Trip to Tulum in the Riviera Maya in Mayan Paradise

After eighteen hours of bus, finally, we arrived at Tulum in the famous Riviera Maya in Mexico. After almost a week enjoying Playa del Carmen, I arrived in Tulum attracted by those same postcards. I made my trip in the month of July and the Sun did not accompany me every day, but the temperature of the Caribbean is ideal. We went in search of sun and paradisiacal beaches and the only thing we found was a storm of rain and wind.

So we have given ourselves a dash for nothing. Next to the bus station is a restaurant that our guide had recommended to us. There we had breakfast quietly while we watched the rainfall. The center of Tulum has nothing. It's a long street with shops and restaurants, nothing more. The beach area is quite far from the center, so it is best to go by taxi. The prices of the taxis are regulated and by taking us to the "new" beach area they charge 50 pesos.

It did not take me long to know that a full day excursion would not be enough, and I set out to find a cabin. For someone who arrives without much information, the task of finding where to stay for a few days can be somewhat misleading. The town of Tulum is on both sides of the road and does not resemble that perfect idea of ​​beaches, palm trees, and ruins. Although it is true that it is in the center where the most economical accommodation options are found, there is also a hotel zone that unfolds all along the coast, very close to the National Park, and surrounded by a unique natural environment.

The beach area is divided into two: the old area and the eco-chic zone. Before traveling to Mexico, many people had recommended me to stay there because it was quiet and cheaper than Cancun or Playa del Carmen. But the reality is that it was once. The beach area of ​​Tulum has become one of the most expensive areas of the Riviera Maya. We had been sleeping in lodgings of no more than 20 dollars and eating in cheap places. That's where I found a Cabana with a direct terrace to the infinite. Since we arrived we realized that we were in paradise. But the cottage complex was too rustic.

The Cabana was small. It had about eight rooms and we had one on the first floor with a balcony overlooking the sea. But the sea could not be seen because of the vegetation covering it. It was nice, but I expected more. I do not know, for the price we paid I expected better finishes and at least one bar of soap to wash my hands. Ok, it was ecological, but sometimes green is used to charge you more and give you less. The bathroom was outdoors and there was no hot water.

I guess the rain and the tiredness affected my mood, but suddenly we found ourselves at 12 noon without knowing what to do. Beach? Visit ruins? Discarded by the time I was having. So we sat on the porch couch and let the hours go by until the weather abated a bit and we went to see if there was somewhere nearby to eat. It should be noted that in Tulum in the area of ​​the beach there are only complexes to stay and practically nothing else.

If you want to buy something to eat at night you have to go to the town. So we went to the complex next door. It turns out that there was no one. When we wanted to have a meal there was no food, but they served us a pina colada. I did not like it, as it seemed strong to me.

Along the beach, small fashionable hotels were alienating that prevented direct access to the beach. After a ten minutes walk, we arrived at the old hotel zone of Tulum beach and we entered the restaurant, which we had also been recommended. But here is our surprise when we opened the letter to face reality. We were not in Mexico, but in a republic dependent on the United States or Europe, because at least the prices indicated it.

For a meal of one plate and one water per person, we pay a total of 500 pesos. Of course, the fish was fresh. So, all of a sudden, we saw that in two days we were going to spend the budget we had for five days. And as we looked at the restaurant bill, it started to rain again. We waited a while and, when it seemed that the rain gave a truce, we returned to the hotel.

Anyway, that was an untenable situation and we had to find a solution but now. We asked the Cabana owner if he could look at the weather forecast for the next day and he told us that there was a 50% probability that it would rain. We looked through the guide and saw that our interest was in our longed-for state of Yucatan, which is about an hour and a half. So we decided to ask how to get there in the morning.

We asked the Cabana owner if he could look at the bus schedules, and he looked at us very kindly. But going on the bus line should not be glamorous enough for him, and he tried to convince us to hire a bus service or a taxi for the whole day. We asked him how much it was worth and he told us that 1,500 pesos to visit Ek-Balam and bring us back at noon.

On the one hand, as the price seemed a bit expensive, we doubted that in Yucatan we would spend so much money in a single day. On the other hand, we really wanted to do more things in that area, such as renting a bicycle, going to the cenotes. So having a taxi driver waiting for us did not quite convince us. So, in the end, we decided to go on our own.

That night we decided to have dinner at the Cabana. Basically, because I had been told that the pasta was very good. Although it was expensive in the face, there were not many more options, or at least cheaper options nearby. For a plate of pasta with vegetables we pay 285 pesos. And it was one of the cheapest dishes on the menu. If you ordered the pasta dish with lobster the price would shoot up.

