Tulum, Mexico: Part Three

One of the defining features of Tulum is the collection of ancient Mayan ruins that line the coast. For a few pesos, you can enter what used to be a bustling mecca of Mayan culture. Plan on spending at least two hours exploring this one-of-kind marvel. Here's another shot from inside the Tulum ruins:

Less than two hours away (by car) from Tulum is the area of Coba. There you can rent a mountain bike for approximately one US dollar and explore jungle paths even more ancient ruins.

While you're exploring the jungle in Coba, do yourself a favor and climb this pyramid:

It's almost 150' tall! Here's the view from the top:



Tulum, Mexico: Part Two

The best place to stay in Tulum is right on the beach. The narrow beach road contains miles and miles of small motels and cabana rentals. We chose an ocean view cabana at the Piedra Escondida . This gorgeous property is nestled between two large rock outcroppings, giving you the feel of a private beach hideaway. Here was the view from our room:

During peak season, it's best to book your accomodations in advance. However, if you travel to Tulum in the off season, you can usually drive down the beach road and have your pick of many available rooms, some with negotiable prices.

Tulum is home to one of the world's most beautiful coral reefs. For less than $30 (USD) per person, you can charter a small boat to the reef, complete with a dive guide and snorkeling equipment. In the first picture above you'll see Manny, our dive guide for the afternoon, working on the boat that took us to the reef.

After a long day in the ocean, we headed to the coolest restaurant in Tulum, El Tabano.

El Tabano is located on the jungle side of the beach road, tucked behind a row of palm trees and huge cactus plants. It features an open-air kitchen where traditional recipes are given a gourmet twist. The staff are incredibly welcoming and really goes the extra mile to make you feel at home. We recommend a fresh mojito paired with the mouth-watering ceviche, full of fresh caught local seafood.   

In the third and final post on Tulum, we'll show you some of the incredible ancient ruins that you can tour while you visit. 



Egypt, Anyone?

From Death and Tazes Magazine:

"It may not seem like a great time to head to Cairo, but if you’re looking to travel on a budget and don’t mind possibly dying, Egypt awaits."

Full article here: http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/49698/flights-to-egypt-are-crazy-cheap/



France by Bicycle

This picture was taken in St. Emilion on our 2009 trip through France. It was one of the most tranquil and charming places we've ever visited. I wish we would have known about this company when we visited though.

DIGnGO offers what they call "Gourmet Bike Tours" through many of France's most beautiful regions, including St. Emilion. Check out their amazing inteneraries which include the best accomodations, meals, and wine tastings.



Tulum, Mexico: Part One

Tulum sits on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. Once home to a thriving Mayan civilization, Tulum is now growing in popularity in the destination and eco travel market. Land, Air, and See recently spent a week in Tulum and we want to share our highlights and tips with you.

To get to Tulum you'll most likely fly in to Cancun Airport. The tourism agencies at the airport will bombard you with brochures, coupons, and other to-good-to-be-true offers. It can be overwhelming at times and many of the "deals" come with strings attached so be prepared to firmly decline their pitches and stick to your plan. Cancun is overcrowded and overdeveloped so we recommend getting out of the city quickly. Tulum is just over an hour from the airport by car. A one way cab ride from the airport will cost $60-$70 (USD). For the cost of a round trip cab ride, you can rent your own car and have the flexibility and convenience of a car for the duration of your trip. Driving in this part of Mexico is easy and safe. Just watch out for the incredible amount of random speed bumps that dot the roads. You'll know they're coming when you see this sign:
Tulum has two main sections: the oceanfront and the pueblo. The main road from Cancun runs a straight shot into Tulum Pueblo. There you'll find several square blocks of markets, restaurants, hostels, gift shops, local artisans, and tourism kiosks.  This is a great place to pick up essentials for your trip and souvenirs to take home. Remember, it's acceptable to bargain with the local merchants when shopping. The first price they quote you is rarely their final price and only the inexperienced tourist falls for the initial offer. Be sure to learn a little basic Spanish before you arrive. Most of the locals speak some English but it's nice to greet them and chat a bit in their language. That simple gesture goes a long way to enhancing your travel experience.

In Part Two, we'll talk about lodging and then hit the beautiful beaches of Tulum.