Nov 27, 2009

Tulum, Mexico

The author sipping coco frio at the ruins of Tulum

For many of us, the Mayan Riviera conjures up images of mystery, adventure and miles of beaches under Mexico sunshine. Not many people, however, experience the Mayan Riviera beyond the large city of Cancun. Few venture past the monolithic hotel and resort complexes that extend south toward the famous reefs of Cozumeland Playa del Carmen. But if one chooses to travel further by just a few hours, one can abandon the over-curated visitor experience to find the natural beauty of the local people and land of the Maya Riviera. For us, our most recent Mexico adventure was to Tulum, ancient Maya seaport of the Yucatan Peninsula.

It was March 2009 and our visit to Tulum was scheduled to extend over the First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox). To anyone living in Michigan, the First Day of Spring is a marker that reminds us that, well, someday the snow will melt. So, as both a gesture to old man winter and in search of sand, beautiful people and adventure, our Tulum trip was one of those impulse vacations I am known to book.
One of my favorite parts of the vacation is the research beforehand. I love reading guides, reviews, and history books about a place before a visit. To me, its as fun as the trip itself. We delved into the history of the Yucatan peninsula; learning more about the Ancient Maya people, the environment of the Yucatan, and its culture as it is today. We arranged our itinerary around the equinox to visit the ruins of Tulum and Coba, as the both the equinoxes and solstices are marked in the precision of the Maya architecture that can be found within its ancient ruins.

In addition to its rich Maya heritage, Tulum is known for its stretch of small, boutique resorts on the beach – many of which characterize themselves as “eco-resorts” (fyi: this term is subject to broad interpretation). Of the various eco-resorts, we selected Azulikknown for its hand-crafted (electricity-free) casitas perched atop a rock outcrop overlooking the ocean. It's intimate setting made for wonderful relaxing (albeit very windy at times) on the patio in the soaking tub. We had amazing sunrises (because of the time change we were wide awake for them) and also enjoyed seeing the stars overhead at night-time.

Time slows down in Mexico. Life is too fast in the north country, in my opinion. Perhaps it is beach culture that melted back the layers of stress that accumulates from a modern American life. Who knows. “Impulse booking,” in the case of this trip, did not mean random. While it was planned last-minute, it was a journey Seth and I needed to take together.

We were grateful time slowed - it allowed Seth and I to reconnect (even if he was drugged on a blend of Actifed and some antibiotics for part of the trip while fighting a sinus infection). Maybe it was the magical moments among the spirits of an ancient past early on Equinox morning at Coba, or perhaps it was the sweet embrace of the balmy ocean breezes. We only know that it gave us time to remember that we share a path together, and we can only hope that it is as lasting as the limestone sacbes made by the Maya people nearly 2,000 years ago.

About the author:

Lisa Rose Starner is the principal for Soil Water Sun Grow Creative. The "Foodie Chefs" of six one six nicknamed her the "Kitchen Alchemist" for her passionate and instinctive approach to cooking. She is one of the true champions of the sustainability movement in West Michigan. She is also a mother of two beautiful kids. 
Rock sculpture at Azulik Beach
Sunrise at Azulik eco-resort
Seth indulging in the Punta Allen ceviche

1 comment:

Rocio said...

Hi! Muy buena entrada. Las fotografías son muy bellas. Me han hecho recordar la vez que yo estuve en algunos hoteles en playa
del carmen
, son muy similares. Saludos