Roughly 65 million years ago, a vast, dinosaur-killing asteroid hit this part of Mexico. There is something about Tulum that remains a little stellar. New agers come here to tune in, the fashion crowd comes to space out. Melinda Stevens enters its orbit.
The sea is a turquoise rough and tumble, the sand thick as mashed potato. The sun rises, just so, in front of it (impossible to walk the length of, a Yellow Brick Road of infinite distance) like an actor appearing through a trap door. Dawn has arrived, and the audience is ready and waiting and smiling. Everywhere you go in Tulum, there are people with stories and histories (and often quite a lot of smiles and rather a lot of hugs). A little girl, brown as sugar, with a glittering bindi on her forehead, stretches out her arms to her smiling mama. A hullabaloo as a man shimmies up a coconut tree, and pulls on the branches until the coconuts fall plop, plop, plop in the sand. Everyone claps and hoots. And the light glitters, and everything is bright and beautiful.
In Tulum, you get everywhere by hitching, or by hiring bikes with baskets and drop-handlebars like Harleys. Everything is off one road: you’re either on the beach side of the world, or the other. That’s it. Simple. And where the freshly pulped guava and passion-fruit come in carafes with straws, and sweet fat shrimp lie on the plate like sleeping babies, everyone is doing another thing that keeps it simple here in Tulum: taking their time.