Last week, Tyler and I hopped on a Spirit airways  flight to Cancun, Mexico. We had no expectations  and were ready to dive right in and experience the Caribbean side of Mexico. The flight was quick  and painless. When we arrived it was no surprise to see throngs of people overpaying for frozen cocktails and tortilla chips. We used our combined broken Spanish to negotiate our way to Tulum via ADO bus.

When we arrived to Tulum, we were greeted by a friendly taxi driver who navigated us to our Airbnb. After a few sharp turns down a gravely unpaved road we were at our casita. As  we walked into the gate we were greeted by the rambunctious house dog who I dubbed Pancakes. Pancakes trailed behind us as we made our way upstairs to our studio apartment. As it was still sunny and warm outside we decided to ditch our bags and hop on the complimentary bikes that our Airbnb host so graciously offered. As soon as we bid Pancakes adieu we realized that the bikes had massive functionality issues. My bike had a wonky peddle which required the rider to compensate by pedaling extra hard on one side and mime pedaling on the other side. Tyler's seat wasn't properly secured to it's post and rocked back and forth like a mechanical bull. Despite these quirks we pedaled our way in search of the beach. After about twenty five minute of cycling we realized that we weren't going to make it to the beach by sunset. We decided to stop off at a quaint taco/beer garden and settle in for some authentic flavors. Tyler ordered us two ice cold beers and two tepid shots of Don Julio Anejo. We shot the shots and sipped the delicious local brews while anxiously anticipating our tacos!

After inhaling two orders of Baja style fish tacos we decided to mosey on home. The benefits of staying off the beaten path include solitude, silence, and of course sunsets. There was no more incredible feeling than watching the sun sink into the trees with a cold beer and hyperactive dog nipping at the hem of your shorts. Since we were on a budget we strayed away from the nightlife scene and opted instead for street taco dinners accompanied by gas station six packs. This lifestyle is quintessentially us so we felt right at home in Tulum. 

The next morning we woke up bright and early to the chirps and murmurings of our tropical bird neighbors. One might normally find this irritating but, I fully embraced my new exotic alarm clock. Tyler whipped up a quick breakfast before we set out on our way to COCO beach club.  I had seen beautiful photos of this Insta famous destination and knew that it would be our first adventure once we arrived. The deal is pretty sweet considering it is an uber expensive boutique hotel usually reserved for the rich and Instagram famous. Anyone can enjoy the splendors of the COCO beach club Tulum as long as you pay 25 dollars each. The best part of that $25 fee is that it goes towards your food and drinks purchased at the beach bar. We got to relax and soak up the sun while sipping on somewhat moderately priced beverages. One of the biggest draws to this fun beach club is their playful swing bar. Guests and day pass holders alike frothed for the ultimate Instagram photo swinging in front of the white sand beach and crystal clear sea. After baking in the sun and enjoying our $50 worth of cocktails we decided to head out in search of a less expensive taqueria. Since we took a cab in the morning we decided to walk our happy little selves down the beautiful palm treed street looking for the perfect taco stand.  When we arrived to Mateo's we were hot and hungry! We were a bit hesitant at first because the place looked completely Americanized. There were NFL signs advertising Sunday football and hand-painted wooden signs boasting their chicken wing special. But, before we could run away a delicious plate of authentic corn tortilla chips arrived with a trio of enticing salsas. We dove in and enjoyed our complimentary appetizer before ordering two heaping servings of Baja style fish tacos. After 3 beers and a failed attempt at conquering our tacos we began our trek back to our little casita in town. Beautiful as it may be the walk is daunting. We suggest taking a local taxi for 50-100 pesos or taking a beach cruiser. 

The next day we headed past the beautiful Tulum beach town in search of the ancient Mayan ruins. We took our rickety beach cruisers and arrived at the site before the crowds and the heat. There are lots of guides at the entrance offering their skilled services for an honest price but, we opted out and took ourselves on a clueless wander of the grounds. These ruins are a must see in Tulum but, don't forget your swimsuit because there is a mind-blowing beach on the other side of the park. After working up a sweat we climbed down the cliffside (don't worry there are stairs) and immediately ran into the crystalline water. This experience was one of the highlights for both of us because it was so unexpected. We soaked up the sun and swam for hours before (you guessed it) heading off in search of more tacos. We were able to ride our bikes down a back road towards the beach town. It was vacant except for a few fellow cyclers and the odd taxi. We felt completely at ease pedaling down this dirt road. Colorfully painted A-frames advertising 2-4-1 margaritas dotted the street just after lunch hour. We parked our sad excuse for bicycles and locked them to a palm tree off to indulge in this tantalizing special. We started off humbly enough with two Luke warm Sol beers and local tacos before graduating to gourmet basil margaritas. After finishing off these delicious drinks we took a leisurely stroll down through the high-end hotel district in search of a desolate beach. We found our haven by sneaking into a gate that was left open. We did garner some inquisitive glances but, no one made any moves to challenge us so we sat back relaxed and enjoyed the afternoon by the seaside. 

**After this amazing day I developed a debilitating case of food poisoning and was out of commission for three days. Luckily I had the world's best nurse and most relaxing atmospheric Airbnb to heal in. 

On our final day in Tulum we walked to town and explored the local shops. The shop owners start setting up around 9-10 am so don't plan on getting there any earlier. Everyone is very eager to help but, will not pester you if you say that you don't want/need any help. We started off the morning at the local tequila shop in hope of finding a perfect souvenir for friends and family. Tyler was roped into tasting some of the most potent tequilas in the back room while I sat perched on a stool trying not to recall the nights past spent with my head in a toilet. Surprisingly we had stumbled into a very expensive local tequila shop because out of all of the bottles he sampled not one rang in at less than 100 dollars. We opted out on a large bottle purchase and instead bought a travel-sized bottle for a friend with a funny saying adorned on the bottle. We carried along down the Tulum town main road and popped in and out of shops before heading to this amazing vegan cafe. Co conamor is nestled behind a small apothecary off the beach road. We went there in search of vegan ice cream and were not disappointed. I sampled the fresh mango nice cream while Tyler sipped a long black coffee and nibbled on a vegan and gluten free brownie. This place was cozy and inviting with captivating street art and decor. There are lots of vegan and gluten free options in Tulum which is great for those who can't indulge in the corn tortillas or savory meats. When we finished up at Co conamor we decided to head back to our pool for a refreshing dip before our tattoo appointment at 4pm. I had researched whether there were any skilled artists in the area because Tyler and I had been talking about getting a tattoo all summer. I found a great studio with a reasonable shop minimum and booked the two of us in the day before we departed. I was getting my third tattoo while Tyler was getting his first! We were both nervous but the little pain and nerves were over before we knew it. That night we went to the divine wood-fired pizza establishment just down the street from our Airbnb. Pizza Manglar blew my mind. The humble abode offered warm candlelit tables with earthy furnishings. The simple menu with fresh options did not disappoint. We ordered a four cheese pizza with garlic and devoured it. Every bite was better than the last. We fumbled over if we should order another but instead were convinced into trying the local tiramisu. Normally this dessert is one of my favorites but, it wasn't quite cold enough to really hit the spot. All in all Pizza Manglar was such an incredible experience and I highly recommend it to any pizza lover!


The next day we were on the 10 am bus back to Cancun airport. This bus service operates seamlessly and ensures every customer a safe and affordable ride to their destination. We had a bit of a wait at the airport so we ate overpriced sandwiches and watched Suits on Netflix. We flew home sunburned, tattooed, and happy knowing that we will be planning another trip to Tulum very soon. 


Courtney Wilkins