Jump Into Tulum

Hello Pals,
Tulum has become bustling within the last decade, especially with artists and influencers flocking for the pristine hotels, beaches and cenotes. Originally known as Zama (dawn due to it being one of the first places dawn breaks in Mexico.)

If you would like to know “How to visit cenotes on your own in Tulum” click ‘read more’

In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
Getting Around: Transport Options
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Where to eat & drink, What to listen to & read.
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things we missed.

All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍Location 🕒Distance
💰Cost 🎫Ticket 📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.
♿ Accessibility 🌱Vegan / Veg Options.

  TO NOTE:

  • You can buy snorkelling gear for around MXN 250 at the supermarket Super Aki Tulum. We did this because you know, renting equipment sounds like a gross idea. Although, the only cenote we liked using it was Escondido Cenote.
  • USE PESOS AS CASH. You should be doing this anyways, but along the ‘hotel strip’ in Tulum, you’ll mostly find ATMS dispensing USA CASH and the exchange is around 60 pesos to the dollar (insane.)

Sunscreen

Sunscreen impacts Cenotes and their eco-systems! The more people who swim with sunscreen,  the more they look like an oil spill, with a thin layer of shimmer over them. Avoid ingredients: oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Biodegradable sunscreen is not easy to come by so the best option is to search your local health store. If you’re in the UK; Lush offers it.
ARTICLE: Travel&Leisure: How to Know If Your Sunscreen Is Killing Coral Reefs — and the Brands to Try Instead

THE BASICS

Getting to Tulum.

🚌 Bus from Cancun / Playa Del Carmen

💰€ EURO| $ AUD| $ USD | ‎£ GBP
🕒3,5 – 4 hours.


GETTING AROUND

Getting Around:

Ola’s Bikes

⏰ 9:00 –19:00
📍sur manzana, Av. Coba 107, 77760
💰$150 MXN per day w/ 500 MXN deposit (refundable)
€ 6.94| $ 11.31 aud| $ 7.68 usd | ‎£5.95
———-
Ola Bikes was close to our hostel and although it was a little pricer than some other options, they offer service and help via Whatsapp (including road side assistance), daily extensions and the ability to fill up your water bottle whenever you pass. The service is incredible, will give you a map and highlight all the cenotes, restaurants and bars you should try. They’re happy to answer any questions and I can’t recommend them enough.

TOP CHOICES!

Cenote Calavera

⏰ 09:00 – 16:00
📍Quintana Roo 109 – Maps: Cenote Calavera.
💰$100 MXN | €4.63| $ 7.54 aud| $ 5.12usd | ‎£3.97 GBP
♿no
———-
Calavera in Spanish means “representation of a human skull.” Named because the large opening, and two smaller jumping openings form that of two eye sockets and a large mouth/nose area.
It’s not the most relaxing of cenotes – there are no sitting areas, lockers or amenities (apart from a toilet). Still, it’s an excellent first one, although if riding your bike, a little hard to find as it really is just in someone’s backyard.

Gran Cenote

⏰ 8:00 – 16:45 (last entry at 16:15)
📍Quintana Roo 109 – Maps: Gran Cenote
💰180 MXN | €8.40 EURO| $13.68 AUD| $9.29 USD | ‎£7.21 GBP
📝 You can pay $10.00 USD to enter as well.
♿no
———-
This is the cenote most people recommend, and it may possibly be one of the most famous within the Tulum area. With turtles swimming within the large, long pools, and bats overhead – there’s lots to see.. It’s perfect for photos and genuinely relaxing if you manage to get there with not many people. They have a range of facilities; a small tienda selling water and snacks, bathrooms, showers, lockers, snorkelling gear/life jackets for hire, and large areas of grass for sitting. It’s slightly cold and there’s mosquitos towards closing time.
The people in front of us weren’t able to get change, but I’m not sure how large their bills were. When my pal and I went, it was towards the end, so it was slightly busy but not overly crowded. By the end, the staff were ushering people out, and they turned off the showers as no more entry was allowed, so to wash off make sure to head up a bit

