ICBRKR GUIDE TO TULUM ‘18-’19: MUSIC, WELLNESS & EXPLORING
I first visited Tulum five years ago for a two-week holiday around New Year’s eve with my girlfriends. Not only was this a spectacular way to spend the turn of the year, dancing under the stars to the sunrise on Tulum’s jaw-dropping beach, it was also the beginning of many friendships and my passionate love affair with Mexico as a country (see last post about Oaxaca).
Tulum -- with its pristine, white sandy beaches, the sand as fine as dust, bordering turquoise Caribbean sea on the one side, and the jungle on the other -- is a terrestrial version of paradise and hardly a well-kept secret. Over the past years, Tulum has turned from a sleepy jungle backpacking destination to one of the most sought-after travel destinations worldwide. With Tulum's increasing popularity, new real estate developments, luxury gastronomy concepts, and events have emerged that inevitably transform its scene. It’s a balancing act for a small beach town like Tulum to keep its authentic, relaxed, and free-spirited vibe, and to remain accessible to all tastes and budgets.
We are nearing New Year’s which is peak-time in Tulum. With Sound Tulum and Esto es Tulum, two major new festivals have appeared on the landscape, in addition to the more intimate events that hotels such as Papaya Playa Project, Nomade, or Ahau have been putting on for many years. It’s a busy time of year, even in paradise.
ICBRKR is here to guide you through the jungle of options on how to fill your days and nights with fun and experiences. Like-minded people guaranteed. Please check our app (iOS / Android) for the full listing of events in Tulum this season. RSVP to let other ICBRKRs know that you are around, and connect with those who are too. All ticket links can be found in the app.
Read on for my personal top picks of what to do this December and January:
Dec 22nd - Habitas will once again host Mardeleva, Eduardo Castillo's LIVE project. Eager to expand and build on his musical reach and scope, Eduardo has brought talented friends and multi instrumental musicians together to explore the potential of each of their talents, and to create something new, something unknown, together. Influenced by sounds and music of all reaches of the planet, and Eduardo's decades of electronic music exploration, the frequencies that are produced by this very unique troupe of musicians, are truly on another level of performance and experience. Every sound is created spontaneously in the flow of the evening; no concert will ever be the same, as it is a masterfully directed flow of improvisation, a sensory musical experience rather than a concert. I was able to experience it last January. Unsure of what to expect, I witnessed how this sound created an intimate communal rhythm to the point where people felt inspired to get up from their seats to move, and sway freely to the force and the passion of the sound. Spectacular. The event is free, but operates on a guest-list, first-come basis; you will find the link to the guest list in our event calendar on the app. Don't miss it.
Dec 28th - This is the opening night of Esto Es Tulum, the new festival set in the Tortuga Cenote. Circoloco will host with the following line-up: Seth Troxler, Damian Lazarus, Blond:sh, Rampa vs &ME, Job Jobse, and many more.
New Year’s Eve - Besides the big parties that the two above-mentioned festivals, favourite hotels BeTulum and Nomade are known to team up for a more intimate, exclusive experience. Ahau has a famous NYE party and so does Casa Malca. I have personally spent two New Year's celebrations at Casa Malca, which is said to be Pablo Escobar's former beach villa. Definitely worth a visit.
Jan 4th - Papaya Playa Project hosts WooMooN to celebrate the arrival of the New Moon on its widespread grounds. This night will see musical talents Armen Miran, Blond:sh, Monolink, Nicola Cruz, Sainte Vie, and YokOo behind the decks. The night will be enhanced by live-artistic performances, fire performances, and other interactive experiences to draw the audience in.
Jan 5th - Solomun invites Dixon to join him for this night as part of his famous +1 concept Solomun+1, which many of you will know from Ibiza. What a treat! Setting for this showdown of two grandmasters of the German electronic music scene will be, once more, Zamna Tulum.
Jan 6th - Mayan Warrior is bringing a bit of playa dust to the beach of Tulum. Set between the palm trees and on the beach between Papaya Playa and Habitas, the Mayan Warrior Art Car will guarantee strong sound and visuals. Entry is limited to Mayan Warrior friends and family so if you want to go, make sure you get access to their Facebook group to buy a ticket, or check our app for the ticket link. Rest assured, it will be a special night. If you haven’t been to Burning Man, this is a taster of it. And they just announced that Mira, the Queen from Berlin, is going to be headlining.
