Now for my favorite part: TULUM!!! :-D
Since we had rented a car, we spent two days in Tulum while staying in Playa Del Carmen. Both times we left saying we wanted to come back and visit Tulum when we had more time to explore. Well, little did we know we would have more time in THIS trip! lol!!! :-D
We were scheduled to leave after 7 days in Mexico but when they did our COVID tests to fly home, two of us (Brandon and Bryce) came back with positive test results. Nana, Kasen and I were all fine so Nana was able to fly home as planned but the rest of us stayed a little longer. We booked this Airbnb in the Tulum jungle to rest and rejuvenate.
Some of these photos were from the days we spent in Tulum before they tested positive for COVID, so keep in mind those days we were not staying away from people as much! Once we knew, we chose activities where social distancing wasn't an issue.
This was at a little stand/outdoor cafe in the beach zone. We spent a few days down in the beach zone and there was still so much to see and do! It's a pretty long strip of shops, restaurants, cafe's and resorts with beach clubs that you can enjoy.
I can't remember the name of this cafe but the boys got coconuts and we had iced coffees - which I wouldn't recommend! lol!! Everything else looked amazing but I learned that when it's not on the menu but they tilt their head and say, "hmmm yes, we can make that for you!" Don't do it! Order from the menu! lol!!
It seems every shop, bar, resort and restaurant has swings or hammocks. There is no shortage of them in Tulum!! There were even some swings that didn't swing! :-P But hey, they were there!
Family friendly beach clubs were something we took advantage of and I would totally recommend it to anyone going with or without kids!! It gave us a chance to experience different areas of the beach, decor and food, while still having the luxuries of a resort with food service, restrooms, showers and sometimes a pool. There are plenty of adults-only hotels and beach clubs. From our experience, for every place that allowed families and children, there was one that didn't.
We first were interested in Nomade Tulum. It's beautiful and so peaceful! There is an entire section of the resort that is adults-only but a little further down is another entrance where children are allowed. We decided against going this time because their beach club is only open from 12-6pm based on availability and the food/drink minimum was $115usd per person with a 50% discount for children. We felt like spending $345usd on just one afternoon at the beach wasn't the best option for us.
We stumbled upon Akiin Tulum. It was family friendly and they had a food/drink minimum of $55usd per adult and the children were free. That included use of the pool and all the shaded lounge areas, sunbeds, etc. Everything was clean and the wait staff was super friendly. We would definitely go here again! The music was a little loud but we had such a great afternoon we weren't complaining at all!
A Tulum beach club isn't complete without swings or hammocks and Akiin delivered on that! ;-)
Tulum town is a completely unique experience from the beach zone! This area isn't as pretty but has just as much of the Tulum vibe and spirit as the rest of it. The restaurants in town are just as delicious as the ones in the beach zone, but without the high prices. One of our favorites was Sabor De Mar. Same with souvenirs or clothing - definitely can negotiate and get some great deals in town.
I gathered so much decoration inspo from this trip it's insane!! I can't even tell you how much it hurt to not be able to ship large furniture back to the states!! lol!!
There are so many photo opps in Tulum. I just had to calm down and let the photos happen organically. Otherwise I'd have been constantly saying, "STOP HERE!! Let's take a photo!!" :-D This huge sign is on the interstate right before getting into town.
Cenote Taakbi-Ha was better than I imagined! We let the boys each choose an activity they wanted to do after we found out we were staying longer than planned. Kasen had seen photos of this and immediately asked to go "see the cave"! It was INCREDIBLE!!
Since we rented a car, we drove to the cenote ourselves (I say that, BRANDON drove us there!! lol! I didn't have to be the brave one driving in Mexico.) Getting there was a little tricky but not too difficult.
It's about 20 minutes from Tulum and since there are other cenotes in the same area, we just followed the gps/signage for Cenote Dos Ojos. You don't have to stop at the entrance for tickets, that's only for Dos Ojos. We kept going on the dirt road into the jungle past the other cenotes until we passed the area for Dos Ojos, then about another minute on the left there's a sign saying to turn left to Taakbi Ha.
