We made it back from Tulum and I cannot tell you how great of a vacation we had. It’s been a while since I put my toes in the sand or even slept in. It was long overdue and heavenly. I’m not sure how I should write this post. Do you really want a breakdown of every day? Doubtful. I will do my best to hit the highlights and keep it short and sweet and to the point!
Friday night we took a red eye and finally landed in Cancun around 11am Saturday morning. It was a long trip. John was post call and those airline seats aren’t made for 6’7ers. Tulum is 110 miles south of Cancun so we hopped on a few different buses and finally arrived at The Mezzanine around 4pm–greeted with cold margaritas and stunning views of the Caribbean. Hello happy place!
We often went into town for meals each day to keep true to our desire for learning more about the city. The pueblo is a long strip of restaurants, taquerías, and open markets. “Señorita, come and see… Señor, buy for your lady…” After 8 days, the only item I came home with was a Christmas tree ornament. Looking forward to pulling that one out in December and remembering my bartering skills that came to fruition for a total of $30 pesos ($2.60 USD).
On Monday we hired a driver, Antonio, for the day and he drove us a few hours inland to Chitzen Itza. We made sure to get there early to avoid the tourists. The city is (was) huge!
Antonio then drove us to Ik Kil, a large cenote just few miles away, where John bellyflopped off the top ledge and I gracefully dove in the gorgeous cave lit swimming hole. After a hot day of exploring ruins, it was perfectly refreshing! (No photos here, we didn’t want to take any chance of our camera getting wet, click here for an idea)
For lunch we asked for authentic mexican food so he took us to the city of Valladolid and we dined in the cutest garden restaurant. We walked around town for a while, visited a taquilla distillery and then went to another cenote in Coba. (There are MUCHO cenotes in the Yucatan.) This one was covered and completely different from the first one but equally beautiful. We picked up some tacos in Tulum on the way back to our hotel and ended the day taking a walk on the beach. Not a bad start to our vacation.
We spent Tuesday napping on the beach and swimming in the gorgeous blue water. I read The Paris Wife and John read Kitchen Confidential and laughed aloud no less than a hundred times.
On Wednesday we toured the Tulum Ruins which were only about 2 km down the beach from our hotel. They were beautiful and subtlety different from Chitzen Itza. Not as grand or as precise, but they had a much better view along the beach–which is obviously why they were the better Mayans!
We set aside one night for a very nice dinner at Hartwood. A New York couple in the restaurant industry moved to Tulum’s beach, bought a plot of land and opened the most gorgeous restaurant. All food is prepared by hand, no electrical appliances – cooking is done in a wood burning oven and open fire grill. Seafood is caught that morning and all produce and ingredients are bought at the local market. It was slap you in the face AMAZING. I cannot recommend it enough. John and I walked 3 miles home, so happily full.
On Thursday we took a bus up to Playa Del Carmen to get tacos from Los Aguachilles. Fresh ceviche, pickled onions, cilantro, tomatoes and avocados… delicioso! Playa del Carmen was very touristy but it was nice to see another side of the Yucatan. We stopped to get our first (and only) frozen, fruity drink of the trip and John accidentally ordered a happy hour drink and got two margarita frescas for one! It was a sleepy bus ride back to the hotel 🙂
Thursday night the Mezzanine hosted a Havanna Nights event on the patio that was super fun to watch. No photos unfortunately. Just picture belly dancers and fire and lots of salsa-ing. I basically spent the evening hiding from the dancers so they wouldn’t pull me onto the floor in utter humiliation. Disaster averted.
Friday, our last day, we went back to a french(ish) Bistro for breakfast that we came to love. Myself especially for the fresh squeezed orange juice and the handmade croissants. We spent our final afternoon back on the beach for one last day in the sun and of course ate as many tacos as possible before we left town.
Our flight left early from Cancun so we said adios to The Mezzanine around 5am, putting us back in good ‘ole Portland mid-afternoon on Saturday. Plenty of time to grab some pho, sip on some Albarino and ‘start’ watching Lincoln… who were we kidding, 45 minutes in and we were both passed out.
We had an AMAZING time. Tulum has a very primitive feel and unfortunately gives a very honest representation of the high poverty in Mexico; however, the culture is beautiful and tasty and makes me want to move somewhere south for a year just to learn spanish and live among locals (insert foreshadowing attempt here).
On another note, I only ran once. Oh well, I needed to sleep in a little, rest my legs and enjoy all that vacation has to offer. I did get to watch the sun come up the last morning on my one and only run. The Mayans originally named the city of Tulum, Zulum meaning City of Dawn because it faces the sunrise. Not a bad view all week. Not a bad view at all…
Missing beach life already… and those tacos!
my apologies for the photo overload, full album can be viewed here: