We spent two full days living it up on Tulum Beach. Early morning we’d wake and bike the strip on the hunt for delicious juices to revive our spirits. By late morning, the humidity in Tulum took over and juices transformed into cervezas, cocktails and fish tacos.
Incredibly, the property of our AirBNB was home to a secret mangrove cenote, Yaxchen, which serves as one of three entrances to the world’s largest underground river. I’m not going to lie, the mangrove cenote was a little more intimidating than the crystal clear sinkholes you’re used to seeing on Tulum travel sites. With less visibility and a great deal of roots and shrubs surrounding the cenote, I wondered often whether I would meet one of the alligators reportedly living in the cenote. We were assured they had never bothered humans, but you still have to wonder.
The cenote hosted a small two-level deck perfect for jumping, adding more thrill to the adventure. Once we tired of jumping…or perhaps once we calculated our risk encountering critters would increase with each jump, we shifted the kayaks leisurely paddling the flat waters. Being on private property meant bringing cervezas with us on our journey was no problemo. Sun and cerveza…two essential ingredients for a fantastic day on the Caribbean coast.
Now, Tulum is definitely a famous destination for visiting nearby ruins and the aforementioned turquoise cenotes. On this occasion, we spent a lot more time aimlessly exploring, which was exactly what I needed at the time. We drove the car up to this roadside market to check out the local craft selection. As with anywhere in Mexico, there seemed to be a mix of potentially locally made crafts (hammocks & dreamcatchers) as well as crafts from other regions, maybe even other countries. We even scored some local fruits. I was delighted to find dragonfruit as I had been on the lookout for this starchy seedy fruit.
But the real gem, was the craft happening across the street on the grill. Here, we feasted on THE BEST grilled chicken of my life. Y’all know my happy emotion is connected to food right? I was euphoric.
Of course, the held all the glory, but it washed down with one of my other favorite Mexican delights, agua fresca de jamaica. Odd, but as it turns out somewhat common, it was also served up with a side of spaghetti noodles and tomato sauce. We were offered similar plates in Puerto Escondido too. Coulda done without it, but seems to be an economical way to get your carbs in. I’ll let you in on a little secret. This BEST CHICKEN PLACE EVER is located right on the side of the road on the way to Coba from Tulum town. You’ll see a long strip of craft markets on the left and if you pass it, you’ve gone too far! After lunch, head across the street to the local honey store. Definitely a unique find in Tulum with an excellent selection of different varieties and goodies made from the honey.
Another treat was Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, conveniently located just a ways from our AirBNB…so close we had considered cycling there. Fortunately, on account of the scorching heat, we rethought that idea and drove down the sandy palm-lined strip, crossing old bridges and exploring the rocky shore. The water was beautiful and we were the only people around. A great place to enjoy quiet paradise. It is well known for an abundance of marine life with dolphins, turtles, and brightly colored fish often spotted on boat tours here. Snorkeling seems to be fairly decent too, though we stuck to land exploration.
Even without visiting the touristic sites of Tulum, we found our days to be packed with adventure. By nightfall, the we balanced our exertion with a little libation before heading home to brave the sweaty nights in the bungalow.
I mean sweaty and mosquitoey. Yah…the overcast sky kept the bungalow’s solar power panel from charging fully, resulting in a life by flashlight and without the needed breeze of the overhead fan. Who know I’d be off-gridding it in Tulum? Not I, but it was well worth the offbeat experience in Tulum Beach. Plus, we’d spend the next couple of nights in town indulging in a little luxury.
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