The Laid Back Beach Scene in Tulum, Mexico

Papaya Playa

Update-12/17/12: The Papaya Playa hotel has been converted into a temporary hotel.  Click here to read more about it.

Like a relatively quiet, gorgeous beach not far from most cities in North America?  I’d recommend heading down to Tulum, Mexico.

Earlier this week, I was in Tulum for nearly seven sunny days.  The town is known for its famous Mayan ruins (which I visited in December 2009) and it’s VERY laid back beach scene.  Tulum is quiet – very unlike Cancun – it’s big and noisy neighbor two hours to the north.

The Beach at Tulum

The beach near Tulum is lined with small hotels geared towards independent travelers who prefer to stay in a rustic, wooden cabana instead of a traditional hotel room. Some of these cabanas have bathrooms and electricity but others are more simple. Victor, my traveling companion, and I stayed at the Adonis Tulum – one of the very few all-inclusive hotels on the beach.  While we had a great time at this hotel, I will probably patronize the Papaya Playa, a small, cabana style hotel on my next visit to Tulum.

Since I was craving a beach vacation, I spent most of my time on the beach soaking up some sun (ok, way too much sun!).  I enjoyed listening to the surf, reading a book on the art of travel and admiring the pterodactyl like birds aimlessly floating in the air above the beach.  Of course I also indulged on Mexican cervesas (beer) and club sandwiches made with avocado while talking to my fellow sun worshippers and the friendly staff at the Papaya Playa Hotel.

As I mentioned earlier, the vibe is quite different in Tulum from typical resort destinations.  Most of the folks on this particular stretch of beach in Tulum were low-key sorts from around the world.  In fact it was a good mix of Mexicans, North Americans, Europeans and Australians from various age groups. The scene is definitely not pretentious and if you enjoy nude beaches, you will be very happy in Tulum (it’s the only clothing optional beach in the Yucatan Peninsula).

I have visited a fair number of beaches over the years and have to mention that the beach at Tulum is one of my top three.  If you’d like more information on Tulum or would like me to help plan a trip to Tulum, contact me.  I’d love to help out!

Click here for more photos of Tulum (see album dated 3/11).


About Robert Kavalek

Robert Kavalek is a travel consultant who shares his love for traveling the world on theTRAVELER ( While his specialties are Paris, Mexico and "digital overload escapes", he can advise clients on any type of vacation. In addition, he writes about travel destinations and travel tips on his blog and Facebook page. Robert has visited 31 countries and territories and hopes to check out at least one new country every year. He currently lives in Washington, DC.
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6 Responses to The Laid Back Beach Scene in Tulum, Mexico

  1. Pingback: Photo of the Day: Playa del Carmen, Mexico | TheTRAVELER: Robert Kavalek

  2. Rob Pierce says:

    I will be going to Tulum for a yoga retreat next month, really looking forward to it. Hoping to also go to the Coba ruins and fit in some snorkeling.

  3. Yoga at Tulum? I can’t think of a more perfect place for this! You will love this beach. Do go to Coba to see the ruins – quite impressive. If you have not already seen the ruins at Tulum, I would recommend you go there. If you have time, visit the Sian Kaan Nature Reserve. There are also some cenotes (underground, water filled caves) if you feel like diving. Bon voyage Rob!

  4. H Peltan says:

    We can confirm that Tulum is a great place for a holiday, constantly changing and developing, there are lots of infrastructure improvements, regarding hotels, some are changing owners, trying new ideas etc so a bit of research before you book is a good idea.

  5. Pingback: Hotels In Tulum, Mexico | theTRAVELER

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