The last stop on my sister’s visit was Tulum. After exploring Playa del Carmen and surrounds, I wanted her to experience the piste de resistance of beaches. I’m not sure why just an hour down the road the beaches are so different, but there is no denying that the Caribbean is clearer near Tulum and possesses a certain magical quality I can’t quite describe.
It’s something you need to experience for yourself.
We booked a room at Zamas Tulum for two nights, and when we arrived were shown to our elevated cabana with a spectacular view of said beach.
“Oh my God, it’s gorgeous!” Cried Holly, who despite her love of the ocean has found herself living in Las Vegas, Nevada for the last fifteen years.
We dumped our luggage in the spacious room with its high pitched thatched roof and made our way out on to the terrace.
“Wow,” was about the only word we could muster as we stared out towards the cobalt horizon.
Now you can take the girl out of Vegas, but, well, you know how the rest goes. Soon, my city-girl, American sister was on her phone searching for the wi-fi signal.
“Umm, it’s a little different down here,” I tried to explain, “There is more of an ‘eco’ vibe and so there isn’t any wi-fi or television in the rooms, which is great because you can totally unplug and relax, and later we can go down to the restaurant where they have wi-fi.”
Holly hesitated a little before a wide smile crept across her face.
“It’s fine! I’m not THAT much of a city girl, and besides, look at the VIEW! Who needs TV anyway??!!”
We chose our beds, with Holly being closer to the window to catch the sea breeze in the evenings, and Tyrhone and I closer to the door. Each double bed was wrapped firmly in crisp white sheets and draped in heavy Mexican blankets. A sheer mosquito net was tied up above each bed to protect us from the little suckers while we slept.
We grabbed our reading material and made our way out onto the terrace again, though it was hard to choose between our books and that view. I could stare at the ocean for hours and hours, it is so healing just to be near it.
“It’s so pretty here,” Holly repeated over and over.
We sat and chatted and laughed and read a little (but not a lot). We took photos of the beautiful room and rustic bathroom before we messed it up, so we could brag on social media later (we were okay being ‘unplugged’ for a little while, but that didn’t mean we were going to miss an opportunity to make Holly’s friends back in Vegas very, very jealous later!).
That night we feasted on delicious grilled prawns and pico de gallo at the beach-front restaurant. Without any light pollution, a million stars shone above us as we dug our feet into the sand and listened to the sound of the waves crashing upon the nearby shore. A young couple canoodled in the moonlight, frolicking in the shallows as though they were the only people in the world.
After dinner, we uploaded our ‘brag photos’ to facebook, instagram and twitter and retired to our suite to read before drifting off into a deep sleep.
“What was that?!” Holly whispered loudly through the darkness, bringing me back from the brink of a dream.
“Ga- Kaaw! Ga-Kaaw!” came the familiar noise, and I had to laugh at the fact that Holly didn’t recognize the sound of a gecko. After a year and a half traveling around Asia and Mexico, we had obviously become very used to the sound, while Holly thought there was a large, wild bird in the room!
We assured her the gecko was tiny and helped to keep the bugs and mosquitoes at bay, which allayed her fears a little.
The following morning we tried the ‘best coffee in Tulum’ at the cafe next to Zamas, at the direction of some friends. They were right, it was very, very good.
We allowed the smooth, dark brew to bring us back to the land of the living, before headingoff to Paraiso beach club at the Northern end of town. We commandeered a couple of sun loungers under the shade of a coconut tree and spent the day wearing a path in the white sand between them and the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
“It’s so clear!” Holly cried, watching her hands move under the surface of the water.
I smiled quietly to myself, glad that she had finally experienced the magic of Tulum for herself, and was glad she appreciated it despite the absence of internet and TV. Perhaps, I wondered, that was what made the place so special – it was somewhere we could unplug from technology for a while, to feel the sand on our feet, the wind in our hair and the cool Caribbean sea on our skin, whilst being present for every, single, beautiful moment of it.
*We were hosted by Zamas Tulum, but were not required to write a favourable review – that came naturally