Tulum & Playa del Carmen

Trip Start Nov 24, 2006
Trip End Nov 30, 2006

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

                                     T U L U M   &   P L A Y A   D E L   C A R M E N

On our last day hubby & I decided we could not leave Mexico without having seen any Mayan ruins.  My brother and sister in law wanted to spend the day at the hotel they paid for dearly, which also meant each couple had some much needed time for two :)   

Now we just had to get through the generally aggravating process of waiting for the car we reserved the day before.  We wanted to leave bright and early so we could reach the ruins before the midday heat.  Our reservation was for 07:30 am, but nobody showed up until 08:00 am.  By 08:45 we finally managed to pull the car on the road towards Playa del Carmen and arrived in Tulum close to noon.  The sun was burning down ferociously and that did put a damper on our mood.  We made a lazy decision to not carry our towels with us, although we knew how beautiful the beach at Tulum was and that YOU CAN swim there, but we were just grumpy at that point and it's our own fault that we let that bad start get to us.  

We decided to tour Tulum on our own.  Another bad decision.  We walked the ruins for what seemed hours, jumping from shadow to shadow, ohhing and ahhing at the details we saw, but I know for a fact that we missed out on most of Tulum's hostory.  We didn't know what we were looking at.  I've got to say - we always do this.  I'm not sure why - maybe we prefer to roam freely or want to save the extra money, but it means we miss out on a lot of stuff too and generally we're bummed out afterwards (see Pompei).  Maybe it's time to learn this lesson.  The good news is that you don't need to know Tulum's history for a photo safari, which is exactly what I set out to do.  

We did have a little brochure that explained the different buildings and their purposes, plus there are little information plates at some spots.  Like the one before you walk through the wall into the city.  It explained that "regular" folks probably did not live within the city walls, but somewhere on the outskirts so they are close enough to work for the rich people.  Sounds like any major modern city, right?  It's funny to compare that time to ours and hubby & I were joking that - had we lived way back when - we probably wouldn't have been allowed in the city.  So it was fun to stand in someones driveway and think to myself: "Look at me now!  Ha Ha - I'm in your driveway and there's nothing you can do about it!".  

I know stupid me, but there really was one house that looked like it had a driveway - maybe to park the horse?  Probably not and I would probably know more about it had I taken the tour.... Touchy subject - let's not go there :) 

To me the most beautiful place in Tulum is on top of the clifs, looking at the ruins & the ocean.  The watercolor is just amazing.  It looks out of this world.  You'll probably see some sort of ruins on any vacation, but the location just makes this particular one so special to me.   By now we were drenched in sweat and it would have been lovely to take a dip in the ocean, but guess who had no towels to dry up afterwards...

Oh well, I guess I could label the first half day of this trip "Making the least out of your trip".  The second half will better though - I promise.   We walked back to our car (we knew that a train was driving from/to the parking lot - but it wasn't far) and decided to tour the the little bazaar outside until our stomachs started to grumble and we knew lunch was overdue.

We decided to stop at the Aventura & Spa Hotel, which is just gorgeous.  You arrive in the lobby and everything smells really really good, there are huge sofas along the wall where people just lay back and relax, silent spa songs playing from the speakers.  I don't think I need to say more than that the bathroom sink was surrounded by flower petals... It felt so good to be here after frying in the sun (you cannot hide from it in Tulum). 

Needless to say we decided to spend lunch hidden from he sun in the big cabana hut by the pool.  The food was pretty much the same as it was at the Moon Palace, but it tasted better!  Really and there was a bigger variety.  I took advantage of all sorts of different pasta's, appetizers, salads and later on desserts, while hubby robbed the meat counter.  It was soooooo good.  Now we just needed to survey the area and find a good place to relax a little bit. 

I already told you the jelly-fish story in the second entry, so obviously that wasn't the place to cool down.  We walked the breaker wall for a little bit, the ocean was hitting it hard and it was nice to watch.  Water color here wasn't the beautiful turquoise you know from Cancun or Tulum either (just like the Moon Palace).  There are plenty of Palace hotels that are located in "turquoise" areas though (LeBlanc, Sun Palace, Xpu-Ha, Cozumel).  It wasn't a big deal for us, because we had the day at Xel-Ha, seen it in Tulum and will be there shortly in Playa del Carmen.  Landscaping at this hotel is top notch.  I loved the waterfall and garden paths that they created at the Aventura & Spa and they even had a roman bath perfect for use during bad weather (covered).  That's something I haven't seen done so nicely at any other Palace hotel.  Very nice, I could definetely see myself on a rainy day in this pool.  Just looking at the rain pooring down, why I safely get to play fish in the water.  

I finally found the perfect spot: A pool lounger half submerged in the water.  I took a quick swim in the cold water, which felt heavenly and then quickly fell asleep.  I could not have been any happier.  Once awake and fully restored I ordered a nice cocktail from the waitor that constantly serviced our area.  I certainly could have stayed here, but we had to get to Playa del Carmen.

Eventually we managed to get out of the loungers and back into our car, back on the way north - next stop: Playa del Carmen.  We stopped at the Playacar Palace, which was a bit harder to find then the other Palace Hotels, but we found it nonetheless.  The hotel itself was gorgeous - all white and tropical.  But we didn't want to spend a lot of time here, we wanted to see a local beach.  So my hubby went for a quality tequila shot and we were on the road trying to find a parking spot.  

We followed the signs to the beach and then stopped at I think it was #38.  We were not really sure if we could park here, but we couldn't find a different spot so we just stayed close to a condo complex.  When we reached the beachfront I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It was late afternoon and the sun covered everything in a beautiful golden glow, the water color was amazing and small boutique hotels had set up quite spectacular beach loungers.  Loungers is not really the right word.  How about beds in the sand enclosed with flowing white curtains?  One hotel caught my attention in particular with it's cute little bungalows right on the beach.  I liked it so much I made it the first thing I researched when back at home.  That hotel is the Shangri-La Caribe and we are planning on staying here in the near future.  

We went for a long walk on the beach - it wasn't hot any more - just nice & warm.  Locals were out with their kids, while someone plaid with his dog and music was playing from radios, a marina was in the distance and the sun slowly started to set.  My husband spent some time in the water, while I stayed on the beach, soaking in the impressions to remember them on a particular rainy day.  

And that's how our last day in Mexico ended, back at the hotel we had one last dinner, slept one last time in our beautiful room, creating our own good-bye cocktail the next morning, before they took our wristbands and sent a van to take us away...

I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did and I would love to hear from you in my guest book.



PS: One last funny (?) story about Mexico.  You better plan on going soon, Mayan's predict the end of the world for 12/21/2012.  Well.. really they are not sure.  Maybe someone was slacking and didn't carry on the calendar or it really is judgement day ...

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jorgevargas on

Sooo enjoyable!
I enjoyed terribly-in a 'tequila' way, which is good-reading the whole thing! Seriously it is uplifting to read from somebody who is so full of life; and if one is familiar with the place-my case- then it is an extra bonus to revived those memories from an unforgettable place and great good people.

schlossie on

Re: Sooo enjoyable!
That was so nice of you to say. Thanks so much!

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