Cenote Cristal

⏰ 8:00 – 16:00
📍Cancun – Chetumal, Chunyaxché, 
💰for one cenote:
$80 MXN | €3.74 EURO| $6.07 AUD| $4.11 USD | ‎£3.19 GBP
💰for two cenotes:
$120 MXN | €5.60 EURO| $9.10 AUD| $6.17 USD | ‎£4.78 GBP
📝 If you’re a scuba diver – you can pay $200 MXN to do so (byo equipment.) If you’re interested in scuba diving you can look at Diving Cenotes Tulum.
———-
You’ll see this cenote along the main highway and can purchase your tickets for both Cristal & Escondido at their office. Cristal is a large open cenote with a jumping board that you don’t wanna hesitate on. It’s got sitting spots located around, ropes that you can rest on while in the water and bathroom facilities.

Escondido Cenote

⏰ 8:00 – 16:00
📍Mayan Blue Rd, Quintana Roo
💰for one cenote:
$80 MXN | €3.74 EURO| $6.07 AUD| $4.11 USD | ‎£3.19 GBP
for two cenotes:
$120 MXN | €5.60 EURO| $9.10 AUD| $6.17 USD | ‎£4.78 GBP
📝You buy your tickets for this cenote at Cristal (across the road)
📝 This cenote has a very long driveway so if you don’t have a car or bike it’s about a 10-15 minute walk.
♿no
———-
I loved this cenote, well apart from the mosquitos. It’s filled with fish and floating water lilies. You can get in from stairs or the rope swing (which looks dodgy but it was fine) (although when I posted a boomerang, someone said they thought I was a monkey so…) The stairs are SUPER slippery – you’re almost clinging on for your life. It has places to sit and read and relax so you can dip in whenever you like. 

Archeological Zone of Tulum 

⏰ 08:00 – 16:30
📍Carretera Federal, Cancun – Chetumal Km
💰$75.00 MXN | €3.49 EURO| $5.66 AUD| $3.84 USD | ‎£2.99 GBP
📝 sargassum can often be along the beach, although you feel it may ruin your photos – it’s super important for the beach + ocean’s ecology.
Check here to see a map off the Sargassum algae locations.
📝 I would not drive here – I would ride a bike / take a taxi. I’ve heard of people having their cars broken into here.
📝If you wish to do a tour, you can do it just of the ruins, or include a boat out to see the ruins from the ocean.
🎒 Sunscreen, sunglasses, bathers, hat & bug spray.
♿Accessible, but gravel roads (as pictured) and no access to the beach.
———-
Myans participated within a circut from Central Mexico to Honduras, navigating along coastlines, hugging to travel within shallow waters which made Tulum one of the most important within the trading circuit.
The decline of Tulum began at the time of Hispanic Navigators.

ARTICLE: The Yutacan Times: The Caste War of Yucatan

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

🍦 Panna e Cioccolato

⏰ 10:00 – 23:30
📍6G6R+P2 Tulum, Quintana Roo,
🌱non-dairy options (cones have dairy so get a cup)
💰 1 Scoop: 35 | 2 Scoops: 65 | 3 Scoops: 85
Although they’ve got a range of ice-cream flavours, I do recommend the different styles of homemade gelato. It’s a perfect stop after a day of bike riding to cenotes.

🥘 The Pitted Date

⏰ 09:00 – 17:00 | closed Monday.
📍 5GXP+WP Tulum, Quintana Roo.
🌱all vegan.
A little bit out of the way Tulum the food here was astounding. The staff are friendly, they have an english menu and provide wifi. The juices are strong & freshly made, coffee is perfect and you honestly just never know what to pick because it’s all good.

🥘 La Hoja Verde

8:00AM – 22:30
📍 6G6Q+G8 Tulum, Quintana Roo
🌱vegetarian & vegan.
Located within the main area of Tulum, serving many different versions of vegan and vegetarian options. It’s a cute atmosphere, staff are friendly enough but it is a tad overpriced (considering Mexico) but when you’re eating at a strictly vego/vegan restaurant – that tend to happens.
(Apologies for the bite in the burger, when you’re hungry, you’re hungry.)