Of course, I have to admit that it is the best pasta I have eaten. In Italy itself, I have not eaten such good pasta. In addition, they brought us starters like focaccias (this was not charged) that were also delicious. We went to bed early because the next day we have to return to authentic Mexico.

The next morning I left for the ruins. Tulum, in the native language, means wall, but the ancient inhabitants used to call this place Zama, which means dawn. It is not strange that from the cliff where part of the citadel is located, the lights of the dawn that color the horizon of dramatic tones is capable of hypnotizing anyone. In addition to the unique photos, visiting the ruins early in the morning is a good option to explore with tranquility the archaeological site of Tulum, avoiding the large groups of tourists.

From the ancient Mayan city, built between 1200 and 1450 AD, it is only possible to visit what was its ceremonial and political core, that is, what is inside the walls. Although the state of conservation of all the buildings is excellent, none is as striking as El Castillo, recognizable on all postcards. I was surprised to learn that this construction was used by the Maya as a beacon, and not as a ceremonial center.

Since the second largest coral reef in the world is very close to the coasts of Tulum, the Maya used a torch system on their tower to guide their boats to the coast. We continued our trip collecting postcards, crossing from time to time with the iguanas, which were really the princesses of the place. Among the constructions that most caught my attention, I remember the Temple of the Descending God, on whose door we can see a figure of the deity coming down from the sky, and the Temple of the frescoes, with a large number of wall paintings.

A few steps further away was the Temple of Paintings, the one that preserves more decorative elements in the city. Its interior was painted and also decorated with high stucco reliefs, mostly snakes, representations of the Descending God and Human figures. Its plaque explains that it has two levels, the lower one consisting of two Temples, one inside the other, and the upper one only of one decorated with hands painted red. It also tells the story that this Temple was also used to follow the movement of the sun, one of the greatest Mayan obsessions.

I finished the visit, like almost all those days, contemplating the ruins from the adjoining beach. The perspective of the pre-Hispanic city from the sea, with crystal clear water up to the neck, is an image of those that one does not forget, no matter how much time passes. As it was so hot and there was a small beach connected by a wooden staircase we decided to stop and bathe in this turquoise and warm sea.

After a precious relaxation, I returned to the viewpoint in front of the Temple of the Winds and the small cove located under it. It is today closed to tourism to protect the turtles that lay there in season. I enjoy the wonderful scene that gives me the time to notice the change in the color of the water, as the clouds appeared and disappeared. I walked along the main road where I found the House of Columns, also called the Great Palace. I continued my tour to the House of the Halach Uinic or Great Lord, the maximum ruler of each city-state of the Maya.

We toured once more the exterior of the Castle and our favorite Temple of the Winds with its fabulous environment. We went to the bookstore to buy a small guide to not forget the details and decide what to do next.

As we were on our own we walked a couple of steps to the taxis to take us to one of the nearby beaches and have some marine specialty in a cove or something similar. The taxi driver in charge made us a better suggestion, which fortunately we accepted, literally leading us to paradise. Enchanted with the stories of the Mayan Empire, I visited the ruins of Coba and spent long lunches enjoying the richest of Mexican food, on my terrace facing the sea. I did not have time to visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve or the Angelita Cenote. Those, without a doubt, I leave for my next trip!

As it was so hot we put our things in the nearest palm tree and we immediately went to the water. We forgot everything else. We were only interested in recording that place and that moment in the mind to find it every time we had a bad day during the year.

The afternoon passed between the water and a few minutes of sand. As the sun was very strong, we have some drinks and enjoy the wonderful surroundings and its colors. When some half-threatening clouds appeared we decided to return to look for our taxi driver, who half convinced us to take us back to Playacar.

When we arrived at the hotel it was raining torrentially. We started our farewell evening in the Japanese restaurant of the hotel which we had booked the previous day. The food that was exquisite. It consisted basically of grilled vegetables, rice, and chicken, accompanied by drinks.

During our beach days, one convinces us to visit Coco Bongo, also offering us transportation. We accept it to put a finishing touch on our remarkable vacation. At 22:30 we were picked up by an air-conditioned bus with people of all nationalities. They left us very close to the entrance, where after a wait of about 20 minutes we entered. As everyone left so arranged from the hotel, we decided to go only with a small wallet and the obvious SLR camera was left in the hotel.

The good thing about the place and what it's worth to go is that we find an unprecedented show of music, good vibes, and joy. The show ended around 3 o'clock in the morning, at which time all the people began to retire. We waited a few minutes and with luck, we found an unoccupied taxi that took us back to Playacar. I was happy having spent such a beautiful, happy and paradisiacal day like this.
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