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Discover the Beauty and Accessibility of Tulum

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A women taking an image of the ruins in Tulum

Tulum is an absolutely beautiful coastal paradise in Mexico.  It’s known for its clear, turquoise waters, ancient Mayan ruins, and legendary cultural heritage. What you may not know is that Tulum  is trying to become Quintana Roo’s (Quintana Roo is a coastal state stretching along the northeast of the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico) first truly disability-friendly city.

Accessible Tulum

The city has implemented specific measures to make its sites and streets more accessible to people  with disabilities, including a fully-inclusive beach, and special traffic lights for the blind and visually impaired. According to Tulum’s mayor, Víctor Más Tah, the city has already installed four acoustic traffic lights to facilitate crossings for people with visual impairments and that additional assistive devices, such as tactile guides have been installed on Tulum Avenue, as well as in special facilities at Playa Maya beach. 

You can find accessible transportation but it is scarce.  Contact Tulum Transportation for your accessible transportation needs.  Downtown Tulum has wide sidewalks but they can be difficult to navigate because of bumps and cracks.  Some of the beaches are accessible and the ancient ruins of Tulum are somewhat accessible.  See below for more information.  There are only a few hotels that claim to provide accessible rooms and an accessible property.  Those include La Zebra Colibri Boutique Hotel, Motto by Hilton Tulum, and Copal Tulum Hotel.  I stayed at an accessible hotel in Cancun and made the 2 hour drive to Tulum. 

You may find accessible hotels in Playa del Carmen, a little closer to Tulum, but you should contact your hotel choice to make sure your accessibility needs are met.  I look forward to returning to Tulum to see how much progress has been made regarding accessibility.  For now, here are my recommendations to enjoy your trip to Tulum.

Beaches

Tulum has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen, but accessibility can be difficult.  A few beachfront resorts and clubs provide wheelchair ramps, beach wheelchairs, and accessible facilities but accessibility at these locations may mean a sandy beach path to the water, or a very bumpy wooden pathway. Playa Maya and Playa Santa Fe are reputed to be accessible with wooden pathways to the beach. 

Archaeological Sites

You can take a journey back in time by visiting Tulum’s rich historical archaeological sites. But for people with disabilities, it will not be easy nor 100% accessible by US standards. The Tulum Ruins, high atop cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, have made efforts to enhance accessibility with some accessible pathways and ramps. But please be aware that these pathways are mostly firmly packed gravel and can be muddy or filled with water after rain. The ramps there are very steep and it’s likely that you will need some level of assistance to safely navigate the ruins. Be sure to get there early because lines can be very long to get tickets to enter and once inside the walls of the ruins, it can be crowded. .

Tulum is making progress to become an accessible destination.  Remember, Tulum is primarily an ancient city that was not built for people with disabilities, so you need to be flexible and patient when traveling there.  Your best bet is to work with a knowledgeable and experienced travel agency, such as Travel for All.  Plan an accessible itinerary with them based on your accessibility needs and pack your bags for a wonderful experience!

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