WHERE TO STAY

Mayan Monkey Hostel Tulum

⏰ Check In: 15:00 – 00:00
Check Out: 03:00 – 12:00
📍6G3X+XV Tulum, Quintana Roo
📝 – at the time of writing, next door still had a construction zone making it very loud if rooms were on that side.
———-
The Mayan Monkey has all the quirks of a good hostel, but as it’s new they’re not 100% on point. Although the location is a bit out of the way – it means you really are able to relax and hang out. It’s not a party vibe – if you’re after that, I’d recommend Hostel Che.
They offer weekly activities such as scuba diving trials (jn the pool), yoga, beer pong etc.

Cons: This hostel is far from the ADO (70 peso taxi) which means you will have to either rent a bike from Ola’s Bikes or take a taxi to places (200 pesos to the hotel zone)

🍽Breakfast Light breakfast; toast, jam, yogurt, fruit, cereal, tea, milk and juice.
You can pay $ for eggs or chilaquiles.
🛁BathroomsClean private showers and toilets in bathrooms separated from the rooms which means the light doesn’t bother you.
🛏RoomsComfy private bunks with curtains. Large lockers. Aircon and wifi available.
🎲Facilitieslarge pool, bean bag chairs and lounges to read on.
🍺Barbar services all classic Mexican beers as well as the Tulum Lager.

WHAT I DID

We took the ADO from Playa Del Carmen and then a taxi to Myan Monkey Hostel. First impressions were great, the pool was sick and after flailing about, I finally managed to climb into the swing hanging over it (what, i’m limby and clumsy.) We ordered some Tulum Lagers, which contributes to the conservation of the seas. So, although a little bit pricer than other beers, it’s worth it.

Out of the blue, we recognised someone from Cancun, so we left the hostel to go get beers down on the Tulum Hotel Strip. Most bars are pretty pricey, but I Scream Bar is probably your most budget-friendly. It’s also the most absurd with the bartenders screaming and often dancing on the bar top. It’s bizarre. We tried looking for tacos, with no luck but someone recommended hamburgers, so we gave it a go. Walking down a seedy-looking pathway, we stumbled into the cenote bar; Clan-Destino. The food was good, they had vegetarian options and they had a cenote it’s honestly win, win, win. We made the bad choice of not having any pesos with us, and couldn’t find an ATM that gave them – the exchange rate was 60 pesos to the dollar (I KNOW) and so, it was the most expensive glass of cheap wine i’ve ever had.

The following day was spent hiring bikes from Ola’s Bikes and headed off to Cenote Calavera. My pal took her iPhone into the actual cenote, which made me incredibly scared she was going to drop it (she didn’t.) Of course, all the smart people had you know, GoPros. Gran Cenote was incredible, touristy but incredible. I mostly followed a turtle swimming, because I have the attention span of one.

Before riding off to Cenote Cristal & Escondido, we went for breakfast at The Pitted Date which was incredible (we actually extended out stay in Tulum so we could eat there again.) Later that day, we also saw a tarantula crossing the road. It’s known as the Mexican red rump. Everyone’s always talking about spiders in Australia, but at least here they’re mostly so small you can’t see them. This was the size of my whole hand, and I cannot stress this enough… but what the fuck. No, Thank you. Our last day was spent checking out the ruins, avoiding mosquitos (didn’t work) and reading by the pool.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The Street Art: All over Tulum, you’ll be able to see fantastic street art. I didn’t really get any photos but you can see a blog post by Giselle and Cody from Mindful Wanderlust on it here.
  • Tulum Hotel Zone: Apart from the one night checking out the iScream Bar, we didn’t spend that much time here.
  • Laguna de Kaan Luum: described as a hidden wonder, you can read a blog post by Cook The Beans here.

Have you been?
What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.
– Sarah.

Sources:



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