and eventually causing the city to be abandoned.

One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists.

TheMaya site may formerly have been known by the name Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise.

Tulum stands on a bluff facing east toward the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is also the Yucatan Mayan word for fence, wall or trench. The walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions.

Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub, especially for obsidian.

From numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been an important site for the worship of the Diving or Descending god.

Tulum has architecture typical of Maya sites on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. This architecture is recognized by a step running around the base of the building which sits on a low substructure.

Doorways of this type are usually narrow with columns used as support if the building is big enough. As the walls flare out there are usually two sets of molding near the top.

The room usually contains one or two small windows with an altar at the back wall, roofed by either a beam-and-rubble ceiling or being vaulted.

This type of architecture resembles what can be found in the nearby Chichen Itza, just on a much smaller scale.

Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about 3–5 meters (9.8–16.4 ft) in height. The wall also was about 8 m (26 ft) thick and 400 m (1,300 ft) long on the side parallel to the sea.

The part of the wall that ran the width of the site was slightly shorter and only about 170 meters (560 ft) on both sides.

Constructing this massive wall would have taken an enormous amount of energy and time, which shows how important defense was to the Maya when they chose this site.

On the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers, showing again how well defended the city was.

There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the west. Near the northern side of the wall a small cenote provided the city with fresh water.

It is this impressive wall that makes Tulum one of the most well-known fortified sites of the Maya.

There are three major structures of interest at the Tulum site. El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God are the three most famous buildings.

Among the more spectacular buildings here is the Temple of the Frescoes that included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. The Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun.

Niched figurines of the Maya or diving god or Venus deity decorate the facade of the temple. This diving god is also depicted in the Temple of the Diving God in the central precinct of the site.

Above the entrance in the western wall a stucco figure of the diving god is still preserved, giving the temple its name.

A mural can still be seen on the eastern wall that resembles that of a style that originated in highland Mexico, called the Mixteca-Puebla style, though visitors are no longer permitted to enter.

Also in the central precinct is the Castillo, which is 7.5 m (25 ft) tall. The Castillo was built on a previous building that was colonnaded and had a beam and mortar roof.

The lintels in the upper rooms have serpent motifs carved into them. The construction of the Castillo appears to have taken place in stages. A small shrine appears to have been used as a beacon for incoming canoes.

This shrine marks a break in the barrier reef that is opposite the site. Here there is a cove and landing beach in a break in the sea cliffs that would have been perfect for trading canoes coming in.

This characteristic of the site may be one of the reasons the Maya founded the city of Tulum exactly here, as Tulum later became a prominent trading port during the late Postclassic.

Both coastal and land routes converged at Tulum. A number of artifacts found in or near the site show contacts with areas all over Central Mexico and Central America.

Copper artifacts from the Mexican highlands have been found near the site, as have flint artifacts, ceramics, incense burners, and gold objects from all over the Yucatan.

Salt and textiles were among some of the goods brought by traders to Tulum by sea that would be dispersed inland. Typical exported goods included feathers and copper objects that came from inland sources.

These goods could be transported by sea to rivers such as the Rio Motagua and the Rio Usumacincta/Pasion system, which could be traveled inland, giving seafaring canoes access to both the highlands and the lowlands.

The Rio Motagua starts from the highlands of Guatemala and empties into the Caribbean. The Rio Pasion/Ucamacincta river system also originates in the Guatemalan highlands and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

It may have been one of these seafaring canoes that Christopher Columbus first encountered off the shores of the Bay Islands of Honduras. Jade and obsidian appear to be some of the more valuable found here.

The obsidian would have been brought from Ixtepeque in northern Guatemala, which was nearly 700 kilometers (430 mi) away from Tulum.

This huge distance, coupled with the density of obsidian found at the site, show that Tulum was a major center for the trading of obsidian.

Tulum archaeological site is relatively compact compared with many other Maya sites in the vicinity, and is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites.

Its proximity to the modern tourism developments along the Mexican Caribbean coastline and its short distance from Cancun and the surrounding Riviera Maya has made it a popular Maya tourist site in the Yucatan.

Daily tour buses bring a constant stream of visitors to the site. The Tulum ruins are the third most-visited archaeological site in Mexico, after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza.

It is popular for the picturesque view of the Caribbean and a location just 128 km (80 mi) south of the popular beach resort of Cancun.

A large number of cenotes are located in the Tulum area such as Maya Blue, Naharon, Temple of Doom, Tortuga, Vacaha, Grand Cenote, Abejas, Nohoch Kiin and Carwash cenotes and cave systems.

The tourist destination is now divided into four main areas, the archaeological site, the pueblo or town, the zona hotelera or hotel zone and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an.

In 1995, tourism came to a brief halt as the powerful Hurricane Roxanne pounded into Tulum, packing 115 mph winds. Damage was moderate.

