Could Tulum be this year's hotspot for digital nomads?
Palm-fringed coastline, turquoise ocean, and ice-cold drinks on white-sand beaches. Sounds like paradise, right? For the many digital nomads making their way to Tulum, a sleepy beach town on Mexico’s Maya Riviera, postcard-perfect views and endless sunshine have become their daily reality.
While the world grapples with the pandemic, some remote workers are making the move to Tulum to sit out a new wave of lockdowns and restrictions in the comfort of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline. With a growing remote work community, a six-month visa on arrival, easy access to Cancun airport, and ever-improving infrastructure, Tulum could be this year’s digital nomad hotspot.
With winter approaching Europe, YouTuber Jordan Simons would normally be settling back into Canggu, Bali’s most popular digital nomad spot. But with Indonesian borders closed, he had to look elsewhere, and instead joined the expanding ranks of digital nomads setting up base in Tulum. “I saw a few people coming here and thought why not!” Simons says to Lonely Planet. “I would have gone to Bali normally, but since it's not open this seemed like the next best option. So far the internet is good, cafes have good food and the long-term rent is affordable.”
Simons explains that while the beach area is more expensive in Tulum than Bali, and there are fewer co-working spaces than Canggu, he’s certain that Tulum will become increasingly popular with digital nomads. “I can see it becoming more popular in the future for sure”, says Simons. “Every day I’m getting messages from other digital nomads that are moving to Tulum in the next couple of months. It seems as if this could be a new hotspot”.
Gaelle Lecourt has been working remotely along the Maya Riviera for five years on-and-off. She runs a popular Facebook group that helps digital nomads to connect and network in the area. Lecourt explains how Tulum’s digital nomad community has grown, especially in the last year as infrastructure has caught up with nearby destinations like Playa del Carmen and Cancun. “I've seen Tulum gain a lot of momentum this summer”, Lecourt tells Lonely Planet. “Before, very few digital nomads were actually going there compared to Playa del Carmen, because the internet wasn’t as reliable. That’s a big problem when you work online. But since 2019, several co-working spaces opened in Tulum. Now it’s a real bohemian destination, with great internet and co-living, peaceful beaches, and full moon parties.”
Rebecca Georgia is head of content at Outsite, one of Tulum's new co-living and co-working spaces. "The digital nomad scene has been bubbling for the past two to three years", Georgia tells Lonely Planet. "We're now at a point where people can comfortably work remotely in Tulum". Georgia is also confident that Tulum's popularity with remote workers is only going to grow, especially with traditional nomad hotspots like Bali closed for the foreseeable future. Easy visas and scenic beaches aside, Georgia explains why Tulum draws in a particular type of digital nomad, too. "It's definitely the lifestyle in Tulum. Many of the people here are heavily invested in health, wellness, and spirituality. There's a certain magic about the place - it's easy to stumble across sound baths, meditations, and temazcal ceremonies - and this might all be on a Wednesday after work."
With more people making the move to remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more countries are looking at long-term visas as a way to bring in travellers. Check out some of the places welcoming digital nomads here. Always check with relevant government authorities before planning any travel.