Tulum Travel Information

Tulum Travel Information2019-12-13T16:42:42-05:00

 

Margo on the TULUM BEACH!

When not giving massages, sometimes Margo actually gets to enjoy the Beach!

  • Travel Information

  • Below you will find some useful information about your upcoming trip to Tulum!  I have lived in Tulum over 13 years, so I have a lot of experience with travelers here, so know the kinds of things they need to know before they come.  Hope you find it helpful!  If something comes up that is not on this list or if you have any other questions please let me know! Contact Margo
  • If you didn´t come to this through my website, please go check it out! Myfeelgoodway.com 
  • It is evolving all the time, and you may find some things that I offer other than massage that you are interested in.  Why not turn your trip to Tulum into a personal retreat and include learning new things about how to take care of yourself?  Check that out here!  
  • I am an expert on chronic pain and stress and can help you lower both and offer you tools you can use while you walk around in your life to FEEL GOOD! Click here Learn more about a Massage where you learn about this, and Here to learn about My FEEL GOOD Way Classes, and Here to learn about my Pod Casts
  • Trip and Information about traveling to TULUM!

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  • TIME CHANGE IN QUINTANA ROO!  

  • There has been a change in our time here.  We have gone OFF of DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!  Which means we turned our clocks ahead in Feb of 2015 and now will NEVER change our clocks again.  (never?)
  • This is just the state of Quintana Roo.  Nearby states continue to change time as usual, so if you are planning trips to Valladolid, Merida, Chichen Itza, they are not on the same time zone as we are.  
  • So, that means half of the year we will be on the same time zone as Central time (Spring ahead) and half the year we will be on the same time zone as Eastern Time (Fall behind)  
  • The auto system on phones and computers may not have not caught up with us yet, so I recommend that you go into settings and take off the “Set automatically” setting and find out from someone what time it really is here if it seems you are having problems
  • Does anyone really know what time it is?

 

  • Shopping

  • For Shopping and stocking up, we have some major stores now in Tulum.
  • The Super Aqui Super market is on the right at the first stop light on Highway 307 and the Coba Highway when you come into Tulum from Playa del Carmen. They have most of the groceries, booze and beach supplies you may be looking for.
  • Chedroui is a big box store with everything, clothes, food, booze, beach supplies, pet supplies, electronics…etc, you get the drift, everything. To find them you take a left off Highway 307 at the first stoplight when coming from Playa del Carmen onto the road that takes you to the beach and go about a quarter of a mile and it is on the left.
  • Fruiterias ~there are many smaller stores and fruit and vege places in Tulum, and I love them. One of the most complete is Fruiteria Pool. To find it, go into Tulum Town and turn left at the stop light by Scotia Bank onto Avenida Satelite. Go one block and it will be on your right.  This is an amazing experience, I actually recommend taking your camera.  Don’t forget to stop and just enjoy the smell of this place!  And the colors. You will find many things that are not familiar to you there!  

 

  • Tours

  • I have lots of friends that do tours…..Kayaking in Sian Ka’an, bird watching either in Sian Ka’an or in the Punta Laguna/Coba area, Snorkeling, fishing, Snorkel in Akumal followed by a visit to the coolest cenote I´ve ever been to.….just to name a few.  Also can recommend which of the bigger ones to use if you are wanting to go with a group. Contact me!

 

  • Tulum Maps and Info

  • Any other questions about where to go eat or that kind of thing, there are maps all over Tulum. In the meantime, todotulum.com has the map I use if you want to start dreaming of where you are going to go!  I always have a map with me when I do massages, and enjoy pointing out and marking the places you are looking for and my favorites!  

