So the day finally came, the packing, planning, and anticipation were finally over. We woke at 4am and were taken to Stansted by my Stepmum for our 10am flight to Cancun.
At the airport the nerves kicked in, this was finally it, this was really it. The fairytale had become a reality and we were about to leave home, unsure of where we’d end up and of no fixed abode. Shit. Straight to the airport bar and straight to the customary pre-flight pint then! Bloody Hell! £9.70 for two pints of Bud Light. Jesus, not so sad to be waving goodbye to England after all.
We arrived in Cancun what felt like an eternity later and breezed through customs, straight onto an ADO bus to Playa Del Carmen and then onto Tulum from there. Tulum is a coastal Town about 120 km south of Cancun and was once considered a hidden treasure.
Not so much now though as word has got out about its beauty and the Americans have flocked there in their masses. It’s still a beautiful destination with a stunning beach and a reverent Mayan archaeological site though.
However when we arrived it was late and we went straight to our hostel – Jose @ Mama’s House – not the nicest in my opinion. Whilst it had looked great online, in reality, it was small, pokey and a bit claustrophobic.
We struggled to come to terms with the heat and the time difference in the first 36 hours so decided to seek accommodation elsewhere. We found the hotel ‘Xscape Tulum’ just down the road, and what a find it was.
For 6 nights it worked out at only £11 more expensive than the single beds in the hostel, and we had a whirlpool, en-suite and a pool at our disposal. This was the life.
We decided to treat our first two weeks as a bit of a holiday, rest and relax whilst getting used to the heat and the time difference. In our first few days, we ventured to the public beach, the Gran Cenote, and the archaeological ruins.
The beach at Tulum is something to be admired, gorgeous white sand on a backdrop of the turquoise sea is breathtaking. We were in paradise. On our first visit we went scuba diving on the coral reef – one of the largest in the world – and amongst other things we saw a humongous turtle.
The Gran Cenote was around 6km out of the main strip in Tulum and we decided to visit it on bike. Quick tip, don’t do what we did and go at 11am. Go early, it’s warm, really warm and you’ll feel like shit if you go at 11am.
Anyway on we went and when we arrived we dived straight into the Cenote, an underground pool consisting of tunnels, caves, and caverns. Again we saw turtles, this time much smaller and certainly much cuter. After traversing the caves we spent time relaxing in the purpose-built garden, reclining on hammocks.
Then over the next few days to the Mayan ruins, right by the public beach. If you’re interested in history and the achievements of humanity then you should mark this as a must-see. (This is a genuine must-see, not a wishy-washy one).
The vast majority of the site is still in-situ and has been well-conserved by the Mexican authorities. It’s truly awe-inspiring and gives a unique insight into an almost forgotten civilization.
Once our time in Tulum was over, we hopped on another ADO bus headed for Belize City and jumped off in the town of Bacalar, to check out the ‘Laguna of 7 Colours’, which will be the focus of the next post.
Until then, here are a few tips on places to visit in Tulum, budgets, accommodation, and travel.
Jose @ Mama’s Hostel: £9 a night PP
Xscape Tulum: £22 a night, double room.
Gran Cenote: £3.50 PP
Snorkling Tour: £35 PP
Mayan Ruins: £3.50 PP
Bike Hire: £7 per day
Taxi to Cenote/Ruins/Beach : £4.50
ADO | Cancun- Tulum: £11
ADO | Tulum- Baclar: £12
Most restaurants offered fairly poor fare aimed at passing tourists, with an average price of around £15 for two main meals and two drinks.
The best place to eat in Tulum that we found was Pizzeria Manglar. Although not Mexican, the food is excellent and authentic and very affordable. Two drinks and two large pizzas came to just over £10.
Daily Budget- Excluding Accommodation
£10-£15 gave us ample money to enjoy the area, eat well and drink as much water as we needed, which was a lot.