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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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


change when flying post covid-19

6 Things That Will Change When You Fly Post Covid-19

Hey My Dear Aviator,

Have you considered how flights will be after Covid? Your beloved Aviation industry is one that has definitely been affected by the pandemic and has changed it irrevocably. For this reason, there are many shifts and changes in the experience for passengers, in the operation, for crews and in aviation in general. When researching the way Covid has affected aviation in the aftermath of the pandemic, I found 6 major things that will change when you fly post Covid-19. Some shifts we will embrace and enjoy, but others make us wish the pandemic never happened.

change when flying post covid-19

1. More Stringent Hygiene Regulations on Board and at the Airport 👮🏼‍♀️

When you think about it, there are a number of areas in the airport that require physical contact from baggage check-in to security points. These areas will likely be completely redesigned to eliminate contact as much as possible and maintain social distance as well. In major airports, you may have observed self-drop offs for baggage, self-check-ins and self-scanning ID stations. This will be the future airport experience. One step further I could also imagine that there will be less security personnel due to more automation. We become more and more transparent through digitization. So, maybe one day those who hold a trustworthy record could possibly pass through security without getting checked. 

However, after the pandemic, I think the lines/queues will be longer, to enforce social distancing, and checkpoints could take significantly longer, as travellers will need to separate more of their carry-ons, so that bag searches are less necessary.

In my opinion, we will be required to wear PPE for some time due to the nature of airports and aeroplanes. Space for travellers is limited and the ICAO might implement this as an extra safety measure once countries get rid of the mask requirements. 

I am sincerely hoping that on board cleaning policies change tremendously. Who hasn’t taken a seat and found a dirty cushion, dirty tray tables and smeared window blinds? Airlines will take more care to present a clean impression of the cabin to their passengers and they will promote their disinfection process as a selling point.

I don’t believe that disembarking the plane by rows will have a future. However, I would favour a more speedy process, also for embarkation, through more boarding bridges. This would help to reduce contact with other passengers,

change when flying post covid-19

Outdated Business Class of Lufthansa

2. Updated Cabin Configuration 💺

We have been seeing a change in cabin configuration already over the past few years. First Class cabins have been decreasing, Business Class cabins have been improved and Premium Economy cabins have gotten bigger.  

Passengers demand more comfort, more seat separation and more space from fellow passengers. However the extra pricing for a Business Class is too much for most travellers. That’s why the Premium Economy is a great alternative in between both classes. You get more comfort and a better flight experience for a reasonable price. So, for extra safety and comfort, more and more passengers will book Premium Economy.

Airlines will also need to configure the layout of their cabins to address the increased share of leisure traffic. At the simplest level, lower numbers of business travellers may lead to smaller Business Class cabins. So the layout will shift to a bigger Premium Economy Cabin and/or development of Business Class seats more suitable for travelling as couples or groups.

change when flying post covid-19

In the future Business Class will be First Class with more comfort

change when flying post covid-19

Pay for everything model will be implemented for all booking classes

3. Everything, Everything and Everything will Cost Extra 💸

Thanks to low-cost airlines, the policy of “everything has to be paid as an extra” has been implemented in the aviation industry. Premium airlines have refused as long as possible to adapt to this model. But since they appear to have lost clients and could not keep up any longer with the pricing of other operators, passengers have had to start paying for extras. 

Even premium airlines like Lufthansa, do not offer any free drinks or snacks on their short-haul flight anymore. Taking this further, passengers will have to pay extra for EVERYTHING, whether it be luggage, carry-on baggage, priority boarding, catering onboard or seat reservations. This is already the case on most short and medium-haul flights. It will also be the future for long-haul flights to keep the ticket price low and make more revenue from any passengers. 

I do favour this trend because I think this way you can personally shape your flight experience. It will be more individual and fit your needs. Even in business class, I could imagine that you have to pre-order your meal and pay for it extra. Why not? So, less catering will be thrown away after the flight. 

