I have noticed the travel trend with friends of mine seem to be trending towards all inclusive resorts. I have had several friends even ask me which resorts I would recommend, which is ironic because I typically do not stay at all inclusive places. I do not have anything against all inclusive resorts. They are beautiful and have tons of amenities at your finger tips. This being said, here is why I tend to stay away from them and look towards a vacation that is a little more authentic. I am going to use a recent trip to Tulum as an example. There were five friends and we split the cost evenly.
Step One: Take some time to look at AirBnB. If you have a group of people going, this is a great opportunity to stay in some fabulous homes or condos for a lot less than your typical all inclusive resort. This also can give you a little more authentic experience with the local culture. Sometimes a private chef is available, but this gives one a chance to experience the local culture. In Tulum, the culinary experience was so amazing. It was way better than any resort experience that I have ever had. The condo we rented had a roof top private pool and was practically brand new. The cost was about $150 a night. That breaks down to $30 a person! It was an amazing home that was perfect for our group.
Step Two: Avoid big advertisement. What I mean by this is do not get caught up with the “tours” and guided trips that the businesses try to sell you. We wanted to go check out the cenotes in the area, so we took a $5 cab ride to Grande Cenote where is cost about $10 to get in . It was a great experience, and totally lived up to the hype. The travel tour groups in the wanted to charge a hefty price to take you to do the exact same thing. Tip: save the money and do it yourself. We were also able to find a snorkel trip while walking on the beach that took us to the Tulum ruins and had great view from the ocean. We then snorkeled for about an hour and saw everything from huge schools of fish, to starfish, stingrays, and got to swim with the sea turtles. That was on my bucket list for sure. Our total cost was $25 per person, and worth every penny.
Step Three: Eat Local. As I mentioned earlier the culinary experience we had in Tulum was like no other. We had the best cerveche right on the beach. If you are staying in the town of Tulum, just take a cab ride to Ziggy Beach. You can then walk from place to place until you find your perfect spot. We enjoyed bar hopping and trying some food from all the beach front bars. We found our way back to La Zebra several times. They have perfect beach cabanas and maybe the best drinks on the strip. All the restaurants are beach friendly, but we brought a change of clothes in a back pack just to look a little nicer for dinner. We found everything from Italian food to a brazilian steakhouse. The food we had is not at any resort. It was unlike anything I have experienced. I would go to Tulum just for the food. All the menus are posted at the door. Some of the places are kinda pricey, but keep in mind you saved a ton of money on your lodging, so splurge a little. There are so many places to try. A few of my favorite are Posada Margherita, Casa Banana, and Rosa Negra. There are so many to choose from, these are just a few we were blown away by.
I was lucky enough to get airfare from Dallas to Cancun for $150 round trip. I found it using google flights. I took the ADO Bus to Playa del Carmen, and then to Tulum. The cost was $14 and it was not full of chickens. It was perfectly safe and very nice. A shuttle would cost about $100 one way so it really depends on how many is in your group.
There are a few things I didn’t get to do on this trip. I wanted to check out Casa Malca, which was Pablo Escobar’s former home now converted to a hotel. I also wanted to go the Coba Ruins. It’s the last ruin where you can still climb to the top.
What’s on your Bucket List?