When you go to a destination like Tulum, your body instantly absorbs it’s laid back vibes. Do I even need to check off everything on my list now?
The ocean is so calming; I could just stare at it all day and night – with a margarita in hand of course. And even while enjoying my first solo sabbatical, I can’t help but think coming across the border in this economy is a political statement whether you like it or not.
There was a thunder storm as I arrived and the power was out in my boutique hotel, O’Tulum. The calm beauty of my surroundings plus a heavy handed margarita made me feel at peace.
Had this type of weather occurred in NYC, I would be livid at the slightest inconvenience. But here in Mexico, it feels as though the Mayan gods are washing away the past sins of the earth.
I chuckle as I think about all of my friends and family worried about me. Wondering if I made it safe. I’m calm despite the power being out and the day getting darker. I’m at peace with being alone – I was brought into this world that way. But I can’t help but wish I did have a beau to accompany me. Can’t get more romantic than a hotel practically to ourselves and nothing else to do but make love. It’s a tad scary being off the grid but I embrace stepping out of my comfort zone.
The best airport to fly into is Cancun International Airport. It takes at least 45 minutes to arrive to Tulum. Hotel O’Tulum is a little over an hour away. I took a shared shuttle from the airport that I booked on Travelocity. I used a company called Local Expert. O’Tulum is at the far end of a strip B&B’s and other small boutique hotels and Local Expert knew exactly how to get there. I would not recommend waiting until you arrive to book transfers or rental cars because the price will be significantly more. My roundtrip shuttle service was only $64 USD. I always book my travel accommodations through EBATES to get cash back.
Where to Stay
I booked O’Tulum via Hotel Tonight. (Use my code AATWATER8 to save $25 off your first booking). What drew me to this hotel was the size, scenic views, secluded location, and it’s adults only. There are only 12 rooms and each room has access to either a small dipping pool on the top floor or a smaller shared pool on the bottom floor. There are also two smaller pools for all hotel guests.
There is a restaurant/bar onsite, Restaurante Oh! Mexican Cuisine, that also serves an amazing complimentary breakfast. The tacos are delicious and the bartenders pour with a heavy hand. Room service is also available until midnight.
Bike rentals are complimentary as well, which you can use to ride to the local cenote or anywhere in the strip. There are other hotels along the path as well that have restaurants open to the public.
The area is very quiet and chill. I practically had the hotel to myself at most times. I highly recommend this hotel if you want somewhere away from the more tourist-y side of Tulum.
The cons of staying in this location are the taxi prices. If you want to venture into the more hip side or downtown Tulum, a taxi will be roughly $50 USD roundtrip.
What to Do
Absolutely nothing. Just kidding! Well not really. I mean the choice is yours. I had all of these grand plans pre-arrival, but once I got there and felt how serene the environment was, I simply wanted to bask in it.
I woke up fairly early everyday and headed downstairs to have my fresh breakfast which included juice and/or tea, yogurt and granola, and huevos rancheros; then lounging and napping poolside; riding the bike down the strip; then back to hotel for a late lunch/early dinner and more relaxation.
You can also visit the local cenote, dine at a few of the other local hotels on the strip, or walk about 15 minutes north to a popular restaurant called Chamico’s. It’s a casual eatery right on the beach with lawn chairs and good, simple food.
What I Learned
Most importantly, I learned how to be even more at peace with myself and truly understand the meaning of relaxation with no distractions. That is what I wanted my solo travel experience to be about. I also learned that it’s ok for your plans to change once you actually arrive to a destination – to base your plans off feeling than strict itineraries.
On my second to last day, a young lady from Seattle who just arrived with her BF approached me in excitement to find another black girl on the property. We chatted briefly and planned to meet up later for dinner. We originally wanted to go downtown but ended up staying on the resort because her BF fell ill. She was super sweet and truthfully it was nice not to be totally alone. I was wishing she had arrived sooner but happy we made the connection anyway.
My last morning on my solo trip, I became extremely ill. I will spare details. Let’s just say Montezuma’s Revenge was in full effect. I could hardly even walk and everything going in was coming right back out. I was so nervous about having to sit on a plane for 3.5 hours in this condition but what was I supposed to do?
I left the hotel in a fog and hopped in the shuttle. As soon as I arrived to the airport, I realized I had left my passport at the hotel. O’ Tulum is about 1.5 hours away from the airport and my flight was departing in two hours. The hotel also does not have proper phone access so getting in touch with them was almost impossible.
I called my new friend that I met to see if she could alert the staff and somehow get it rushed to me. I also rushed to call my mom to see if she could contact Delta to get my flight switched because the ticket agents in the airport weren’t much help. I was able to get in touch with the hotel via WhatsApp thankfully but I ended up paying $100 USD to get my passport rushed to me via taxi and still missed my flight. So my mom called Delta back to schedule me for the next flight – which was the next day at 8am.
Great. I was stuck in stormy Cancun with diarrhea. This was not how I saw my peaceful vacation ending. I quickly alerted my friends and fam and searching frantically for a new place to stay. I ended up finding a cute boutique hotel in downtown Cancun called Selina. I was so disappointed that I was sick because I couldn’t even enjoy it. On top of that it was $80 roundtrip for a taxi.
The beds weren’t that comfortable and I was still feeling queasy (I ended up being sick for the entire week) so I didn’t get much sleep. But I was thankful I found an inexpensive place to rest my head for the night.
Despite the rocky last moments on my trip, I was still so thankful that I was able to afford it, experience it, and not be negatively affected from taking another solo trip in the future. Plus who doesn’t love ordering nachos at 11pm in a cozy robe and having a king size bed all to themselves?