  • There is a forum on Trip Advisor for Tulum, you can ask questions and also post reviews of the things you found helpful and fun while you are here.  Please consider posting a review about my massages or classes if you have had one.  Here is the Link 

  • Yelp is here in Mexico now!  Here is a link!  Again, if you have enjoyed my services, please tell everyone!  
  • Facebook is full of helpful things!  Tulum Vacation Lovers is especially helpful for people visiting Tulum. Another good place to leave a review!  
  • Contact me!  I am in my 14th year living in Tulum.  One of the reasons people really enjoy getting treatments from me, is that I can help them find what they are looking for.  If you are still in the planning stages of your trip, I can even recommend hotels or houses to stay in.  I can advise you about weather, what part of Tulum to stay in, what to do when you get here, all the fun things.  Contact me here!  

 

  • General Info

  • You will want a flashlight or headlamp. Tulum Beach is still mostly off the grid, so we don’t have as many streetlights and yard lights as you are used to.  It also will help you be visible if you are walking on the dark road at night.  Restaurants often have “romantic” lighting, so if you are like me, you’ll need a light to be able to see the dang menu! Please bring turtle friendly red lens flashlight, see below!  (It is prohibited to use white flashlights on the beach from March to September)
  • TURTLE SEASON!  You are likely to see Mamas on the beach to lay their eggs and also babies hatching if you come in the Spring or Summer!  WOO HOO!  So, please bring a flashlight with a red lens or some other way to use a turtle friendly light.  Hotel Nueva Vida De Ramiro has a hatchery, often they release babies just after it gets dark, so check in and see if that is happening.  If you see a turtle coming out of the ocean, GIVE HER SPACE!  Here is a bit more info about what you might get to see!  
  • Sargasso seaweed.  Since 2015 Sargasso has become a thing that people talk about in Tulum.  In 2015 we got hit with way more than anyone can ever remember happening in Tulum, and so there was nothing in place to deal with it.  Tourists were actually quite angry about it, feeling that it had ruined their dream of a perfect beach holiday.  Some still are.  Here is what you need to know about it:
    • It is a natural occurrence.  The seaweed itself is not from this area but floats all over the Caribbean.  
    • The thing that people complain the most about is that it makes the sea like swimming in broken teabags.  It also can accumulate on the beaches.  Most of the hotels now have ways of raking it up and disposing of it, so is not going to rot and stink like it may have done in the beginning.  
      People are even finding uses for it, building houses, mulch etc.  I have not yet seen it on a food menu!  
    • It is not just Tulum or the Yucatan that is effected, any east facing land in the Caribbean has it.  
    • It is likely a man made problem.  Studies are showing that it likely because of deforestation and the heavy use of fertilizers going into the oceans that are making the plants grow more than they did before.  
    • There is no way to predict it.  It can last days, weeks or months.  Since it is a new problem, there is just no way to know what it’s patterns are.  REALLY.  We are seeing so many people asking if it will be bad when they are visiting Tulum, and like the weather, it comes and goes without consulting us!  
    • There is a Facebook Page called Sargasso Seaweed Updates Riviera Maya.  If you don’t want to get laughed at or rude comments, do not ask whether there will be seaweed during some far future time.  Honestly, it can be bad one day and gone the next.  
    • Currently, as of December 13th, 2019, we have been Sargasso free for a couple of months.  It has been heaven.  I will try to remember to change this when it changes.  The photo at the top of this page was taken in December 2019, and as you can see, the water is clear and the beach is clean!  
  • Weather:  There just is no way to predict the weather here.  
    • I do recommend bringing some clothes that you can layer in, especially in the evening and early morning.  Mosquito Happy Hour.  And honestly it can get a bit cool and I feel better with my skin covered.  Honest to goodness, there are times of year when I am in a hat, gloves, SOCKS and a heavy jacket.  Really.  It may only say 55 on the thermometer, but with the humidity, it can feel much colder.  Also, your hotel will not have a heater, and may even not have blankets, so honest, you may want your heavy sweats!  
    • Don´t pay attention to the weather reports, I find they often are misleading.  They usually say thunder showers but here, that may mean just a nice light show over the ocean, or a 15 minute soaking in the afternoon, before and after very humid or no rain at all, or just a great light show over the horizon!  That may happen while you are out and about, so suggest pretending like it will rain when you leave your place!  Don’t want to come back to soaked bed or suitcases due to an open window.  But honestly, there is very few times when we have what you would call a rainy day.  So don’t worry about it and definitely don’t keep checking the weather forecast!  
    • The weather app I use the most is Weather Underground, especially for tropical weather reports such as hurricanes.  
  • If you are coming during Hurricane season, which is June to November, I do recommend getting travel insurance.  We have not had a hurricane here since 2007, but that does not mean we won’t have one again.  We have been very fortunate and I am quite grateful.  However, if you do come and we have one, if you have trip insurance, you are covered in ways you have not thought of.  So just do it.  When I do fall retreats, I require my retreaters to have it.  here’s a link to a company I recommend.  They have travel insurance for you trip and also medical.  
  • Now everyone brings their phones and other devices with them to Tulum.  Check with your provider before leaving home to find out what the charges will be.  There are still people who get home to a surprisingly high bill. Just because it works, does not mean it will be free.  Especially for Data Roaming.  
  • Health Information

