7 Things you must know before booking your flight to Tulum, Mexico
I try to go back to Tulum a few times a year, just to make sure I'm staying connected to my rental property. The last time I traveled there was July 2021, right in the middle of the pandemic. We only stayed a few days as we were aligning our overall Mexico trip with Steve's sister. Not much has changed since, except maybe the addition of a bunch of restaurants and the increase cost of eating out when you're on beach road. So, here's what you need to know if you're planning a trip there.
1. Safety. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if I should add this because how I feel and how you feel are very different, but I'll give you my personal experience. I've traveled to Tulum by myself many times, and one time, I didn't get in until past midnight. I didn't feel threatened or scared. Same as when I'm in town. I feel comfortable walking through the neighborhood and the centro. I've always felt safe and "at home" there. Like anywhere, have your wits about you, be on guard and don't dress too flashy.
2. Car service/rental cars. You can hire a car service which will now cost you $130USD one-way. The best way to cut cost here is to split with friends if you're traveling in a group. You can book a shuttle, which will cost you about the same; however, you'll have to deal with many stops along the way. Tulum is guaranteed to be the last stop.
If you chose to rent a car, you ONLY need liability insurance. If you do full coverage, you'll be spending more on insurance than your rental. Most time, your credit card will cover the cost of insurance. This last time, we reserved a mid-size Chrysler for 5 days and the total cost came out to $227USD
3. Taxi cabs. My oh my has the price gone up! In July 2021, a trip to a restaurant on beach road could cost between $12-15 USD one-way. This time, it cost us between $35-$45 USD....and yes, it's one-way! If you feel adventurous, rent a bike instead. Some places can start as low as $5USD per day.
4. Purchase of alcohol. Okay, so we tried to purchase some seltzers at an OXXO (similar to a 7-eleven) and they refused to sell them to us. The rule for Oxxo's is that they can't sell alcohol after 5pm on Sundays and after 7pm the other days. There is a Super Aki on the main road and you can purchase alcohol there instead. There are a few tequila shops on the main road in town if tequila is your jam.
5. Tacos. Skip the fancy, expensive stuff on beach road and head into town instead. There is this one taco stand that I've gone to for years and they are my absolute favorite - Los Pinches Tacos Del Gera". They're on the corner of Av. Kukulkan and 307 - next to the OXXO. My favorite tacos are Al Pastors...and theirs is sooooo good! The average cost for their tacos is 15 pesos each. They have all the right dressings: cilantro, onion and lime...and their salsa is perfectly spiced and spicy!
6. Sargassum (aka seaweed). According to BBC news, this mass of seaweed stretches from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. They've inundated some of the most beautiful coastlines of the Caribbean. Some describe it as a rotten egg smell and unfortunately is prominent between May through October. An alternative water playground? Cenotes.
We went to the Laguna Kaan Luum where the water was the beautiful Caribbean sea-blue - but best of all...swimmable! I found most cenotes to be too cold to appreciate. It cost us 300 Pesos per person to enter. You can take your own food and drinks (each cenotes have their own rules). Head on over to my travel blog to get deets on other cenotes I've visited: http://bit.ly/2XQrhbF
7. Covid Protocols. You don't have to test to enter Mexico, but depending on the country you're flying out of, you may need a covid test. My friends were flying back into Texas and I was flying to Portugal. Protocols were the same, in that we just needed a 24 antigen rapid test. For 600 pesos ($35 USD) you can get a test and get results within hours. There are plenty of testing sites all over the city.
In terms of mask, it seemed random and subjective. We did have to wear a mask when at the rental car center. The airport was very random. My friend was told she HAD to wear a mask while 50% of us didn't. She happened to not have a mask on her and I was off checking into my flight. In the meantime, the airport employee told her he'd sell her a mask for 200 pesos...say what?? She didn't want the hassle, so she "paid him off". Lesson: have a mask on you....or have the patience to fend off a potential scammer - because I personally think that's what happened.
In summary, Tulum is a destination you should travel to at least once. It's sill "authentic", respectively speaking. In a few years, I think it'll loose some of it's magical effect for many reasons....over-crowded, over priced, over-built...of course, I hope I'm wrong about all of this because Tulum really is beautiful.
Thai Food - there is a Thai restaurant inside my condo resort, Curry by Po Tai. It's pretty legit...the food is really good and they make great drinks as well. Head on over to my other blog post for other things to do and see when in Tulum.