Slow Travel In Tulum
Ninety minutes. That is all it takes to leave Cancun International Airport, drive south to Tulum and feel life imperceptibly slow down. This beachside town’s motto is, “take your time” and its remoteness makes that motto difficult to disobey.
Tulum means “wall” in Mayan and alludes to the ancient Mayan ruins at the north of the coast. The once dusty little town emerged from the jungle less than 50 years ago and still exists in a time warp although the hand of modernity is slowly leaving its fingerprints on Tulum’s bohemian soul.
There are yoga centres, hipster restaurants, souvenir shops, eco-hotels and spas. There are also wind turbines, generators and candlelight in place of community power supply. And a night sky filled with more stars than you have ever seen.
What there is little of are TVs and phones in the rooms, WiFi and 24-hour air-conditioning. Here, disconnecting is not a choice as much as it is a way of life. You are allowed to take deep, long breaths, wear flip-flop to dinner and leave your hair windswept.
Tulum’s rhythm of life moves to the beat of simplicity. Australian jewellery designer, Samantha Wills, who was recently there to shoot a new campaign, called it “magical” and the “ultimate in luxe bohemian.”
“I will be visiting again many time over for sure,” she wrote in her blog. “It is beautifully remote and you have no choice but to dial everything down a few notches when you are there.”
Tulum is blessed with tropical, sunny weather all year round but the best months to travel in are from October to December. Hurricane season is over by then and the weather is comfortably warm. Tulum’s rainiest months are June, September and October, and the biggest waves of tourists descend in January through March.
Papaya Playa Project A stunning eco-resort offering all levels of accommodation from basic jungle cabanas to luxury casitas.
Be Tulum The swankiest hotel in town where the Argentinian-style rooms boast limestone walls, freestanding tubs and air-conditioning.
Coqui Coqui Tulum Residence and Spa A six-room resort resembling a sandcastle sitting along a stretch of the Mayan Riviera surf.
Posada Margarita As Samantha put it, “For beautiful Italian in the most divine of settings. I cannot recommend this place enough!”
Hartwood There is an excellent reason for the staggeringly long line, so do not turn your back and walk away. It is worth the wait for the slow-roasted pork ribs or a marinated beet and Gorgonzola salad.
Como Como An intimate Mediterranean restaurant where locals tuck into squid ink tagliatelle with clams and seared tuna with tamarind sauce.
Tulum Archaeological Site No explanation or persuasion needed, really. The nighttime tours or Visitas Nocturnas treat you a stunning illumination of the ancient ruins in shades of red, blue and amber.
Yoga at Maya Tulum Walk down a sandy path to one of the most serene yoga studios with its tropical palapa roof, fresh breeze and buckets of sunlight.
Aktun-Chen Mayan for “the cave with cenotes inside”, this string of 5-million-year-old underground caverns will take you past stalactites and stalagmites right to the deep green cenote.
Image credit: Jeff Stvan
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