I want to share an excerpt from an email I recently received from International Living about Tulum. I happen to live in Tulum and I can attest the little beach town on Mexico’s Caribbean is booming.
My wife and I have lived in Tulum full-time since 2008 and have seen a lot of changes since. The good news for us and anyone else wanting to experience the unique Tulum vibe is that the local government has kept the charm alive and long term development is being planned with the natural environment in mind, especially along the pristine beaches.
Here’s a little bit of what International Living has to say about expansion in this area….
The Cancun pattern repeated itself. In 2005 and 2006, Playa Del Carmen was the fastest-growing community in the world. The pace of change outstripped that of Cancun. It’s now a chic beach town with cobblestone streets, trendy restaurants and organic cafes. It’s got new clinics, stores and even a Walmart.
Back in the day, only 15-16 years ago, lots in the center of Playa changed hands for as little as $10,000. Today, you’d pay up to $20,000 just to rent a ground-floor retail unit on that same lot. And a beachfront condo can easily set you back $500,000.
Today, the government focus is south of Playa del Carmen, in Tulum. They aim to triple the number of tourists to this location by 2025. They’re talking about a new international airport here. And they’re already investing in new road infrastructure in the Tulum area. If you are interested in getting the Expat Insider’s look at Tulum property for sale click here to check out our new Tulum buyers agent services now.
In 1986, Tulum had around 600 residents. Today, there are 20,000 or so. And we can see the signs of progress already.
When I visited Tulum five years ago, the town was a sorry-looking straggle of dusty homes and a single supermarket. Now, it’s got two supermarkets, new gas stations and three banks. You’ll see new condo projects, guesthouses and little cafes dotted around town. A cycle path now connects the town with the beach.
Down on the beach, you’ll find boutique hotels, pizzerias, rustic restaurants and cafes. Spas offer hot stone massages and pampering facials. You can try yoga, a detox retreat or bikini boot camp.
Tulum is a beautiful, fashionable and very desirable location right now. And its desirability will increase with the rise in tourist numbers. But there’s hardly any land available for development. Tulum is hemmed in by the Caribbean Sea on one side, and more than two million acres of protected land on the other.
It’s a classic “high demand, limited inventory” story that makes Tulum an investor’s dream.
We purchased property here in 2008 and we are very happy we got here when we did.
Tulum is growing and there are still plenty of opportunities but if you wait much longer the prices will go the way they did in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
If you would like to learn more, I invite you to come and stay with us and we’ll tell you all about it!
Check out our Tulum page for more information on the area and sign up for a tour with me if you would like to learn more about this paradise in Mexico!
See you in Tulum!
Don’t worry. The “protected” land is just a wallet away from being unprotected. “Con dinero baila el perro.”
It would good if someday people had a bit more discernment and quite calling “progress” what is clearly a process of destruction. The problem is not that there can’t be a certain improvement; that is obvious. The problem is that the idea of growth has no limits and swiftly becomes destructive. The result is that you get a location covered with cement. Cancun, Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas are just so many examples of FONATUR’s tender mercies.
BTW, you should advise that the winters on the coast are wonderful, but the summers are brutal, and the hurricanes can be really destructive.
Thank you for your constructive comments. You are of course right, paradise discovered typically leads to big development and also big changes and pressure on the local ecosystems. You are also right to be suspect based on past project history and development planning by FRONATUR http://www.fonatur.gob.mx/en/index.asp.
Let us also not forget however that tourism is a huge part of the economy in Mexico…more people always bring more problems, often in the name prosperity and growth for economic reasons. Mexico no doubt needs to be careful and take care of the reasons why people come! But they also come because they offer more modern amenities and conveniences, again the price of progress?
I would only add that in 5 years of living in Tulum full time I have seen a responsible effort to maintain the delicate eco system, especially along the stretch of beach south of Tulum ruins with hundreds of small cabana resorts operating on their own power. They could have brought power down there years ago and to date they have held fast on that commitment…so far. Building restrictions in the area are limited to 3 stories or 10 meters (not including roof or palapa top).
The needs for the area do however include adequate water treatment for a growing population. Right now I would say that is the biggest challenge facing the area. Keep moving south to points between Tulum and Mahahual or to the jungle for pristine nature for years to come.
Thanks again for the comments and informed opinion.
