Wow, I have been on an amazing half-day trip with Mexico Kan Tours! They offer special, environmental friendly tours in small groups for example kayaking day trips in the nature reserve with bird watching and fishing or relaxing floating trips in the freshwater lagoon with picnic in the wetlands, Cenote tours including biking and rappel or kite surfing adventures, etc. The tour guides all live here in Tulum for quite a while and they are passionate about the area, its history and the variety of flora and fauna. They love nothing more than sharing their comprehensive knowledge about ancient Maya ruins, nature and with their guests and let them discover Tulum, the breath taking Biosphere Sian Ka’an and the Yucatan Peninsula from a different point of view. On our trip we first visited the historical Maya ruins of Muyil, considered as the largest ancient Maya site in the northern part of the about 1.6-million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve. 

After that we went across the two beautiful freshwater lagoons by boat and experienced my personal trip highlight – a funny but relaxing floating trip about 1km downstream across the wetlands. Awesome! I though Frank, our tour guide, was kidding by explaining us how to get ready for the floating adventure. Did you ever wear a lifejacket like a nappy? It looks very odd to be honest but you will forget about it soon once you started the adventure. 

Our boat was already waiting with a rich picnic including traditional Mexican snacks and Jamaica water in the middle of the wetlands. Relaxed from the floating trip with yet the picnic in our stomachs we started on the way back as the sun began to set. The last beams of daylight were perfect for some really nice pictures. Thanks to Frank, Miguel and Johan for the great experience! 

For more information about the tours please contact: Mexico Kan Tours 
Plan your tour via Tripadvisor! or find them on Facebook


Have a closer look at this picture and figure out what is going on here:

Is this the soil on which trees should grow in the future?
This is the local dumping point of the Tulum Municipality

The local dumping point, just 10km west of town, is an open air site on top of a fragile limestone rock bed and cenote sinkholes, that gets all types of non-separated, non-recycled trash - tons of trash daily! This dumping point has been in use for decades now. It is occupying about 5 hectares of land. Tulum Municipality registered 28.263 inhabitants in 2010 census and the number is growing rapidly well over the country average. It is said that the dump site receives up to 200 tons of garbage during high season. It has no more than 1 year left to saturate!

Have a look at this recent newscast in youtube (Spanish audio):

Location on the map: 20.278954,-87.501732 (copy/paste link to google.maps)

Serious environmental problems arise from such a non-recycled trash dump operation, as well as its associated health risk hazards:
  • Fermented liquids (laechates or lixiviates) with pathogens drain directy into the fresh underground water which also feeds tourist attracting cenotes (sinkholes).
  • Gradient makes this contaminated fresh water flow into town and from there to the mangroves and the reef
  • The dump site is right next to a green house facility that grows vegetables for human consumption using underground water, adding several chemical enhancers to their plants, and later, sending back all this waste fluids to the aquifer.
  • The city of Tulum also has its fresh water wells placed very near to the dump site. This is the source for the town drinking water.

Liquids from organic compost are not the same as lixiviate liquids from un-separated trash in the dump! The fluids draining into the aquifer contain a high count of pathogen bacteria. These bacteria have to be below 100ppm in the water. If their concentration rises, above 200ppm, they become an infection hazard. Tulum´s Hotel Association has mentioned that the count is below the 100 ppm mark at the beaches so far. Drainage occurs easily due to our porous and cracked limestone rock bed. Altitude decreases from Coba, the next important town, towards Tulum and the  Caribbean sea. The dump is located about 14km from the sea. Tulum is about 12m above sea level. From there only 4km remain to the sea and there is nothing which stops the water from flowing down towards already depleted mangroves and the reef.

What happens to the dumping point when it saturates?

Currently there are several municipal solutions being analysed:
Installing a membrane lining and closing the dump as sanitary landfill is pending federal authorization from Mexico City. (Foro de Agua June, 2013. Tulum). A new dump site off the south exit of Tulum-Chetumal highway will be opened. Status is that environmental impact studies are being made by local INIRA institute (Instituto de Impacto y Riesgo Ambiental), and if approved the file will be passed for SEMARNAT(Federal Ministry of the environment and natural resources).

Will the project happen? Do we have a different land composition at the projected new site that will improve the old dump site situation? Why will it not affect underground water as well? Is the membrane lining for the new dump already considered and in the process of construction?

We will continue to research and discuss this important subject in the following article about the dump site.

Creative Commons License
TULUM DUMPSTER HAS NO MORE THAN ONE YEAR LEFT TO SATURATE! by Mona Deutschmann, Juan Ayza is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Mona or Juan


I want to buy a bicycle because I am going to stay in Tulum for a while to work here! It turns out, that it is not so easy to find a good used one which is still fully equipped with everything you need. I am talking about important things like brakes, saddle, pedals, wheels, you know, just the basics! Once it happened to me in Belize that I needed a bike to go somewhere. It was a nightmare! The saddle wasn’t really a saddle anymore; it looked more like chewed foam. It was already dissolved half way. It kind of worked, as long as you adjusted your position every 20 seconds and stand up on the pedals every speed bump! And, yes, also lean to avoid the holes in the street at the same time. But the major problem was the foot support for the bicycle pedals, which actually were not present anymore. I had just bought new flip flops which I chose as the best footwear for going on a bike ride. Because of these awkward pedals I managed it to wrap my flip flop around the metal after every third pedal cycle.

And now remember the workout and do all these steps at the same time:
-         > Stand up every 20 sec and adjust position
-         > Lean to avoid holes in the street
-         > Manage to get your flip flop caught
and again from the beginning

This was my evening workout and the end of my new flip flops! And here you can make up your own mind about the fitness bike: I think I would rather buy a new one;-)