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Kelly McLaughlin

Perhaps we’re a little late with this news, but, at Tulum Blog we prefer to think that we are one year early so everyone can plan ahead and have no excuse to miss the next festival. So, first things first:

What is the Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret?

The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a great celebration full of rituals and symbolism where the main objective is to remember and commemorate people who are no longer with us physically. This is a very special time of year in Mexico and it is even recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

Unfortunately it is super complicated to visit all the unique places in Mexico where this day is celebrated, not only for the amount of time this would involve but also for the cost of so many trips!

Pantheon- XcaretPark

So Xcaret brings it all to you in one place and for 12 years has been celebrating the “Festival of Life and Death”, a four day event (from October 30 to November 2 of each year) where specific states of Mexico are lauded as guests of honor. Each guest state adorns the park with spectacular altars and offerings.

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As well as dance, theater and performances by local and regional artists, and also features the participation of stellar artists such as the singer Lila Downs, the actor Ignacio López Tarso and even the tenor Fernando de la Mora.

The most irresistible part of the Festival of Life and Death of Xcaret is the food and treats! Typical dishes like “pib” and a variety of tamales are brought by the local communities and you can savor them all at super accessible prices, as well as purchasing the handicrafts of the region.

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Without a doubt this festival is one for the bucket list, something you must do at least once in your lifetime!

 

Bonus track: Tips for attending the Festival of Life and Death of Xcaret:

  • It is very important that you wear comfortable shoes and clothes, you are going to walk a lot to in order to get a taste of every incredible attraction.
  • We recommend that you read the program and decide which events you want to attend so that you can plan ahead and not waste time getting lost in the park.
  • Bring extra money to buy food and a souvenir at the festival.
  • Get there early! Arrive with enough time to park, taking into account that if you go by car it is possible that you will be sent to a lot a distance away from the entrance and you will have to wait for Xcaret transportation to approach the ticket offices.

Apart from the archaeological site, there are a lot of reasons for which you should come to Tulum for your next vacation. Here, we will share the best reasons for you to explore deeply this dreamy place.

 

  1. Tulum is near nature and afar from the crowds.

One of the main characteristics of the hotels in Tulum is that they are not properly hotels, this means that they are mostly ecological cabins, but they have all the comfort and amenities as a hotel.

You’ll avoid making lines and you will enjoy a more personalized treatment in every cabin you choose to stay; because rather than being a destination for the masses, Tulum is for travellers who seek for an alternate way of vacationing.

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  1. Going out at night in Tulum is quite an experience.

Tulum also offers a nightlife for those who want to party. You will have the opportunity to savor your favorite drink in one of the bars next to the beach while you dance barefoot on the fresh sand. If you rather do something calm, there are also restaurants and bars that have a bohemian touch.

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  1. Tulum’s placement is enviable.

This place’s location makes it an excellent departure point to other destinations: it is located between Playa del Carmen (great place for shopping), and Valladolid, a lovely colonial city, in Yucatan. Also, Tulum is surrounded by a surprising amount of fresh-water sinkholes or cenotes, and it is located near Akumal, a place famous for its snorkeling with turtles tours.

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  1. Its archeological site has one of the best views of Mexico

The gorgeous view from the archeological site to the ocean is a reason itself to go to Tulum. Zamá, the original Mayan name for the city of Tulum, is the third archeological site in Mexico to welcome the most visitors annually.

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  1. Tulum is accessible for every budget.

There are places in Tulum that are at reach to every budget. There can be places you’ll have to spend a bit more for a drink or for accommodation, but also there are places that don’t stray too far from the bohemian and relaxed scene that you are after.

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Also, there is a broad variety of tours very near Tulum. Besides, there are a great deal of fresh-water sinkholes or cenotes that are available for a fair price. And finally, to walk on Tulum’s beaches, the most beautiful of all the Mexican Caribbean, is free!

 

Translation By:

Maffer Felguérez

Tulum is an ideal destination to visit for all the archeology lovers out there. It is not only one of the most beautiful archeological sites in the world, but it is also near other mayan ruins like Chichen Itza, Coba, Ek Balam and Muyil.

Chichen-Itza

Foto: blog.scottdunn.com

In Chichen Itza you can find one of the 7 New Wonders of the World: The great pyramid “The Castle” (El Castillo), the same one that presents the equinox show in March and September. Also in this archaeological site you can observe important structures such as  The thousand column patio (El Patio de las Mil Columnas), “The snail” (El Caracol), better known as The Observatory, and the Sacred Cenote that served for many mayan sacrifice rituals.

