With the issue of safety being discussed on this forum more frequently, I wanted to post a trip report from a slightly different perspective. I am a 50 something woman, initially traveling by myself, to an area that I had not visited before. I began my journey with an open mind, a lot of research, and a healthy sense of adventure.
I have visited the Riviera Maya many times, always staying in AI resorts in PDC and Puerto Morales. When my children were younger, this worked for us. It was safe, contained, and there was plenty for the kids to do. This trip was different, this was just for me. Now it was Mama's Turn. My criteria was a clean, comfortable beach front room, perhaps with an onsite restaurant, and the ocean to swim in. I found that and more.
AIRPORT - At the last minute, my college age daughter threw some bikinis in a bag and met me in the CUN airport. We came in on different flights, breezed through immigration and met up in baggage claim. I remember the first time I came through this airport, clutching the hands of my young kids, instructing them to keep their eyes forward and speak to no one. This time, we laughed at that, and with a few "No,gracias", we were out the glass doors.
TRANSPORTATION - I arranged RT transport through our hotel. I could not find much information about the company Tucan Kin, but they turned out to be on time, very professional and a fair price. I chose the "Eco" option, a shared ride if others were going to the same area. It ended up being a private transfer both ways. $170 for 2 people, RT.
HOTEL - Piedra Escondida was my oasis. A very small (9 rooms) hotel, with it's own beach, a clean ocean front room, an outstanding restaurant and a staff that was so kind and accommodating. I think they fly under the radar a bit, but I could not have been happier. I would return in a heart beat.
FOOD - I am not a "foodie" and I am not on Instagram. I do appreciate great, local food prepared well. Even when we had the option of going to other restaurants, we chose to eat at the hotel. Everything we tried was delicious, but some standouts were the whole grilled fish, tuna nachos,chicken mole and their house made chimichurri. Again, this restaurant does not get the "mentions", but it is worth the visit. And the view is awesome.
EXCURSIONS - I highly recommend that visitors venture out a bit, because this is a beautiful area and there is so much to experience. We visited the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve with Mexico Kan Tours. A small group tour with very knowledgeable guides, we saw manatees, dolphins and so many interesting birds. We had the chance to snorkel along the reef, and enjoyed a delicious lunch in Punta Allen. A long day, but so worth it.
CENOTES - This was a day that I ventured outside my comfort zone. I wanted to visit specific cenotes, but not with a group, and on my own time. Through my hotel, I was introduced to a local cab driver who would take me to the cenote, wait for me, then take me to the next one.A very fair price was negotiated and we were on our way. Many thanks Mauricio! I visited Casa cenote, where I had the place to myself, swimming through mangroves and schools of fish. I didn't see the crocodile though! Next, Gran cenote. While beautiful, this one was more crowded. I was able to take my time and swim as long as I wanted. I probably would not return to this one, but happy that I experienced it. I have a long list of cenotes for future visits.
INDULGENCE - My very kind brother arranged for a spa day at Yaan Wellness Spa. I never would have done this on my own, but I loved it. As soon as you walk onto the property, you are pampered, and cared for by a very professional staff. By far, the best massage I have ever had. Do this. You deserve it.
PESOS - I posted on the forum before my trip,asking about bringing US dollars or converting to pesos. I ended up getting about $3000 dollars in pesos from my bank before leaving. This worked out well for me. I paid for everything in pesos,including my hotel,meals,tips, and excursions. The lone 20 peso bill I came home with is tucked into my wallet, ready for my next trip.
SAFETY - So, circling back to the start of this post, I will touch on the safety issue. My husband does not care to travel, and I do not care to stay home. I've learned to stay aware, and listen to my inner voice if something doesn't feel right. I ALWAYS felt safe in Tulum, even when I would venture out by myself. Be smart, don't drink too much, and stick to the more populated areas.
In closing, I wanted to mention that I planned this trip after being diagnosed with breast cancer in June, 2017. I am now on the more positive side of that diagnosis, but there were many times when my surgery and treatments were scary or painful. I would close my eyes and imagine myself on a beautiful beach, watching the waves carry away the pain. I knew my "cancer journey" would
end when I was able to swim in the ocean for real. That was accomplished.On a beautiful beach. At sunrise. I may have been topless. No apologies.