Considered a tropical savanna climate typically with a pronounced dry season.

Be prepared for LOTS of people and tour groups at the archaeological site. To avoid the crowds, it is best to stay overnight and visit the ruins early in the morning before the buses arrive, or later in the afternoon.

Morning is recommended since you can catch spectacular views when the sun is rising over the Caribbean. Tulum has three areas, Downtown, Ruins and the Hotel Zone.

The hotel zone is some miles ahead of the ruins on the same way and there are multiple eco cabanas, restaurants, spas and more. Downtown has local establishments and is not as touristic as the hotel zone.

You can find more detailed info below in Three Tulums Area. It is also important to consider that many establishments do not accept credit cards and there are not many ATM's walking distance from cabanas, so make sure to have enough cash available.

Wifi access and telephone signal is restricted.

To get to Tulum, you will be landing at Cancun International Airport. The ride from there is about 1 hr 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the chosen transportation method, weather and traffic.

From the Cancun International Airport you can take the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen with departures every :30min to 1 hour for around $156 MXN about $12 USD.

Once in Playa del Carmen you transfer to a second bus ADO, AU or Mayab to Tulum for an additional $74 MXN about $5 USD.

Buses from Cancun run quite regularly. There is also an ADO bus direct from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.

Buses from Playa del Carmen run hourly or so. Bus station is at southern end of Fifth Avenue near Playacar. ADO Bus $74 MXN stops at Xcaret and Xel-ha enroute to Tulum.

Mayab bus $42 MXN stops more frequently enroute to Tulum from Playa del Carmen. Both have a/c.

To visit the ruins, get off the bus at the first Tulum stop at the intersection with the access road to the ruins. It's an easy one mile or so flat walk to the ruins from the intersection.

An alternative to the buses is to catch a collectivo van. In Playa del Carmen you can find these on Calle 2 towards Avenida 20. A one-way trip costs $40 MXN p.p. Buses leave when full in a matter of minutes.

Make sure to ask specifically for the ruins, as the town of Tulum is another stop. You will be dropped off and picked up at the side of the Federal Highway 307, the same intersection where the buses stop, from where you can walk the last 850 meters to the ruins.

Rental cars are priced reasonably and are the easiest way to get around the Tulum area. Shop around rates upon arrival, and feel free to haggle.

Check with your credit card company to see if they automatically insure you, most do so you don't have to pay the additional insurance that the rental agency often tries to insist you purchase.

If you check prices on internet, make sure to confirm that the price you are seeing if the final, as some companies apply surcharges at the very last minute when you are already signing the contract.

It is a very easy drive to Tulum. To get there you take the only highway south from Cancun Airport straight down past Playa del Carmen, Akumal, etc. About 90 minutes from the airport you will arrive in Tulum.

If staying on the Hotel Zone, you will see a sign that says Boca Paila and you need to follow it and turn left. From there, you just need to look for your hotel.

If you don't want to drive or suffer the hassle of going up and down the buses with your luggage, you can pre-book a transfer from the airport to your hotel or destination.

There are many companies offering this service that are reliable, safe and professional as:

- Discovery Mundo

- Olympus Tours

- Best Day

- Amstar DMC

- Cancun Transportations Private Transportation

- Paradise Transfers - Airport Transfers fron Cancun to Tulum

- Transfers USA

Many of the Hotels in Tulum offer a pick-up service from the Cancun International Airport for an additional price depending on the hotel. Check with your hotel and compare rates.

If you drive yourself to the ruins before opening time, it may be a bit confusing as to where to go and what to do. As soon as you park, a man on a bicycle should find you and charge you for parking ($50 MXN).

You must go through a sort of half open-air mall which is empty before 8AM. From there you can either sign up with a tour guide ($20 USD per person?), pay for a shuttle ride to the ruins ($20 MXN), or walk a mile along a road to the ruins.

The guides are reported to be better story tellers than actual experts on Mayan culture. The walk is on level ground and passes quickly as you admire the jungle and abandoned shops along the way.

If you can walk it, do it and save a few bucks. As you approach a stone wall, to the left will be a brown wooden building where you can purchase your ticket into the ruins 57 MXN, an additional 35 pesos if they see that you have a video camera.

From there, head along a stone path through the jungle and into the ruins.

What most folks really need to know, and only manage to figure out once there, is the fact that there are really three different areas all referred to as Tulum only minutes away from each other, not close enough though to walk to and from.

Tulum Pueblo sits split by highway 307 running South-North. El Pueblo, as referred to by locals, is home to most workers of the tourist industry and where many of the stores, supermarkets, two bus stations, inns, hostels and small hotels are found.

This section of town has a definite feel of existing mostly to cater to the Tulum ruins.

Tulum pueblo is indeed a destination for shopping, great restaurants, a modest night life, studying the language at Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School, booking tours, banking, shopping for food, local vegetables, fruits, cafes, and local flavor.

