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Three Days in Tulum | Centsational style

Certain places will fascinate you until you walk the streets and see them for yourself. Tulum was one of those places I had seen and heard pictures of but wanted to experience. In February I went there with a good friend who was also curious about the hype.

What struck me the most about my visit was that most of the architecture reflected the natural surroundings. Unlike other parts of the Riviera Maya to the north and the overdeveloped shores of Cancun, in Tulum I saw no building taller than the jungle canopy. It’s become a place to be seen as an influencer in recent years, even in the midst of a pandemic, as Mexico became a haven for travelers willing to trade Covid exposure in exchange for cocktails on the sand take risk.

Tulum strives to keep seaweed off its beaches to avoid upsetting tourists, and its infrastructure is lacking in places, but development is in full swing in this part of the world as the jungle is being replaced by new residential areas .

The food was exceptionally good. We ate fish caught fresh from the sea, grilled by local chefs, and ceviche in lime juice that was so fresh we had to order a second helping. Down on the beach most travelers and tourists meet. It’s also where influencers pose against the backdrop of Tulum, which portrays life as a bohemian paradise.

Tulum is a popular beach vacation spot where you can sit with your toes in the sand and sip overpriced cocktails, but it’s also an inspirational destination for the use of local materials in the architectural design. Below are a few impressions from my brief visit.

We rented a condo between town and a beach surrounded by palm trees and lush plants. The Aldea Zama region was central but under construction so it was difficult to find your way around as some streets are not marked or lit at night. During the day you go by bike or scooter, taxis are very expensive.

Stroll up and down the city’s main street and side streets, where accommodations are more affordable, and you’ll feel the heart of Tulum. The main street is lined with shops and restaurants that draw out-of-towners, but the cafes, markets and restaurants on the side streets feel more authentic.

The part I appreciated the most was the use of natural materials, particularly the sculptural trunks and branches used to create the iconic structures made famous by the creative concept known as Azulik. Villa and restaurant guests have better access to beach sanctuaries and tree houses, or beachgoers can pay a small fee to enter SFER IK. There’s also a more expansive inland experience right in the middle of the Mayan jungle called Francisco Uh May. It’s a feast for the eyes with its mixture of concrete and branches that flow in waves as you walk through it.

The use of organic materials to create unique structures is repeated on a smaller scale along the Strandstrasse and in the cafes and hotels.

The high resolution fine art print of this beach view is available at my travel art print shop. I love it because it’s a reminder that imperfection is still beautiful.

Tulum is a place where you’ll appreciate beautiful ocean views but also be exposed to overpriced cocktails and an influencer scene. I will remember it as the place where I tasted delicious, simply prepared seafood and witnessed the most creative use of natural materials in architecture.

Have you been to Tulum or the Riviera Maya? What were your impressions or favorite moments?

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