With soft white beaches, dazzling turquoise waters, and blissfully located “off the grid” from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Tulum remains one of the last great undeveloped areas of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline. Smart investors and travelers should consider taking advantage of Tulum’s affordability before the new airport increases international accessibility and awareness. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
There are beautiful beaches all over the world, and I’m fortunate to have seen and written about many of them. If I had to choose my favorite, though, simply for sheer beauty, I’d be hard pressed to select any other than those near Tulum, Mexico.
Here, the water is a dazzling turquoise-blue like something from a neon fairytale. It swells your heart to gaze at it, it’s that perfect. Warm and silky with gentle foamy-white waves that roll against the softest, whitest sands, this is the Caribbean of travel posters. It’s a picture to lose yourself in.
To up the ante, here and there a rocky outcropping appears…and flawless palm trees stand glimmering and reaching for the sun. Surprisingly, no matter how hot or intense that sun, you won’t burn your feet. The sand here isn’t made of silica, like most beaches, but is instead tiny fossils of microscopic plankton. It’s silky soft, too. If not for its lack of fragrance, you’d swear this sand was baby powder.
And there’s plenty of it. Tulum is at the southern end of the Riviera Maya, a magic carpet strip of sand that stretches virtually unbroken to Cancun, over 80 miles to the north. Unfortunately, thanks to Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Cancun was robbed of its deep beaches. But Tulum remains blessed with wide unbroken stretches of pure-as-the-driven-snow sand.
If you know where to go, you can be one of the few beachcombers in sight. Both to the north and south of Tulum’s in-town beach, there are plenty of these picture-perfect and (as of now) little-populated beaches to choose from.
Even along the most popular section of the Tulum beach corridor—south of the famous Maya ruins—you won’t find the crowds of Cancun or Playa del Carmen. That’s because this area is largely “off the grid,” and hopefully it will stay that way. There are no large resorts here, no thumping discos or buses offloading the tourist masses. Instead, you’ll find simple-but-chic cabanas and elegantly small boutique hotels that cater to a young, international crowd and those looking for a relaxing experience complete with some of the freshest, most delicious food choices on the planet.
Development ends just a bit further south at the 1.5-million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The focus here is on jungle walks, mangrove lagoons, and unexcavated ruins. But of course, the beach continues. For 22 miles, the world’s most beautiful stretch of beach extends southward along the eastern edge of the Boca Paila peninsula.
If you go: You’ll want to rent a car or arrange a transfer for the two-hour drive from the airport at Cancun. (A new international airport is planned for Tulum, with construction due to begin in 2011.) We’ve always enjoyed our stays and the excellent restaurants at small beachside hotels like Mezzanine (www.mezzanine.com.mx) and Posada Margherita (www.posadamargherita.com). And if you’ve never been, do visit the nearby Maya ruins at Tulum—touristy, yes, but a breathtaking setting you’ll not soon forget.
This article has been republished from International Living.