 

Coba

Foto: mycancuntours.com

In Cobá there is the tallest pyramid in all Quintana Roo: Nohoch Mul. It is 138 feet tall and one of the few pyramids where they allow you to climb all the way to the top. Also, in this archeological site the Mayan Stela that announced the end of an era (December 21st, 2012) can be found here.

 

Ek Balam

Foto: everythingplayadelcarmen.com

A little more than an hour from Tulum is Ek Balam. It is worth to visit this archeological site

because it is yet allowed to be near and in contact with all its buildings and constructions. The most important site in Ek Balam is the Acropolis. It is a 525 foot long structure, considered to be one of the biggest in Yucatan.

 

Muyil

Foto: rbrunton.ca

Muyil is a relatively small archeological site, located in the natural reserve of Sian Ka’an. It is ideal for travellers that seek to be in touch with nature because, of all, this are the ruins with more rainforest density and also they are surrounded by two lagoons.
So get your most comfortable shoes, biodegradable sunscreen, and a cap ready to get to know all this archaeological sites on your next trip to Riviera Maya.

One of the most popular things to do in Tulum is to pay a visit the Xel Ha park, a Riviera Maya excursion like no other!

 

Float calmly down the Xel Ha river on an inner tube (highly recommended for those who want to get a spectacular tan) or snorkel and swim at your own pace a little more than a kilometer until you reach the end of the river at a fabulous lagoon. You will end up right in front of the main restaurant. This is perfect because after this activity I can guarantee that you’ll be hungry! This all inclusive Riviera Maya theme park is known for offering incredible treats and delicious food at each of the 4 restaurants.

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Picture: Xel Ha

 

Xel Ha recently opened a new Riviera Maya attraction full of adrenaline that was made for the more adventurous members of the family. It is the “Faro Mirador”, a 40 meter tall tower with spectacular views and with 4 exciting waterslides reach the bottom. This new attraction of Xel Há has a 360º view and is truly breathtaking.

 

xelha-park-faro-mirador

Picture: Marhu Barreto

 

If you are seeking relaxation, the Xel Ha hammock gardens are ideal! Although with more than 90 marine species making the park home, you’ll definitely want to snorkel Xel Ha. If you are interested in seeing fish like barracudas, parrot fish or snapper we recommend swimming near the floating bridge where you’ll be amazed by the fishy friends you’ll make.

 

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Picture: Xel Ha

 

If navigating the river, snorkeling in the cove, launching yourself down one of the slides and delighting the palate with an exquisite meal is not enough for you, hold on! The Xel Há Park ziplines will thrill you and a variety of guided tours will educate, you can even plant a tree and baptize it with a name.

There are so many reasons to visit this park! If you have kids in the family, the Children’s World area of ​​Xel Há will be most entertaining for them with a very special treehouse, toys for the little ones and a perfect slide for the younger set. Family travel in the Riviera Maya at its very best!

 

Xel Ha awaits you with a fun filled day!

1. When visiting Cancun or the Riviera Maya, visiting at least a couple of cenotes is a must! In Aktun Chen Park you’ll visit a beautiful cavern-type cenote where you can snorkel the crystal-clear waters to admire the rocky formations and fish that make their home In this eco-system. You’re going to love Aktun Chen!

2. Aktun Chen has the honor of being named one of the “Top 10 Underground Walks in the World” by National Geographic. Imagine! You’ll be exploring one of the 10 most famous and fabulous caves in the WORLD!

3. A visit to Aktun Chen will absolutely make your trip complete. For zipline newbies, the 10 zipline circuit is such fun for a first timer. For the experts, we promise you’ll have a blast as you fly from tree to tree over the jungle canopy!

Packing for a trip is always a mess. The airlines with their luggage limit, you have to carry it all the time, or even that you have to leave some empty space for all the souvenirs you will buy on your destination. And in the end you end up carrying unnecessary things.

 

That is why we are going to tell you what cannot miss in your luggage when you come vacationing to Tulum:

 

1.- Bathing suit

The first thing you must pack is your bathing suit. Most of the activities in Tulum, if not all, are water activities. You either spend all your mornings at the beach, or you can visit the famous regional fresh-water sinkholes Cenotes, and also explore the underground rivers, among lots of other activities. So don’t forget to bring at least a couple of bathing suits so that you don’t have to worry about what you will wear the next day on your next tour.

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2.- Aquatic shoes

The ground in the Yucatan Peninsula is rocky, this includes the Cenotes and all the underground river system of the region. The aquatic shoes are not essential but they will help you a lot, so that you don’t hurt your feet while swimming or snorkeling on a tour in Tulum or Riviera Maya

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3.- Comfortable and light clothes

No matter the time of the year you come, in the Mexican Caribbean we live in an eternal summer, so pick comfortable clothes and shoes but above all they must be light. Even if you are planning to out clubbing or to a bar, this style is the best for the nonchalant Tulum scene.