  • Many people ask about what they can do to prevent gastro problems….I suggest starting to take a good probiotic a couple of weeks before your trip according to the package directions and bring it with you to take while you are here.  I also recommend buying one that does not have to be refrigerated such as PB8, just because you bought it from a refrigerated area, does not mean it has been refrigerated since it was manufactured.  Also this way you can bring it with you without problems.  
  • I also suggest Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE).  Get the tablets or capsules, the liquid tastes NASTY!!!  You can start taking it before your trip as well.  Then if you do get problems, take more of each of these, and it usually clears the problem right up.  
  • I often have Probiotics and GSE with me when I am doing treatments, and am very generous with them.  If you are ordering them for your trip, consider bringing some extras for me! 
  • Another tried and true remedy is Coconut water, with or without Rum = )  
  • And just to make sure, a couple of weeks before your trip, start drinking beer in the morning, and shots and margaritas all afternoon and evening so that when you do get sick in Mexico, you won´t necessarily blame it on the water or the food.If you are sensitive, stay away from unpeeled uncooked veggies for a few days such as lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes and carrots.  Avocados and cucumbers which have a peal should be ok.  
  • Squeeze lots of lime in your water and beer and on everything you eat, it has some bacteria killing properties as well as lots of vitamin C for your immune system.  They are plentiful and cheap here, you can ask for them at any restaurant.  They are also I think more delicious and juicy than the ones we typically get in the US.
  • The Flu happens in Mexico.  So many people as soon as they get stomach issues or diarrhea they start saying it is from the water or the food.  There are many times of year here, just like back home where I will know about several of people at the same time with flu like symptoms who did not eat at the same places or the same food.  
  • Water in the tap is not for drinking.  Some people even recommend avoiding using it for things like brushing your teeth.  I actually learned that vodka is a VERY good way to keep your tooth brush clean, so now I keep mine in a jar with VODKA!  
  • If you get water in a restaurant, it is usually in a bottle.  even if it comes in a pitcher or a glass, I don’t worry about it as they are using a 20 liter bottle of water to get it from, not the tap.  
  • Ice is purified, bought in big bags and don’t worry about it.  

 

