14 Oct Travel Diary | Tulum Mexico
A couple of months ago after Coachella Weekend 2, my friends and I caught the first shuttle from Palm Springs to LAX at 6am to make our way to Mexico for some much needed R&R. Plainly put, Coachella had taken it out of us. Drinking, walking, dancing and partying for 3 days straight had us feeling the full effects of the festival.
Having never been to Mexico it might seem quite strange that Tulum would be the first place I would want to visit. Most people head to Cancun, Cabo or even Mexico City before they consider Tulum. However, everything I had heard from an acquaintance who packed up her life in NYC to move to Tulum made me want to visit this jungle shrouded town with its beautiful beaches and off the beaten path vibe.
Once upon a time Tulum was considered somewhat of an undiscovered beach town. However, the recent influx of tourists and foreigners has brought along with it multiple hotels and general development. With that being said, Tulum is still very much idyllic and fresh with its relatively unspoiled beaches, fresh seafood and rich greenery.
We stayed at hotel called Papaya Playa Project , which I would pick again for the following reasons:
- I’m low key a super hippy type who cares about the environment and stuff like that… So when I saw that this place was all about sustainability and environmental responsibility I was sold. The hotel has a goal to have ”zero emissions and zero contamination community by June 2018.” I don’t know what all of that means, but it sounds like it’s a good thing for the planet, and that’s pretty amazing.
- The have yoga classes. Granted I didn’t make it to any of the yoga classes because I was either hungover or sick (post going to hard at the festival flu hit me), but my sister went and she looked super relaxed and happy afterwards.
- The rooms have no TV and you only get wifi in the common areas of the hotel. Given how busy my life has become lately, my need to be super connected and reachable is definitely not high up in my version of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs.
- The rooms are nestled in the jungle surrounding the beach and sea and are in their own words from the website “rustic yet uniquely sophisticated.” I don’t know why I didn’t take photographs of the room. Perhaps because I spent my days lying on our deck or in the hammock just outside our room.
- The people who work on the resort are really amazing and friendly. After we left, I missed wading through the jungle to get breakfast and greeting someone with a cheerful “Ola.”
Having breakfast overlooking the ocean is just great. I really don’t know what else to say about that.We spent the majority of our time in Tulum taking it as easy as possible and joking about how it’s the perfect place for a baecation. (All of us were single at the time). In fact, the one day, all we did was lay on the beach in our swim suits, drinking champagne and Ciroc (not mixed together… Eek!) talking to random strangers and occasionally taking a dip in the perfectly blue water when it got too hot. We got so daytime drunk and sun-burnt, we all passed out and woke up at 11pm hungry.
Besides lazying about, we did actually get up to some activities like snorkelling at the Gran Cenote – a natural crystal clear fresh water swimming hole filled with beautiful fish and turtles. Held in high esteem by the Mayan’s, the word ‘cenote’ means ‘sacred well’ because these pools were often the only sources of water during dry seasons and the Mayan people believed that they were spiritual channels to the gods.
Given that this is essentially a tourist ‘must-see’, there is obviously a cover charge to get in and they don’t accept cards or American dollars. Don’t forget to bring swimwear (duh) and a towel and I want to say wear sunscreen, but at the Gran Cenote they make you take a cold shower in your bathing suit before you can get in the water. I imagine it is because the water is incredibly clean as it is filtered by the limestone and there are living animals in the water. You can rent out snorkeling equipment, towels and a locker to keep your belongings safe, and maybe have something to eat beforehand, because that little cafe on site is not very good.
Image credit: Gitano
WHERE TO EAT
Before we left for Tulum, I had a list of bars and restaurants to try out and only managed to make it to one of the spots almost every website I looked on recommended.
Surrounded by lush greenery and foliage , Gitano makes you feel like you are dining in the middle of a jungle. This laid back, but vibey restaurant and bar with its twinkling lights is every bit as pretty in real life as it is in pictures.
Hot and hungry from a long day of swimming at the Grand Cenote and exploring some of Tulum’s beach road, we literally sat at our table and ordered everything the waiter recommended. Between the four of us we managed to wipe clean the whole roasted fish with tomatillo salsa and cilantro, the slow-roasted pork belly with sweet and sour pineapple and crispy cabbage, grilled rib-eye, salsa verde and roasted garlic, the smoked sweet potato with cinnamon, cacao and cream and the fire roasted cauliflower red mole.
Everything about Gitano is really just great. Except the mosquitoes. When I say that the mozzies are bad, I mean it. Not only was my entire body covered with uncomfortable bites, but we ended up leaving the restaurant because those dang mosquitoes wouldn’t let up.
The easiest way to get to Tulum is to fly into Cancun and take the approximately 2 hour drive to Tulum. If you are staying at a hotel, I recommend just asking them to arrange a shuttle or transfer, as I read on many travel blogs about being overcharged by cab drivers etc outside the airport.
OTHER RANDOM TIPS
- Try to have pesos on hand it will just make your life easier
- Rent a bicycle and bike around Tulum
- Don’t beat yourself up if all you do is lie on the beach and get sunburnt…
- Wear sunscreen