It was only 350 pesos per person for adults and children over 6 and it was worth so much more!! BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Kasen was very pleased with his decision to visit this cave. We spent about 45 minutes in there and he didn't want to leave when we were ready to go! Social distancing wasn't an issue here either - since we weren't with a tour group or anything we weren't clustered together with people and we could spend as long as we wanted in the cave.
Oh, one more thing! It's Mexico so if you're taking kids keep in mind that nothing dangerous is roped off. They're very "explore at your own risk" out here, which I appreciate but if you're used to America where even the possibility of a sharp object is barricaded or roped off, it's a little shocking to see all the danger everywhere!
This huge rock/public beach area is close to the beginning of the Tulum beach zone. We stopped here a couple times just to chill and one day even watched one of the locals fish with nets right in front of us on the beach.
Every time we take a trip like this I feel like they grow up so much. They really learn a lot more than I realize on these adventures.
There were tons of fish here so the boys swam while watching pelicans dive in for a catch.
The view from our Airbnb deck was breathtaking and the place is all windows in the living room. We really had such a relaxing time here and the boys enjoyed the pool and were excited to have a "backyard" to play in!
I will say at first we were shocked to find that we actually were in the Tulum jungle! Dirt roads with 1' deep potholes leading to this compound looking structure... it was a little intimidating at first but once the owner came and showed us around and how to get in, we felt very safe! It's surrounded with 10' block walls, electric wire and a security system so the boys were completely safe to play and we could see them from the apartment.
Okay... this was one of those surreal moments I'd been dreaming of for a long time. Azulik is a beautiful resort in the beach zone where I dream of staying someday for a romantic getaway but in the meantime, I had to visit their museum, SFER IK.
The resort is adults-only but the museum is open to families with children, I just had to keep reminding them to move slowly and quietly! "Boys, this is like a library - silence is golden!" lol!!
If you're thinking of visiting, there are some rules. Shoes must be removed at the door and only phone cameras are permitted, no use of professional cameras. The entrance is a little hidden with jungle leaves leading to a giant round hobbit-like door. It was $10usd per adult and children were free.
This room didn't get as much attention as the rest of the museum but it was just as incredible in it's own way. I felt like I could sit here for hours - the perfect place to pray.
You'll see immediately that this place is a magnet for social media "influencers". lol! I say that laughingly because it was just a little bit ridiculous. Rather than coming in and taking in the beauty of the museum, people were staring at their phones, posing for photos and then running back to their phones to see how they looked.
Don't get me wrong, I love taking photos! There's nothing wrong with basking in the light of your beauty like this little fella!! ;-) But if you're not living the moment and fully experiencing it, what's the point of taking a photo of it? I hope that my photos capture the moments we're living, not just creating content or manipulating photos that are unrealistic.
Another beach club we enjoyed on our last full day in Tulum was Alma Tulum. Their food/beverage minimum was $25usd per adult and 50% off for children.
The fish tacos here were AHH-mazing!! We had ordered guac and chips for the boys and then one order of fish tacos. Well, we crushed those in a matter of seconds and ordered two more plates of fish tacos right away! :-D
Hammocks were right behind our cabana and the boys loved those! When they weren't playing in the water, they were swinging on hammocks and baby JJ was so excited to join them!
It feels like I'm leaving out so much! I will say if you're thinking about visiting Tulum with kids, staying at an Airbnb and trying different beach clubs was the best thing we could've done. It may have been a more budget friendly option, but even if it was the same cost to stay at a resort in the beach zone, I loved that we weren't just at the same resort eating the same food everyday.
Last year we did an all-inclusive resort in Cancun and it was great! That's definitely the Cancun experience but Tulum is different. I feel like in order to really experience it, you have to move around and try different places.
Well, I have so much unpacking to do so I'm going to get off here!!
If you have any questions feel free to comment or send me a msg!