The Mexican town of Tulum has seen a huge growth in the number of visitors in recent years. If you are going to join them, here’s what you should know before you travel.
Stay in town if you’re on a budget
The beach is far more expensive than staying in town, where many of the hostels are found. Most of the accommodation options on the beach start at around $50 per night and can cost hundreds, whereas you can get a dorm in Tulum town for less than $10.
Visit during shoulder season for the best deals
In Tulum that means avoiding the January-March high season, and heading over sometime between October and December. That way you will avoid the rain and hurricane season.
Hire a bike to explore
Tulum town is just two kilometres from the beach, an easy cycle. It’s a great way to get around cheaply and efficiently, although you might want to take a taxi if you plan on having a drink.
Choose your cenotes wisely
Most people who visit Tulum want to see one of the limestone sinkholes known as cenotes. There are many of them around, and they vary widely in terms of size, price and attractiveness. If you want to save money, get the $6 double ticket for Cenote Escondido and Cenote Cristal just outside town. Other cenotes like Dos Ojos can cost up to $25 per person.
Use pesos not dollars
Many businesses in Tulum accept US dollars as well as Mexican pesos, which seems incredibly convenient to some people. However if you take a look at the exchange rates on offer you’ll realize that using dollars means you’re paying a massive premium for the same product or service. Stick to pesos.
Cut down on your waste
Tulum has grown so quickly that it struggles to deal with the amount of waste produced by locals and visitors. Do your bit by cutting down on the number of plastic bottles you use and refusing straws in bars and restaurants.
Don’t miss the ruins
It might be tempting just to hang out on the beach, but it would be a shame to miss out on the Mayan ruins. They’re some of the only ones found on the coast of the former Mayan world, and they make for great photos.
Take the trip to Sian Ka’an
It’s a bit of an effort to get there, but it’s worth arranging an outing to the nature reserve at Sian Ka’an. It’s at the end of the road after you pass all of the beach hotels, and as soon as the buildings end you are plunged into the jungle. You’ll see crocodiles, monkeys and birds if you’re lucky.
Do a yoga class
Tulum has developed into an eco-chic destination, and a huge number of yoga places have sprung up. You can either do a one-off class or a retreat for a few days.
You can make easy day trips
Whether it’s the turtle beach at Akumal or a night out in Playa del Carmen, it’s easy to get up and down the Riviera Maya and visit nearby attractions. Don’t worry if you can’t stretch to a taxi; there are regular colectivo minibuses that shuttle passengers around.