After Chichen Itza, we drove the few hours back to the coast, meandering slightly south to the beach town of Tulum. I have mixed feelings about this place. Having heard nothing but glowing reviews from friends and other bloggers, I was perhaps expecting more. However, if you are looking for a lovely resort town with a heavily ex-pat community, Tulum is for you. For Jacob and I, it wasn’t quite our cup of tea. Beautiful ocean, absolutely. Friendly people, oh most certainly. Mayan ruins, trendy restaurants, and Californian-run coffee shops? Check, check and check. But (with the risk of sounding like a travel snob) for us it just felt a bit to over-built. So much so, I didn’t really take any photos of the town itself.
On the morning of my birthday, we headed over to the Tulum ruins. This time we beat neither the crowds, nor the sun, though we were in the site by 9:30am. You would not believe the lengths I went to in order to get shots without (hordes of) people in them.
It had the feeling of a theme park, with strict, roped off pathways following a prescribed route. Unfortunate, as the ruins themselves were magnificent, perched atop the craggy cliffs, overlooking little white-sand coves and the turquoise sea.
The heat was nothing to joke about, as we found when we had the opportunity to help a dehydrated little girl and her flustered grandparents.
We went directly from the ruins to Gran Cenote, our second day in a row as this was probably my favorite thing about Tulum. The town has many of these incredible natural pools, created by sinkholes and underground cave systems filled with ground water. As with most good things, you have to time your enjoyment to avoid the crowds, but even with a moderate group, the cenotes are divine. Snorkels are a must, so you can get a sense of the cenote’s true nature. What you see from the surface is a fraction of the real size and majesty. Hundreds choose to dive the complex and extensive flooded cave systems, but as someone who is neither a diver, nor particularly comfortable with closed in spaces, this was not something we pursued.
Documenting the beauty of Gran Cenote was nearly impossible, with the bright midday sun, the indigo waters, and shadowy cave mouths, but I hope these photos can give you at least a hint.
Cooled down and refreshed, we headed to our favorite taco shop for lunch. I wish I could tell you the name of this place, but we honestly don’t know. Signs out front simply read “Fish Tacos $1.” I can say that it was on the main road through the pueblo (not to be confused with the single resort strip along the beach), adjacent to an Italian place called “Sale e Pepe”.”
The tacos were fresh and delicious, and I’m afraid we hungry travelers snapped them up before I could get a picture. As recompense, here is a meal from Valladolid…
I loved the feel of this place. The clichéd word “authentic” comes to mind, but at any rate it was small, clean, and simple, with unique touches, an open kitchen, and friendly staff.
After lunch, it was off to the beach. Almost exclusively accessed through the resorts and “beach clubs,” we chose to take our seaside time on the commodious chairs of The Zebra, a sister hotel of our own.
And it is here, dear readers, without further pomp or preamble, that I am delighted to announce we are expecting our first child! In the photo below, I was a few days over 15 weeks along. Our tiny human is due to make an appearance September 3rd. We are waiting until birth to find out the gender. I can’t think of a more wonderful surprise!
Bonus belly shot of me enjoying the world’s largest and most delicious birthday papaya at Gran Cenote.
You may have noticed a lack of photos of me, and now you know why. Here’s a few which show not only my pregnant self, but also demonstrate Jacob’s favorite vacation pastime: taking pictures of me taking pictures. These are from Valladolid.
To top off my big 30th celebration, we dined at the beautiful Pinterest-bait that is Posada Margherita. I say that because every direction you turn, a new charmingly constructed assemblage of antiqued and found items begs to be photographed.
But Posada is not just a pretty face, as the Italian staff will be happy to tell you. The food is incredible, and this from a girl who has spent more than a year eating her way through Italy.
This being something of an occasion, I went all out and ordered the special: fresh, handmade linguine with shrimp and lobster. Oh. Holy. Mother. So scrumptious.
Thank you everyone for your kind words and support over the years. We are so excited for this new leg of our journey together!