What is a Tuluminati? 8 Signs You Might be One

You may have heard this term while staying in Tulum, or even Mexico for that matter, the word Tuluminati has caught on in recent years and means different things depending on who you ask. A clever portmanteau of Tulum and Illuminati, describing privileged gringo hippies that have come to take over and gentrify the beautiful beach town in recent years.

Tuliminatis are typically into house and electronic music, and drugs such as ketamine and cocaine, they wear fancy boho-style clothing and are often times very popular on Instagram.

You’ll spot them as cute Instagram couples staying at the fanciest beach resorts and partying at the best nightclubs with endless mountains of coke and ketamine. So are you a Tuluminati? Read on to find out.

Origins of the Term “Tuluminati”

The term “Tuluminati” first gained attention on social media in the early 2010s, as Tulum became a popular destination for tourists and expats looking for a bohemian, eco-friendly, and luxurious lifestyle.

The term was first used to describe a group of people who were considered to be the most influential and powerful in Tulum’s social scene, often involving entrepreneurs, artists, influencers, and high-net-worth individuals.

Over time, the term “Tuluminati” has evolved to encompass a broader group of people, including those who are not necessarily wealthy or famous but are influential in their own ways, such as community leaders, activists, and philanthropists.

The term “Tuluminati” can be seen as a reflection of Tulum’s growing global profile and the changing dynamics of tourism in the 21st century. As more and more people are drawn to Tulum’s unique mix of culture, nature, and luxury, the community is grappling with how to balance the needs and desires of locals and tourists alike.

The Tuluminati, whether seen as a joke or a serious concept, can be seen as a symbol of the complex and evolving relationship between Tulum’s various stakeholders.

Signs You May Be A Tuluminati

You wear a hat like this

The classic hat with a feather is an instantly recognizable sign of a Tuluminati. Why the feather? Nobody knows. You may see them stray outside of their familiar territory in Cancun or Mexico City from time to time and they’ll seem out of place, just like their hat and wardrobe.

You love house and electronic music

Constantly raving on weekends and even weekdays to shamanic house music and doing random fire ceremonies, you’ll drop all of the money your daddy gave you on expensive beach parties and drugs.

You’re into drugs such as ketamine and cocaine

Speaking of drugs, marijuana or MDMA isn’t enough for you, you’re constantly looking for the best coke and K that money can buy. Be careful as you may run into issues concerning the safety of Tulum, but we shouldn’t have to tell you that you shouldn’t even be doing drugs in the first place

This is basically your wardrobe

Besides the hat mentioned above, you may also have a poncho, boho crop top, a kimono, Jesus-esque sandals, a macrame dress, anything leather, mostly transparent swimwear – and much more. Essentially anything that looks like you’re about to go to a Burning Man festival.

Signs you're a Tuluminati

Your parents are rich

While not everyone in Tulum is a trustafarian or a rich spoiled kid, the majority of Tuluminatis come from a well-to-do family. Staying at expensive beach resorts, eating at the fanciest restaurants, and partying at the highest-end nightclubs, you’ll spot them dress in fancy clothes like the wardrobe we listed above.

A kid with rich parents, on his way to becoming a Tuluminati.

You’re an Instagram influencer (or pretend to be)

Nothing against trying to make money using your good looks and post-editing skills with Lightroom, but 9 times out of 10 a Tuluminati will have a very professional looking Instagram account.

You and your significant other dress like this


You’re Vegan

No, not all Tuluminatis are vegan and not all vegans are Tuluminati’s, but there’s a very good chance that they are. We have nothing against real vegans, but being a pretentious vegan eating at the healthiest restaurants because you care about your “image” we have something against.

Tuluminati Summary

In summary, the term “Tuluminati” is a playful nickname for a group of influential and powerful people in Tulum’s social scene. While not a serious concept, it does highlight some of the underlying tensions and contradictions in Tulum’s identity as a global tourist destination and a local community.

As Tulum continues to evolve and adapt to the challenges of the 21st century, the role of the Tuluminati, whether real or imagined, will remain an intriguing and debated topic.

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