Updated: Apr 6, 2021
I've never been much of a storyteller, but our last month feels like it was pulled straight from a fairytale...
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We left from Vancouver, Canada and arrived in Mexico City - gathered our things to make the 27-hour journey towards Tulum.
Tulum is located about 1 hour south of Cancun, along a gorgeous stretch of coast known as the Riviera Maya. Tulum has exploded as a destination in the last few years. As a result, there have been a lot of changes and new hotel developments both in Tulum Pueblo (town) and Tulum Playa (beach).
To date, this ancient tropical city has been one of my most favourite places to visit, and I fall in love with it more each day. I’ve stayed in 2 stunning Airbnb's and Tulum continues to host the chicest hotels, restaurants, and bars. It’s pretty much made for exploring and Instagram photos. Most especially I have fallen in love with the bohemian and eco-friendly vibes.
Tulum is the historical site of Mayan ruins and here are some things you should know...
The city of Tulum was previously known as Zama, meaning City of Dawn.
Its current name means fence or trench in Mayan.
Being both on a sea and land route, it had major historical importance as a centre of trading.
The city flourished between the 13th and the 15th centuries, fading only 70 years after the Spanish army started conquering today’s Mexico.
Although there is no specific data about its population at its height, estimates put it between 1,000 and 1,600.
Tulum ruins are perched on 12 metre high cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea.
It is the 3rd most visited site in Mexico and the most visited spot in the state of Quintana Roo.
The site was inhabited as early as the 6th century.
Tulum is a rare city built by the Mayans because it is one of the few walled cities.
We arrived at our first Airbnb after a long journey, through a new country, with a new language and climate. We spent 2 nights on the way there at Hotels, it was a nice change to be "served". Someone to wash our towels, laundry and cooked meals from the lobby restaurant, we quickly realized that we needed our own kitchen and space. Especially with 2 young kiddos!
While scouring the internet for beautiful locations and Airbnb's. I found this incredibly stunning and affordable apartment with a rooftop patio and pool.
On the upper level, you were overlooking the jungle surrounded by beautiful almost Morrocan style decor. There was a bar perfect for working on my laptop and a comfortable lounging area. My fiance even spent one night outside!
The bedrooms were beautifully decorated with pending wicker lights and colourful handmade rugs. Macrame and colourful patterns were found throughout! all of these items created the perfect homy touch and makes it an Instagram worthy accommodation.
This Airbnb had almost everything you would need! They provided natural insect insense and coconut insense always making it smell like heaven. There was a well-written guide of the local area explaining Tulum and suggestions for activities, locations, and services.
Did I mention the incredible view for sunset?
The layout was quite unique here and I loved it! As you walk into the entrance it was divded by two doors/sides. On the right, you entered the apartment, equipped with the kitchen, master suite, living space, patio and staircase for the rooftop lounge. On the left was another master suite, equipped with it's own fridge and safe. This allows for the apartment to be rented separately or divided when the owner is living there.
The kitchen small and simple with all the appliances and dishware you need. Beautifully handcrafted dish sets, a Moroccan tea set, and many more decorative touches.
Have you seen Coco? The concept for Coco is inspired by the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. There was a cute pattern skull bottle opener along with pattern skull art throughout the apartment. Creating the perfect touch and reflection of the Mexican culture.
The apartment was located within a quiet community in the jungle. On the main street/level Aldea Zama you could find a pharmacy, fresh food market, cafés and boutique stores.
From Aldea Zama, we moved onto our next location an Airbnb located on the other side of town. This space is bright, modern, welcoming!
To get here there's a terrible gravel road on the outskirts of town, I'll have to admit I was second-guessing where maps was taking us. We turned a corner to find a beautiful community of apartments and multi-floor homes. Some of the apartments are for sale and residents but mostly rented as a hotel or Airbnb.
Over the last few years, Tulum's coast has been suffering from excessive algae. What once was a small pristine fishing village has become one of the world's top travel destinations. the elevation is low and the land is flat, there are no rivers or streams. However, what lies below the surface is a vast system of the world largest underground river.
Over 65 million years ago, the yucatan peninsula was a coral reef. When the water levels changed after the last ice age, life and jungle grew over this limestone platform left behind.
Over time a massive cave system was born. Where collapsed sections are called a cenote.
Water is filtered through the soft porous limestone and settle underground. It is the only source of freshwater, eventually making its way to the sea.
Developments have been rocketing and with insufficient infrastructure, the natural environment is at risk. As you walk about the streets, garbage covers the edges and is found tucked away in the bush. Construction fills in the mangroves which filter their water, they are a natural septic system. This water follows the current out to sea creating the crystal clear and clean water that you see.
Tulum has poor sewage construction, pouring beneath the surface into their cave system. Killing the second largest barrier reef system on the planet. Much like the human body, all of these systems work together creating a healthy environment.
As we settle down in Tulum, we will be visiting local owners, artists, developers and residents about the problems they have and a solution to slowly bring the area back to life.
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