Is Tulum, Mexico safe. Is Tulum safe for Children? Is it safe to travel in Mexico? YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES! I have been bombarded with questions, posts, news and people wondering if Mexico especially the Yucatan and the Rivera Maya are safe to travel in. Let me say this... 1) I lived in the tenderloin of San Francisco for 10 years. This is not a good area. it is filled with drugs, shootings, and gangs. However. People NEVER asked me or questioned me about the safety there. But since I have lived here... (a town that is filled with kind caring people) I have gotten many questions about its safety.
Now, if you do not use common sense then yes the world is dangerous. Not Mexico. Not Mexicans. But the world. If you do not use the brain that god/buddha/the higher power/ YOUR MOTHER gave you then yes... the world is a scary place. however, if you use your head you will be fine. and that could not be more true then here in the Rivera Maya.
I understand that Mexico and the USA are involved in a very scary war on the cartels. First of all... this is not a Mexican problem. This is a problem that is as much north of the border as south. I am glad that President Obama has very realistic ideas and goals to this problem. But I can say for sure that I feel so safe here. My children are safe here. The people here want no harm to come to us.
I read a blog entry a while back... (if you read any of the meican bloggers here then you have heard a lot about this subject) Check these 2 out for some great information.
But that aside... my family is safe here. We walk all over town at all hours of the night totally safe.
I hope that people do actual research and do not listen to scare provoking propaganda that attempt to strike fear in tourists. If you have any questions about anything here in the Yucatan, Tulum, Cancun or anywhere in the Mayan Riviera, please email me... my address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have many friends all over the Yucatan and Mexico who would be happy to answer ANY question that you have. Or would be happy to give you their input or advice on visiting here. This is a beautiful area, full of amazing people. But there are many that are using false stories or half truths and various manipulations to achieve their own agenda.
I have no agenda. I live in Mexico, with my kids. I want Mexico to be safe. i would not allow my children to be in an unsafe place. But I allow my children more freedom here in Tulum, Mexico then I did in the USA. It is because the people here are all looking out for my kids. Please. if you have concerns about visiting, please contact me. I will get you in touch with someone who lives in that town so that you can get REAL information. Information that you will most likely not be getting in main steam press. again email@example.com. also check out ANY of the blogs on my blog role and all of them would be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Get real information about a place. Please do not rely on media stories that are designed to invoke fear in order to sell papers. We live here, we walk the streets (sometimes a little in cohesive - BE SAFE!!!) ask us, we would be happy to tell you anything. The good, the bad the ugly... but usually the amazing.
Today we took the kids to visit Casa Cenote. Cenotes are the kids favorite thing to do here and there are so many to visit. It is our goal to visit as many different ones as possible. Casa Cenote is just north of Dreams Tulum off of the main road, 307.
We took a collectivo from town to the road where the cenote is. The collectivo cost us 15 pesos per person. The kids sat on our lap so they did not cost anything. Once we got off the collectivo, there was a very long walk to the cenote. We were not ready for that long of a walk but it was not too bad. There were also some beautiful houses on this road on the beach. Some of these homes are for rent.
We finally came to the cenote. It was beautiful. It was very near the ocean so you could hear the sounds of the ocean and the water was much more salty then some of the other cenotes. The water extends about 200 meters back into the jungle. It is so beautiful.
You could clearly see the bottom of the cenote and you could see tons of fish. The person who was running the cenote did tell us that we were welcome to swim as far back as we wanted but did say that we needed to be aware that there could be crocodiles. It is possible that they are there but they said that they check every morning and every night. We got to swim a lot and had a lot of fun.
We got hungry and had only brought a few things to eat. But Akilean, as always, was hungry. Not surprising. That kid is always hungry. We ate across the street at the Casa Cenote restaurant. It was right on the beach under a beautifully done palapa. The food was very good and we had a wonderful day. The kids and I went swimming some more while Ruben headed to work.
After a little while we got tired and started to long trek home. That road was much longer the 2nd time but that was okay. Once we were on the main road we waited for the collectivo and headed home. All of us have a bit of a red face but we had a lot of fun.
yesterday was Ruben's day off and we have been really excited to take the kids to Carnival and the circus. There have been some trucks cruising through the streets selling tickets. It has been fun even to see the trucks because they have one of the animals with them. We have seen a bear, some camels & lamas and a tiger. It was really funny to watch the kids when they heard the music coming into the area-- they would run outside and wait for the truck to go by.
So yesterday morning we woke up - to the unfortunate site of a scorpion in my house. I yelled fro Ruben to come and get it. I have recently found out that I could have killed it with the spray that I keep handy for cockroaches, but waking up Ruben was more fun! hehehe!
We made a really great meal (recipe on other blog) and got ready to head to town. It was our plan to go to fair that was set up for carnival. When we got to town we were pretty disappointed to find out that the celebration for Carnival was only for 3 days.