Jan 8th - Y’AM Tulum is a unique boutique festival associated with a good cause. Y'AM, which means 'ocean' in Hebrew, will be a conscious celebration in support of two organizations that create awareness about our oceans: Restore Coral, an NGO that focuses on restoring the coral bleaching that is happening; and Water Matters, a plastic-free organization that packs water in cardboard, and supports local Mexican communities. And what would be a better location for this than the Sian Ka'an biosphere. This is a vast natural reserve just a few minutes south of Tulum and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Expect a high-end, moving experience in wellness, awareness, and music. Goldcap, Sabo, Carlita, Mendrix, Sorä, Seth Schwartz (among others), are going to create the musical program, in addition to all the activities that Y'AM are putting together for us: a virtual reality coral diving experience, healing rituals, workshops, healthy food... sounds divine. We are particularly excited that two of our ICBRKRs are going to be DJ'ing during that night: Y’AM co-founder Isi Audi from Mexico City, and Malin Linnea from London. What a great new event on the Tulum calendar. Read more about Y'AM and their vision in our ICBRKR Extraordinaire interview with Alejandro Glatt, who is the creative director behind Y'AM. Apply through their website to get your ticket, as capacity is limited to 350 people.
Jan 9th - Sounds busy? Take some time for yourself on the 9th of January. Disconnect to reconnect during our ICBRKR Wellness Retreat, a day filled with yoga, relaxation techniques, ceremonies, and rituals, including a psychedelic breath workshop by Eva Kaczor joined by the sounds of DJ duo Birds of Minds, and ending on the sandy beach of Ahau with a sunset party and Mezcal Amores. Find all the details and get your ticket through the ICBRKR app.
With all the newly gained energy, immerse yourself into the second half of January, with Afterlife, and Damian Lazarus’ Day Zero.
Jan 9th - As part of Sound Tulum, Tale of Us are bringing their concept Afterlife back to Tulum. As always with Afterlife, the line-up is strong: Âme, Adriatique, Stephan Bodzin, Mind Against, and Recondite are part of this year's Tulum edition. The venue for this spectacle of deep electronic sound will be Zamna.
Jan 11th - Since launching on the final day of the Mayan Calendar in 2012, Day Zero has grown to become one of the premier events during the winter months due to its unique location. Party revelers will be immersed in the caves, cenotes, and naturally formed amphitheater of the venue. The line-up: Bedouin, Blond:sh, Damian Lazarus, Black Coffee, DJ Tennis, Satori, Serge Devant… the list is long. The location is magical, and the production will be - as every year - out of this world.
If you need a break from all the dancing and social mingling - Tulum has a lot to offer.
Treat yourself to a Temazcal Ceremony:
Sweat it out in an ancient Mayan ritual. A Temazcal ceremony is considered to be a healing and purification ceremony that cleanses the mind, body, and spirit. I personally took a trip into the jungle to Dos Palmas to get the full experience, but you can also find it more locally on the beach strip at Ahau, Azulik's Maya Spa or Yaan Spa, part of Be Tulum.
Do a yoga class watching the sun rise above the ocean:
With its spectacular beachside yoga studio, Sanará is without a doubt Tulum’s most breathtaking space for a reinvigorating morning yoga class. Ahau also offers daily yoga and sunrise meditation classes in their stunning oceanfront studio, and there are many other places on the beach including Amansala, or Azulik. In Tulum town, Yoga Dicha offers both yoga teacher training courses, and excellent daily yoga classes and programs. Working in collaboration with Help Tulum Dogs, they also organise retreats where you can help care for puppies.
Visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum, and Coba:
Tulum is home to a 13th-century Mayan archaeological site. The beachfront location makes the ruins a truly jaw-dropping sight, and it’s just a bike ride up the beach strip. It's worth paying a local tour guide who can tell you more about the history and myths that surround this site. From Tulum, you can also easily get to Cobá, one of the most important ruin sites on the Yucatan Peninsula. At Cobá, climb Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula standing at 42 m high, and visit Estela Uno, a structure famous for its inscription that mentions the end of an era on 12/12/12, Day Zero.
Swim or dive in one of Tulum’s famous cenotes:
The Yucatan Peninsula is famous for having the world’s largest number of underwater sinkholes, or cenotes. These magical water holes are mostly made of Limestone, and there are over 5,000 cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula. They’re made from underwater cave systems filled with fresh water (most of them) as well as from absorbing rainwater. Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos are famous for fun diving and snorkelling, as they have multiple caves that you can enter. For advanced divers, I can recommend the Pit, a 30-meter sinkhole on an upstream branch of the Dos Ojos. This is the deepest cenote of the State of Quintana Roo.
Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere:
If you cannot attend Y'AM, I would still try and make a separate dedicated trip out to Sian Ka'an. The biosphere stretches across 1.6 million acres and is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico. It begins just south of the Tulum beach strip. Book a day trip by boat in the lagoon, and float in the crystal clear waters of Sian Ka'an's mangrove system.
With all these diverse and engaging activities, there is plenty for you ICBRKRs to do in Tulum this winter season! We look forward to seeing you there. Come say hi!
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