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The Beach Tulum Blog

News and events from Tulum and The Beach Tulum Hotel.

An Eco-Adventure in Tulum, Mexico

Posted by luca zannelli on Aug 25 2015

For me, the perfect vacation is made up of things you can’t do at home. If the destination has natural beauty and is unburdened by tourists wielding selfie sticks, even better.

<p>Accommodations at The Beach Tulum are eco-friendly and comfortable. // © 2015 The Beach Tulum</p><p>Feature image (above): Tulum is an ideal...

Using this criteria, my wife and I booked a seven-night trip to Tulum, Mexico, for our anniversary in late June. I had read several colorful phrases that made this beach destination sound appealing — “magical cenotes,” “haute hippy” and “barefoot luxury” among them. 

We wanted to avoid anything resembling an MTV reality show (yeah, Cancun, I’m talking to you), so an “eco-chic” adventure starring cave dives, jungle ziplines and white-sand beaches seemed like the perfect way to bond with each other and with nature.




The Beach Tulum

Upon arriving at Tulum’s magnificent stretch of beach, we were riveted by all the palm trees, palapa roofs and beachfront hotels that make up this rather bohemian paradise.

Our hotel, The Beach Tulum, matched the promise of its website: It was beautiful in its simplicity, chill in its vibe and evocative of places more frequently found in Thailand or Vietnam. The Beach had touted itself as an eco-hotel, and after downing the complimentary green “lemomint” smoothie served at check-in, we quickly learned what that meant. Tulum is literally off the grid — it has no power lines and no electricity in the conventional sense of the word. Most power, in fact, is created by wind turbines, solar energy and diesel generators, depending on the hotel. The Beach uses the latter to generate electricity 24 hours per day, but air conditioning is limited from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

The Details

The Beach Tulum
www.thebeach-tulum.com

Xplor
www.xplor.travel

Yucatan Diving & Travel
www.tulumdivingtravel.com

Granted, it was humid during the day but, luckily, these energy-saving quirks weren’t bothersome when we were in our room. There was usually a generous breeze blowing in from the beach, and the room had a hardworking ceiling fan to cool us between dips in the pool or the ocean. But, make no mistake, this was still an eco experience. Toilet paper was not flushed but tossed in a can — inconvenient perhaps, but not a major sacrifice for the sake of true sustainable tourism.

Cenote Pet Cemetery
One of the biggest draws when planning our Tulum trip was the picturesque caves known as cenotes, natural sinkholes that the Maya considered gateways to the underworld. At the urging of our hotel concierge team, we cabbed it to Cenote Pet Cemetery (roughly 30 minutes north), a scenic underground river belonging to Cenotes Sac Actun, the second longest underwater cave system in the world.

Few other destinations let you swim (or dive) in subterranean sinkholes covered in stalactites — icicle-shaped limestone deposits plunging down from the cave roof. The group tour, led by an English-speaking guide, was the way to go. Ours took us on a roughly one-hour cave tour, which included swimming in life vests, snorkeling and evading stalactite formations dating back 65 million years. For an additional element of intrigue, there were also fruit bats flapping around, but they were remarkably skilled at avoiding tourists such as my squeamish wife.

Cenote Pet Cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is $23 per person. For more formal diving and snorkeling adventures, visitors should contact Seattle-based tour operator Yucatan Diving & Travel.

Xplor
After a few more days of lazing at the beach, my wife and I were itching to get out and do something active. We decided to visit Xplor, an eco-friendly waterpark 35 miles north of Tulum.

We were immediately smitten with this extraordinary place carved elegantly into the jungle. We wound our way through the park’s labyrinthine pathways, wearing orange hard hats (a mandatory fashion accessory at Xplor) and discovering new adventures at every turn. From rafting through stalactite-lined caves and ziplining through waterfalls to driving amphibious vehicles over suspended bridges, Xplor was the type of eco-adventure that more active, thrill-seeking clients will inevitably appreciate — and the kind of vacation-topper that’s undeniably native to this wild terrain.

Park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission starts at $149 per person. For night owls, the park reopens from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. as Xplor Fuego.

Tulum Ruins
As a counterpoint to the newer, wetter and more adventurous day trips in Tulum, there’s always the option of braving the busloads of tourists to see some of the more historical and iconic sites. Or, you can make that an adventure, too, just as my wife and I did by renting two bikes from our hotel and pedaling 4 sweaty miles to visit Tulum Ruins, one of the best-preserved Maya coastal sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.