Tulum Playa nests along the coastline that leads into the Sian Ka'an Biosphere or Ecological Reserve, the Caribbean white sandy beaches to the east, an impressive mangrove & wetland reserve to the south.

Tulum Playa embraces many of the fancier, ecological, boutique and spa hotels, and it has a decent selection of restaurants and night spots. There are also a number of affordable beach front cabana-type lodging locations.

Walk the beach and simply step in and inquire about accommodations and rates. Always ask to see the available rooms before committing: cabanas generally look better from outside than inside; bathrooms in particular are often in sad disrepair.

It should be noted most of these establishments are Eco-friendly and do not provide electricity past midnight.

Toilet paper can not be flushed and it is asked that water and other resources be used sparingly. The hotels in Tulum aim to keep Tulum as it is and stop the ecological problems that have already taken hold in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

If you are staying on the beach and trying to save money, it is wise to stock up on food and drinks in the pueblo.

There are not too many restaurant options on the beach, and the ones that are operational are comparatively quite expensive.

Taxis have a near monopoly on transport to and from the playa. Buses come from time to time, but hitchhiking can also get you where you need to go.

The beach area hotel zone sees considerable trade in and use of illicit substances. Keep in mind that for some visitors this is the area's main attraction, so if you choose to attend a bonfire or rumba party use common sense.

The street running parallel to the coast where most of the cabanas are is unlit and curvy. Exercise extra caution after dark. There are no sidewalks.

Tulum Ruinas is the archaeological site where the Maya ruins of Tulum stand. It is conformed by a-mile-long road leading into the ruins from highway 307.

The road is flanked by several restaurants, a commercial area geared to one-day visitors, a huge parking lot, a small bus station that operates part-time and a handful of middle range hotels.

Tulum is mostly known for its ruins, which strike an impressive image next to the sea, but were constructed during a time period of Maya culture that was waning.

The site is notable for a small cenote, beautiful beach below the ruin laden cliffs and some well preserved stellae in only one of its structures.

After visiting other ruins in the area such as Coba, Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, Tulum's main claim is the sea-side setting. It is best visited on a clear, bright day or at sunrise.

Bring your swimming suit.

A standard to telephoto zoom lens does well if you must photograph during times of peak tourism. This strategy will keep people out of your shots of the ruins.

Tripods are allowed only with a permit that is exclusively available in Mexico City for a $500 fee. A monopod may be a possibility.

Taxis are an inexpensive way to get around but for the most part, Tulum Pueblo is so small that walking is a simple, though often dusty, option. Taxis from Pueblo to the coast is ~$110 MXN.

It is advisable to either take a taxi or rent a bike when traveling between the Pueblo and the beach, as the walk is rather long, dusty and unattractive. Taxis within pueblo is $25 MXN - this is particularly useful when you go to the supermarket.

Bikes are a convenient way to get around town and to/from cenotes and the beach. Please be careful when riding a bike on the highway. Bring a headlamp/flashlight if biking at night.

You can rent them from many places for about 50MXN / day. Many hostels also rent their own bikes.

Center Bikes - Main Street / Saturno Norte near Subway - 85MXN / 24 hours, 80MXN if return in the same day.

Kelly Bike Rental - Calle Acuario at Cancun - Chetumal, Tulum - 100MXN / 24 hours.

Iguana Bikes in Tulum Pueblo - $150 to 250 MXN for 24 hours

Many collectivos or shared vans leave Tulum Pueblo:

To Playa del Carmen and all cenotes / beaches / resorts in between, they leave every 5 minutes from the main street, near the ADO bus station price depends on where you stop: $20 MSN for the ruins and some cenotes, $25 MSN for Akumal, etc.

To the beach, they leave about once per hour from Venus Ote / Orion Sur - $10 MXN you can actually see the timetable in Google streetview. They might refuse to take you in at around 3pm because it's for workers first.

To Coba in the main street near the ADO bus station, but they only leave when there's enough people to fill the van/car, so you might wait for hours.

Tulum Ruins is the biggest ancient building that is standing on the Riviera Maya shore. If you want to avoid the big tour crowds, go before 9:30.

The park opens at 8:00 and closes at 17:00 costs 70MXN, however they also have special hours from 6:30 to 8:00 and 17:00 to 19:00 costs 225MXN.

Sian Ka'an Biosphere, the reserve features acres upon acres of pristine mangrove swamp and wetlands. Just past the information center pull into the dirt lot on the left and walk out to the beach.

There are a few fishermen that dock here and are willing to take you on a tour that is much cheaper than the organized tours offered in the area. The fishermen will take you on an hour to two hour boat tour of the reserve any time of day.

Near sunset is a great option. They will often work for hire for $100 to 200 MXN about $10 to 20 USD.

