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Dear Aviator,

In January I went to Tulum in Mexico for the first time, to spend my vacation there. This destination has been on my bucket list for so long and I was finally able to experience the vibe myself. To be honest, I loved and hated it at the same time. Here are my 12 tops and flops of Tulum so you can decide for yourself if it is worth the journey for you.

tops and flops tulum

1. Top Beach  #lifeisgood🏝

Tulum Beach can be very relaxing as long as there is no partying taking place as there is a lot of loud music playing. Especially at night. So how is it relaxing?

Compared to other popular beach travel destinations, you will not find any noisy water sports, no screaming kids and no aeroplanes (unfortunately) which fly over you at low levels. However, you will find one hotel next to the other at the beachfront. Luckily there are no huge hotel bunkers, instead, there are beautiful small boutique hotels that are integrated into the surrounding jungle. To get access to the beach you need to use the entrance of a hotel or a day beach club.    

TIP: Gitano Beach Club is a place to be when you are looking for cold drinks, tasty food and good music at the beach. You can chillax in cosy day beds and you can take a refreshing swim in a private bay.

tops and flops tulum

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

tops and flops tulum

2. Flop Payment  #midevil 💳

OMG! This was the worst and so annoying! Some venues accepted credit cards only – then we discovered the machines did not work. Others accepted cash only but to get local currencies was not easy either. When paying by card most venues charged a service fee. So be careful, sometimes these charges can be up to 10% of your original bill. 

TIP: Bring some cash. Pesos and USD dollars with you. Have at least two credit cards and be prepared for a lot of hassle when paying.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

At Los Bowls de Guadalupe you get healthy food and you can pay by card!

3. Top Entry  #forall 🤗

Mexico is one of the few countries which lets in unvaccinated tourists without any test. So this is very convenient for some and reduces the pre-travel stress significantly. Even though hygiene measures were in force, everything was open and you could enjoy a “normal life” without having to think about Covid all the time.

TIP: Enjoy to the fullest!

tops and flops tulum

4. Flop Safety  #drugwar 🔫

I had mixed feelings when it came to safety in the Tulum bubble. Before my trip I read some shocking news about guns fired between different cartels, causing injuries to tourists and that the local police were highly corrupt. The pandemic also appears to have worsened the situation, with robberies on the street. The recent events made the Mexican government send armed soldiers to the tourist hotspots to provide safety for the people. 

Tip: Leave your expensive jewellery at home. Do not have a lot of cash with you and do not walk in abandoned parts of the city at night. Use your hotel safe to store valuables. If someone tries to rob you,  just give him/her what you have. Your life is far more valuable than your possessions.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

5. Top Parties #godancing 🕺

To be honest, before I went to Tulum, I thought it was a destination to relax, to have healthy food and to dress up. But it is also an extreme Party location. You can go dancing to the beats of world-famous DJs.

TIP: Party venues stretch over the entire city. I personally enjoyed the open-air parties right at the beach the most. The regular cover is extremely expensive though. 

tops and flops tulum

6. Flop Prices #ripoff 💸

Prices in Tulum shocked me so much. Tulum has nothing to do with the rest of Mexico. It is a bubble right in the middle of the jungle. It is somehow working but very insatiable. The entire infrastructure is not built for the size of the city. Fresh water comes with trucks to the beach hotel and electricity is produced through generators. Prices for parties, hotel rooms and dinner can easily cost several hundred Euros in a country that is relatively poor. Everyone is trying to get your money and this can be very annoying on vacation and ruins the vibe. Tulum is a destination for tourists who do not necessarily have to look at a travel budget.  

TIP: The Prices for food are more responsible in downtown Tulum. Do not go there if you have a small travel budget, because Tulum will not be so enjoyable.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

7. Top Food  #inheaven 😋

Tulum offers food outlets for every taste, budget and high-end tasters. For vegans and vegetarians, this is the place to be. As a foodie, you will be floating on cloud nine in Tulum.

TIP: I enjoyed Meze and Taboo for dinner. Both venues slowly transformed into a party location in the evening. Prices are generally higher at the beach compared to restaurants and cafes in the downtown region.

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

8. Flop Taxis  #theworst 🚕

Taking a cab in Tulum is a nightmare. There is no UBER service or any other transportation app. There is no taximeter, so the price will be set by the driver. Prices go up ridiculously at night. During the day you pay around 15€ between downtown and the beach. At night they want around 70€. 

TIP: Negotiate the price before taking a taxi. Tell them which price you want to pay and stick with it. Drivers will try to ask for more money.  If they ask for too much money for the trip, go to the next taxi. Have cash with you, because not all drivers accept cards.

tops and flops tulum

9. Top Vibe  #unique 🚀

Tulum is a bubble and the vibe within it is exceptional. I love how people dress up just to go to the beach. It is glamorous in some way but also down to earth. I did not have the feeling that it was artificially nice but genuinely friendly. It has a certain type of people living and visiting there, I would say. 

TIP: Get some clothing which suits the Tulum vibe before your journey. Prices are a lot more expensive there. 

tops and flops tulum
tops and flops tulum

10. Flop Cocktails  #awful 🍹

If you are into cocktails, then I have to disappoint you. Tulum lacks good barkeepers. Anyways, that’s a perfect reason to drink less. Alcohol is toxic to your body. Instead, have a green smoothie at the RAW Love Beach.

TIP: If you need to have a drink then have one with mezcal –  the world-famous tequila of Mexico.  

tops and flops tulum

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

11. Top Nature  #stunning 🌿

Most people visiting Tulum forget how beautiful the surrounding nature is – they may be too focused on partying and relaxing at the beach. You definitely have to visit the Cenotes, which are sweet water sinkholes connected through a tunnel system with the ocean. They are spectacular and a must-visit, like the beachfront Maya Ruins of Tulum 

TIP: Origin Dive project offers an amazing exclusive experience in a Maya reserve. Besides diving into an underwater cave (without experience) you will fly over a Centore with a zip line. I absolutely recommend doing it. It was one of the best activity experiences I have ever had.

tops and flops tulum

Experience with Origin Dive Project 

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

tops and flops tulum

12. Flop Streets #wrongturn 🚧

Streets in Tulum are a big big flop – especially in Downtown Tulum.

 Some of them are so terrible that I would not call them streets even though they lead to a residential area and to high-end hotels. At night there is no street lighting and you have to be extremely careful. Additionally, traffic to and from the beach can be a disaster because the infrastructure is not made to cope with the high number of visitors.

TIP: Rent a scooter to be flexible and to get around quickly. But I would only drive one if you have experience and feel safe driving one. 

tops and flops tulum

So…are you going to Tulum after you read my blog post about the tops and flops of Tulum? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like the post!

Your PilotPatrick

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