As opposed to the grander, more pyramid-like ruins of Chichen Itza, Tulum Ruins are more modest, but they stand tall, given that they’re on a 39-foot bluff overlooking the Caribbean. They were originally constructed by the Maya sometime between 1200 and 1450 A.D. as an ancient fortress and barricade to surround the settlement. However, these days, the only occupants seem to be a large number of spiny-tailed iguanas who slink in and out of the ruins looking for a prime spot in the sun.

The three most famous structures we saw at the ruins were El Castillo, Temple of the Descending God and Temple of the Frescoes, a place we learned was formerly an observatory for tracking movements of the sun. There are efforts to keep these ruins pristine, so we were not allowed inside, but we still found them impressive, given their level of preservation.

The site was especially poignant to us as we celebrated our anniversary. If the Maya could build structures with foundations that lasted nine centuries, clearly my wife and I could lay the groundwork for another 15, 20 or even 50 years of marriage. I just hope we don’t have to wait that long to return to Tulum.


SOURCE: http://www.travelagewest.com/Travel/Mexico/An-Eco-Adventure-in-Tulum--Mexico/?a=travel/mexico#.VdykGyztmkp

WRITER: Gregg Rosenzweig

The Beach Tulum is Among the Top 25 Small Hotels in Mexico on Tripadvisor

Posted by luca zannelli on Jan 06 2015

The Beach Tulum

Trip Advisor has become the top travel site in the world. It’s tough not to make use of this helpful site when planning trips to just about anywhere on the planet because it allows us to get the "inside scoop" on accommodations, tours, and other travel activities. Since we can see what other people have to say about the actual appearance of a hotel, the cleanliness of the rooms, and the degree of service, visitors to the Trip Advisor site feel as if they are getting a more accurate, detailed perspective than the information on the hotel’s own website. Travelers can make better decisions based on what others have to say and the more people who talk about the place in question, the more accurate the assessment of the hotel.

In this sense, Tripadvisor has been a great help for both guests and hotels because potential guests know what to expect and the advantages of the hotel are showcased. 

In the case of The Beach Tulum Hotel, we have been very pleased to see our hotel making it onto the Tripadvisor list of the top 25 best small hotels in Mexico. We believe that this is an accurate reflection of the attention we have placed on detail and the efforts we have made to provide guests with spotless, beautiful rooms on the gorgeous Riviera Maya

The high ranking on Tripadvisor also lets us know that we are meeting our main goal; offering accommodation and service of the highest quality to visitors who include Tulum on their itineraries.

To see why so many people are talking about our Tulum hotel, make your reservation today.
    


Winter: Up North vs. Down South

Posted by luca zannelli on Jan 05 2015

For many Northerners, winter is the season for bundling up and staying inside. Down here in Caribbean Mexico, however, winter’s the time of the year many people look most forward to, with mild temps and sunny days. We’re not saying our winter’s better than your winter, it’s just a different experience. For those of you considering a stay in a Tulum hotel this season, we’ve put together a handy side-by-side comparison of Winter There vs. Winter Here:

Winter Up north vs Down south in Tulum Mexico



There are great things to be said about Winter, both up North and down South. You can have the best of both worlds by booking your stay in Tulum hotels now, for a sunny tropical vacation in the middle of winter.

Mexican Christmas Traditions

Posted by luca zannelli on Dec 19 2014


Mexico’s Holiday traditions, like much of the rest of the world’s, are strongly rooted in the country’s dominant religion. In Mexico’s case, the onset of the Holiday season begins in early December by honoring Mexico’s Patron Saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe day and continues until early February. Here are the major Mexican Holiday dates and some of the most popular traditions.

December 3: A nine day novena is begun in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, or the Mexican Virgin Mary. All over the country, her image is honored and pilgrimages to pay proper respects to this important Mexican saint are begun, ending on her feast day of December 12.




December 12: Virgin of Guadalupe Day. This day celebrates and honors the Virgin of Guadalupe. Young boys will often dress up as Juan Diego and go to church to be blessed, recreating the traditional tale of how the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him in 1531 on the hill of Tepeyac, then outside Mexico City.



December 16-24 is the season of Las Posadas, or processions and parties celebrating the season. In its most traditional incarnation, children dressed as Mary and Joseph head out into their neighborhood along with a parade of their friends and neighbors to reenact the religious Christmas story of the pair seeking shelter before the birth of Christ. These processions include singing and candles and, by tradition, the pair is “rejected” at two houses before finally being accepted at the third. More modern interpretations of the posada can simply be as a Christmas party, but all posadas are meant to cement the bonds of family and friendship.


December 24, Christmas Eve. This is the biggest night for holiday celebrations in Mexico. Many attend a late night mass, ending with a midnight feast of dishes like bacalao, turkey or ham, mole and more. Ponche or hot spiced cider, is the traditional drink.



