In the parking area for Tulum, the lots are lined with vendor offering "free" information. Yes the information is free but they have a hard sell for tours and they give you the impression it is required.
If you don't want to deal with this you are free to access Tulum ruins on your own. Walk past the yellow gate and continue down the road for some time. Its about a 10-15 minute walk to the ticket station. You do not buy tickets in the parking lot.
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Honestly, all that we went to seemed overpriced, especially for silver. We found that we could buy the same things at the gift shop and jewelry store at our resort for less, and superior quality.
Unique Suggestions: You may be making an unexpected stop at a tourist trap if you book any excursions. That's how we always ended up at them. You can haggle a lot. Some people bought the same thing, one for half the price that another paid.
Fun Alternatives: If you are on an excursion, you may want to take a taxi back to your accommodations. You'll get home faster, and you can leave when you want to leave. There were generally taxis at the exit areas of all tourist attractions, so it's not a problem getting one.
OK, I almost put this in "things to do" but really, it takes just a few moments in this place to realize that you can see what there is to see so quickly. And the people--it is crazy!
Unique Suggestions: I guess you should see it just to say you saw it. It is magnificent.
Fun Alternatives: Coba?
Upon leaving our Resort, to do a shopping day trip into Playa del Carmen, you are told, as you are getting onto the bus, that it will be stopping at a jewelry factory on the way to PDC, to see how jewelry is made. Sounds kinda of interesting until you get there...there is no one in sight making any kind of jewelry. You are unshered into a huge building to shop at an extremly exqusite shopping 'site' (for lack of a better word) If you are a multi-millionaire then you can afford it!!!
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go into the Lapis Jewelry Company, just go to look or stay outside, as the group is only there for 45 minutes and then onto PDC
Flyrs are what people call "voladores". they are the ultimate tourist attraction (or trap( just outside the Tulum ruins. It's five costumed men recreating a ceremonial ritual by the Totonac indians. Here's how someone online described the ritual: "the flyers begin by climbing the tall pole, then each of four of the men slip a foot into a loop at the end of a rope that is wound around the top of the pole. The fifth team member performs a special dance to each of the four cardinal directions, dancing upon the top of the pole while playing a flute! At the right moment, the four flyers release themselves from the small cap on the pole and fall to earth, circling around the pole in expanding circles as the rope unwinds, eventually touching ground."
Unique Suggestions: Remember it's a show put up for tourists - money is collected at the end of the show (or during). It's up to you to decide if it's correct to give some or not.
I only have one complaint about the Sunscape Resort: they employ people, very nice, local people to mingle among the guests and convince them to take a "tour" of their new time share facilities. After you take the tour, which in itself is not so bad, you are then brought to a room and handed over to the "manager" who will mercilessly (and very rudely) attempt to sell you a time share deal using every hard-sell technique in the book. I was greatly offended by this, not just because the people doing the selling were so damn obnoxious, but because we paid a decent amoount of money to stay here and I found the entire thing to be in very poor taste. All in all, we wasted 2 hours of our vacation caught in this time share quagmire only to be gruffly ushed to the door when we refused to agree to paying $15, 000 for something that was not even adequately expalined to us. If you stay at the Sunscape, avoid these people at all costs.
- Family Travel
This may not be a bonafide tourist trap as we didn't stay around to watch the performance. If you try to take a picture, even before the performance starts, there will be someone chasing you down looking for a donation. I might have given one had they actually been doing something when I snapped the photo.
Unique Suggestions: Stick around for the performance :-) Apparently it is something to see but i didn't know what it was before we went.
Tulum is always very crowded. Buses full of tourists and guides arrive every minute. And guides always say that those shops by the parking space are the best - i don't agree! They seem to be more expensive than other places and have nothing to sell that is worth buying.
When you enter the ruins there are always so many groups of people surrounding guides, that sometimes you have some difficulty in managing to observe things properly.
Around 11.00am is gointg to be very hot.
Unique Suggestions: Take a water with you.
Fun Alternatives: There is a nice beach over there so dont forget a swim suit.