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Published: August 27th 2010
I remember reading Tulum described as "Eco Chic" and I think the phrase describes it well. We based ourselves in Tulum pueblo, the town, about 1km or so from the beach but with a larger choice of restaurants, bars and more importantly, cheap hotels. We were lucky enough to find a pretty new hotel with a little kitchenette (Hotel Nadia Suites 500MXN) just off the main road. The bed and pillows were ultra comfy, the best on this trip so far, we would definitely recommend this place. We are now entering the main tourist area of Mexico, although Tulum is not yet overdeveloped it does have an international feel, with more shops selling souvenirs and more types of restaurants catering for wider tastes, a perfect place to be now our appetite is back on track! We’ve eaten steak, mash potatoes, pasta, salads and baked potatoes for example, nothing Mexican, our stomaches are still a little scared!! 😊
Of course you can’t stay in Tulum and not visit Tulum ruins
! We dragged ourselves out of our extremely comfortable bed and arrived early with the aim of beating the tour groups. The former Mayan fortress city is a relatively small site with beautifully
landscaped gardens and a dramatic setting of being on a cliff overlooking the sea. These ruins were easily the most pleasant to visit. A backdrop of the glistening blue Caribbean sea and a refreshing breeze along with the sunbathing iguanas, made for an enjoyable morning out. We left as the place was filling up with an endless stream of tourists, the early start was worthwhile especially when the rest of the day was spent recovering on Tulum beach 😊
We used Tulum as a base for exploring the fantastic area. We visited the Coba
ruins (meaning "waters stirred by wind") which is not as excavated or reconstructed as other Mayan sites but still has a number of big structures covered with the growth of the jungle. We spent half a day walking the well spread out site but our favourite part was Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in this area (42 metres high). Once we made it to the top, we were rewarded with a truly stunning view of dense jungle only interrupted by ruins and other unexcavated structures. This was the best and coolest place for us to stop for a break and enjoy a snack as it
was the only place with a slight breeze. As usual, it was another hot and humid day but feeling even more oppressive being in the jungle! Our clothes stuck to our bodies and the mosquitos swarmed around us, luckily we had our spray as the suckers were massive!
After carrying around my snorkel for weeks, I finally had the opportunity to explore the Mexican aquatic life. We took a day off from the ruins and headed to Akumal, a small, ecologically oriented coastal community just north of Tulum (collectivo 25 pesos each). Akumal means "place of the turtles" in the Mayan language and we had planned to spend the whole day here but after the third time of sheltering from storms, we decided to head back to Tulum. However, I did manage to snorkel and was lucky enough to see some sea turtles in their natural environment. We loved this beach so much that we returned a couple of days later and were rewarded with beautiful weather. A blissful day of sheltering under a palm tree on a white sandy beach, bathing in a calm bay of the Caribbean sea and snorkelling with an abundance of marine life including
sea turtles of all sizes. A truly special time.
Next stop Playa del Carmen, 40 minutes north (30 pesos each on a local bus).
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