Local Spotlight: Living and Retiring in Tulum, Mexico
Tulum is located on the eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula and boasts a vibrant culture with rich historical significance as well as amazing weather that makes it an excellent place for expats and tourists alike.
Tulum’s name is a nod to its place in history. Tulum means “wall,” and it reflects the Mayan and Zama civilizations that built great structures into the limestone cliffs overlooking the shores of this coastal city. Some of these structures (like the Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes) are still present today. The ruins are definitely a tourist attraction.
Tulum is a small but growing community with a population around 20,000. It’s proximity to destination hot spot Cancun (about 90 minutes away) has given it a reputation that exceeds its small size. It has become known for its “zen” feel, with gorgeous beaches, a ton of vegan restaurants, and plenty of places to practice yoga. This is a place where someone can get in touch with their inner selves, a meaningful community, and the beauty of nature all at once.
Straddling the line between touristy and authentic, there are lots of places to eat and things to do in Tulum, so it has enough to keep residents busy without the hustle and bustle of more full-blown tourist destinations. There is an eco-centric hotel zone, and this is a place to find plenty of beachside eateries.
A Touch of Paradise
One thing that definitely makes Tulum an attractive option is its weather. In addition to the beautiful beaches and lush jungles, the weather tends to stay between 60 and 85 degrees most months of the year. The average for the warmest months (July and August) is about 90 degrees, making this paradise warm without being sweltering.
It’s this weather that draws many expats to Tulum, including Canadian expat Michelle Bradshawwho cites an escape from the harsh Canadian winters and the laidback atmosphere of Tulum as her primary draws to the city. She also notes that her cost of living has decreased dramatically, crediting the fresh markets and her avoidance of malls with dropping her overall expenses by nearly 70%.
Bradshaw also says that the locals are friendly and welcoming to expats, helping them adapt to the culture and learn the language so that they can take advantage of the many activities Tulum has to offer, including scuba diving and ruin climbing.
These are similar to the draws for expat Dianne Harper, who found the draw of the white sand beaches and beautiful palm trees to be the perfect fit for her family’s retirement. Now that she has a house tucked away in the jungle, she is happy to say that she also has access to a banana grove, something she didn’t even know she wanted in her life.
Amenities and Lifestyle
Tulum is a fast-growing expat location, and that means that it has a lot to offer in the way of amenities. Most expats work abroad via an internet connection, and that gives them the freedom to enjoy all Tulum has to offer.
Shopping has become easy with Amazon delivery available and plenty of local shopping outlets for groceries and other day-to-day necessities. Healthcare, too, is widely available in both private hospitals and in very affordable doctors visits that are much less expensive than U.S. health care.
Overall, this gorgeous and historical city has a lot to offer inhabitants both in the way of scenery and community. It’s a great time to get involved in this growing spot.
Travis Luther is a Denver, Colorado writer and educator. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Metropolitan State University of Denver and currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Colorado Denver, where he received his Master’s Degree in Sociology. Luther first became interested in Baby Boomers retiring in Mexico during graduate school. His Masters Thesis research contributed to the content in this book. He continues to be interested in U.S. expatriates retiring all over the world and continues to monitor those who have retired in Mexico.
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