Mexico Day 5: Tulum

Breakfast starts at 8 a.m., but not promptly so we learned. Only green tea (and the hot water took a while), only watermelon juice (once they cut up the watermelon), then the standard array of fresh fruit (papaya, cantaloupe, and watermelon), yoghurt with optional granola, toast, and egg scramble. One tasty addition was warm ham and cheese quesadillas. I ate 4 or 5 of those.

Today we chose to go to the Tulum ruins, which would have been our afternoon activity the day before but were too tired, especially when we had planned a day to relax the next day… So once breakfast was over we drove to the local archaeological site. I was once again surprised by how touristy it was. And expensive. Not as much as Chichen Itza, but close. We spent a considerable amount of time in line as the one ticket window that was open closed for nearly ten minutes. I was investigating the bookstore and other ticket options when it finally reopened. 225 pesos a person and we were in.

Tulum ruins.

The ruins are beautifully situated on the coast albeit mostly on the cliffs rather than a beach. The style was more simplistic and structures smaller, mostly I imagine, because living on the sea didn’t require large structures. We had walked down to a small bit of shoreline when the rain hit. I was in a swimsuit under my dress so didn’t mind too much until it turned into a downpour. When it finally let up, we made our way back up to see the remaining ruins.

Tulum ruins.

The views from the cliffs were fabulous and made me excited to check out the beaches, which are claimed to be nicer, quieter, and have whiter sands. This last bit seemed more aesthetic than useful until I felt the sand and how cool it was. Being so fine and white, it does not gather much thermal mass. Sadly, the books we purchased also got wet, so they are slightly water damaged now.

Tulum ruins.

Despite being burned out on ruins by this point, they were still lovely. The walk back to the entrance didn’t take as long, so we spent more time in the shops to avoid another bout of rain.

From the ruins, I wanted to mark out where we would go for beach time the next day. Tulum has a huge stretch of beach front supposedly with plenty of public beach access. So we turned down the road to the main drag and spotted El Capitan, a seafood restaurant, on the right so decided to stop for lunch. Herr and JJ both ordered ceviche, a plate of chilled fish and shrimp. I ordered a pot of rice with seafood, which turned out to be a lot like soupy paella. I enjoyed mine, but the other two couldn’t eat half of their dishes. Based on that and the price, we would not recommend it.

Afterwards, we took the ominous drive south along the beach, except we didn’t see any beaches. Everything was private resort property along a narrow road, no place to stop, and we couldn’t even find an ice cream shop (the horror!).

The rain really started to come down at this point, and we had passed through the southern gate into Si’an Ka’an before realizing the only way out was back the way we came. Herr made the not-so-fun drive back, our mission not accomplished.

Across the street from El Capitan is a supermarket called Chedraui. On the way back from the “beach”, we bought a handful of drinks and pastries, as well as a new swimsuit for myself. Then when we returned to the hotel we indulged in our goodies and napped like good tourists, except I just cannot nap. At sunset we went for a walk along the main road and explored some shops. One rather evident point about Tulum is it has a strong “hippy” vibe. From dreadlocks and man knots to wheat grass and vegan options. Yoga on the beach is a thing, and one can smell marijuana at least once every walk.

We chose a Mexican fare restaurant called Malquerida, where the guys ordered food and I went with flan. Food was decent, music from next door was nice. We had a long day planned next, so we returned to the hotel for the night.

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