I broke my ocean virginity!

Tulum Travel Blog

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Today was our first excursion - to Tulum and Xel-Ha! I wasn't really excited about Xel-Ha since we'll be visiting Xcaret on Friday, but I was beyond thrilled to see the beautiful beaches of Tulum! I've come quite far for someone who doesn't really like beaches to begin with! We woke up at the ass-crack of dawn and were picked up by the bus. We were ready, swimsuits under dresses, flip flops and sunscreen in bag, a bit of bug spray and some cookies for breakfast!

It took about an hour to get everyone and then hit Tulum. We were incredibly lucky, as the sun was out and shining today! Thank you Andi, Joy and Big for all your well-wishes - it certainly worked!! It was gorgeous today!! Actually it's very likely that it rained in Cancun and just not Tulum.
Tulum ruins
We got to Tulum and the Mexican sun was kicking our asses. You could feel the places that you didn't carefully apply sunscreen BURN on in seconds! We trekked over to the Tulum ruins and our guide was the most boring explainer-of-things I've ever met. After a miserable 35 minutes standing in the sun, getting bit by mosquitos and sweltering our asses off, I look at V and go "let's blow this popscicle stand."

We break away from the group and quickly go over to the edge of the cliff and look down. There are almost a hundred people in the tiny beach area, but it is BEAUTIFUL. It is hands down the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Sparkling white sand, beautiful turqoise water and huge boulders with eroded bottoms I've only seen in pictures of Vietnam. Time is ticking until we have to get back to the bus so V and I went down the scary wood staircase and ditched our stuff on some rocks and entered the water along with other happy people from all over the world.
on the beach in Tulum


I've been to the shore of lots of beaches. All over the world, even Cannes. But I've never gone in because I can't swim. I usually sit on the shore, close to where the waters break. You might see me knee-deep in water for a few minutes before running back. But the combination of situations today. Bleeding hot from the sun, the most gorgeous beach I've ever seen, no rocks or impediments to entering the water, and the softest swells. I went in all the way up to my neck with V!! We were both so excited at both having gone in the ocean all the way for the first time as well as the amazing, amazing surroundings we were in! We were in CLEAR, AQUA WATER that just melted into a darker aquamarine a few miles from shore! What an amazing feeling!!! =)

The situation was ideal.
Staircase to beach in Tulum
We went far enough out that we only got swells that we could rise and fall with without it breaking on us but we could still touch the floor of the ocean. What a pair we were - V isn't a strong swimmer and I'm a freaking lead weight in the water, capable of drowning under the most unlikely circumstances! And there were no shells, no rocks, no jellyfish. It a was heavenly experience =)

Before long we saw my mom waving from on top fo the staircase asking us to come up. I'm sure our group was about to leave so we gathered our things and stayed in our bikinis for the next 6 minutes which succeeded in drying us out. We got on the bus and headed to Xel-Ha for lunch and eco-park type things! =) We found out that noone else from our tour was able to go into the water. They only had enough time left to look from over the cliff.
Manatees @ Xel-Ha!
Yeah, V and I were pretty proud of ourselves for making the right decision =) We got in a good 40 minutes in the magical water =)

Xel-Ha was AWESOME. It's built around a lagoon with a majority of the activities and restaurants being near the entrance. Let's sort by animals: The parrots, dolphins and reef fish (to chase while snorkeling) are at the end of the lagoon. The manatees are about a half mile in if you go towards the right of the path. The iguanas are EVERYWHERE.

I chilled in a hammock while V and my mom finished their lunches and then V and I went on an exploration around the entire lagoon. I wanted to find a cenote and go ziplining.  We ended up doing neither because we found all sorts of other goodies and had a brilliant time. Every few feet along this lagoon one finds an entrance to the lagoon in which to enter or exit snorkeling or swimming.
man, we thought it was a zipline!
Beach chairs, tables and straw umbrellas are located in the most thoughtful places. There are a few huts floating in the middle of the lagoon - they are MASSAGE HUTS! Somehow one is transported there (as it isn't connected to land) and given a massage in the middle of this jungle!