In Ruben's town it is for 10 days so we thought we were okay but... no. Oh well. This is the type of stuff that I want to have on my tourism blog so that people (mostly expats) who live here and people visiting can know events that are going on. And as of yet, I cannot find that information on any blog. I was upset at first because I simply would have brought the kids by myself on a day when Ruben was working, but we wanted to wait for Ruben. I was upset but got over it. I need to improve my Spanish so that I can read that information myself.
The Circus was to have 2 shows, a 6:30 and an 8:30. We got their around 5:30 and watched all of the games and rides being packed up onto trucks. This is probably a better thing because we really do not have any money and Those fairs just suck the money out of you. We were all set to go into the circus for the 6:30 show and in true Mexican fashion... yeah, there wasn't one. No reason, no explanation. Just, no, we are going to do the show at 8:30. It is things like this that you really learn are just a part of life here. I have gone to take the kids to their classes before which start at 1:00. Yeah, they did not show up until 2:15. Why? No reason or explanation... that is just the way it is. Oh well. It really helps you not to take things to seriously and is helping me to not stress the little stuff as much. But it is still annoying.
Once we got into the 8:30 showing we got our popcorn and soda and found some great seats. The tigers were fun to see but it is also sort of sad. For everything that I have heard about the treatment of animals at the circus it made me sad. During intermission they brought out a baby tiger to take pics with and he was clearly doped to the gills. It was sad. It was at this point that we left because the kids were passing out in our arms. I wish we could have seen the elephants but oh well.
When we got the bikes for the kids, they were both so very excited. This was the one gift that Ruben and I really wanted to give the kids for Christmas. We had to save up for months and work really hard to do it. We also had to live on very little for a little while to make it happen. I was so happy that we did it though. The bikes are so cool and they both got bikes that totally fit their personalities. Akilean's bike is blue (his all time favorite color) although he would argue and say that his favorite color is Azul. And has flames on the side. (very Latino) His dad loves it too and even made the comment that the flames would have looked great on our old car. In this instance I can say that I am very lucky not to have a car as it is possible that there would be flame pin stripe at this point. Akilean also loves his helmet because it is lightning McQueen from "Cars" - He loves his bike and rides all the time.
Lena's bike is all princes all the time. Her whole life is so girly. She loves the princesses, butterflies, hearts, flowers... everything girly. Her bike also has the streamers which just make a bike soooooo cool. She got on her bike the first time and was very excited. Right up until she fell over. Lena is type of person that does not like to do something unless she is good at it. She has this idea that she should already be good at it. And then when she fell down that was it. She did not touch her bike for a while. She has started riding again and is doing great. She really enjoys it.
Every morning we wake up, eat breakfast, do the dishes, start the laundry and go for a bike ride. Our neighborhood is great for kids and bikes. I cannot wait until more of the roads are done so we can ride to town. As of right now, we would have to ride on the highway and I am not okay with that. Once we are in our new house we will be right by town so it will be fun to ride the bikes.
Well, I better sign off. I have to hang the laundry! Fun stuff
The kids and I were so excited when we decided to go to Akumal for the day. The kids could not be more in love with the ocean and swimming and playing in the sand. So as soon as we woke up this morning we started to prepare for an awesome day at the beach.
Akumal is a wonderful town just north of Tulum, Mexico. It is a beautiful area with great restaurants, dive shops, bars, and shops. We had heard wonderful things about it and knew that it was famous for sea turtles. Kennedy and Akilean were really looking forward to finding some sea turtles.
We took the collectivo from Tulum to Akumal for about 20 pesos per person. The new rule now is that any child over 4 pays the full fare, but they are entitled to a seat. Kids under 4 can sit in your lap at no cost. The collectivos are vans that travel between Playa del Carmen and Tulum centro.
They will pick you up anywhere along the road and drop you off any where as well. They are also usually the cheapest way to get around. These vans are very nice and run very frequently. All you have to do to catch one is stand on the side of 307(the main road) and they will pick you up.
After getting out of the collectivo we walked a short 5 minutes into the town. It was very cute and I could see that it split into many areas and I cannot wait to go back and explore the town more. But for now, we were focused on beach time. We walked the pathway to the beach and came upon the opening to the bay. It was beautiful.
The beach at Akumal bay was amazing. With the boats anchored around the bay and people able to walk 30 feet with the water at legs, it was perfect for the kids. They were able to jump and play and swim around in as much safety as one could provide. The sand in the bay was perfect- once you got past the rocky part in the beginning.
