tops and flops of tulum

12 Tops And Flops of Tulum

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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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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

deal with jet lag

Best 9 Tips To Deal With A Jet Lag

Hello My Dear Aviator,

welcome back to my blog. I just returned home from my bucket list destination – Tulum in Mexico – and I am about to fly to Brazil in a few days. Both destinations lay in different time zones compared to Germany. Tulum time is 6 hours and Sao Paulo 4 hours behind Germany. Many of you have been wondering how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post I will share the ultimative 9 best tips to deal with jet lag and its side effects due to flying east or west around the globe.

How to deal with jet lag

In my case I am staying in between Mexico and Brazil since it is only one week between both travels – that way I am avoiding jet lag completely. Currently, this means I am staying up until 2/3am in the morning which is 10 /11pm in the evening in São Paulo and sleeping in everyday.

 Thumbs up – Next trip you will deal better with jetlag.

deal with jet lag

The brandnew Airbus A330NEO


One of the best ways to mitigate the effects of a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. This is a quite costly tip I know. Most airlines offer seats which fully convert into a flatbed to have a good rest, arriving at your destination refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last few years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge. However those seats do not convert into a flatbed.

I recommend collecting miles to either get a reward ticket or to use them to upgrade your flight. Another way to fly Business Class for a decent price is to bid on empty seats. Use your booking code online to see which alternatives your airline offers.

deal with jet lag


Besides having a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of jet lag. 

When booking your ticket, reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed into the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats.

  •  Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally recommend booking a seat by the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind. 
  • When dropping your luggage at the airport, I would also ask the airline staff whether the seat next to you is still free or if they could possibly preposition you to an empty row. It’s always worth asking.

deal with jet lag

Business Class Seat of TAP Air Portugal


Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml of still water or juice every hour. So on a 10 hours flight this means you need to drink at least 2,3 liters. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine or champagne during the meal helps to fall asleep easier. But do not get wasted! This will aggravate jet lag.

deal with jet lag

Drink enough. Coconut water is rich in vitamins / Location: Ritz Carlton Cancun


It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which helps eliminate the risk of thrombosis. The inflight entertainment of most airlines shows exercises you can do during the flight.

deal with jet lag

Go outside and exercise Location: Amanasala Resort Tulum


Sleeping will recharge your body so that you have more energy when you arrive at your destination. On red-eye flights, where you fly through the night and land early in the morning, I recommend sleeping as much as possible. Maybe it’s better to skip a meal and get some rest instead.

deal with jet lag

Comfy beds at the Ritz Carlton Cancun


Once you take off, reset your watch to the new timezone. Do not constantly calculate which time it would be back home. This will confuse you and your body immensely.

deal with jet lag

Sunrise in Tulum at Amanasala Resort


Bring everything on board which makes you feel comfortable. Take pajamas if you feel like it. An absolute must are noise canceling headphones, ear plugs, sleeping masks and a travel pillow, toothbrush and lip balm.

deal with jet lag

Amenity Kit in Business Class


In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes, find a comfortable place and turn on “non-disturb on” your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterwards.

deal with jet lag

Beach Club at Amanasala Resort

What to do when jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep well and now the whole day lays ahead of you. If your schedule permits I would suggest going to bed now and sleeping for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake you up mentally and physically.

deal with jet lag

Jet lag – behavioural recommendations:

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain at the time of departure so you do not get double jet lag.
  • Wear comfortable clothing 

deal with jet lag

The body adjusts approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.


A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever-like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website Zentrum der Gesundheit (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever-like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long-range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What helps you best when you have jet lag? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to like the blog post!

Your Pilot Patrick