Jim dropped Isabel and me off at the airport, leaving the house at 5AM. I had gotten about 3.5 hours sleep , but slept here and there on the planes. Luckily it got me through about 18 hours of travel.
I successfully navigated the Hertz counter, trying not to get soaked for more money than my reservation had promised. Luckily, I can drive a stick, because that was the first thing they threw at me, and I just said, “Fine.” They did add liability insurance, which upped the price, but it was still quite reasonable. And we ended up getting an automatic that was much nicer than the basic car I had reserved since they had no gas in their pumps and had to distribute the cars that had at least a few gallons in them. Second hardest part of the trip navigated successfully! (The first hardest was getting to the Hertz office, which was just across the street from the airport, but finding the path to get there was not obvious, at least not to someone who’d had 3.5 hours’ sleep.)
The drive to Tulum from Cancun is a straight shot down the coastal highway, about an hour and a half. The road was very well marked, but we had our first encounter with Mexico’s apparent love of “topes”, speed bumps. There are stretches of highway without them, but there are stretches where they are fairly frequent and some of them are like small Mayan temples stretching across the road, about a foot to 18-inches high. The others are like half-buried cannonballs. Another novelty was the presence of police huts with road blocks three or four times along the way, complete with several sets of topes each and police with machine guns. They weren’t stopping anybody, just making their presence known, I guess. The road was very well marked, absolutely no problems getting gas and getting to Tulum.
Once we got there, we went south on the beach road instead of north, not having found the hotel on the map. The beach road has hotel after hotel on the ocean side and restaurants and shops on the land side. The road is narrow with lots and lots and lots of topes, including the Mayan temple variety, and lots of people walking and biking in the road since there are no sidewalks. The taxis overtake you if you’re not going at least 20 km over the limit, so it is rather stressful, particularly if you’re looking for the name of each place as you pass. But we got a fair idea of what was available for future dining needs. We didn’t know what we had come to when there was an arch at the end of the road, but found out later that it is the entrance to Sian Ka’an, the huge nature preserve.
We were wending our way back when Isabel saw that the hotel was north of the turn-off. Our hotel is called La Vita e Bella (life is good in Italian). It consists of huts along the beach and a few further back from the beach. We had a beach-front cabana, which was a standalone room with bath. It was dark when we got there, so the open-air reception desk was not manned, but someone came and led us down the paths, all incredibly soft, white sand, to the room.
Every day there was a different animal/person or two made from our bath towels. The ones on our arrival, swans, had our beach towels (blue) incorporated as well. There was a twin bed as well as the king and a bench all around the outside wall. The closet had a safe, which was a really nice feature.
This is the entrance, a sliding glass door. The room is a standalone unit, nobody above, below, or beside us.
There is a wraparound porch with a hammock and a table and chairs. Lovely to sit on, very breezy and nice. Even though the cabanas are close together, they are very well designed in having the windows look out on the beach, not onto the other cabanas.
The bathroom has a Mexican sink and an open shower with nice tile. I will include more pictures with daytime views in later posts.
We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which has a sand floor. Food good, but not amazing. We looked at everyone else having ice and vegetables and decided we would risk it and were perfectly fine.