The village of Tulum, located in the jungle of Riviera Maya about two hours south of the Cancun International Airport has become a popular destination over the past few years for both bohemians and travelers looking for a touch of luxury while enjoying the crystal blue waters and the fantastic culinary offerings.
Set up as an ancient trading post for the Mayans and later on a quaint fishermen’s village, the area has somehow survived not only the collapse of the Mayan and the conquest of the Spanish, but also the invasion of the modern world looking to cut down the jungle and put up huge resort hotels. The jungle, right at the edge of a UNESCO Heritage site, known as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is practically untouched, hiding ancient ruins, birds and animals as well as the world renowned cenotes, which are pretty much flooded natural sinkholes with clear blue water and amazing sights. There are over 6000 different cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula alone, from pit cenotes to cylinder, basin and cave ones, all offering surreal views for the visitors as well as cave divers and explorers.
Arrive in Tulum and settle in at Kasa Hotel Parota Tulum, a beautiful and cozy hotel nested in the middle of the Mayan jungle and enjoy the complimentary breakfast by the pool. Guided by the saying “Mi Kasa, Tu Kasa” (my home is your home), everything about the hotel, from the rooms to the staff, is welcoming and warm. Once you’ve gotten in your share of exotic fruit and breakfast treats, take out one of the complimentary bicycles and head to the Mia Beach Club to enjoy basking in the sun on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Head over to Taquería La Eufemia for some delicious local tacos for lunch before biking your way to the Tulum Ruins, then head over for dinner to The Hartwood, an upscale restaurant with an ever changing menu based on the availability of local ingredients. And finish the night at Gitano with a traditional mezcal before returning to Kasa Hotel Parota Tulum for a relaxing evening.
Book a tour of Muyil in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a World Heritage Site with a fragile ecosystem full of impressive plants and animals living and thriving in harmony in this tropical climate weather with abundant rainfall and moderate temperatures. As one on the largest protected areas in Mexico, the Sian Ka’an, measuring about 1.3 million acres, is filled with diverse tropical forests, palm savannah, one of the most pristine wetlands in the region, lagoons, extensive mangrove stands, as well as sandy beaches and dunes, hosting a huge part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which makes the underwater views just as spectacular as the above water ones.
The Muyil river float gives visitors the opportunity to dive into one of the most spectacular locations in Sian Ka’an and in the Riviera Maya. The boat trip takes visitors across two lagoons, Muyil and Chunyaaxche, only to end up at Xlapak, the building at the beginning of the lazy river and the start of an incredible floating experience in crystal clear rain water on its way to the Caribbean Sea. The canal was built over 1000 years ago by the Mayans to connect the lagoons and since then it has not been changed or enhanced in any way by the visitors, making it a natural wonder of ground water flowing out towards the ocean. Furthermore, the water gets filtered through the limestone, which makes it crystal clear. And with the canal only being about 4-6 feet deep, it resembles more of a lazy river where you can freely float, while taking in all the wild life, admiring the mangroves and even spotting some rare birds.
Head over to Taqueria Honorio in the village of Tulum where you can enjoy the best street tacos in the area. Try the Lechon al Horno and Cochinita Pibil. After breakfast, take a walk on the main street to explore the local souvenirs and maybe get something to remind you of Riviera Maya once you return home.
Since the beach is such an amazing part of exploring the area, find your way back to the water for a lounge in the sun or head over to one of Gran Cenote, one of the closest cenotes to the area where you can relax, explore the caves and admire the scenery. Once the exploration is over, it’s time to head back to the beach for a cozy late lunch at Nômade. Make sure you get the casserole de camarones y pulpo (a shrimp and octopus casserole) that is designed to satisfy all your senses and relax on the beach until it’s time to head back to reality.