Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Clusters of cabanas 32KClusters of cabanas line the white sand beaches near the Mayan ruins of Tulum on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. >>>

Thatched-roof palapa huts 32K 


<<< Thatched-roof palapa huts, a beautiful seaside location, and a popular nude beach, all attract an international crowd of tourists and travelers.

Robinson Crusoe-like accommodations 32KIdyllic Robinson Crusoe-like accommodations, and camping spots on the beach near Tulum, are simple and basic. More upscale cabanas offer beds, mosquito netting and candles. >>>


Fishing boat 32K<<< Fishing boats color the white sand beaches along the southern coast of Quintana Roo. Local fisherman still work the warm ocean waters fished by their early Maya ancestors.

Ancient fortress of Tulum 32KPerched high above the Caribbean, the ancient fortress of Tulum was first sighted by Spanish explorers in the early 1500's. Today the ruins are one of the most popular Mayan tourist destinations in Mexico. >>>

Ancient fortress of Tulum 32K


South of El Crucero, the crossroads on highway 309, the cabanas of El Mirador, Santa Fe an åd Don Armando's all flow together into an impromptu village, along the oceanfront near the ruins of Tulum. Of the three, Don Armando's offers the more comfortable accommodations with blankets, hammocks and proper beds. Not surprisingly their slightly higher priced cabanas fill up quickly.
I rented a small hammock and a basic cabana at Santa Fe for about 50 pesos a night. My private lodging featured a concrete floor, wooden sticks and poles for walls, a thatched palm frond roof and a slatted wooden door with a simple padlock. A few steps away were some cold water communal showers and toilet stalls which everyone staying at the Santa Fe shared. The beach at Tulum is beautiful, just south of the rocky cliffs where the ruins of Tulum overlook the Caribbean coast. There are numerous topless women bathers on the beach and a number of au natural sun worshipers. Although nude bathing is illeg Åal in Mexico it's usually tolerated at Tulum.
The clusters of cabanas are within easy walking distance to the popular Tulum ruins perched on the high cliff above the Caribbean. It helps to get there early enough to avoid the mass of day trippers who come by tour bus from Cancun.
At night the multitude of stars above the beach in Tulum fills the sky with a tactile intensity that is thick with light. Above the horizon a bright quarter moon rose up directly over the Caribbean, as the neo-hippie percussionists pounded drums on the beach throughout the night into the early hours of morning.
A number of obviously stoned people wander around the Tulum beach cabanas where sixties-era dropouts often mingle with the younger Rainbow people. The odor of marijuana wafts through the air as reggae tapes blast away at Bar Marley, a Santa Fe palapa hangout with a sandy floor.

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Text and Photography by Paul Picus. Copyright © 1996-2008 Paul Picus. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 1996-2008 Gar Benedick, All Rights Reserved.