Coba ruins, be sure to visit the Coba ruins. They are not in as pristine shape as the Tulum Ruins, however they feature El Castillo the tallest of the Mayan ruins that juts up above the treetops in the jungle.

You can still climb el castillo in Coba and the sight from the top is spectacular. A fun and efficient way of exploring the ruins is renting a bike $40 MXN, just go to the rental place inside the ruins.

You can also rent bikes to get around Coba. Coba is only a 30 minute drive west of tulum on the main road off 307. Just follow the signs to Coba.

Muyil archaeological site, smaller and less developed than the Tulum ruins, but also quieter. Entry is 50MXN. At the opposite side of the site is a board walk, another 50MXN through the jungle, with a rickety and steep tower that provides a great view.

The walk leads you to a lagoon, where for 600MXN you are taken by boat through a tour of part of the Sian Ka'an biosphere, a couple of lagoons, and a couple of canals one natural and one Mayan-made.

Then you get to put on a life jacket as a sort of diaper if a good swimmer, and float along a canal well worth bringing a snorkel or at least a mask.

To get there from Tulum either take a taxi 250MXN, Mayab bus 26MXN, from ADO station, or collectivo 20MXN. To get back, just wait at the bus stop by the ruins and hail a passing collectivo or bus.

Tulum Sports Festival, a sports event held annually at Tulum Beach and is open registration. Fun and sports for everyone with live music, beach volleyball, paddle boards, kayaks, swimming, kite boarding and more.

A great weekend of fun activities to celebrate the beauty of the beach and wind. There's something for everyone.

Extreme Control The original Kiteboarding school of Tulum, teaching since 2005 with bilingual IKO certified instructors to all levels. Also offering Diving courses and fun dives, Paddleboarding rentals and tours.

Extreme Control headquarters are located on the main Tulum public beach in front of Hotel Playa Esperanza and beside El Paraiso Beach Club.

Ocean Pro Kite, kiteboarding school located on Tulum beach. It provides kitesurf lessons following the most professional and safest method of teaching, known as IKO or International Kitesurfing Organisation.

From a one-hour lesson to ready to go packages.

Snorkeling, there are great guided snorkel tours from the public beach near the ruins, which cost 200 pesos each and lasts about two hours.

Scuba diving in the Cenotes around Tulum is an experience not to be missed. There are multiple dive operators based in Tulum that to both Cenote and ocean dives.

La Calypso Dive Center, Professional, family size dive center, PADI certified instructors and dive masters, highly enthusiastic and with great knowledge of the various cenotes.

Snorkeling tours, Cavern diving or cenote diving, PADI courses, Discover Scuba Diving, reef diving. As they almost only manage private groups, they don't have a dive shop open to the public so bookings and information have to be done early.

You can also take your own self guided tour of the reefs right off the beach from the Hotel Zone. Tulum sits on the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Be sure to take a tour yourself, or a guided tour of this fantastic reef system. You will be sure to see over 30 species of fish and some spectacular Coral as well.

If you must take a guided tour, the cheapest in the area is located at Zamas Hotel. Zamas is located about 10 establishments in from the beginning of the hotel zone.

Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park, offering unique jungle adventures to suit everyone, Hidden Worlds is situated on the most extensive system of underwater caves and caverns on Earth.

The park is home to some of the most incredible cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, as featured in the critically acclaimed 2001 IMAX movie Journey Into Amazing Caves and the 2007 BBC Planet Earth series.

Maya Spa, holistic spa specializing in Mayan treatments.

Aguaclara project, Diving, Snorkeling & Eco tours, Calle Luna poniente MZa 2 lot 1 loc 2 two blocks back from Cancha maya. Outstanding tours to the natural surrounding of Tulum in very small groups with great personal service.

Koox Diving and Tours Various adventures in the company of skilled, fully certified guides and instructors. Scuba diving in cenotes, PADI and cave diving courses available. Free GoPro to record the adventure.

Tours planned thoroughly to let visitors fully admire the local wildlife and nature.

Kite surfing and paddle boarding lessons, day trips to Sian Ka'an and Isla Blanca are also on offer 3 hours of kitesurf or paddle board practice, all gear and equipment provided, even lunch and drinks.

Ground tours to Punta Laguna and Coba, Sian Ka'an, Muyil and Tulum Ruins are also available upon reservation.

Instructors are: PADI certified Dive Masters, senior level 2 (IKO, KISS, PASA, IBO) kitesurfing instructors and local guides speaking English, Spanish and Italian.

Tours start every day, at 8 and 11 o'clock for diving; 9am-4pm for private kite surfing and paddle boarding trips. All gear, equipment, transportation are provided.

Prices: $85-$250, vary by trip, duration and location. Address: Avenida Tulum, manzana 2, Lote 4, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Open hours: 8-21.