  • Health Issues in Tulum

  • We now have several hospitals in Tulum.  Both are  private hospital and are open 24 hours a day.  There is a doctor on call that speaks English at all times. Again, I do recommend travel medical insurance when visiting Mexico or find out if your US policy covers you here before your trip.  The internet is full of stories of people getting into medical emergencies in Mexico and finding out that the hospital is requiring them to pay cash before they will discharge them.  This is normal procedure here.  You can not get ANY medical treatment without paying cash or credit card up front.  Medical care is MUCH more reasonable than in the US, but it is not free.  I am a Registered nurse and a warden for the US Consulate. If you find yourself in trouble, please reach out to me, I may be able to help you figure it out.  My Mexican phone number is +5219841281609.  
    • Hospital Tulum is located on the main highway on the south end of Tulum Town.  When you see Subway on your left, the hospital is on your right.  Phone number is 9848712271.
    • Costa Med is on the north side of Tulum, here is a link to their web page which has a map and other contact info.  They have very modern equipment and good doctors.  
    • Here is a list of emergency numbers in Tulum:
      • Red Cross Playa del Carmen : (984) 873 1233
      • Red Cross Tulum: (984) 802 5521
      • Both Costa Med and Tulum Hospital have ambulances, see their numbers above.  Also Red Cross offers Ambulance service.  
      • Tulum General Hospital: (984) 871 2271
      • Touristic Police: (984) 849 7133
      • General Emergency in all Quintana Roo State: 911
      • CONTACT ME if you find yourself in trouble in Tulum.  I am a Registered Nurse, and am also a Warden to the US  Consulate.  I have over 13 years of experience living in Tulum, so if I can’t help you, I can advise you where to look.  
  • Doctors in Tulum.  
    • My first recommendation is for Dr Chris Ganzoni.  He is a Swiss trained Medical Doctor as well as a Chiropractor.  He has an office in down town Tulum and also makes house calls.  He is a good friend and if he can’t help you, he has lived in Mexico over 20 years and can recommend what you should do. https://www.cmqtulum.com for contact info.  
    • There are also doctors at some of the local pharmacies.  They are VERY inexpensive, like less than $5 for a visit!  They are great for common things like food poisoning or allergies or prescription refills.  They often even have diagnostics like labs, X-rays even ultra sound.  So if it is not a medical emergency, you may want to start with the least expensive option.  I am planning on writing a blog post about the difference in having a bladder infection in the US and in Mexico, (about $300usd in the US, with doctors, labs and meds, in Mexico about $25usd).   
  • Again, emergencies, call 911.  

 

  • Money

  • Make sure you call your bank if you plan on using your ATM or credit cards here in México, if they don´t know for sure it is you, they sometimes put a fraud hold on your account which means you would not be able to withdraw money or use your card until you talk to them and prove you are the one using the card in México.  Really, it even still happens to me!  Also know, there are still a lot of places especially at the beach that do not accept credit cards or travelers checks, so make sure you plan on having cash that you either bring with you or get from the ATM here.  (Seriously discourage you from bringing travelers checks, only place that will take them is the bank and that could mean a whole afternoon of your precious vacation spent in line).
  • If you want to exchange money in Mexico, get a small amount at the airport. They have a fairly decent exchange rate and then you will have cash to get you to Tulum.  
  • The only bank that I know of in Tulum that will exchange is CI Banco. You will need your passport with you in order to exchange there. I honestly don’t recommend trying any of the major banks for exchanging. They often have long lines, and have rules that are not knowable beforehand, so you may wait in a long line only to be told no, or given a rate that is not very good.  
  • You will find many “Casa de Cambio’s” on the main drag and even on the beach road now.  You will also need some ID to exchange money. You will not get the same exchange rate that you see on line, ever.  So don’t sweat that.  There are many who offer pretty low rates, the only one I recommend is called San Jorge and they have two locations in Tulum.  I googled san jorge casa de cambio tulum and found a map to both locations.  
  • Some people exchange with their own banks before coming to Mexico and get really good rates.  It can sometimes take a while to get your pesos order, so don’t wait too long.  
  • Chedroui and other big stores often have the best exchange in town, but only for the amount of your purchases and they have some rules that apply about using USD to buy there.  So for sure I recommend using USD over Pesos in this one case.  

  • there is a myth that people of Mexico prefer Dollars to Pesos, and I don’t agree at all.  If you give pesos at a correct rate, we can use it to pay our bills etc.  If you give us USD, we have to take it to get it exchanged.  Especially one dollar bills have a lower exchange rate than bigger bills, so get pesos and tip in Pesos.  More about that below.  

