9.02.2010

Tulum, Mexico: Part One

Tulum sits on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. Once home to a thriving Mayan civilization, Tulum is now growing in popularity in the destination and eco travel market. Land, Air, and See recently spent a week in Tulum and we want to share our highlights and tips with you.

To get to Tulum you'll most likely fly in to Cancun Airport. The tourism agencies at the airport will bombard you with brochures, coupons, and other to-good-to-be-true offers. It can be overwhelming at times and many of the "deals" come with strings attached so be prepared to firmly decline their pitches and stick to your plan. Cancun is overcrowded and overdeveloped so we recommend getting out of the city quickly. Tulum is just over an hour from the airport by car. A one way cab ride from the airport will cost $60-$70 (USD). For the cost of a round trip cab ride, you can rent your own car and have the flexibility and convenience of a car for the duration of your trip. Driving in this part of Mexico is easy and safe. Just watch out for the incredible amount of random speed bumps that dot the roads. You'll know they're coming when you see this sign:
Tulum has two main sections: the oceanfront and the pueblo. The main road from Cancun runs a straight shot into Tulum Pueblo. There you'll find several square blocks of markets, restaurants, hostels, gift shops, local artisans, and tourism kiosks.  This is a great place to pick up essentials for your trip and souvenirs to take home. Remember, it's acceptable to bargain with the local merchants when shopping. The first price they quote you is rarely their final price and only the inexperienced tourist falls for the initial offer. Be sure to learn a little basic Spanish before you arrive. Most of the locals speak some English but it's nice to greet them and chat a bit in their language. That simple gesture goes a long way to enhancing your travel experience.


In Part Two, we'll talk about lodging and then hit the beautiful beaches of Tulum.

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