In much of the Yucatan, rainwater collects in a system of underground caves and tunnels. Where these tunnels reach the surface is known as a cenote. Cenotes usually allow swimming and diving, and at some you can rent related equipment.

They contain fresh water, which is often cool since they are shaded in most cases. Cenotes allow close-up access to fauna such as fish, turtles, and in some cases, bats.

Some cenotes are mainly enclosed with only small openings on the surface and a larger above-water cavernous area that extends under the rock covering. Others are more open and allow more natural light.

El Gran Cenote. Admission: $150 MXN. This is the most popular cenote and therefore the most crowded in Tulum.

A good combination of a deep, cavernous portion, a couple of shallow open-air portions and ample wooden decking with stairs down to the water at several entrance points. This is recommended for first-time cenote-goers.

Snorkelling gear is available for rent although prices are a bit steep. Prices are $80 MXN for snorkel and mask rental snorkels appeard to be non-valved, $30 MXN to rent a locker to store your bags, $50 MXN to rent a life vest and $250 MXN to buy a waterproof camera.

Casa Cenote, in TanKah III Bay is a magic spot. Here the Cenote goes underground some 100 yards before the beach, only to emerge as an underwater water spring about 20 yards of the beach, right in the ocean.

Tanka III Bay is just over 7 kilometers (5 miles) north of the intersection to the ruins. Take a cab. Great places to eat and stay or scuba too. Admission: about 25 pesos. Extra charge to rent a snorkel or kayak.

Cenote Calavera. Admission: $100 MXN. This is named calavera or skull because the entrance has one circular opening of about 9 meters in diameter into which one can jump or descend down a ladder, plus two smaller openings of about 1 meter in diameter.

The cenote is mostly enclosed and only partially lit by daylight - there is a large cavernous area that is home to many bats.

Cenotes Cristal and Escondido. $120 MXN buys admission to both 200MXN if you have diving equipment. These two cenotes are across the highway from each other, 3km south of the beginning of the Pueblo.

Both are open-air, relatively shallow water, and unlikely to be crowded. Cristal has a diving platform about 3 meters above the surface of the water.

The shape of the cenote is semi-round. Escondido is longer and contains an interesting floor of algae-covered rock and wood.

Many fish eat the algae off the surfaces. There are small islands around which one can swim, and flexible straw-like tree roots jut into the water.

Escondido is a 10-minute walk or a 2-minute bicycle ride down a bumpy dirt road from the entrance gate to the highway.

Dos Ojos Cenote. $350 MXN for entrance only, good if you bring your own equipment and are ready to walk 3km to the cenote, or $600 MXN for the entrance plus a guide, ride to the cenote, snorkel equipment, lamp, and wetsuit if you want. Set aside around 2 or 3 hours total.

Zacil-Ha. Admission: $60 MXN. Beautiful open-air cenote. It looks like a natural swimming-pool, but there are also underwater caves that go very far away.

There's a zip-line for $10 MXN, snorkeling gear and life vests rental, deck chairs, tables for picnic, a bar and restaurant. Mostly Mexicans go there.

If staying for more than just a couple of days, you may want to experience taking some Spanish lessons at the beach or at the Spanish school.

Tulum Spanish Language SchoolTulum Spanish School is part of a chain of language schools and has a branch in Tulum, offering Spanish courses for foreigners.

El Camino Tulum, spanish lessons in one, and two week intensive sessions, six week - three days a week classes and private instruction.

Meztli Spanish Language School Tulum - Meztli features morning yoga classes before their Spanish lessons begin. Fresh air classrooms and emphasis on learning through interactive lessons.

Pink Iguana, offers lessons to corporate clients only.

SAAMAL Spanish Language School in Tulum SAAMAL is a language school offering Spanish courses and activities in Tulum and the area for all levels of Spanish from beginners to intermediate and advanced in a relaxed setting.

Instituto Chac-Mool Tulum, in Tulum is Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School offering Spanish immersion classes year round. Classes may be as private lessons or studying with a peer group that the school arranges based on your starting level of Spanish.

Markets catering mainly to the bus loads of tourists are situated on the road leading to the entrance of the archaeological site.

There are also markets in town on 307 in the main stretch of town. Many cater to tourists however be sure to give them a look anyway. There are a lot of beautiful hand crafted Mexican pottery and fabrics.

If you turn off of 307 and vere into town away from the main strip you can discover tons of tiny establishments and get a feel for the truly sleepy town of Tulum.

Dining

For the budget minded, try Pollo Bronco and Pollo Asada which both offer chicken that is roasted to perfection that can be ordered by the 1/4, 1/2, and whole.

Don Cafetos features authentic mexican and is one of the most popular restaurants on the strip

El Camello, On the main road in the southern outskirts of the pueblo and El Camello Jr or The Camel has great and cheap seafood the ceviche is excellent. Unpretentious but packed with locals as well as tourists.

