Mexico & Belize: days 4-5 - Tulum

After spending Christmas on Isla de Mujeres, we arrived in Tulum late in the evening. We spent the first night in a camping at the end of the hotel zone, a quiet place with big tents, many mosquitos and a bit overpriced. However, the immediate access to the beach and a cenote at a doorstep probably explain it.

The hotel area in Tulum is a bunch of luxury resorts, fancy hotels and movie-like bungalows. The beach is amazing - white, wide and with clear waters. Far away from the busy cities, in the first evening in Tulum we enjoyed a sky full of stars even chased some falling stars. And yes, for those who know me, I am still a chicken in the dark.

We spent the first day in Tulum more in water than on land (almost). The morning started off with a refreshing swim in the cenote next to the camping. This cenote was rather a cold lake, but with clear and deep waters. What is interesting about the cenotes in Tulum area is that they are all interconnected. We couldn't leave without checking out once more the empty beach and trying out swimming in the sea as well. We packed our stuff and continued towards the Dos Ojos cenote, not before having a delicious breakfast in Tulum (yes, tacos again!).


Tulum beach The beach in Tulum is pretty awesome


Dos Ojos cenote is located close to Tulum. However, from the entrance in the park to the cenotes itself there is a "lovely" 6km walk. Anyway, hitchhiking was successful so in no time we were snorkeling in the caves. Cave diving and exploring the underwater and underground world must be really great, but some things still had to be left on the TO-DO list.


Dos Ojos Cenote Dos Ojos Cenote


We headed back to Tulum on a heavy rain and we were lucky to catch a ride to the highway. We got back in the city just before sunset, with wet clothes on and no place to spend the night. All the hostels were booked and we declared ourselves happy with a covered rooftop in a hostel too call it home for a night. Downtown Tulum is pretty boring, and after eating (surprise-surprise, tacos), having some drinks and walking the same main street for the 10th time in two days, there was nothing else to do. After a night spent at the gypsy camp (aka the hostel rooftop), early next morning we were ready to discover the mayan civilization.


Tulum ruins Tulum ruins


First stop - Tulum ruins, located on the tall cliffs on the Carribean Sea. The place is a mix of history and nature, palm trees and iguanas, beach and sea. Getting there before the groups of tourists totally paid off.


iguana


After cooling down with a bath in the tourquoise sea, we got a ride back to Tulum. Our driver was a French guy, fashion photographer from Paris in the past and baker and owner of a small cafe in Tulum at the present. His fresh baked bread reminded us of proper bread, the type that it is easy to find in Europe and difficult to find in US. We ate falafel for a change (bringing back memories from the trip in Israel earlier this year) and enjoyed aqua fresca with pineapple (water mixed with freshed squeezed pineapple - yum!).

We got to Coba ruins on a heavy rain and we wandered around the forest and the temples for a few hours, wrapped in our fancy rain ponchos. The storm didn't last for long and when we got on top of the main temple we enjoyed a sunny view of the jungle.


Coba pyramid The main pyramid temple in Coba


view from up Up, up


flooded It rained a lot during last months.


Back to Tulum, it was time for some food tacos and to catch the bus for the next destination - Chetumal.

The plan was to sleep in Chetumal for a few hours and to head towards Guatemala early next morning. However, on the way there we decided that only a day spent in Tikal (Guatemala) is not worth a 8 hours trip, so Guatemala was also left for the TO-DO list.


And if somebody who reads this post considers visiting Tulum, here are some tips:

Sleeping: Book a hostel well in advance! Otherwise, the the camping on the beach next to the ruins seemed promising. (not tested though)

Good eats: The tacos place here.

To do:

  • Tulum ruins - the earlier in the morning, the better. We left the place around 10AM and it was getting crowded.
  • Coba ruins are supposed to be less touristy compared to other sites (e.g. Chichen Itza) and the view from the top of the main pyramid is breathtaking. Easy to get there by ADO bus.
  • snorkeling in one of the cenotes near the city: Dos Ojos (easy to get there with the colectivos towards Playa del Carmen) or Gran Cenote (the ADO bus passes next to the entrance)
  • chilling on the beach and swimming in the sea :)
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