The road is a little rutted track that winds its way through a screen of trees. A curious iguana watches our progress from his jungle hideout. We haven’t seen another soul for the last 20 minutes.
When we get to the beach, it’s serene. We have it all to ourselves. It’s gorgeous, with lofty palm trees overhead, baby-soft cool sand under our feet and neon-blue Caribbean Sea all the way to the horizon.
This is the Sian Ka’an biosphere. It covers 1.3 million acres of beach, mangrove, jungle and reef. It’s home to jaguars, shy tapirs and friendly manatees.
In Mayan, Sian Ka’an means “where the sky is born.” This is also where development ends. The biosphere is protected—a natural barrier to the fast-paced growth that is barreling down this coast.
That barrier supercharges the gains you can make buying the right real estate in this area.
The Sian Ka’an biosphere borders the edge of Tulum. This little town is being transformed from a rustic outpost to a boutique, eco-chic destination. It’s seen a phenomenal pace of growth over the last decade.
In 2007, when I first visited, there were some nice spots to eat on the beach side of Tulum. And some upscale (read expensive) hotels. But downtown was a different story. There was one decent café, one supermarket, an ATM (no bank) and only cheap hostel-level accommodation. Unsurprisingly, Tulum town was a backpacker magnet in 2007.
Today, downtown has had a radical face-lift. So much so, that the original backpackers would not believe their eyes. There’s a new gourmet supermarket, proper banks, fancy restaurants serving steak and pasta and organic salads. There are bakeries and ice cream stores. A bunch of little boutique hotels has popped up around town. The backpackers are now joined by middle-class and affluent travelers.
And everywhere you look, you can see construction. Tulum is a boom town. But fringed by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the protected Sian Ka’an biosphere on another, Tulum can’t sprawl. It’s the last stop on the Riviera Maya…and it’s the end of the line for development.
With all this growth, you can make serious money in Tulum, but only on the right real estate buy…
Tulum’s got a unique vibe. It’s a mix of natural beauty, yoga and wellness, finding yourself and escaping the rat race. It’s about getting on a bike to go downtown for your morning coffee…floating along the underground rivers with their cool, fresh, water… swinging in a hammock under the stars.
It attracts Hollywood movie stars, New York’s fashion set, Instagram stars and Grammy-winning artists. And, it attracts “ordinary” folks looking for the perfect Caribbean vacation.
When it comes to a place to stay, you can spend more than a thousand dollars a night for a hotel with no electricity or less than fifty for a “glamping” tent pitched on an organic farm. There are plenty of takers for both those options.
But many of Tulum’s visitors (like myself) want something in between…with modern-day comforts (electricity, air conditioning, internet, comfy beds). That’s why savvy folks in this area are already making $31,356…and $33,173…a year in gross rental income on their two-bed condos. And they still get to enjoy their homes (and Tulum) for as much as half the year.