2016 Cruise to Mexico - The Beach at Tulum

In the most recent part of the the 2016 Cruise to Mexico Trip Report, we had just finished a brief guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Tulum before having some free time to spend there…

After our brief tour, we were free to explore on our own, or we could go down to the beach down below and enjoy the water there, and we had about 2 hours to do it all. What to do? That was a tough choice! So we made the most of it.

First off, we went around to get another look at the building ruins, to make sure that we had seen everything, and to get some better views of some of the buildings. We didn’t linger too long at any of them, but we did see what we could.

Laura with a nice view of the beach behind her. Laura with a nice view of the beach behind her.

Turnabout is fair play, especially when it comes to swapping the camera around. Turnabout is fair play, especially when it comes to swapping the camera around.

Then, we made our way down to the beach, which was reached by going down some rather steep stairs due to the fact that the Mayans built Tulum on a bluff looking out over the water. Apparently, Mexico doesn’t have the same codes that we have here about stair tread height, so you had to be careful going down. And then it seemed like a pretty tough climb coming back up.

The stairs down to the beach. The stairs down to the beach. Read more about it in an earlier post, Visiting the Beach at Tulum in Mexico.

But the stairs were worth it, because the beach was absolutely gorgeous. Because of the bluff mentioned above, there is a tall rock wall across from the water at the beach. From our many visits to Cocoa Beach in Florida, we are more accustomed to wide open beaches with lots and lots of area. So Laura said that the huge rock wall was a little intimidating, and that it made the beach seem just a little claustrophobic in a way. But the wall also provides some shade in the afternoon, and the smaller rocks provide a place to put your stuff to keep it off the sand.. Don’t have a beach umbrella? No problem! Just find a place along the wall. Of course, that doesn’t work as well in the morning hours, just so you know.

Another view of the beach down below. And look how blue the water is! Another view of the beach down below. And look how blue the water is!

Because our time was growing short, we didn’t have all that long to spend at the beach. So while Laura got in the water (that’s her kind of thing), I walked down the beach a little bit for some photos (that’s my kind of thing). Just down from where all the people were was a really cool secluded area. The rocks there went all the way out to the water, so that it wasn’t a good place for sunbathers or swimmers. But just beyond the palm tree (which is a different lone palm from the one above, by the way) was a small lagoon that the waves would wash into. Again, not ideal for swimming, but it was really cool to see. Almost like something you would see on one of those tropical beach calendars or something. The only people here were me and one other explorer. I had to jump lots of rocks to get there, wishing I hadn’t left my shoes over by one of the other rocks, and I had to shoo away a few iguanas who were crossing my path. But it was completely worth it, and I couldn’t wait to show the photos to Laura once we met back up.

Taking a walk down the beach, getting closer to the more deserted part. Taking a walk down the beach, getting closer to the more deserted part.

A perfect beach paradise setting. A perfect beach paradise setting. Read more about it in Visiting the Beach at Tulum in Mexico.

After I had finished my excursion, I went back down the beach to find Laura, who was still out in the water. When she came up to the shore, she told about how clear the water was, and I told about the place that I had found. Good things for both of us. But time was moving on, so it was time for us to move on as well.

We made the climb back up the steep stairs, holding onto the handrail pretty tightly, just as we had on the way down. At least the sand and water are down there to break your fall, as long as you can dodge the rocks. We moved on along the trail to get to the exit, stopping every 10 feet or so for another photo of the beautiful views of the beach and the blue water.

!One more view of the blue water from Tulum. One more view of the blue water from Tulum.

Once we found the way out, we found the road that led back to the hayride, I mean the train stop. We weren’t there for long before the tractor rolled back up. But because there were several other people waiting as well, we all quickly jumped for the seats, and Laura and I ended up not sitting next to each other. Not that big of a deal, since it was a short ride. Before we left, a guy stuck his head in and said, “Tickets?” My first thought was, “Oh no, I don’t know where my ticket is!” But I saw people waving their wrists at him, and I remembered the orange band on my wrist that served as the ticket, so I was good. I must have been getting tired or something.

Laura and some of her new friends on the train ride. Except that none of us really talked much. Laura and some of her new friends on the train ride. Except that none of us really talked much.

When we got back to the Pueblo, we quickly stopped by the shop to pick up our cartouches with our initials that we had ordered. Yes, we fell for the hard sell there, but it was something pretty cool to get. Angel was waiting for us near the bus with our snack and a cooling towel. Unfortunately, we hadn’t had time to stop and eat at one of the small restaurants, because we spent all our time at the ruins and the beach. Did others in our group come back early for the food? They must not be the same kind of explorers that we are, I guess. And also unfortunately, our snack was a bag of potato chips and a bottle of water. We were hungry enough that the chips were delicious, and the water was nice and cold. But a little something more substantial would have been better. Just a reminder for if there is a next time: choose an excursion that includes lunch if it lasts all day.

Once we were all on the bus, Angel had for all of us a souvenir book about Tulum with our green screen photo (with the screen replaced by Tulum, of course) inserted in the front of the book. Once again, we went for the hard sell, buying our book as a memento of our fun day. But it was pretty neat, we thought. And it would be a good way of showing Jaylin what we had seen, too.