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4.- Waterproof camera

Every trip needs to be remembered. A waterproof camera will make you take the best memories of your time in Tulum. Quintana Roo is an spectacular place from the ground as it is underwater. The images you will take when you are submerged deserve to be preserved on a picture.

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5.- Biodegradable sunscreen and /or sun tan

Llevar-en-la-maleta5To contribute and help conserve our ecosystems, when you come to Tulum we ask to please
only use 100% biodegradable chemical free sunscreen.

The only ingredients that must contain are: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide.

 

Translation by:

Maffer Felguérez

You can bet that the nightlife in Tulum doesn’t compare with anything you can find in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Tulum has a more relaxed and nonchalant environment at any time of the day. The bars in the city, as the bars that are at the beach, will make you enjoy an unforgettable moment.

 

Girls, forget about high heels and formal dresses. Guys, take advantage of the destination to go out and have fun in shorts and sandals, Here it’s all about having a good time!

 

Tulum’s nightlife is different from others because in almost every bar and nightclub there’s live music. In the restaurants and bars that you can find in the city, the common thing are reggae, jazz, and salsa bands playing live. Nevertheless, it doesn’t limit to those genres, there are places for every taste, it’s just a matter that you walk around the principal avenue and decide which place you want to have fun in.

 

But if you are looking for a more bohemian experience, even romantic, then you must go to the bars in the Tulum Hotel Zone. There you will find the perfect scenario to enjoy a night of partying with friends or your significant other, having the beach, the waves, and the breeze as your special guests. And if you’re lucky, the moon can be the icing on the cake!

 

With any option you choose, we guarantee that you’ll have a night out in Tulum that you will not compare with anything else. The essence of this charming place will make you want to come back in your next vacation.

Translation by: Maffer Felguérez

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, one of the reasons to vacation in Tulum, is that it has an enviable location to be a departure point to many of Riviera Maya and Cancun’s attractions.

 

Akumal is a famous destination for being the home of three species of sea turtles that exist in the world. They are found just 25 minutes from Tulum.

 

In Akumal you’ll find the ideal site to have a marvelous experience with the turtles because there you will find them in their natural habitat swimming at just 30 feet from the beach. And also, you will not only see turtles, but calamari, corals, and a wide variety of fish.

Akumal-Tortugas4

Photo: elcomercio.pe

We should also mention that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have great swimming skills, because the Akumal Bay has little-to-no current at all. If you don’t think you can handle this by yourself, there are many companies that offer to take and guide you through. Also, they give you all the equipment you’ll be needing.

Akumal-Tortugas5

Photo: reedglenn.wordpress.com

Although the turtles are free, they are in constant supervision by the Ecological Center of Akumal who are studying constantly to preserve this species. This is why, to snorkel with the turtles you will be asked a 10 dollar donation.

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Photo: travelingsinmente.com

It’s very easy to arrive to Akumal from Tulum. There are three ways to do it: You can take a taxi, a bus, or if you want to, take a tour that includes the transportation.
Snorkeling with turtles in Akumal is an experience you won’t be able to forget and that you will surely want to share with someone special.

Translation by:

Maffer Felguérez

So you’ve already decided that your next vacations are going to be on a beach, and that you don’t want to stay in an all inclusive hotel with lots of rooms and people around the places you want to eat or rest. You have decided that you want a relaxing, exclusive and comfortable site, but above all, it has to be a hotel that is committed with its environmental practices.

 

More and more people each day are changing their habits to reduce their ecological footprint. If you are one of those people, you will be happy to know that the great majority of the hotels and cabins in Tulum have an environmental commitment.

 

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Among the most common practices the hotels and cabins have are; to include a rainwater collection system that is useful for watering the gardens and also for avoiding the erosion of the dunes. A lot of them have acquired solar panels to generate their electric energy. We should mention that some of those places shut off the electricity at night to save energy, although you shouldn’t worry about the heat because, at the beach, there is no better cooling system than a palm tree and the ocean breeze, even inside the cabin.

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Also, hotels and restaurants make composts with the waste they generate, avoiding the use of artificial fertilizers. And speaking of waste separation, the main activities of those places are to reduce, reuse and recycle.
So there you have it. Go pack your bags and get ready to have a guilt-free vacation, and a sustainable rest using biodegradable products during your stay in Riviera Maya and the Mexican Caribbean.

 

Translation by:

Maffer Felguérez