My stomach was in knots. The sky was still dark enough for me to believe I should be in bed and not at the airport where less then a handful of people slept on uncomfortable chairs with their eyes covered by various blankets. I almost believed I wouldn’t be able to get on the plane with the nerves bubbling up inside me. Every inch of my body screamed, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. You don’t like the beach that much anyway.
12 hours later.
I was wrong.
A few months ago I caught wind of a gem in the heart of the Mayan jungle. Tulum, Mexico. When I stepped foot off that plane in Cancun, I had no clue what I was in for. It reminded me of Miami or the slutty sister of Turks and Caicos (please take no offense, that’s literally the only way I could describe it). I was surrounded by tourists with drinks already in their hands before they were off the plane.
But the further away from Cancun we traveled less tourists filled the bus seats and more locals did. After a long bus ride, I found myself in paradise.
I cannot put this trip into words. It was something like no other and hands down one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
We were welcomed with open arms by the locals. It was almost like they took us under their wing and showed us the real Tulum. And this post is going to get very long because I have been sitting here for the past two hours trying to figure out how the fuck to describe what happened but literally couldn’t.
Aside from the basic tourist doings like shopping, Tulum ruins, and Coba, we were invited to a private party by one of the gentlemen we had met the first day we arrived. The party began at 7 pm and lasted until 8 am the next morning. Because we visited the same restaurant day in and day out they made us feel like they had known us for years. We met a man named Jonavos. He showed us his cabana which was filled with a hammock, some snorkeling gear, and several pictures hanging on the wall of Tulum’s beauty. His kitchen was outside behind a little cart where he sold coffee and eventually just told us we could use whenever we wanted to.
He showed me how simple life really is and how complicated America (and many other parts of the world) make life out to be. All he needed was what he had and he was beaming with joy and humor. He wanted to show us why he loved Tulum so much so he took us out to snorkel in his boat with two of his friends. We saw sting rays and schools of fish and then went to a cenote for a quick swim. We listened to music on the way back and saw the ruins at sunset. Afterwards he invited us to their family dinner for fish that tasted more like chicken it was so delicious.
Each and every one of them (even though our Spanish was shaky) treated us like family. They told us where to go to shop and where to go if we wanted to salsa afterwards. We met some kids selling dream catchers on the beach and shared our lunch with them and played tag.
It wasn’t like a vacation, it was more like we were coming home after a long time spent away. I can honestly say it made me consider missing my flight and staying. Who knows, maybe I’ll return sooner than I think.