 

  • Tipping

  • I have a lot of people ask me about tipping customs here in Mexico.  
    • First off, it is a myth that we like your one dollar bills.  In reality, when we go to cash them in, we get a lower rate on one dollar bills than on bigger bills.  Get pesos and tip in pesos.  
    • Technically, Mexican tipping custom on food and services is 10%.  However, most of the people waiting on you are making around $100pesos per 10 hour shift in salary, and could sure use the money. They also have to split what you left on the table with a lot of other people.  I usually leave at least 20%.  
    • For carrying your bags and such, probably $10 pesos.  Hotel maids, I´d say $20pesos per person they are cleaning for and leave it daily.  
    • In houses where they are doing your dishes and more, probably $50pesos per day per person and leave it at the end of your stay with the manager.  
    • For tours and such, really depends on the service and length and cost of the tours.  Usually the guys on the tour are making a small fraction of what you are paying.  
    • For massage, it is customary even though I work for myself, but of course not mandatory, and very much appreciated!

 

  • Sunburn 

  • My first years as a massage therapist here, many people cancelled their appointments due to sunscreen, this is actually why I started sending a cancellation policy and this sunburn list to everyone who books with me!  
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY< USE ECO FRIENDLY SUN SCREENS AND BUG REPELLANT!  
  • You are in a different climate than you are used to.  On your first day, you will burn, no matter what kind of skin you have or your past experience if you do not use appropriate precautions.
  • I recommend 50spf sunscreen or above for the first day for EVERYONE, and reapply frequently.  EVEN IF IT IS CLOUDY (maybe especially if it is cloudy).  There is a part of me that doesn´t agree with this, it does seem odd to smear chemicals all over your body to prevent cancer, but it does keep you from getting a burn that could ruin your trip and more to my point, your massage!
  • Get someone to help you put it on.  Almost everyone I massage has at least one spot that didn’t get sunscreen and they are burned there.  Especially if they used a spray…they just are not very accurate, especially if it is windy.  There can be large areas that didn’t get covered so BURN very badly!  With my experience, I am really not a fan of spray.
  • If you are snorkeling, take extra precautions for the back of your legs.
  • Do put sunscreen on your feet, I see MANY people forget this and they are very uncomfortable.
  • After your first day, depending on your skin, you may be able to go down in SPF.
  • Many people get burned under shade palapas and just walking around the area, so if you are outside, use sunscreen even if you plan to be in the shade.
  • Put sunscreen on your face even if you are wearing a hat, the sun reflects off the sand and water.
  • Some cloth allows the sun to get through, so does not protect you from burning if you have very sensitive skin.  Once had a guy who had on 100spf under his gauzy shirt and STILL got VERY sunburned on his chest and shoulders walking on the beach!
  • Use biodegradable sunscreen and insect repellant if you plan to be in the water.  Remember even taking a shower means the residue is going to end up in our cenotes and eventually the reef.  Be cautious with all the products you use, shampoos, lotions, makeup etc.  
  • Cenotes are ver fragile ecosystems.  Please wash off any products before arriving at the cenotes.  Most of them are in the shade or in caves so you will not need sunscreen anyway.  Bug repellant, a different story! USE ECO!  And don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen when you get back to the sun.  
  • If you came here with sunscreen that is not new, it may not work, so don’t risk it and buy some new sunscreen.  Most health food stores stock good eco sunscreens and repellants.  Amazon as well.  Some of the name brand ones may not be as eco as they say.  We have come a long ways in our products, so eco does not mean white zinc that makes you look like a clown anymore.  But it usually doesn’t work as good as the heavily chemical ones, you need to reapply more often and use common sense not to be in the sun so long.  
  • If you do get badly sunburned, you can take an anti inflammatory such as Advil or Tylenol.  This will help with the pain and also make it go away faster.  My mom always gave us a vinegar bath and that seemed to help.  lots of hotels have Aloe Vera growing around, so ask them for it.  It is called Salvia here.
  • Please follow this advice, and drink more water than normal to be sure you have a fun vacation.

 

  • WHOOPEE!!
  •  
  • SEE YOU IN PARADISE!!!!

 

 

 

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