Take a cab to get there unless you are in the southern part of town.

Cetli, Polar at Orion. 5-10pm. Probably the best food in town. Somewhat expensive but well worth it. The young chef-owner Claudia has been trained at Mexico City's premier culinary academy.

Unfortunately few tourists ever notice this place since it's not on the main strip.

La Picadita Veracruzana, Very nice and cheap place located on the opposite of the ADO busstation, corner jupiter street. Local food, cheap and delicious.The service is warmly and friendly.

Probably the best and cheapest enchiladas in town.

Co.Conamor Restaurante a Vegetarian Healthy Restaurant, Road to the Beach In front of Chedraui. 10:00-19:00. Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Meals in an open chill environment.

Super Foods, Home Made Bread, Germinated Seeds, Aloe Vera, Slow Food, Smoothies, Cold Press Juices and a Biodegradable Bulk Food Store. 12usd.

Pizzeria Manglar , Calle Asuncion, Manzana 38, Lote 2. No. 6. Wed-Mon 5pm-11pm. One of the best pizza in town. They have delivery. The menu is in one of the photos on the Facebook page. $100 MXN.

Antojitos La Chiapaneca, Main Street / Beta Norte. Best tacos al pastor! And very cheap $7 MXN. Try also the sopes. $7 MXN.

Tamales, Main Street / Centauro Norte. Tamales stand on the street. Very tasty and cheap. $12 MXN.

Hartwood, Wood-fired sustainably sourced local ingredients, Located on the jungle side of Tulum Beach Road 7.6 km. Featured in many publications, this is high quality food served in a rustic atmosphere fitting to the region, and a great place for a romantic meal.

Everything is top notch. It's not cheap, but lives up to the price.

Suculenta, Just off the main road in the center of town on Calle Orion Sur. Small vegan restuarant that sells various different premade tamales, carrot cake, green juice as well as smoothies, smoothie bowls, ice cream and popsicle bags all with frozen bananas as a base.

It should be noted that most of the restaurants in town are infinitely cheaper than those at the resorts.

Most places, with the exception of the italian and japanese restaurants feature entrees for well under 100 pesos, or 10USD. There are countless little cafes and establishments to get a great bite to eat for cheap.

You can also go to one of the two big supermarket at the entrance of Tulum to stock up on food and drinks: Chedraui and San Francisco. You can also buy a cooler here which is great for having cold drinks on the beach each day.

The mini-vans and taxis will get you there. Chedraui is more English-friendly than San Francisco and it's also closer to the beach.

Check out Mezzanine on the cliffs only 40 feet high but nice overlooking Playa Paraiso. Superb Thai food and great ambiance and a super view. They even make decent drinks too and have good shows on Friday and Saturday nights.

El Tabano, Carretera Tulum, Boca Paila Km.7. Family warmth, exquisite taste, fresh and creative food prepared right in front of you.

Canopia, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 7.5 By the Yogashala hotel on the road to Punta Alen. 8AM-10PM. Great juices, their organic, every day brunch menu is to die for.

Lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options to choose from along with the nest eggs benedict you have ever tasted. Friendly service along with a relaxed atmosphere makes this restaurant true gem. They also serve lunch and dinner with an amazing and diverse menu.

Hechizo Restaurant, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 10. Featured in Food and Wine magazine. Only open during the high season. Reservations must be made prior.

Oscar & Lalo Restaurant, Bar & Grill or Oscar y Lalo, Carretera Federal 307 Playa Del Carmen-Tulum KM. 241, Oscar & Lalo Restaurant - Bar - Grill Welcomes you. We have been serving excellent Specialty Seafood, Mexican and Yucatecan Cuisine since 1984.

Discover that Oscar & Lalos is your dining destination in the Riviera Maya. Come and enjoy our beautiful tropical Jungle Garden, have a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail, and taste the delicious fresh Seafood, Mexican and Yucatecan Cuisine that has made us the pride of the Riviera Maya.

Habana Cafe, if you're craving a taste of Latin life with a touch of Cuban spice, the atmosphere at Habana Cafe in Tulum Pueblo will satisfy. Habana’s Cuban inspired design is permeated with beats from Latin-infused reggae, Son, Latin house and Merengue.

The street level bar brings a style reminiscent of the elegance and opulence of The Havana 50s to Tulum. Upstairs in the Sky Bar The scene is even more impressive on the massive, rooftop bar.

With its elaborate rooftop garden, 10 foot palm trees, a huge palapa bar, lanterns, and attractive bartenders, the Sky Bar may be the swankest place in Tulum for imbibing outdoors.

Also try a few other cool spots in Tulum that offer fun drink specials with a hip tropical flair:

Acabar offers live music and djs in a trendy atmosphere.

Teetotum offers weekend rooftop movies, a cool lounge and drink specials, try the Razzleberry Daiquiri.

