I visited Tulum on two separate occasions; the first time during my journey from Casa Guatemala to meet my mum in Playa del Carmen. The stay was short but sweet and I enjoyed my time simply on the beautiful beaches. However I missed out on the ruins this time and instead made a promise to myself I would come back to experience them.
Turns out I made a great decision as my second visit to Tulum was packed with new adventures and memories! I was actually lucky enough to be in the area during the annual turtle nesting season and one evening I very randomly hopped in a van with some friends to visit the beach with the hope of spotting one of these majestic creatures bring new life into the world.
Now we didn’t see one turtle; we actually saw in total 4 turtles laying eggs and witnessed their incredible ritual of burying the eggs before regressing back into the sea. It was truly a beautiful experience and it was made even more incredible as we were joined by a conservationist scouring the beach to record data of the nests and turtles! He advised and showed us what was acceptable in terms of causing the least distress possible to the turtles and also departed interesting knowledge about the turtles and their breeding patterns! For example, did you know that the female is able to carry the sperm of many different males and will lay the eggs of each male individually throughout the nesting season! Not only a feat of nature but she’s a great “single” mum too!
Tulum it seemed was also a visit for firsts as myself and Glen ventured into the Cenotes to do some cavern diving! The first site, The Pit, took me to 36m the deepest (and darkest) I have been so far! I won’t say that at first it didn’t frighten me a little as of course we were diving into a deep dark vast cavern. However once I settled in the dive was probably one of the most incredible I have ever done! Cenotes are a mixture of fresh and saltwater and are incredibly clear with fantastic visibility; apart from where the fresh and salt actually mix which creates a halocline. Passing through the halocline was certainly disconcerting as everything went blurry, it kind of feels like your goggles are messed up or your going blind! One of the two! Diving through the cavern with stalactites dipping down from above and the cenote opening in the distance glowing as the light permeates from the surface and then you look down into the deep dark gloom below. There really is no other feeling like it!
Dos Ojos was the second site, much shallower but also a much more confined dive. It truly felt more like diving through a cave as we wove our way through tunnels and around large stalactites and stalagmites. It was also a much darker dive due to the nature of this cenote! At one point during the dive we surfaced in a cavern known as the bat cave, where hundreds of bats were hanging from the roof! Cenote diving might not be for everyone and if I wasn’t so incredibly comfortable under the water I probably wouldn’t have done it especially with such little previous dive experience. However it seems that somehow being underwater completely offsets my fear of deep water, the dark and tight spaces!!
Hiring bikes is also both a main activity in Tulum and mode of transport as the walks between the main town, ruins and beaches are quite a distance. With a few friends we hired bikes to venture to some of the nearby Cenotes to enjoy them from above the surface rather than below! At Grand Cenote we were able to swim in and around the caves with ease but unfortunately we didn’t manage to see anymore because the rain put a dampener on it! We did however later in the evening ride from Tulum town all the way to the Hotel Zone near the beach to sample a few well-needed beverages! Eufemia was a cute little beach-front bar with a selection of tasty tacos and I can vouch for the Casa Gaviota bar across the road as well with their scrumptious selection of cocktails!
The next (and my last day in Mexico) I finally managed to bike to the ruins! They truly were spectacular despite not having the grandiosity or height of the other temples I have seen the beach/cliffside setting really does make these ruins a worthy visit for any ruin enthusiast (or tourist really)!