Tulum, Mexico

posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Josh and I have just returned from a dreamy and much too short visit to Tulum, Mexico and I thought I'd share a bit about our trip here. When we decided to get married in January nine years ago we thought what good luck it will be to get to use our anniversary as an excuse to escape the cold Ohio winters and head somewhere warm each January to celebrate. Well, here we are nine years in and this is the very first time we've actually done just that. Turns out vacationing directly after the big holiday season is not that practical...in hindsight a September or October wedding would have been ideal. So, anyone out there who might be planning a wedding - learn from our mistake!  

So anyway, this year we finally did it. This was the first time to Mexico for both Josh and I and I think it completely exceeded both of our expectations. We stayed at the most beautiful hotel, with cabana type rooms overlooking the ocean and jungle. It's very rustic, with no electricity or wifi and only candlelight to light your way in the evenings. It felt a lot like climbing around an amazing adult sized treehouse! (In fact, it is an adults only hotel and clothing optional as well so you need to leave the kiddos at home for this one ;) Having no phones or tv or even a hair dryer took a little getting used to, but we could hear the waves crashing on the beach from our cabana at night and the experience more than made up for any inconvenience.

The day we arrived we had to take a transfer from the Cancun airport about an hour and a half south to Tulum, so a lot of our first day was eaten up by travel. Nevertheless, we wanted to get out there and see some sights before the day ended so we headed over to the Mayan ruins just a short way up the road. We arrived at about 4:15 and discovered the normal hours for entry ended at 4:30 but for a few extra pesos you could buy an evening pass into the grounds after normal visiting hours ended and see the ruins during the most beautiful time of day, sunset. We jumped at the opportunity and after waiting for all the guests to leave and the place to clear out they let those of us with evening passes in to explore on our own away from the crowds. It was perfect! There were maybe only 10 other people in there with us, and once everyone spread out in all directions, it was like having the place all to ourselves.

The next few days we spent getting to know the rest of Tulum. We ate at some really amazing restaurants, our favorites being the Kitchen Table with their perfectly salty pork ribs and pan fried whole octopus and Hechizo where we had an incredibly romantic candlelit meal beach side with a full moon shining overhead. The restaurant choices are seemingly endless, all offering (for the most part) an organic, farm to table cuisine, and we didn't have a bad meal the entire trip.  Walking through the main stretch of town there are so many boutique hotels and well curated shops to pop into as well. What I was most excited about was getting to see the Coqui Coqui hotel and perfumerie in Tulum. There are a few Coqui Coqui locations throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and I was beyond thrilled to get to finally see one in person. (I actually saw two! We took a day trip to Chichen Itza and made special arrangements to stop by the Coqui Coqui in Valladolid on our way back. More on that to come in another post!) The interiors nerd in me was going wild and I brought home a bottle of perfume that looks as good as it smells, which alllllmost justified the price tag ;) Good design you guys, it gets me every time.

Our last day in town we rented a car and drove north to Akumal Bay where we rental snorkel gear for the day and snorkeled with gigantic sea turtles, lots of pretty fish and some big old sting rays as well. When you get there they try to talk you into paying for a guided snorkeling excursion which gets you into the "protected areas" that you're not allowed into without a guide, but we saw plenty of wildlife just going out on our own. We also drove over to Yal Ku Lagoon which we'd heard had great snorkeling but the water was hazy that day and we didn't see much while we were there. We ate breakfast and lunch nearby in Akumal and both places were spot on delicious. Turtle Bay Cafe and Bakery for breakfast and at La Lunita for lunch. I would definitely recommend both if you're ever in the area.

But my favorite part of the whole day was getting to see the absolutely unbelievable Cenote Nicte Ha. A cenote, if you're not familiar with what one is, is an underground sinkhole filled with freshwater. These are dotted all along the Yucatan, but this one in particular was on my must see list. It is truly breathtaking. We arrived first thing in the morning and were the only people there. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is one of the most beautiful, serene and tranquil places I have ever seen. Lily pads float atop the blue green waters and you can slip into the caves around it's edges and swim through the cool, quiet, darkness. It's hard to believe a place like this really exists in nature. What a world we live in.

I have one more post coming about our day trip to Chichen Itza, so stay tuned for more on Mexico soon ;)


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