But the funnest (and most time consuming) activity we went on was the inner tube down the lagoon. It was such a spectacular experience, you start out in this mangrove inlet and float down a tunnel of mangrove branches barely higher than your seated head. Then you made your way into the lagoon but without paddles of flippers, V and I were kind of stationary. The double-seater inner tube prevents you from making much contact with the water other than your butt! Perhaps if our legs were longer we could kick, but all we could do was paddle a little with our hands.
chillaxing in Xel-Ha =)
At one point though, we were doing ok, and V turns around and says to me "this is our audition tape for the Amazing Race!!" =D

We saw lovely things durig this float, and totally worked off our lunch. We saw an old couple - the guy with flippers kicking in his donut and holding onto his wife's inner tube so that they were both moving together. She was just sitting there and looking around in wonderment and her husband looked blissfully determined to get them both to the other side. God, I love seeing old school stuff like that!! Just sad I wasn't able to capture any of it because my waterproof camera decided to go on the fritz - and it's the first time that I've used it in the water! What a piece of crap.

Veronica and I made it about 2/3rds of the way in about an hour so we got off at one of those snorkeling entranes and walked the rest of the way in our bare feet! It was quite exhillarating running through the jungles, dodging iguanas, hermit crabs and stopping by to stare at the manatees.
Inner Tubes!
Very surprsed at what a wonderful experience the whole thing was, and we ended by topping off our visit with soft serve cones (which I haven't eaten since I've discovered Pinkberry's!) and a luxurious rest in a silk-weaved hammock. =D

An additional note about Xel-Ha after visiting Xcaret and having something to actually compare it to. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Xel-Ha over Xcaret as it is smaller but much cleaner, well maintained and friendlier than Xcaret. Animals are really well taken care of by constant and affectionate animal keepers. They are rarely left alone and they are not located in areas where people can bother them. You can look only. Also, there is a friendly vibe here, both from the people and the planning of this place. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get lost in Xel-Ha as the activities are located in nooks and crannies along a circular path.
Hammock Jungle!!
In addition, the "all-inclusive" meal is good as many times a day throughout the day as you feel you need to snack. You can come in the morning, eat a little, go play and work up an appetite, and go to another restaurant to eat something else. If you want to run in for a soda or an ice cream, that is ok too. This is NOT the case at Xcaret where you get 1 meal coupon that you can use at 1 restaurant and that's it.
jenn79 says:
Angelique there is no destination quite as wonderful as Mexico. Hospitality is huge in this country and by nature they are helpful people who like to get things done, so you can get just about anything there, in fact it will be hard to choose amongst all the offerings!
Posted on: Oct 15, 2016
lieka84 says:
Thanks!! Your great
Posted on: Oct 08, 2016
jenn79 says:
you can get them anywhere even the front gate!
Posted on: Oct 08, 2016
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Tulum ruins
Tulum ruins
on the beach in Tulum
on the beach in Tulum
Staircase to beach in Tulum
Staircase to beach in Tulum
Manatees @ Xel-Ha!
Manatees @ Xel-Ha!
man, we thought it was a zipline!
man, we thought it was a zipline!
chillaxing in Xel-Ha =)
chillaxing in Xel-Ha =)
Inner Tubes!
Inner Tubes!
Hammock Jungle!!
Hammock Jungle!!
one of the restaurants inside Xel-…
one of the restaurants inside Xel…
Tulum ruins
Tulum ruins
hangin out by the turtle sanctuary…
hangin out by the turtle sanctuar…
Ocean in Tulum
Ocean in Tulum
fish in Xel-Ha lagoon
fish in Xel-Ha lagoon
look at his nose!! =D
look at his nose!! =D
V in the paved jungle =)
V in the paved jungle =)
Daredevils Jump
Daredevil's Jump
Tulum
photo by: Mezmerized