December 25, Christmas Day, is a quieter day of rest and reflection in Mexico, as families spend time together recuperating from the big celebration the night before.




December 28: Los Santos Inocentes (the Sainted Innocents). This is Mexico’s version of April Fool’s Day, originally meant to commemorate the lives of the infant boys killed by King Herod in an effort to avoid the coming of Christ. This day of pranks is also a day in which you can borrow something without having to return it.


New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day--December 31 and January 1: These are celebrated much as the rest of the world, with a couple of interesting twists. Twelve grapes are quickly consumed at midnight as the clock ticks into the New Year, each representing good luck for each of the coming twelve months. Mexicans also believe that wearing red underwear will bring love in the new year, while wearing yellow underwear will bring money/wealth.


January 6; Three Kings Day: This day celebrates when the Three Wise Men brought their gifts to the Baby Jesus. This is commonly when children will receive a gift. A round fruit bread/cake called a “rosca” is cut into pieces and served--one person will find a tiny plastic Baby Jesus in their piece, which means they will be responsible for making or providing the tamales for the upcoming Candlemas celebration.


February 2--Candlemas celebrates the presentation to the temple of the Christ child. Mexicans will bring their images of Baby Jesus to church to be blessed, and will afterwards share tamales and atole.



This is just a rough outline of some of Mexico’s most popular traditions, rooted in old religious rites, but regional and contemporary changes are common. No matter the differences in Holiday traditions, this time of year is a wonderful, interesting, and colorful time to be in Mexico.

Tulum Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by luca zannelli on Dec 02 2014

Tulum gifts

Canadian and American Thanksgiving Days marked the beginning of the long holiday season, but you have decided to jet down to Tulum for a relaxing respite just before the really hectic days of mid-December--good plan!

Make the most of your time by taking advantage of the wide range of interesting and unique shopping opportunities in Tulum and the Riviera Maya. Impress your friends and loved ones with thoughtfully-chosen, one-of-a-kind gifts from magical Tulum, Mexico.


Here are 10 easily-transported gift suggestions for Tulum hotel visitors :


  1. Scarves or Shawls (rebozos): You’ll find a Scarves or Shawls of Mexicoplethora of knit or embroidered shawls and scarves, brought from other areas of Mexico.

  2.  

  3. Handbags: Elaborately embroidered, brightly colored fabric handbags are perfect for those with a more bohemian taste, while well-made, high quality, tooled leather handbags from Central Mexico could delight even the most refined fashion sense.

  4.  

  5. Fabric Home Decor: Hand-embroidered, brilliant-hued pillowcases, Souvenirs of Tulum, Mexico tablecloths, table runners, and wall hangings will lend a vibrant jolt of color to a home.

  6.  

  7. Jewelry: Mexico is known for its high-quality silver, so expect to find many lovely things in the stores, but Tulum also boasts a number of independent jewelry designers, for those looking for more customized, original, boutique jewelry.

  8.  

  9. Beauty Products: You’ll find a number of shops carrying locally-sourced and made beauty products like handmade soaps, creams, lotions, and masks (such as Mayan Clay).

  10. Copal Incense: Easily packed, this heady-scented natural tree resin makes a great stocking stuffer. Many believe it has healing qualities and can ceremonially “cleanse” one’s space of negativity/evil.

  11. Honey: Yucatecan honey is among the world’s finest! A gift of this sweet treat will have your loved ones thinking of you with each spoonful they add to their tea.

  12. Mexican blankets: Beyond the very inexpensive, mass-produced souvenir blankets, you will find a number of beautiful, higher-quality throw blankets that come in handy in any household, particularly those with colder temperatures.

  13. Art prints or original art: Many wonderful artists call Tulum home. Support local creativity by purchasing an original work of art or art print that can be easily flat-packed and brought home.

  14. Warm Weather Attire/Gear: Tulum residents are lucky to live in year-round summer, but not everyone is so lucky. If you’ve got friends or family living in the frozen North who plan to go on vacation somewhere warm this winter, help them out by purchasing some of the warm-weather gear they’ll need, but can’t find at home this time of year. T-shirts, beach cover ups, bathing suits, beach bags, sunglasses, etc.

Riviera Maya's 12th Annual Jazz Festival November 27-29

Posted by luca zannelli on Nov 18 2014

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival 2014

As the Riviera Maya has grown in popularity as a tourist destination over the last decade, more and more exciting special events and festivals have been launched in an effort to entertain the locals and visitors who flock to this area.

