13 Feb WHY TULUM IS OVERRATED – WHERE TO GO INSTEAD
For years, Tulum, Mexico has been a popular travel destination all around the world. White sandy beaches, and laidback vibes, and Instagram shots to make you jealous. However, let’s be honest here. Editor Danielle was in for a bit of a shocker when she arrived and soon learned that Tulum is overrated.
Tulum is overrated – here’s why
A little introduction; Tulum is a resort town located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, was one of my last destinations of a 2-week road trip. Needless to say that it has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. However, I think Tulum is overrated and overhyped for a few reasons:
● Crowds: Tulum has become increasingly popular, leading to overcrowding and long queues at popular tourist destinations. It makes it feel less authentic.
● Prices: Tulum has a reputation for being VERY expensive, with high prices for food, drinks, and activities.
● Overdevelopment: Tulum’s rapid growth and development have led to the construction of many new hotels and restaurants. It changed the character of the town and detracted from its natural beauty.
Not everyone will agree that Tulum is overrated. Some people might find it a beautiful and unique destination worth every penny spent. Ultimately, whether Tulum is overrated depends on your perspective and travel preferences. Does this mean you shouldn’t visit Tulum? Not at all! I even wrote about a few hotspots near Tulum.
Where to go instead
We wouldn’t be Wander-lust if we didn’t have a few alternative options to consider. You know we love a more off-the-beaten-track destination.
The 7-coloured lagoon in Bacalar
Bacalar is a small town near Belize’s border, a 2,5 hour’s drive from Tulum. It’s known for its stunning lagoon with crystal-clear waters, which are an array of vibrant colours, ranging from deep blue to turquoise and emerald green. This unique ecosystem is home to various plants and animals, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its natural beauty, it is a peaceful and relaxed place to visit. Bacalar is great for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or snorkelling. Besides the natural scenery, this place is superhip with many vegan food restaurants, cocktail bars and artsy shops. My absolute fav is the I Scream Bar, a bar and taquería where they sell vegan ice scream out of a piaggio and yell “I Scream” while making cocktails. Overall, Bacalar is a unique and beautiful destination with a laid-back atmosphere and worth a visit.
Valladolid is a unique and fascinating destination with a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. It is known for its vibrant cultural scene. The city is home to several museums, art galleries, and cultural centres. There are also plenty of traditional markets and festivals, which are a great way to experience the local culture and meet friendly locals. If you’re interested in outdoor activities, Valladolid is a great place to go cenote diving or explore the nearby ruins of Chichén Itzá. Which is one of the most famous Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico and one of the Seven World Wonders.
Find authentic experiences in Tulum
Visiting Tulum and want to have a more authentic experience? Try to avoid the popular spots and streets. Instead, take a random turn on the main road in Tulum Pueblo (city) and stumble upon streets filled with street food vendors. Order whatever looks good or what the guy before you in the queue ordered. And don’t forget to try the Machacados as a dessert, a sweet drink with fruit, condensed milk and shaved ice.
Another lovely experience is visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This Reserve is a protected area of lush tropical vegetation and diverse wildlife just a short drive from Tulum. Perfect for a hike, a boat tour, or simply relaxing and enjoying nature’s beauty.
Nonetheless, if you decide to visit Tulum, avoid crowds by doing activities early in the morning. Find the local markets and street vendors for food. And definitely visit Bacalar en Valladolid while you’re there. You won’t regret it!
*Danielle is one of our guest editors. After 10 years of travelling, she knows exactly where to find the hidden spots. Her homebase is the Netherlands and you can expect at least one article per month from her!