Tulum – virgin tourist destination or thumping tourist spot?

Editor’s note: If you are aiming to visit a less well documented location in a lonely planet guide in the middle of the wilderness it’s possible that you will be only one of a handful of foreigners that have passed through that week, but you don’t have to have been following an independent travel path for very long before you realise that guidebooks take you to tourist spots, and the inevitable reams of tourists. Stephanie Walsh gives you her thoughts on the matter in the context of her exploration of Tulum, Mexico.
Andy Seabrook.

Search for “Tulum, Mexico” in Google Images and I challenge you to find a photo of the ancient Mayan ruins crowded with people. The reality is that, when you visit the site, or any other world famous tourist attraction, it is almost impossible to look anywhere (unless out on the ocean horizon!) WITHOUT seeing hoards of people…everywhere!

Tulum Mexico 8 Tulum, Mexico | The Reality of a World Famous Tourist Attraction

Tulum, Mexico. Photo credit: DiscoveringIce

Judging from photos circulating in mass media, you can be forgiven for assuming that all of these beautiful travel destinations in the world that are sold to us are unvisited dreamlands, just waiting for us to discover them all for ourselves. The reality when you get there is that you’re just another number passing through the turnstiles. I know that in the majority of famous places I have visited, there have been millions of visitors there before me. And that’s fine with me. I am no hipster, desperate to discover the newest trends and places, just so I can say; “Well, I was there waaay before anyone even heard of it”. No.

Ancient Tulum ruins Mexico Tulum, Mexico | The Reality of a World Famous Tourist Attraction

The ancient city in Tulum, Mexico. Photo credit: DiscoveringIce



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