This spring has been crazy packed with activities and work, and after a few months of go, go, going, a girl needs a break! So a couple weeks ago, Bryce and I took a few days off and headed south of the border to Tulum, Mexico. We spent five days in the jungle and on the beach of Quintana Roo and it was sooo relaxing. Keep reading for photos from our trip and details of what we did!
We got lucky with a nonstop flight from Austin to Cancun. A couple hours later and we met up with our driver at the airport. Tulum is about a 2 hour drive south of Cancun and our hotel arranged for their staff to pick us up. We stayed at Papaya Playa Project and it was such a dream! After checking in, we were led through the property to our room. The paths throughout the property are carved right into the jungle landscape! Our room was a little adobe hut tucked into the trees with it's own ocean-front patio. It was the perfect size for two people with a comfy bed, small closet, and rainwater shower in the bathroom.
After unpacking and changing clothes, we walked over to the hotel restaurant for drinks and dinner. All of the hotel amenities (lobby, restaurant, bar) are all outside, so we were definitely one with nature. We got two delicious cocktails that we ended up drinking practically the entire trip. Mine was called the Map Tulum and was a combination of mezcal, pineapple juice, and a few other things, and Bryce got the Oh My Margarita which was pretty much just a margarita with mezcal instead of tequila. We became OBSESSED with mezcal by the end of this trip. I've had a few mezcal cocktails here in Austin, but they just don't make 'em like they do in Mexico. For dinner we had black bean crab cakes, deconstructed elotes (one of our favorite dishes of the entire trip), and chips and salsa. It was sooo refreshing and sooo good.
It stormed hard allll night, but by the time we got going the next morning, the rain had cleared. We walked over to the restaurant for our daily "jungle breakfast"! Every morning we had the same thing and it was sooo delicious -- a bagel with cream cheese and avocado or salmon, a plantain flour pancake with strawberry jam, and scrambled eggs with black beans, onions, and peppers. Honestly, I could eat this meal for breakfast every single day for the rest of my life and be happy.
After looking at the weather radar, we were expecting storms and rainy weather for the majority of our stay, but once we finished our breakfast, the sun started to come out! We made our way down to the beach club and staked out a spot with a puffy bed, two bean bag chairs, and a coffee table. We spent the rest of the day basking in the sun. For lunch, we had tacos from the hotel and I ate a grilled octopus taco and actually liked it!!! Can you believe that?!
For dinner, we decided to venture out from our hotel and go to a restaurant down the road called Posada Margherita for Italian food in Mexico, ha! Our meal was soooo good. We had handmade pasta, fresh bread, and a bottle of chilled rosé. Simple and delicious.
It rained hard all night again but by noon it was sunny! The storm brought in a LOT of seaweed on the beach but the hotel did a great job of getting it cleaned up. The water was still a little rough, but we swam for a while because you can't go to Mexico and not swim in the ocean!
Later, we headed out for a late lunch at a hotel down the street called Mi Amor. All the hotels in Tulum are on the same street and super close to each other, so we had fun popping around to different spots. It was so cool getting to check out the other hotels because they all had such different vibes. Unlike our jungle/treehouse-style hotel, Mi Amor was sleek and modern with bright decor and an infinity pool. We sat by the pool and had cocktails and another one of the best meals EVER! We got grilled shrimp, beef tacos, roasted chicken, and parmesan fries (because I couldn't resist!).
Our last full day in Tulum! Once a month, Papaya Playa has a big party called the Full Moon Party and tonight was the night! The staff was setting up for the party all day and you could tell they were sooo excited. Apparently it's one of the biggest parties in Tulum and they were expecting about 200 people to come out!
We got another beach day in and then headed out to grab cocktails at a hotel called Casa Malca. It used to be Pablo Escobar's house! The owner of the hotel is an art collector and had amazing art and sculptures scattered throughout the property. Right at the entrance, there's a spiral staircase that leads to a rooftop deck where you can see the ocean on your right and the jungle on your left for miles! The sunset up there was beautiful. Bryce is obsessed with the artist Keith Haring and Casa Malca is home to the infamous Keith Haring bar so we had to stop in for a drink. When it started to get dark, we headed back to Papaya Playa and had a late dinner at the restaurant overlooking the beach. People were starting to arrive for the party (which went from 9 PM to 4 AM!) and the DJ was playing some very Tulum tunes (think tropical house music). We hung out at the bar and restaurant as the party got started and then headed to bed before things got too crazy!
We woke up and had one last jungle breakfast before heading to the airport. We honestly were expecting to be stuck inside all day every day because of the gloomy weather, so we were so glad that we actually got a few sunny days in paradise! And to be honest, the clouds brought in a strong breeze that made the humidity that people often talk about in Tulum feel nonexistent. We can't wait to go back again someday. Tulum was the perfect escape for a little adventure and a lot of relaxation.