Jazz Festival in Playa del Carmen


This year marks the 12th Annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, one of the area’s most popular and best-organized free events, to be held November 27, 28, and 29 on Mamita’s Beach on Calle 28 in Playa del Carmen.


Playa Mamitas at Jazz Festival riviera maya



Beginning in 2002, the Jazz Festival has over the years included an impressive array of internationally-renowned musical artists, with 2014’s lineup to boast well-known artists like Pat Metheny and Chick Corea, among many others.


stage of riviera maya jazz festival

Entrance to the festival is free and starts at 7 pm each night. Talk to the reception staff at The Beach Tulum if you’d like more information about the Jazz Festival or for your options for transport from Tulum hotels to Mamita’s Beach in Playa del Carmen, an easy drive North from Tulum, Mexico.


From Hippies to Hipsters;
The Evolution of Tulum

Posted by luca zannelli on Nov 13 2014


Fifteen years ago, Tulum was known as a backpacker’s paradise, with its hotel zone populated by rustic, sand floor cabanas with inexpensive nightly tariffs for the cash-strapped.

While the area still draws the spiritually-minded and evokes a neo-hippie vibe, reimagined and revamped Tulum hotels now attract the world’s hippest and most chic travelers, including high-end foodies, supermodels, and celebrities.

Despite its new tony reputation, Tulum has managed to retain its laid-back atmosphere and “at-one-with-nature” heritage.


Here are some of the reasons why Tulum has become the Riviera Maya’s IT destination:


Unparalleled natural beauty: Tulum’s wide,
white-sand beaches and impossibly turquoise Caribbean Sea are among the world’s most gorgeous natural vistas. Lounging under Tulum beach’s majestic palm trees while being lulled to drowsiness by the lapping of waves is soul-restorative. It’s been said that just a few nights in Tulum is the equivalent of a few weeks relaxation elsewhere.

 

 

Health consciousness: Tulum hotel guests will find a wide variety of activities to care for both their physical and mental wellbeing. Beach walks, meditation, yoga, massage, and spa treatments--Tulum has it all.

 

 

World-class restaurants: Foodies flock to Tulum not just for the beach, but also for the
amazing international foodie renaissance occurring daily. Area restaurants procure the freshest localingredients and combine them with carefully chosen imported items to create unique and interesting dishes that will satisfy even the most worldly traveler. Slow food, wood-fired food, vegan, vegetarian, high-end, home-style comfort food, fancy food, Tulum boasts the best of the best.

 

Fashion: With a growing number of independent clothing and jewelry designers, Tulum is becoming known as a place where the fashion-conscious can pick up unique wardrobe elements to highlight their individuality and mark them as trendsetters.

 

Nightlife: Once a sleepy town where a setting sun marked the end of the day’s activities, Tulum’s hip beachfront lounges now offer music and events under the stars, with sophisticated decor combined with Tulum’s original rustic elements, combining to create a chic atmosphere where the young (and young at heart) and beautiful go to see and be seen.


While Tulum has changed, it has still managed to retain its relaxed feeling. Though hipsters have newly discovered Tulum, the hippies who originally flocked to Tulum will still find themselves welcome. The magic of Tulum is that no matter where you are from, you belong.

Car Rental in Tulum - is it necessary?

Posted by luca zannelli on Oct 13 2014

Car rental in Tulum Mexico

So, you’ve taken the leap and booked a vacation in Tulum--Congratulations! Most likely, you’ll be landing in Cancun airport, which is about 1.5 hours from Tulum, which means you’ll have to consider ground transport.

Tulum in Mexico


Many people wonder if a rental car is necessary, or if they can simply get by with public or private transportation or taxis.

Whether or not you should rent a car when staying in Tulum hotels will depend on a couple key factors:






  1. Are you an active traveler, who likes to get out and about seeing the sights or are you more prone to long beach days relaxing in a lounge chair and eating at your hotel or nearby? If the latter, hiring transport from the airport to your hotel should be perfect for you, and once in your hotel, walking, bike rental, or short taxi rides should be sufficient. If you are the former, car rental would probably be the most efficient and economical decision for you.

  2. Are you comfortable navigating in a land unfamiliar to your own? Can you understand enough rudimentary Spanish to read road signs? Will you be comfortable handling the sometimes frustrating experience that can be visiting Pemex to refill the car with gasoline?

Once you have made the decision to rent a car, there are a handful of tips to keep in mind:


  1. Consider renting from a well-known, reputable rental chain, not the smaller, unknown agencies. Be sure to check out reviews online, but be aware that nearly all car rental agencies will have some negative reviews.  Being prepared and knowing what to expect is your best defense.

