Interested in Tulum?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Tulum each week.
Topics include Dining Scene, Mexico: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Most restaurants in the area prepare food and drinks with the knowledge that they will be consumed by foreign travelers. This means that fresh items are purified, and ice is made with purified water. Use caution with buffets and restaurants geared more toward locals, though most stomach ailments are not actually food poisoning, but the digestive system being upset from any of the following: spicy foods, especially jalapeños, higher than usual alcohol consumption, more frequent than usual fruit consumption, etc.
Fruits & vegetables: If you are eating in a restaurant that is frequented by foreign travelers, the kitchen PROBABLY purifies both fruits and vegetables with Microdyn or another chemical food purification system. It involves soaking the fruit/vegetables in regular tap water with several drops of the chemical. This kills all bugs, except in strawberries, which are generally NOT recommended because the skin is so porous, they are hard to purify.
Ice: If you are eating in a restaurant that is frequented by foreign travelers, the bar PROBABLY uses purified ice. An easy way to tell is if the ice is in a cylinder shape with a hole in the middle. That kind of ice is definitely purified. Purified ice may also come in other shapes, though!
Cooked food: This is generally safe. If you are eating at a buffet, pay attention to the temperature of your food. If your hot food isn't really hot, but just kind of warm, it's probably a good idea to stay away from it. The same goes for cold foods (especially dairy) that isn't really cold. Just because the buffet offers everything, you don't have to eat it all that first meal! Take care of your digestive system and it will take care of you.
Sun: Take your time when tanning. Do not think that you can go from freezing cold and no sun for 3 months straight into laying in the sun all day. You will get sunburned, and maybe even heat stroke. Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and seek the shade the first few days, especially when walking and not particularly trying to tan. Wearing a dark colored t -shirt when in the water will keep you from burning your back while snorkeling.
Sand: The sand in Tulum is some of the most beautiful sand to walk on in the world, like sugar! And you can walk down the beach barefoot to eat and drink at many restaurants. This is a wonderful thing! However there is one thing you should know about, the parasites in the hookworm family that live in the sand. They come from dog feces. It is commonly known as cutaneous larva migrans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutaneou... These little worms get in your feet, or anywhere on your body that comes into contact with them in the sand. Most hotels and restaurants have dogs in Tulum and they do their business in the sand. Later when you walk in the sand where the feces once were you can get this parasite. It causes very painful, very itchy blotches where the parasites live, grow and migrate under your skin. Untreated they will die off on their own in 4-8 weeks as humans are not a good host for them. This condition is treatable with the drug Albendazole. The locals actually take Albendazol preventatively to keep from getting the parasites.
Alcohol: If you are stung by a jelly fish, or a bee, or whatever, pour some Tequila over it, then rub a lime. Believe it or not, it will take the sting away almost immediately! Go easy on the fruity sweet drinks for the first couple of days. Your body is already in shock just by being in Mexico and hangovers don't help! Don't think that you can start drinking alcohol at 10am without feeling the effects later. Pace yourself. Drink lots of water upon your arrival, and make sure you are thoroughly hydrated before exercising or drinking alcohol, due to the heat.
Mosquitos: Malaria is not an issue in the area, but dengue is (there is no vaccine or preventative medication for it). Bring mosquito repellent. An all-natural brand works best since you will be applying it regularly, and something biodegradable won't hurt the environment or your body (since many people do react to long-term exposure to the DEET chemical found in non-natural products). Mosquitos are at their worst at dusk and in the middle of the night and generally are not a problem any other time. All the hotels provide mosquito nets. Watch out for sand fleas also called no-see-ums, they bite the ankles and leave a red mark that can last for 10 days. These bites are actually cuts on the skin and hurt like paper cuts, they itch like mad and can become infected if scratched. DEET does not keep them away and some say that it acts like a dinner bell letting them know that the food has arrived.
Pepto: If you really think you do have food poisoning, see a doctor and get antibiotics. Diarrhea-stopping over the counter medication is generally considered to NOT be a good idea. If you are ill, your body needs to clean itself out, and stopping the process rather than killing the bug can make you sicker.
Tulum is a fairly safe destination, but travelers need to exercise the same common sense that they would at home. If you don´t feel safe in an area (walking alone on the beach after dark, for example, is probably not wise), then head to an area where there are more people. Reviews can be read where travelers sleep with their cabana doors wide open at night to let the breeze in. Again, use common sense. Ask yourself if you would do this anywhere else before you decide to leave your door open at night.
Be wary of ATM's in Tulum!! Five months after a group visited Tulum, all six ladies ATM cards were compromised. Some of the cards were only used the ATM at the bank in town, others at the various ATM's in the area. Each of the ladies lost over $1,500 and are left with disputing it with the banks to get the money back. It would seem that an ATM card carries with it another measue of safety with a PIN number required, but this is not the case. Not sure what the answer is, as carrying cash has its own risks as do compromised credit cards..
Valuables: lock them in the room safe or the reception safe, or if your hotel doesn't have either, lock them inside a piece of luggage, hidden among clothes.
Walking on beach: no problem, during the daytime. Not recommended at night in isolated areas.
Leaving things in car: It's generally not recommended to leave things inside the car or in the trunk. Ever. Rental cars are a target for theft.
Driving: no problem, just keep VERY ALERT for people randomly walking across the highway. Local drivers may be more aggressive than travelers are used to at home.
Locking doors: definitely lock the room at night, and whenever you are not in it.