BLOG: Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

change when flying post covid-19
change when flying post covid-19

4. More Expensive Flight Tickets 🎫 

The aviation industry received state-provided aid, credit lines, and bond issuances, which collectively amassed more than $180 billion worth of debt in 2020. This figure is equivalent to more than half of total annual revenues that year. These costs will need to be recouped. Therefore, we’ll likely see ticket prices rise. To keep ticket prices low or at the same level, airlines may potentially calculate extras within their ticket price. E.g. to take hand-luggage on board. In my opinion, ticket prices need to be high so that they can pay fair loans, reduce the environmental footprint and safety standards can be at the highest level. 

change when flying post covid-19

5. More Hassle due to Certificates and Tests 📲

When travelling out of the country, a passport may not simply be sufficient anymore. We can experience this already. Despite an ID, you may need a vaccination certificate, a test and most of the time you need to register in the country where you are flying to. Additionally, you have to take care when flying via a third country, which may have totally different regulations. This can get quite confusing for travellers to know which documents they need for their journey. 

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travellers’ vaccine certificates, COVID-19 test results and entry forms. Carriers will invest in the customer experience and IT automation – such as making check-in and boarding processes more seamless. Travellers will need to upload all documents before the flight and the system will check it and grant them access to check-in online. At the moment everything needs to be checked at the airport which causes long queues. 

change when flying post covid-19

6. More Leisure Destinations on the Flight Plans 🏝

Leisure trips will fuel the recovery of the industry, whereas business aviation travel will take longer to recover, and even then, it is estimated that it will only recover to approximately 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Remote work and other flexible working arrangements are likely to remain in some form post-pandemic and people will take fewer corporate trips.

This will cause more leisure destinations to be on the flight plans of airlines. We are likely to fly to vacation hotspots more directly. I am hoping that post-pandemic consequences will change a lot at Berlin Brandenburg airport. Let’s see if the disaster airport and other airports will soon offer more direct flights, not just going to major hubs.

change when flying post covid-19

Boeing B777 of SAUDIA

Conclusion 🛫

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. There seems to be some relief at the moment, but the process to recovery will still take several years. Multiple longer-running trends have been accelerated, such as digitization and the phasing out of less-efficient aircraft. Burdened by debt, many carriers have depleted their cash reserves. But the forecast is not without positivity and hope. Travel will become greener and more efficient, and we are all itching to travel again without restrictions.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post: “6 things that will change when you fly post Covid-19” with my outlook. Please do not forget to like and comment below telling me what else will change in the aviation industry. 

Happy and safe future landings!

Your PilotPatrick


TAP Business Class review

Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

Hey my dear Aviator,

Flying Business Class is indeed exclusive and special. Nobody wants to fly cramped up in Economy on a long-range flight! Once you have tasted the comfort of flying upfront, you don’t ever want to fly in the back anymore.

 (So my advice: Do not ever taste the sweet cheery of Business Class) NO just kidding: You should if you have the chance to! However, the pandemic has changed a lot about this service class. So here is why you should not fly with TAP Business Class.

TAP Business Class review

Airbus A330-900neo

My First time with TAP Air Portugal 🛫

I have flown numerous times on short-haul flights with TAP Air Portugal, which is a member of Star Alliance. In the beginning of 2022 it was m  first time to experience their Business Class service on a flight to Cancún in Mexiko. I was very excited for this flight since flight reports differed a lot online. So I was eager to come to my own opinion, especially because it was their new Business Class service on board an Airbus A330-900neo. Unfortunately, I had to find out that not only was I surprised, I was also very disappointed.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

TAP Business Class A330-900neo

Why Should You Not Fly TAP Business Class

Business Class Crew 👩🏼‍✈️👨🏼‍✈️

They were present but not really attentive.  Most of them are very friendly but you could feel that they were not really enjoying their job. This always makes me kind of sad to see. Of course, I am taking lots of photographic content during the flight. I am an aviation blogger and I always respect the privacy of other passengers. But what I don’t like is when a crew member approaches me right after boarding to tell me that it is not allowed to take photos without greeting me.  Why not say: “Hello, welcome on board. Thanks for being a passenger in Business Class. Please try to avoid disturbing other passengers while taking photographs!”.  I would then have felt a little differently towards them.

Please bear in mind this is my personal opinion of this specific flight. The crew makes a huge impact on the experience, so it could be that the crew is totally different on the next flight. Indeed it was the case on the return flight. I definitely felt much more welcomed on board.

