IN AND AROUND TULUM
Mexico has so much to offer, in terms of beach, nature and culture! For those who are less fond all-inclusives, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Our marketing manager, Caroline, shares her top 5.
1. ENJOY TULUM’S WHITE SAND BEACHES
Located 2 hours South of Cancun, Tulum is best known for its eco-resorts, boutique hotels, open-concept restaurant and bars, and, of course, its white sand beaches. There are two ways to experience Tulum : by the ocean and inland. By the beach is where you’ll find stylish and expensive resorts, yoga studios, smoothie bars and trendy eating spots, all niched in a luxurious vegetation.
You could also choose to stay in the town of Tulum, which is much more low key and affordable - and a 20 minute bike ride from the beach. At first glance, the town unveils very little, but walking around, you’ll discover an eccletic mix of fancy restaurants, as well as lively taco joints and unpretentious BNBs. A totally different ambiance then Tulum-beach, but a much more authentic one.
In terms of actual beaches, Tulum does not disappoint. The sand is fine, the water is warm and palm trees abund! Most hotels have their own private beaches and long chairs, which you can use for free if you eat and drink for a minimum. Otherwise, there are a number of beautiful public beaches to choose from! At night, you’ll be able to dine under string-light strewn palm trees, to the sound of the waves or some trendy DJ.
" In Tulum, you’ll find stylish and expensive resorts, yoga studios, smoothie bars and trendy eating spots, all niched in a luxurious vegetation. "
2. GET LOST IN THE COLOURFUL STREETS OF VALLADOLID
Far from all the resorts and hords of tourists lies Valladolid. This somewhat sleepy town is best known for its colourful façades, its lively town square, and infamous cathedral, which dates back to the 1500’s. It’s a great place to wander, take photos and perhaps taste your very first tamales. We recommend stopping by Casa de Los Venados, the house of a mexican folk art collectioner, who lets visitors explore his humble abode for a small fee. Tours are at 10 am daily.
3. BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE ENIGMATIC CHICHÉN ITZÁ
From Valladolid, you can also visit the infamous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. Although the number of tourists and souvenir vendors on the site can be a bit overwhelming, it's kind of a mandatory stop. Go early, bring water and sunscreen and by all means, get a guide. It’s the only way to really understand the magic of this place!
4. SWIM IN A CENOTE
Cenotes abound in the Yucatan peninsula. Visitors can choose from underground caves, deep water holes or shallow tuqrquoise waters in a lush setting. There are some very touristy cenotes (like Cenote Ik Kil, which held the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series), and some hidden ones. Ask around, and make sure to bring some snorkle gear. It’ll open you up to an underwater world!
5. TAKE A NAP IN A HAMMOCK OVERLOOKING LAGUNA BACALAR
Laguna Bacalar is a huge turquoise lagoon, located completely south of the Yucatan Peninsula (not far from the Belize border). This freshwater lake, which looks just like the ocean, is 42 km long. Far from the crowds, it is a relaxing place, where you can enjoy nature, swim in calm and clear water and watch the most beautiful sunrises! This is where our trip ended, at the charming Rancho Encantado - a green oasis, with spa, restaurant and swimming pool, overlooking the huge turquoise lagoon that is Bacalar. We highly recommend the hammocks at the end of the dock – best spot to really disconnect!
- Currency: Peso
- Language: Spanish, but English is commonly spoken.
- Best time to go: Mexico's dry season runs from November to April. It’s also its busiest.
- Getting around: Collectivos (big vans for locals and tourists) are a great way to get around. They are inexpensive and fairly quick. We also relied on buses to travel over longer distances. .
- Suggested accommodation: I really enjoyed the Secret Garden, in the village of Tulum, a green oasis, with little bungalows that can fit 2 to 4 people. Great bang for your buck!
- Restaurant suggestion: Antojitos La Chiapaneca. This unassuming taco joint in Tulum Pueblo has THE best tacos Al Pastor and a tasty salsa bar.
- In my suitcase: The AXA dress, UV protective, quick-drying, and highly comfortable