This was my second time in Tulum, and it won't be my last.
Arriving into Tulum, it doesn't seem like the perfect spot to relax for a week. The town sits on both sides of a main highway and between the souvenir shops and service stations there is no evidence of a Mexican Caribbean beach life you expect.
There is so much here however, and six days wasn't long enough. Here are three reasons why I love Tulum.
Unlike Tikal, hidden amongst jungle, or Copan, tucked away in a sleepy valley, the ruins in Tulum cling to cliffs overlooking the Caribbean. 130 kilometres and half a century away from Cancun, Tulum was the only Mayan city built on the coast, and one of the few protected by a wall. It was thought the city was once a port for jade and turquoise.
This stunning site is definitely a must see in Tulum and staying two minutes by bike from the entrance meant we could ride down to check out the ruins before breakfast, and before the hoards of hawaiian-shirt-wearing tourists piled off buses from Cancun and scared away the iguanas and us.
Tulum's beaches have been voted as some of the best in the world. This is why its so bad to admit that during the six days we were in Tulum I only went swimming in the Caribbean once... Why? Cenotes.
Cenotes are water holes created in the earths surface when rainfall would cut through the porous limestone, creating underground caves and caverns. Once the roof on a cave collapses the water hole is exposed. There are some 7,000 cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula and some of the best are definitely in Tulum.
One of my favourite cenotes we visited (twice) was Dos Ojos. The name Dos Ojos literally translates to "two eyes" which is perfect as this cenote is actually two circular cenotes right next to each other. The cave system of Dos Ojos is one of the longest in the world which makes it an attraction to divers. We spent two afternoons with our snorkel gear exploring this cenote.
We also visited Casa Cenote, which is a huge one kilometre long cenote literally 50 metres from the beach, as well as Gran Cenote, which is one of the most popular cenotes in Tulum.
Cenotes are sacred to the Mayan people. They are portals to the underworld. There is definitely something special about these places and you could literally spend weeks exploring new cenotes everyday.
Owned and run by the wonderful Chelo and her two sons, this is the perfect spot. The location isn't in town, nor is it on the beach. In fact its right on the highway, opposite the entrance to the ruins, on the way to Playa del Carmen. What makes Chelo's so special however, apart from Chelo herself, is that it's a Bed, Breakfast and Bike that goes above and beyond. On arrival we were allocated bikes and snorkel gear and every morning were treated to the most delicious two course breakfast. The evenings were chilled out, with everyone who was staying cycling into town (ten minutes away) for dinner. The best restaurant in Tulum? El Rincon Chiapaneca. Flautas to die for!
I can't say enough about Posada Los Mapaches, named after the little mapache (racoon) Oscar who used to live there. Had we not had a flight in Cancun to catch, I might have stayed in Tulum a lot longer.
Until next time x
You can find Tripadvisor reviews for Posada Los Mapaches here or maybe check out their website.
(I also can't get enough of the fact you just BIKE everywhere!! And the BEACH of course. When I was not too busy hanging out at the CENOTES.)