Travel to Mexico during covid - Discover Tulum
In 2018 we traveled to Mexico for the first time. This trip left such an impression on us that we couldn’t wait to return. Mexico has conquered our hearts and we are very grateful that we were allowed to visit this country again. In week one we arrived in Cancun and moved on to discover Tulum .
Due to Covid-19, these are exceptional times to travel. Traveling mainly outside Europe is not easy and we realize that. Many people are not yet open to travel (far) and we fully understand that. We, on the other hand, were ready for it. Thanks in part to our vaccination against Covid-19, we currently feel safe enough to travel outside of Europe. A choice we might not have made without vaccination. And even now, we’ve given it some serious thought. After all, it is still possible to get sick and transfer the disease to others is also not excluded. We know that. In addition to the holiday aspect, this trip also has a work-related aspect for us and that is why we felt the need, after a year and a half, to be able to travel again. Of course with all applicable measures.
Just because these are exceptional times, the flights are also uncertain. Traveling to Mexico is perfectly possible from Belgium. You do not have to undergo a test or present a certificate of vaccination and you do not have a quarantine obligation (article made in August 2021). But getting to Mexico effectively from Belgium is more difficult in practice. TUI canceled all flights (including ours) so we were forced to fly with another airline. With Aeromexico from Amsterdam Schiphol (Netherlands) it worked. After a long flight with layover in Mexico City, we landed safely in Cancun .
We already visited Cancun in 2018 and although it is not immediately our favorite place in Mexico, it is a perfect base to discover other beautiful places. We decided to stay in Cancun for a few days to adapt to the climate and rest after a tiring flight. We needed those days because for the first time we really suffered from jet lag. Being exhausted in the afternoon, waking up at 3 am, having a headache, … These are symptoms of a classic jet lag. So the message was to rest and get used to the Mexican rhythm. We didn’t do much in Cancun except take short walks, visit the nearby shopping center (the ideal place to cool off!) and relax on the pearly white beach.
After Cancun we headed for Tulum for the first time. We hadn’t been here before, other than a day trip to the archaeological site. We had not yet discovered the bustling, popular Tulum. We stayed at the beautiful luxury boutique hotel Alea Tulum , a few miles from busy Tulum Pueblo and Tulum Beach. This hotel is located on an impressive cenote (cave or lake with clear blue water) and is located on the beach. The cuisine is fantastic with all kinds of traditional Mexican dishes. The à la carte breakfast and certain activities including sea kayaking are included. Be sure to consider the rooms with an adjacent pool and sea view. Simply beautiful! Here you can completely relax.
One of the first evenings in Tulum we spent in Tulum Pueblo. Our expectations were high, but unfortunately they were not met. The city center is lively but by no means beautiful. You can enjoy good food, visit nice shops and spend a nice evening, but there is not much more to see. For that you have to go to Tulum Beach.
Discover Tulum Beach
Tulum Beach is the well-known, popular Tulum as you often see in photos. It is in fact one long street in the middle of the hotel zone of Tulum where you will find all kinds of bars, restaurants and bohemian shops. There is a relaxed vibe here and especially (partying) young people know how to find their way to this neighborhood. The more exclusive hotels and beach clubs are also located here. But most are accessible to everyone. At the photo hotspots, such as Alau Tulum, you have to wait in line for hours, even in times of Covid-19, and we thought that was a shame. But it is simply part of tourist attractions.
Tulum is known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful hotels, bohemian shops and beautiful beaches. But around Tulum you can also find a lot of cenotes . Of course we also visited a few, but that did not always go according to expectations.
The first cenote called Gran Cenote was not accessible with our camera. Taking pictures was allowed, but only with our iPhone. We do not pay 600 pesos (about 25 euros) for this. So we decided to skip this visit. The next cenote was fortunately located nearby.
Cenote Calavera was accessible with our camera but then we had to pay 200 pesos extra (on top of the 400 pesos entrance). Annoyed, we paid this because we had to show something. Although it was still morning, it was already quite busy here and it was not possible to really enjoy this place. The cenote itself is quite small and the area around it is not very nice. Disappointed, we drove to our next stop.
Cenote Corazón del Paraíso was harder to find. Even our taxi driver had never heard of this place. After a short search and driving up a dusty, dirt road in the middle of the jungle, we arrived at this wonderful cenote. Apart from a few Mexican residents, we were the only ones there. It was calm here and the cenote itself looked more like a clear blue lake than a cave, but it was beautiful! And this one was also the cheapest of all the other cenotes with even more facilities (clean showers and toilets, tables and chairs, shaded areas, a bar, etc).
If you ask us, we think the (popular) cenotes around Tulum are mainly a scam. Unless you want to spend a whole day at these water sources, we don’t think it’s worth paying that much for a visit. Opt for the less popular cenotes and enjoy twice as much!
Our first impression
So our first impression of Tulum was mixed. Tulum Beach is nice, if you ignore the many tourists. The cenotes are worth seeing, if you forget the expensive entrance fee. Overall, we have also realized that taxis have become three times more expensive compared to 2018. Also the food in Tulum, on the main road and in beach bars, is not cheap. This makes Tulum a fairly expensive destination. Especially compared to other destinations in Mexico. But you have to see it once in a lifetime and when you go all the way in Tulum, you will have the best time of your life.