Who doesn’t have an endless travel bucket list? No, not seemingly endless. Literally endless. Mine just gets longer and longer; I’m constantly discovering new places to add and I can never bring myself to tick a place off my list. I used to think that once I visit a destination, a calming wave of fulfillment would come over me, but that has never been the case. Instead, the more I learn about the history and culture the more I’m drawn in. My urge to explore further is amplified. Knowing I’m only there for a limited amount of time, I find myself coping by making plans for my future visit before I have even left.
Mexico certainly exemplifies this and I just keep going back. Last month I made a third trip down, specifically to the Yucatan Peninsula. I chose to stay in Tulum this time even though I knew many people say it has “lost it’s magic”. It’s not as remote as it once was, I get that. Yet, it was still just as charming and special to me. As I drove up to the almost clandestine, unmarked gate of our lifestyle hotel, HABITAS, I knew this was sure to be a unique experience.
We walked through the door and the rich woody copal scent greeted us. I recommend you buy some from town to take home with you, like I did. I’m so grateful for the Proust effect; each time I light the incense it evokes memories of my time in Tulum. For our welcome ceremony we sprinkled some more copal dust onto the burning coals and contemplated what we desired to gain from our stay as the white smoke rose.
My desires aligned perfectly with the tranquil Tulum atmosphere. While the hotel is right in the zona hotelera it still felt so secluded. Our zen palapa, with its minimalist tribal charm, allowed us to connect with the nature around us as we felt the tent fabric sway with the breeze and watched the shadows cast by the plants dance as the sun moved through its rotation. The indulgent morning outdoor rain showers set the tone for the rest of the day. Unlike the typical high energy activities offered at most hotels we had morning yoga and midday meditation sessions. Even the beautiful kilim rugs adorning much of the grounds and lovely lanterns and hammocks scattered about invoked a certain quietude, yet nothing was more relaxing than having the pool and beach all to myself each morning. This calm is what sets Tulum apart from other tourist destinations in Mexico; it is the perfect place to unwind and both lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.
Most places in Tulum focus on spirituality and wellness and although a lot of that stems from Mayan beliefs, you can see global influences all around as well. Each place you walk by, whether it be a shop, cafe or hotel, has impeccable decor with details galore. I never imagined I would find myself smoking hookah in a treehouse lounge, or sipping Horchata in a vine covered jungle hideaway cafe, or swinging from a sofa at Pablo Escobar’s former estate. Sure it is all very Instagrammable but it is so much more than that. They put effort into creating charming one-of-a-kind spaces, not to generate hype, but to make them inviting and captivating. No matter where you go there is a strong emphasis on experiences; they engage all your senses to make each moment memorable. If you don’t find this soul soothing experience-centric getaway the least bit compelling, Tulum probably isn’t for you. But if this sounds ideal, go, I promise you’ll leave inspired!