Monday, July 18, 2016

tulum // mexico

{tiny treasures in the town of tulum}

{tulum ruins in the morning}

{the eco-friendly//hippie//organic//cage-free//yogi resort area}

{cenote dos ojos}

{the beautiful town of valladolid}

{mayan ruins at chichen itza}

{a last beach wandering during golden hour}

mexico was pretttttty dreamy. it's not often that i walk away from a trip and think to myself that everything went perfectly. on most trips, a tiny, unplanned bump in the road materializes. sometimes, it's the 5-hour, sweat-filled ferry that takes you from central thailand to koh phangan; other times, it's the convertible chevy camaro that the rental car agency provides for your trip on the snowy, ice-slicked roads to the grand canyon. but for some reason, the travel gods were shining down upon us, and we made all the right choices this time around. perhaps it was because they knew that it would be our last trip before J descends into his medical school hole for the next 3+ years? perhaps!

after flying into cancun, we took two local buses from cancun --> playa del carmen --> tulum, and stayed right in the middle of the tiny town. we stayed at the inn posada luna del sur, an adorable little inn a street away from the hustle and bustle of the main road. the owner of the inn, an american guy who we met on our second-to-last day in tulum, provided each room with a map of the town decked out (a la the "paint" application on Windows) with his favorite local eateries and beaches - a godsend for our bellies! our three favorite meals - here, here, and here - were all suggestions from the owner, and we relished the fresh mexican seafood, homemade corn tortillas, and spicy jalapeƱos during each meal. 

just like southeast asia, the dollar-peso exchange rate was friendly to our wallets, and makes me never want to travel throughout the states ever again. one morning in tulum, we decided we wanted to visit the famed chichen itza ruins, and booked a hotel for that same night for around ~$30 american dollars. thus began a 3-hour trek to central mexico, with a stop in the charming little mexican town of vallodolid, a must-see for those wanting a more traditional experience in a mexican town. we were back the next day for our mayan clay spa massages that made us look like yellow smurfs before taking off again for our trip home. 

a few favorites/must sees:
  • the tulum ruins, before the crowds. bring your bathing suit to swim in the bath-water-temperature private beach below.
  • exploring the cenotes. we chose cenote dos ojos because it was a good mix between basic snorkeling and cave exploring near tulum. other popular cenotes include grand cenote, cenote ik kil, and the various cenotes located closer to pisto, the town closest to chichen itza. many travel to chichen itza with the intent of exploring the caves of the cenotes in the same trip. 
  • walking the streets of vallodlid, horchata and paletas in hand(s). la plaza e parque francisco canton provides a beautiful view of the catedral in the center of town (the inside of which is a bit less enthralling:)).
  • our trip to chichen itza at 8 am, when all of the vendors were setting up their touristy wares. 
  • beach strolling through the "zona yoga" of the tulum beachfront properties. a beautiful, luxurious part of the beachfront located north of the sian ka'an biosphere reserve (which we never made it to!), this area is home to resorts touting the freshest green juices and the best yoga/mind/body/spiritual cleanses. truth be told, reading about tulum's emerging eco-friendly resorts on the internet brought me to mexico in the first place, but experiencing this area quickly made me happy that we chose to stay in the more local, center of town. nevertheless, a sunset beach walk through this area was the best last hurrah for our trip. 
“security is mostly a superstition. it does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
– helen keller

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