Understandably,it didn’t take much to convince travel writer Anthony Horowitz to plan a winter getaway to the up and coming eco-chic town of Tulum,which lies less than two hours south of Cancun in the heart of Mexico’s Riviera Maya overlooking the Caribbean Sea. With plenty of direct flights from London’s Heathrow airport to the Cancun International Airport,and an easy trip via the new,ultra-safe,modern highway that runs all the way from Cancun to Tulum,it’s easier than ever to get here.
“Tulum has seven miles of white sand on the edge of the Caribbean,and it really is unique,” shared Horowitz. “Tulum is moving upmarket and the result is an atmosphere that is quite hard to define.”
The town itself sprawls across two sides of the main highway,offering visitors access to a few pleasant cafes and a variety of shops. A number of intimate beachside hotels are also located here,tucked among the tropical foliage along the seaside,with inviting terraces that are just begging you to stop and enjoy the view (and a margarita or two). Horowitz enjoyed the “charming” Coqui Coqui Tulum,which has just six rooms,as well as Be Tulum,which is a bit farther up the coast and is also somewhat larger at 20 rooms.
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“What you won’t find are Hilton’s,high-rise apartments or anything ostentatious,” writes Horowitz,who opted to rent a “lovely house,” for the visit,which he enjoyed in the company of his wife. “Typically Mexican,” is how he described the property,which boasted high ceilings and a luxurious thatched roof.
“Every expedition we had was wonderful,” Horowitz gushes. “Tulum has one of the most beautiful archaeological sites I have ever visited.”
Once the site of an ancient Mayan walled city that served as a major port,Tulum still boasts the only Mayan seaside pyramid,along with several temples that are spread over a flat,grassy area surrounded by tropical vegetation. The pyramid itself is quite breathtaking,as it is perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea. The ruins of Coba are also close – just a quick 45 minute drive away – and offer a less developed glimpse of an ancient Mayan city,while the ruins of Chichén Itzá are a two hour drive from Tulum and home to the monumental,astrologically precise pyramid known as El Castillo.
Of course,Tulum is also home to number of gorgeous cenotes – freshwater sinkholes that occur naturally in the region’s limestone bedrock – many of which are great for swimming and diving. There are also adventure parks with exciting zipline tours of the local jungle,as well as snorkeling,abseiling and climbing adventures. You can also swim with dolphins while in Tulum or – between the months of May and September anyway – you can even go swimming with enormous (albeit harmless) whale sharks in the wild. Finally,Tulum is perched at the edge of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve,a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers tours through the canals of mangroves,bird watching and a variety of other adventure tours.
“All in all,Tulum delivered exactly what I’d hoped for,” writes Horowitz. “And the food? I gorged myself on burritos,enchiladas,cochinita pibil,grilled cactus and,of course,guacamole.”