How to get there
After playa del Carmen we headed out to Tulum by public bus. However, the ticket office at the bus station is more then helpful as well. The ADO bus takes approximately 1 hr and costs around 4USD pp.
When preparing for our trip we found these amazing pictures of camping on the beach, which seemed amazing, so with our tent we set off for the same experience. After taking a taxi from the center to the beach (a trip we would make many, many times more for about 5 USD) and ended up at Roca beach campsite. The place is immediately on the beach, you can pick a spot, and pitch your tent for 5 euros per person.
The location doesn’t get more idyllic in terms of views. However, being on the beach means that for dinner in the evening you need to head back into town. You can take the 5 USD taxi, or rent a bike, which is the preferred option of most backpackers.
What to see and do
Tulum is most known for the Mayan ruins, and staying on the beach meant we could walk up to the old city before the tourist crowds arriving. The area is beautiful to walk trough and simply enjoy the buildings and sights.
Another major tourist attraction are the cenotes. Cenotes are underground caves and waterholes, and there are approximately 6000 scattered around the Yucatan area. We decided to go diving in the cenotes and did a walk around town and chatted with various dive schools before making up our mind.
Once decided and paid we agreed on the departure time the next morning and off we went. Two different cenotes were on the program for the day: The pit and Dos Ochos.
We started out at the pit, which is a 40m deep hole in the middle of the jungle. Manuel is definitely the better diver of the two, and underground caves did not make me feel any more comfortable, so I already started nervous on the dive, which is never a great start. As part of the caves don’t have a direct line to the surface it is normally recommended to have plenty of air to come up. Since I was nervous I went trough my air much quicker then normal, resulting in a near panic attack at approximately 35m depth. Therefore, it is save to say that Cenotes diving was not for me. However, most people find it absolutely amazing, and is considered one of the most special dives you can make.
Where to eat
Our favorite restaurant in Tulum was Antojitos La Chiapaneca, found a short walk from the city center. It is a no frills taco restaurants, filled with locals and tourists a like. A taco is about 0,50 euros, and absolutely delicious! When it came to fresh fish we were recommended one restaurant in Tulum: El Camello Jr. The ceviche was absolutely delicious! This restaurant is either a short taxi ride or a 15 min walk out of town.
From the bus station many busses leave either towards Playa del Carmen (approximately 1 hr, 4 USD) or towards the border with Belize. We decided to take a bus towards the border with Belize, but to get at out lake Bacalar. The travel time is approximately 2.5 hrs, and costs around 12 euros.