Cancun & Tulum
We arrived in Cancun late afternoon following a lunch stop over in Valladolid after Chichen Itza saying bye to Ellie and Jess. We arrived at our hostel, checked-in then set off to a UPS centre to collect Niamh’s sunglasses.
The next day we slept in a bit, had a great free breakfast at the hostel and got on a two hour bus down to Tulum. We stayed at a hostel called Hostal Che Babel just off the main road which is a good party hostel! We first went for an explore around Tulum town centre for a few hours, had some happy hour coronas and a pizza to share. Back at the hostel everyone was already gearing up for a big night and on the beers, playing cards. After getting talking to everyone there we decided on going to Papaya Playa Project, a beach resort transformed into a beach nightclub every Saturday night. They had Argenis Britos playing from Cadenza records. It was expensive with entrance fees similar to the UK at £15 and beers at £3. I guess it meant that we somewhat curved our consumption!
The following day we checked out of the hostel to go to an AirBnb for the first time this trip. As we could not get in to the flat till mid afternoon we left our bags at the hostel and headed to the beach. With plenty of beaches to choose from we just decided to go to the closest one, Playa Paraiso. We had a really nice day swimming in turquoise water and chilling on the sun beds. Here we paid 200 pesos for a bed but didn’t have to buy anything from the bar. Around 5pm we got a taxi from the beach to the hostel, picked our bags up and walked over to our flat for the next 3 nights. The flat was off the main track in Tulum Riviera and was an area where only the locals live. We loved not seeing any other tourist and see the locals side of Tulum.
The flat we found was lovely , it had a kitchen, bathroom, the biggest bed ever and had bikes for us to use. We cycled off to the closest supermarket to buy food to cook dinner and breakfast for our three day stay. The supermarket we ended up at was nothing like what we were expecting, there was no meat or fish, and the vegetable and fruit selection was poor. We made a tuna salad for two nights which was a refreshing change to what we had been eating since arriving in Mexico. That evening we stayed in and watched a film.
Lin who owned the flat gave us loads of recommendations for beaches and cenotes and so the next day we went to the number 1 beach spot, El Euphemia. To get there we decided to save taxi money and cycle there. What we thought would be 30 minutes was in fact about 50 minutes. Needless to say we were once again very sweaty and in desperate need of a swim. The ride down from the flat was safe as Tulum has great cycle paths from town to the beaches. We’re not sure how much bikes are to rent but if you ever find yourself in Tulum definitely look to get bikes to travel everywhere. The beach was pristine (no seaweed unlike some of the others this year) and the food was incredible. We had grilled and tempura fish tacos for just 30 pesos each – just over £1.
We cycled back to the flat just before 6pm and had another chilled night. A storm was nicely brewing up so we got to see some lightening that night.
For our final day in Tulum we went to a Cenote in the morning, this is a sinkhole with fresh water at the bottom. The one we decided to go to – Cenote Calavera – was great for jumping into with three different jumping points. One big one, then two jumps through narrow holes in the rocks. We had a great time jumping in (eventually for Niamh) and snorkelling around the water with the fish which bite you if you stay still long enough. Entry here was 100 pesos each (£3.72) and you can spend as long as you like here. The Gran Cenote was just down the road but we decided not to go and save a bit of money. Instead we cycled back to the same beach for the rest of the afternoon.
After spending the afternoon there we cycled back, showered and walked to a restaurant for some dinner. This was another recommendation and slightly off the tourist track. We got some octopus cerviche and a dish of prawns cooked a la plancha. The medium size octopus cerviche would have sufficed between us and only cost 6 pounds. The prawns were cooked perfectly too so we ended up eating a lot of food for under £10. Following on from food we went for one last drink in a Cuban bar with live music and dancing, then went back to make sure we got the morning bus back to Cancun.
We got into Cancun just after lunchtime the next day. We decided to change hostel since the last one was boring. So we booked into Mezcal hostel which was conveniently close to the bus station. Instantly we regretted not having booked here the previous week. They had activities planned during the day and loads of parties at night headed by their crazy Mexican events manager. They also offered free dinner and free breakfast. At 7.50 pounds a night per person this was a steal.
That evening we took part in the activities organised by the events manager. They started with darts and with neither of us having played before we weren’t expecting much at all from this apart from the embarrassment of missing the board!! As it turned out Stu had some true beginners luck and came 2nd overall. The next activity was Mexican Macho impressions. Stu got signed up by someone else and was first on the list. For the game you had to ride an imaginary horse, get off it, kick open an imaginary bar entrance door shouting “HOLAAAAA, ME GUSTA EL TEQUILA”, get poured tequila into your mouth by some girl called Maria, do a Mexican shout, and finally do a sexy dance. Stu ended up 2nd again but really should have won. He was the best and the winner was designated by the loudest cheering from spectators. The guy who won had a bigger team behind him having been there for several nights before. (definitely not still sore about it).
At 10:30 everyone headed out to clubs apart from us two and a few others as we had to be up at 6am to get the airport bus for our flight to Guatemala. Stay tuned for our end of Mexico post!