Tulum, A Spiritual and Cultural Sanctuary Where Jungle Meets the Beach
Updated: May 27
Tulum is a place of myth and mystery, also known as the ultimate place for an unplugged and stylish beach vacation. It is laid-back and eco-friendly. Along the stretch of Tulum's gorgeous beach and nearby areas, you would find historic Mayan ruins, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, the visionary art community, and world-class shops and restaurants. However, the changes and impacts on the environment are real, we hope to raise awareness for sustainable tourism and share the future potential of this special place. We settled in our home away from home at Casa Malca, located at the most exclusive southern end of Tulum Beach. It is an artistic wonderland with top-notch contemporary art, nature, and understated luxury. The property retains its grand legacy of Pablo Escobar's old mansion, combines it with a contemporary approach and an alternative reality that art, design, and decoration can create. It offers maximum privacy and exquisite experience in the middle of the jungle.
Deep in the Jungle The Mayans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad. The bad dreams would get tangled within the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day. On a new day, we arrived at the ancient Mayan city, Coba. The site contains a group of large temple pyramids and many sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and events. We climbed 130 steps up to the top of the pyramid for the remarkable view of the area. We traced the series of elevated stone causeways, "Sacbe," radiate from the central to various sites, including Tulum, that used to serve the city as the main port. The civilization was estimated with 50,000 inhabitants or more at its peak. So far, only 5% of the site has been rediscovered.
On the other side of the jungle, we came back to modern times for a unique art experience at SFER IK. Previously known as IK LAB, the organic architecture, winding lines and intricate patterns at the spaces in Tulum and Uh May inspired us to explore from external to spaces within, but also ourselves, through art. From Azulik to Sfer Ik, the founder/ creator, Roth has a cohesive vision to connect indigenous and contemporary communities demonstrating the nature and the Mayan culture could seamlessly coexist. SFER IK is like an Art City that showcases some of the world's finest artists and artisanal workshops, which link ancestral practices with avant-garde techniques and visionary design. It has a profound effect on those who visit, both from local and from afar.
A Night Out in The Jungle The Tulum experience could not be complete without a stylish night out. We followed the neon sign and the giant disco ball to Gitano Tulum, sipping mezcal cocktails in the colonial-style jungle room and enjoyed the smokey vibe in the cactus garden. The modern Mexican cuisine done with open fire grill tasted just as good as it looked. It was beyond fabulous celebrating the jungle living along with vibrant music and a dramatic setting.
Raw Connection With Nature
With a nice buzz, we woke up from a beautiful dream in the chandelier room at Casa Malca, enjoying the glamour and exotic beauty from every corner. Then the sunrise came through from the horizon and lead us to breakfast on the beach at Philosophy restaurant. It was the perfect laid-back moment with a big gourmet breakfast and the beautiful scenery. The seasonal ingredients and the outdoor setting married so well together that you forgot the existence of time. Meanwhile, we could not ignore the seaweed problem that has become a massive issue across the Caribbean sea. Then it was time for us to embrace the eco-living, ditched the car, and jumped on the bicycle for a day to explore the town and jungle. We came to the Dos Ojos area in North Tulum, discovered a series of Cenotes that are pristine and secluded. Coming from an ancient Mayan word, Cenote is a natural sinkhole filled by rain and water flowing from underground rivers through the limestone rocks. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has more than 6000 different cenotes and is the most extensive underground river system in the world.
Followed the cenotes and lagoons, we headed south to the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve. Sian Ka'an is home to thousands of species and was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, remained as the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. The best way to experience the reserve is to float in the Mayan Canals, learning the history and ecosystem at the same time. Then we joined together with Bushman Photography Team for a private tour on the speedboat. Sian Kaan is definitely one of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse places on earth, and we hope it would stay that way for many generations to come.
Mayan Shaman & Temazcal Experience At the end of our stay in Tulum, we met with a Mayan shaman for our first Temazcal experience. Originated from the Indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica, Temazcal is a type of sweat lodge used for purification or healing ceremony. Started around the fire, we thanked the earth and nature for everything they provide us. The shaman uses herbs like sage to aid the cleansing process for body and soul. Followed the chanting, we entered the dome-like sweat lodge where hot volcanic rocks were placed in the center with water poured over to produce steam. The mindfulness session was a re-birth and self-reflecting experience that helps you reunite with the world with a clearer vision and inner peace. In the end, we are already part of the tribe for the spiritual journey and mission in Tulum.