After a two hour drive with a stop in Pedro Antonio Santos for what Anita’s deemed “the best pineapple ever”, and another stop for a routine search by some friendly roadside policia federal, we finally arrived at Tulum on Mexico’s uber-popular Mayan Riviera. We had built up a bit of an appetite by this stage so dropped in to Pollo Bronco, a place we’d heard had some of the best chicken in Mexico. After lunch we walked around town a bit then jumped back into Fuego and shot further up the coast to a small area named Chacalal.

We’d found a vanping spot online that was positioned on the beach and right next to a resort. We were able to use most of the resorts facilities such as showers, toilets and beach chairs without drawing any attention to ourselves but were too scared to try and score a drink or food from the all-inclusive resort’s bar. So after lazing on the beach for most of the afternoon we decided to head back to Tulum for some dinner, then find a vanping spot closer to town.

After our incredibly delicious meal at Antojitos La Chiapenca with some of the best value tacos we’d had, we found a quiet spot on the beach that wasn’t too far from the ruins, parked, and got settled in for the night. Not even an hour later a police officer approached our half-opened back doors, shining his flashlight in as he asked what we were doing there. In our broken Spanish we explained that we were camping for the night and will have moved on by the morning. He said that it was all fine, and that he will be patrolling the area a few times over the night. He was really nice.

We watched the most beautiful sunrise over the beach the next morning then decided to grab some breakfast. After breakfast we drove to two or three cenotes around the area but they were either overpriced or not suitable for snorkelling – only diving. We agreed to then leave our cenote’ing for our next stop Valladolid, where prices were more reasonable and crowds were less likely. We spent the rest of the day sipping two-for-one cocktails on the beach and moving between the water and our chairs, throwing in a leisurely afternoon stroll along the beach to balance out all the lazing around we’d done.

Although the surrounding area of Tulum is beautiful it was a little touristy for us. The beach is lined with overpriced restaurants, expensive resorts and trendy boutique shops, with more American holidayers around than Mexicans. We luckily found refuge in town where there was more of a local flavour, although still not as untouched as some other parts of Mexico.

Next stop, across the peninsula to Valladolid before our two week WorkAway in Mérida!

– Dek

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