We woke up early to get the 6.30 am water taxi, back to Belize City where our bus was waiting to take us to Tulum – in Mexico! The border crossing was effortless once again, we got through in 10 minutes – no queues. Once again, our guide said that was very rare. More time for us in Tulum I say! And with the weather hotting up even more, I was super happy.
Where am I staying?
El Punto is a small hotel/hostel with 9 rooms, a gourmet restaurant, a trendy bar and chill out area. It is only 1.5 years old, so it was in very good nick.
The owner’s wife did all the interior design and decor – I quite liked the minimal bare look, especially all the inspirational messages dotted around the room and hotel. My room had 2 double beds (one for me, one for my bags ;), a big enough bathroom and it was spacious.
- Grubbiness factor = non existent. Clean, slick and lovely
- Bed = 9/10. I slept really well – virtual no light in the room at night was a big factor. Comfy bed and hard pillows – perfect.
- Shower = 7/10. Hot hot water, a lot of it. The only problem was, as the water came from underground, it was loaded with natural stuff which had a sulphurous pong. Whiffy, but very clean we were assured. Still unnerving while showering!
Where did I eat?
So before we got to the hotel we stopped at La Playita – a stunning stunning restaurant – with views of a lagoon! See for yourself!
And the food thankfully matched up to the surroundings. I had guacamole – delicioso! And a big salad with tofu! Soft, melting tofu. That accompanied by nachos (crunchy and melt in the mouth at the same time) and this killer habanero sauce was an excellent meal. So so so tasty and fresh. I also had a chaya, pineapple and lime juice. Super refreshing. Other options – prawn tacos and a burger – which were enjoyed as much as I enjoyed my meal.
All sensationally good. Other lunches? We were at Zamas – where we vegetated for a whole day (see further down for pics). I had veggie tacos – sheesh. Is all the food in Mexico this delicious??? Mixed veggies, frijoles, guac – absolutely delicious and flavourful. I was in food heaven. And I had a margarita on the rocks – SO much better than the frozen ones! YUMMO! Best one so far on the trip.
Last lunch – a takeaway from the hotel restaurant for our activity to Coba – a veggie bagel, accompanied with potatoes, peppers and avocado. Seriously people, I can’t fault this one either. The view helped too 🙂 🙂
Breakfast was at the hotel one day – I just wanted fruit, toast and coffee, and it was as expected. Simple but yummy. Pineapple was so sweet!
Breakfast the day before (yes, I’m all over the place – go with the flow 🙂 was at Zamas – after exploring the Tulum ruins by the beach. What did I have? Avo on toast with fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes (menu default was with goats cheese), with killer salsas. I am already contemplating moving here. Mainly for the avocados. Eaten with a view of the beach and sand in my toes? BLISS. So delicious.
Dinners? First night there was at an Italian (can’t remember the name) – I had a simple veggie pasta that hit the spot. The other girls had pizza and fish fillets – all went down really well.
Dinner on the last night in Tulum was at a popular local place. The honestly said that there wasn’t much for me, and I decided to go with their option and try the nopales – or cactus, cooked with peppers and onions, and a side of platanos fritos. Mains and dessert at the same time! I actually liked the nopales – which basically looked like fat string beans and tasted similar. This restaurant was a hit and miss – only half of us enjoyed our meals, me being one of them. 🙂
And one of the last things I had – COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM! Helado sin leche! This adorable old man had a food caravan down from the hotel – Buena Estrella.
I chose avocado and cacao, and he literally blended fresh avocado, Mayan chocolate beans and coconut milk, stuck it on a cold plate (like they do in Asia, and three minutes later – smooth, creamy, not sweet but just sweet enough ice cream. LOVED IT!
What did I do?
We walked town – lots and lots of shops (still haven’t bought much), but the main reasons to come to Tulum were the ruins, the beach and the sun. So we woke up early enough and took a cab (you can cycle, but we had issues hiring bikes – our hotel didn’t have any and all the bike shops wanted to hold on to our passports – erm. I think not). We walked around for an hour – it isn’t a big complex – sans guide. I have decided going forward – all ruins should be done with a guide. The ruins were pretty, not not as amazing as Yaxha and Tikal for me.
I loved the view of the sea from the ruins. Usually if the weather and sea are good, tourists are allowed to swim. Today, the Danger flag and the ‘there could be jellyfish in the water that could kill you’ flag was flying. That will be the blue one then. I also loved the iguanas that were all around the ruins
Ruins for the day done? Off to the beach for a whole day of doing nothing. We ended up at Zamas – wise choice. We were literally there from about 10am – 5pm.. They even had live music later in the afternoon – excellent!
So recommend this place – lovely food, lovely staff, lovely beach – only thing to watch out are a few rocks in the sea if you plan to swim. Next? Playa Del Carmen! But before that, a few of us decided to go to Coba for a day of ruins, zip lining and cenotes. We had a guide to take us around – Henri, a Mexican French man. Coba is a fascinating place with amazing structures, history and stories. There was a steep pyramid to climb (go soon, as they are going to stop the public from climbing it), circular pyramids, a thatched temple on top of a pyramid that still has its red and blue decorations intact, unexcavated temples, a ball court. BRILLIANT! All of it!!
I was completely fascinated – and it wasn’t over yet! After the ruins, we had more fun to look forward to. Canoeing and zip lining (no pics – we were having too much fun) across Punta Laguna – a stunning body of water, where our true blue Mayan guide took over. The zip lining was rustic and SO much fun. Loved it. Very much. Final activity – exploring a cenote – but before that – a quick visit to the shaman for a Mayan blessing!!
Cenote are essentially underground bodies of water formed when limestone collapses (for more info, please ask my friend Google). This was the entrance to the cenote:
Yep – to get into the cenote, you had to be willing to take the plunge, literally. One of the girls looked at the entrance and said ‘I’m out!’ So 2 of us went for it. We absailed down, and once we got past the darkness, ho ho ho. A cave, about 20 feet in diameter, with CLEAR blue water 8 metres down – I could see everything, including the skulls of people who were reportedly sacrificed here. I was completely dumbstruck. It wa like being in another world. I could see the root systems of the trees, there were bats flying around, but at the same time – so peaceful and eerie and magical. The water wasn’t the warmest, but the hardest part was pulling myself up a slippery ladder, wet and cold. But I did it.
I SO recommend Coba. I so recommend going into cenotes that are not in guide books. There were virtually no tourists at the cenote -6 in total which added to the mysticism of the place. And don’t freak out – they are SO SO worth it!