Ah, the Brooklyn of Mexico. Visiting Tulum is more than a guaranteed spike in Instagram likes, it’s where need-to-unplug and can’t-live-without-a-plug-near-my-pillow meet for brunch—margaritas and fish tacos, because best life.
If you made out with a nameless face while dancing barefoot at a foam party in Panama City, FL in 2005, then surely, you’re now a perfect candidate for Tulum’s grown-ass sensibilities, salty breezes, and the most satisfying downward-facing dog you’ll ever do in your life.
Getting there is a piece of cake, especially if your airport routine includes a bloody mary at 8:00AM.
This is probably a good time to mention this isn’t not compiled with fragments of my own life story, so leave your judgment above the fold, pls. If you’ve gotten this far, chances are we’d be pretty good friends, anyway. Carry on.
Upon landing in Cancun, swiping some Coconut Balm Dotcom across my pout, and buying a $12.00 Pacifico from the palm-roofed bar just outside the airport doors, I hopped in the back of the car service Mercedes and was feeling a little too fancy for my disheveled plane face. You know the look. The drive from the airport is about two hours and consists mostly of elaborate gated entrances to all-inclusive resorts, peppered with the occasional small town center, smiling residents, and military-grade rifle-wielding law enforcement officers perched atop Jeeps.
The scenery from the roadside is beautiful. Long, floating strands of rope are draped with colorful pieces of laundry left out to soak in the sun; the sweet and tart smells of tropical fruits make your mouth soften and water as you pass street carts selling pineapple and mango drenched in lime juice, dusted with chili powder. As you near Tulum proper, foot traffic thickens and the energy of the place seems to percolate up out of the ground and spill like floodwater from in-between the vibrantly colored buildings. My sunglasses give everything a warm, yellowy filter. I breathe in a hundred smells like a sommelier looking for notes in wine. I'm picking up coffee, that sweet-bitter fragrance of burnt caramel, earth-covered root vegetables, sea salt, and citrus. I let it all fill my nostrils, dance around the little hairs, and roll back out like a wave.
The car slows to a sandy, crunchy stop. In exactly 12 minutes, I have been ushered from the front desk to my room, changed into an old swimsuit that's pilling in the crotch, and ordered something with tequila.
Knee-deep in turquoise sea with a lime juice and salt river running down my chin, I decide that love it here.