Traveling to Tulum...alone
Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. Observing things that I have never seen, detecting smells that I have never identified and savoring tastes I have never tasted; is bliss as you are absorbing all that you are surrounded by. I love the newness and speculation of traveling to places unseen. I had a week off from work and decided to book a flight to Cancun with the final destination for a few days being Tulum. I also was traveling alone, which is something that I had wanted to do for quite some time. With the stars aligned and my backpack packed I was in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Getting off the plane in Cancun, I took an ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, and then another bus from there to Tulum. Sitting next to another lone female traveler, she advised me to pin my location. Following her advice, I placed my location in my Google Maps as the bus was driving along , since I had no idea of the stop or station that I would be dropped off. I noticed that when the other occupants wanted to get off, they stood up, so I anxiously awaited the proper time to do the same. I saw that I was getting farther away from where I needed to be, so jumped up and was let out on the side of the highway to trek about a half mile to my destination.
Bliss Tulum was an amazing condo that I had acquired through AIRBNB and I was so looking forward to getting to my room, as the total travel time for my first day was over 8 hours and I was beat and long overdue for a shower. Luckily for Google Maps (again), I was able to find my location and arrived just as my phone was dying. Without any familiarity of the land, my phone was my saving grace and I was depending on it to get me to and from all of the landmarks I wanted to see. BLISS was divine, very chic and located very close to the main roads and offered beach cruisers which would later aid in transporting me all over Tulum. Traveling by bike was an undertaking in itself and extremely aerobic as the majority of the city traveled the same way. I really enjoyed having the freedom of a much faster and cheaper mode of transportation than walking, a taxi or a colectivo.
First day down, and I was not able to do much as a torrential downpour stopped me in my tracks, but on the way in I stopped at this lovely taqueria and was able to get 3 tacos and a papaya, strawberry and banana liquados for 76 pesos!!! This little place became my go to for breakfast, lunch and dinner almost the entire duration of my trip. They offered 25 different types of tacos as well as numerous drinks/aquas for the cheapest prices I had ever seen. 76 pesos is the equivalent to roughly $4.07 today, and just the idea that I was able to get a 40oz smoothie for that price, let alone 3 tacos as well...I was in love. There were so many different restaurants that I did not expect to see, as there were a few pizzerias, gelato shoppes, Asian cuisine stands and several vegan options to satisfy the palates of all. I was looking for the best street food and authenticity for the region that I was in at the moment, and I was hitting the jackpot every time. A sweet wheatgrass shot could be found at this lovely Permaculture farm for 30 pesos ($1.61), while a scrumptious apple, ginger and pineapple juice could be purchased next door at Teetotum for 50 pesos ($2.69).
Health is wealth to me, and the accessibility and affordability to yummy drinks and food made Tulum the perfect place for me and anyone wanting to live a holistic life. I was in heaven!
The first actual full day of exploration led me to the Tulum Ruins, which direction I headed in as soon as I woke up to make sure that I reached there before 8:00am. In my attempt to avoid the heavy crowds of tourists, I was able to get around the area with ease. Getting there early is key, if you would like to explore in peace and take some spectacular pictures without having to wait for others to move from your line of sight... and there were hundreds upon hundreds of people there by the time I finished my personal tour by 10:00am. Such beauty and splendor in the craftsmanship of the structures and the history behind the ruins was a great way to start my first official day. After leaving the ruins, there was a gorgeous beach that you could visit on site that inspired the wanderlust in me and made me want to dig deeper, as I swam in the Caribbean Sea , I imagined the fortress of Tulum serving as a major gateway to settlers and explorers/occupiers. Such a large amount of history was in this place and so many things had occurred since the early inhabitants from 564 A.D.
Grande Ceynote was the second stop of the day and getting there was no easy feat. I rode the beach cruiser on this two lane highway that semis and other motor vehicles rode alongside me, as well as segments that were blocked off due to construction. As scary and "adventurous" as the journey to the wonderful underground sinkhole was, I could not wait to jump into the sacred well of fresh water and swim through the 2nd longest underground water tunnel system. Jumping into the ceynote also allowed me to check off one of my top 40 things to do before 40, so I was super excited as I love checking things off my lists.
The second day of exploration led me to Playa Paraíso where I spent the half of the day taking pictures, swimming alongside numerous boats, and practicing yoga in the sugar white sand. One of the most gorgeous beaches I have been to ever, had me in a complete state of euphoria. I could have stayed out there for the entire day, napping and stretching but the sun was intense. I have never felt the sun so close and was a bit concerned with getting a sunburn so I used as many precautions as possible without compromising the delicious vitamin D that my body and mind craved. Melanated skin needs the sun so much, yet the dangers of overexposure plague us as well. So I am always mindful, never concerned with getting darker but not wanting to acquire skin diseases or cancer.
The last night I ended up in having to change lodging to Quintana Roots Hostel and that was another first for me as I had never stayed in a hostel before. Having a private room with my own bathroom made the stay a much more private experience although the moment you walked out of your room you were afforded many opportunities to convene with the other guests. I loved the communal living experience and having so many choices of entertainment in and out of the hostel. I met a few really amazing memorable people and the vibe of the hostel/diving center was ideal for me. You never have to eat alone in a hostel and this particular one had a great breakfast chef who whipped up some muy delicioso fare that soothed my soul. Grateful for the experiences, views and rejuvenation that was inevitable on my solo trip to Tulum.