Spending some time in the sun at Tulum.

When I booked my most recent trip to Mexico people either scoffed that it was “a long way to go for a week”, or they protested that I’d “only just been on holiday”.

To those that scoffed, I reminded them that with my trip last year to India, I’d travelled further in seven days. And I’d also managed week-long jaunts in Puerto Rico and Cuba in 2016 too, so long haul travel is possible in a week.

And to those that protested about yet another holiday so soon after my week in Cyprus, I said “so what?”. After having to quit my job and unexpectedly move back to Reading, my whole world was turned upside down, so I felt like I needed a little me time, as well as time to complete my 30 countries before 30 challenge.

And so, just six days after booking the trip, I jumped on a plane at London Gatwick and flew nearly 5,000 miles in 10-and-a-half hours to the Mexican coastal town of Playa Del Carmen. Yes, it was a long way to go in a week, but it was totally worth it, especially when I got to spend a few days on the beach at Tulum…

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I think it’s safe to say that until I visited Tulum, I’d never really ever visited paradise. Because the beaches at Tulum are the epitome of paradise. The wide, pearly-white sandy beaches and warm azure-green sea have definitely helped to put the Riviera Maya on the world tourism map.

Located about 75 miles south of the big resort of Cancun, the once sleepy beach outpost has become a fashionable, yet low-key, escape for families, couples and solo travellers like myself. A few days on the beach here and I had not only an amazing tan, but also total peace of mind. I felt restored, rejuvenated and completely relaxed.

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As you can see from the pictures, the beach was pretty empty when I arrived at about 11am. You’d think with sand this white and sea this clear, they’d be hoards of people lounging around on the shore, splashing in the ocean and picnicking in the shade of the few palm trees that edged the beach. But this place is an undiscovered gem, a literal paradise.

Why was it so quiet? I guess it could partially be because it was a Tuesday morning in May; locals could all be hard at work or busy in school. Or it could be down to the fact that the beach is quite far away from the main resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. To get to here I took a one-and-a-half hour ride on a Collectivo bus to the centre of Tulum, then walked about 45 minutes to get to the beach…

All that travelling was worth it though, look:

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A short wander up the beach, towards the Tulum ruins, I came across the most gorgeous beach bar, Pancho Villa.

I assume it was named after Francisco “Pancho” Villa, the Mexican Revolutionary, but there was nothing rebellious about this place. The bar was quiet and the vibe was chilled, the sun loungers were comfy and the owner, Omar, became my new best friend for the day.

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I mentioned before that the beach was quiet; well, if it hadn’t been for the low hum of the chill-out soundtrack being played through the surround system at the back, this beach bar looked and felt like it had been abandoned, a ghost town. I guess those beach goers further up were saving their pennies by parking up their towels on the sand, as it was 250 pesos (about £10) for the privilege of the sun lounger at Pancho Villa for the day.

But never mind that, life’s for living and money is for spending.

So once seated and suntan lotion applied, super friendly Omar popped over for a chat. I fancied an ice cold, refreshing Michelada – a drink I’d sampled in a Mexican bar once in Barcelona, and had started drinking here in Mexico. But I was faced with a dilemma: the menu had Chelada and Michelada listed, what was the difference? Which one should I choose?

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Omar explained that a Michelada is made with beer, fresh lime juice and assorted hot sauces, spices and peppers, served in a chilled, spice-rimmed glass. While the Chelada is a slightly tamer version, minus the hot sauces, spices and peppers, and the glass is salt-rimmed. Anyone who knows me will testify how much I like a Bloody Mary with extra Tabasco, so it was the spicier Michelada that I plumped for, served with a Modelo beer. 

Once he’d brought it over, Omar added that it’s “good when you drink a lot of alcohol”. I assumed he meant it was a good remedy for a hangover, and said we have a saying in the UK, “hair of the dog”. I don’t think he quite understood that, but he smiled, nodded and wandered off.

I was left in peace, with just my own thoughts and a Suduko book to occupy my mind, while looking out to this…

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At about 5.30pm, knowing how long it had taken to get to Tulum, I figured I better start making my way back. I paid my tab with Omar, and begrudgingly put my shorts and t-shirt back on.

Even at that time in the evening, it was still about 27c and people were still out enjoying the sun, sand and sea.

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It was about quarter to eight in the evening by the time I made it back to the hotel in Playa del Carmen. A long, tiring day with lots of travel, but totally worth the trek. So the next day my friend Emma decided she wanted to see Tulum for herself, so off we went for another day in beach heaven.

The epitome of paradise, I kinda wish I could have just hung up a hammock and stayed there overnight, or forever…

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129 thoughts on “Spending some time in the sun at Tulum.

