Tulum, Mexico – A Caribbean paradise

    The Bikini Bootcamp headquarters are located on a pristine beach in Tulum, Mexco – approximately 2 hrs south of Cancun. Famous for the spectacular Mayan ruins, clear turquois water and white sandy beaches, it is a relatively undiscovered eco-friendly paradise.

    “In Tulum, luxury and earthiness coexist, but the coin of the realm is spirituality.” Travel + Leisure 2012

    Sunbathers and swimmers indulging in a visit to Tulum Beach’s white, limestone sands and crystal blue waters need only look up in wonder at the ancient Mayan ruins — some from as early as A.D. 250 — dotting the cliffs above them to grasp the aura of ancient mystery that surrounds the beach.

    The name Tulum, derived from the Mayan word for wall, and the ruins hovering over the beach, most notably the giant pyramid-shaped Castillo, have gained notoriety as 1 of the Mayan civilization’s only walled cities. In its heyday, Tulum served as a port of call for mariners and traders, and its walls defined the ancient town’s defense against invaders from sea and land.

    Cenotes – hidden oasis in the Jungle

    Tulum is also famous for its cenotes; Mother Nature’s own crystalline fresh water pools which are immersed in history and Maya ritual. These cenotes are actually windows to the vast underground rivers that flow beneath the ground through submerged caves. The cenotes have provided freshwater to the land inhabitants for millennia. In the Tulum area the best cenotes are located south of the Tulum Pueblo and along the road to the Mayan ruins of Coba – both of which are Bikini Bootcamp excursions.

    Tulum Ruins – The Walled City

    Tulum’s greatest attraction is its location. It stands on a bluff facing the rising sun looking out on views of the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular. In Maya, Tulum means “Wall”, and the city was christened thus because it is a walled city; one of the very few the ancients ever built. Research suggests it was formerly called Zama or “to dawn” in its day, which is appropriate given the location. It seems “Tulum” is the name given the site following a visit by the explorers Stephens and Catherwood in 1841, just before the beginning of the Caste War in 1847, long after the city was abandon and fell to ruins. They ordered trees cleared and Catherwood made illustrations of temples, later to be published in their famous book “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan”. Juan José Gálvez is actually credited with Tulum’s rediscovery in 1840.

    Tulum Pueblo – don’t miss it

    Tulum Pueblo sits split by highway 307 running South-North. “El Pueblo”, as referred to by locals, is home to most workers of the tourist industry and where many of the stores, supermarkets, two bus stations, inns, hostels and small hotels are found. This section of town has a definite feel of existing mostly to cater to the Tulum ruins. Tulum pueblo is indeed a destination for shopping, great restaurants, a modest night life, studying the language at Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School, booking tours, banking, shopping for food, local vegetables, fruits, cafes, and local flavor. Do not miss it.

    Getting there

    Most major airlines, including Jet Blue, American, and Virgin America, fly direct to Cancún, Mexico.

    Try kayak.com for a good comparison of flight costs and schedules.

    “Who would have thought that sleeping in a cabana on the beach and eating fresh grilled fish, ceviche and fruit smoothies would be more rewarding and memorable than a stay at The Four Seasons.”