As a 100% thalassophile, someone one who loves the sea, I have visited many beaches and coastal cities–Miami, Los Angeles, Cancun, Bahamas, Seychelles… you name it. However, if I can just pick one place to visit again, my Tulum trip with my boyfriend hits me with the most unforgettable memory – the bohemian beach town stands out for its gorgeous combination of spirituality, natural beauty and a taste of the exotic.
Follow my summer trip to Tulum for a spiritual purifying journey
The weather in Tulum remains equable for the whole year—between 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the peak season in Tulum occurs during the wintertime for its pleasant and humid weather, the hotel and flight prices skyrocket to an insane level. So, I would recommend going anytime between March to August. Despite the tortuous weather, the cheaper hotel rate and fewer tourists make up for it.
As a major tourism city, you can get everything in Tulum, including peso exchange, sun cream, bug spray and even stylish vacation clothes and bikinis. The number of fashion boutiques in the hotel area surprised me and I even wondered how they would make money when the competitors are just 10 meters away.
Tulum doesn’t have its own airport. Most people would land in Cancun and go to Tulum by car. I would recommend renting a car since the ride apps do not work well in Tulum and getting a taxi from the street can be laborious. However, while renting a car gives more freedom and convenience to the itinerary, you can easily fall into potential traps if you don’t do the work and end up doubling the cost, like what we encountered in Tulum.
We booked the car from an aggregator website in advance and the price listed was a little over $200 for a five-day SUV rental, a pretty decent price, right? When we went to pick up the car, the salesman told us the rental car required insurance and a deposit. The insurance price varies from $35 a day to $85, corresponding to different coverage and deposit amount. And guess what, the cheapest insurance comes with a deposit that goes as high as $6000. After arguing with the salesman for half an hour, we chose $85 per day insurance which covers 100% of the damages and rounded it to $615, tripling the original price.
Unlike the usual big international chain hotels you get at other vacation spots, Tulum breeds boutique hotels that blend in with the bushes and coconut trees. The beach area attracts hundreds of hotels. They sit on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean coast and attract travelers with pure seaside bliss. The styles of the hotels vary from beach bungalows to seaside suites or even huts with thatched roofs, each offering the escape you dream for.
In order to immerse ourselves in different experiences, we switched among three hotels in five days– Nômade, Azulik and Habitats. We booked the Moon tent room for two nights at Nômade. Nômade strives to create a balance between the innate human experience and the natural world. So, the design of their architectural structure blends into the environment yet also preserves the comfortability of the stay. You can take a shower in the wood wall while listening to the bird warble. With only 38 rooms, Nômade scatters their rooms in the large forest to guarantee the privacy of each guest. Nômade doesn’t offer local Mexican food; instead, two restaurants serve their guests. One by the beach serving grilled food and the other in the jungle serving Middle Eastern food. The two restaurants execute both excellent ambiance and flavor with a fair price.
The third day we moved to Azulik, the most internet famous spot in Tulum. Located in the heart of the Mayan jungle, the architecture at Azulik utilizes a lot of braided fabric to avoid the artificial sense, looking naturally grown from the jungle. At Azulik, you see little trace of technology – no electric light, A/C, television or a place for a shower. By limiting the technology, Auzlik tries to reduce its impact on the environment and increases their ability to get in tune with the surroundings. However, I will only give ⅗ stars for this masterpiece. I must admit Azulik beats other hotels on its marvelous design, natural vibe and killing view. But as someone who used to live under inland climate, no AC and showering in a tropical climate with temperature going up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I could barely survive. Besides, the price of the food doesn’t match with its taste. Thank you, next.
We spent the last two days at Habitas. The ocean front rooms we booked featured a private outdoor terrace facing the Caribbean Sea. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing and catch the sunrise from the comfort of your bed, Habitas offers the immersive experience with the ocean. Habitas also surprised us with its hospitality. My boyfriend cut his foot with something sharp in the sand. The hotel not only sent emergency aid to bandage up the wound, but it also sent a complimentary champagne as a gift.
Besides the unique structure of hotels and great food, Tulum offers its people a sense of tranquility and wholesomeness. I found myself gradually casting off the anxiety and irritation through the exposed nature and time away from the city bustle. The various activities offered by the hotels also helped to ease the stress. All the hotels we stayed mark themselves as wellness hotels, meaning they would offer classes like morning yoga, meditation, movie night and family-bonding activities. The classes usually took place in a half-open space with mellifluous light music, allowing people to fully immerse themselves in nature, breathing the fresh air and sensing the smell of jungle. I loved all the instructors for their professionalism and words of encouragement that pushed me to challenge myself and also discover my new self.
Five days in a paradise like Tulum is far from enough. Even two months after we got back, I still looked through my photo album often to retrospect those glamorous views and nature-inspired decor. I especially miss waking up and sleeping in to the sound of surging waves hitting to the rocks, as well as the morning yoga and meditation that enabled me to reflect on myself and let go of the anxiety. The turquoise Caribbean Sea and its spiritual scene will always attract my heart.