By Dan Prescher
The beaches at Tulum on the Caribbean coast of Mexico are some of the most beautiful stretches of white sand and turquoise water on the entire planet. Fortunately for me and my wife, Suzan, these sensational beaches are an easy drive from our home in Merida, the capital city of Mexico’s Yucatan State. We can hop in the car after breakfast, hit the well-paved road south, and be in Tulum by lunch time. It makes for an easy and relaxing weekend getaway. But even with the easy drive, we often wondered what it would be like to actually live in Tulum with these stunning beaches right at our doorstep. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true!
We always thought this was an impossible dream…most of the beachfront around Tulum has long been locked up by resorts and boutique hotels, and what is left is either protected natural preserve or astronomically expensive.
That’s why we sat up and took notice several years ago when a friend of ours told us about an eco-friendly, off-the-grid residential project just 11 kilometers from those dream beaches. Since it was right on the road we take to Tulum, we decided to stop and have a look on our next drive down to the beach.
At that time, Los Arboles Tulum didn’t have its large front gate and well-paved entrance road, so we drove right past it on our way in to town to meet our contact. But when we drove back up the highway and turned off onto a small dirt road between the trees, we were immediately engulfed by Tulum’s lush, teeming jungle. Only a few yards in, and the highway may as well have been a million miles away.
We wound between massive tree trunks holding up a dense canopy of leaves that hid the noonday sun and made the jungle floor shady and cool. Birds and butterflies darted about through the dappled shadows and between the looping, trailing vines that filled the spaces under the green canopy. Bright, colorful life seemed to be everywhere we looked.
It immediately occurred to me that this was the best of both world’s… a secluded, shady, nature-filled home site just a five-minute scooter ride from one of the best beaches on earth, yet sheltered from the wind, blazing sun, and corrosive salt air.
And the fact that the covenants at Los Arboles Tulum would keep it a low-impact, environmentally friendly, eco-conscious development really appealed to the old hippy in me.
I was almost sold…and then I learned that the lot sizes at Los Arboles Tulum averaged five acres. Five acres! This was to ensure that this vital jungle environment never became over-developed. The majority of each lot at Los Arboles Tulum is seaside…preserved from construction or modification. That meant I could build as large a home as I needed or wanted and still be surrounded by so much of this incredible forest that the chances of seeing or hearing my nearest neighbor were almost nil.
And for the price these guys were asking for five acres of primary jungle to call our own—and so close to the world-class Tulum beach—it didn’t take Suzan and I long to make a decision.
Of course, at that time we had no idea that Tulum was just a few years from becoming Mexico’s Next Big Thing. Since we bought at Los Arboles Tulum, a new international airport has been announced that will soon bring an estimated 3 million new visitors a year to this once off-the-radar destination. A new world-class golf course has sprung up just a few miles away. And a new highway bypass under construction up the road at bustling Playa del Carmen will soon let drivers zoom right past Playa’s crowds and traffic to the new southern anchor of the Riviera Maya. Our little Tulum.
People in the area have understandably mixed feeling about Tulum’s sudden stardom. The new airport and improved highways will be game changers here in a lot of ways.
But one thing is for sure…the economic boom about to engulf Tulum makes my quiet, secluded, shady five acres in the jungle even more appealing to me. That magnificent beach will still be there, and I’ll still be just a few minutes away from it, and I will still have my jungle-wrapped peace and privacy.
Like I said…best of both worlds.