This Travel Writer’s Guide To Tulum focuses on a guide to travel with the specific needs of a writer in mind. A traveling writer needs to know the history, where to find inspiration, a great place to write, and a great place to lay their head. That way all your energy can funnel into creating!
Located in Mexico, Tulum has become a trendy travel destination in recent years. There are even many ex-pats living in Tulum from America and other countries.
Many don’t know that Tulúm is the Mayan word for fence, referring to the walls surrounding the site which defended the Tulum fort against invasion. Tulum was an important trade hub in Mexico due to its access to both sea and land routes. It was also an important side for the worship of the Descending god.
Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Maya at its height in the 13th and 15th centuries. Tulum survived 70 years after the Spanish invasion of Mexico, however, diseases brought by the Spanish eventually left the city abandoned. Today there are ruins situated on 40-foot cliffs along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Although the city has become quite commercialized, there is still an inspiration to be found around every corner. From jungle parties to shamans on the beach to Casa Malca, the converted mansion of Pablo Escobar. Here’s a list of some other inspiring locations in Tulum:
1. Zona Arqueologica de Tulum
A protected archeological area located in Tulum National Park on the Caribbean coast. Well, preserved remains on a cliff overlooking the sea. El Castillo served as a lighthouse for Mayan vessels and as a ceremonial temple. El Templo de Los Frescos contains preserved art.
2. Aktun Chen Natural Park
This is one of National Geographic’s top ten underground walks. The main attraction is this underground cave. The cave trail covers 70 yards of ancestral rock formations and a river that leads to a cenote. There is also a canopy and zipline for an aerial view of the park.
3. Parque Xel-Ha
This eco-park is just six miles from Tulum. Interestingly, Xel-Ha means “where water is born”. This is the world’s largest aquarium with jungle trails, snorkeling, caves, slides, and swimming with marine life.
There are more than six thousand cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula however only 2,241 are registered. The Mayas considered cenotes to be sacred places, where they derived water and thought it to be the entrance to the underworld, Xibalba. Some of the best cenotes in the area are the Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, Calavera, and Aktun.
5. Chichen Itza
This site is two hours from Tulum by bus or car. Chichen Itza is what remains of the Mayan city from centuries ago.
1. Real Coconut
This amazing beachfront cafe has great healthy foods and drinks and is a very work-friendly environment
2. Babel Cafe
A casual cafe in downtown Tulum that is perfect for working with reliable Wi-Fi
3. Papaya Playa Project
A popular hotel on the beach with very good Wi-Fi that can be used inside the hotel and in the restaurant and beach areas
4. Selena Tulum
Another hotel with great Wi-Fi and its own coworking space. Wi-Fi also works at the beach area of the hotel
Where to stay: If you want to spend most of your time near the beaches and popular restaurants then you should definitely stay around Esmerelda K or Zona Hotelera. This single dirt road connects the area with no other pathway in our out. This can be troublesome if there is an accident or traffic on the road, it often takes a long time to come or go during the day. You would also want to avoid biking on the path, as the dirt road is very narrow.
You can also stay in the downtown area however it is not as picturesque as the beach area, and accessibility to the beach can be difficult when coming from further away.
There are many ex-pats living in the area however be aware that while Tulum is safe for tourists, there is a heavy cartel influence in the area. Also be aware that as of recently, conditions have worsened in terms of safety.
Our favorite pick for Tulum would have to be Alma Tulum. A beautiful hotel where each room is a bungalow with a patio overlooking the beach. Each bungalow has a designated cabana area on the beach. The rooms have great space for work however you can also sit in the restaurant of the hotel. One of the best parts of this hotel is the small pool that is built to look like a natural cenote.
Getting around: Avoid biking in Tulum as the roads are not wide enough for both cars and bikes. Your best option would be to take one of the many cabs. Avoid doing too much exploring, again as there are safety concerns in the area.
When to go: Avoid the summer season as Mexico is hot even in the spring. The best time to visit Tulum is between November and December. You’ll get the benefit of post-hurricane-season breezes, and the hotel prices are more reasonable.