It’s that time of year in Ontario when the weather tries to play tricks on us. It shifts from a balmy plus 10 degrees to a disgraceful minus 7 degrees the next; teasing us with the idea that Spring is near. Not awesome. Especially as I always seem to choose a jacket that is either too light to keep me warm or so insulated that I’m round like the Michelin Man.
Ahhhh, let me reminisce. Take me back to ‘Meh’-’he’-’co’.
Early February I spent 9 glorious days in Tulum. It was my second time there and I continue to love it … in fact, I think I will try to make this a yearly escape. Here’s a recap of my days …. And many reasons for you to add this to your list of must visit places.
Where I Stayed
I didn’t stay in one of those sexy, breezy, beach-front boutique cabins; instead, I opted to AirBnB in what they call the ‘bungalows’. Essentially a gated community of really nice apartments. What I love about Tulum, is that the people seem to build with the jungle, with nature. Buildings are low (like 3 stories) and immersed in foliage. Everything is sanctuary-like. If you stay in the ‘pueblo’, again, short buildings (many of which are AirBnB’s as well) but clustered and in the center of the town’s tourist shops and bustling bars and restaurants.
I love AirBnB’ing it as I love to cook. I love finding the authentic tortillerias, hitting up produce stands and local markets (this is adjusted to whichever country I am visiting); to me, there is something magical in experiencing a place’s authenticity. And how can you screw up tacos and guac? Dessert? Just give me a juicy mango.
Things To Do
Of course, I checked off typical tourist excursions…. Xel-Ha (think a Disney Park but in Mexico …. and everything related to water, i.e. snorkeling, inner-tubing, swimming with stingrays, water slides), Chichen Itza, Tulum Ruins… and a few cenotes (this is touristy BUT a MUST DO!)
What I love most about Tulum though, is the uber-relaxed energy that pervades this little piece of Mayan coastline. It may be the wellness spas and endless yoga shalas that are primarily responsible for this … and I will say, they are at least responsible for why I love Tulum.
I love yoga. A lot. I love pushing myself to achieve poses that require more strength, more balance, more concentration and more peace. There is so much yoga in Tulum … you can explore styles, meet teachers who are traveling from afar, take part in a sound bath or a crystal healing ceremony, all part of deepening your spiritual practice. Yoga Shala brings many visiting teachers and offers the most robust selection of classes. Practicing at Sanara is a must; the studio faces the ocean and is simply stunning. Yaan Wellness offers tree-top yoga … which totally added to my goddess vibe.
They really deserve their own post … but here are some nuggets from my experience.
I enjoyed a full body massage and a detoxifying full body clay application at the Mayan Clay spa. Beautiful, gold, Mayan clay was rubbed all over me, offering me the following benefits:
Stimulates the skin’s function
Detoxes & energizes the skin and internal organs
Mineralises and energizes
Exfoliates and regenerates skin tissue
Absorbs impurities and acids from the skin tissue
Acts as a sedative for the central nervous system when applied to the spine and nape of the neck
Balances the electromagnetic energy field of the body when applied as a complete body mask
This was done in a private shala, but with the thatch roof and bamboo walls to let the ocean breeze through. I had to shower open air to wash off all the clay … and yes … naked .. (of course). I felt so very in tune with nature. And many times in this lifetime will you say you showered outdoors?
The other spa I was able to visit was the wellness center at Sanara. OMG. I am sure I found heaven. The buildings are white-washed, with wicker light fixtures, decor all in zen-inducing shades. You feel at peace and celebrity-like at the same time… but let the treatments begin! I opted for 3 treatments. I began with the facial. Best facial I have ever received. No gadgets. No extractions. No product even! She simply used argan oil … and her hands. For about an hour she incorporated lymphatic drainage, acupressure and Tanaka (Japanese facial technique) to my face and neck. Gone were my dark circles and I was radiant.
This was followed by a full body exfoliation, simply done with coffee grinds, cacao and coconut oil (and I am sure some other beautiful body loving oils). I was cocooned for about 15 minutes and then left to shower in what I wish was my home bathroom. I could see the ocean and swaying palm trees as I rinsed.
Lastly, I experienced their massage. The technique is all I have to say. 3 and half hours later, I felt like all the stresses of 2017 were rubbed away.
No visit to Tulum is done without having a mojito at Batey. The (kinda) divey bar located in the center of town. It’s very Kensington Market to me (if you know Toronto, you will get this reference). They have live music every night and it’s a poppin place. If you want to make friends, sit down and try your best at ‘hablas una poquito de ingles?’; in no time you will have a cluster of expat locals and tourists asking you how you ended up in Tulum. The question you will be asking yourself is how soon do you get to come back.