Published On: Mon, Aug 5th, 2019

A Cautionary Tale About Tulum (Editorial)

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I was looking for an easy, laid-back vacation when I booked a house on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. I would have a toddler and an infant in tow, and so wanted a beach vacation with enough cultural touchstones to make me feel like I had connected with something outside of the Destination Anywhere ethos of the modern resort.

The pictures were inspiring: a stucco house with beachfront access, colorful textile accents, and a locally sourced wood dining table that could seat up to 12. A tiny, kidney-shaped pool between the house and the beach took ample shade from towering palms. The house had a private cabana, perched on a private slice of sand, with lounges and bean bag chairs, perfect for the absent-minded mother who wanted nothing more than to drag fewer belongings with her. Beach chairs and a private palapa? I was sold.

We arrived in Tulum on a Saturday afternoon in January. There is a single one-lane road that leads into the area’s Hotel Zone, the aptly named beach-adjacent area of Tulum where most of the best accommodations are. On the day of our arrival, a massively trafficked music festival was grinding into its final days, and the road, equipped only for minimal traffic and narrow cars, was cacophonous with angry beeping…

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