Tulum Travel Guide // Christmas Vacation Recap
Very rarely do I get to go on vacation for one holiday, much less two, so I want to express how grateful I am to my parents for both planning two of the best trips I’ve ever been on! My mom planned a trip for my sister, me, and Dalton to spend a few days before Christmas in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. However, Dalton had to stay in Arkansas to practice for a bowl game, so I ended up bringing his sister, Melanie. Logyn (my sister) also brought her best friend, Skylar along! It was absolutely stunning and such a great vacation. We love a girls trip. I’m here to share all of the things you need to know about going on a vacation in Tulum!
Once again, before I start sharing details, I just want to reiterate what I said in my Lake Tahoe blog post, this is something my family felt safe doing. We are all taking Coronavirus very seriously and would not travel if we did not. We followed all precautions and advice presented to us without hesitation and felt very safe everywhere we went. No one ended up getting sick, nor were any of us infected before we took our trip, so we are confident that we kept ourselves and the people around us safe. Let's talk about Tulum!
As with my Lake Tahoe trip, we opted to stay in an Airbnb. I find that this is the best option because you can typically reserve an Airbnb with a kitchen, which is good for saving money. You can go out to eat a couple of times but cook a lot, too. We stayed at the Artia Condos in Tulum, which I will link here. It was absolutely stunning! We had three stories with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a private jacuzzi, and we had a complex pool included in our stay, as well. By booking this Airbnb we also got a free 4-person beach club pass to The Papaya Playa Project, so we only had to pay for one person, as we had five people in our party.
On our first day, we went to the grocery store called Chedraui. Note: if you travel to Mexico anytime soon, only one person per party can go into the store. Luckily, we were able to sneak a second person in since we needed quite a few things and none of us understood how a grocery store in another country works. After that, we got ready at our condo and enjoyed a fun dinner at Humo, a restaurant/night club (?) in Tulum. The guacamole was delicious, I also ordered quesadillas with cheese and mushrooms and some guacamole to dip it in, and we tried their lemon and chocolate cheesecakes and flaming bananas for dessert. We were actually disappointed with their desserts, but overall we had a good time. I ordered a glass of rosé as well.
On our first full day in Tulum, we headed to The Papaya Playa Project, the beach club included in our Airbnb stay. We enjoyed a relaxing day of swimming in the ocean, and lounging on our beach chairs and beach beds. I read a book and got sunburnt, overall enjoying myself quite a bit. We didn't order any food but we ordered buckets of bottled water and I got an iced americano with soy milk and agave that was so delicious I ordered it again the next time we were there. My sister and her friend ordered watermelon and pineapple juice, both were very good, and Melanie and I ordered a watermelon cocktail that was a little strong, but overall enjoyable.
On the second day we had in Tulum, we planned an excursion with a tour company that I cannot remember the name of. All I know is that my mom booked the excursion through Justine at our Airbnb, and we had a driver named Jaime and a guide named Pamela! They were both fabulous. It included a tour of the Mayan ruins in Tulum, an ATV trail and tour of the cenotes at Aventuras Mayas, and the whole thing pretty much lasted the full day. First we went on a tour of the Mayan ruins in the city of Tulum and the views were breathtaking. We learned so much about the history of Tulum and the Mayans, who are still around today. Pamela gave us such great history lessons and is actually a Mayan descendent, so her knowledge was unmatched.
The next part of our excursion was an ATV trail. Before we did that, we sat and ate some lunch, which was homemade cochinita pibil (a pork dish) and rice, plus I got some tortillas to make myself some little tacos. Once we got to the ATVs, we purchased the insurance because it was a very rocky terrain and we didn't want to have to pay for any damages that might occur if there was an accident. My advice to you is to always purchase the insurance because the way they were explaining it to us, the slightest scrape of a tree branch could cost you up to 11,000 dollars and the insurance was only 45. I am not a good driver regularly, so I opted to ride behind my mom and my sister and her friend doubled up as well. The only lone driver we had was Dalton's sister, Melanie. We were accompanied by two tour guides, Jimmy and Rafael, who drove in front of and behind us to make sure we were safely staying on the trail.
Finally, we were able to take a tour of the cenotes, also with Rafael. The cenotes are basically caves that you can swim in underground. The water is fresh, cool, and apparently really good for your skin. You have to be careful of the rocks on the bottom and the stalactites hanging down from the roof of the cave. It was absolutely beautiful and one of the best experiences we had by far. Rafael is an amazing tour guide and was so nice to me and my family, if you are ever at Aventuras Mayas, PLEASE request Rafael. We actually ended up requesting him for the next day we were there.
On day three in this INCREDIBLE place, we had another reservation at The Papaya Playa Project. This time we requested a cabana further down the beach so we wouldn't be so close to other people, and there was a lot less seaweed in the water for some reason. I ordered the same coffee, my mom got a beer called Victoria that she actually really liked, and I also ordered a strawberry margarita but it came with chili salt and I did not enjoy that. We spent even more time there on this day and we all came back exhausted and sunburnt. My mom also ordered us some tacos from a little place down the street from our Airbnb for dinner.
Wednesday was our last day in Mexico and it was just as lovely as the rest of the trip. We (minus my mom who wanted to stay and relax at the pool) headed back to Aventuras Mayas where Rafael met back up with us and took us on the ziplining tour that we booked as our second excursion. It was a seven zipline course in the middle of the jungle. It was so relaxing once I got over my initial fear of heights. It went by really fast and only lasted a couple of hours, so we had the rest of the day to ourselves. I ended up having a meeting via Zoom, so my mom, sister, Skylar, and Melanie went to the Tulum Food Trucks and explored a bit downtown. They brought me back these delicious empanadas, too!
We had a wonderful time on our trip to Tulum, and if you are planning a trip anytime soon, I hope this helps make your decisions on what to do/where to stay/what to eat a little bit easier.
Love you all so big,