Kennedy and Akilean went out with Ruben to swim around and every now and then there would be these silver "flying fish" That is what Ruben called them. But the skim along the top of the water for like 15-20 feet. Once the fish came out it was a fun game to try to spot them and catch them. (yeah right)
There were so many people with their snorkel masks and it did not take long to figure out why. There are also a lot of sea turtles. We did not get to see these as we do not have snorkel equipment. Something we need to change because there is just way to much cool stuff to see in the water and such clean water to see through.
There were some really nice looking beach restaurants and beach clubs. We packed a really nice picnic and sat under a great palm tree and had a great afternoon until Ruben had to go to work.
One thing I noticed and I loved was that the recycle containers were far before the garbage can. They were broken down into categories (organic & paper, plastic bottles, glass) And that pretty much covers almost everything consumed by people hanging on a beach in the Mayan Rivera. This made the garbage can able to be small. I really loved that.
I cannot wait to go back to Akumal when we can walk around the whole area more.
Posted at 2/22/2009 06:29:00 PM | | 2 Comments
Today Ruben and I headed off to Playa del Carmen to tend to some important business. We grabbed the babies, our Burger King coupon (a gift with his paycheck from work)- although a little strange because there is no Burger King, or any fast food chain here (except for Subway & 7-11) But that was fine for us. Any excuse to eat at Burger King was good for us. I was really excited about our business today but Ruben seemed to think of it much more casually.
I reminded him that our babies were about to officially become Mexican Citizens. That is a special thing. Ruben is a man with an incredible amount of pride. And pride for being a "son of Mexico" as he has said often, has always been something that has made him so sexy to me. I do not think that he had even thought about it that way. I mean, it is really just a form of paperwork to get the immigration for the kids taken care of but still.
I do not know the specific rules, but from the research that we did and the people we talked to, this is what we had to do for the kids immigration...
1) we had to get long form copies of each birth certificate. (we found it handy to get a couple copies while at the office of records, just in case) We also got my long form birth certificate and marriage license.
2) these docs also need to be Apostilled. This is the part that I think a lot of people do not do because most people here assumed that we had not done that. This can only be done by the United State at the state office where ever the event took place. The Apostle is, in essence, an international notary. It certifies the validity of the signature on the document. This cannot be done by a normal notary in the USA. It was not expensive or difficult to do it, once I knew what it was. In Oregon we simply drove to Salem, into in the office and away the stamp flew.
In the case of the kids- they were born in San Francisco, so I was lucky that there is an office in SF that can do the apostile. I am sure that this is true for major cities. Anyway. When I was in SF the office told me that I needed to go and get a stamp that certified the validity of the Health Inspector on the birth certificate. - It is memories like these that remind me that the USA is just as red taped and tough as Mexico, we just bitch about it here more. This was now a 3 page document to prove that my kids where born in SF, to Ruben and myself.
3) The next thing we did was fly to Mexico, get stamped on our passport, which gave us 180 days to get stuff done.
4) When we got here we were told that we needed to translate the docs to Spanish. That really did not surprise us but I was sort of tired of hoops by this point. And of course, it had to be a certified translator. Again, expected, but still. I asked around some blogging friends of mine and they came through with flying colors. They directed me towards a website (www.cancuncare.com) I have really enjoyed looking around that site. Anyway. We got the numbers for some certified translators and found a good price in Playa. ** we tried to get this done at one point in the USA and could not-- we could find no one. ***
5) Once the docs were done we took them over to the office of Registro Civil. This office was on Benito Juarez and 45th in Playa del Carmen. We paid the fees, around 800 pesos per kid and their birth certificate were created.
Like I said... a bunch of hoops and really just paper work but I think that it is very cool that my kids are now so much more a part of this country and this culture. More and more every day they are falling in love with it here. The language is the next big focus.
After all of this was done and the kids were officially citizens we headed off for a very special treat. One of the things that I love about Tulum is that is so local. Their are no HUGE chains or overly Americanized... well everything. And I love that. But some times you miss the simple things back home. I was never a huge Burger King fan but a) we had a coupon and it was a good one. and b)It has been a long time since we had a good (remind me of home) burger. The kids were very excited as usual.
After lunch we only had about an hour to spend with Ruben on the beach. It was a nice hour, but way too short. We had a nice time playing and collecting sea shells. And Akilean tried to celebrate a little too much. :)
It was a fun day and I am so happy that my kids are now citizens of this amazing country. I cannot wait until my citizenship journey has ended.
I am so excited to announce that I am starting a new blog about the tourism and life aspect of living in Tulum, Mexico. This is going to be an opinion based information based site for people who are looking to come here for a few days, a few years or the rest of their lives.
When Ruben and I decided to move to Mexico with our kids, we were not sure where we wanted to go. My friend Jordan lives in a town outside of Merida here in the Yucatan and I figured it would be a good idea to have at least one other crazy American girl near by. That has proven to be a sanity saving move. We had originally looked into Playa but since we were not going to move for a few years we thought that by then it would have been so much more developed. (Neither of us had ever seen Playa del Carmen or this part of Mexico before.) But we looked at the map and found Tulum to be the next town south and so decided to move there.
