The first time I even heard about Tulum was in an episode of Schitt’s Creek when Alexis said she just spent a month there. And I thought to myself, oh I bet that place is expensive and incredibly touristy, I probably won’t ever go there. And I was not super far off for part of it. But trying to be “a little bit Alexis” ….we also spent a month here and it was great! Mostly because we had two friends come visit during our stay!
Tulum is about an hour and a half away from this little, local, super unknown, town called Cancun. We flew in on V-Day and met up with our friend Rachel. Had a romantic 10pm dinner at some close-to-the-airport restaurant.
Things Tulum has an abundance of: Americans selling healing crystals, Mayan ruins, and cenotes. Favorite ruins by far are the Coba ruins. They’re about an hour drive from the main town. Once you’ve arrived, you can rent a bike for $2, which is absolutely worth it because the area is pretty large. One of the main attractions of Coba is you can still climb on almost all of the ruins. Which I had mixed feelings about but figured their restoration process must be pretty solid. Close to Coba are the more famous underground cenotes.
A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, made up of limestone bedrock. It collapses and exposes water from underground. Some are underground but the majority aren’t and have a huge opening for the sun.
Cenote Choo-Ha, Tankach-Ha, and Multum-Ha are these huge underground cenotes that we were easily able to do in an afternoon.
The underground ones were cool, but favorites were Gran Cenote and Cenote Manati. With the latter, you rent a snorkel mask and swim around the cenote which is surrounded by mangrove trees. It has both fresh water and salt water fish, no manatees unfortunately, and a local crocodile who was like FREE RANGE. Before you hop in they mention that it lives around in the cenote. Where would we encounter said crocodile? No idea. So I was a tad on edge. We ended up swimming close to it but quickly turned around when it turned and opened its mouth. Rachel said it was very normal for crocodiles to “yawn” and it wasn’t being provoked. But she couldn’t prove this so I quickly swam away.
One of the coolest things we did was a visit to the Mayil Ruins (yes MORE ruins, just can’t get enough) and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It was about 20 minutes outside of Tulum. It has some smaller ruins and small walking paths leading to the biosphere reserve. Once there we hopped on a boat and drove through the mangroves. We ended by floating through this river, Whitewater Lazy River style. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip!
How many ruins can we fit into one year of traveling? Trying our best here.
The beach at Tulum was really different than most beaches we’ve been to. There’s not really cheap chairs or anything to rent. Most of the beach has hotels and “beach clubs” all along it. Most of them have a minimum $50/person to enter. But we found a couple that as long as you buy a few drinks and some food you’re good to go. Which is great because these beach clubs have full out queen sized beds on the beach. So, for a day, we lived like queens.
Finally, most importantly, once again, food.
Whenever we’re in one spot for more than two days, we usually do a big grocery haul and cook the majority of the time. Being in Tulum for a month, we cooked a lot. For the first time, we tried cooking chile rellenos! And chilaquiles. They turned out less than ideal but it was fun to try.
We ate ceviche more than anything else. So fresh and good and not that expensive. Lots of fish and shrimp tacos and dang good margaritas. Tulum has some good seafood and, if you squint, you can find a few local taco trucks too.
Our friend Ivy came to visit and we visited this tequila factory for her birthday! This was not our first time on a tequila tour, but it was our first time with knowing enough Spanish to understand our tour guide. So we learned a lot! It was a free tour with free tasting at the end (like 6 shots worth, so get ready). Mexico loves its tequila, and so do I, so it has been a great country for us margarita lovers.
Both Joce and I realized we enjoyed Tulum a lot more than we had anticipated. I mean it is the beach, so what’s not to love? It had a laid back vibe and we got to spend quality time with good friends.