Tulum considers rehabilitating its image as ‘just a party town’

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Tulum was once known for its laid-back atmosphere and pristine beaches, but now it is known chiefly for partying. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Over the last couple of decades, Tulum has earned the title of the party capital of the Riviera Maya

But large drug-fuelled parties and a sense of anything goes have created an atmosphere that even several investors are starting to worry about. 

“We don´t want people to only think of Tulum as a party destination. We really have so much more to offer,” said Tulum’s hotel association vice-president, Alfredo Soto Martínez. 

Also causing concern are the rising levels of violence in the resort town, as well as unregulated and unfettered growth. 

In a recent meeting of Tulum’s hotel association, members highlighted the importance of creating an atmosphere of safety and returning Tulum to the “tranquil paradise” it once was.

Earlier: Tulum hotel forbids employees to speak Mayan amongst themselves

Similar concerns have been voiced in other nearby resort communities, including Playa del Carmen. 

But other than being victims of their success, it is true that authorities in these resort cities have turned a blind eye to illegal activities and allowed a party atmosphere to thrive. 

There is also the issue of police harassment, often in the early morning hours when tourists return to their hotels.

“I have been shaken down for money by police twice since I got to Tulum. There certainly is a feeling that the cops are here to take advantage of you,” an American tourist, Vince McNeil, told  Yucatán Magazine last summer.

Illegal drug dealing also seems to be becoming more and more blatant as middlemen often whisper, or sometimes even scream at passing tourists, “coke, weed, crystal!”

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