Tulum is Absolutely Awful.

A wide beach on a sunny day in Tulum, Mexico
Published: 12/14/20|December 14th, 2020

Hell is a town called Tulum. Supervised by Mayan ruins and strengthened by the ocean, this is a location of pothole-filled streets, costly taxis, awful traffic congestion, and out-of-touch nouveaus riche, celebs, influencers, wannabe experts, COVID deniers, and well-to-do folks wanting to “discover themselves” in costly retreats, hotels, and bars.

It is a town where one can overhear tech offers, talk of the “the China influenza,” Instagram algorithms, and an approaching drum circle within the period of a couple of minutes.

I came here with really low expectations. I ‘d heard the stories from my buddies, seen all those “influencers” on Instagram gushing a lot, read the articles, and talked to other tourists.

Tulum was influencers paradise, which likely suggested it wasn’t mine.

However I wished to see what all the buzz was actually about. Possibly it would not be so bad. Possibly I was simply being a persistent old goat.

Nope. Tulum was even worse than I had actually thought of.

A drowsy little town throughout my last see in 2011, Tulum is now a capital for jet-setting millennials, celebrities, hippies, and spiritual types. It is a location where they concern do all the important things they can do back house– however without the expense, in much better weather condition, and with more global individuals around.

It’s ended up being another Bali or Goa: a reasonably inexpensive retreat for Westerners who wish to drop in, leave, reside in their bubble, consume açaí bowls throughout the day, and celebration all night long. Here, in costly beachside shop hotels, they consume in Miami-style dining establishments while listening to the most recent EDM music.

They aren’t in Tulum to experienceMexico They come here for their little bubble.

I wished to like Tulum. I kept believing to myself, “What am I missing out on? What do they see that I do not?”

Tulum isn’t all bad: the ruins, set above the beach, are immaculately maintained, there are great deals of cenotes (sinkholes) to swim in close by, the beach is genuinely first-rate, and the food downtown– particularly the taco stalls and seafood dining establishments– are outstanding.

Noamdic Matt posing near ruins on the beach in Tulum, Mexico

And the style of those shop hotels and dining establishments, with their minimalist esthetic and usage of wood, plants, and lights, is rather spectacular. The “Tulum esthetic” as it is called is really lovely.

The factor Tulum is hell is not that however individuals.

There are simply a lot of travelers acting terribly here, acting as if they weren’t visitors in another person’s nation. And it kept rubbing me the incorrect method.

Travel is a privilege— and individuals who come here do not appear to value that. Many are merely re-creating their own cultures instead of attempting to delight in Mexican culture.

And, while I did delight in a few of those bougie dining establishments and beach bars, I do not take a trip in order to simply re-create my life back house. I take a trip to experience a location. I wish to speak with residents who aren’t serving me food, consuming a roadside taco stands and hole-in-the-wall dining establishments, and simply attempting to get a sense of life here.

Obviously, not all travel needs to be deep. Often you simply desire a getaway. Often you simply wish to jet off to a beach location and beverage from coconuts prior to returning to “the real life.”

I’m not bugged by the ones that concern Tulum for that.

It’s the folks who are here long-lasting, feigning a much deeper spiritual knowledge and proclaiming the “magic” of this location, that appear hypocritical to me. They concern Tulum and pretend they are some wonderful spiritual mission or to work remote. However all they do is adhere to their own Westernized bubble.

They then grumble about the residents, criminal offense (sustained by their own desire for drugs), and, in the very same breath, lament things are altering– even as they’re delighted about a brand-new airport and question where they can discover a Whole Foods– design supermarket. (Yes, in the expat group I signed up with, somebody really asked that concern.)

It’s these folks, the ones who comprise most of Tulum’s visitors, that made me dislike Tulum. Particularly, now, throughout COVID.

A great deal of individuals come here due to the fact that they understand they can get away public health limitations in their own nation. In truth, a great deal of the “COVID is a scam” folks move here, bars are loaded, and group occasions occur all the time. In truth, the week I got here, Tulum had actually a celebration called Art with Me, which became a superspreader event.

While I think there is a safe way to travel and am not in the “no motion ever” camp, I believe it’s simply incredibly careless to pretend COVID does not exist and set about your company. The majority of my time was at my Airbnb, around downtown, consuming at outside dining establishments or stalls, and on the beach alone (the general public beach is amazing). I got to delight in the very best of Tulum far from the worst of it.

After all, the tourist is a visitor in somebody’s house and need to deal with that with regard. To fly to a location, participate in occasions that increase the threat of COVID, imitate it does not exist, decline to use a mask, and leave the residents to handle the effects (or capture it and take it back house) is simply a wicked thing to do.


Plainly, I’m not the yoga/burner/let’s speak about chakras sort of person. And I have lots of buddies who like Tulum and will return over and over once again. The “scene” in Tulum is merely not for me. There’s excessive unsustainable advancement agitated by individuals who “appreciate the environment” however are all too delighted to remain in costly hotels that need to continuously run generators considering that the hotel zone has no facilities.

Years back,I said I’d never return to Vietnam Age and experience have actually revealed me I was incorrect to evaluate Vietnam so roughly on a very first see. Every location should have a 2nd possibility.

However, after seeing what Tulum has actually ended up being, I question I’ll go to Tulum a 3rd time. Possibly if I end up being super-rich and can prevent those bougie $800-a-night hotels or choose that, really, drum circles actually are for me.

So, dear tourist, if you resemble me and take a trip to find out about the nation you are going to, a prolonged check out to Tulum most likely isn’t for you. There’s very little of Mexico to be discovered in the costly shop hotels, costly stores, retreat centers, or dining establishments offering pizza, pad thai, açaí bowls, and juice cleanses.

Come for a fast journey to the ruins, swim in a couple of cenotes, consume the terrific street food, dine at the hole in the wall regional dining establishments, and roam the downtown location.

Then leave and avoid the rest with no remorses.

Due to the fact that the rest is an unsustainable and overdeveloped hell hole of phony influencers, wannabe celebrities, and individuals taking apart paradise.

And it’s unworthy your time.

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