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Discover real Mexican food out of the tourist loop; tacos, tamales and seafood.
Relax and swim at the Mexican Caribbean’s best public beach. Below is Santa Fe beach south of the Mayan ruins, the best beach.
You might get the impression that the Riviera Maya and the Caribbean Sea are just about fun in the sun and beaches.  The salubrious crystal clear water is comfortable year round making water sports a world wide draw. Tulum is blessed with the best of the best in this department. The offshore coral reef, one of the world’s largest, calms the waves making swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving an unforgettable experience…not for everybody.  Surfers go to the Pacific coast.
The very best of these beaches is the one that starts at the majestic Mayan ruins perched high atop a rock outcropping south for three kilometers. Heavenly shade is provided by coconut palms and sea grape trees…ideal for swinging hammocks. Public access signs are posted.
Tulum is more than just a beach; eateries and accommodations abound.

You have traveled a long distance to sample the real Mexican cuisine. After you have surveyed the downtown Main Street with its carnival atmosphere complete with persistent hawkers pitching everything from trinkets to tattoos and the countless restaurants go to the traffic circle corner by the Scotia Bank. There on Satelite Sur street venders of real Mexican food begin in early morning and change over the day and evening. Excellent eats at reasonable rates.  Nearby Sun and Jupiter streets need investigating also.

ImageA mini restaurant on a people powered tricycle is one of the many purveyors of real Mexican victuals you will find here.


Seven pesos or about 50 US cents will buy you one of these scrumptious empanadas…you will want more than one.


ImageThe best of real Mexican regional food directly from Mexico City is prepared here by Dolores, the owner and recent arrival in Tulum who will make you feel like a regular after your first visit.This is true street food served on the sidewalk.

ImageSmiling Jane is about to savor half an order of huarache, a Mexico City regional specialty now made famous nation-wide. The name huarache is that of a type of a Mexican shoe and the owner of this eating establishment, Dolores, has a very tall son with big feet…she patterned her huaraches after the size of his feet.


Evenings the tamale vender on Satelite Sur will add as much hot chili sauce as your gastronomy can tolerate.

ImageThese tamales are a style of the Mexico City area where corn husks are used to cook them in. The Yucatan style employs banana leaves.

One of our favorite Mexican tamales is mole…however all need sampling.
Mexico boasts over a thousand different varieties…too good to quit. Self restraint can be nearly impossible with these eats approaching addictive substance status. It is easy to go home resembling a short stack of tortillas. The variety of tacos is much the same case, and Tulum has some of the most savory of all.

 Calle Sol

One block south parallel main street in Tulum is Calle Sol, there more of the real Mexico is found.
The selection and variety of eating experiences is endless…take your unhurried time. This is the land of take it easy. Walking or bicycling is best for sightseeing and shopping.

From 8 a.m. for breakfast (desayuno) and all day this excellent eatery will satisfy your hunger with a tasty assortment of dishes of Yucatecan and Mexican cuisines…they are bicycle friendly.
This is the tropics where open air restaurants are the standard and Mario the owner will make you a regular after your first visit.
At La Palapita Yucateca restaurant the presentation is enticing. Above is a panucho, a Yucatecan style chicken or turkey open taco and two empanadas, fried tacos that come with a variety of fillings.
Tulum has an influx of Mexicans from the entire country and this amalgamation has brought with them their regional culinary specialties, which can be sampled all along the Riviera Maya.
For seafood the fisherman’s co-op restaurant and fresh fish market, El Camello, south of the downtown a couple of blocks, beats all for freshness and price.

Hotels, hostels, and beach resorts
This area may be overbuilt in the accommodations department except at the absolute peak of the tourist season. Consult Trip Advisor on the Internet for the latest rates and availabilities. These are subject to change seasonally and with currency fluctuations.
Beach resorts are in a wide range of categories from the exclusive five-star all-inclusive where all you can eat and drink for one flat fee to backpacker camping.
One of the best water front camping places is Santa Fe, just south of the Mayan ruins on the best beach.
For the economy minded traveler hostels could be the best choice. In the last couple of years they seem to have sprouted up everywhere in the Tulum area. Still the best all around choice is the Tulum Bike Hostel (Hostel Lobo Inn) located at KM 230 on the main north-south highway close to the Tulum archeological ruins entrance road. For more information, email: bedbikeandbreakfastulum@hotmail.com
Dormitory beds start at $10.00 USD or $130 pesos and all lodgings includes breakfast, bicycle use, pool, internet access, security lockers, purified drinking water, full kitchen access, hot water showers, and more. Private rooms are available for two to twelve persons and camping is also available. This is the perfect choice for eccentric peso pinchers.

Divers come to Tulum for the wide variety of diving experiences offered here.  Diving guides are recommended that are certified for caves, cenotes, reefs and the sea. Scuba and snorkel trips make for unforgettable adventures you won’t want to miss. Tulum has an abundance of dive shops, but the oldest and most reliable is Acuatic Tulum located on the main highway #307 by the stop light at the Cobá turn off next to the 7Eleven.
e-mail: alexalvareze@prodigy.net.mx

The lure of the Caribbean is enticing especially when you consider that the clean air and clear water temperatures are nearly constant at 30°C or 84°F all year. There is a dry season that extends from November to May when precipitation is minimal, but what rain does fall is brief…you can get all the sun you want by accident here on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. What are you waiting for?

Copyright 2012 John M. Grimsrud

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