  2. When you book online, print out any and all correspondence, including confirmation/reservation numbers and the agreed-upon price.

  3. Once you’ve arrived and gone to the office to get your rental car, consider using a credit card dedicated solely for this rental. Debit cards aren’t recommended, as there have been instances reported of compromised cards. Credit card companies will generally reimburse/help fight unauthorized charges.

  4. If you are at all in doubt about whether or not you’re covered under insurance, buy their daily insurance. Better safe than sorry.

  5. When checking over your car, be sure to carefully look over the vehicle for dents, dings, paint scrapes--note EVERYTHING. Take photos if you feel it necessary to back up your claim. Be sure to check the spare tire to ensure it’s inflated. Check the radio, A/C, lights, etc. Don’t be embarrassed to take your time, which will send the message that you are a alert traveler and not one to be scammed with trumped up charges later.

  6. Always lock the car and don’t leave any valuables in sight. If you’re leaving the car overnight or for long periods, remove anything of value, including from the trunk.

  7. Be sure to note the gas level when taking possession of the car and make sure you match that level when returning the car.


Mexico travellingRenting a car in Tulum or anywhere in the Riviera Maya does not have to be a frightening experience as long as you are a savvy traveler who is alert to the hidden snags. Contact your concierge at The Beach Tulum today for more information or recommendations regarding private transportation or car rental.

Autumnal Equinox in Tulum

Posted by Patrizia Pezzola on Sep 22 2014

September 23 will mark 2014’s Autumnal Equinox, one of 2 times in the year when the earth’s equator passes the Sun’s center and when daytime and nighttime are of equal duration. Ancient Mayans predicted equinox dates with great accuracy, often orienting their buildings to point toward the equinoxes in such a way that sunlight would brightly beam through windows or doorways. The Ancient Maya used the equinoxes as indicators for when it was time to plant or harvest their crops. 

The Autumn Equinox is a great time to be a visitor to Tulum hotels for the following reasons:

Daytime temperatures drop from the extreme summer highs, to more tolerable temperatures in the 80 degrees F range.
Rainy season is almost over, meaning less likely chances of a hurricane or excessively wet weather
Hotel rates are still as low as they’ll be all year, and many tour providers and restaurants offer special deals to lure the off-season traveler

Tulum is a mecca for the spiritually-centered and like-minded travelers will find several equinox-themed ceremonies or events to harness the good vibrations and peace many find this time of year to bring.

The archaeological sites of Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza are special places to visit any time of year, but particularly so at the equinoxes, as guides can point out special phenomena that occur only during the equinoxes. At Tulum, sunlight beams through the windows of buildings built particularly to “catch” the equinox. At Chichen Itza, light directed along the length of the steps of its main pyramid will appear to be in the shape of a serpent

During the Autumn Equinox, travelers can take advantage of low airfare, low Tulum hotel rates, and a less crowded tourist experience while enjoying one of the most harmonious and peaceful moments in our earth’s revolution around the sun.

Mexican Independence Day September 16

Posted by luca zannelli on Sep 04 2014


A common misconception in the US and Canada is that May 5, aka Cinco de Mayo, is Mexico’s Independence Day. In fact, Mexico celebrates Independence Day--arguably the country’s most important national holiday--on September 16.


Mexico indipendence day

El Grito de Dolores (the Cry of Dolores) refers to the Mexican “cry” for independence, first begun in the town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, on September 16, 1810, which marked the beginning of Mexico’s War for Independence. A Roman Catholic Priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, gathered his congregation, ordered the church bells loudly rung, and gave a speech in front of the church, encouraging the townspeople to revolt--thereby starting a movement that would, after a decade of war, finally set Mexico free from oppressive Spanish colonial rule.


September is an exciting month to visit Mexico--while still less crowded than in more popular travel months, September affords visitors to Tulum hotels the opportunity to witness authentic local experiences like Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations. Ambulatory street vendors carry a multitude of Mexico-themed paraphernalia like flags, t-shirts, earrings, and much more. Locals wear their green, white, and red with national pride and their enthusiasm and love for their country is contagious.


Visitors will enjoy regional and national entertainment like traditional song and dance, while children can enjoy carnival rides and games. Street vendors proffer a plethora of delicious Mexican food and snacks, and everyone can enjoy celebratory fireworks. All of this leads up to the most important event: El Grito. Just before midnight on September 15, townspeople gather in the square, waving their flags and proudly wearing their Mexican apparel. Just as the clock strikes midnight into September 16, everyone yells and cheers, celebrating again the first fateful stand made for Mexico’s Independence so many years before.