Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Vacationing at Maya Tulum Resort

Earlier this month, I took a relaxing few days off and vacationed at Maya Tulum Resort in Mexico. I was so excited to be back in Mexico, and had been wanting to go to Tulum for some beach time and hiking in the ruins. The first and last time I was in Mexico was July 2014 when I went to Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita.

Getting to Tulum was easy. I flew into Cancún International Airport and took a SuperShuttle to Tulum, which took approximately two hours away. 

As soon as I got to Maya Tulum Resort, I was welcomed with a glass of pineapple orange juice and cold, refreshing lavender towel upon check-in. I was also given a map of the resort along with the yoga schedule, as yoga was available every morning and afternoon. My bags were then carried to my Ocean View Cabana right on the beach. My friend who flew in from the West Coast had already arrived. 

The view from our cabana and the sound of the waves were just breathtaking! I've always wanted to experience staying in place that had a thatched roof. Our cabana had two double beds, with shimmering netting draped over them. The bathroom had an open shower, and organic shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand soap. There's a safe in the room, ceiling fans, and freestanding fans, plenty of drinking water, but no television and no wifi access. If you're anticipating wifi, you can only access it in the guest reception and dining areas. Since the resort is right on the beach, you're either going to want to walk around in flip flops or barefoot. At every front door, even in front of the dining hall and yoga studio, are small stone baths to dip your feet and wipe the sand off. 

We started the last two mornings with yoga. Our Monday morning session was with Audra for hip opening / vinyasa yoga, where you have your movements synchronized to your breathing. The Tuesday morning session was with Eugenia, for lyengar yoga, which is focused on the precision and alignment of posture, in holding the poses, and using the blocks and strap. The yoga and instructors were really great, explaining each step, guiding you through it and making sure you are following through properly. In New York City, I don't have the luxury of such small yoga classes. I much rather prefer yoga classes like this where there's only 6-8 people per class. I'm by no means advanced at yoga, but I was able to really focus in each class and keep up. For the lyengar yoga class, it was very interesting because we used the back wall for the class, and learned the fundamentals of doing a handstand. 

After yoga class, we then headed to breakfast, which was complimentary every morning from 8-10am. The buffet style breakfast had several options, including scrambled eggs, black beans, chilaquiles, waffles, and oatmeal. My favorite was the french toast and yogurt, which tasted incredible with fresh fruit, honey and an amazing passion fruit jam! 

Aside from beach time at the resort, we walked around the local area which is very chilled and relaxed, consisting of other resorts, shops and restaurants. If you're into biking, it's a great way to get around the area. Otherwise it was safe to walk around, even at night, since we only walking for about 10-15 minutes to get to the restaurants. There are also plenty of cabs driving by at all times. We tried out a few outdoor spots for lunch and dinner, including Mateos Mexican Grill (the Baja fish tacos were really good), El Diez, an Argentinean steakhouse (great rib eye!) and Puro Corazón (with an interesting steak with coffee-rubbed steak). 

We did enjoy a special dinner on Monday night at Maya Tulum on Monday night, compliments of the resort and Chef Jose Luis Frias, who prepared a very special menu for us. The restaurant serves authentic Mexican vegetarian meals. As an appetizer we started with a shrimp tartar, a salad with beets, kale and sweet potatoes (loved this), and for the main entree grilled snapper with tomato sauce and string beans. The dessert was my favorite part, with caramelized apples and pistachio ice cream topped with mint leaves. The food was very fresh and tasty, and the staff was extremely accommodating. 

On Sunday, we took a cab to the Mayan Ruins. Get there as early as possible, as it was very humid and hot, and gets crowded very fast. I also recommend hitting the beach afterwards since you're already right there! We decided to spend our afternoon lounging at Villa Pescadores hotel and beach club. We had a rock shrimp for lunch and piña coladas (note that rock shrimp is a lot smaller than a Maine lobster and was not cheap! It was $60+ USD). Our pricey lunch was worth it though, to have such a prime, shaded spot on the beach. 

On Monday, we scheduled a trip to the Cenotes Dos Ojos, as recommended by the resort, and also great to go to on a cloudy/rainy day when you can't enjoy the beach. They had made our taxi reservation for us ($45 USD per person) which was round-trip but also waits for you while you are at the Cenotes. I'm not much of a swimmer so I decided to skip the last cave with the bats. The water was about 70 degrees, so we opted for the wetsuits and lifejackets, yet watch your head in the caves because they don't have helmets you can rent. I should have also rented fins because my legs got really tired quickly. It's about an hour and a half to swim through all three caves. There's also a restaurant on site if you get hungry afterwards. 

The start of a tropical storm did take me by surprise during our last night at the resort. We had gotten two nights of amazing sleep with the sound of the ocean at our windows, but the last night was nothing but heavy rain and wind. The storm caused drops of rain and some debris to come through our roof but we survived it!

Overall, we had an incredibly relaxing time, surrounded by friendly guests and hospitable staff. The resort itself had a very exclusive vibe. There was a yoga retreat going on while we were there and though the dining hall was very busy during dinner time, you would only occasionally see guests out and about. I was well aware that it's the rainy season, and there were also mounds of seaweed washed up on the shore and coming in with every wave (note that seaweed is actually really good for you so I didn't really mind). We actually got a fair amount of beach time and sun before the tropical storm started. I didn't have time to book a massage or facial but Maya Tulum does offer a variety of spa treatments which all sounds amazing. Their different treatments are listed on their website, along with any information you need to prepare for your visit at

A big thank you to Maya Tulum Resort for hosting such an amazing getaway vacation! 

Ocean Front Cabana

Morning yoga

Restaurant at Maya Tulum

Salad with beets, kale and sweet potatoes 

Grilled Snapper with tomato sauce and string beans

Caramelized apples and pistachio ice cream topped with mint leaves 

Mayan Ruins

At Villa Pescadores

Cenotes Dos Ojos

- Kim Weling

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