    1. Thanks Clarissa! Whereabouts are you in the UK? There’s a beach on the south coast called West Wittering, the sand isn’t as white as Tulum in Mexico, but it’s a beautiful UK beach 🙂 x

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  1. I’m glad you didn’t listen to the people scoffing at doing another trip away so quickly. I haven’t done long haul in a week although it’s very tempting. I did Hawaii in about 9 days though and that was a manic amount of travel x

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    1. I’ve done a few long hauls in just a week now, and I’ve never really had an issues with jet lag or being tired from the amount of travelling. I managed to pack so much into India and Puerto Rico too. I’d recommend trying it if you can x

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  2. What an amazing place to travel to to escape for a week! I am actually going there in December, I have my tickets booked and I am looking forward to it. I have a friend in Tulum so I can’t wait to get to know the local life. 🙂

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    1. Glad to hear I’m not the only one crazy enough to go there for a week Melanie! I do wish I’d stayed for longer though 😦 where have you been when you visited? Any recommendations for when I go back? x

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  3. If they complained about your travels girl then they would hate me because so long as I alive and able to afford travels I am out. Right now I am in Bali for my pre-30th celebrations and when I return I have 5 more trips booked before I turn 30.
    Glad you trekked and enjoyed this gorgeous beach

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    1. Hahaha! You sound just like me Anosa – I wish I had that many trips lined up! Where else will you be going once you’re back from Bali? I’m considering Indonesia actually, but not sure if now is a good time of year…? x

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  4. As a travel and lifestyle blogger that often funds trips myself, I know how you feel. Wish people wouldn’t judge so much.
    Now Mexico! Whoa, I’ve wanted to go for ages, and those beaches are so perfect. Looking forward to reading more about your trip

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    1. Thanks Mellissa, I appreciate the support – all my recent travels are self-funded, so I really wish people wouldn’t judge me. I think those that know me well, and know what I’ve been through recently, are much more supportive! Plus everyone knows I’m on my mission to do 30 countries before I’m 30, and I have just 3 weeks left to do it! Arghhhhh! x

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    1. Yes, I can definitely vouch for that Nayna – if you’re prepared to travel outside of the resorts (Playa del Carmen and Cancun), there are some amazing places to discover in Mexico x

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    1. Thanks Colette! I wish more people were like you and positive about me exploring the world 👍🏻 my recent travels are all self funded too, so it’s not like I’m jetting off on a load of freebies lol! I’m off to Jordan tomorrow, so make sure you follow on Insta for the latest travel snaps x

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  5. Wow, these pictures are amazing! I’d have to agree, it does look like it the ‘epitome of paradise’ 🙂 The best part is that it’s not even crowded! I wish Mexico wasn’t SOOOO far from where I live 😦

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  6. First: People saying you just went on vacation, or trying to dictate how far is too far… *insert eyeroll here*. That is not for them to say, unless you are using their money and time (which, of course, I assume you are not.) Crazy. Who are they to say?

    Second: Very nice location, and pretty beach! We’re hoping for a nice tropical vacation for Christmas this year, and are already planning to look in this area. Will have to do some poking around and see what we think!

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    1. Hey Meg, thanks so much for the supportive comment 🙂 Definitely not spending anyone else’s money, all my travels are self-funded, so yeah, you’re right – and I’m having a break off work at the moment, so not using anyone’s time either!

      I 100% recommend Tulum for Christmas vacation, though I would say if you’re going for a week then maybe do what I did and stay in Playa del Carmen and travel to Tulum for a few day trips – there’s not much else to do there except the beach and the ruins, so if you want something a bit more lively, you may be better staying in Playa like I did 🙂 x

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  7. It is so beautiful there. I was there 3 years ago on the same beach but there were even fewer people. I hung out in one of the beach bars that had swings at the bar as seats. I loved it and couldn’t believe that despite it being read hot, the sand was cool and didn’t burn my feet!!

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    1. You’re so right! My friend and I actually commented about how cool the sand was, considering it was so hot! I just got back from a trip to Jordan, where I went to the Dead Sea, and the sand there was so scorching that you could hardly walk from the sea to your sun lounger! I wonder why that is? x

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  8. That beach looks amazing! Never apologise for doing what you love. Some like a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes, some like the newest technology and people like us love travel. And when you can visit beaches like this I say good choice 😉

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    1. Hahaha! You’re so right Claire – I love travelling, and would much prefer to spend my time and money on seeing the world than buying clothes and shoes (though obviously they’re nice too!) 😉 x

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  9. You go girl! Happy to see you go after what you want without caring what other people think (they are just jealous). You are very inspiring to live your life to the fullest. In addition to your article we have heard nothing, but great things about Tulum. Your pictures were amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I think if you have the chance to travel, go for it! The World is an amazing place, go explore. Your stay in Mexico looks divine, and just perfect. It looks as I imagine it would, and I can totally understand why people travel all that way for such wonder. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That beach looks amazing! I am such a fan of beaches and that white sand, stunning. I love how beautiful everything there seems to be.

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  12. Beautiful beach and no worries at a place like this. As you draw closer to your goal, let me toss in two that might be easy to do. Gibraltar or Malta. Or think of a continent you haven’t visited and go there.

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