Tulum Town, Tulum
I gained so much Spanish during my classes at Meztli in Tulum, Mexico. The program was well thought out and the instruction better than any other language school I've attended. The location in the town of Tulum is charming and classes were out doors. Yoga classes were given each morning and in the afternoon we had Mexican cooking classes, and my favorite, Salsa dance lessons. My level of Spanish increased from intermediate to advanced during my 4 weeks of classes. I started my stay in Tulum at El Jardin de Frida..too noisy for me though. I arranged a rental for the month with the help of Sara, my teacher at the school. There are many places to rent in Tulum, so no problem finding accommodations. Getting to Tulum is easy if you arrange in advance online. You can get a shuttle to pick you up in the Cancun airport and drop you off at your Tulum hotel.
Tulum may not have the biggest or asthetically pleasing structures as some of the other Mayan ruins in the region but it has a tropical beauty of it's own that no other Mayan ruin can claim. Take the time to fully explore Tulum and see for yourself the tropical paradise that surrounds the ruins. Many tourist simply take the guided tour or just head right for the beach, my advice is to take a view hours and stroll around the ruins and find the type of awe inspiring views that Tulum offers. These views are what make Tulum unique but like anything worthwhile in life it will take time and patience to see it for yourself. But its well worth the effort.
Several years ago I would have described downtown Tulum as a dusty one-horse town, worthy of maybe a quick curious glance but I wouldn't have listed it as a necessary "must see". No longer--this town is really beginning to boom! In the evening it is colourful and beautiful. New fancy well-designed open-air restaurants line the main street, reminiscent of what Playa Del Carmen was like several years ago. I was surprised to see a nightclub pumping music. Prices have gone up downtown; there are new cobblestones on the sidewalks, more stores, craft vendor and food stalls, and a new central bus station. If you're lucky they'll have the midway open on one of the corners. One VTer's tip on this web site says downtown Tulum is ugly--that's absolutely not true anymore.
The long strip through downtown Tulum is worth a stroll to shop for necessities or grab a bit to eat. There are several souvenir and silver shops -- while not the cheapest, I'm sure, the selection was decent enough. Tulum was strangely deserted though, save the shopkeepers and occasional tourist.
This is the Yucatan's most visited Maya ruin. It attracts more than 2 million people annually (I think they were all there the day we went!). The ruins aren't spectacular themselves, but it's where they are situated that makes them so unique. The location is breathtaking. We took an all day tour that also included Xel-Ha. You don't need anymore than 2 hours at this place unless you plan on snorkelling in the cove. You're not allowed to climb or go in most of the ruins. There is a shuttle to the ruins from the entrance which costs $1 US each way or you can walk the 1/2 km to the site. This pic is of the Castle.