WARNING: heavy dose of photos ahead.
It's been more than 2 months since I jetted off to Tulum, Mexico and I've finally gotten around to writing this post. You may recall that I visited Cuba (view travel diary) back in June and during that trip, we visited Tulum as well. The flight from Havana, Cuba to Cancun, Mexico was only an hour long, which was a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone. Tulum is a sleepy beach town just 90 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport and was the perfect relaxation spot after being on-the-go in Havana.
THE REAL COCONUT AT SANARA
WHERE TO STAY. We split our lodging accommodations into 2 different places. Reason being, we wanted to stay in the jungle for the first few days while we were exploring the various cenotes and ruins. Then, we opted to stay on the beach for the days that we didn't plan on venturing out into town. On the jungle side, I found THE MOST AMAZING place on Airbnb and it was everything I've ever dreamed of. Dream house, for sure. On the beach, we stayed at Sanara, which was equally amazing and I highly, highly, highly recommend staying there if you can. Pricey, for sure, but worth every penny. The service was impeccable. The décor, so insta-worthy. We even had a bathtub in our private patio. Our room was maybe 15 steps from the beach and each room comes with its own private beach beds. Plus, their on-site restaurant, The Real Coconut, has amazing vegetarian options (I'm not a vegetarian so this speaks volumes) and yummy fresh smoothies. I cannot say enough good things about the Sanara.
TRANSPORTATION. Given that Tulum is 90 minutes south of Cancun, I went back and forth on the decision to rent a car vs. rely on taxis. Ultimately, we decided to rent a car for the sake of freedom. The drive from the airport is a straight shot and the town itself is so small that it was nearly impossible to get lost . Also, to my surprise (& delight), parking was never an issue. However, after not one, but two "speeding tickets", I strongly advise that you DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT.
EAT. My favorite food were the street tacos from the local vendors. It's a gamble, but I say, bring some imodium tablets and just do it. Hartwood is always on everyone's list and with good reason. I made reservations a month out since this place gets booked quickly. Casa Banana (which is right next to Hartwood) is equally as good and a must. Life doesn't get much better than lunch on the beach at Nomade. For brunch, try Del Cielo (there's 2 locations) and La Estancia Jujena (yummy freshly squeezed juices).
WHAT TO DO. Swim in the cenotes, both Gran Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos, with the later being my favorite out of the 2. If you have time to visit both, visit the Gran Cenote first. Otherwise, doing it in reverse may set up the Gran Cenote for disappointment. Hike the Ruinas Mayas de Tulum (wear lots of sunscreen, drink lots of water), it's such a remarkable site (and sight). There's a spot that gives you the most picturesque view of the Caribbean Sea. Ride bikes along the beach strip to burn off calories from all the tacos that you've consumed. And lastly, just relax. Lay in a hammock or 2. Fall asleep on the beach and wake up with a few shades darker.