If you are heading to Tulum from Merida, the bus ride shouldn’t cost more than 5€ and take approx. 4 hours. Tulum is famous for its Mayan ruins, the beach and for a hip town/city. After reading so much about Yucatan and dreaming for years to come and visit, we have to admit, our expectations were pretty high. For us Tulum didn’t turn out to be as much of a paradise as it claims to be.
We spent more or less a week in Tulum. Prices were definitely higher than in Merida or Oaxaca. We stayed at two different hostels (spending nearly 30€ per night for the both of us), food prices were on average 5€ per meal. As always, talking to locals will help you finding some cheaper and tastier options. Very recommendable are the Tacos at the night food trucks in Avenida Satélite.
The ruins were definitely impressive, but as expected the sight is packed with tourists. A real bummer was the beach. What most people, especially hostel owners won’t tell you is that the whole region of Quintana Roo has a huge ecological seaweed problem since a couple of years. In October/November be prepared to see tons of rotting seaweed at the beaches. Therefore your beach-time will be rather smelly. Of course the beauty of the beaches is still visible and if you don’t mind the seaweed then you can still have a swim, but we should ask ourselves at least why Mexico is facing this ecological crisis. If you try to read about it online then you will realize that there isn’t as much information available as there should be. The most probable reason for this crucial state that the beach/ocean is in, is obviously US, humans. As we all know we are the main reason for global warming, nature is being destroyed daily and oceans are full of plastic. Tulum seems a great example, that shows us what happens to nature if we continue in this way. There are countless hotels and hostels build directly on the beach and nature had to be destroyed in order to build and keep on building more facilities for us. Now nature is reacting on it and these dreamy beaches are not what they once were. This should open our eyes and make us think if we tourists should continue not only allowing, but actually supporting irresponsible tourism and keep on destroying our planet.
Don’t get us wrong Tulum is a beautiful place and the ruins are stunning, but we should try and think about the consequences of our choices in life and also when it comes to traveling. Making sure we travel in the most sustainable/ethical way possible is key (at least that’s our opinion).
What is really great about Tulum is the fact that it attracts a lot of interesting people from all over the world and the several bars, hostel hangouts give you a chance to get to know fellow backpackers. We met an Italian who actually decided during his trip to move to Mexico for good, through him we heard about a place called Bacalar. It wasn’t on our map, but backpacking is also about being flexible and sometimes trusting advices of other travelers. We did follow his advice and went straight to Bacalar (check out our Bacalar-SumUp here).