Ak'iin offers weekend parties with live music or djs, no cover and drink specials on a beautiful stretch of beach.

Divino Paraiso, Ave Tulum. On a Wednessday evening they have Salsa Lessons from 9 PM and DJ playing assorted mix of Reggae, Reggaeton, Bachata, Salsa, Merenge and Cumbia.

Accomodation

Casa del Sol, 3 blocks south of the ADO bus station, off the main avenue. Rustic hostel with huge rooftop terrace and common areas with shared kitchen.

Breakfast is provided. Dorm rooms, doubles, and singles. Most of the double rooms are in Mayan style palapas. Garden atmosphere. Great for rainy season. Rooms can be loud at night. $120 MXN.

Hotel Casa Rosa, 1 block west of ado bus terminal. King size bed, a/c, wifi, wifi is best in the center rooms. Recently renovated rooms looks brand new inside, very clean, worth every peso. 3 story pink hotel. Friendly staff but don't speak English. $400 MXN.

Hostal La Cigana, Beta Sur / Venus Oriente. Hostal La Cigana is an adorable hostel with a maze of nicely kept gardens. The caretaker is a chilled out middle aged hippie who has lived in the area for more than 20 years.

He has great suggestions and knows the area really well. Also, he has a knack for initiating philosophical conversations when the beer flows which it usually does after 8 oclock or so.

There are hot showers, and guests are allowed to use the expresso bar including free freshly ground coffee all day. Also one of the cheapest hostels around, you can get him down to 125 on low season. $125 MXN.

Day Tripper Hostel, Calle 4 Pte between Satelite and Centauro Nte. Semi-private dorms with curtains / personal light / outlet / locker, A/C. Full kitchen, hammocks, outdoor terrace, rooftop lounge, free purified water. Clean, cool staff, chilled-out vibes! 11 USD.

El Jardin de Frida, Main Street / Chemuyil, in front of El Camello. El Jardin de Frida offers shared rooms with communal bathrooms for 200 Pesos a night. You can also get private rooms and/or studios.

Quiet, relaxed place to hang out. with a fantastic large central garden area with hammocks, chairs, etc. perfect for relaxing. In house Bar/Restaurant that serves excellent, healthy food and makes the best Mojitos in town.

Simply the best showers hot water, awesome water pressure of any hostel in this author's experience. $200 MXN.

Lobo Inn. Recommended only if you are in a real budget (they offer beds for 130 pesos; private double 450.

Otherwise look for different options; they offer cramped, smelly dorms with equally smelly and cramped bathrooms with cockroaches. However, they offer free use of rather old bikes. $130 MXN.

Una noche mas en Tulum, From the ADO bus station, across the street, then half a block in the Jupiter street. Nice staff, free water, rooftop terrace, kitchen. $150 MXN.

The Weary Traveler Hostel. Now in new location 10 mins walk from the ADO bus station. Relaxed hostel with outdoor communal area and kitchen. Breakfast (DIY), water, cooking facilities, beach shuttle bus and internet provided.

A nice place for young people that wants to party. All rooms are facing out to the common area, so lots of noise at night until 11pm. There have been complaints about cleanliness and bedbugs in the past, unsure if this applies to new premises.

Dorm room single beds: 150 pesos with Fan and 175 with A/C. Dorm room double beds: 325 pesos. 200 pesos deposit for blankets, or give your ID as a deposit. Discounts available for stays longer than one night, up to 20% off a 5 night stay. $150 MXN.

iTour Mexico, Avenida Coba Crucero Avenida Tulum, Col. Centro C.P. iTour Mexico is located at Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. It offers 6 air-conditioned rooms with cable television, Internet, and shower with bath.

Some of its offered activities include kiteboarding school and rental, car and bike rental, and massage service. Best rates on official website start at USD 35.00.

Teetotum Hotel. Teetotum is a boutique hotel situated between Tulum town and the beach offering: king sized beds, a/c, ipod docks, continental breakfast, free bicycle use, free high speed wi-fi and a restaurant open from 8AM-11PM daily.

The sleeping options have a poor price-performance ratio. In the zona hotelera at the beach really simple rundown cabanas with shared bath and without seaview are sold for $50 USD.

If the place doesn't have a proper reception desk, don't stay there or, at least, don't trust the anonymous gatekeeper with your credit card.

Playa Condesa. Playa Condesa offers private cabanas on the waterfront. Located near Diamante K, but considerably cheaper. About 3 kilometers from the ruins. $200 MXN.

Diamante K. The Diamante K features cabañas ranging in quality from 2 all the way up to 5 stars on a private beach front. An interesting feature of the Diamante K is the hanging beds in the cabañas.

A restaurant is on site, and you can relax in a hammock and just soak up the tranquility. Electricity is supplied by a generator and hence is switched off after around midnight. Candles are supplied in the cabanas.

