Tulum. Connecting with energy, food and friends.
This was a smart trip. This year is all about smart travel, going beyond a pretty place, there should be a reason to visit and Tulum has that energy factor that keeps me coming back.
Tulum has been one of my most visited places ever, just like Rome and NYC. But in a much different capacity. Not only it’s beautiful and has gorgeous beaches and Caribbean Sea but the energy that one gets from here is quite amazing and rejuvenating.
This year, I feel the need to travel with a purpose and Tulum fits the requirements as I was in need of re-energizing, connecting with myself and others and let the energy direct me for the rest of the year.
A short drive after landing in Cancun takes you to secluded Tulum. It’s growing and developing like I’ve never seen it before but I think that locals are doing a good job at trying to keep the essence of Tulum, a small town by the Mexican Caribbean that once was habited by the ceremonial Mayans with a reason to be there. Tulum beach is booming with revamped developments that include beach clubs, small eco-luxury hotels and highly-elaborated-cuisine restaurants with a mix of flavors. And all this is within a space that doesn’t allow big developments, buildings or hotels like its predecessor, Playa del Carmen. Instead, you find small and highly designed glam-camps or boutique hotels that enhance your connection with nature instead of replacing it with the modern world.
I’ve written about Tulum before so I’ll focus this time on the differences happening in the area that make it so unique.
Even five years ago there weren’t too many options for hoteling right on the beach, now small developments are growing within the jungle and allowing people to feel disconnected with all the amenities of a luxury hotel. I recommend staying at Habitas, Nomade, Tulum Treehouse or BeTulum. The Treehouse just recently opened there, another development of Papaya Playa Project, with just a few rooms but exquisitely designed. This is a common component with all hotels or camps, the attention to local design, incorporating local colors and spaces where people can live inside/outside without feeling the difference. Other hotels that are a more cost-effective include Rosa del Viento, Ana y Jose and the party-popular Papaya Playa.
The trend of expats moving to Tulum to live a more round life has also impacted chefs from around the world bringing their cuisine to a more relaxed environment where people can actually connect with each other through food. An authentic gastronomic experience with renowned chefs but feeling like you’re eating at their homes or mayan kitchens. Nothing fancy, very well designed with nature and blending the local ingredients to their recipes. For sure my favorites include Arca, Casa Jaguar and Hartwood. Gitano is another place that I recommend mainly because of its design, check out the bar in the back of the restaurant. For breakfast go to town and hit the small local restaurants and taquerias, Prana is one of my favorites.
This place is all about a very powerful energy that takes over yourself. Immerse yourself in the culture, either in main town or at the beach clubs and hotels, it’s such a global environment connecting with people from all over the world that my best advice is to NOT have a plan. Go with the flow and plan just a little or just as you feel. Some recommendations that are my favorites include: Tulum ruins, Coba ruins and Chichen-Itza. These last two are 45mins to 2 hours out of Tulum so renting a car is recommended. Other activities include ceremonial cleanses by Mayan shamans just like the Temazcal experience, which is the mayan way to get in a hut and steam your body like a sauna. Spa treatments, yoga on the beach or jungle, meditate, pilates and submerging yourself in the pure fresh waters of cenotes, which are natural sinkholes that contain once sacred waters by the Mayans, and you can swim in them.
If you visit, make sure that you leave something positive there, anything, if we all try to leave it better than how we found it we will all share this unique environment that has taken hundreds of years to feel like that. We need to protect our Earth and all the beautiful places that we get to experience.
Tulum lives in my heart in many ways and I always share my most shared stories with friends so go on and connect with yourself, the energy and its people.