When our move was moved much sooner then we had planned, we sold our stuff, packed some bags and headed to Tulum, kids and cat in tow. I did a lot of looking on the Internet and found that there is a lot more to this town then is on the web sites. I mean, even just living here and wanting to get information is tough. There are some great websites like todotulum.com and tulumtoday.com They have great info about choices in hotels and restaurants. They seem to more geared towards people coming to visit and has a lot of the larger places. And TodoTulum.com has the absolute best map of the area. You can pick them up at many places in town, they are free and they have updated at least once since I have been here. But I really want to highlight the smaller less known things about the area. So I thought, hey I can simply document some of these experiences and blog about them.
I hope that it helps with people visiting or looking into moving or who are just curious. Please keep posted. I have been getting some entries together and I hope that people enjoy them. Tulum is wonderful town with a lot of character and wonderful people. I just want everyone who comes here to have the best experience.
Today the kids and I really wanted to get out of the house. Around 12:30 we decided to head out to a local cenote. These 2 cenotes that we went to today were Cenote Cristal y Cenote Escondido. Payment into Cristal gains you entrance into Escondido as well. We took a 40 peso cab ride to the entrance of Cenote Cristal and payed the entrance fee. The guy at the front was really nice and only charged me for one of the kids. It was 40 pesos for me and 20 for one kid. This is a really good price for the cenotes. There are some here that cost as much as 80-100 pesos just to get in. And if I were a diver I would totally get it but that is a lot of money just to go in and swim.
After walking down the pathway we came upon the cenote. It was beautiful. I thought that it was funny that the clouds had started to come out a little. That always happens when we head out to the cenotes. But it was still very nice. In the beginning there were very few people there. We had a lot of fun swimming and playing and chasing fish. We ran into some people who had a 6 year old son so the kids had a good time playing with him.
After a little bit we headed across the street to Cenote Escondido. Once past the old wood gate there is a long walk down a dirt road to the water. It was well shaded and a nice walk.
This cenote was also beautiful. There was a short little cliff area you could jump off and that was a lot of fun. There was a family with 3 boys in their early teens doing a canon ball contest. That was really fun to watch.
There was also some locals there and they got a kick out of the fact that the kids spoke Spanish to them and were laughing with them. Akilean continues to be famous for his hair. He looks so cute. I love his hair. Ruben really loves it now too. I was thinking of just cutting off all of Akilean's hair when he got lice but Ruben was like "oh no, that is not happening." And I must say that I am glad because he looks so cute with it. I will be sad when we have to cut it for him to go to school. Oh well.
After the kids had swam all they could and splashed me as much as they could we headed off for home. The kids were starving so we stopped at Gusto's to split a plate of nachos. The restaurant is on the south side of town and is again a very small place with only a few tables. It was a nice little place. We ate and headed off home. A very tired crew. I should clean the house but I am just too tired. So instead we are going to eat lime ice cream (it is really good- like a sorbet) and watch a movie.
Yesterday the kids and Ruben and I all headed off for a day on a totally new area of beach that we had not been to. It was over by Playa Azul. This is a great little hotel and a restaurant that our friend works at. The kite boarding school here (Extreme Control) was opening a new location here and so they had drums and live music and demonstrations. It was a fun day. The beach here is so beautiful. You really start to understand the idea of "caribbean Blue" The ocean is so different then anything else that I have seen.
We packed a few sandwiches and some mandarins and off we went. I cannot wait to have a car and then this will be an almost totally free day. For now it costs us about 100 pesos every time we want to go to the beach. But it was a nice day.
Kennedy loves the ocean. She dives in head first into the waves. And this beach is especially nice to have kids in because it goes shallow for so long and does not drop off. It is very safe. Kennedy even made sure to keep her sucker up out of the water. It was pretty funny.
And then there is Akilean. After first eating all of the meat and tomato out of our sandwiches he grabbed his toy cars and laid down in the sand and played. He has been playing in this exact same way since he was about 14 months old. I think it is funny that he still does it. When we are out to a restaurant and he starts to get antsy... I simply give him his cars and set him a corner on the floor and he will stay there for the whole time.
We are still working on the lice thing. I am washing the sheets and sofa covers every day but I want to take them to a lavanderia. They need to be done in hot water and dried in the dryer. In the mean time we will just have to make it work. The kids are doing well. It is pretty hot here right now but they have adjusted well. On the days that we go to the beach it is fine but the days we are in the house it gets hot and boring. Oh well... as soon as we have a car everything will get so much easier.
But we are off to town to see what we can get for our 150 pesos. - Our budgets are ever tighter these days and we are trying to get the most out of every penny, or peso. You know what I mean.