Spending an unplugged long weekend in Tulum will give you just what you need to relax, refresh and rejuvenate your spirit.
NBC News recently reported that a three day weekend away is better for your mental health than a long vacation. Heeding that advice, I traveled to Tulum, a gem in the Yucatan of Mexico, for a long weekend hoping to unplug from work and the world. I went solo, brought a book, some magazines, sunscreen, bikini and flip-flops. I didn’t take my computer and planned to limit time on my phone. I was pretty successful with the disconnect, however, I did have an untimely encounter with a tree while searching for the phone in my backpack when it rang during a bicycling excursion. Needless to say, I missed the call.
My trip to Tulum fell during low season (early May – late November)—perfect timing, as crowds are not my thing. Tulum is a pleasant approximately 2-hour trip from the Cancun airport: by taxi, rental car, or on the ADO bus line, which is air conditioned, clean and comfortable, and the most affordable.
Once there, I took a taxi to Casa Violeta, a quaint, 13-room beachside boutique cabana hotel tucked away amid a lush oasis of native plants. I was greeted at the unpretentious entrance by Agustín, who kindly gave me a tour of the property and then showed me my palapa, Luna. This second-floor, A-frame, treehouse-like space was a perfect mix of simplicity and luxury. Slipping into the sumptuous Italian linen bedding, fans spinning, and hypnotic sea sounds murmuring, made rest come quickly.
Waking up was just as wonderful, with the sun leisurely rising over the sparkling Caribbean, seeping in through floor-to-ceiling windows. I kept the windows open the entire time I was in my room. The breeze and the sounds of the waves softly crashing into each other before washing up onto the white sand were essential for my “off-the-grid” weekend. Savvy travelers beware: Due to the fragile biosphere of the area, many of the hotels do not have electricity and rely on generators for power, so if you require A/C for sleeping, be sure and ask. I didn’t miss it.
Casa Violeta’s casual, full-service beachside restaurant serves homemade meals from the best local organic ingredients and sustainably caught seafood, with a friendly, attentive staff. From the relaxing massages and daily morning yoga classes on offer, I chose an Ayurvedic Yoga class in the open air studio (Yoga Shala) just steps away from my room. Adam, a traveling yogi from the U.S. I highly recommend, instructed our small class on breathing techniques, balance and stretching poses.
The personal attention from the staff at Casa Violeta was not at all intrusive and very welcome. Agustí́n was available to answer any questions and shared a local’s point of view on less touristy places to see and things to do.
Here are a few suggestions for fun excursions if you need more than just beach and chill time.
EXPLORE HISTORY AND NATURE
Besides enjoying the beautiful Caribbean (there was some sargassum or seaweed, but the hotels work very hard to keep the beach areas as clean as possible), there are several nearby freshwater swimming spots including Kaan Luum Lagoon. Popular cenotes include Gran, Dos Ojos and Casa Tortuga.
Bicycle rentals (I used the one directly across from Casa Violeta for $10/day) are everywhere – be careful for other cyclists, taxis, pedestrians and especially trees!
EAT AND DRINK
Gitano, Kitchen Table, El Pez. There are TONS of places all along the main street to enjoy a delicious meal (some require reservations, especially during high season), grab a fresh juice or coconut, snack on fresh ceviche and guacamole, or satisfy your sweet tooth with gelato.
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Cover photo courtesy Casa Violeta