EcoTrotters Tulum Page. Check out eco hotels, spas resorts and lodges. Share your reviews.

Hemingway Eco Resort. Hemingway Eco Resort Features 8 rooms on a secluded section of beach about a mile down the road from EcoTulum Resorts.

The beach is pristine and the sea is a bit calmer here offering snorkeling right off the beach. Stop by the restaurant for some of the best Italian food out there.

Cabanas La Luna. Cabanas La Luna is a magical collection of romantic eco boutique ocean front cabañas, hidden away on the beach near Tulum. Just sit back, unwind and enjoy the Caribbean experience at Cabanas La luna.

Mayab Center. Mayab Center offers unique yurt palapa accommodations right on a secluded beach just half a km inside of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, located at the far end of the Tulum beach area.

They have built the small retreat center with high eco-standards- composting toilets, grey water treatment system and low impact structures. Breakfast is included in nightly yurt rental, which is as low as $70 US double occupancy in the summer months. $70 USD.

Om Tulum Hotel Cabanas & Beach Club, Carretera Tulum-Punta Alen, KM. 9.5. Minimalist in design, the private cabanas are quiet, beach-inspired, and furnished with the following common features; Deck/ balcony – opens up to a garden panorama a Private toilet and bath.

Playa Azul Tulum. Playa Azul Tulum Hotel is a group of cabanas located between the jungle and the Caribbean sea in one of the most wonderful beaches of Tulum Mexico.

Retiro Maya Tulum, Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen, KM 5. A sacred space for couples & families, conscious people and fellow seekers, Retiro Maya is a grassroot Eco-haven for the nature loving traveler.

Private cabanas with terrace, hammocks and private bathroom, free wi-fi, delicious restaurant, daily yoga classes and charming attention.

Tankah Inn Bead and Breakfast. Offers 5 neatly furnished rooms, all with ultra silent A/C and ocean view, a great upstairs airy restaurant and terrace, free breakfast, wireless internet, great ambiance, quiet and quaint.

Situated on beautiful Tankah III Bay, only seven minutes from the ruins and just 200 yards from world famous Casa Cenote or sink-hole.

Zamas Hotel. ZAMAS' thatch roof bungalows are right next to the beach. The hotel is 10 minutes from Mayan Ruins, Cenotes or fresh water pools, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and deep-water sportfishing. Snorkeling is available in the ZAMAS cove.

Azulik Villas is a series of beachside villas sea-fronting, rustique built specially designed for honeymooners and couple seeking a romantic retreat in the wilderness.

It has many relaxation alternatives like different types of massages, esthetic treatments body and facial scrubs, reiki, the temazcal copal sweat lodge- is based on traditional healing methods used by indigenous Mexicans to purify the soul and body and the chamber of flotation. It is clothing optional.

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa. Dreams Tulum is on one of the most unique beaches in the Riviera Maya surrounded by lush tropical acres, sugary white sand, two beach-adjacent pools, and magnificent colonial architecture.

Five minutes from Tulum, it is one of the only resorts in the Riviera Maya where you can view several miles away the ancient ruins of Tulum from the beach.

Services offered all-inclusive include the Explorer's Club, a top notch kids activity center with mini climbing wall, mini stage, games room and more.

Luxury Spa. 5 Star PADI Dive Center on site offering daily Tulum area diving and snorkeling excursions to local reefs and cenotes as well as all levels of scuba diving courses. Access to off-site golf.

Suenos Tulum. You truly cannot experience Tulum staying in an all inclusive. Try staying at a hotel along the beach or even in the pueblo. Upscale resorts with rustic but elegant rooms.

Posada los Mapaches Hostel, Located on the main highway in front the entrance to Tulum Archaeological site. Bed and Breakfast hostel with new deals for groups, shared bathrooms, delicious breakfast, nice bikes to get around, cozy cabins for maximum 4 or 5 people. Nice place with garden and hammocks.

Catalonia Royal Tulum. It is just 25km from Playa del Carmen and Tulums archaeological site, and 85 km south of Cancun International airport, in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. All guest rooms and suites offer brand premium amenities.

At the entrance of Tulum. State of the art internet technology at $14 pesos por hora.

You may encounter problems if you try to make phone calls from the beach. Payphones are sparse and often broken, and they are all owned by one company.

These phones require you to purchase a special proprietary card of at least 100 pesos, and the cards cannot be used at regular payphones.

A better alternative is to use a normal payphone in the pueblo, or use a Mexican cellphone, There is reception on the beach, but make sure to recharge in the pueblo beforehand.

Other good places to visit:

- Playa del Carmen

- Cancun

- Chetumal

- Costa Maya

- Mahahual

- Sian-Kahn Ecological Reserve vast and empty, find a sea kayak and explore the lagoon side

- Xcaret Eco-archaeological park in the Riviera MayaCreate category.



Tourism Observer
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