Sheer Simplicity will Capture You in Tulum!

 

Sheer Simplicity will Capture You in Tulum! - Condo Hotels Playa del CarmenTulum is a place very special in my heart! It is a destination with deep history and beauty, but also an extraordinary feeling for all that set foot on its paradisiacal soft white sand beaches! It is a true escape from anywhere you are in your life! Even when you already come from paradise!

Many people associate Tulum as an excursion with the existence and tour of the Mayan Ruins! While this is a beautiful and wonderful treasure of Tulum, which adds magic and mystery to the town, it’s certainly not the only secret to what makes Tulum such a special paradise!

What does create all the amazement is the feeling of calmness, the tropical attitude, the involvement with nature and the site of virgin beaches and turquoise Caribbean waters so pristine it will take your breath away! If any place is going to make you forget your woes for a day, it will be here!

The first time I traveled to Mexico was to Playa del Carmen. That was beautiful enough in my eyes but at the time I truly had no idea how beauty travels and changes throughout every few miles of land.

I had my first encounter with Tulum when I ventured out back to the Riviera Maya to visit my boyfriend (now husband) whom I had met on a previous vacation there. Yes, love sparked and now here I am!

He took me on adventure to the beautiful Cenotes, to beaches of Akumal and ultimately to Tulum – a place where I swear you could feel rays of astonishment shine right through me! It was just so beautiful!

After exploring the intriguing Ruins, which were the stomping ground of the Mayan Community many years before our time, we set out on a Bohemian Jungle road where we found a beachfront cabana to stay the night!

We had dinner outdoors at a charming Mexican restaurant situated along the tropical jungle path! I should mention that many of the restaurants along the way have a casual yet romantic feel; and so far, I have experienced the food and atmosphere to be amazing everywhere we have tried.

After dinner we sat on the beach watching the night sky as it was completely mesmerizing! At night the lights diminish giving the perfect setting for the shining stars to miraculously steal the show! A blanket, a glass of wine and those amazing stars! A simplicity so seamless and perfect it could never be replaced.

We awoke at sunrise with a view so serene you felt like you had died and gone to heaven! Really! I know that sounds like a cliché but I’m not really how else you could actually describe it! The water was gleaming and sparkling like nothing I have ever seen in my life!

And in that moment, all I could imagine was the shattering possibility that I almost went through life without ever knowing such a place. I felt such a sense of gratitude that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to experience this once in my lifetime! Of course not knowing that in fact, my future would take me back time and time again!

Sheer Simplicity will Capture You in Tulum!My husband and I make our escape to Tulum usually about once a month, as it is only about a 40 minute drive south from our home in Playa del Carmen. We always visit the same spot – at OM Beach Club in Tulum, where you will find a chair which has gained fame in its painted striking words – “The only chair you will remember for the rest of your life”! Well, isn’t that the truth!

Sometimes we take a little walk around the town center of Tulum, located away from the shore, where you can find great eats and small shops. It is a very small town and holds plenty of charm!

Tulum is always a place where we go to be free from our normal everyday life! From cell phones, from work, from our never ending to do list! And it’s always wonderful to continue to see a place that remains exquisite and unchanged!

I would most certainly recommend anyone vacationing in city-like environments, like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, to take a day out to spend in Tulum; simply to understand the true Mexican Caribbean vibe!

When we book of vacations we dream of being secluded; yet we tend to choose spots where conveniences are available – That is normal! But a day trip to Tulum allows you to make that escape, if only for a day, so that you can truly let yourself be free in nature and the beauty surrounding you! Visit the Mayan Ruins, Relax on the Beach, Eat Delicious and come home with memories that will live with you forever!

A girls’ trip to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, meaning ‘Island of Women,’ is the site of an ancient Mayan temple dedicated to Ixchel, the Goddess of fertility, medicine, and the moon. It was given its current name by the Spanish, who found many female shaped idols of the Goddess when they colonized the island, so it seemed fitting that my first visit to Isla Mujeres would be on a girls’ trip.

My friend was planning a trip to Isla Mujeres at the same time my mother was visiting me in Mexico so she invited us, along with another friend who is a regular visitor to Playa del Carmen. The girls’ trip was born out of chance, serendipity or perhaps fate, but either way, I was happy to be finally visiting Isla Mujeres after experiencing the beauty of it’s crystal clear waters on our whale shark tour back in August.

Our ferry departed from Puerto Juarez, Cancun, about an hour north of Playa del Carmen. They are very regular and run every half hour so we purchased our tickets at the port. We sat on the top deck for the beautiful twenty minute ride across the water; I was excited for my Mom to experience her first ever Caribbean island.

IMG_8445

approaching isla

We disembarked at the dock at the western side of the island, and headed off on foot to the famous ‘Playa Norte’. We procured sun loungers and umbrellas from Tarzan’s beach club, and took to the water which shone like topaz under the bright mid-morning sun.

playa norte

It was absolutely, unmistakably, beautiful.

