I Found My Oasis in the Jungle Next to Tulúm Beach

Suzan Crane was born just outside Manhattan in Bronxville, New York, but at the end of the 20th century she was a successful entertainment publicist living in a beautiful house in the Hollywood Hills.

Over her 25-year PR career she represented a wide range of artists including George Michael, Ziggy Marley, Simply Red, Tony Bennett, Scorpions, Paula Abdul, and Lenny Kravitz.

When the music business started “going crazy” in the early days of free internet downloading, when many record labels were either folding or merging, Crane found herself, like so many others, out of work. But, she reflects, “nothing happens by accident” and it wasn’t long before she had an epiphany. “I felt like I was sitting in my house waiting for life to knock on my door when I suddenly realized that I had to go out and knock on new doors myself,” says Suzan.

“I had thought that losing my job was the worst thing to ever happen to me, but it actually turned out to be one of the best. It was the universe pushing me in a new direction.”

Selling her house and most of her possessions, Crane embarked on a nearly 14-year world odyssey which she calls “a life-changing experience of unparalleled impact.” That epic journey took in Australia, Fiji, and Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

But she ended up in Tulúm, Mexico, where she bought a house in the jungle outside the town’s tourist-geared, more expensive beach area.

Privacy was a requirement, and this property had five acres of land to distance her from her neighbors but keep them near enough in case of emergency.

Suzan calls her outpost in Tulúm her “oasis in the jungle” and she’s making every effort to keep her monthly spending down in an area that can be very, very expensive for the high-end tourist. The house she purchased has been remodeled and outfitted with solar panels, septic tank, cistern for water, and other amenities that keep her existence off the grid. She does, however, have a propane generator just in case nature doesn’t cooperate. The initial outlay of funds for all of these things was high, but, when it’s all working as it should, she predicts that she will have significant savings.

“Tulúm is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world right now…and very trendy. New York fashionistas flock here,” explains Suzan. However, she is quick to point out, Tulúm also offers a lot of history like the ruins which skirt the Caribbean, the remains of a mythic Mayan city and culture.

“There’s also still a living Mayan culture here and my home is just a few miles from three local Mayan villages—or pueblos—offering a real juxtaposition to the touristy beach road and the small town of Tulúm.”

As is often the case with a tourist community, the cost of living when retired hinges on the way you choose to spend money. There are either options to live high on the hog, or a simpler path with low-cost choices. Tulúm is becoming renowned for some very fine (and expensive) restaurants, but there are also plenty of taco stands and casual dining options.

Although she lives a fairly quiet life in the jungle, Suzan tries to get to the beach with friends at least once a week. She also organizes monthly event known as “Ladies Who Lunch/Chicas Who Chat,” which continues to grow and evolve since its creation a year ago.

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