Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Living in the middle of a global pandemic has shifted the way we do everything. Travel has certainly slowed down and the way we usually spend our summers has changed drastically. Having spent many months inside during quarantine, I will admit the cabin fever was getting kind of crazy. So, a group of flight attendants and I decided to take a quick trip to Mexico for a change of scenery. Mexico is one of the only international destinations currently open to American citizens for tourism. The country has taken extreme measures to make sure they are doing their very best to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Arrival at the Cancun International Airport was fairly smooth; the long line at customs moved fast. There was a woman in a full hazmat suit taking everyone's temperatures as they moved through the customs line. Masks were required everywhere and temperature checks were mandatory at every restaurant we visited. The restaurants we patronized while in Tulum were mostly open spaces, with outside tangible during our dining experience. Social distancing was required, even at outside venues. Travel is definitely different these days. Tulum is about an hour and a half from Cancun, so we booked round trip airport transfer service through a private company. However, there are plenty of taxis and shuttle services available for booking upon arrival at the airport.
We stayed at an Airbnb in the Aldea Zama area of Tulum; the name of the condos are Puerta Zama. The property was very beautiful and looked just like the pictures. As soon as we arrived at the property, we were greeted by a security guard who took each of our temperatures. Our condo was on the first level, facing the resort-style pool. The Airbnb was a two-bedroom, two-bath unit with a jacuzzi in the back and hammocks and swings in the front.
Travel Tip: Many Airbnbs are available for very cheap rates right now, but be sure to read all the reviews before booking.
We rented bikes at the Airbnb for very cheap (about $6 a day) and the bikes served as our primary means of transportation during our stay in Tulum. We called for taxis when we went out to brunch and dinner, but we biked to breakfast and to the cenote. I highly recommend trying out these restaurants if you're ever in Tulum:
-Ahau Tulum (Vegan options)
-Raw Love (Vegetarian options)
We visited a cenote, which is a natural sinkhole or pit that has formed due to limestone collapsing to expose the groundwater underneath. The cenotes are attractions for swimming and swinging in the groundwater, however there are small bats that fly in and out. Although the pictures look super cool, my experience at the cenote was an interesting one. It was extremely hot and there were mosquitoes everywhere (I got bit really bad). The water in the cenote was about 15 meters (49 ft.) deep and even with a life jacket on, it's still really deep. Inside the cenote, it's very dark and there were lots of tourists in and out. I ultimately decided not to physically get in the water, but instead enjoy the cenote from the spectator rocks. The cost to enter the cenote was 200 pesos and 50 pesos to rent a life jacket. The cenotes are popular attractions in Tulum, mostly because they have so many different ones. You can even opt to do a full adventure tour that includes time at a cenote, along with ziplining and ATV rides.
Travel tip: Never leave home without your bug spray! Seriously, you'll thank me later.
Travel tip: Exchange your money for Mexican Pesos and pay for everything in local currency.
Besides eating out and spending some time at the cenote, most of our short time in Tulum was spent at the Airbnb. We got to explore some of the town of Tulum on our bike rides. Tulum is a laid back town, with plenty of businesses boasting holistic practices and care. There were plenty of opportunities to do yoga by the beach and buy foods from vegan restaurants. I can appreciate the importance of health and wellness that is encouraged in Tulum. This was my third visit to Mexico but my first trip to Tulum. Overall, I'd say that Tulum is very different from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, based on the ways in which the town flows and the way people live. I met a young couple who moved to Tulum from Canada and they told me for the first three months, they lived in a tent. Tulum is a popular destination for backpackers, retirees, and people who want to live "off the gird." If you're like me and you're feeling overwhelmed by the craziness going on in the States. I recommend planning a trip to Mexico sometime soon. Rest assured, the flights are not full (and the tickets are the cheapest they've been in a long time), the airports and planes are the cleanest they have ever been, other countries are taking the pandemic seriously (some maybe even more serious), and Mexico is welcoming American tourists with open arms. Just make sure you're taking the extra precautions to protect yourself.
Be well, be safe, and make time to do something that makes you happy.