Tulum, Quintana Roo: Travel Tips

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I have compiled some travel tips that might lend some valuable information if you ever find yourself in the yucatan!

  1. Cancun Airport. If you’re flying to Tulum, most likely you will be flying into the Cancun airport. It has been fairly renovated, the people (and drug dogs!) are super friendly, just beware if you have a lot of luggage you will most likely be searched. Also, beware while walking out of baggage claim. You will be bombarded (thats an understatement) by travel companies, tour guides, snorkel tours, and real estate companies. I highly recommend beelining towards the exit door and don’t engage in conversation. I am sure they are kind hearted, but most likely you can find cheaper options once you get to town or your hotel.
  2. Traveling from Cancun to Tulum. If you’re not renting a car- I recommend reaching out to your hotel/airbnb for transportation options from the airport. They will most likely recommend a private shuttle which usually costs anywhere around $80-100 US dollars one way. It is about an hour and forty five minute drive from the airport, so heads up!
  3. You cannot drink the tap water.  I mean sure you can drink it but you are putting yourself at risk to parasites and other contaminates. It might sound frightening or just plain out inconvenient, but it’s just the way it goes here. Don’t worry, the majority of ice cubes are made with purified water.                                             *Before you judge-don’t forget Flint, Michigan STILL doesn’t have clean water*
  4. No car rental in Mexico is $1 a day. That is some mumbo jumbo scam. Yeah sure it’s a dollar a day but read the fine print on your rental agreement -your US car insurance is not valid in Mexico, which means you have to pay a daily insurance fee on your rental vehicle…which usually starts around $30 a day. I highly recommend setting up a car service to pick you up/take you back to the Cancun airport if you’re traveling to Tulum. I also recommend renting your vehicle from an agency in Tulum, is it less expensive than renting directly from the airport- that’s a fact.
  5. You are visiting the jungle. The weather is sassy as hell. One minute it is sunny, the next it is pouring, then the power goes out, and then it comes back on, then there is a rainbow sunset, and then the sky if full of stars. There are mosquitos, and lizards, and colorful birds, and wild dogs. It is a beautiful paradise that keeps you on your toes. Always make sure you have candles, bug spray, and a bottle of mezcal on deck. 
  6. If you are highly allergic to poison ivy/poison oak/sumac PLEASE read. Not wanting to scare you but if you plan on coming to Tulum you might find yourself visiting the jungle, cenotes, or exploring the beautiful outdoors… just beware that the Chechen Tree is a real hazard. It has side effects similar to poison ivy but it’s poisonous sap is supposedly 10 times more aggressive than poison ivy… and it is all over the yucatan. If you have more questions, just let a sister know… because Zachary and I have dealt with it first hand.
  7. Less is more. Trust me, I love me a good outfit… or ten. But there is no point to spend your travel day lugging around two checked bags and a carry on. All you need is a carry on. Tulum is a casual beach town- bathing suits, coverups, shorts, and a good pair of earrings is all you need.
  8. Yes, you can purchase feminine products here. When we moved here I was under the impression that they wouldn’t sell tampons here (yes, I know that might sound naive) but the local grocery store in town- Chedraui, has everything you need. From sunscreen, to a washing machine, motorcycle, avocados, cereal, prosciutto, liquor, and pool floaties.
  9. Use those safes in your hotel room/airbnb. Unfortunately Mexico gets a bad wrap for crime. If you are visiting Tulum, you are visiting a town that is growing and expanding rapidly but still has high poverty levels which leads to opportunistic crime. Just be conscious of your surroundings, lock up those passports, make copies of them, keep your phones close, and leave your important jewelry at home. Just use your noggin’ y’all. 
  10. You most definitely need pesos. If you’re venturing to Tulum, pesos are a must. The internet is not always dependable so businesses don’t depend on their debit/credit machines to always work. If you’re spending your day/weekend down on the beach road- you need to have pesos with you. Some resorts and restaurants *might* take cards, but it’s not worth being that asshole that doesn’t have enough pesos/cash. There are a few different money exchange places in town and banks with ATM machines- but if you have the ability to take care of the exchange in the states, take advantage!
  11. Stay hydrated. Electrolit saves lives, and hangovers. You can buy it from any pharmacy or *most* convenience stores. Along with hisbiscus water- it is full of vitamin C and a glass a day keeps the doctor away.
  12. AirBnB is your best friend. Do your research- there are beautiful hotels on the beach but if you can afford $400 dollars a night, god bless you. There are hundreds of beautiful properties on AirBnB that won’t break the bank, and half of them have private pools… which is pretty sweet.

 

I’m sure the learning curve will never end and this list will only get longer, with time!

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