Interestingly, when we got back on the bus the window shades were all drawn, so that it was pretty dark on the bus. Angel said that we would next enjoy the Mexican tradition of siesta. I was a little disappointed, because I liked looking out the window when we were on the way there. So I pulled back the shade by my window just a bit so that I could see outside.

The bus ride back went rather quickly, but not quite as quickly as our snack had gone. We both had a bit of a headache by the time we arrived back in Playa del Carmen, due to our lack of a proper lunch. So we didn’t waste much time going from the bus back to the ferry boat. Because our group was one of the first groups to arrive back, we were able to find seats inside on the lower level, right up by the front of the boat. While the outside ride was nice on the way there, the inside ride in the air conditioned interior would be a little better for us on the way back, I thought. And also the clouds that I had been watching seemed to be getting closer and darker, so being inside the boat would have another advantage if it started to rain.

There were video monitors inside the boat, and they showed some music videos as we went back, so that we saw videos for the latest song by Justin Timberlake (hey, another Memphis guy!) and the ever-popular Uptown Funk, which really will get stuck in your head. Once the Uptown Funk video ended as we reached the dock, we heard the audio of the song again, just for good measure and to get it stuck even more in your head. Laura had closed her eyes for most of the ride back, and I did for a good bit of it as well, letting the constant motion of the boat rock us into semi-sleep. There was a little rain here and there that we could see out the windows of the boat, so hopefully the people outside where we had been sitting in the morning were okay. At least it wasn’t a constant rain.

We were supposed to be back on the ship at 5:30 for the ship to depart at 6:00, and the ferry got back to the dock at Cozumel at 5:25. So much for getting to go to Ron Jon, just as I had suspected. Oh well, I had a pretty good collection of Ron Jon shirts as it is, except that none of them say Cozumel. In fact, the shore excursion coordinator was there to make sure that everyone went immediately to the ship. Because we had been at the front of the ferry, we were bringing up the rear of the crowd. But they didn’t leave without us, so that was good.

When we were back on board the ship, we were starving. But we didn’t want to get a burger or something that would ruin our dinner in a couple of hours, so we settled for some ice cream. It was great in our stomachs, and it was nice and cold, too. Even though we had cooled down on the bus ride, we were still suffering the effects of the heat of the day, so something cold was nice.

We then showered to get dressed for our evening meal, and then did our usual routine of wandering the ship for a while. We went to look at our photos from the previous evening, and as usual we found some that we liked. But we couldn’t use the gift card that we received the night before, because it was for a 6x9 photo, and all the portraits are 8x10. Too bad they can’t reprint at a smaller size, but apparently they don’t do that.

We wandered back to our room to leave our photo purchase there, and Iketut had already been by to turn down our bed, leaving a towel animal frog on our bed. Once again, I have no idea who comes up with those, but they are always interesting.

Froggy went a cruisin’… Froggy went a cruisin’…

Once we arrived at the Silver Olympian for our dinner, Danesh immediately greeted us and said that he missed us last night. We told him that we had won a free dinner at the steak restaurant, and he threw his hands in the air rejoicingly and said, “Wonderful!” He said, “We were going to sing Happy Anniversary to you last night, but we will do it tonight!”

Each night on the dinner menu they had a “Port of Call” section with an offering related to the port of the day, unless the ship hadn’t stopped at a port that day, I guess. Since we weren’t there the day before for a day at sea, I’m not really sure what the choice was for that. I would have to check that on our next sea day. The entree for the Cozumel port of call was steak tacos, so I chose that. And they were delicious! I wouldn’t mind having those again sometime. They had a nice flavor.

After we had finished our main courses, Danesh, Ed Mar, and some of the other servers came over to our table. Danesh announced that we were celebrating our anniversary of 23 years, and that they would sing on the count of 23. “One, two, twenty-three!” And as they sang, the people at the nearby table cheered. I’m not always one to be the center of attention, but every now and then it is nice, especially when you have accomplished something like 23 years of marriage. And they also brought us a heart-shaped dessert with a candle, and “Happy Anniversary” was written on the plate in chocolate. It was delicious! After that, they brought us the regular desserts that we had ordered before they sang to us. Two desserts! It really was a special occasion.


Laura with our special anniversary dessert Laura with our special anniversary dessert

Steve with the anniversary dessert. Only one dessert for the two of us? I guess we wouldn’t have made it to 23 years if we couldn’t share. Steve with the anniversary dessert. Only one dessert for the two of us? I guess we wouldn’t have made it to 23 years if we couldn’t share.

There was a bit of rain that night, and after we finished our dinner we went out for a walk on the Deck 3 Promenade for a while, with the lifeboats overhead blocking most of the raindrops. We were sailing on to Progreso, the next day’s port, and we were moving right along, judging from the water down below.

Wandering the deck after dinner. Wandering the deck after dinner.

It had been a really fun day with a really fun excursion, and even a fun meal with our anniversary song and dessert. We wondered if the next day would be at least as fun. And since we had another excursion scheduled, we didn’t wait up all that long to think about it. We didn’t have to be up quite as early, but we were pretty tired from all that we had done, so the nice, soft bed in the nice, dark room was, um, nice. I guess I should come up with some more adjectives.

Join us again soon for more of the 2016 Cruise to Mexico Trip Report!

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.