This city is now THE place for Americans. Cancun is a tourists trap from the airport to the beach. Can’t blame them though for building what everyone wants, all you can eat and drink with no sense of a true Mexico. Just 2 hours south you can find ruins, cenotes, and 20 somethings clubbing.
My new hostel friends and I rented a car and drove down. We rented a massive new airbnb in a fancy complex. Officially ready to explore and swim. The rental car is really a requirement if you plan on leaving your hotel. Cabs are expensive and walking is farther than you’d think. I suggest ditching the druggies at the day clubs and heading out into the jungles. Cenotes or natural wells are found at every turn and each is more unique than the last. They are clean, cheap, and more of a local destination. We visited 5 in Tulum and that was just skimming the surface.
Some are in underwater caves, others in jungles, some have tunnels leading deep in the earth with no light, all have incredible water to swim in.
Cenote Escondido & Crystal
When we lost the rental car to some friends leaving for the airport we rented bikes. January in Mexico was crowded to say the least so it was impossible to find. Eventually we secured 3 and spent the day enjoying downtown Tulum. 100% different vibe. Tulum basically has 3 sections. The southern beach clubs, the northern beaches and ruins, and downtown. The first two are mostly tourists, the last mostly locals.
With the bikes in tow we kicked off early one morning to explore the ruins. Racing from downtown along the broken sidewalks dodging through traffic and construction, enjoying the breeze and the sun. We explored the ruins along the cliffside watching the turquoise water from above. From there we met a tour operator who had a boat leaving in 20 minutes for a snorkel and to see turtles. Cash exchanged and we raced down to the beach, locking our bikes along with the hundreds of others. With no time to stop we ditched our clothes and headed to the boat.
An hour later we were back on land, salty, starving, and full of love for the ocean. We saw turtles, sting ray, and plenty of fish. We collapsed at a beach bar and ordered a million thing not caring how expensive this was going to be. Aguachiles and coconut shrimp were inhaled and I remembered, shit I had a client call in an hour. None of the beach clubs had strong enough wifi for a video call and then there was the DJs. I flashed the credit card, ran to my bike, and sprinted towards the southern beach club area. We had dinner at this bar restaurant earlier in the week that had stellar wifi and lots of space.
With my macbook tucked around my towel I was off. 30 minutes to get from the northern beaches down to the south. I arrived sweaty but successful. Then negotiated in Spanish for a quiet corner and the music lowered. Before leaving me, he asked if I wanted a cocktail, well yes I did deserve it. I joined the call and spent the afternoon working. My friends met me at the bar and we headed to the rooftop for sunset, feeling like a true remote work success story.
Points of interest:
Beach Club Bar: aguachiles, coconut shrimp, and turtles
Mateo’s restaurant: cocktails, rooftops, and wifi
Ruinas: cliffside ancient Mayan ruins
Ahau Tulum: mother earth sculpture
Cenotes: Escondido, Crystal, Sac Actun, Nic Te Ha