Not only were we lucky enough to go to Cuba with Gill and Alan we then flew straight to Tulum.
We landed in Tulum in June hoping for beautiful beaches and lazying around in the sun. Unfortunately we did not know that the Caribbean side of Mexico and Central America have been suffering from a seaweed epidemic. There are a lot of theories around what is causing this epidemic – BP Oil spill, Florida dumping waste but nobody is clear.
We ended up heading to Belize (Caribbean side) in October and the seaweed situation was worse than in Tulum. We spoke to many locals saying how difficult the season had been for them as tourists numbers have been dropping due to the seaweed.
On the way to Tulum we stopped through Cancun where the ocean was seaweed free and crystal blue. From Cancun we headed further south to Playa Del Carmen where we stopped for lunch. I really enjoyed Playa del Carmen even thought it is tourist hot spot it was filled with shops, restaurants and bars and after Cuba it was very refreshing.
Often on this journey we are told “oh don’t go their its super touristy! (Costa Rica etc)” and the more we travel the more I’ve learnt to ignore these comments. Don’t get me wrong we do love escaping into the wilderness where we are the only ones on the beach but we also love going to these tourists hotspots. At times its just the excitement of going to a cool bar or getting a nice meal out.
The drive from Cancun to Tulum only takes 1hour 40mins to drive, it is an easy drive along the highway making it a cool spot to go back and fourth between. Or the perfect two week destination exploring the coastal towns. Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum are filled with activities ranging from zip lining, jet skiing, cenotes, ruins and beach hoping.
I loved Tulum, it is a foodies haven filled with beautiful cenotes and ruins. The second day we were there we decided to see the Ancient Mayan ruins named Coba. These ruins date back to AD 600 -900. The Coba ruins are within a big park of smaller ruins making up a village, which you can walk between or catch a ride like Gill and I did while the boys walked back (haha).
It was a stinking hot day but the Mountain goat and I decided to climb to the top of Cobra, boy oh boy was that a slippery hike! Back then all I had was my Mi Piaci slip ons definitely not the type of shoes you want for walking up these ruins. I think this climb was the deciding point of replacing my beautiful slides with a pair of Teva’s and convert to a dorky traveller.
The following days were spent Cenote hoping, one of the most magical activities to do on the Yucatan side of Mexico. Cenotes can are famous on the Yucatan and can be found all throughout. They vary from large activity filled cenotes where you can abseil down into, go on flying foxes and jumping boards to smaller local cenotes. We were lucky to get to visit both types.
One of the things people don’t warn you about before jumping into the cenote is how cold they are. The Cenotes are underground water holes that are made when the surrounding limestones collapses and creates a sink whole and fills with water. They have extremely clear water where you can see a variety of fish and turtles.
Our time in Tulum was filled with lots of activities but also a lot of eating!! We got to have the best dining experiences on this whole trip in Tulum. We restaurant hopped each night and over ordered every time from lobster to rib eye steak, Jake and I left Tulum very full!
We had planned on coming back to the Yucatan region before we crossed into Belize but we ran out of time. I would love to go back to the region at a later date and explore more. The balance of fine dining and culture was the perfect mix just not the kind of place I would recommend heading to on a backpackers budget!