The problem is always the same. There are no limits to growth set by governments, whether local or national. I think Boulder, Colorado is the only town (that I know of) with the intelligence and courage to have forbidden further population growth or settlement in its city limits. As a result it remains a highly desirable place to live. Parts of Europe, with their charming towns and intelligent vehicle restrictions may have similar laws, but I am not knowledgeable.
What Mexico could have done, rather than steadily ruin its most beautiful places, is first of all to acknowledge that growth, the “market,” “development,” and “progress” are things that should be carefully defined and not treated as categorical imperatives and “opportunities.” This simply opens the gate to the most rapacious and insatiable elements of the society, who know very well how to sprinkle holy water on their activities and have the crowd accept them as faites accomplis But for that to happen there has to be in the culture a scale of values that does not put “the economy” or money first, but other more important matters and values, those that actually make life not only worth living but also even sustainable in the long run. Obviously such a scale of values exists only in the minds and hearts of a tiny minority nowadays, mostly without political power of any sort, and who in any case shun the company of such people as today seek or have political power. People of intelligence and some personal substance and depth do not wish to associate with the scoundrels, knaves, and sundry crass opportunists who for the most part fill the posts of political and bureaucratic power, committing their various and continual petty or major crimes, as the case may be, in cahoots with “business,” whether in the US or in Mexico or almost anywhere else.
Take the entire coast from Cancun to Mahahual. Clearly something which a sane population would wish to preserve at all costs. The government becomes aware of this, rather as a lustful man casts an eye on a beautiful young girl, not with an eye to love her but to use her. And the predictable occurred. Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Ixcaret–all ruined. All manifestations of a mentality that is both stupid, crude, and insatiable. Basically, why do people want to go to these places? To enjoy the beauty, of course, to get away from their intolerable jobs and lives of quiet desperation, and to enjoy time with their families, soak up sun and play in the water. Perfectly innocent activities that do not require skyscrapers, infinity pools, legions of waiters and bartenders and maids, jet skis, t-shirt shops and nightclubs, or even golf courses. I remember, years ago, going to the N. Carolina Outer Banks. Many people went there. There was really nothing do to there but to enjoy the beauty, the peace, the sun, the water. It was wonderful. Bars, strip clubs, McDonalds, and their like add nothing whatsoever to such places and simply contribute to the progressive degeneration and mortal triviality of people, aside from attracting the dregs of society and eventually ruining a place. Talk to a native of Vallarta or a Mayan dweller in Tulum, at least 60 years old. Ask them if they prefer the way it was or the way it is, and let them talk candidly and not say what they think you want to hear. Hear how they describe how it was before “desarrollo” came along. I remember one old woman in Puerto Vallarta telling me how she and her little friends would play in the crystalline Cuale river–today a stream of filth; how where there is nothing but high-rise hotels and cement there were coconut and fruit groves. She said, “we lived in a paradise. How could I prefer this to that?” Conversely, I once told a middle-class Mexican at work who was bemoaning the wait he had for his car to be repaired, that he could save a lot of grief by just taking a bus. “God forbid!” he exclaimed. Of course, this would lower his status, his vision of himself as a non-Indian, as not some poor devil reduced to public transportation, and so on. In short, an educated white man! I told him I regularly took the bus and also possessed a graduate level university degree. He looked at me as if I needed help.
So, what Mexico could have done, for instance, was to recognize that they had a precious heritage and seek to keep it. They could have declared hands-off to corporate predation on the entire coast. All of it, without exception. Development of small–not franchise or corporate–businesses dedicated to supplying attractive, intelligently designed (no catering to CEMEX), relatively inexpensive lodging, meals, and the like to tourists could have been permitted along a strip at least half a mile away from the seaside. Non-invasive infrastructure, especially water and sewerage treatment would have been priorities, along with the obvious power and underground telephone utilities, and simple roads leading to the beach. All automobiles would have been forbidden on the roads leading to the sea, to avoid parking. A simple system of small public vehicles, larger versions of golf carts and small buses would be employed. No commercial establishment whatever on the coast itself, other than small kiosks leased to locals to sell snacks, lunches, and beverages. No jet skis, no “party” boats, and other trash amusements. People would enjoy a pristine coast, beauty and peace, indefinitely. It would have remained one of the wonders of the world. Imagine being able to go to the Mayan coast, or to the Jalisco, Baja, and other Pacific coasts to enjoy such incredible surroundings. A small toll fee could be charged per family for the entry to the coastal preserves, such as with US National Parks, and proceeds divided between federal and local authorities for the purpose of maintenance, not profit.
Well, one can dream…