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Published: August 29th 2007
Seriously, can it get any better? From Playa del Carmen we took a second class bus to Tulum, approx. 1 hour and a half. In this case the second class bus was the best option because after 1:00 p.m. they leave every hour and we didn't have to wait in line to purchase tickets, we bought them on the bus.
You have two options in Tulum, stay in the main center or at one of the 60 some beach cabanas. We chose the beach cabanas and the one we chose was an easy decision because as soon as we walked out of the bus station we were met by the owner of Papaya Playa.
Papaya Playa is a beach resort located in the jungle, but directly off of the beach. There are cabanas, some with bathrooms and the others share communal bathrooms. We chose the more economical ecotourism rate cabanas without bathrooms. Our thatched roof wooden cabana, #40, was right on the beach with a view. The floor was concrete and there was only two chairs, a flimsy wooden table and bed with mosquito netting...and we loved it. Electricity was only provided for three hours every night so a
flashlight is highly recommended.
The virgin beaches have only a handful of people sunbathing, fishing, snorkeling and swimming. While it is not a nude beach, it is recommended that all women go topless. We were thoroughly entertained by juggling tourists by day and our bar swings by night. There was a full bar and restaurant here as well. The food was good and the drinks were cold...what else could we have asked for.
We took a day trip to the ruins of Tulum. While the ruins are not nearly as impressive as say, Chichen Itza, the setting and views almost make it more spectacular. The buildings here were the product of a Maya civilization in decline. We were smart enough to arrive as soon as the gates opened at approx. 8:00 a.m. otherwise this place is overrun by tour buses from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The beaches here are even more pristine, almost untouched, than what we had seen and the water is a sparkling blue that makes the saddest of people happy.
After our time in Tulum, we decided to spend the day at Xel-Ha, a private park with all natural landscaping, developed cenotes, caves,
Papaya Playa in Tulum
The community sinks and bathrooms.
natural paths, restaurants and bars. The admission included all the services, attractions and amenities the park offered including all you can eat and drink. We started the second activity of our day at approx. 10:00 a.m. with the all you can eat brunch buffet. After brunch we took a walk and then the tram to the farthest point, where were snorkeled down the river for almost an hour. We found ourselves up close and personal with some fairly large fish. The best part about this park is that none of the fish are captive here. There are no nets, but the food is what keeps them coming back or staying around for that fact.
We ate and drank our way through the day. At one point I remembering telling Carlos that we had three more hours to eat two more meals, which wasn't a problem. When you backpack on a budget, the words all you can eat and drink are almost dreamlike. Carlos was thrilled that Solera was served as well. I enjoyed the Corona's, which was all that ws offered.
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