TAP Business Class review

Onboard Service 🍽

Service? Which service? The soft products in Business Class (service, food, drink amenity kits, etc.) make such a huge impact on the overall experience. The service only took place to an absolute minimum. There was no boarding drink. I don’t know if it is connected to the pandemic situation or the harsh cost-saving program of TAP. Many airlines have been impacted by the ongoing crisis.

Maybe it is a combination of several things.  However, before the flight, the flight attendants were running up and down the aisle like crazy. So reducing passenger interaction cannot be the reason. 

In general, they were not very attentive during the flight. I either had to call them or go to the galley to get a drink. It was very seldom that they came to me to ask me if I would like anything else. 

AND OMG! It took them so long to start with the service after the takeoff. Especially since they did not offer a boarding drink. 1,5 hours passed before they served the first drink. I think that is not acceptable.

 

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

Lounge 🛋

TAP offers a lounge at their hub in Lisbon, Portugal. However, there is only one lounge, which is situated at the Schengen side of the airport. After arriving at Lisbon airport from Berlin I had about 2 hours between the flights. So plenty of time to visit the lounge. Since I did not receive any information about TAP’s service, I just followed the signs to the international departures. I passed passport control and then I looked out for a lounge but I could not find one. The staff at the gate informed me that I had to exit and go back to the Schengen side. All in all, it would take 30 minutes in total, which would leave me a maximum of 30 minutes in the Business Class lounge. So I decided to wait for boarding at the gate. #FAIL

HERE is what you can do during a layover in Lisbon: What To Do In 24 Hours In Lisbon – My Highlights

TAP Business Class review

Food and Drinks 🥂

The pandemic cannot be the reason why the food is not tasty and so limited. It shocked me that the food menu was almost the same as on the short-haul flight to Lisbon. The portions were extremely small and the crew was not able to offer small snacks on a 10-hour flight. 

What shocked me the most: They did not have Champagne on board! #ultimatefail. Instead, they served sparkling wine which was offered as Champagne by the crew. This service should belong to a Business Class experience, like the wings to an aeroplane.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

Looking out for that Champagne.

Why Should you fly with TAP Business Class?

Not everything was disappointing, of course. Additionally, I like to exaggerate a bit, I know. There are some great aspects as to why you should fly with TAP in Business Class. 

The New Seat 💺

Onboard the A330-900neo, TAP offers their latest Business Class seat by the brand Recaro. The overall design and layout looks very appealing and modern. You feel comfortable right away. The seating layout 1-2-1, which grants aisle access from every seat, is fantastic. For passengers who travel alone, I recommend the seat which is directly at the window because it offers the most privacy. The seats in the middle, which are close together, are great for couples. However, you do not have a window. The forward cabin is not very big which gives an exclusive feeling.

TAP Business Class review

Seats in the middle are ideal for couples.

TAP Business Class review

More privacy at the window seat.

Ticket price 🎟

The ticket price was definitely one reason why I booked this flight connection to Cancún. One round trip was 1850€ – a very reasonable price for the length of the flight. I use google flights search, as you can select a calendar that shows you the cheapest fares. This is very useful when you are flexible with your travel dates.

A330-900neo ✈️

To fly with the brand new A330-900neo is another reason you should fly with them. It is a mid-size widebody with the lowest seat-mile costs. Designed to be efficient on any sector length, the A330-900 reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25% compared to previous generation aircraft. You can feel it is a brand new aircraft. Another big plus of this aircraft model is that TAP offers free Wifi for messaging. Data packages are expensive on the other end.

TAP Business Class review

Would I fly with TAP again?

I would say yes in this case as the ticket price is reasonable. 1850 € for a round trip from Berlin to Cancún is okay when you consider an economy ticket is around 800 € which means per way it is 500 € more in Business Class. Due to the pandemic and the cost-saving program of TAP you pay for the seat, the extra baggage allowance, the lounge access, the priority boarding and not for the service, food and drinks on board. 

I hope you find my blog post: “Why Should You NOT fly with TAP Business Class?” helpful for your future travels. Do not forget to like it and leave a comment below. 

Happy and safe landings!

Your PilotPatrick