Question: My family and I are currently living in Roatan. We love it, but are considering Tulum. What can we expect, and how much does it cost to live there?
Answer: Our family strongly considered the move to Tulum, and we visited and stayed for an extended period. Tulum is a very laid back coastal (yoga, hippie-vibe) town. Tons of backpackers and such. There are a lot of expats living there, too.
The area itself is lush and the water is fantastic. But there are some issues that made us reconsider a move there. .
We decided against Tulum because of two things: the utilities are spotty the closer you get to the beach, and reliable utility service is hard to get (at least it was in 2015). Almost no one seemed to have internet service there--we ended up having to drive to an internet cafe and pay by the hour.
Most of the beaches are monopolized by private hotels that will not allow you to access the beaches, or try to chase you away if you are not a hotel guest.
We ended up liking Playa Del Carmen a lot more. We just heard so many great things about Tulum and then when we actually got there it was a bit of a let-down. I also wish we had explored Cozumel, which also looks extremely promising.
It's relatively cheap to live in Tulum (comparatively with other beachside towns), but ONLY if you live away from the beach. While the beaches are lovely, the main town of Tulum is very rustic. Also, there's not a lot of "middle" ground with regards to rentals in Tulum. You will pay thousands to live on the beach, or you can pay a few hundred and live in town, far away from the beaches.
But you might love it. I strongly suggest an extended visit to see if Tulum is for you.
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Just a middle-class family with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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