The beach of Playa Norte is the most popular and well-known of the island, and I can understand why. Flanked by fine, white sand, the water is the most beautiful shade of turquoise and as calm as a swimming pool.

After soaking in the water and getting our fix of vitamin D, we headed back through the town in search of a golf cart to rent. We didn’t have to look very far – these dinky vehicles are one of the most popular forms of transport on the island and rentals are easy to find. We negotiated a rate of 400 pesos for the whole afternoon (US$30), and took off to explore the south end of the island.

golf cart

At only five miles long, Isla Mujeres is very easy to explore. We drove past luxury homes and through the quaint, colorful local town in the center of the island, before arriving at ‘Punta Sur’, the southern-most tip.

We paid 30 pesos (US$2.50) to enter the grounds of the temple of Ixchel and made our way along the paved walkway to the very end of the island where the ruins were located. It wasn’t so much the temple itself which made us gasp in awe, but the breathtaking view from the top of the craggy limestone cliffs across the Caribbean.

temple of Ixchel

temple cliffs

The wild ruggedness of the sea crashing into the rocks was in stark contrast to the calmness of the water we’d swum in at the northern end. Though vastly different in appearance and feel, both scenes were equally beautiful, and it amazed me how such a small island could be so naturally diverse.

To top it off, modern steel sculptures dotted the landscape, reminding me of the importance of human civilization existing in balance with the natural environment. At first, I thought the sculptures detracted form the natural beauty of the site, but after I had wandered around for a while, I realized that they had actually enhanced my experience.

sculpture Ixchel

With the sea breeze whipping at my face and the sounds of the powerful waves crashing into the limestone below, I could feel the sacred nature of this ancient place of worship, and understood why the Maya chose ‘Punta Sur’, the southern-most tip of a tiny Caribbean island, to build the temple of the Goddess.

Stepping Back in Time at Coba

The Yucatan Peninsula was once a powerful Mayan center, home to some of Mexico’s largest and most impressive ancient cities. Whilst the renowned site of Chichen Itza attracts large crowds to marvel at the famous Kukulkan pyramid, the lesser known but equally impressive archaeological site of Coba, just one and a half hours’ drive from Playa del Carmen, provides a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

ancient tablet at Coba

When visiting any ancient ruin, it’s best to arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat. The good thing about Coba is that it is set in dense jungle which provides shade when walking between the different structures. One thing I noticed about Coba was it’s size – it is a very spread out site, so we decided to hire bicycles to explore the grounds.

The fact that Coba is so spread out means that you will often be alone while exploring the different structures. Looking up at the pyramids, imagining the ancient ceremonies taking place in the heart of the jungle is a spine tingling experience. The fact that there aren’t hoards of other tourists around makes it even more special.

Coba pyramid

The highlight of a trip to Coba is of course, climbing the main pyramid (as long as your legs are up for the challenge). Going up is not as hard as it looks, and there is a rope running the length of the climb for added support.

The views at the top, however, are absolutely wonderful. Here you can imagine you’re a Mayan King gazing out across your Kingdom. The view of the dense green jungle stretching out to the horizon is just spectacular. It’s nice to be rewarded for the physical exertion of the climb!

view from Coba pyramid

Of course, what goes up must come down. The climb down is slightly more difficult, and a little hard on the knees, but still totally worth it. I always enjoy ancient sites where you can climb the structures, as it just adds more adventure to the day.

Coba pyramid

Another great thing about Coba is its proximity to some beautiful cenotes. As it was late in the afternoon by the time we arrived, we chose to visit the closest one, with the help of some directions from the locals. We made our way down a dirt road and through a local village, where a sign led us to the entrance of the cenotes.

We couldn’t believe our eyes as we made our way down the wooden steps which led into an underground cave filled with clear blue water.

Coba cenote

The water was refreshingly cool as we took to it with our snorkels to explore the strange underground land. The Mayans of Coba certainly had access to plenty of water for swimming and drinking!

It was a much needed swim after the exploring the ruins, and we let the cool clear water refresh our minds and bodies before heading back to Playa del Carmen.

There was just one more stop to make, however; the lagoon near the entrance of the ruins. We arrived just before sunset; the calm surface reflecting the pinkish sky as some friendly dogs came to greet us and say ‘hola’.

Lagoon Coba

Although we were intrigued by the signs for crocodiles, we were quite relieved we didn’t get a visit from them!

Coba crocodillo

It was a fantastic day, cycling through the jungle, exploring an ancient city, climbing a pyramid and swimming in a natural pool. I’d recommend it to anyone who would like to experience nature, history, culture and adventure all in the one location, just a short drive from the heart of Playa del Carmen.