TRAVEL TO TULUM
In close proximity to the mega resort destinations of Cancun and Cozumel lies a unexpected stretch of beach and town nestled between an archeological site and a biological reserve. A popular destination when I visited two years ago (mostly Europeans), it seems to be gaining speed with more and more Americans. I judge this by the number of my social media friends who have posted pictures. Of course the Mayan ruins are a common site for day trips and cruise ships, but it’s the area beyond the site that holds the most interest.
Not usually a person who likes to relax poolside, I chose Tulum for a short break on the assumption that it had enough to offer in non-beach activities to keep me entertained. With limited vacation time, I also thought I could experience a new place without devoting too much time to airports and planes. Tulum is directly south of New Orleans and the flight was relatively easy. We landed in Cancun and traveled another 2 hours by car to arrive at our hotel.
It was a pretty spur of the moment trip, and I ended of booking one of the few available rooms left towards the end of the beach. As I rode down the small tree covered road with unassuming buildings along the way, my immediate impression of the place was more than favorable. It was quiet, felt remote, and the hotels and restaurants seemed to blend into nature instead of overtaking it.
I hadn’t booked any activities before the trip, but I had some ideas about what I wanted to do and see. Unfortunately, due to a tropical storm somewhere in the vicinity (I don’t remember where) the weather forecasted unfavorable conditions everyday. We would wake up to find the tour or activity we had booked the night before was cancelled due to weather, but it actually didn't rain until the day we flew out. My activity filled trip quickly turned into a relaxing beach vacation. Not my first choice, but nice nonetheless.
I did visit the Mayan ruins, but it was super busy and the beach very crowded. A far cry from my nearly empty beach paradise at the hotel. It was worth a visit but I wouldn’t devote a whole day to it, and be sure to go in with the right expectations. Though it was a nice spot to enjoy people and iguana watching.
Now the cenotes were a thing to behold, especially if you are into diving. We snorkeled through the caves/sinkholes of Cenotes Dos Ojos and the place is just beautiful. The language barrier made arranging our transport home and purchasing the fees for gear and a guide a little confusing, but we just went with it and everything worked out fine. It wasn’t actually a tour, just someone to guide you through a series of caves.
My first dip underwater made me a little anxious and claustrophobic. Convincing me that I’m not comfortable enough to get dive certified yet. I don’t like being held back by irrational fears so it’s something I plan on working to overcome in the next few years. The tension quickly eased as I started to explore the caves. The rock formations are amazing and the water vivid and clear. Although there isn’t any marine life to view there is a colony of bats in one of the caves, if that’s your thing.
If I haven’t sold you yet on taking a trip to this lovely little destination, then it’s time we move on to the food. Sooo good. We had such great experiences in every restaurant that we visited. The menus were interesting, the food fresh and delicious, and each place had a truly wonderful atmosphere. This wasn’t beach side carts with typical Mexican cuisine. The quality and creativity of the food rivaled that of a much larger city. It was so unusual to find these well crafted restaurants nestled into the trees in this tiny unpretentious place.
My visit to Tulum was a wonderful escape. It is definitely on the beaten track, so if you seek comfort and ease it has that to offer, but it still makes you feel like you’ve discovered something special. I hope to visit there again very soon.