Situating ourselves in Tulum was ideal for me and my travel buddies on this trip. Sat right below Canada and The States, it’s easy to forget how MASSIVE Mexico is. And most of the many, many sightseeing adventures she has to offer take at least an hour to drive to from any one base point. So, for ease, I’d recommend hiring a car, or booking a driver for the day (which is cheap as chips if there’s a few of you – but don’t forget to tip, or the Car Hire Cartel will be all over you like wasps on jam).
Tulum has beautiful ancient temple ruins at either end of it’s LONG stretch of beaches. But, trek 45mins to an hour across to Coba and you’ll find a well mapped out, albeit slightly touristy, temple ruin that you can climb to the top of and drink in an absolutely spectacular view of the vast jungle surrounding carpeting the land below. Being the wimp I am when it comes to heights, I was definitely in no rush to edge my way up to the top, but for the resulting view I was glad I braved it! If you’re similarly affected by vertigo, bring a 2nd pair of pants. It’s worth it.
In Las Coloradas the water is pink. Need i say more? A good 3 hour drive north west from Tulum, this area is a great spot for getting away from the tourist clutter and is fucking beautiful to boot! You’ll need to ask around for the best spot to drive to, as it’s not clearly sign posted, but once you’ve got your eye on the lakes you won’t be able to miss them. Did I mention they’re pink? It’s basically a 100% salt based terrain, so wear flip flops if you go in the water because the salt crystals are sharp. (There might signs telling you not to go in, but we chose to honour our lack of Spanish as a reason to politely ignore them). It also means you only need to bring the lemon and the tequila.
Bacalar Lagoon is a good 2-2.5 hour drive south of Tulum, but well worth it. In stark contrast to Las Coloradas the waters in this lagoon were bright blue and the tour guides are so keen to show you every inch of the area. We jetted through mangroves, slathered ourselves in mud, and were thrown off abandoned boats (willingly). A cold beer at the end just put the icing on the day.
Ceñotes are the naturally formed underground swimming pools dotted all over the Yucatan Peninsula. Created when the limestone bedrock collapses, most of these underground caves are filled with crisp, crystal clear fresh water that has been naturally filtered by the rock. The Mayans not only revered these pools as a source of fresh water, but considered them a portal through which they could communicate with the gods. I’m not sure how well they worked as spiritual telecoms, but take a dip in these cool, turquoise waters on a hot day and you’ll certainly feel like you’re in heaven.
By Adam Ferrari